Can you believe that? I knew December would be crazy, but I guess I didn’t truly realize it. Now here it is, mid-month and there are labels to be printed, packages to be mailed, gifts to be delivered, people to see, etc. But I have some catching up to do. I guess I’ll start in the now and work backwards.
First of all: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! I hope you have a fabulous day and I look forward to seeing you next week when I’ll shower you with gifts 🙂
I had jury duty today. Not something to look forward to, but thankfully, they let us go around 10 am which was pretty great. I went to the post office, then got some lunch and came home. I am able to log in to my work email from home so it’s almost like going into the office 🙂 The rest of the day will be spent cleaning up the house, doing laundry, and what do you know? “White Christmas” is on! One of my favorites!
Last night, Thursday, I spent all evening and into the wee hours getting our Christmas packages ready (thus the trip to the PO today). I hope everyone will be pleased with it.
On Wednesday, the Acoustic Duo did a holiday show, their 3rd annual appearance. It was very nice. Han did “Blue Christmas” which is another favorite. You know, the holidays for Han are not his favorite. First of all, he resents the commercialism and the pressure to spend money (I agree with him, there). But after last year, and after losing his grandpa this year, it’s not the jolliest time of year for him. We lost another family member around Thanksgiving as well. One of the folks in Georgia. She was hit by a car crossing the street going to a football game. Her obituary was so amazing. Check it out: http://www.macon.com/2010/12/01/1360163/a-hole-in-the-heart-of-a-town.html. Anyway, my point was that despite his less-than-festive feelings, he still did a great job. He also did “Winter Wonderland,” “The Christmas Song,” “White Christmas” and “Silent Night” (accompanied by DK and her friend, Lexi). His partner did a bunch of original songs he’s written about Christmas and the host of the evening also did some classics. It was a lovely evening.
Tuesday, we went to see DK in the spelling bee at her school. She had been practicing so hard. There were 20 kids. She was #7. Unfortunately, she missed her word in the first round. She walked off stage and watched the rest, and it wasn’t until the ride home when her sadness and anger at herself for missing the word came out. It was heartbreaking. Han & I did our best to talk her through it, but it’s one of those points in her life when she also has to learn how to overcome the negative. I felt so bad for her because she really knew the words on the list! It was just a mistake she made. Hang in there, D!
Monday night was pretty mellow. I made chicken enchiladas (my mom’s recipe). We love ’em! We watched some TV, then I quizzed D on her words. Very low-key night which we desperately needed!
On Sunday, I did some grocery shopping. We watched the Chargers game. Bill came over for a session but his voice was shot, so we had the evening and we made dinner (roasted tri-tip sandwiches w/ mac & cheese).
Saturday night was the annual Star of India show with Flan. He had asked me to do a poem to start the show. Last year, I had a panic attack before going on because it was all very hectic (parking, getting on the ship, feeling low as it was etc). I was determined to not let that happen this year. And it didn’t. I was there in plenty of time to get a little bit of food, a couple beverages and was able to relax. It was all good. I also traversed the ship and took a bunch of photos that I will post on Facebook or Flickr soon. The show was great, and my poem went over very well. I have original poems since 2006 (except 2008-I can’t find that one). Maybe next year, if I’m asked to participate again, I’ll create a small chapbook of the poems I’ve done over the years. It was great to see so many nice people and reconnect with folks who make this an annual gig not to miss. Love it!
On Friday, the 10th, I took the day off work, because that was the day of Grandpa Berkley’s military service at Ft. Rosecrans. The service was at 11 am and Ft. Rosecrans is over in Pt. Loma near Cabrillo Lighthouse. It was foggy and cold on the hill. It was somehow fitting. It was a small group of us that heard ‘Taps’ and watched the flag ceremony. I was surprised that I was so moved and found myself grieving for him all over again, though, at the same time, there was some relief that he was now at rest and there was no more waiting. Han took a lovely shot of the service:
After that was over, we went back to the house and I worked on my poem for the Star and Jeff worked on one of his various projects.
On Thursday, 12/9, we learned that DK had been diagnosed with whooping cough. After work, I had to go get us prescriptions and figure out where Han could go to be vaccinated, and call my doctor to find out if my last tetanus shot included the pertussis vaccination (it did). Then, I made my way to D’s school where she was performing in the choir Christmas show. She did a good job, though I missed a couple of her songs.
Skipping back a little further, on Monday, 12/6, I got on a plane and headed to Las Vegas for my annual work conference. This year, Han came with me, though he drove. The conference was at Bellagio so we got a little getaway in. Han arrived on Monday night after a rather hectic day on the road. The room we had faced the ‘lake’ so we got to see the fountain show several times. It’s so awesome! From 7-9 pm, I had to attend a reception as part of the conference which was nice. The food at Bellagio is spectacular. That night, I had more than one helping of the lobster ravioli. My God! The one thing I didn’t like about the evening was the various Cirque du Soleil performers scattered about the room. Weird. After the reception, Han & I cruised the strip, just enjoying the night. It was really mild and lovely. We went to a grocery store and loaded up on some snacks and water to have in the room since a bottled water was $9 at Bellagio. Not kidding.
On Tuesday, I had a full day with the conference. Han had had a rough night with insomnia and a nervous stomach so I left him sleeping and went about the corporate business I had to attend to. Everything was pretty good (again the food-spectacular!), the presentations were well done. Han ended up driving out to Red Rock and the dam in the evening when I had to go to a cocktail reception and the awards dinner. The dinner was amazing, and the room was beautifully decorated. We sat at triangular tables which I loved. On the menu: butternut squash tortelloni in brown butter sauce (exquisite!), yummy spinach salad with goat cheese, figs, and pears, a duo of miso-glazed sea bass and merlot braised short rib (divine!). Then they blew it on dessert. It was some weird apple thing (apple clafouti) with pecan gelato on top of it and on top of that was a sugar nest. The sugar nest looked cool, but it was crunchy and SHARP! I know a girl who cut her finger on the damn thing. The texture was awful and it was just completely disappointing. Good thing the rest of the meal made up for it! After dinner, they gave out awards which was great. I knew the winners from my department and they had no idea so it was awesome. After dinner, there was a special event: they had rented The Bank, which is Bellagio’s nightclub. I went for about 45 minutes, and that was about enough of seeing my co-workers getting a little tipsy and dancing on the risers. Han & I indulged and got some dessert from room service. I had New York cheesecake and he had mango sorbet with a sundae. Then I took a bath and Han sat in the bathroom with me with the shower on. It was great!
On Wednesday, I went to the conference activities in the morning, then slipped away from everyone getting ready to get on the buses to go to the airport. I hopped in the car with Han and we made our way back to San Diego. It was a warm day and we were cruising along. Then I saw a sign that I’ve seen every time I’ve ever been to Las Vegas and I couldn’t resist it this time. I asked Han if we could go to Calico Ghost Town. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but once we paid to go in and I read the brochure, I realized it wasn’t going to be as cool as I had hoped. Little did I know, but Calico had been ‘saved’ from extinction by none other than Knott (as in Knott’s Berry Farm), so the whole town had the soft sheen of the western ‘land’ of the amusement park. We walked through town, and it was kitschy and touristy. But then, off the main ‘road’ there was some more interesting things. But here’s the weirdest thing. There were cats everywhere. Kittens and full-grown cats. Lounging in the sun, playing in the weeds, walking around like it was the most normal thing. It wasn’t. I couldn’t get a good photo of them, but it was odd.
Now back to before I left for Las Vegas…on Sunday, December 5th, the big event of that day was I had a featured reading! It was up in Escondido and was hosted by my long-time friend, Robt O’Sullivan Schleith. Han came with me and sold my merch (nice turn of events). Another poet friend showed up, Sharon. She is one of the coolest people I know. Also one of the people who works with me came up to the reading. Other than that, it was just the regulars that were there. I have to admit I was slightly (or more than slightly) disappointed that none of my other friends came up for it, but that’s how it goes! I gave a great reading though. I felt strong and felt like I put a good group of poems together.
The folks there were very nice and said some very sweet things. I even sold a couple CDs. After the reading, Han & I went to Outback Steakhouse because I had a gift card that I’d gotten for my birthday. It was okay, but not great. The rest of the evening was spent getting ready for the trip to Las Vegas.
On December 4th, I went for a cleaning and Han had a session. That evening, a friend of ours was in town from Austin, Tony Scalzo formerly of the group Fastball. He had invited Han to come to the show and maybe play guitar with him. We went to the show, and it was great. He called Han up to play guitar on “You’re an Ocean.” It was awesome!
On Friday, the 3rd, I had the day off (thanks, work!) so I spent the day trying to find something to wear to my company’s holiday party which was that night. These events are always ‘formal,’ but there’s no way I’m buying a gown to wear. I found a nice shirt that I paired with a black skirt. It was fine. The party itself was very nice. Not a formal sit-down dinner, but a reception style affair with lots of different food stations scattered throughout the event. It was a better way to go. Han didn’t make it with me, though he wanted to. He wasn’t feeling well that night. I told him it was fine and that if situations were reversed I wouldn’t be going. Still, it was a nice evening. I left shortly after the party moved to the dance area, but not before I had dessert!
Thursday, December 2nd was a very cool evening. Right after work, Han & I headed down to Winston’s where our friend, Cathryn, was hosting her regular weekly happy hour gig. Little did she know that nearly all of her friends had secretly planned to overthrow the regular gig and make it a tribute to her! It was awesome. The guy scheduled to perform at 6:30 pm got up and played one of her songs. Everyone was in on it so we kept looking at her to see what she was doing. When she heard her song, she just kind of laughed. Then when another friend, the one who had planned it, got on stage and announced what was happening, she still didn’t quite get it. But then that person (Christopher Dale) did another of her songs, and it slowly started to sink in. It was awesome! Between songs, Chris read notes from her friends from around the country who couldn’t be there. It was really quite beautiful. There are some great videos up on Facebook, like this one and this one. She was so moved and it was so well-done. I was so glad to be a part of it.
But it wasn’t over! After that fun time, we headed downtown to Java Joe’s newest location, the Ideal Hotel. He was having a songwriter showcase that the Acoustic Duo was on. It’s a beautiful room and it was more lovely music.
And now we’re back to the weekend after Thanksgiving! That weekend, music season continued with 2 shows at Canyon Folk house concerts out in Harbison Canyon. There were a lot of laughs, some great music, and of course, a good time was had by all.
How’s that for an update!?! If you’ve made it this far, congratulations and once again, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAMACITA!