Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Epic Kitty Battle!

Click HERE and enjoy the Thor, Lulu and Jonesy show. It happens every day, beginning between 7:30 and 8:30 am, and ending whenever Jonesy flounces off. Oh kitties... it's good to have a hobby, but fighting through the glass is not as good for you as reading or knitting.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Holiday Extravaganza.

We are on the backside of the holiday fun, and just looking forward to a couple of days of relaxing. Both Tim and I received paid vacation from our employers, which is awesome. I was saying to someone that it's one thing to go on vacation over the holidays, but it's another thing to have your office closed. When the office closes, it's easier to lounge around, because there's less worry about someone sending you a big stinky turd of an email, or a "when you get back, I have a hot potato burning on your desk" type assignment. It's much easier to just kick back, knowing that the CEO is doing the same.

So let's see. We celebrated Don's 64th birthday on the 23rd (verdict: we will still need him, we will still feed him, and were are working on the grandchildren for his knee.) Santa came to visit all of the little kids, and unlike last year when Tim, Jake and I had to try to convince Carter that sitting on Santa's lap was the cool thing to do, this year all of the kiddos were all about hanging with Santa. I didn't even get to sit on his lap this year! I made a cake and cookies for the party - thank goodness for my fancy new baked goods carriers.

On Christmas Eve I went to zumba with mom in the morning, and then came home for a nap. We went over around three for apps, drinks and chatting. My friend Lauren drove down from LA to join us, and Sara managed to hold on until she arrived, about 6:30ish. We had some really nice present opening.

Grandma and Grandpa are beginning to gift away some of the things they'd like to share with their children and grandchildren, and Grandma asked that I take pictures of the show. So here you go. Here is Sara in her new apron (all of the girls got them this year, except for me, because she'd already made me one. I have a table runner now in matching fabric.)

Here is dad opening his card from G&G

Here is his first gift - a commemorative coin from the 1995 Special Olympics World Games. Tim asked if Eunice Shriver was on the face of the coin.

It was, and then dad nearly died laughing.

He also received his great-grandpa's pocketwatch. It's over 100 years old and started up right away after being wound.

Tim with his drill set, and Lauren with her fabulous scarf.

Christmas morning I made pancakes for Lauren and Tim, and then mom and dad stopped over with our stockings from Santa. We went over to the Fockers for present opening, and then to Cathy and Evan's for Christmas with the Ford Hoard (I know they're actually Smiths, but Smith doesn't rhyme with anything useful.)

Cathy and Evan have acquired a trampoline since the last time I was there. How interesting! I spent a lot of time hopping with the little girls. Mary kept on yelling at me for bouncing her, but I can't help it - she needs to gain a little weight. I really wanted to see if I could still do a flip or two, but I didn't want the little girls to see me and attempt it themselves. Plus Eileen was watching me like a hawk, knowing my history of trampoline injuries. I am a cautionary tale.

Tim went down to Murrieta on Christmas night to hang out with his cousins and play video games. I hung out with mom and we went to see Nine. Today Tim and I met up for brunch with a college friend of mine and her husband Tim, and now we are home being lazy. It is as it should be!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Sandy Paws says "I am going to scratch your freaking eyes out! I mean... Merry Christmas."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I know, I know, I am a terrible blog-lady, and you all want the hot details of Big Tim's 30th birthday housewarming party.

The sad thing is, I didn't take any pictures. I do however, have these two, which my friend took during the day. One is of me in a dress up empress crown (the sweater and necklace were what I was wearing just as part of my regular wardrobe) and a picture of Tim in the birthday crown I made him (thanks for the inspiration, Auntie Lisa.)

Can you tell I used a special new face brightening primer under my makeup? I didn't think so.

Tim's crown featured LOLcats, a sexy picture of Bill Gates, shots of various video games, some binary, and computer pieces that his friends generously donated to the cause. Thanks, nerds. I made him wear the crown throughout the day to impress our guests. Eileen actually deigned to kiss his ring, he looked so official. The crown made him so tall that he had to duck under doors.

Suffice to say, the party was good. We had guests in and out from 11:30 in the morning until I booted everyone at 11:30 at night. At one point, around dinner time, we had about 45 people running through the house (it was mostly the toddlers running.) Miracle of miracles, nothing was broken (though my guest toilet apparently isn't used to being flushed so much - we have the Onalaska Branch of Thiel & Sons Home Repair looking into possible causes before the California supervisor and I try to take the toilet off and replace the wax seal) and nothing was spilled on the new carpet. People were good sports about the no shoes rule in the house, which was especially good given the rain.

We had a great time! It was so good to see everyone and the house felt very warmed. We feel so lucky to be well loved by so many. It was especially awesome of Grandma to make the trek out to celebrate with us. Tim and his nerds got to see the new Medal of Honor trailer premiere (the game Tim was working on before he left EA) and Servite won the CIF championship game. What more could a boy ask for? Oh yes, he also got a PS3 and some new Blu-Ray movies.

On Friday night we'd gone to Tim's company party. We carpooled with his former EA coworker turned new Blizzard coworker Ed, and Ed's girlfriend Erlynn. They are awesome - we love them. Ed especially cracks me up because he is like if Tim and Jake had a baby together, but he is also from Ohio, so he understands my midwestern-ness. Also, I can boss him around because he doesn't know sometimes when I'm kidding.

The party was fun, though we didn't know very many people. I dressed up gaudily and then ate a lot of tiny desserts. We also played some pretend blackjack, and I placed my bets like a drunk heiress. Go big, or go home.

Here I am in my fur coat, eating a tiny dessert (a mocha whipped thingie inside a chocolate cup.)

Before we left, we decided to take a couple of quick photos in front of the big tree. Here are Ed and Erl, posing like prom.

Tim photo-bombed them, so we decided to try again.

And yet again, he was a nuisance.

Then it was our turn. Dammit Tim.

That's better. Look for us on next year's Christmas card.

On the way out, we noticed a set up for Santa. So of course, we had to screw around.

All of that tomfoolery made Tim thirsty. We hope Santa won't mind.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Another Sunday Night Update.

We've had a pretty average week around here, though I for one am ready for the holidays and possibly a nap. The commute is still going okay, but only having a few hours to myself every day gets a little old. I mean, the train is fine and a great place to take naps, but it's not particularly comfortable, and it's always a juggle to try to fit everyone's knees into the same little space, and I always seem to fall asleep with my mouth hanging open.

This weekend we did a little more work around the house. I finally made some decisions as to where our pictures were going to go, and took a particular delight in pounding nails into the freshly painted walls (it's my house! I can do what I want!)

Tim put my Macbeth poster up in the family room. This corner of the house makes me feel S-M-R-T.

In our entry way I put up a bunch of our important pictures - the trip to China with the Thiels, the trip to Ireland with the Fords, our wedding photos and of course, most importantly, pictures of us at Lambeau.

In the office above my CD cases I put our framed albums (okay, my framed albums. But Tim enjoys show tunes too!) We have Cabaret, the Sound of Music, The King and I and Singing in the Rain.

Then in the baby's room is a copy of an album that Tim and Jake used to listen to at their grandma's house. It is about being virtuous and patient, allegedly.

I know you are thinking, why the picture of your car Meg? Who cares? Well folks, see the passenger side headlight? It was out this week, but I got a bulb and I fixed it all by myself. I even took the battery out to do so (had to borrow Dad's socket set, but that is beside the point.)

This upcoming week we'll be doing a lot of planning for Timmy Joe's 30th birthday party/our housewarming extravaganza. I am planning on baking assorted desserts and the moms have agreed to help out with sides. In the meanwhile, it's only 6:30 but I'm ready for bed. I was up at 7, because the cats were having a slap fight with Jonesy through the sliding glass door. They are getting braver about protecting their territory. Even Thory is putting up a fuss... and the running away.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Effective Cat Parenting

I want you to know, it took a lot of energy NOT to turn the shower on her. She basically deserves it, for all of the times that she's woken me up by either 1) licking my hair while I'm trying to sleep or 2) licking her butt on my pillow, while I'm trying to sleep.

Now if I could just get her to use the toilet.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!

We've had such a nice holiday weekend. I can't believe I have to go to work tomorrow, after five days off. Work? What is that? It's back to the train for me!

Thanksgiving was great, filled with family and food and mouthing off. Friday night I was able to go to Trevor's football game and watch the Huskies advance to the quarter finals in CIF. Apparently Dana Hills is playing in the playoffs as well - I joked about what I would have done if Dana had been playing against Trevor's team (I would have rooted for Trevor, FYI.)

Yesterday we had QUITE the day. We were back in our old West LA stomping grounds at 8:30am on Saturday to help Tim's former-and-about-to-be-current-again-coworker Ed move. I swear, if I see cardboard boxes or a UHaul truck ever again, I will barf my brains out. I am oh so sick of moving. The good news is that Ed is even more organized and anal than me, and the move was pretty quick and painless, as far as moving goes.

We got home and got cleaned up for a date with mom, dad and Sara. As part of our Christmas present to them, I bought tickets for everyone to go see Mary Poppins at the Ahmanson. It's one of mom's favorite movies, and I do love the Ahmanson. Tim and I have season tickets, so it was a pretty easy deal to just get three more seats and change from Wednesday to Saturday night.

For dinner, we went to my very favorite restaurant, Bottega Louie. We had a good table and great service, and the food was fabulous as always. It was a hit with Dad, which I was glad to see. I would have felt chagrined if my foodie father hated my favorite restaurant.

The play was really good. Different than the movie, but the changes really worked well. It was practically perfect in every way. Dad even bought Mom a parrot head umbrella before the show, so she was thrilled beyond belief (hers doesn't talk though, which is sad. Those cost a lot extra.) Sara got the soundtrack, which we listened to the car on the way home. Sara stayed over at our house, which makes her our first official house guest, even if she got here at midnight and left at 9:45 for floor hockey.

This morning I learned an interesting item. Tim has never seen Mary Poppins, the movie. He said they didn't own it as kids and if he saw it at a friend's house, he doesn't remember. I think it's hysterical that he only figured it out today, because he sat through the play and all of us discussing the differences between the play and the movie on the way home. He's a funny guy.

We took it kind of easy today, and are just hanging out together. We went and bought groceries for the week, because we are almost out of leftovers (there's about one slice of carrot cake left. I will miss it so when it goes.) We also went to the garden section of Target and bought our tree! Our first real tree in five years! I am very excited.

We ended up talking more to some of our neighbors as we struggled with the tree in the front yard (had to borrow a saw and cut more branches off.) Jeremy and Jill came over and got a tour of the house. They are the caretakers of Jonesy, and I told them about Jonesy is not only super aggressive to our cats through the glass, but lately if I try to pet him in my backyard or side yard, he will rub up against my legs and then growl and swipe at me. He actually took a pretty good piece out of Dad on Saturday. Jeremy and Jill couldn't believe it, and of course, Jonesy came over while we were talking and was totally nice to me. Our neighbor who shares a backyard wall came over also, and she admitted that she sometimes feeds Jonesy when he comes around, as do I. Though he lives outside during the day, that cat sure appears to have the life. Our backyard-sharing neighbor also asked what we thought of the hedge in their backyard, which creates sort of a privacy fence. I told her that we like the hedges, even though they're big, because it keeps me from having to get curtains for our bedroom slider. She seemed very nice about keeping the yard maintained/getting the bushes cut if they were any problem for us, which is what you want in a neighborino.

We are spending our last few weekend hours watching Sunday Night Football and eating cheese and crackers. The tree is up and decorated. The cats have not started sleeping on the tree skirt just yet, but I'm sure it will happen soon As long as they don't knock it over, they can do what they want. I am interested to see what they think. We had a real Christmas tree the first year we lived together, back when we only had Lulu. She was allergic to it (her lips blistered through the month of December) and she couldn't stop eating the needles, even though she had trouble with them on the way out. I am hoping that as a six year old, she can restrain herself

Here's a picture of Thory, because he hasn't been recently featured on the blog.

He loves my chair from Grandma Pat.

And here's our tree!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Almost Turkey Time!

Well, I learned tonight what Thor thinks of Jonesy. We can only assume that they have seen each other, though the only interaction anyone has seen so far is Thor sitting at the opposite end of the room from where Jonesy sat outside the window. Jonesy likes to come around during cat dinner time and act up - tonight was no exception - except that this time both Lulu and Thor were sitting in the living room while he growled at them. When he jumped at the window to get them, Thor hissed and ran away. My boy is a sissy. It makes sense though - he has been the beta cat since day 1. Lulu, despite being the alpha of the house, continues to look unsure about this white intruder. If Jonesy can't start being nice, he's never going to get himself invited inside, that's for sure, though I do try to let Lu smell my hands after I pet him.

The holiday festivities started on Monday with my office's Thanksgiving potluck. I made a caramel cake with a turkey frosted on top.

I must say, the icing is better on day 2. It's not my favorite thing that I've ever baked but Tim liked it, as did most of my coworkers.

Tomorrow our office has a half day. And since I have a four hour commute round trip, my boss graciously said I could work from home for the day. Hooray for pajama-based grant writing! I am realizing that as a homeowner, I am going to have to get more appropriate lounging clothes. On Saturday morning when the tree guys came I was still in Grandma Pat's mumu, and on Sunday Rita dropped by around 10 and I was in my sock monkey footie pajamas. I guess it's easier to stay dressed like a scrub on weekends when you live in an apartment and never see your neighbors. But know if you come over on a weekend before 3pm, I am probably rocking my jammies and bedhead. You're welcome.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Trimming the Trees!

MIRACLE OF MIRACLES, THE GARAGE IS CLEAN. Seeing is believing - here are our two cars, actually parked in the garage. There are still a few more things to be jammed into the trash and recycling bins (emptied on Thursday, filled by Saturday at noon!) and a coffee table that we will need to find a home for, but having the garage cleaned out means we are almost fully moved in. In fact, most of the chores on my chore list involve sitting in front of a computer, swearing at software.

Proof of our unpackedness.

It's our first real weekend in the house, and we had the tree trimmers here today to take care of the trees, much to mom's delight. They cut down most of the little junk, and did a great job grooming our big pine on the side of the slope. It went from being a giant overgrown bush to a nicely manicured tree! They also gave the willow in the front a trim and it looks very nice. The willow is one of my favorite parts about our house. We also met some more neighbors today and chatted.

Here are some of the pictures of the action today:
This is the big tree in question, as seen from our backyard.

Here it is at the beginning of the adventure.

Some of the cutting down to size.

And here's what it looks like now. The hillside is much cleaned off (they cut down all of the oleanders and other little trees) and you can actually see sunlight through the pine. It was really in need of love - there were tons of dead needles showering down.

Here's a shot of the trimmed up willow.

We've also been doing a little redecorating, mostly using the wonders of craiglist. Here's the pieces we bought this week.

A little glider for the patio. We are still in need of a lot of patio furniture.

Little cherry coffee table for the family room.

A chunkier coffee table for the living room. Slowly but surely, we are abandoning the big 70s style pieces. Our old bookcases got picked up this week too. They'd done a good service to Don and Eileen and then to us, and now they're off to the big forest in the sky.

We also got our new comforter in the mail this week. Now we are snug as bugs in a big giant bed sized rug. I am also using the Minneapolis school desk from Eileen as my night stand. Fat Bunny even has a seat of his own!

This little corner of the family room is still my favorite part of the house.

It's Lulu's too.

Jonesy continues to hate on her. She mostly sits there silently with her fur poofed, and he growls loudly at her. He's also (as you can see) started going at the window to try to get at her. She will sit there for about a half hour or so and give him the stink eye, and then go groom herself. I think she knows he can't get her, so she's not going to stress too much. Then again, she was originally a street cat, and she does have 6 claws on each foot, so maybe she just figures she could beat his butt. Thor continues to mainly be a cowardly lion, in all aspects of his life. At least he's eating though, and snuggling with us at night.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Alright, here we go. A new tour of the inside of our house.

Welcome, and be forewarned that actively routing for $C inside our home may get you popped in the nose.

Here is our entryway. The bench Jan and Jim gave us, and the mirror is from mom. That little blue stool I made in seventh grade woodshop. It is one of two handmade by Meg Thiel pieces that are in our house!

To your left when you walk in is the family room. It was blue before and we decided to stick with it. The blue is darker, but the trim is white this time (last time it was dark blue.) We had to get a fireplace screen because Lula tried to climb into the fireplace. Bad baby.

Here is the view from the kitchen. We have the cat couch, a chair from Jan and Jim, and a table that mom found at the thrift store. The room also features the Time Out chair from our childhood.

Here is our kitchen. Last night I used the oven for the first time to make a sticky toffee pie. We haven't tried it yet, but appears the ovens from 1972 are running okay.

Here is a fuzzy picture of our dining room. The table Grandpa Thiel bought for my mom and dad when they were married and refinished. The chairs are from the Amish furniture maker in Wisconsin because when dad offered me the existing chairs, I turned him down (they were 50 years old and breaking out from under people. No thanks!)

The living room as viewed from the front door.

Our couch and white chair (which we actually purchased ourselves, and did not poach from friends or family.)

Another view, and a shot of Tim's besties, the TV and stereo system. We are going to put the bookshelf speakers on little stands, or so Tim says. We ditched the big bookcase thingies that went with our entertainment center but kept the base, once Mr. Day drilled some holes in the back from wires and cords. That little bookshelf has childrens' books for when Wolfie learns to read.

Going down the hallway, this is our third bedroom/office. We put the breakfast nook in there, and our CDs and DVDs are stored in here. With the wireless internet, I don't know how much time we'll actually spend in this room, but I LOVE the breakfast nook, and hope to keep it around for as long as possible.

The second bedroom/the yellow room/Wolfie's room. I also call it "Grandma Thiel's quilt-a-torium." She made the quilt on the bed for mom and dad in 1982, and the quilt on the rack is Tim and I's wedding quilt. The quilt rack also has some good memories - our first Thanksgiving in La Crosse we drove up to Amish country to pick it up, in the snow, with Grandpa fishtailing the Mercury this way and that. Tim was a little freaked out.

Here's the hall bathroom, which is repainted white. I also call it the kitties bathroom, because this is where their litter boxes are (gross, but the only real place for them.)

View into our bedroom. I love the big sliding door. The sun coming in was really pretty when we woke up this morning.

Finally, a bed big enough for me, my 6'5" husband and two cats (who can actually take up more room that Tim.) Also, my trunk is finally here. A few weeks ago Tim, my mom and I had the following conversation.

Mom: You can take your trunk when you move.
Tim: What trunk?
Meg: The one in my bedroom.
Tim: Oh, that one belongs to you?
Meg: The one that says Meg on it? Yes, that belongs to me.

I just spent some time showing him my valuable squished penny collection, and my box of rocks.

Our new dresser and my pretties. Our new bed frame will hopefully be here before Christmas, and it's made of a similiar wood.

So that's the house! There is still lots of stuff to be done. I have a couple of books of doo dads and tckockies that could be unpacked... at some point. We still need to hang most of our pictures, and I have a lot of smaller photos that I'm deciding on. But for right now, it's nice to just live in it and lay around a little.

Here's a funny shot - this is what I saw when I pulled up to mom and dad's this morning at 9:30. I told Dad, "don't be mad at me baby, I can make it up to you. Please don't put all of my stuff out on the lawn!" We put most of the stuff into our garage cabinets, but I did ask that mom put my 15 year old, outdated skies directly in the garbage (I still have my ski bag and a parka from 1995 in the garage though, no worries!)