Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Highs and Lows of 2008

OK, so I had to really scape my brain and jog my memory to put this list together. I think I am loosing my memory, it used to be so good but not so much as of late.
Seems like quite a few times this year there was a high that had a low to match it, here are a couple examples.

I did take a couple short road trips; one to move Angela out to CO (road trip = high, Angela moving = low) one to pick up a dog with Wendy in NV (driving through Eldorado National Forest = high, being part Native American and being back on an Indian Reservation = low).

OK, now I am thinking of some, besides what I listed above, here are some more.
  • Trip to CO in February with Angela (and visit with Brady)
  • Started taking Ballet again
  • 10 Year Wedding Anniversary - we didn't do anything, but I think that it's still pretty cool!
  • Red Wings won the Stanley Cup
  • Canning classes with Debbie
  • Mom and Dad's visit and trip to the mountains and we saw Bears!
  • Reunited with High School best friend after many, many years
  • Sara came to visit and I got to meet Cameron
  • Harmony with Horses workshop
  • Emily graduated from college - HIGH for me for her!

  • Sara moved to NZ - I am happy for her, selfishly bummed though
  • Angela moved to CO - same as above, she had to move, I am being selfish
  • Adoption Mess!
  • Fires in CA - smoke in the city
  • My Vietnamese Momma (Tuyet) passed away
  • The Economy - need I say more?
  • Homesick for Michigan a lot of the the time - I never thought that would happen
  • Realizing that not all people are as nice and genuine as they would like you to believe - lots of wolves in sheep's clothing.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Weekend is over already?

It just blew by!
I had so many things I wanted to do and got a lot of them done, but still have quite the list waiting for me at home.

I packed up a lot of things in my kitchen that I wanted to put in storage, plus, my parents got us the glasses we wanted for Christmas so I needed to make them a nice new home. I cleaned out the kitchen cabinets as well, which is always awesome. I would like to redo the contact paper in there at some point, but they are OK for now. I cleaned out my cabinet of cookbooks, yes, like my Mother, I have a cabinet full of cookbooks. There were some that I had gotten from the free table at work that I am done with so I am passing them on by donating them to Goodwill. In cleaning out my vintage books, I found a little note I had written to my ex-boyfriend which caught me a little off guard, it was tucked into a book I had from the 1920's called But Gentleman Marry Brunettes. It must have been from when I lived with my parents, it was cute. Life was a lot different then, that is for sure!

While minimizing my magazines, I came up with a GREEN space saving idea to scan magazine recipes that I want to save into my computer. I stored them on my external hard drive so they are somewhat portable. They are organized by category so they are easy to locate. I used to cut them out and put them in a clear page protector and then into a binder marked "recipes". This was starting to take up too much time and space plus, the page protectors are expensive and not recyclable. So, by scanning the recipes in, I have them at my fingertips and don't have to print them out to use them at home, just open them on my laptop in my kitchen and I am good to go! Paperless and it takes up zero space on my shelves! I am keeping the binders I already have but will not be adding to them. When I have time someday I will scan what I have collected in the binders but that will take some time since I have had them since the mid-90's (2 binders full).

I felt very industrious most of the weekend, which is big for me because I usually just sit around thinking about what I need to do without acting on it. I realized (with the help of a friend who called me out on it on Christmas) that I stand in my own way all the time, I am always in my own head which causes me many problems. I am the biggest hurdle I need to get over most of the time with things I would like to accomplish. Hearing someone read you like book is a HUGE eyeopener so thanks! From other people this comment would not have been acceptable, but this person keeps me in line. I swear you have to have different friends for different things, you know? I am so thankful for my entire crew of friends, apparently it not only takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to support a Maltese Kat!

Hope you all had nice post Christmas weekends and you are gearing up for the New Year!

PS - Don't you just love this week between Christmas and New Year's? I love getting everything reorganized, cleaned and ready to start anew.

Friday, December 26, 2008

*Fabulous Find*

Fashion meets function while fighting precipitation this winter.
So cute and the price is right at $22.99! Check it out here.

I super love my umbrella and will be sad the day it needs to be replaced, but with so many cute ones out there now, maybe it won't be so bad.

New Look, New Year

Christmas is over and now the New Year is upon us, so I decided to give my blog an early face lift. Plus, I love this photo and wanted to do something with it. I am trying to turn over a new leaf this year and stay on top of my blog and really get my life more organized, this photo with the heart leaf will also serve as a reminder for me to continue on that path. I have had many failed attempts at this so please bare with me trying it, yet again.
I have one week to get a number of things done in preparation for the New Year. This next week will be a busy one around the house.
Here are some things I actually enjoy doing to get ready for the New Year:

  • clean out all cupboards and cabinets in my kitchen, don't know why, but I do this each year. Spice cabinet is already done (did it last week).
  • set up next year's kitchen calendar (filling in Birthday's, Anniversaries and other important dates.
  • put away all Christmas stuff - I didn't do much this year, so it should be easy.
  • clean out my desk at home - oy vey, this is bad but I may unearth some cool stuff.
  • clean out closet - started last week so it should be easy to finish
  • make list of highs and lows of 2008 - should be easy this year, I don't feel like I did much, but that will come out when I back track through my journal and make my list.

Anyone else have things they do in preparation for the New Year?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Thought I would share this photo of me with a dollhouse that my Dad made me for Christmas a long time ago.
Hope you are having a great Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Sending you all warm wishes of love, peace and joy this Christmas.
I hope you are surrounded by friends, family and food.

Random Thoughts

I have finally added the Random Thoughts section to my blog. It has been listed under the title of my blog forever and I am just getting around to it. For the latest random thought running through my brain, check out the right section under "About Me", it is there you will see my mind spill.

Thanks Twitter for letting me add this function, I love it!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Waiting for Santa

I took this photo on Sunday and think that it is so sweet. BayLee has the cutest little face and sometimes has human like expressions. We are truly blessed to have him.
BayLee waiting for Santa.

Monday, December 22, 2008

*Fabulous Find* - Local Edition

Photo from Leafcutter Design website.
I just ran across this site on the Internet and am amazed and really excited!

Most of you know, I love all things handwritten and also love tiny things so this is "write" up my alley. The most wonderful thing is that this little lady is local! Funny I was just telling my Aunt this past weekend how much I used to love going to my Great Aunt Florence's house because she used to collect miniature things and had little doll houses set up that I was allowed to not only just look at, I got to touch them and play with them and once in a while Florence would give me a little something to take home with me.

Check her out....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cold Outside Chana Dal

With the heat cranked up and no plans for the weekend I decided to try and make Chana Dal in my crock pot and to my surprise, it was a success. Most of you may know, that a lot of Indian recipes require you to have a pressure cooker - which I don't have. I did some research on the Internet and made some changes to a recipe I found and this is what I ended up with.
Crock Pot - Chana Dal

3 Cups Chana Dal - (Indian style yellow split peas - Lentils also will work here)
9 Cups of Water
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Garlic powder
2 tsp ground Turmeric
2 tsp ground Cumin
2 tsp ground Coriander
1/8-1/4 tsp Cayenne (depending on how hot you want it, you can start small and add more later)
1 Cup diced carrot
1/2 Cup chopped onion

Add Chana Dal, Water, Carrot and Onion to crock pot. In a small bowl mix spices together and then add to crock pot and mix well. Let this go at low for 8-9 hours stirring every once in a while. When the Chana Dal is tender you are good to go. Serve with basmati rice.

PS - This recipe makes a LOT so if you don't plan on eating it every day for a week or freezing, you can cut it in half.

Friday, December 19, 2008

*Fabulous Find*

Saw these Candy Cane Cups today and thought they were Oh So Cute!
Too bad I didn't have my Cookies and Crafts party this year - these would have definitely been a hit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Emily!

Today is my wonderful sister Emily's Birthday and she just graduated from College this week too! I couldn't be happier for her. Emily, I love you so much! I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. The funny part of the day was (in hindsight), you were supposed to be born around 8 in the morning, but they had to bump Mom for someone else and I was so mad! ha ha! Ever since you arrived late in the morning on December 18, 1984 life has not been the same. You add a sweetness like none other. Your thoughtfulness, sensitive nature and childlike spirit always make it exciting to hang out with you. I missed having you here this past summer. I didn't have anyone to go out and play with! You remind me of what it was like to be young and carefree, hold onto that as long as you can. You are a beautiful being and I am so blessed to call you my sister and more then that, one of my best friends.
Happy Birthday!
Best wishes to you in the upcoming year.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2 Movies, 1 Weekend

Tim and I had free movie passes to any United Artist theatre so last night we went to see The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It was so intense. At the end you are literally on the edge of your seat. Very emotional to say the least. So much more of an impact than the book for me because I really got sucked into the lives of the characters. If you see it, bring a hankie and get ready to have your jaw drop at the end, there were literally gasps in the theatre that we were in.

This morning we went to see Doubt another movie that was not so light on the subject matter. The acting in this movie is superior, Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman have got to be nominated for something since both performances were incredible. Hoffman steals every scene and truly absorbed his role in a tremendous way. Amy Adams was wonderful in her supporting role. Don't be fooled, you won't be blown away by the scenery, but the dialog and acting stole the show, it was superb. It was originally a play that I read a couple years ago and was translated to film, it is truly a great work of art.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Breakfast is Served

I got a call this morning from my coworker Carla, telling me she was on her way and was bringing me some Chilaquiles for breakfast! Yessss!
They were so good and I love the way she made them (without eggs).
I cleared the plate in like 5 minutes flat!
Gracias Carla!

Good to the Last Drop

Seriously, who would have thought that all of that cranberry sauce wouldn't last until Christmas? Seems that someone else in the house loves them as much as I do!
I also discovered it is really good with yogurt.

PS - Yes, I took my finger and licked all the access off the jar and and it was gooood.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Maltese Christmas Event

Last night was the annual Maltese American Social Club Women's Committee Christmas Dinner and Gift Exchange - phew, that was mouthful. It was so nice to see all the ladies dressed in their various adorned holiday sweaters and jewelry. I have never known people to have so many Christmas themed pieces of clothing and accessories. It was incredible. When I first entered the club the men were at the bar (as usual) and the Christmas music was so loud I had to talk even louder than I normally do. For those of you who don't know, us Maltese are pretty loud. Sometimes people think we are yelling when we are not. Imagine about 50 Maltese Women talking with about a million decibels of Bing Crosby all in one room. The Grinch that stole Christmas must have unloaded everything he stole and set it up at the club. It was Scrooge's nightmare for sure.

It was a feast as always - we started with bread and salad, then came the main entrees which were large plates with roast beef, green beans and roasted potatoes on them. Following all this was not just one dessert, but three! There was a orange sort of fluffy, jello like dessert with fruit on top (Mom, I think this was "Fluff" ha ha). After that most of us got up to move around a bit, digest and get coffee (or more wine in my case) with the coffee they served panettone. Dishes were cleared and then clean up began (thanks to the men who were there). The meeting was about to start but no, wait, here comes a sheet cake the size of Camino (the smallest of the Maltese islands, but large for a cake). Not just any cake, a cake with a Happy Holidays message across the top large enough for everyone to read. The inscription was surround with sugary sweet frosting flowers in the brightest edible red I have ever seen. I was praying for an end piece, seriously, that would send me over the edge but in a funny way. Between the wine and the food I was fading and needed a boost and with the sugar content of the cake I might just end up staying and cleaning up afterwards because I would be so hyper there is no way I could go home and sleep, plus we still had the meeting and gift exchange to sit through and it was 8:45 PM. As my luck would have it, I got a small middle piece and then split it with Lucy next to me since we were both rolling our eyes at the thought of eating more, but also did not want to offend so we dug in. If it weren't for the carrots and raisins in the cake, it would have been all sugar. I think I have mentioned it before, but all dietary rules and limitations must be thrown out the door at the Maltese Club or offence could be taken or you will be the talk of the town. Generally, I don't eat the meat, but eat around it and no one seems to notice.

Finally, the meeting started - it was a quick one since people were yawning and wanting to get on with the gifts. As usual, everyone drew numbers and picked their gift in order of the number that they had chosen. I didn't do the gift exchange this time around but watched everyone open their gifts. The last two years people have had to open their gift in front of the group and then they say thank you to the person who gave it, etc. but this time because everyone was tired, they just went up in order and grabbed a gift. The ones that I saw opened were; wind chimes, wine glasses, vintage looking Santa statue, snack dishes made of glass that looked like train cars and Christmas themed platter and bowl. It was fun! For me, it is not about the gifts, but the fellowship and talking with these amazing women who most of them came to America with nothing but a fist full of dollars and a dream. The topic of discussion last night at our end of the table was a little racy and since my last Maltese Club Christmas post was on Wired Malta (12/23/07), I would rather not post that information. I love these ladies and can't wait to spend more time with them in 2009.

PS - They are all trying to get me to be the Secretary for the Club, I am not ready for that now though. I might fill in a little this year and see what happens.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Weekend Recap

Today is SO much better than yesterday. I believe that we attract things that happen to us, good or bad and I was in a shitty state of mind yesterday therefore bad things happened to me. I know it was my fault and I needed to get my mind right so I went home and hid for the rest of the night to wake up this morning with a better view of things.
Kicked off this past weekend with a cocktail party at my bosses house, which was pretty fun. We played a holiday trivia game and I won one of the prizes, a $50 Whole Foods Market gift card, which was great because we are broke and needed groceries! It was nice to see people I work with everyday outside of the office and interesting to meet their significant others.

Saturday, I slept until about 10, Tim was playing tennis. I took care of some letter writing and walked to the post box to send them off in the mail. Shortly after I got home, Tim came home and we had lunch. Afterwards, I dumped all of the ingredients into the crock pot to make Angela's Lentil Soup and let it rip. I set up my little workshop on the kitchen table and got to work on some things I have been meaning to take care of for Christmas gifts. I worked most of the afternoon until I could smell the soup which made my mouth water. I made some nutty basmati rice in the rice cooker and served the soup over it, which was amazing. Thanks Angela for the quick no hassle dinner idea. It was great and I had leftovers, well spilled them yesterday, but still had leftovers.

Sunday, woke up and made a list so we could go grocery shopping. We went to Whole Foods Market and picked out what we needed for the week. You know, we are bargain shoppers and got almost all 365 brand products and our groceries cost about $35 (including my discount) which was very nice to see. When we were leaving the store Tim spotted the holiday wreaths that smelled so good so we decided to get one with our left over money on the gift card. I hadn't planned on decorating for the holidays, but this made me feel like I had to do something. When we got home, I hung the wreath and then went into the basement and got out my little pre-lit tree and put that out - that is all I am doing this year. Usually I go all out, but not this year, I need a break and a bigger space.
This is my simple little tree with 2 beehive glass containers on each side of it filled with glass ornaments. Maybe I will get some LED lights for the windows if they are still on sale next weekend at our local hardware store (they are supposed to last for 20 years!).

Monday, December 08, 2008

Monday...need I say more?

  • Cold this morning, didn't want to get out of my warm bed, plus I had a great dream.
  • Finally pried myself from the bed and stubbed my toe while walking out of bedroom.
  • Hot shower should wake me up, better yet, the smoke detector! The steam from the shower makes it go off and I forgot to place the fan underneath the detector. I slide across the wood floor dripping everywhere and place the fan underneath and get the little plastic circle to stop screaming and get back into shower, ahhhh. Then the water pressure drops. Shit!
  • Stop at Peet's on my way in, could use a kick in the ass latte to get me Monday motivated. Yumm, a large soy pumpkin spice latte, just what I need and a treat, I never buy coffee.
  • Get to work and find out I have a meeting I was not aware of, make agendas, sit down and VP sitting next to me trips over the cord of my laptop my LARGE latte flies over my shoulder and lands on the floor, top off and spilled all over. He offers me a refill from the breakroom coffee, I decline (not the same at all).
  • Same meeting, someone is unprepared and I end up having to run around and make copies from them in order for us to continue. I have a total attitude at this point and say something to the effect of "we should all try and come prepared in the future so we don't waste anyone's time" all eyes on me of course.
  • Lunch time, I spill half of my soup in the microwave - didn't know the lid on my container had a leak.
  • Drop favorite coffee cup on floor and chip it even worse than it was before - it might leak now.

Time to go home, I need to hit the road before there is traffic. I don't need anything else to go wrong today.

Tomorrow I will recap my weekend!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Santa's Workshop Weekend

This weekend and next are full of nothing but getting Christmas gifts done (God willing). I think tomorrow I am going to make Angela's Lentil Vegetable Soup in the crock pot so I don't even have to stop to make dinner. Love the crock pot and the rice cooker during this time of year.
To kick off the weekend we are going to my bosses house tonight for a cocktail party. He invited the "Operations Team" (aka the big dogs) and their assistants (me and one other) and our spouses so it should be fun. There will be about 20 of us there. My boss has a great house in Marin at the base of Mt Tam, it is pretty sweet. It will be nice to see everyone outside of our roles in the office.
Well, nothing else eventful going on here. Oh, we did finish all of the paperwork to have our adoption home study updated. I mailed it off yesterday. Hopefully we won't have to update again and will have our baby home before things expire one more time. We get one free government extension which is great because that is a lot of money and we just had to pay for the home study update ($$$$). Now we wait to hear when the social worker can come over and check us out again. I tell you there is nothing about adoption that is easy or cheap but I am sure to forget all of that when we get to hold our precious baby! I will admit to dragging my feet on the paperwork this time around, I feel like I have been burned and am not sure I want to get close to to the fire again, you know? We still don't know when and if Vietnam and the U.S. are going to come up with a new agreement so we can move forward or if we are going to shift gears and change countries completely. Last time this happened, it took 2 years for a new agreement to come about. My heart is in Vietnam though so I don't know how easy we will be able to switch without me having reservations. But on the otherhand, maybe my baby is not in Vietnam. I try not to think about it too much lately because it is the holidays and we thought we would have her home by last Christmas. It is like with each holiday or major thing that passes we say, "remember when we thought we would have Little Miss home by now?". It is very sad, to the point of I try not to cry when I see little ones and family things on TV. I just gulp real hard. I have a lump in my throat the size of Mount Rushmore. Oops just remembered that I was not going to merge my two blogs, but I just did, oh well!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

*Fabulous Find*

Who would have thought Corn Flakes and Chocolate would be so good together?
I bought one of these last year while at a work conference in Calistoga and have not seen one anywhere since. Anyone know where I can get one of these besides ordering it online?

Farewell Odetta

Odetta passed away yesterday.
There is one more sweet voice up there in Heaven to welcome those who get there.
Odetta was slated to sing at Obama's inauguration on January 20, 2009. It would have been amazing to see "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement" perform at the ceremony. Ironic that she passed one day after the 53rd anniversary of Rosa Parks not giving her seat up on the bus - two great women who stood up for what they believed in.
We could use more ladies like this!
Odetta, you will be missed by many.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Yeah Mom!

I have been feeling a little homesick lately and needed a little pick me up so...
I sent my Mom a postcard that read, "Homesick, please send peanut butter cookies and no one gets hurt". I sort of forgot about it and then today I got a box from my Mom. Once, I saw it I knew exactly what it was, but there was another surprise inside.
When I opened the box, the cookies were inside a vintage pink tissue holder that I bought when I was a teen and started my love affair with all things pink. I had forgotten about it and all at once, here it was back in my life. How exciting! I ate about 4 cookies right off the bat (yummm). At lunch, I put the rest in my car otherwise they may be gone by now.
You know when your Mom makes something that you really like and nothing else can replace it? Cookies are like that to me. I can try every cookie on the planet, but none of them will taste like my Mom's do to me. Other people may not get it or they may not think they are the best, but they might have something like this that their Mom makes for them that nothing can replace. Does that make sense?
Thanks Mom for making the cookies for me, I love them. Not as much as I love you!


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