Thursday, December 30, 2010

Iwanski Is Home!--Hooray!

And now the healing process begins...thank you all for your prayers and positive thoughts!!

I will post more as soon as I am feeling a little more energetic.

Happy New Year to all! :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Quick Update to My Blog Buddies

My husband, my beloved Iwanski had a "mild" heart attack and ended up having a quadruple bypass surgery this morning.

It's been rough. It's been tiring. It's been scary.

But he's doing really well! They took out the breathing tube tonight (yay! You could tell Iwanski HATED that), and he is now resting comfortably in the ICU.

I am drained, exhausted, still a little freaked out, and deliriously happy. I thank God, all the prayers from my wonderful family and friends, and the talented and amazing surgeons, technicians, doctors, and nurses at Rush Hospital here in Chicago.

I am one lucky woman. God has blessed me by keeping my beloved here with me. It's the best Christmas present I could ever have hoped for.

And if ya'll are the praying type, please continue to send more prayers our way. I'm sure it's not a super-easy recovery, but he's on the mend, and the prayers and positive vibes can only help.

Merry Christmas to all!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wine, Stuffing, and Christmas Carols

On Friday night, Iwanski and I got together with our good friend Jonathan to sing Christmas carols and drink some wine/beer. (The al-keehol helps us sing better!) As usual, we had a great time and laughed a lot.

Before Jonathan came over, I told him that I had bought him a bottle of Riesling (one of his favorite kinds of wine). What he didn't know was that the bottle of Riesling was...

A huge bottle! (I found this at Walgreen's, my favorite store. It's the equivalent of two bottles of wine, in one. Jonathan liked it a lot, as you can see!)

Later, Jonathan gave me a case of Trader Joe's 2-Buck Chuck wine for Christmas--in assorted flavors. Boy, are we wine-o's, or what? But I do loves me some 2-Buck Chuck!

And since he has been cooking delectable Julia Child meals for me so often this past year, I gave him a new Julia Child'ish book called "As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto." He was sooo excited.

And then, I said to him, "Since you've been cooking for me all year...I baked for you!" And I came in from the kitchen with some of his favorites: White chocolate macadamia nut cookies, and two types of candy containing white chocolate. (He loves white chocolate--obviously!) He seemed tickled pink with all the yummies. Yay!

Oh, and how could I forget? Jonathan also brought Iwanski and me a HUGE pan of his "famous" corn bread/sausage/jalapeno stuffing, which he calls "Dixie Dressing." YUM! Immediately, Iwanski and I scooped generous portions into bowls and ate to our heart's content. Now, mind you, I am not generally a fan of stuffing--but this stuff is just sooo good! (And of course, incredibly healthy. Anything cooked with two pounds of sausage and lots of butter has to be healthy, right?)

Later, post-stuffing (and after some tasty spirits), we sang several of the traditional Christmas carols, and did our best to sing in three-part harmony.

Happy sigh...good times with loved's what the holidays are all about.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Miss Cheddarpants

It's official. I can't escape it. I was born a Cheesehead, and a part of me will always be a Cheesehead.

Now my sister and brother-in-law have reinforced that fact by sending me, for Christmas...


Of course, I am tickled pink. As I have previously-mentioned, instead of a sweet tooth, I have a cheese tooth. And now my cheese tooth will be satisifed.

So far, Iwanski and I have sampled the string cheese and chocolate cheese fudge...both were met with glowing reviews.

Hooray for cheese!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Forgetful St. Nick

Crap! It’s St. Nick’s Day tomorrow!

I’m really falling behind in my Miss Santapants duties this year.

Here I thought Iwanski and I had had a very productive, Christmasey type of weekend. This weekend, we put up the Christmas tree (sans ornaments), watched the 1938 version of a Christmas Carol, perused a book of historic Chicago Christmas photos together, walked through the Christkindelmart in Chicago’s Daley Plaza, and bought 15 Christmas presents! I thought we had done pretty well.

And then my niece posted on Facebook that it’s St. Nick’s Day tomorrow.


Every year at this time, even though we haven’t been blessed with children yet, I like to continue the St. Nick’s tradition from my childhood (of course, nowadays I play St. Nick, rather than being visited by him), and I make a special trip to the store to load up on various candies and beef jerkys (Iwanski’s favorite). Then, in the middle of the night on the 6th, I sneak into the living room and fill Iwanski’s and my stockings with M & M’s and Butterfingers and Milky Ways and jerkys…and then excitedly wait for Iwanski to notice the stockings bulging with their loot in the morning.

And of course, he never notices, and then I have to point it out to him in some very obvious way, like saying “Hey, what’s that in your stocking?” And then watch him laugh as he looks over at it.

“You’re so nice,” he usually says. “I always forget about St. Nick’s Day.”

But now he’s seen it on Facebook, so he remembers. And I totally forgot about it. I did not buy M & M’s or Butterfingers or Milky Ways or beef jerkys.

Damn. Some St. Nick I turned out to be!

And then, as I was starting to write this blog post, Iwanski reminded me for like the 5th time this weekend, “We still have to put the ornaments on the tree.”

Crap! That, too?

Well, I’m comforted—if only slightly—by the fact that we do have two stuffed “animals” currently sitting in the tree, that I had placed there a couple of days ago when I was in a silly mood: Curious George and Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo. That’s right, all that’s on our tree right now is a monkey and a turd. Awesome.

And as far as St. Nick’s goes, Iwanski is on a super healthy eating kick lately, so all that candy would be too tempting for him, anyway. Even if he didn’t eat it, I would then be forced to eat it, and well, you know that old song about “Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat?” Well, I would then effectively become “the goose.” I certainly don’t want that.

I suppose I could stuff his stocking with other more healthy treats, but no one wants a stocking full of apples, carrots, and cooked cabbage.

Instead, maybe I will make some brownies tonight. I mean, one brownie now and then won’t hurt anyone, right?

The trick is not to eat all of the brownies in one sitting. I guess I could only give him one brownie at a time, and hide the others somewhere else in the house.

After all, nothing says Christmas like hiding food from your loved ones.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tuning Up for the Holidays

Every year around this time, Iwanski and I talk about how we would like to find a group that goes Christmas caroling around the city. And yet, somehow, every year, the holidays slip away without us ever achieving our dream of singing to perfect strangers while they stand there politely, thinking “How long do I have to stand here smiling while these people sing this damn song?”

But we do have one Christmas music tradition that we will be honoring once again this year: the annual Christmas music singalong with our good friend Jonathan. We always have fun, laugh a lot, and sometimes sound really good (sometimes not!), during our various attempts to do three-part harmony to Silent Night, Away in A Manger, and Angels We Have Heard on High.

This year, I think I’m gonna try to convince Iwanski & Jonathan to try to harmonize with me to the song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” Nah, Iwanski would never do that. He HATES that song, for some reason. (So when it comes on the radio, I usually turn it up extra loud and sing along at the top of my lungs. Muhahahhahaha…)

I, on the other hand, like pretty much every Christmas song—except for maybe that stupid “Santa Baby” song. Ugh! They overplay that song like crazy during the holidays—and I find it annoying as hell. “Come and trim my Christmas tree with some decorations bought at Tiffany's”?? Gimme a break!

But other than that, I love Christmas music of all kinds. I grew up in a very musical family, and for many years when I was growing up, we would all gather around the piano and sing Christmas songs together. It was very Norman Rockwell’ish.

When I was little, some of those songs would make me laugh and giggle and squeal with delight. Other songs would make me cry. Like Silent Night. When I was really little, I could hardly ever listen to Silent Night without bawling my eyes out. Sometimes I still get a little teary-eyed when I hear that song.

But the song that I loved the most as a little one was always Jingle Bells. Only I didn’t call it Jingle Bells. According to my older siblings (even though I don’t remember this), I would always call it “Gingha-ho Funny!”

Why Gingha-ho Funny? I have absolutely no idea. But it makes me laugh to think of my wee little self calling it that.

A couple of days ago on Facebook, my sister Sheri’s status told about my little 3-year-old niecey Nora Lu’s favorite Christmas song. Sheri wrote:

Nora's favorite song EVER! We've been playing/singing/dancing to "Jingle Bells" nearly every day for over a year. Last summer, her daycare teachers laughed over her continual request that they play the song during "music time."

Now, Nora Lu loves her Aunt Healthypants, but she’s extremely fond of my husband. Whenever we are coming to visit, she’s always more excited to see—as she calls him—“Jahhhhhhn”—than to see her Auntie. Iwanski and Nora Lu just have a special connection (which I have to admit, is adorable).

So anyway, I was tickled pink to hear that little Nora Lu shares at least something with her Auntie Carla, in that she loves “Ginga-ho Funny,” too.

Nora Lu striking a pose