Thursday, December 31, 2009

Highs and Lows of 2009

I love this postcard from 100 years ago, thought I would post it today...
Pretty awesome year 2009 was - here is my annual High/Low list.

  • OBAMA!
  • I made a lof of books!
  • Juiced a LOT of lemons with Robin and laughed a TON during the process.
  • Started Manic Monday posts - I have so much fun creating these.
  • Easter in Michigan eventhough I was there for something sad, it was nice to be there.
  • Greece
  • "Meet me on the veranda" - nights that lasted into the morning with Christina and Angela
  • Lots of beach time with Tim
  • 35th Birthday weekend in Santa Cruz with Tim
  • Made my 600th post on this blog!
  • Beach House Weekend!
  • Malta
  • Gozo
  • Malta - Mom, family, food, fun, sun, sea, wine...
  • Malta - meeting Ilene from "An American in Malta" blog
  • Sara and Cam's wedding - getting to meet Aurora
  • Tim's Birthday celebration
  • Ice Skating
  • Advent Calendar attempt (better luck next year, we feel off the chain midway through)
  • Christmas in Michigan


  • Aunt Mary passed away
  • Guruji passed away
  • Michael Jackson passed away
  • ER Visit when I cut the back of my foot
  • Loud upstairs neighbor situation continued
  • Diagnosed with asthma and an "acute cat allergy"
  • Adoption process in general

Looks like the highs outweigh the lows, that is what I like to see. If you know of more lows don't tell me, I have obviously already let them go! I traveled a LOT this past year, ate a lot of great food and spent time with a lot of wonderful people and made a few new friends as well.

Any resolutions?
I don't have much, I generally make them on my birthday for the upcoming year. I do know that this year I am going to spend more time being productive making books and writing by booking time on my calendar for it and spend less time just hanging out at home doing nothing (God willing of course).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Recap

What a nice little hiatus - went by way too fast but it was just lovely. All flights were on time and security leaving Detroit to come back to San Francisco was a breeze (maybe because it was so early in the morning when we left).
Here is a rundown of our holiday events...

Christmas Eve -
8 PM early to the airport to get parked and shuttled, went through security (no lines), ate dinner (Chinese Food, everything else was closed) and waited at the gate for our flight to board. 11:15 PM plane departed (on time)

Landed in Chicago at 5:50 AM (that is 3:50 AM for us West Coasters) walked to the gate and waited for flight to Detroit. Arrived a little early in the D and Dad came to pick us up - super easy without having checked our bags.
Had breakfast when we got "home" - Mom made cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs and fruit salad followed by many cups of coffee. We exchanged gifts with Mom and Dad (just the four of us) and then Tim and I had to take a nap before Emily and Mat showed up. We slept for about an hour and a half. I set the table and watched a little TV until Emily and Mat showed up. We exchanged gifts with them and then went down in to the basement to eat a wonderful turkey dinner with all the fixins'. It was so delicious, there is nothing like Mom's cooking if you ask me. After dinner we sat around, Emily and I watched her "Sing Along Songs" video from when she was a toddler and sang all the songs. We all had some dessert and coffee and then played cards for a bit (Emily, you owe me 90 minutes of my life back, ha ha!). The night seemed to go by way too fast and before I knew it, I was so tired and needed to hit the sack so Tim and I went to bed.
December 26 -
Slept until about 9 AM, had the BEST bagels ever for breakfast (this is a Michigan must have when I am in town). Bagels are NOT even close to what they are back home out here on the West Coast. Believe me on this one. Watched "Christmas in Connecticut" and waited for Emily and Mat to get up since we were planning on going to lunch. At about 1:00 PM, they came upstairs and Tim and I went to lunch with them at Anita's Kitchen for some awesome Middle Eastern food. After lunch we went to Trader Joe's so Mat could see some of his old coworkers and then went to a sporting store so I could get a Red Wings sweatshirt. That evening my brother Andy and his girls Veronica and Violet came over for dinner. We had a ton of fun! I wish I lived closer so we could spend more time together, but I guess distance is what sometimes makes the time we can spend together so precious. My Mom again made a large dinner, lasagna, salad, garlic bread, vegetables, Maltese bean salad, etc., etc., etc. The meal was followed by a million kinds of cookies and left over pie from Christmas night and peppermint ice cream! I played with the girls until it was time for them to leave around 9:00 PM. We all just hung out at home the rest of the night because we had to get up super early since my parents were leaving as well as us in the morning.
December 27 -
4:00 AM (1 AM for West Coasters) - get up and leave for airport at 4:30 PM. Drive on ice covered roads and get ready for a line at security due to recent events at Detroit Metro Airport. Security was a breeze, the only real line (which was totally disorganized) was the line my parents were in to check their bags before their flight out. Mom and Dad departed on their flight at 7:10 AM and Tim and I went to get breakfast and then left at 8:50 AM, we arrived at 11:00 AM in San Francisco. We have a tradition that when one or the both of us lands at SFO, we go to lunch or dinner at Celia's Mexican Restaurant, so that is what we did. After that, we went home and of course, BayLee gave us the business about not being around, but he had fun with his cat sitter who popped in to feed him each day. We took long naps on Sunday afternoon and took Monday off work so we could sleep in and rest, I was happy with that decision.
Hope you all had a great holiday!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing for New Years Eve...
True or Faux
PS - love the faux fur!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him!
Christ the Lord!
Happy Birthday Jesus.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I'll be home for Christmas

I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree

We leave tonight, to go home for Christmas. I have not been home for Christmas since 1995 (I moved out here in the summer of 1996). We may not be sleeping on the plane in the hopes that we may see Santa and his sleigh out the window. Yes, we have fully reverted back to little kids since we are going to my parents house for Christmas.

We arrive early Christmas morning in Chicago and then transfer and will get to Detroit mid-morning. We have Christmas Day and Saturday in Michigan and then leave on Sunday morning back to the Bay Area. My parents leave on Sunday morning as well they are in search of sunnier skies, warmer weather and hopefully a new home! This very well could be the last Christmas in the family home - bittersweet, I have not yet wrapped my head around it.

Of course Tim will have to go to Athen's Coney Island while we are there for one of their World Famous Red Hot Coney Dogs, we will watch a Red Wings game (on TV), and will also be drinking Vernor's and eating Better Made Potato Chips!

Boarding passes are printed, we are not checking bags, we just need to get to the aiport late tonight, park and get to the gate. Please pray for clear weather, a smooth flight and no delays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...
candy cane parade

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Emily!

I know, I am a day late on this post and it kept me up most of the night as I have been just thinking about how truly blessed I am to have my sister in my life. I can't believe that we are 10 years apart and so close. She is my sister, friend, confidant, therapist when I need one and always listens to what I have to say when I just need to talk something out. She asks for advice which makes me feel like my life experience is respected and my opinion counts. We are so linked, sometimes when things happen to her, I can feel them and vice-verse.

This photo is pretty funny because just the other night I called her and was singing one of the songs from this video she is holding up (I didn't even know I had this photo until looking for one today). The ironic thing is, they are all Disney songs and that night I left the message she was at work and at the bar where she works, they played a game where you had to guess what Disney song went to what movie. Seriously, I had no idea and then to find this photo - so funny!

Anyway, I could gush, but I won't here - you all pretty much know how I feel about Miss Emily, Little Crow, Lee Lee, Emma Lee Lee, Emmer, Em and the one name only I can get away with even though she hates it... Emma.

I love you my sister, you are an inspiration to me always, I am so proud of your life's accomplishments so far and looking forward to living vicariously through you as you start Grad school next month. I can only imagine what the future holds for you and am so happy I have a VIP pass and front row seat to see it all happen.

Best wishes to you in the upcoming year.

What a week!

This past week went flying by!
Here is a breakdown of events:
Monday =
Work half day and volunteer with 22 other coworkers at the San Francisco Food Bank from 12:30 - 3:30. Our project was repackaging rice into affordable packages for the community that uses the food bank or one of its many other pantries around the city. It was super fun and the time flew by. I was scooping rice one one side of the bin and my boss was on the other and we had contests during the afternoon to see who could get closest to a pound scooping with the left hand, 10 small scoops and one legged. The Food Bank had music on so we were all rocking out. It was a wonderful afternoon and a great opportunity for me to get photos of my coworkers in hairnets!
Tuesday =
Work until about 6 PM, drop some things off at one of the VP's homes (that she forgot), and then pick up Tim to go to Target and run errands. Got home around 9 PM and then went to bed.
Work at my desk a couple hours in the morning and then start to transform one of the meeting rooms (creative space) into a winter wonderland. I had planned a sit down lunch for 100 people for our holiday party, so I had my work cut out for me. I had help from Wendy and Aya and the decorations were done within a couple hours. Rentals arrived and we started setting up tables, dressing the tables with crisp white clothes and rolling silverware in festive red napkins. Plants arrived and were placed on the tables along with a long ribbon running down the middle. The only thing missing was the chairs, which were coming later in the day.
I stayed at the office until the chairs arrived at about 6:40 PM and decided I would see how many I could set up by 7:00 PM and got the entire room done except for a little row of tables that we were going to finish in the morning. I got home around 8 PM and crashed.
This is how I left the room on Wednesday night.
Work for a hour or so, set up last couple tables and AV (I projected a yule log on the wall). Set up tables for the buffet, chafing dishes were set and all we needed was the catering. Catering arrived and the dishes were filled with a wonderful holiday meal, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, salad and cranberry sauce. Everyone lined up and filled their plates and made their way into the room for lunch. We actually ran out of seats! I was really happy about that since last year about 1/3 of the office showed up.
After the meal, I made a couple of announcements, appreciations and then we moved on to the Yankee Gift Swap. We had 53 people in the swap this year! They way it works is everyone gets a number, number one starts and picks a gift and opens it. Number 2 picks a gift and opens it and then can decide if they want to keep it or take the number 1 gift, this repeats through the entire line of people and then number 1 gets to go again to pick from all of the opened gifts or the can keep what they got. I was number 26 and opened a nice espresso maker for the stove top - I knew this was going to get taken from me so I decided to steal a gift I knew no one else wanted, but I loved it! The Pope John Paul II water/drink dispenser that number 1 had opened. He sits on my desk now, but will soon move to another location or be brought out at parties and could use a little more spirit. People come by my office to see it and have a few laughs. I love the Pope, so to me, I just like having him around. It is pretty crazy though and gets a lot of laughs around the office. People laugh at how proud I am of it and the fact that I actually took it from someone else. You should have heard the room chanting "Pope, Pope, Pope, Pope...."when each person had an option to steal. It was a great gift exchange and everyone went back to work afterwards.
I was at work until 6 PM - spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning up, packing up leftovers for the local food bank to pick up with Wendy and Aya and directing some guys who helped fold up the tables. We got everything pretty cleared up by the time we left for the day.

Chiropractor appointment and boy did I need it! Went to the office and made sure all of the rented stuff (plates, glasses, silverware, linen, tables and chairs) were all set to be picked up. Got caught up on work, called Emily (it was her Birthday) and left on time for once this week.

It was a fun and busy week - next week will be a little more mellow and I can get caught up and start working on my next big event that I plan each year...The All*Star Awards Dinner, this will be my 9th year planning it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...pretty in pink

Friday, December 11, 2009

Creative Neighbor

While walking to my car this morning, I saw this on a neighbors door. I love it, plus its trash day and what better what to celebrate that and the holiday season than creating a wreath that sort of encompasses both occasions.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I saw these ginkgo leaves this morning and though of my Aunt Mary, its her birthday today!
I miss her.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Setting up Holiday at Home

I am a little behind, trying to catch up on my blog here. I have a couple events I am planning at work for the holiday's so my world has been swamped with choosing table settings, linens, glassware, silverware and serving dishes and ordering catering on top of all of that. Don't get me wrong though, I love it, it is just insane right now!

Tuesday night I set up my tiny little tree and also put out the vintage ice skating set my Aunt Mary (God rest her soul) sent me last year right at Christmas time.

Here are some photos:

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Hockey Skates

So last night Tim and I went ice skating again (AKA my new favorite cardio). Tim is SUCH a good sport and wants to learn how to skate. We both asked for hockey skates this time and it ROCKED my world. Usually when you rent, you get figure skates, but then I asked about hockey skates and they handed them over. My sister told me that I would love hockey skates, but after learning and skating in figure skates as a kid/teen I was a little nervous about trying something new. When I put them on, the left one hurt one of my toes a little bit, but once I got out on the ice and took a slow lap around the rink, I was in heaven. I thought I wanted a pair of figure skates so I could go and get some exercise, but now, I think hockey skates me be in order. I love them! Tim did 10x better than last week except for one minor slam into the boards (self induced, not a hockey check from one of the other skaters). I think someone else may want their own skates too!

Emily, you were right, they are awesome!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Manic Monday

If I had the closet of my dreams, this is what I would be wearing today...Baby its Cold Outside

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Alameda Flea Market

I woke up early to go to the Alameda Flea Market today. My favorite Sunday of the month is when I can take a spin around the flea market, any flea market really, but the Alameda Flea Market/Antique Faire is huge and there is so much to see. The people watching is almost just as good as the treasure hunting. Today's draw back was the fact that it was 39 degrees outside and I was freezing my tushie off. I got there at 7:30 and planned on meeting at friend at 9:00, by the time we met up it was 9:30 and the sun finally started breaking through (everyone started cheering, seriously!).

I love getting an early start and this Sunday was sort of special since I knew Eddie Ross was going to be there. Eddie is the former Senior Style Editor for Martha Stewart Living and my favorite past contestant on Top Design season 2. Eddie and his partner Jaithan have a lovely home in upstate New York and he writes a great blog about his home, entertaining, antiques and so much more. Eddie leads these Flea Market trips across the country for groups of people that are interested in learning more about what to look for, pricing, etc. I was interested, but didn't make the deadline so I decided I might just run into him on my own even though the place is huge. Right when I was walking to meet up with my friend Sarah, I saw Jaithan and then Eddie! I had to stop and tell him that I love his blog and comment on it when I can. I told him I wanted to be on the group trip, but didn't sign up on time, he said it is better to meet like we did anyway, which made me happy. It was so nice to have met him in person, for those of you who don't know about Eddie, he is fabulous, check out his blog and watch him tonight at 8/7 Central on HGTV Celebrity Holiday Homes.
Here are some things that caught my eye today...

And then...there was vintage holiday stuff - one of my weaknesses, I didn't buy any of it although it was tempting. I did very well, got two serving forks, and a french linen table cloth. I spent $15 total and had money leftover to get a large bag of kettle corn to take home!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

*{Fabulous Find}*

Fabulous Find and under $25 to boot!
I think this is great for couples and families who want everyone in the photo.
Find it here at L.L.Bean

Friday, December 04, 2009

Advent Chain

The above photo is my paper chain advent calendar.
Very simple, easy to make and no cost at all. Just cut 25 strips of paper (Dec 1-25) and write an activity on each one. I planned my activities according to our calendar which already had some events on it, which helped fill in some space. I stuck the strips together with zots brand glue dots, but you could use a glue stick or tape. I used whatever paper I had around and happened to have a dark green and used a silver pen to write the day's activity down.

As for hanging your chain, when I was a kid, I think we used to adhere the last chain link (the 25th) to a recycled Christmas Card from the year before and just hang it high up and as we got closer we moved it down so us kids could reach. I didn't have anything like that, so I just draped it around something up high (on top of an armoire).

I have a feeling I am going to be on my own for some of the events I had planned. Tim plays tennis in a league and his matches sometimes conflict with the advent calendar (like tonight). So, today's activity - Hayes Street Holiday Street Fair may be attended by just me OR I might be more relaxed about it and just go home and have time to myself while he is out, which is very tempting. It has been super cold here and going home, turning on the heat, drinking some tea and reading a book sounds awfully good. Ice skating again also sounds good, maybe this weekend!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cold As Ice

Last night Tim and I went ice skating and it was a BLAST.
I thought I would have forgotten but after a couple very careful laps around the ice with Tim, I took off. Not as good as I used to be, no crossovers, but can still skate forwards and backwards and turn, so I was happy. No wipe outs, just more fear than when I was younger, God knows I don't really want to fall at this age.
We didn't take too many photos. Tim was waiting on the side lines while I skated around he took this funny one of me acting like I was getting checked against the glass (hockey style).
You can take the girl out of the Mid-West but you cannot take the Mid-West out of the girl. I was SO happy last night, smiling from ear to ear, heart pumping, skating so hard I broke a sweat. I have a feeling this may be my new cardio for a while. I have to say once they started playing some Genesis, it was like I was back in Berkley, Michigan groovin on the ice with my friends on a Saturday afternoon.

The cool thing is, Tim was such a good sport, only fell once, but was very uncomfortable on ice, but is totally game to try again. I think next time we are both going to try hockey skates. There were a couple girls there my age just cruising around in hockey skates so I have to try it. I have always skated in figure skates, so they peaked my interest. Watch out SF, Detroit is on the ice!
Funny thing I will add, there is another arena in Oakland and they have two rinks, one is NHL regulation size and the other is Olympic size (even bigger than NHL), it is close to where I work and I could skate after work however, the Sharks practice there and co-own the arena and I am such a Red Wings fan I am apprehensive about skating on their ice! ha ha!
Advent for Today - write brief note for Christmas Cards

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

First Advent Event

We started our advent calendar yesterday and our activity was to go downtown for dinner on Macy's roof (Cheesecake Factory) and look at the Macy's windows. During dinner the snow machines went on so we sort of ate outside in the snow under heat lamps - so San Francisco!

I had to take a photo from the roof looking down at Union Square (I was standing between the C and the Y in Macy's logo in the above photo), it was so festive and there was ice skating!I have been on an ice skating kick as of late. I used to skate a lot back home when I was a teen and have not been on the ice since. I have recently had a couple dreams where I have been ice skating and pick it right back up. Unfortunatly, I don't think that will be the case, eventhough my Dad said it is like riding a bike, you don't forget. We will soon find out, Tim has finally agreed to go with me and try it out. What a good sport he is.

After checking out Union Square we went to the other side of Macy's to check out their SPCA holiday windows. Every year they showcase animals that need adopted and these are a few of the fuzzy creatures we saw last night.

It was obviously nap time for them. They go back to the shelter for the night and then come back the next day. Last year they adopted 350 animals from the window alone during the month of December! So incredible! It was a great way to kick off our advent calendar.
Today's activity is to print lables for holiday cards - not super fun, but free and needs to be done.

Getting Caught Up

What a weekend we had! Friday off work, but decided after dropping Tim off at his office, I would check out what all the hub bub is about "Black Friday". I had a list for Target for normal (non-holiday) items so I decided to go there first. Geeze, the parking lot at 7:30 AM was insane. I parked as far away as I could in order to get my heart pumping a bit while I walked up to the store entrance. There were shopping carts available which was surprising because on any given Saturday, they usually run out. I went in and grabbed a couple things (toothpaste, TP) and then walked the store to look at holiday items. I made my way over to the magazines to see what Christmas issues were out (cooking magazines) and there was a HUGE line in the magazine aisle, which puzzled me. I made my way in the aisle minus my cart because there was no room. I grabbed a few magazines and a lady asked me if I was "in line?".
"In line for what, do I have to wait in line to get a magazine?"
Then some dude shopping in his plaid flannel pajamas (one of my pet peeves) chimes in, "No lady, the line is if you want to buy anything electronic, like the TV that is on sale."
"Don't you think it is interesting that all of you waiting to purchase a box you sit in front of and watch are blocking the entire aisle of books and magazines for people who actually read?"
No comment from any of them, just stares. So, I pushed my way through the line of carts (excusing myself of course) to grab the Andre Agassi autobiography for Tim and went on my way.

After leaving Target, I went over to Macy's - again, parking lot was a zoo and it was probably 8:00 AM. I had a couple basic items to grab for Tim (birthday gifts), grabbed them and then waited in a line of about 20 people. By the time it was my turn the young man behind the register thanked me for my patience and then when he discovered that what I was purchasing was not on sale, he gave me a discount! Nice experience all around. I went with an open mind, didn't have any expectations and knew there was not one thing I HAD to have like other folks there. There was a sweater table that looked like a tornado had ripped though there and just about everyone in line had a sweater in hand. Maybe I missed out, but I went for what I needed and if they didn't have it, I would have just walked out. No big deal. People were stressed though, the vibe in line was horrible. People rushing around, one person in line, while another person would bring them things and say "how about this for Uncle so and so..." It was at that moment, I was glad I was not in that same space. Too much pressure if you ask me.

I went to a couple other shops that were not as crowded, PetCo and the grocery store and then went home to bake Tim's Birthday Cake (German Chocolate).

Saturday we woke up and went straight to Robin and Kenny's house to celebrate Tim's 40th Birthday! Kenny smoked some chicken and barbecued a big hunk of beef. Robin and I made biscuits and a salad and Kenny and Robin teamed up and made homemade baked mac and cheese and we also had some greens Kenny made for Thanksgiving that were left over. Everything was so delicious! Andy and Laura, next door neighbors of Kenny and Robin came over and the six of us had a really nice early dinner together. We took a break, cleaned up a bit and hung out and then it was cake time. Tim let us sing to him and he made a wish and blew out his candles. The cake was sweet and yummy! Something about cake I just love. It seems so festive and is always a special occasion when we have it. I would like to incorporate more cakes in my life in 2010, how is that for a resolution?
We wrapped the evening up watching "Adventureland" and "UP" and then went to bed. It was so nice not to have to worry about driving home, thanks Robin and Kenny for being such great hosts. In the morning we had hot coffee and birthday cake for breakfast (I love it!) and watched "Let the Right One In". I had seen it on a plane this spring, but on a big screen with surround sound is SO much better. After the movie we had more coffee and chit chatted before heading back to the city.

It was a wonderful weekend. Nice to get out of the city and hang out with great friends.

PS - Robin and Kenny, the leftovers were FABULOUS! I heated them Monday night and they were just as good as the first time around, thanks!


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