Christmas Wish List

Wrapped Gift

I am trying so hard this year to make the holidays enjoyable while keeping it simple. I’ve been pretty good so far. Some events were combined into one, serving double-duty, and that has helped a lot. Usually I have a small list of things I’d like to have for myself, but this year I really don’t want anything besides time to do the things I love.

That being said, this year’s list is a little different:

  • Time to sip lattes and look at Christmas lights. Maybe I should make it hot apple cider after that last blood pressure reading.
  • Time to read at least a couple of books from my review copy stash. I have so many.
  • Time to watch the following movies (Jingle All The Way (watched!), Christmas Vacation, Christmas with the Kranks, Deck the Halls, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Family Stone, Elf, Love Actually, A Christmas Story, White Christmas, all the old claymation faves like Rudolph and Frosty and I’d like to add at least one more holiday classic that I haven’t seen like Holiday Inn. Oh, and Die Hard and Lethal Weapon somehow end up in the mix when the Hub and Teen show up.
  • Time to enjoy the Christmas meal like a normal person. I just made reservations for Christmas so I am really looking forward to a day without cooking. I plan to savor every bite.
  • Time to listen to some music, whether it be holiday music or just music in general. I don’t listen to music enough and I really enjoy classical pieces.

What’s on your Christmas list this year? Also, (here’s where I get a little serious) if you are struggling this year and just need some positive thoughts or prayers, let me know. I don’t mention it enough but the daily interactions with all of you matter a lot to me and I would be more than happy to pray or think happy thoughts for you.

Sunday Matters: Lounging, Watching Movies, Still Not Reading

Sunday Matters

Well, hello again. I unintentionally took the week off from blogging. As many of you know, I took the week off from work but was hit with a major headache which lasted a good couple of days. That damn headache made reading impossible. Although I did tough it out to finish one book, I could not read much after the one. Instead, I napped, watched TV and movies and for once, took it easy.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We had planned to be all by ourselves but that changed. In the morning, The Teen’s girlfriend came over to watch the parade on TV and then later The Teen’s friend from choir, whose father was working Thanksgiving evening, joined us for dinner. The meal was great but I had no appetite by the time dinner hit. I am looking forward to the leftovers today.

We did not hit any of the stores for Black Friday and I am really glad we didn’t. It’s so easy to get caught up in the frenzy of it all. I used to have a lot of fun shopping with friends but these days, I much prefer getting up late, enjoying some coffee and browsing the stores online. And, The Girl put all of the Christmas stuff up for me. How cool is that?

Christmas Tree

Right Now:

The Teen isn’t feeling well and has to go caroling later tonight for choir. Hope he perks up soon. My plan this morning is to hit church and then do nothing, Think it will happen?

This Week:

We have a lot going on this week. The Teen has a driving lesson, we have two doctor’s appointments scheduled for the kids, our dental appointments, my book club party/meeting, my hair appointment, a co-worker’s party and The Teen’s Winter Concert for choir. Work will most likely be hectic because I was off last week. We’ll get through it. Oh, and we are supposed to have some weather! Rain, lots of it but it keeps getting pushed so we’ll see if it actually produces a drop.


I did finish Revival but I am not sure what to think. Good story, but definitely not the return to horror that King claimed. Unless, the subject of drug addiction is what he was referring to. He battled his own demons in that area so I supposed returning to that subject would be horrifying.

I need to read my book club book for this week’s meeting, A Gathering of Old Men.


We’ve been enjoying a free movie weekend and I am catching up on all the movies I either haven’t seen in awhile, or recording the ones I’ve been wanting to see. I saw Maleficent and really enjoyed it. I watched Annie Hall again, Miracle on 34th Street, The Exotic Marigold Hotel, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Pretty in Pink, Rush Hour and that is only what I can remember. I have so many recorded that I will be watching movies for weeks.


After all that cooking and then not wanting any of it, I am all cooked out. I have no desire to make anything.

Grateful for:

Grateful that my family could spend this time together, Grateful that I was able to take the week off and although The Teen is not feeling well, I am grateful that he’s had the tail end of this week to recover. Also grateful for The Girl’s mad decorating skills. I just was not feeling it when it was 88 degrees out! Now with the decorations up and the lights up on the house, it does feel a bit like Christmas is around the corner.

Happy Thought For the Week:

That by this time next week, my crazy week of appointments will be over. I booked many of these appointments over six months ago never thinking this would be a busy week. Normally the weeks closer to Christmas are busier but oh well. What can you do?

Also, Murakami’s new book, The Strange Library,  hits the shelves this week!

How is everyone? How was your Thanksgiving? Did you travel? Stay home? Cook your first turkey?

Holiday “Creep” and Keeping it Real

Give Thanks

What is it with everyone this year?

Christmas began to creep into stores early October and now it’s full-blown Christmas everywhere you go. I used to love waking up the day after Thanksgiving and seeing the stores transformed into a Christmas wonderland. It signaled the arrival of Christmas and it was so exciting!

This year, I am struggling with it. I love Christmas for a lot of reasons but I love Thanksgiving too and I feel as if it’s getting the shaft big time this year. How do you avoid the holiday “creep”? Or do you? Maybe you just give into it. I feel pressured to start my shopping but you  know what happens when I shop early? I forget how much I’ve gotten and I end up with a lot of extra stuff and really, none of it is needed. Sometimes, I even forget to wrap stuff and find it later! That has happened to me at least three times.

This whole holiday thing has really been on my mind lately. Has it been on yours? When I get  like this, it helps to jot stuff down that makes me happy and I invite you all to join me. I’m grateful for so many things and taking a moment to focus on Thanksgiving keeps it real.

Things to look forward to between now and Thanksgiving:

  • Slowly planning the holiday meal. Usually I make the same things but there are a couple of new dishes that I add to mix it up a little. This recipe, was a new dish that I tried when I went gluten-free and it became a staple.
  • Time off! I am taking the week of Thanksgiving off. I try to every year, but this year with all of the job changes at work, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to. I’m looking forward to the time off.
  • Coming up with my Thanksgiving reading list. I’ve got the week off, I must have stuff to read. I don’t always stick to the list but it’s fun to make one.
  • Sitting down with my December calendar and having a come to Jesus moment. Mapping out December can be a little stressful for some, but I take comfort in knowing what I’ve got coming up. I geek out when it comes to my planner.
  • If the weather cools down, it will be nice to take some walks with the Otter Pup. It’s been warm so I’ve left that job to The Hub but as the decorations go up, it’s fun to walk around the neighborhood.
  • Coming up with my holiday playlist. For both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I tend to not listen to music all that often. Weird, but around the holidays I really like it.
  • Movie watching! I watch a lot of movies this time of year. A must-watch movie: A Miracle on 34th Street (1947). It puts me in the mood for Christmas. We usually watch it on Thanksgiving day.
  • Spending Thanksgiving day with my immediate family which is just the four of us and the pup. We lounge around in our pajamas, eat and eat and just enjoy each other’s company. I cherish this time together.

Your turn! What are you looking forward to between now and Thanksgiving?


Long Weekends, Mint Infused Limeade and a Birthday!

Grab Your Book

Guess what, guys? Today is my Friday! I know some people have to work over the holiday but I think many of you are off. What do you have planned for the long weekend? BBQs? Picnics? Trips to the beach? Initially I thought we might have some people over. At least, that is what The Girl thought. She dreams up these gatherings on her own. Unfortunately, after working all week the last thing I want to do is throw a party of any kind. Call me anti-social. I’ll forgive you.

Right now, the plan is to make a big pot of chili, grill some burgers and hot dogs and watch a bunch of movies. The movies? Haven’t picked them out yet but it doesn’t even matter. Me, in front of the TV with my feet up is all that matters and if that happens, all will be right in the world. I also plan to mix-up some Mint Infused Limeade. We sampled this drink a few weeks ago and it was very refreshing! This drink is non-alcoholic but you could add a little vodka if you wanted to add a little something to it.


Mint infused limeade

Photo & Recipe from Food & Style

Somewhere in all of this we will watch the Nathan’s hot dog Eating contest! It’s a tradition to watch but depending on who is in it, I sometimes have a mini-gag fest with myself. It’s just not attractive to watch a bunch of guys scarf food down in that manner. And yeah, it somehow does not affect our own hot dog eating, which is a little weird if you ask me.

Fireworks? We might all pile into the car last-minute to see the fireworks in progress,  but I doubt we will want to after the sloth of the day. None of us like crowds and we have the Otter Pup to consider and she’ll be 4 years-old tomorrow! We knew she was about 5-6 months old when we rescued her so we picked July 4th for her birthday. She has been a joy. I think she likes us too. Can you tell?

The Otter Pup and The Hub

The Otter Pup is 4 years old!

Oh, and I can’t forget the reading can I? That is a huge part of my weekend. Especially since I am still limping along with The Goldfinch. Much more fun to discuss is The Summer of King. I started The Regulators and it’s reminding me a bit of Mr. Mercedes, at least in its opening. It takes place in the summer so it’s the perfect read for me right now. I just want to drop everything to read it. I am not that far in, only about 15% but I can already tell that I am going to like it.

That said, grab your book, pour a refreshing drink and enjoy your weekend!

The Sunday Salon: Father’s Day 2014

The Fam

It’s been a great weekend so far. Due to the fact that none of us enjoy crowds, we celebrated Father’s Day on Saturday by visiting the George C. Page Museum and the La Brea Tar pits. A few years ago, when they added the underground parking structure, they found not only fossils but a near complete mammoth skeleton. Can you believe it? Had they not developed that one section, they never would have known about it. Part of it was on display. I should say, parts of it were all over the museum. They haven’t had the chance to put him back together again.

After the tooling around the museum we hit The Grove for some window shopping and a nice lunch at Maggiano’s. UCLA graduated yesterday too but we managed to slip lunch in before the crowds hit. Our timing could not have been better because when we left, that place was packed.

Today, we relaxed with coffee and then hit church. The Hub was not feeling it but when he got there, he volunteered to sing a song (Take Me Out to the Ball Game) and won an all day retreat package from the church! Breakfast, music, teaching and then a VIP bus ride to Dodger stadium which includes the all-you-can-eat pavilion! He’s pretty happy right now.

Now, we are all back home and just doing our own thing.

The Girl still has two more days of school and summer school starts for The Teen tomorrow. Mid-week, summer day camp begins for The Girl. She’s excited.

Sunday Salon

What am I reading?

I am reading Mr. Mercedes and a little over half way done. I am really enjoying it and don’t want to rush through it too fast, but I am way behind on my book club book, The Goldfinch so I may have to pick up the pace.

What am I cooking?

Tonight? I am not sure. We just had a big lunch and I have stuff to make spaghetti tonight but I am not sure anyone is in the mood for it.

What am I watching?

It was a free HBO weekend for us so I recorded some movies, Moonrise Kingdom and Oblivion. I am thinking we will be in the mood to see Oblivion later. I am not a Cruise fan but he makes some pretty good action flicks.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there and to you single moms…happy day to you as well!

The Sunday Salon: It’s Mother’s Day

Sunday Salon

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. I hope you are having an enjoyable day. I am having one of those days where I go from happy to sad at the drop of a hat. I don’t know. The stresses from this year and then last week’s injuries have pushed me over the edge. I am just too emotional today and all over the place so I will keep it short.

What am I reading?

I just started Cutting Teeth. It’s starting off very strong. I sure hope it stays that way.

What am I cooking?

I am hoping to pick-up some Chinese take-out later.

What am I watching?

I am about to go on a Netflix binge, beginning with the dance movie Center Stage.

Hoping that some good food and a little TV binge will fix me right up.

The Sunday Salon: An Easter Hello

Sunday Salon

Hello all. How’ve you all been?

It’s been busy around here. Mostly, good stuff but with nightly activities and the spring break that came up  out of nowhere, I felt as if I was Fred Flintstone in his floorless car, running  just to keep up.

A few updates. I had some health stuff going on and the biopsy came back NORMAL. I was very relieved to get those results. I really started to think about what I’d do if they came back abnormal. Not a fun topic of discussion right before vacation so it was a huge relief that the news came in right before I left. Thank you for the prayers and support.

I also alluded to stuff going on at work. I have been known to feel a re-org coming on and sure enough, I returned from break and it happened. The details are not solid yet but my job, it-is-a-changing. Again. Wish me luck with that.

Oh and one other thing, one BIG thing. I got baptized this past Friday! Let’s just say that as a child, my childhood was less than ideal. I had guardian angels along the way that steered me in the right direction so I always felt a spiritual connection but could never find a church that I felt comfortable going to. About a year ago, we went to a special service that a local church was holding and for the next couple of months we’d either watch the service online or go every once in awhile. It’s not traditional. There’s music and lights and a coffee shop, but the Pastor really clicked with us and although the message is what you’d expect to get in church, it’s delivered in a comfortable, friendly way.

On Good Friday, my family and I decided to take the plunge and participate in the baptism celebration. It was SO not me. Cameras, lights and lots of people cheering us on. I was so embarrassed but at the same time, very happy to have finally found a church that we love.

Here we are, freshly dunked! The Hub was getting the car but he participated too.  It’s a horrible pic of me, but you all know me so I know you will forgive the matted hair and the lack of make-up which seemed to disappear once dunked. Not pretty but that’s okay. 

Just baptized!

Just baptized!!

In case you are wondering, The Teen did not participate but he went with us. He has been going to the Mormon church and although I had hoped that he’d join us, he decided not to. Religion is a very personal thing, and I don’t like it to be jammed down my throat so I am letting him take this journey on his own. As a mom, there are lots of decisions I have had to make recently that have been difficult, but knowing my own struggle with religion, his choice of religion should not be one of them.

I was so worried about stupid stuff like the temperature of the water and looking like a dork once dunked but with everyone cheering you on, you stand there dripping wet, but happy. I thought The Girl would get scared last-minute but nope, she wanted to be first!

So, that was my excitement this past week. Yesterday , The Girl had a track meet. It was held on a really old, dirt track and none of the kids knew how to run on it. Out by us, all of the tracks are turf so The Girl struggled a little with her times, but still enjoyed herself. We then had her best friend over for dinner and a sleepover. It was a fun night. They colored eggs and got barked at by the Otter Pup.

The Teen had to work the prom last night so he’s not up yet. I suspect he’ll sleep right into the afternoon.

Here are a couple of photos from yesterday:

Chatsworth Track Meet

The Girls at the track meet. Mine, is the one in the middle.

Dinner with the Girls

A fun dinner with The Girl and her BFF.

What am I reading?

I am reading A Wild Sheep Chase in bits and pieces. Murakami is always so enjoyable and thought-provoking that I find myself savoring his writing. It’s not a book to blow through quickly. I am also reading The Walking Dead governor books. VERY good. I am in the middle of And The Mountains Echoed, a good story but my interest is waning.

What am I cooking?

I wasn’t going to make anything special but then last minute decided to cook-up a ham. I saw a recipe for a peach & brown sugar glaze and I was craving greens so we’ll have the peach-glazed ham, collard greens, mac & cheese (both gluten-free and non), mashed potatoes, carrots and rolls. I picked up a peach pie for the Fam and then I got a creme brûlée for myself. Yum.

What am I watching?

I’ve been watching Chrisley Knows Best. Have you seen that show?? It’s crazy but I can’t stop watching it.

That’s my week and weekend. I am helping myself to another cup of coffee and then hopefully I can take a nap later. What’s your plan for today? I am glad I went to church on Friday because I am dragging this morning.


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