Monday, December 29, 2008

I think I can....I think I can....

I am hoping to get a few Christmas pictures up before I leave the house in 45 minutes, but if I don't......

All I want to do right now is lay in this bed and sleep with the kitties. I am in no way mentally prepared for the European beat down that we are about to experience. I would say I don't want to go, but that would make me an awful person. I know I will enjoy it and love it and think its amazing, but I am just tired. Emotionally, physically, mentally, beaten to a pulp. Go Holidays!!!

Here is to being able to sleep on the plane and not getting sick from a lowered immune system!

No really, I know I will love it. I will take a million and a half pictures. I will crazy weird and awesome food. I will see things and do things that I will never do again. it will be a blast.

PS. The kitties know we are leaving. The past few days all they want is cuddles. They won't leave us alone. And so far today, we can't move a foot without them joining us. Nessa is about eight inches from my head, and Myla is sleeping on my thighs. I feel bad leaving them!

Back on the 6th!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Myla and Nessa Project.

Awhile back I posted a picture of Nessa with a purple flower, and some people showed interest in seeing the rest of the project. What it was ended up being our Christmas gift to people this year (hence the secrecy!). I thought it turned out ridiculously well considering how unenthused our felines were to participate,so I thought I might post the rest up for everyone to see!

January: Myla celebrates a little too hard

February: Sisterly Love

March: Always a Disney Spring Break for Myla

April: Nessa wants to eat the Easter Bunny

May: Nessa soaks up the sun with her flower

June: Nessa relaxes at the beach

July: Nessa enjoying the fireworks

August: Myla batters up for baseball season

September: Back to school for Myla and Nessa

October: Myla trick or treats

November: Myla gets into the Fall spirit

December: Nessa eagerly awaits Santa

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

DPP: Yum Yum Roll-Up!

These are one of my most favorite foods. Odd, but sooo addictive.

Pinwheel Roll Ups.
Pimento, chopped olives, diced celery sprinkled on a tortilla that has a layer of cream cheese mixed with ranch(pictured). And then rolled (Not as colorful, so not pictured).*drool*

My mom made them for holidays, she hated making them, but knew I loved them. So now, I am the pinwheel maker!! And I am also late for getting ready for bad.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

DPP: Sucky Sickness

My father was sick. I survived. Tim was sick. I survived. I wake up the day before Christmas and I want to die. I leave in less than a week for Europe. I have a RIDICULOUS amount of stuff to do. All I want to do is sleep. My brain is being beaten by a meat hammer.

I did bite the bullet though. I usually wait a few days before going to the doctor. I called to get in as soon as I woke up. I am kicking this asap. Wish me luck. :(

Monday, December 22, 2008

DPP 22:Christmas Traditions!

So with the holidays approaching and everything going crazy, I am trying to focus on the fact that come Wednesday, I will have two days where I should try not to focus on anything that will stress me out (namely our trip in 7 days). Seeing different people over the past week, I have asked about their holidays and such, I love listening to what other people do as their traditions, how they differ from ours, and what things I want to try!

For my family, the holidays pretty much start the day after Thanksgiving when all of the Christmas decorations come out and are strewn about, every room must have something Christmassy! And if it all works out properly, Christmas looks like it has thrown up in your living room. My family always has a few trees. All fake. One year we tried a real one, but really, just not worth the hassle. At our house this year, Tim and I scrapped our little baby tree that was in Boston, and now have a full 7 footer in the living room. I love it. As do the cats. Every day a new ornament is laying on the floor, resting after its
tumultuous downfall.

Shopping is pretty much the same as everyone else. Giving out lists to family members and trying to find just the right gift for the person who has everything. Except, it seems that my family is the family that has everything, so its hard to shop for EVERYONE. The Nordyke quirk lies in my father. His version of Christmas shopping is gather up the whole family, take them to Best Buy, tell them to go wild, and then he buys it all, wraps it up, and then Christmas morning you have to act surprised. He figures then you get what you know you want, and he gets to play at Best Buy. It works for Christopher, Tim, and I. My mom hates the idea that we know what we are getting, but to no avail, thats what happens every year. Although one year, we went to the grocery store right after our Best Buy trip, and I got some mac and cheese to take back to college with me, and Christmas morning, I ended up unwrapping the mac and cheese. My dad thought it was hilarious.

Mom always throws a big Christmas party. Foods of the gods. She did not this year. I boycott her.

Christmas Eve Day begins the true festivities. Morning is spent getting pretty, gathering the gifts for my uncle and grandparents, and finishing up the food. Then its off to a mid afternoon Christmas Eve Service. This used to be one of my favorite parts of the holidays since I was little. Getting to hold a lit
candle and sing Christmas Carols. And while not doing that, listening to the Christmas story and picking wax off my candle from its previous use. Alas, a change of churches and buildings has crushed my love of the service. No candles. No true carols, only songs that are sung poorly, and no Christmas story, only a sermon that lasts far too long and is loosely based around some form of the holiday. I boo it.

After the service, we load up the car and head to my grandparents house. It used to be only blocks away, then a few extra blocks, and now they reside in Waverly. Although this shall be our last Christmas there, for the are moving back to literally the house next door to where they used to live. I digress, once there, we unload the car, and break out the food. First course is always an appetizer-ish buffet. Cheeses, crackers, meatballs, little smokies, dips. You get the picture. And punch. Always punch. After we eat far too many snackies, we move to the sunroom for our stockings. Always practical, toothbrush, nail clippers, little cute kleenexs, that kind of stuff. Usually mints or gum as well. Chatting occurs, but usually us kids rush everyone on to dinner.

Christmas Eve dinner has never changed. I don't think it ever will. Christmas dishes. Oyster stew and one other soup for the "non bug eaters" as my dad calls them. Rolls, and red and green jello cubes in wine glasses. That is Christmas Eve dinner. The kids (not so kid like anymore) then go on to rummage under the tree until all gifts have been distributed to the rightful reciepent. And thus begins the around the room, one at a time, until everyone is done gift giving. Back when we were little, the kids opened up all their gifts first, so they could play with them all and be less annoying while the adults did theirs. And then after gifts, "Santa" would come and give out his gifts. It was always a friend of my grandparents giving the gifts my parents had put in the garage, and then "Santa" would leave, and the friend and his wife would magically stop over for a visit. After gifts, we still move back to the kitchen for my grandpa's homemade ice cream and a million cookies and baked goods that my grandma made. More talking, and then finally home for attempted sleep.

Christmas Day. As soon as we woke up, we would see our stockings hanging from our door. We were allowed to open them right away and see what was inside them to tide us over until everyone was awake (this began because we were up hours before everyone else). Once everyone was awake (9am became the wake up call for the later teenage years when my brother could have slept til noon), my brother and I, and my parents would all pick a spot in the living room and would distribute the gits. Still in pajamas, no big fuss. Around the room, one gift per turn, as my mom took pictures and kept checking on the cooking breakfast. This was always more fun than at my grandparent's because my parent's always got us the stuff we wanted, not necessarily the stuff we needed. After presents, a very well timed breakfast was had. Cinnamon rolls or monkey bread and Christmas Casserole. The best breakfast ever.

After breakfast we all did our own thing, opening up the packaging of the presents we wanted to look at first, taking pictures with all our gifts, and getting dressed for the afternoon meal back at my grandparents. Lots of food, lots of dessert, lots of talking. Since my dad is not the BIGGEST fan of the grandparent's we always try to leave somewhat early, but never early enough for him.

That is my Christmas. Every year. Like clockwork. I like it. It works for me, works for my family, and it gives me something to look forward to amidst the mass craziness of everything else in the world.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

DPP21: Chaotic Weekend.

Clare's weekend in Pictures:

My parent's trip to Chicago was cancelled due to weather, so we braved the snow down to Cedar Rapids to finish up some shopping.

Other people that braved the snow were not so lucky....ALOT of not so luckies...

Slow traffic on the way back meant I took pictures of melting snow, and then napped.

But not before realizing that I really need new shoes. It's like that on both feet!

Matt wanted Olive Garden. This is his salad. Hi Matt's salad!

We picked up some Cup of Joe for the annual around Cedar Falls Tour de Christmas Lights

This year was disappointing all around, but this house was rather trippy.

Huge snow drifts made our Tour even more adventurous, but this nice GIANT plow tried to the end of the tour....

Long, tiring weekend. It's going to be an even more long and tiring week. But it will be a good one. Full of workouts that cancel out half the cookies I consume, Bridal Showers, Christmas presents, Family time, packing, last minute travel shopping, and just all around insanity :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I love the tattooed neck man.

Today is an oh so glorious day. Something happened that makes me want to post again! We received our flight information a little over a week ago for our trip to Amsterdam/Paris (which we leave a week from Monday). And we found that our flight lands in Chicago at 5:19, and our Amsterdam flight leaves at 6:04. That leaves us 45 minutes to taxi, deboard, run through O'Hare, and pray that the gates aren't closed for an international flight which usually close 30 minutes before takeoff. AND that is saying that there is no weather delays. Over a foot of snow last night alone. High of -2 tomorrow. Cedar Rapids to O'Hare on United, riiiggghhhttt no possibility of delays at all. Our tour company said 45 minutes is the least amount of time legal for a layover. Thanks guys, give us the least amount of time possible. The company said that there was nothing they could do to help us and that that was plenty of time. UNLESS we want to pay $350 a ticket and then they can change our flight. So we tried our next option, calling United, who at first said no, then said yes, then said no again. So that was out. (All of this so far took about a week and no less than 20 phone calls). We looked up all the flights that day, and the only one with seats left out of Cedar Rapids was the 6am. So we planned on waking up at the crack of dawn (or earlier) to try and go stand by from 6am and hope that we got on a flight before our proposed 4pm one.

And then! Another Christmas Miracle! (see my dentist post for CM#1) My mom decides that since she was snowed out of Chicago this weekend, they were going to go shopping down in Cedar Rapids today, invited us to go along. Tim had the brilliant idea of trying to go to the airport and talk to United in person. Alas, WE CAME OUT VICTORIOUS! He stood in line for some bitchy mean lady who rudely (but thankfully) directed him in the direction of a guy our age, with a tattoo on his neck. After he explained our plight, the guy basically said that it was ridiculous that we had that short of a layover, and without any fee, any questions, any doubt, he changed us to the 1:30pm flight. AMAZING. I am beyond thrilled. We will arrive at 2:40 leaving us a little over three hours to relax at O'Hare before boarding a plane for nine hours.


DPP20: Salt and Light

The entire family went out to eat tonight. Always a good time. Tonight involved my mother and I talking about Bravo's Real Housewives series, and my father pretending to be Hiro Nakamura from Heros, squeezing and clenching to travel back in time...
But at I played artsy fartsy and got these pictures....and cheese bread:

Sorry for such a boring post, but we are headed south to do some shopping today, who knows, maybe I shall have another post for tonight! Because my family is insane!

Friday, December 19, 2008

DPP 19: Snowy Seduction

Normally. I am a blogger of far too many words and only one picture. Tonight, a little past midnight on Day 19, I am switching it up! Here in the midwest we have quite the blizzard going on. So here's a few night time views of the fluffy white stuff!
Gotta prep for the midnight rendevous!

I just love how aglow it is...

Winter Wonderland Forest

Its a MUST to document the experience!

The snow was pretty much just pelting me...

Now let's just hope it gets me out of work tomorrow....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

DPP18: Dentist Torture.

This image to me is probably one of the most anxiety ridden images I ever see. The dentist office. I start to get what I would assume is close to a panic attack about a week before I go. The day before is always the worst. I make sure to schedule the appointment first thing in the morning so I dont go insane waiting.

I didnt used to have this intense fear. Its not even really fear, its just aggrivation and a nice cocktail of other negative emotions. It really started only a few years ago. Well, maybe more than a few, probably high school. My dentist visits tend to last around two hours, which I have been told is not normal. Plus, it usually involves unpleasant amounts of pain, and always ends up me having to go back, not for cavities, but for other things like "dents" whatever that means. It's miserable.

So today was that day for me. I tried to ignore the anxiety, and did a little better than usual, but to no avail, still atrocious feelings coming my direction. But I lived through it. Like always. And I am counting it as a quasi Christmas Miracle that I was only there for an hour today! And while I will be returning in a month, its not for the usual suspects.

Since forever, I have had a gap in my front teeth. The only way of fixing it is braces, but I would pretty much have to wear a retainer for life. Not a huge fan. I go through stages of loving and hating it. But recently, it's grown on me. Madonna's got one, Lawrence Fishbourne rocks his. So imagine my surprise when my dentist asks me today if I want him to close it up. My shock must have been all over, cause he went on to explain that the bond in my front tooth (taboggoning accident at age 7, a WHOLE other story) should be replaced with some new material that didn't even exist back then, and while they do that, they can just close up the gap. Easy peasy. Takes half an hour. No pain (which I found amusing that he pointed it out specifically).

At first, I was like, OF COURSE! SIGN ME UP! But then I immediately wonder how much it will change my face. I think it will almost be surprising how much it changes everything. The wonder must have read across my face because he went on to tell me that it is reversible, in fact, David Letterman got his reversed a number of years back, because they found that without the gap, people found him less funny.

So we shall see. I plan on going through with it. And if it's just not me. Back comes the gap with all its glory and wonder!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

DPP17: Comics Cunundrum

This weekend I thought to myself, am I really so lazy that I am ignoring the comics with too many words in them? And the answer was, Yes, Yes I am...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

DPP16: Little Bit of Me.

With twelve minutes to spare of today, I have been organizing the pictures I have been taking. I have so many I would love to share. So many things I have seen and done. It's so hard to pick, so many images captured just in a day alone. So I figured I might simplify things just a little bit today and give you just a little bit of me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

DPP 15: Done.

So. Today is the accumulation of why I am not always a fan of the winter season.

1) Its freezing here in Iowa. 4 degrees this morning, not including the killer windchill. That's cold. PLUS, we used to have snow on the ground, several inches of pretty fluffy white stuff. And after this past weekend of brief warmth, its down to rock hard frozen slush. No pretty. No fluffy. Only ice. And cold. Ick.

2) Christmas season brings extra stresses. Getting the Christmas cards out, decorating to the most gloriest level of holidayness, starting your car 15 minutes before you leave the house, getting the perfect gifts for everyone, scheduling whos bring what to every single holiday event, what events to go to and what to skip, gaining all the pounds from the extra holiday food, super long lines at EVERY possible store you go into, and all of that. Now, I know thats not what the season is about and we shouldn't dwell on it, but let's be honest, we still enjoy these things enough to bring those stresses upon ourselves (minus the whole car starting jazz).

3) People around me are getting sick all the time. One gets better, a new one is sick. It worries me. When will it be my turn? I would rather it be sooner than later, I leave two weeks from today for Europe, and that is not my ideal locale to be sick.

I feel this picture rather sums up these feelings quite nicely.

Now don't get me wrong. I was depressed like none other the years that I didn't get to spend the Christmas season in the proper climate. It's just not the same. Some days, it's just a lot easier than others!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

DPP 14: Stinky Madre.

I took some artsy pictures for today's post, and when I started flipping through all of them, I had a hard time picking. And then I came across this one. It might not be the most classic, the most classy, or even very exciting to most of you, but I love it. It speaks a lot about the Nordyke family. Completely and utterly crazy.

We went to help my mom out preparing the college dinner at church tonight. Her group was replacing another group that couldn't make it, and they were short handed as it was, and with dad sicker than a dog, they needed even more help! It was not a very good experience, but that is beside the point. We did our part, we prepared the foodness, and I got this crazy picture of my mom. She loves onions. She puts them on EVERYTHING. As she was cutting them, she would pry the pieces apart with her fingers, so her hands will smell like onions for days now, and she will love every second of it. Such an odd odd duck. Gotta love her.

That was a bad blurb for today. Sorry kids. But I am watching Survivor finale.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

DPP 13: UNI's Finale.

UNI lost today. But before I give the world's shortest play by play on a sport I SO do not understand, I will start by saying two things about the other team. 1) They were the most polite football team I have ever come across. I walked a camera all the way down the field, and the whole way down, the coaches, trainers, and players were nodding hello, saying good morning, and asking how my day was. Most of the time I don't even get grunts. 2) They were the spiders. The dumbest mascot ever. And the actual costume was even dumber than the thought of being the spiders. It looked like an ant with a devil haircut.

It was a sad game. UNI lost two of their best players to drug possession last month, and the team still pulled all the way through to the last game before the final championship in Tennessee. We all thought they were going to win. We were expecting a win. All three quarters we were winning. The last quarter too, until the final two minutes of the game. And they ran the ball down the field, and due to poor coaching, they won on the goal kick. It was crushing to watch. One of my cameras had a close up on a player. The last play was the worst of the whole game, and before it was even over, I watched the player lift his hands above his head and crumple to the ground. He didn't even kneel to the ground, it was as if he could not hold up his body anymore. The field emptied in almost silence. The crowd on the field after the game silently packed up their gear, barely looking at anyone. I don't even care about UNI, and it was painful to witness.

This is Nicole. She didn't like that we lost either, but she was happy enough to aim this XLR cable at my head. She really wanted to be my picture of the day, so here she is! I will now pretend to be an elementary student and tell you all about her! Nicole is from Chicago. She likes Oreo cookies. She follows Chicago sports like a true Chicago-ian. Nicole works at Channel 15. She lives near Alex. He wears loafers. They walk together. Nicole really likes to run the instant replay at the games, and likes the smocks that she has to wear even more. She might steal it. Naughty! The End. PS. She better comment on this post so I know she read it. Cause she is one cool kiddo!

Friday, December 12, 2008

DPP 12: Naughty Me!

I am being naughty today. Instead of running for the rest of the afternoon, I am going to sit in bed, watch a zombie comedy western, and work on Christmas cards. I have done so good this week with eating well, running every day, and going to the rec. Today, I fail. But that means everyone will get Christmas cards that much sooner! Plus we are going to an early movie and who wants a sweaty girl sitting next to them while Keanu tries to blow up the world? Not me!

On a completely separate note, this weekend is my last football game of the year. For the past few games, I have fiercely wanted them to lose, mainly because everytime they win post regular season, it just means that one more game has been added to my work schedule. And almost all are televised (aka 4.5 hours long vs 3.5 hours). But this is the last chance to play at home, if they win this, its off to Chatanooga. So for that reason, GO PANTHERS!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

DPP 11: Two weeks til Christmas!

I was kind of at a loss as to what to post today. Last night was rather uneventful, all I did was start addressing Christmas cards, and today at work wasn't anything special with dad sicker than a dog (poor guy is death warmed over).

And then it hit me as I was about halfway through my daily routine. Every day since January 1st of last year, I have done one sudoku. I got one of those daily calendars last year, and I am obcessed with doing it. I would work ahead if I didnt think I would be greatly disappointed once I ran out. I rip sudokus out of newspapers and magazines, I could do them all day every day.

BUT, they must be the classic 9x9. These new fangled colored ones, ones with letters or shapes, no. Just no. Move out, keep it simple folks. Also, they have to be done in pen. None of this pencil and erasing crap. If you aren't sure that the number goes there, then don't write it in yet! If you mess up, then you are done for the puzzle. No second chances here!

Wow, that got a little intense for a daily picture involving a paper mind puzzle...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

DDP 10: Nessa's Flowers.

It's technically the 10th, and I am just really excited about today's picture, so here it is!

I know I said I would steer clear of my furry felines, but clearly, this picture must be shown to the world. Nessa loved laying in front of the lights, soaking up the warmth in our otherwise frigid condo. This picture is actually part of a larger project, but its a secret! More to come on that later.

For now, for those of you who are trapped in blizzard weather, or just extreme cold, like we are, bundle up and think about the flowers of spring. Nessa is.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

DPP Day Nine: Yumminess.

Last night, we finally cooked our chicken that had been marinating in Pumpkin Curry for a few days. It was meant to be eaten earlier, but well, other stuff comes up! Anyways, it was DELICIOUS. I highly recommend it to anyone that likes Indian food, but can't readily get it (like us, where the nearest Indian food is easily several hours away). You really can't taste the pumpkin and the curry is yum yum awesome. Next time I think we will cook the chicken plain, and then pour the heated up sauce on top to keep some of the flavor from cooking out. But trust me, there will be a next time! And it's only 10 calories a tablespoon! Doubley awesome. You can get it at Williams and Sonoma. I tried to find it to order online, and couldn't seem to find it, so you'll have to find it in the store. But it's worth the trip! My tummy promises.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Between the decades...

Food for thought:

When I think of the decades, I can clearly picture images, icons, and general feelings that represent that specific decade.

The 50s had Leave it to Beaver families, clean cut, sock hops. The 60s and 70s had hippies, free spirits, political turmoil, and bell bottoms. 80s had Flock of Seagulls, neon colors and really bad hair. 90s brought Kurt Cobain, grunge, and great tv sitcoms.

Nothing surprising or odd about that list. But I started to think about the transitioning of the decades. How culture went from one to the next, especially now as we start to repeat ourselves. And they all make sense, with one exception.

I have no idea how the world went from the 70s to the 80s. One day its bell bottoms, world peace, and acid....and the next its St Elmos Fire, shoulder pads, and stirrup pants. I think my confusion has a lot to do with the massive technology upgrade in that few years. But still, its such a weird jump to make.

Anyways. That's just my take on it. Thoughts?

Last Day 8 of 2008.

These pictures are of objects all too familiar to me this time of year. From September to March of last year and this year, I have worked the jumbotron at the University of Northern Iowa. I get to sit in a little cement room in between the Dome and the McLeod Center, and push buttons that decide what you see on the giant screen for basketball, volleyball, and football. Occasionally wrestling, but that sport is just beyond my mental grasp of "fun."

My crew is awesome. A good bunch of kids interning or working for class credit. Some of them truly take the cake with their hilarious stories and antics. A few others need to break out of their shells! I don't bite...I promise! Although I am sure they are just trying to focus on the court or field....right? Riiigghhhttt. It might take up all my weekends for a good six months, but it is something I really enjoy doing, despite it involving sports, not something I usually am into. Not that I really have to watch the games though, in fact, there are games where I will get in the car afterwards and I will have no idea who won or by how much. I just have other stuff to be thinking about during the game. Oops!