Monday, December 5, 2005

The Pickle Ornament and Toby is a Hound Dog

Rachel and I took off for a couple hours Friday afternoon to do some shopping for a birthday gift for Mom/Tammy. We walked around the Burnsville mall and tried to picture Tammy in different clothing items but then we opted for something safe...pajamas. I'm not sure it was something 'safe' though. We couldn't find what we were looking for as most of the pajamas were either too thin or too heavy...not much in between. Rachel suggested we check out Victoria's Secret. "You're not serious are you?" I said... "Sure, we can just act like we're walking by and not really go in but if we see something we like we can go in and check it out." I can't believe that girl sometimes...so that's what we did. We casually walked by the store and I made eye contact with the woman in front. She seemed very approachable (that's her job...I know) and I explained that we were looking for something not at all skimpy but just a regular pair of pajamas for 'my wife.' She showed us to some and we found just what we were looking for. Rachel looks at me as we're standing in the checkout line surrounded by scantily clothed mannequins and says, "So, do you see anything you like?" What a goofball...we both laughed.

We stopped by Nick and Willie's to pick up a pizza order Tammy had phoned in. They have the best 'we make it, you bake it' pizzas! It's even better that they're only 2 miles from home.

After dinner we got busy putting up our Christmas decorations. Rachel and I worked on the tree while Tammy did all the other stuff. It's a several hour job but it looks real nice. Of course, Tammy and I had to give Rachel a hard time about the moose bell ornament she broke several years ago...it's become a part of our tradition. Rachel and I laughed when she unpacked the starfish with one broken arm as we remembered how Toby got a hold of it last Christmas and thought it was one of his chew toys.

Toby had the sweetest breath as he'd found a branch of eucalyptus on the floor and was chewing on it.

I had to run to Fleet Farm to get some more lights and Rachel came with me. She spotted a pickle ornament in a clear plastic box and wondered who the heck would buy that. We would! She thought it was so funny that we were going to buy the pickle ornament and put it on our tree and not tell her mom. We'd wait to see how long it took her to find it. The laugh was definitely worth the $4 for the pickle. The guy at the checkout counter told us that there is a story behind the pickle ornament and he's right. A little story book came with it and goes like this...On Christmas Eve the parents would hide the pickle on the tree and the child who finds it first in the morning is given a special gift. The checkout guy told us that when his parents began this tradition was when he began to lose hope.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling like crap. I think the air is too dry in the house and my head was feeling the affects. I let the pups out in the freshly fallen snow and Allie noticed the neighbor's dog was out so she let her know that this was her territory. Toby joined in with a ouwwouwwouww-ooooohhhhhhhhooooooohhhhhhh I'd never heard from him before. Usually all you get from him is a little wuff, wuff but this time he sounded like a regular hound dog. It was so funny. I think he was more frisky than usual with all the snow.

Rachel's dad picked her up around noon on Saturday. We all went out to a Vietnamese restaurant, Little Saigon, in Burnsville and had lunch together then said goodbye. I got to try pao, pronounced 'faahh' with an upswing in your voice at the end. It's a meat and noodle soup which Tammy has been telling me about for years. It was good and reminded me a lot of some of the Thai soups I used to have years ago. Rachel's dad, Thien, was wondering if we had any extra firewood for his fireplace. I told him I'd put together a load in the truck and run it up to his house. Tammy and I did that a little later in the day. It's nice to be on good terms with him.

Tammy and I left his house and headed to the Mall of America for a couple hours. I love that place...especially in the winter. It doesn't matter how many people are in there, it never seems crowded. The mall is so large that it's able to absorb the mobs nicely. We found a couple things for Rachel for Christmas and I got a couple pair of shoes. My $35 shoes from over a year ago had finally seen enough. I love the Christmas decorations and the festive atmosphere. Before I met Tammy and Rachel I'd often go there on a weekend night and kill a couple hours.

We headed to Timber Lodge around 9:00pm Saturday for dinner and my head was still not right. It's Tammy's birthday on Monday but our schedules don't work at all so we celebrated early. I think of all the restaurants we go to, Timber Lodge is our favorite. We go there a few times a year and almost always get steak with some spicy wings for an appetizer.

We got home and gave Rachel a call as I wanted her to be on the phone when I gave Tammy her birthday gift from us...an iPod Nano. I gave it to her early so she could spend part of the weekend learning how to use it and uploading her music to it. She's very happy to have it. She's been working out at a health club in Farmington a few nights a week while she waits for Rachel at dance class and she thought her workouts would be nicer with some music. Plus, sometimes the guys at the gym have some heavy metal stuff playing and this way she can drown it out.

We're co-hosting a house-hop this Saturday night. We were hoping to not be the last home on the list so Tammy can opt out early if it gets late as she has to work the next morning...we're going to be last. Tammy said not to worry as she doesn't think it will go much beyond 11:00...I hope not.


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