29 November 2008

The day after.

On Thanksgiving day, I bought a newspaper so I could browse though all the black friday advertisements. I'm much more of a shopper than a buyer, so I really get a kick out of flipping through all the inserts.

Corey has been thinking about buying a blu-ray DVD player for a few months and our current DVD player is in the process of dying, so Corey researched who had the best deals on blu-ray players. Before too long, we realized that WalMart was having a huge sale on them. I'm not one to pay full price for something if I can get a better deal on it somewhere else, so I started recruiting someone to accompany me to WalMart at 4 am the next morning. Lucky for me, my buddy Maria was up to the challenge. She'd never been to a black friday shopping event before, so she thought it sounded fun (what was she thinking?! haha). Since we were going to be up and out anyway, we decided to also stop at Herbergers (a department store in the mall) to get some new silverware.

I actually woke up before my alarm – I think I was pretty excited. So out we went at 4 am, Friday morning to WalMart. The store is open 24-hours a day, so we didn't have to wait outside (yay!). But to make it a bit more fair and to build up the whole "black friday" hoopla, WalMart wrapped the pallets of sale items with black plastic and lined them up along the middle of all the main walkways through the store.

Walmart - Black Friday 2008
When we arrived (at about 4:15 am) there was a small crowd already in the store, with groups of people gathered around their plastic-wrapped pallet items. But by the minute, more and more and more people arrived and quickly grew the gatherings to a mass of bargain shoppers. At this point I questioned why I was not in bed asleep.

After a bit of eavesdropping, Maria and I realized that we were fortunate to be two of only a few people looking to score a cheap Blu-Ray player. Most of the folks around us were looking to buy a large flat-screen TV. Piece of cake, I thought, we'll let the folks up front get their player, we'll stand back and wait, then when it's our turn, I'll grab on of the 40 of so players and then make our way to the cash registers.

At 5 am sharp, every Walmart employee was called to their "station" to cut the black plastic off the pallets. With that, people started getting crazy. Apparently quite a few of the folks around us (who I thought were just shopping for TVs) decided they wanted blu-ray DVD players too – and not just one – these people were grabbing two, three and four at a time. As I'm "sitting back and waiting for my turn" I notice the pile of boxes is getting lower and lower so I watch for a break and I sneak in and grab one. Yay! I got one!

... Then for the journey to the front of the store. Through the mass of people, highway of shopping carts piled high with goodies, shoppers trying to move huge big-screen TVs, and coffee spilled on the floor, we somehow made it to the front of the store in one piece. I made a quick detour to the cough and cold medicine for Corey (he's sick) and then we got in line.

We had fun watching what everyone was buying ... toys, lots of big screen TVs, and lots and lots and lots of DVDs. Some people were buying 20 to 30 DVDs. I began thinking I missed out on some great deals. Turns out we did - many were $2. crazy! We did get one that someone abandoned on the gum rack - awesome.

We're proud to say we survived our WalMart black friday adventure and scored a $129 blu-ray player and $2 DVD.

Our new Blu-ray DVD player:

Herbergers was much less interesting, so I'll keep it short and just say that we got what we went for, plus two nice bed pillows for under $15 and three rolls of Christmas wrapping paper for 75% off.

23 November 2008

My top five favorite Christmas albums

To kick off Christmas music season (for me that's almost year-round) ... here are my top six favorite Christmas music albums. I tried to keep the list to five but just couldn't do it.

My number one requirement – can't sound like it's going to "go out of style" next year.

Here are my six favorite Christmas albums (in no particular order):

Christmas at Rao's: A Celebration of Family, Friends and Holiday Spirit
This little gem only makes the list because it contains one if my favorites, Dominick the Donkey. The remainder of the album is just so-so.

Slack Key Christmas (compilation)
Hawaiian Christmas tunes - I purchased this on our honeymoon almost exactly one year ago today. Mele Kalikimaka anyone? (all instrumental)

Mistletoe and Meriment (compilation)
Another album full of good ol' fun Christmas classics. This one even has The Beach Boy's Little Saint Nick.

A Charlie Brown Christmas, Vince Guaraldi Trio
I don't even own the whole album, only two songs – Christmastime is Here and Linus and Lucy – but those two would be worth the cost of a while album. The songs remind me of the "Charlie Brown on Ice," Christmas show in Santa Rosa.

Christmas With the Rat Pack (compilation)
I like every single one of the songs on this album. Great stuff.

Die Schönsten Deutsche Weihnachtsleider, Offenbacher Kinderchor
German children's church choir. I won't be karaoke-ing to this anytime soon but it's a beautiful album.

Honorable mention:
Billboard Greatest Christmas Hits: 1935-1954 (compilation)
Lawrence Welk: 22 Merry Christmas Favorites
Christmas Celebration, Manheim Steemroller

I'm always looking to add to my collection ... what are your favorite Christmas albums?

Here are some links to purchase the CDs on Amazon:

20 November 2008

I realize this is early ... but ...

the Christmas tree - just out of the box
Yes, my tree is up. Yes, I'm happy as a clam about it. Here's how it went down. I decided to take the plunge and invest in an artificial tree this year - for a few reasons, primarily the fire hazard that are real trees and the mess. So anyway, off tree shopping went. I quickly got frustrated and confused to I turned to google and stumbled upon a nice artificial tree seller called Balsam Hill. Their clearance area and free shipping lured me in and viola! a few day later we had a very large box of Christmas tree (seven feet of Christmas tree to be exact) on our porch. After about an hour or two of fluffing, we have a very lovely tree in our living room :) I couldn't be happier. It's so bright and festive.

Corey, however, thinks it's still a wee bit early to be having a lit Christmas tree on display, so we made a deal that I'll leave the lights turned off until Thanksgiving – at which time it will be lit in full beautiful wonderfulness for all to see. hurray!

Also in Christmas tree news, yesterday I finished quilting the tree skirt I've been working on. This is turning out to be one of my favorite quilting projects yet – primarily because it's small and I don't get sick of it before I finish it. Here it is – I had to "try it on" the tree before sewing on the outer edge (binding). The pattern is from here.

my scrappy tree skirt - almost done
I'm so darn excited for Thanksgiving and Christmas, they are definitely my two favorite holidays. Later this week I'll share my list of favorite Christmas CDs and evergreen potpourri. I'm joking. Well, on second thought ...

Stay tuned.

Our tree:

13 November 2008

Mittens from grandma

Mittens from grandma
I'm the proud new owner of two pairs of beautiful toasty warm mittens - made by my very own Grandma Katy. Thanks grandma!

10 November 2008

Work in progress: tree skirt

I'm working on this.

So far I have completed this:
Christmas tree skirt squares

The red and green squares are made entirely of scraps from my scrap pile(s). It's neat to make a quilt (tree skirt) out of scraps that could have ended up in the garbage.

And in the process I created this fun mess of trimmings:
Lovely scraps and trimmings

07 November 2008

A new recipe and snow totals

Total rain fall = almost one inch
Total snow fall = over 9 inches
Total muscle soreness from shoveling the ice and snow = priceless

food that heals the body: Pumpkin Spice chocolate Chip Muffins

Sooooo good. yum. I maze one batch of these this morning (so I could give a few to my neighbor for helping us clear our driveway) and then I ate a few and brought a few to work and poof, I'm already down to four. I might have to make another batch soon. Get the (SUPER EASY) recipe here. I've been slowly moving my recipes over from the "old" site. They will now live at this site. Once the page is more complete I'll post a nice big link on this Bison Girl Blog site.


I'm already off work for today ... nice short snow day of work :)

05 November 2008

First snow

If all goes as forecasted, we're in for one heck of a storm. We are in a blizzard warning but I guess you could call the weather right now, the "calm before the storm." We had some drizzly rain today and some fog ... but whoa is that going to change. Here's our forecast (late afternoon would be right now):
The tricky thing about this forecast is the rain/snow part. Rain on the ground will freeze if it gets too cold, which then will be ice. ack! ice. I hate driving on ice. Looks like I'm in for an interesting drive to work tomorrow. If we do get lots of snow (6-12 inches are forecasted) I promise I will take lots of photos, so check back. I can't wait to see what kind of weather I wake up to tomorrow.

If we do get all that snow and if it's really windy, we'll be in a blizzard. I've never been in a blizzard. If all goes right ... or I guess wrong, this could get interesting.

04 November 2008

200 things

Which of these 200 things have you done? These make you think about life a bit. Some are unimportant, some are miracles in their simplicity. Some make you sad, some make you smile and many will bring back a memory of a time or moment you had forgotten.

This is not a "bucket list" ... just a list of 200 memories and happenings, some of which I have experienced (slept under the stars), some that I'd like to do someday (watch a meteor shower) and some that I have no desire to do (hold a tarantula).

Just a bit of fun and distraction on this election day.

1. Touched an iceberg
2. Slept under the stars
3. Been a part of a hockey fight
4. Changed a baby’s diaper
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Swam with wild dolphins
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a tarantula
10. Said “I love you” and meant it
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Bet on a winning horse
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Taken an ice cold bath
28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Ridden a roller coaster
31. Hit a home run
32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
33. Adopted an accent for fun
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment
36. Loved your job 90% of the time
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Watched wild whales

39. Gone rock climbing
40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach
41. Gone sky diving
42. Visited Ireland
43. Ever bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited India
45. Bench-pressed your own weight
46. Milked a cow
47. Alphabetized your personal files
48. Ever worn a superhero costume
49. Sung karaoke
50. Lounged around in bed all day
51. Gone scuba diving
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Done something you should regret, but don’t
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Been in a movie
60. Gone without food for 3 days
61. Made cookies from scratch
62. Won first prize in a costume contest
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Been in a combat zone
65. Spoken more than one language fluently
66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
67. Bounced a check
68. Read - and understood - your credit report
69. As an adult, played with a favorite childhood toy
70. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
71. Called or written your Congress person
72. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
73. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
74. Helped an animal give birth
75. Been fired or laid off from a job
76. Won money
77. Broken a bone
78. Ridden a motorcycle
79. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
80. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
81. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
82. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read The Bible cover to cover
86. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
87. Gotten someone fired for their actions
88. Gone back to school
89. Changed your name
90. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands
91. Eaten fried green tomatoes
92. Read The Iliad
93. Taught yourself an art from scratch
94. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
95. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
96. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
97. Been elected to public office
98. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
99. Had to visit someone in the hospital
100. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
101. Had a booth at a street fair
102. Dyed your hair
103. Been a DJ
104. Rocked a baby to sleep
105. Ever dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all four
106. Mowed a lawn
107. Made a showman
108. Rode the subway
109. Worn a mood ring
110. Ridden a horse

111. Carved an animal from a piece of wood or bar of soap
112. Cooked something and someone asked for the recipe
113. Buried a child
114. Gone to a Broadway (or equivalent to your country) play
115. Been inside the pyramids
116. Shot a basketball into a basket
117. Danced at a disco
118. Played in a band
119. Shot a bird
120. Gone to an arboretum
121. Tutored someone
122. Ridden a train

123. Brought an old fad back into style
124. Eaten caviar
125. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need
126. Ridden a giraffe or elephant
127. Published a book
128. Pieced a quilt

129. Lived in an historic place
130. Acted in a play or performed on a stage
131. Asked for a raise
132. Made a hole-in-one
133. Gone deep sea fishing
134. Gone roller skating
135. Run a marathon
136. Learned to surf
137. Invented something
138. Flown first class
139. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite
140. Flown in a helicopter
141. Visited Africa
142. Sang a solo
143. Gone spelunking
144. Learned how to take a compliment
145. Written a love-story
146. Seen Michelangelo’s David
147. Had your portrait painted
148. Written a fan letter
149. Spent the night in something haunted
150. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane
151. Ran away
152. Learned to juggle
153. Been a boss
154. Sat on a jury
155. Lied about your weight
156. Gone on a diet
157. Found an arrowhead or a gold nugget
158. Written a poem
159. Carried your lunch in a lunchbox
160. Gotten food poisoning
161. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission
162. Hiked the Grand Canyon
163. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks
164. Gone to the opera
165. Gotten a letter from someone famous
166. Worn knickers
167. Ridden in a limousine
168. Attended the Olympics
169. Can hula or waltz
170. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books
171. Been stuck in an elevator
172. Had a revelatory dream
173. Thought you might crash in an airplane
174. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert
175. Saved someone’s life
176. Eaten raw whale
177. Know how to tat, smock or do needlepoint
178. Laughed till your side hurt
179. Straddled the equator
180. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing
181. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival
182. Sent a message in a bottle
183. Spent the night in a hostel
184. Been a cashier
185. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
186. Won a trophy
187. Donated blood or plasma
188. Built a camp fire
189. Kept a blog
190. Had hives
191. Worn custom made shoes or boots
192. Made a PowerPoint presentation
193. Taken a Hunter’s Safety Course
194. Served at a soup kitchen
195. Conquered the Rubik’s cube
196. Know CPR
197. Ridden in or owned a convertible
198. Found a long lost friend
199. Helped solve a crime
200. Shopped at a garage sale