Friday, January 30, 2009


Thursday, January 29, 2009


As I walked in the house after getting off work this morning, my husband met me at the door with a steaming mug of hot apple cider. Then later in the afternoon, after I got out of bed, he greeted me with a cup of tea. Yummy. Don't I have such a sweet guy?? :)

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot to mention that he even cleaned off my car for me last night before I went to work!! I ♥ him.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

we have a roof!!

So, here is the latest updated picture of our house. We are only thirteen weeks away from the closing date!! Yesterday, we did the framing walk-through to make sure everything is right before they start putting up the walls. And let me tell you, it looks awesome!! We are so impressed with this builder, and will definitely recommend them to anyone that lives up here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

the hair chronicles

I'm still not really sure if I like my new haircut. Oh well, it will grow out in time, it always does. :)

I came home from work this morning and *tried* to dye my hair. I say TRIED, because one box of hair dye later, I still appear to have the same exact hair color as I did last night. Soooooo frustrating!!! I don't know what it is with my hair. In my freshman year of college, my roommate Liz dyed my hair red, but all it did to my hair was give it a faint strawberry hue. At the time, I thought it was because my hair was overly bleached and wouldn't hold the dye.

But now my hair hasn't had an ounce of dye in it for over four years, and still no luck. Does anyone have any ideas why my hair won't hold color?? Are there any tips or tricks I can try to get it to work?? The box said to leave it in for 25 minutes, or if you have "particularly resistant" hair, then for 35 minutes. I left it in for about 35 minutes, and I'm still my dark blonde self. Maybe I need to lighten it first and then try to darken it?? I don't know, I'm so confused!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

the hair has come off......again

Well, remember my haircut from six months ago??

Yeah, it was cute and all, and for a very worthy cause. But.....all the cuteness took a certain amount of upkeep that I was getting tired of. Also, I hadn't kept up with the trims, and it was starting to look like a crooked haircut instead of a "style."

So my aim was to get most of the hair the same length again. I didn't exactly get the cut I was expecting, and I'm not even sure if I like it yet. I certainly didn't like it when I walked out of the cutting place, b/c the stylist had it poofed up like I was straight out of the 80's. Decidedly uncool. I got home and was able to flatten it a bit, and thought maybe it would work after all. Jamie says he likes it, so at least one person is on board. :) I still have to come around.

I did buy a box of hair dye to go along with my new cut. Maybe I'll be brave enough to try it. And if I am, maybe I'll be brave enough to post a pic. Maybe. :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009


250 is an interesting number.

It can be extremely exciting, if, say, you have 250 dollars to spend at your favorite store.

It can be depressing if 250 is the number showing when you hop on the scale.

It can be inspiring if 250 is the number showing on the scale when you previously weighed 300.

It can be overwhelming if 250 is the number of things on your to-do list.

It can be heart-warming if 250 is the number of people you count as true friends.

It can be saddening if 250 is the number of days left until vacation.

It can be ridiculous if 250 is the number of Christmas cards you have to send out because you have so many true friends.

And on and on and on...... Yep, see, I told you -- interesting. :-) Actually, this sort of list would probably work with any number you want.

I just picked 250 because this is my 250th post. And I couldn't think of anything else to write. Because my life is boring like that. And now you know. Yay 250!!

P.S. I got an extremely cute little purse for my sister-in-law today for $2.50. Coincidence?? I think not. :-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

customer service woes

Moving to a different country doesn't exactly do great things for your credit history. In fact, you pretty much have to start over. And trying to get various organizations to understand that you have a new married name is sometimes next to impossible. And it's hard to even get the process started when they won't even recognize you as an individual until you become a resident -- a process that took about 16 months. So, for a while there, I was a non-person living completely dependent on my husband. Not that that's a BAD thing, necessarily, except for, you know, the NON-PERSON part. :-)

Anyways, I have been trying to establish/re-establish credit here in my name. Since we're buying a house in both of our names, it would be helpful for interest rates and mortgage payments and such if I had a decent credit rating.

On to the woes. We have a joint credit card, but it still had my maiden name on the account. When we got it, it was because I didn't have any ID yet with my married name. It doesn't really cause too much of a problem, except it looks like there is nobody named Melissa B--- in all of Canada. I called to find out how I could get my name changed on the account, and they said I needed to fax in a request along with a copy of my marriage certificate. Not a problem -- our marriage certificate is pretty worn from all the photo-copying it has been through in its short life.

I faxed in the request November 21. Last week, I realized I had never heard back about it. So I called to inquire about the status. The ever-helpful rep said they had received the fax on December 17 (??) -- interesting four week delay, even though I was pretty sure faxes go through immediately. Anyways, they said the fax was missing the copy of the marriage certificate, and therefore the request could not be processed. I knew I had sent it, and asked why they hadn't contacted me when they realized it was missing. All I got was an uh, um, uh, not sure...... I agreed to fax in the request again, and said I would call in a few days to make sure they had gotten it.

I didn't get around to faxing it until yesterday. We had to fax a couple other things as well. When we got home from Staples, I picked up the mail. In the mail, there was an envelope from the credit card company. Hmmmm. Inside the envelope was a new credit card with my MARRIED name on it!!! What?!?!? I thought they couldn't process the request! Did they suddenly find the marriage certificate??

Oh, and of course this happens right after I fax in ANOTHER request. I wonder what will happen now -- maybe I'll get another new card in a couple months. One thing is sure -- they won't be calling me to find out what's up. Because apparently, they don't do that. Good old customer service.

Speaking of stellar customer service, the organization that oversees the licensing of nurses in Ontario is perhaps one of the most unprofessional organizations I have ever worked with. Even grocery stores and Walmart far exceed them in professional and courteous service. Maybe I will get my license eventually -- they say 2-3 weeks yet. I do have to say for a country that is supposedly so desperate for nurses, they sure don't make the process easy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


So today is January 15. I guess that means it's a holiday for some in the US. I never really thought about it, but I guess we don't celebrate the birth of the "great" MLK here. And somehow the world keeps revolving. How we manage without that holiday, I'll never know. :-) January 15 has always been important to our family for another reason though -- it is the day my late grandma was born. If she was still here with us, she would be 68 years old today. Hmmmm, I wonder if she would want me broadcasting that fact if she were here?? :)

I loved my grandma. Lung cancer took her at much too early of an age (61). I wasn't close to my grandma all my life, we visited now and then when we were kids. I don't really know how or why that changed, but my brother Matt and I started doing lots of things with my grandparents when we were probably 12 and 13. They would take us to fairs and malls and carnivals and it was so great to have that time with them. In the next couple years, when they started getting sicker, I would tag along to their doctor's appointments. I was 16 when my grandpa died in 1999. By that time, my grandma wasn't in that great of health herself, so my parents and Matt and I moved in with her in March 2000. Those two years were full of learning -- they say you really get to know someone when you live with them. Good and bad, you see it all. Through the good times and the hard times, I think we were able to grow closer as a family. Now that I look back, I think we were incredibly blessed to have that time with her before she passed away.

I wasn't home in PA when she died -- I was in my second semester of freshman year at PCC. I didn't know it would happen so soon. We (Andy, Jeanette, and I) had just been home in January and she seemed weaker but nothing that made me think she would die soon. My mom took care of her at home until the very end. She passed away February 17, 2002. I remember when my brother and sister and I got the news at college -- I cried and cried and cried. I wasn't there, and I wanted to be. We couldn't really afford plane tickets home, so the three of us missed her funeral. It still makes me sad to think I couldn't be there.

Here we are, almost seven years later. It hardly seems it has been that long. There are so many memories, and we still laugh about them together as a family. Certain things always remind me of her -- lighthouses, golden retrievers, smiley faces, All My Children..... She really was the best grandma!!

Here are some things I love to remember about my grandma.

1. She always sent me little cards and packages at school to let me know she was thinking about me. I still have most of the cards.

2. She was so proud of the fact that I was going to be a nurse. Whenever she went for her chemo treatments, she would tell everyone there that I was studying to be a nurse. Now I am, although she didn't get to see that.

3. SHE comforted ME when my grandpa died. I remember crying and crying, and she put her arm around me and told me that my grandpa had loved me and everything was going to be ok. Even when she was grieving herself, she took the time to make sure I was all right.

4. We lived at her house during the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire phenomenon. Every night it was on, she and I would watch it together. It was so fun trying to answer the questions and yelling at the dumb contestants.

5. We used to have a football pool at our house every year. Every week, we all would pick what teams we thought would win their game that week. When we moved in with my grandma, we kept up the tradition and she joined right in. It was so much fun to watch her check the scores every week to see how she did.

6. Every Thanksgiving, we had a huge meal, played lots of games, and watched football and the Macy's parade. I have such great memories of Thanksgiving at Grandma's house.

7. She knew how to stand up for herself!! Even though she wasn't very big, she made sure people (usually waitresses or customer service people) knew when she wasn't happy about something. This caused embarrassment to us on several occasions, but now it's just a funny memory. There was this one time when she had to take up some issue with the neighbor (over stealing wayward trash cans, I believe), and she just marched over there and confronted him. (I think my sister probably remembers this -- remember the Mickey Mouse jumper?? :)

8. I collected Beanie Babies back in the day (still have most of them), and one time she took me and my aunt to a Beanie Baby convention at some hotel in the area. I couldn't believe it -- it was like a little heaven of stuffed toys. She patiently helped me find the ones I wanted for my collection.

There are so many things I could write about my grandma. I just thought I would share a few since today is her birthday. Here are a couple of pictures. They're pretty poor quality (scans), but they're the only ones I have on my computer. The first is of Matt, my grandma, and me around Christmas, 1999, I believe. The second one is of me and my grandma on the day of my high school graduation (June 2000). I wish she could have stayed around to watch me graduate from college, and see me get married. But it wasn't to be. Happy Birthday, Grandma!! I love you and miss you very much.

Monday, January 12, 2009

house update

For those of you who are not Facebook junkies (not me, of course!!), I will post some pics of our ever-evolving house on here, too. Just yesterday, we stopped by after church and took a quick walk-through. It's so neat to be able to see where every room will be in real life, and not just on an architect's plan. The builders we are working with are great about letting you come whenever you want -- walk around, take pics, ask questions, whatever.

I'm thinking the visible progress on the house is going to come to a halt here shortly. I'm pretty sure the next things on the to-do list involve wiring and plumbing. Boring. Necessary, yes, but that's not exactly something I can take a picture of to put in the scrapbook. Oh well, closing day is coming soon, sometimes I can't believe just how soon. 108 days!! I think I'm going to start trying to organize things around here and clean as much as I can, so it won't be such a HUGE thing when we move. We'll see -- my ambitions have been lofty before. :-) Here are the pics. You can click them to make them bigger.

the foundation, December 5, 2008

framing started, January 2, 2009

more framing completed, January 6, 2009

the front of the house and first visit from the police, January 8, 2009 :-)
You can see a bunch more pics of the progress here on my Facebook page!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

sister tag

Well, I was gonna post anyways, since I've been slacking off again. And my wonderful sister just happened to give me a "topic" to blog about, so yay. You get to see a random picture from my computer files. And no, it is NOT of one of my cats.

Here are the rules, as I understand copy and paste them.

1. Choose the 4th folder where you store pictures on your computer.
2. Select the 4th picture in the folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag four people to do the same.
5. No cheating (cropping, editing, etc.)

Well now. The folder just happens to be Christmas 2006. For one who is as unorganized as I, I actually have all my pictures sorted, in proper folders, and alphabetized. :-) Impressive, eh?? Just don't look in my kitchen.

Anyways, here's the pic. It's of me, fluffing the branches of our tree. Okay, well, I guess fluffing really isn't the word for it -- it IS artificial, after all. Anyways, I obviously dressed up for the occasion. Note the ripped PJ pants. :-) And I'm pretty sure the neon pink hat is to cover up nasty unwashed hair..... Good times indeed.

And I tag.....
Anne of From my Perspective
Abbi of Dear Abbi
Kristi of Thimble Thoughts
Kay of It's All Under an Eclipse

Although I fully expect no one to do it. Exceed my expectations, people!!! :) :)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

and now.........2009!!!

Well, I didn't do so hot at posting in the last week of 2008. It seems like we are always doing something. And even when we're not, I don't feel like blogging. :-)

But here we are -- 2009, a brand new year. We had somewhat of an unceremonious start to the new year. No loud parties (a la Vasel style). No shrimp cocktail. No firecrackers. But we did have a very nice night, and I still haven't gone to bed. We were originally going to go to a party/get-together thing at church, but then at the last minute decided to go to a Toronto Raptors game with James' brothers instead. We can't say no to free tickets and food that is found only at sporting event concession stands. :-) So we rode the subway into downtown Toronto and watched the Raptors lose to the Nuggets. It was kinda fun and very non-stressful to go to a game where I didn't care who won or lost.

We got home around 11:30, and the boys decided to stay for a while. We watched the ball drop in Times Square (on TV, of course -- no quick commute to NYC this time :), and then played cards til about 3:30. On a side note, did you know that the ball that drops cost 5 MILLION DOLLARS?!?!?!? What a resourceful and budget-friendly way to spend money in these days of financial woe. Oh the priorities.

So it was fun and very low-key. Lots of laughing, and it's always nice to be with family. Someone said tonight (don't remember who) that family is over-rated. And I really don't think that's true. At least not for me. Family are the people who are always going to be there, good or bad. You're kinda stuck with them. And while you can't choose them, they can certainly be the best friends you ever know. I can't thank God enough for the wonderful family He has blessed me with. Also, I got a pretty great in-law family when I married Jamie. :-)

New year -- new things to come. At least one big change is in store -- we will be moving into our new house!!! Maybe a new job for me, and maybe other changes coming as well, who knows?? I am excited to see what this year holds. I am excited to be at this time in my life. I am excited that God has granted us another year, and excited to see what He will do in 2009.


P.S. Resolutions, anyone??? I'm not sure I'll be cutting 10 inches off my hair again -- for the simple reason that I no longer have 10 inches to cut!!! Maybe by next year........ :-)