Almost forgot....
11/12/2007 08:04:00 PM | Author: Christa













http://annoyedlibrarian.blogspot.com/

I was almost too annoyed today to admit it. I'm so annoyed with myself. Ugh.
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Recess for grownups
8/08/2007 09:50:00 PM | Author: Christa
Today I was part of the first Lincolnite Recess , a gathering at the Starship Memorial Adult Playground (aka the ugly parking lot at 14th and Q), for some fun and games.

We jumped rope...

Jump rope

...threw the frisbee around...

Frisbee

...played four square...

Four square

...blew bubbles...

Bubbles

...and left our mark with sidewalk chalk.

Robbie does awesome chalk art.

It sounds like this will become a regular event. I sure hope so!

See everybody's pictures on Flickr and the first video, too.
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I'm a real photographer now!
8/07/2007 09:28:00 AM | Author: Christa

Atlanta Sunset
Originally uploaded by
Photos o' Randomness.
Like this picture? Me too.

And apparently so does
Schmap. They publish online travel guides.

And they picked this photo of the Atlanta airport from my Flickr to be in the most recent edition of the
Schmap Travel Guide for Atlanta! The airport is in the Sights & Attractions section - Attractions & Landmarks.

So, I've had my first photo published! w00t!

They didn't pay me anything for it, but I don't care. It's still very cool.

I'm glad something good came from this picture. It was from our
hellish trip home for Christmas last year.

I wonder what terrible event my next published picture will come from?

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I am a rock goddess!
7/21/2007 11:26:00 AM | Author: Christa
But I have to wonder...

Was beating my boss really a good idea?



Opening quote on the screen: "It takes a REALLY long time to drive the van through Nebraska". HA!
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Watch the World
7/19/2007 10:13:00 AM | Author: Christa
Wow. Just wow.

This is why I find Second Life so amazing...powerful...full of incredible possibilities.

When I first started watching this, I couldn't figure out why people were commenting about how great it was. Sure, it's a nice machinima, showing the creation of a cute mountain village in Second Life.

But, then....about half-way thru, I realized what he was doing.

I literally gasped out loud. By the end, I had tears in my eyes.

I highly recommend viewing the highest quality version, if you can.

It will blow you away.

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Grand March of the Librarians
7/16/2007 11:32:00 PM | Author: Christa
We're baaaack!

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Yub Yub!
6/17/2007 03:48:00 PM | Author: Christa
Is it a wookie? Is it an ewok? No, it's a girl!

Jordan winks a lot.

After about 18 hours of labor, Shannon gave birth to Jordan Paige at exactly midnight on Father's Day. 7 pounds, 19 3/4 inches. I wasn't sure, but midnight does fall on Sunday because the hospital goes by military time. So, she was born officially at 00:00:00 on June 17.

Happy Father's Day, Andy!

Andy and Jordan

She doesn't say much so far. Just winks at everyone. Still trying to decipher the code she is obviously trying to send. Is one wink "I need a clean diaper, please." or "Some lunch would be nice now, Mom"? More research is needed.

Shannon and Jordan

I suppose an explanation of the title of this post would be helpful. Let's see...how to go about this without offending anyone?

Andy is...well, to be blunt...he's hairy. Legs, chest, back...there's hair everywhere - and lots of it, too.

So, there has been some worry (ok, I suppose relentless harassment would be a more accurate description) about how his child might turn out.

Would it be a baby ewok? They are cute, but I don't think Shannon really wanted to spend her time shaving her baby every other day.

Of course, their friends have been very understanding, even giving them a package of pink disposable razors as a shower gift. Just trying to help.

But, in the end, it was much ado about nothing.

No furry back. No baby beard. No ewok war cries of "Yub Yub!" to look forward to.

Well, that last one might still happen, if certain people have their way. ;)

You can see more pictures of Jordan on my Flickr.
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Giant Plant Invasion!
6/10/2007 10:36:00 PM | Author: Christa
OK, so I actually brought it upon myself. They didn't just suddenly invade.

First we have the 4 foot tall, from base of the 'foot' to the top of the leaves, Elephant's Foot plant:

Pony Tail Palm

It gets bigger and bigger every year. I think I'm on my third or fourth pot. But I've been able to slow down the growth a bit by putting it on the shady front porch, rather than in the full sun in the backyard. Yeah, I learned that lesson real quick the first summer I put it out.

The other giant is my pregnant onion:

Pregnant Onion

This poor thing was filling the 12-inch pot it was in from rim to rim. I finally gave in to re-potting it when a swarm of ants came out of it the last time I watered it. EW!

So, John and I went to Earl May to pick out a new pot. However, we couldn't find any 14-inch pots, so it ended up in a 16-inch - diameter and height. The main center of the plant itself is about 13 inches tall. Yea, now it will have to grow even bigger!

Post idea courtesy of Adventures in LaLa Land :)
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Good gamer karma
5/23/2007 08:54:00 PM | Author: Christa
I am so impressed by this sweet, sad story.

Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind the hugely popular World of Warcraft (yes, we play it...a lot. :) ), joined with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant a young gamer's dream - a trip to Blizzard headquarters. The developers worked with 10-year-old Ezra, who has a brain tumor, to create a character and quest that will be added to the game in a few weeks.

I think I need to go spend some time with Pfeffa, my Draenei Shaman. It's Children's Week in WOW, and I can get my own good karma on by taking an orphan adventuring with me.

I love my WOW. :)
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Zombies!
5/22/2007 09:06:00 AM | Author: Christa
Never underestimate the importance of your local library. Someday, it could save your life!

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Happy Birthday....
5/17/2007 10:50:00 AM | Author: Christa
....video games!

I may be old, but I'm still cool.

Because I'm
younger than video games!

w00t!
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Wow. I wasn't sure if that title would even fit. But, it had to. Because that is what this Saturday is!

May 5, 2007 is Cinco de Mayo Free Comic Book Shannon and Andy Baby Shower Day!

What is Cinco de Mayo Free Comic Book Shannon and Andy Baby Shower Day, you ask?

Well, isn't is obvious? :)

Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican national holiday marking the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. It is traditionally celebrated with mucho margaritas and guacamole.

Free Comic Book Day is always on the first Saturday in May, which happens to be May 5 this year. Stop by your nearest comic book shop and pick up some free reading material. I think I'll get the Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century...or The Lone Ranger/New Battlestar Galactica...or The Unseen Peanuts. It's so hard to decide!

AND....

The most important thing happening this Saturday is...

Shannon and Andy's Baby Shower!

At Shannon's request, myself and a few of her friends are throwing her the standard Margarita Party Baby Shower. Yup, it's a Fetus Fiesta!

Bright red, green, yellow, purple and orange striped lanterns and tablecloths! Fruity party toothpicks for the Mexican hors d'oeuvres! Flowery parasols for the margaritas! (Yes, Shannon will be drinking virgin margaritas.) Salsa! Guacamole! Tropical fruits in a chocolate fountain!

Everything a good baby shower needs.

And don't worry. Despite Shannon's vehement protests, there WILL be pictures.
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Bad blogger!
4/30/2007 10:10:00 PM | Author: Christa
Yes, I am a bad blogger. It has been over 2 weeks since my last post, and I have lots of blogging ideas saved up. But first I have to tell you why there has been such a lag this time.

The day after my last post, April 11, my grandmother died. She was my father's mother, and my last living grandparent. A pretty hard hit, needless to say.

On my dad's side of the family, grandparents are Mimere and Pipere, the French endearments for Grandma and Grandpa. Mim and Pip if you're really in a hurry. From here on, she will be referred to as Mimere, which I called her all my life.

It was one of those 'it's a blessing' deaths. She had not been doing so well lately. It was almost expected, but still a very sad shock.

So, first I had to figure out if I could get to Florida for Mimere's wake and funeral. Work was no problem - I can have 5 days of bereavement leave if I need. Working for the state definitely has it's perks.

Next, on to travel. At first, I was feeling lazy, so I only checked on flights from Lincoln to Orlando. As I expected, they started at about $600 round trip. While I was grumbling about this, John suggested that I check Omaha. Bah. I don't feel like driving all the way up to Omaha. But I figured, what the hell, and checked anyway. And it's a good thing I did! The cheapest flight from Omaha to Orlando? $187! Yup, you read that right - $400 cheaper than Lincoln. WOW! So, yeah, John drove me up to Omaha on Monday, the 16th.

It was a strange trip. Mimere has passed away, so there is of course all the sadness that brings. But, at the same time, I was seeing family that I hadn't seen in years. So, there were the typical big hugs and happy reunions. At first, I felt kind of guilty being so happy to see everyone. But then I realized that Mimere would have liked it that way. Everyone enjoying our time together. So, we did.

As is traditional on my dad's side of the family, we embraced our Irish heritage with lots of eating and drinking. After the wake on Tuesday, we all went to Lee & Rick's Oyster Bar. A dive, but the best kind of dive! If I didn't have to get up early the next morning for the funeral, I could have stayed there all night eating dozens and dozens of oysters. The crawfish and Killian's wasn't bad either.

There was a full Catholic mass funeral the next morning at Mimere's church, St. Andrew's. My Uncle George did a beautiful, funny, moving eulogy. My sister and I both did readings. I was first and very nervous. I think Sarah did better than I did - she sounded much more confident to me. But she said I did good, too.

After the burial, the senior ladies at Mimere's church served us a delicious potluck lunch. Of course, we brought our own beer!

Then it was back to the hotel to hang out by the pool all afternoon. Where there were babies, chips and dip, and...oh yeah...more beer. :) We had a great time just hanging out and catching up.

Eventually my sister and her husband had to catch their flight home, and my Uncle Don and Aunt Terri had to start their drive home to Cape Coral.

Some of us who were left took the hotel's free shuttle over to Universal CityWalk for dinner. After wandering around for a while, we ended up at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. I (and my Uncle George) were warned about the spicy Jambalaya that we ordered. Are you sure you want it? Sure! Bring it on! Yeah, it wasn't very spicy at all. But it was delicious. Oh, and since I was the youngest one at the table (it's about time!) everyone decided that I HAD to have a balloon hat. Awesome.

We all had early flights back the next morning, so it was an early night.

It's been a couple of weeks since this all happened. But, it took me this long to put it all together. I'm not that good at writing about stuff like this. I still get sad...I always will. I miss my Mimere. And I miss family in New York and Florida. Hopefully, I'll see them more often - not just for weddings and funerals. :)

Now I'll try to be a better blogger. I promise.

Photo Credits: You can see more pictures from Florida on my Flickr and on my sister's Flickr!
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Do ya get it?
4/10/2007 08:44:00 PM | Author: Christa



Blatantly stolen from the Travelin' Librarian.
Librarians are hiding something!
3/30/2007 10:40:00 AM | Author: Christa
Oh no! Our secret is out! And Stephen Colbert has trademarked it!

Does that mean it's his secret now?

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Magnum, A.L.
3/21/2007 09:56:00 AM | Author: Christa

If only this were a real TV show. I'd definitely watch crime solving librarians, wouldn't you?

A Boy Named Sue
3/06/2007 10:42:00 PM | Author: Christa
Do you know how to tell the sex of your ferret?

No?

Well, apparently neither do the people at PETCO.

When we first got Twitch, last May, we asked if the baby albino was a boy or a girl. The employee flipped Twitch over to check and said, "It's a boy." Great! He's our Mr. Twitch, little Twitch Man.

Or...maybe not.

In December, we got Zen, a chocolate ferret companion for Twitch. He was about the same size as Twitch, so we figured that was perfect. He was just born in September, and Twitch was born last February, but that didn't matter, right? They're the same size, they'll get along great!

Hmmm...it's been a few months. Twitch is a year old now, full grown. Zen is 6 months old...and he's a giant! He must be twice as big as Twitch, and he's not done growing yet!

Well, Twitch was probably the runt of the litter. He's albino, maybe they run smaller? Yeah, he was the runt, but he's our little runt. We love him all the more because he was the runt. He's just too cute!

Tonight, John decided to take a closer look. The "boys" were playing on the dining room table. John flipped Zen over, and saw what looked like a belly button in the middle of his tummy. Then he flipped Twitch over. Hmm...no belly button. That's weird. Well, maybe it doesn't show as well, because he's albino.

Check Zen again...then Twitch. Then Zen...and Twitch.

Finally, John exclaims, "Twitch is a girl!"

What?!?!

You must be mistaken! He's our little boy! Annissa and I are in complete denial.

John jumps on the web, where you can find the truthiness about everything.

One page said "Sexing ferrets is very simple. If you find what looks like a very obvious belly-button (this is the male part), it's a boy! Girls don't have one.". Another added the detail "if there are two holes down between the back legs, it is a female. If there is only one between the back legs and a hole on the belly, it is a male."

I looked myself. Twitch doesn't have a belly button. But, "he" does have two holes between "his" back legs.

Holy belly buttons, Batman! Twitch is a girl!

Wow. Very weird. This is going to be hard to get used to, after a year of our "boy" Twitch.

Poor John. He thought he was making some headway, but the boys are still outnumbered in our house. And he was the one to discover it.
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Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
3/02/2007 09:42:00 AM | Author: Christa
When I was a child, there was a long shelf of Dr. Seuss titles in the children's room of the Saratoga Springs Public Library. (Well, there probably still is, but I haven't been there in a long time, so I can't really say. And, I'm not going to make it up. So, we'll just have to be content with what I remember from ::cough cough:: years ago.)

Anyway....like most of the children's section, the books were a mess - some on the floor, some on top of the bookshelves, and some actually on the shelf - but backwards or upside down. I was lucky to grow up in a library with children's librarians who believed in letting us run wild in the children's room. It was great having the freedom to explore and discover all the great books that were hidden there.

Why am I reminiscing about my childhood in a library? Because today, March 2, is Dr. Seuss' birthday! Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

But that's not all - there's more!

It's also "Read Across America" Day. This year is the 10th anniversary of the nationwide effort to celebrate the importance of reading.

And it gets even better!

This year is also the 50th birthday of The Cat in the Hat! Did you know that Dr. Seuss used only 236 different words to write The Cat in the Hat? To recognize this momentous event, there is a nationwide read-aloud of The Cat in the Hat scheduled for 2:36 p.m. ET this afternoon.

So, grab a copy of The Cat in the Hat, and a kid (preferably a kid you know)...or a friend or a sibling or a spouse or a significant other or whatever you have. Read it to them, or have them read it you!

So, what have I missed? Is there anything else going on today? What else do I have to celebrate?
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Goin' to the chapel...
2/25/2007 07:53:00 PM | Author: Christa
...and we're gonna get married!

I just had to use the best gettin' married song ever to make our big announcement. Which means you've probably already guessed, but I'll say it anyway.

John and I are engaged!

He totally surprised me. I am so clueless. He's been grumpy and down this past week or so. I thought he was bored or upset, but he said he wasn't. Turns out he was trying to figure out how to do it! And he wanted to ask my mom for her permission/blessing.

Last night I was on the phone with her and he decided that was his chance. As I was finishing up talking to my mom, he asked for the phone. I was confused, but I gave it to him and he asked her permission. So sweet and old fashioned. She said he didn't have to ask her, it was my decision, but he said it was just the right thing to do.

Well, obviously she said yes, and then I said yes. And there was much crying and hugging and kissing.

There is a ring...well, a diamond actually. John has a family heirloom diamond that has been passed down thru his family, with each new owner putting it into a new setting for themselves. His grandfather gave to his grandmother. Then his grandfather passed it on to John's dad. And John's dad passed his ring on to him. And now we will take the family diamond and put it into a setting for us.

No other plans yet. It's all new for us, we're just enjoying the moment for now. And I'm not the type of girl who has always thought about what her wedding would be like. I'm starting from scratch here.

I'll post updates as our plans progress. Wish us luck!
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Meet your ancestors
2/19/2007 03:22:00 PM | Author: Christa
I'm not sure if these two things are connected, but if it is, it's pretty cool.

Cool Thing #1

I just discovered this new web site called Geni.com (Thanks, Michael!). It's a web site where you can create your own family tree.

But, the best part is that you can invite other members of your tree to add to it too! So, I invited a bunch of my family members to join.

I started the tree quickly one night, with about 20 people. Since then, people on both my mom's and dad's sides of my family have added to it. Now there are over 100 people in my tree! Thanks to my Aunt Gina, I now know that my twelfth great-grandparents on my dad's side were John and Elishua Crowell. How cool is that?!

Cool Thing #2

February is Black History Month. Why is that cool to me? Well, it is said that way back somewhere I have a black ancestor! I think I'm something like 1/64th black. Nothing major, but still very cool.

I wonder which ancestor on my tree she is?
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March of the Librarians
2/12/2007 10:06:00 PM | Author: Christa

A look at the bi-annual migrations of the mysterious librarian.

Annissa's Car Encounters of the Bad Kind
2/10/2007 12:44:00 PM | Author: Christa
Annissa has had a bad time with cars this week.

On Tuesday, John got a phone call from her. She was going to be late getting home from school. Why?

"I got hit by a car."

Anyone with children knows how John felt at that point. He asked where she was, 33rd and W - only a few blocks from our house, and drove down to see what was up.

Turns out a Lincoln city parking enforcement officer had hit her! The SUV the officer was driving was stopped at a stop sign. Nissa saw the car, saw that it was stopped, and started crossing 33rd. The officer decided that was the time to go, and turned from W onto 33rd, and hit Nissa. She saw the car coming at her and yelled and put her hand out. She didn't get knocked down, but did hurt her arm trying to stop the car.

Since it was a Lincoln city officer, the police were called and an accident report was filled out. The driver said she didn't see Nissa, so no citations were issued. But, I'm sure she'll be suspended for a while anyway. Good.

And the ambulance chasers are already on Nissa's tail! We got the first 'advertisement' in the mail on Friday. "I want to help you resolve all the civil issues surrounding this accident. Please call me immediately". You can just feel the desperation oozing from the paper. So sad.

Annissa's second car encounter happened on Friday. In the mornings, she goes out to start the car so it is warmed up before John takes her to school. Friday morning, she came back into the house, almost in tears.

She yells up to John, "Dad! What happened?"

"What do you mean?"

"I started the car and it went backwards!"

It turns out John had accidentally left the car in gear when he backed it into the carport the night before. John couldn't help chuckling when he realized what had happened. But Nissa was very upset and scared. She thought she had done it and she had no clue how. Poor kid.

But, the car is OK. The spoiler hit the table at the back of the carport, but there was no damage.

And Nissa is OK, too. Probably doesn't want to drive any cars for a while, but that's just fine with us. :)
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FREE KITTENS!
1/30/2007 07:40:00 PM | Author: Christa

Stray Kittens on the porch
Originally uploaded by karindalziel.
Looking for a new friend? Or two? Then you've come to the right place!

My friend Karin has two kittens living in her backyard who need a home. She already has 4 cats, and we have 3 plus 2 ferrets. So, we're pretty much maxed out.

But, I bet you aren't! Look at these cute faces, I know you just can't resist!

If you live anywhere near Lincoln, and want a cute friend, please contact Karin and save these kitties.

Thanks!


Hattie! Hattie! Hattie!
1/24/2007 09:02:00 PM | Author: Christa
The triumphant chant rang out over the Saratoga Race Track.

Hattie! Hattie! Hattie!

Tonight was the premiere of the Fried Chicken episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

Why should you care?

Because Bobby Flay challenged Jasper Alexander of Hattie's Chicken Shack in my hometown, Saratoga Springs, NY.

And lost! Whoo Hoo!!

Flay never had a chance. Jasper's lightly floured, juicy chicken, from a recipe created by Hattie herself in 1938, versus Flay's double batter-dipped chicken with a honey-chili powder sauce.

The decision was unanimous. All three judges overwhelmingly picked Jasper's fried chicken to win.

John says the next time we're in Saratoga, we're going to Hattie's.

Yea!

Hattie! Hattie! Hattie!
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I AM blogging this!
1/23/2007 11:35:00 PM | Author: Christa
I'm a little behind the times on this one. But, my friend and colleague, Allana, just pointed me to David King's recent series of posts on inviting participation in Web 2.0. Definitely required reading for any web content creators, like me. I am eagerly awaiting more posts in the series!

But, his first example of an unintentional invitation is great! It's from last August, when he celebrated his second blogging anniversary. Hmm....I wonder if I'll ever have one of those?

Watch the video. Read the lyrics. Click the lyrics!

WARNING!
This tune will get stuck in your head and you will not be able to get rid of it!

Bet you didn't know librarians were so talented. Rock on!
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Happiness is a warm gun?
1/17/2007 10:21:00 PM | Author: Christa
Well, Nebraska’s Concealed Handgun Law took effect January 1, 2007. Luckily, a new sign has appeared at the entrance to the building where I work:

PROHIBITED


NOTICE
Carrying a concealed handgun is
PROHIBITED
in or on this place or premises.

Those in control of this property have prohibited permit holders from possessing or carrying a concealed handgun on these premises. Unless otherwise authorized by law, violation of this prohibition is a criminal offense.

Posted Pursuant to the Nebraska Revised Statute §69-2441


I feel safer already. NOT!
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Flickr madness!
1/13/2007 05:12:00 PM | Author: Christa
So, I went a little crazy with Flickr this week. Uploaded a bunch of pics - mostly from our Christmas trip to NY, but a few others too. Here's the lowdown on what you can see at Photos o' Randomness.

Library Bags
I finally added the rest of my library bags pics. All OCLC bags - 9 of 'em! You can see all of the library bags I own in my Library Bags set. I think they reproduce on their own.

Mom's!
There's Mom and Annissa putting lights on the tree.
Mom and Annissa decorating the tree

And the little bit of snow that finally fell on December 30.
Snow on the deck

Snow in the front yard

Christmas in NYC
The day after Christmas we drove down to my sister's house in Beacon. Had a yummy fondue dinner - they got two fondue sets for their wedding, so we had cheese and broth. Then chocolate fountain for dessert! Yeah, I should have taken pics of that. But I was just too busy stuffing my face!

On Wednesday, we took the train into New York City. John, Annissa and my Mom had never seen NY at Christmas, so we had to see it all.

First was Grand Central and the new holiday light show. The inside of Grand Central was a giant kaleidoscope. It was amazing. People just stopped to stare up and watch the snowflakes and NYC scenes spinning and rotating all over the walls.

John wanted to see the NYPL lions. But they aren't wearing the wreaths. I remember them having wreaths around their necks at Christmas. Too bad - they're not as Christmasy now. But still just as impressive.
NYPL Lion

The Tree, of course.
The Tree at Rockefeller Center

Then, we waited in line to get into FAO Schwarz. Yup, there was a line around the building to get into a toy store. But, it was totally worth it. Next year, I'm asking for the stuffed Mammoth. It's only about 10 feet tall and $12,000.00. Oh, and John wants lots and lots of Legos.
The Dark Knight...in Legos!

Batman on rooftop with gargoyle

All the big names have holiday light shows. Cartier had a cascade of huge jewelry boxes falling down the front of the building.
Cartier at Christmas
Every 15 minutes the largest red gift box over the door would open slowly and play “Carol of the Bells". Saks 5th Avenue had a dancing snowflake light show coordinated to Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas music on the facade of their building. And if you could tear your eyes away from that and look across the street, you would see more snowflake lights falling down the side of the Rockefeller Center building.

It was a long day, with lots of walking, but it was totally worth it. You can see more pics in the NYC set.

Snowy Saratoga
On Saturday afternoon, Mom, John, Annissa and I went into Saratoga just to walk around and see the city. The little bit of snow was just right.

But we can't go to Saratoga without a trip to Ben & Jerry's. Even if it is nighttime...in the middle of winter.
John and Annissa at Ben & Jerry's

See it all in the Saratoga set.

Snowy Iowa
This was just too cool looking not to take a picture of.
Flying over snowy Iowa
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Only in Upstate NY
1/03/2007 10:13:00 PM | Author: Christa
So, we're going thru security this morning at the Albany airport to catch our flight back to Nebraska.

John's bag goes thru the x-ray machine, then Nissa's. I'm next and I hear the machine go BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

Hmmm....I wonder what that's all about? Is my bag coming out soon? I peek back to take a look.

The TSA agent sees me glancing at my bag in the bin and she asks, "Is this your brown bag?"

"....Yes." Damn, they're gonna make me throw out my emergency toothpaste and deodorant.

"Do you have a Peppermint Pig?"

Blink. Huh? OH! "Yes! Yes I do!" I reply, laughing.

"OK." She smiles and sends the bin with my bag out of the x-ray machine and down the ramp to me.
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The Christmas that almost wasn't
1/02/2007 08:36:00 PM | Author: Christa
We were supposed to have 3 days to do all of the Christmas preparations. But, instead, we spent 3 days trying to get to Mom's.

So, on Sunday, December 24, we:

  • Slept late
  • Put up the tree
  • Decorated the tree
  • Wrapped ALL our presents
  • Ordered way too much delicious Italian food from Christina's Pizzeria
Oh, and discovered that almost everyone at my Aunt's house, where we were planning on going for Christmas, was sick with a stomach bug.

Whoa! Stop right there!

The same thing happened 2 years ago, but we went anyway. And then the four of us (Me, Mom, Sis, and Sis's husband) ended up sick with the worst illness I have ever experienced. I literally couldn't sit up on the couch for more than 5 minutes. I had to lay down in bed between bouts of vomiting. The next day, I was totally exhausted, but I had to fly home anyway. It was terrible.

Needless to say, this time, it took us about .000001 milliseconds to decide that we were NOT going to my Aunt's for Christmas. We were all perfectly content spending a relaxing Christmas day at Mom's. She even had turkey, gravy and stuffing in the freezer, so we were all set for our own Christmas dinner.

On Christmas, we got to sleep in, stay in our pjs for most of the day, and have a nice dinner. John whipped up some mashed potatoes, we cracked open a can of cranberry sauce, and we were set.

Late in the afternoon, we did go to my Great Aunt's house for visiting, a second dinner, dessert, and Peppermint Pig smashing. No one was sick there, so it was safe.

After the worst 3 day traveling ordeal ever, it was a very good Christmas day.
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Are we there yet?!?!
1/02/2007 08:04:00 PM | Author: Christa
Atlanta Airport Sunset

You're probably wondering where I've been for the last week. There's a lot to tell, so there will be a couple of posts coming, filling you in on all the gory details.

We did finally make it to New York. It only took us three days, two delayed flights, 1 canceled flight, 1 missed flight, switching airlines, and 1 night in an Atlanta hotel....and a partridge in a pear tree! Well, actually, there were no live birds involved, but we did make it.

Day 1 - Thursday, December 21

As you know, we tried to leave on Thursday night. But our flight from Lincoln to Chicago was delayed, and the flight from Chicago to Albany was canceled. So we were rebooked on a new itinerary for Friday night - Omaha to Atlanta to Albany. Also, in order to do this we had to be switched from United to Delta.

Day 2 - Friday, December 22

We left the house at noon. Our flight out wasn't until 6:30, but we didn't want to have any problems. At check-in, we learned that we need to have our seat assignments done at the gate. No problem. We're hours early, so we can get good seats, even after we eat lunch. Yes, the food booths are before security at the Omaha airport. John was happy - he got his fave Philly cheesesteak.

Then we were off to the gate. And we discovered something new! Did you know that switching airlines and getting your tickets the day of your flight marks you for "Special Screening"? Yup. All three of us got pulled aside for the full pat-down. Much fun.

At the gate, I asked about getting our seat assignments. We had to wait for the agent that would be in charge of our flight. So we waited, and as we waited, we see our flight departure time change. Only about an hour later, but we have over a 2 hour layover in Atlanta. No problem! (I have learned that I really need to stop saying that.)

Finally, the agent for our flight arrives, and I am the first in line. After a long wait for the computer to come up, he checks on our seats.

"Did the United agent call to find out if there were seats available?", he asks.

"Um...no."

"Hmm. They're supposed to do that before they book you on our flights." Uh oh.

"You're sure he didn't call?"

"Nope, he never picked up a phone, just checked the computer, and printed out our tickets."

"Hmmm."

After another long, stressful pause, he apparently decided that he had no choice but to give us seats, so he did. Oh, and then he informed us that we were on standby for our Atlanta-Albany flight. What?!?! The United guy didn't say anything about standby!

So, we can't get our seat assignments until we get to Atlanta. If we have any seats at all. Yeah, we're not happy.

Now we wait, wait, wait. It is the beginning of much waiting for us.

Our Atlanta flight takes off, now about 2 hours late. Sigh. All we can do is hope that the Albany flight is delayed, too. We land in Atlanta about 25 minutes past the departure time of our flight to Albany. Race thru the airport, up to the empty gate, only to learn that it has already left.

It's 10:00pm, and we must rebook our flight to Albany.

Back to the long line of people waiting at the bank of rebooking phones. After much searching, the very nice man on the phone eventually tells me that the next flight with 3 seats available is tomorrow night, at 9:40pm. Yup, 24 hours later. And, because the cause of our delayed flight was "air traffic control" (whatever that means) he isn't allowed to check any other airlines, only Delta. By this point, I am really about to lose it. I make sure that we actually have seats - Exit Row 8 A,B,C. We are confirmed for Saturday night.

But what about tonight?

The guy on the phone can't issue us any vouchers. We must go to a gate agent in the airport. The very nice lady at a gate tells us that, also because the cause of our delayed flight was "air traffic control", she cannot issue us hotel or food vouchers. All we can get is the discounted government rate for the Comfort Inn - $56/night. I'm speechless....shocked....are you freaking kidding me?? We have 24 hours to wait and we get no compensation for hotel or food? The airlines have quite a racket going.

Off to the shuttles to the hotels. The complete lack of organization was stunning! At the Atlanta airport, there are about 12 parking spots for the shuttle vans to the hotels. Each hotel has it's own van. But, get this - the spots are not assigned! So, in the rain, you have masses of people running back and forth to see if the van that has just pulled into a spot is for their hotel. Wow. After about 45 minutes we finally made it onto a van to the Comfort Inn - standing room only, of course.

I think the best part of the day was the hotel. It was quiet and relaxing and dry. John and I went across the street to the gas station for some necessities. Then we all tried to get some sleep.

Day 3 - Saturday, December 23

Let's see - our flight leaves at 9:40pm. Hotel checkout is at noon. That gives us about 9 hours to kill. Sigh.

Check in at Delta. The agent looks at Nissa and asks, "How old is she?".

"14."

"Oh, well, she has to be 16 to sit in the Exit row seats."

ARGH!!!

The guy on the phone last night didn't say anything about an age restriction! He said he had to question me before he gave us the seats - he asked if we could read English, if we could lift a certain amount of weight, and if we were willing to help the flight attendants. But nothing about age! So, the seats we thought we had, we actually don't! We have to be switched - we can only get 2 seats together and one alone. OK, at least we have seats. We can deal. Flying sucks.

Hey, look, our tickets are marked "SSS"! We get to go past all of these people waiting in line at security! Awesome! Um...well...no, not really. We're marked "Special Screening" again. Which means we are now in a line with other people who are also "Special Screening". Which means we all have to get the full wanding and pat-down. Joy.

Had a leisurely, yummy lunch at Paschals Restaurant/La Carrousel Bar. Then took a walking tour of concourses B and C for about an hour. Bought some computer and gaming magazines. Found a nice corner spot at the gate for our flight and set up camp. We had books, DS, PSP, mags, and all the napping we could stand. John first, then Nissa:

Sleeping

After that, it was a very uneventful day. Got on our flight, got to Albany on time. Mom was there to pick us up. Our luggage had arrived earlier in the day, and all 4 bags were there. A short time later, we were all passed out in comfy beds at Mom's house.

Epilogue

John says next year we are driving.
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