Happy New Year!

I’m trying out a new blog format to go with the new year. What do you think?

I spent most of the day at a coffeehouse doing my Unraveling workbook. It was awesome! I’m still not done, as I still have to pick a word (though I have a couple that I’m already tossing around). But I figure I’m ahead of the game because I completed my 2015 workbook in April!

Tonight, we’re just going to take it easy, but tomorrow & Sunday, Han has gigs.

Here’s a quick recap of 2015:

January: started my San Diego Adventure Days (SDAD) – Presidio Park
hosted my last Third Sunday Poetry at Java Joe’s

February: SDAD – San Diego Botanic Garden
last volunteer day at Helen Woodward
celebrated Mom & Dad’s 50th anniversary with Sandy, Mom & Dad

March: hired someone at work
SDAD – Mt. Helix
Han’s surprise birthday show
went to Phoenix for the day for work
dinner with The Becky

April: Acoustic Duo had CD release shows
Sandy visited for Dad’s birthday
SDAD: Julian
Barbara visited
wrote 30 poems (or drafts) every day of the month for National Poetry Month

May: reading at the Getty with Mom
got upgraded sleep machine
dinner with Heather
SDAD: Old Mission Dam

June: D’s graduation
SDAD: looking for houses & lunch with Barbara
Laurel in town
Steve Earle @ the Belly-Up with The Becky
Rugburns show at Java Joe’s (on-stage with the band for “Barney Miller”)
was interviewed for a poetry podcast

July: found a new place and moved

August: D turned 18
Barbara in town
had a story about Barbara published in SD Troubadour
SDAD: ? (I can’t remember and can’t find any note about what I did!)

September: Han’s brother here
trip to Spain!!! (Barcelona/Costa Brava) with Mom & Sandy – INCREDIBLE!

October: Ashford graduation (work)
SDAD: San Diego Ghost Tour
visit Sandy in SLC (did an SLC Ghost Tour!)
Han Soloween party at Matt & Joey’s

November: performed with other poets before a play at the Lyceum Theater
SDAD: footbridges of San Diego
turned 44

December: Sandy & Tristan visit for Mom’s birthday
performed on the Star of India
Acoustic Duo Christmas show
Christmas at Mom & Dad’s

Han traveled a lot in 2015 for gigs, mostly to northern CA. Health-wise, I had to do a couple rounds on steroids (May & August) to combat some vasculitis flare-ups, but nothing as severe as 2014. I continued with my monthly therapy sessions and acupuncture.

In 2016, the SDAD will continue. More reading. More writing. Being active. Monthly visits to Mom & Dad. T’s graduation. Baseball trip with Sandy. Lots of things to look forward to! Happy new year!

holidaze

Year after year it gets more and more difficult to get into the “holiday spirit.” I don’t know if it’s the beautiful San Diego weather or the merciless onslaught of all things Christmas 6-8 weeks before it. Probably a combination of the two.

I mentioned that my family isn’t super traditional for Thanksgiving, and I would say that that slides into Christmas a bit as well. Since Sandy & I have become grown-ass women (hee!), there aren’t any (or many) family trips to see aunts and uncles. Dad’s siblings usually come to La Mirada for a day (has become Christmas eve, usually), so the actual day is pretty mellow with me and my folks, sometimes Han, sometimes Sandy and her family.

She alternates between her house, her in-laws, and our folks. This year, I think it’s the in-laws’ turn.

One year, we went to Florida & Georgia to spend it with Han’s mom and her parents and that whole side of his family. That was a fun time. Florida in December was pretty nice. So was Georgia. I was glad we went because that was the last time we saw his grandpa, Papa Herman (we share the same birthday). I think he died the following year.

I get three paid days off. Christmas eve and day are standard paid holidays, and then my company gives the “gift of time” in lieu of a big holiday party, which I prefer, so we also get the 23rd off. I’ve decided to ask to take Monday and Tuesday of that week off as well. I think Han and I will go see the new Star Wars one of those days. The early show. 🙂

Sounds like tomorrow night we’re going to see D in a musical at her church. It’s a ‘twist’ on “A Christmas Carol” called “Twisted” if I have that right. Should be good!

One of the better things about this time of year is watching all the great movies that celebrate the holiday. I’ve already watched “Elf,” though that might require another viewing. Also on my holiday watch list is “Scrooged,” “Love Actually,” “Christmas Vacation,” and “The Holiday” among others. (Maybe throw in “A Christmas Story,” “The Santa Clause,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “White Christmas”…). By the way, Han and I tried watching “Bad Santa” because neither of us had ever seen it, and we couldn’t get through it. I just wasn’t in the mood for that kind of story.

This post has been brought to you by Lizzie’s Christmas thoughts.

Thanksgiving

Never been a big holiday for my family. We rarely, especially since me & Sandy have grown up, have a ‘traditional’ meal. Today, we had grilled steak with potatoes, plus alioli & bread. It was really good. For dessert, chocolate pudding with whipped cream. For lunch, Mom made pan con tomate and we put jamon serrano on top. There was also chips & guacamole, patatas con alioli, and chips & spinach dip. All yummy!

I took Dad to dialysis this morning. The bummer was he hurt his back again, pretty much just as it was starting to be pain-free. He wasn’t feeling very good all day.

After I got back, I turned on the TV and watched a bit of the parade, but it was lame, but then I found “The Godfather,” which seemed pretty perfect.

This holiday, obviously, is meant for giving thanks and being grateful. I am grateful for many things in my life. Not the least of which is being able to spend time with my parents.

Tonight, Mom & I hung out in her room for a couple hours and talked about movies, organization, and when it’s okay to throw things away or donate them.

I hope Dad’s back gets to feeling better.

Tomorrow, I’ll head back to San Diego, but I’m coming back up here when Sandy & T come to visit in a couple weeks. Fun!

I forgot!

I totally spaced on blogging yesterday! Sorry! To make up for it, I will post twice today.

Yesterday, I went to work with my pie and cookies. Around 11:15 am, we started putting food out. A lot of people were off so there was a small group, around 12. The newly appointed VP, and an old friend from RRS days, was off, but he was going to come in and bring the turkey. My boss was also off, but he was going to come in and bring a ham. Well, the ham got there, but the other guy didn’t order the turkey and struck out at Honey-Baked and Boston Market. So there wasn’t turkey at our Thanksgiving potluck. It was okay, there was plenty of lumpia! The cookies and pie were very well-received. There were leftovers so I brought them up here to LM.

We were told we could leave around 1pm, but I had a meeting so I ended up leaving around 2 pm. The roads were already crowded. I used Google maps to get me there the fastest, but it still took about 3 hours. I went on toll roads, side streets, and random freeways, but I was moving pretty much the whole time which is what I like. I detest sitting in traffic.

When I got here, things were a little tense because I was upset about something which made my mom upset. After things calmed down, it was fine. Mom made BLAT’s and Trader Joe’s mac ‘n’ cheese. We watched “Survivor” then I just went to bed around 10 pm. It was weird, it didn’t even occur to me about the blog until this morning!

Until later today!

baking, anxiety, Trainwreck

It’s holiday week. Tomorrow at work, we’re having a potluck. It seems like it’s going to be kind of skimpy this year since we have fewer people, and some of the people will be on vacation.

This year, I signed up for desserts. So today I made a pumpkin pie and chocolate chip applesauce cookies. I also made a meatloaf for Han to have while I’m gone.

He got back today, and I went down to meet him at the rental car place around noon. We had to unload all the gear from the rental into my car before he returned it. We met in the cell phone lot near the airport (we rent the car from the Avis at the airport). It was crazy busy, and it made me extremely anxious.

I came home instead of driving back up to work, but I brought my laptop and did some work here as I baked. I really enjoy baking. I don’t tackle anything too taxing, but I always make pretty good cookies. I think the pie came out pretty good, too. I’ll have to stop for whipped cream on my way in to work since I forgot it at the store.

Tonight, Han & I watched “Trainwreck,” the Amy Schumer movie. I enjoyed it. It was graphic and vulgar in parts and incredibly sweet and believable in others. I like her a lot, and the movie reinforced it which was a good thing!

After the movie, I cleaned up the kitchen from the afternoon of baking.

Did I mention that there’s a house in the neighborhood that is already decorated for Christmas? And two (2!) radio stations that are playing holiday music 24/7. Too soon, people!

Easter

Today I went up to a poetry reading in Escondido to see my friend, Robt, who had a heart attack a couple months ago. It was great to see him. His reading happens the first Sunday of every month, and it draws from the older folks of Escondido. He keeps it going because there’s not much else going on up there, and he wants to keep a connection to the arts. We’ve known each other a long time, and I was glad to see him and see that he’s doing pretty good.

It’s Easter. It’s not news that I’m not very religious. It’s just another day to me. Much of Christian religious holidays stem from formerly pagan days or rituals. Plus the story of a risen god, or resurrection, is part of most religions. And the Easter bunny with its eggs are both symbols of fertility, signs of spring, signs of rebirth. Also, the day of Easter is dependent on the moon which is why it’s never on the same day. It’s kind of a mash up of all kinds of things when it comes right down to it. And don’t forget Passover. Here’s an interesting link I found: http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/05/world/easter-bunny-astronomy/.

Perhaps more importantly, today saw the first games of the Major League Baseball season played. Tomorrow is opening day for most teams, but there were a couple played today. Yay, baseball!

Today’s draft:

Easter Mash-Up

the blood moon marked
these holy days
while eggs & rabbits,
symbols of fertility and new life,
are given as gifts
to celebrate the rebirth
of a god
who died to grant salvation
to others

Easter lilies symbolize purity
while the palm means
rebirth and enduring life

the mash-up of holidays
becomes harder to follow
as the years go on

love each other

back to work, increase, and ease

It was back to a regular work week for many Americans. You sure could tell on the highways! It was crowded!

At work, a co-worker starts off every new year by making breakfast for the whole crew. He calls it a 49’er omelet. It’s basically eggs, sausage, and mushrooms. The rest of us brought sides and other stuff like bagels and donuts. It was a nice way to start off what promises to be a very busy, yet kind of exciting year.

I headed up to the kitties in the afternoon. Not many now as the humans, as I mentioned, are back in their regular routine. I did walk a couple dogs from the same house, Annie & Diana. Not very affectionate, but nice enough. They had matching shirts.

When I got home, there was a letter from our landlord that he’s increasing our rent another $100 starting February 1st. That dude, I can’t believe him. What an ass.

Still, this ‘ease’ business is still working for me (alright, two whole days!) When I start feeling stress or anger, I just say the word in my head, and just try to take it all in stride.

For dinner tonight, it was kind of a do-it-yourself thing (though it doesn’t have to be). Again, Pioneer Woman. I put out the fixin’s for two things: pesto, tomato, and mozzarella sandwiches (I’m the only one who made a sandwich -yum!) and chicken & strawberry salad. I had marinated chicken tenders in balsamic dressing then sauteed them and cut them into bite size pieces. Then you have salad, strawberries (quartered), nuts (I used almonds), goat cheese, and the balsamic for dressing (or any other kind they wanted). Again, I just put everything in bowls and had them make their own salad – you never know who doesn’t want nuts or the what their right amount of dressing is. And finally, a quick round of frozen tater tots. It was a tasty, easy, and satisfying dinner.

I’ve been taking time after dinner to clean up the kitchen really good on account of the ants. We haven’t had any in the last day or so, or it’s just one lone ant that I quickly kill. Although it’s kind of a drag, I’ve found since I started this habit a few days ago, that it’s kind of relaxing. I ease my way through it (see, there it is again!) Plus I run the dishwasher at night before we go to sleep, and the kitchen is nice & clean in the morning. That’s a better way to start the day.

Tomorrow is the day of Epiphany. I remember one winter back in Idaho when my sister, my mom, and I stayed up to try to see Los Reyes Magos. We’d put out some food for them (don’t remember what), but we also put out some Corn Flakes for the camels. I was certain I’d be able to stay up, but I couldn’t and when I woke up, sure enough the Corn Flakes had been munched and there were gifts for me and my sister. It’s a gift-giving holiday in Spain, and it’s something my mom has continued into our adult years. I can’t wait to open my envelope tomorrow!