Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Can I Have Four More Days Off??

I'm sad to see this long Thanksgiving weekend come to an end. We really had a good time at our house. Not only did we have a magnificent feast on Thanksgiving (if I do say so myself - I mean, just LOOK at that turkey!), but it was also LaMarvelous's birthday, so it was a plethora of celebrations. My grandma and Aunt Margie (The Girls) came to our house for Thanksgiving dinner. I always feel very lucky when we get to have them, because they make everything so fun. They arrived just as we were putting the finishing touches on dinner - and not a moment too soon, because Grandma was STARVING. I'm telling you, she's a little thing, but she can eat like a farmhand. I really enjoyed seeing that. Between the five of us (L and me, Scott, and the girls), we kept up a lively conversation through dinner, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We finished dinner, and Grandma toddled into the living room, where I bundled her up in the recliner for a little nap. She slept for about 30 minutes, and when she woke up she was ready for pie. And not just one piece of pie. She wanted a piece of both pumpkin AND apple! Mercy...

On Friday, L and I went to a movie: Australia. GO SEE IT. We loved it. We also (while waiting for the movie to start) whizzed through a Target (Black Friday crowds and all!) and took a short trip through Pier One. Bought a DVD player for the TV downstairs at $10 off. Pier One was disappointing this time around.

Saturday we actually did go shopping (after L hung the Christmas lights up on the house), and I actually finished my shopping for LaMar - I'm so excited about his gift! He knows one part of it, (I mean, I needed him to try it on) but part of it will be a complete surprise. I love surprising him... Mostly, though, I'm just stoked to cross one person off my list as *Done*. So much still to do... That evening, L's parents took us out to dinner at Maggiano's for his birthday. Yum, yum, yum!

And finally Sunday. Sat through the 1st hour of church. Realized it was the fifth Sunday, which means combined RS/Priesthood meetings. Those are always a bit funky in my book. We looked at each other and booked out of there to the doughnut shop. Sat under the trees at a little park eating a doughnut and me drinking chocolate milk, L drinking (what else?) a Diet Coke. Sat there for 2 hours, just talking and solving everyone's problems - we are geniuses. It was quiet and heavenly. Headed home, cleaned the house, did the wash, grabbed Scott and went out for pizza (seeing as how we'd already done wrong by buying doughnuts and drinks). No one really felt like cooking anyway, and so we kept up the weekend food fest tradition.

To atone, l and I took ourselves over to East Lake, and hiked around the lake homes to burn some calories. There were lots of Christmas lights up, and we got some good ideas for our own house. Maybe we'll implement them next weekend. The lights were beautiful, and reflected off the water. So peaceful.

Tomorrow starts the diet. Again.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pumpkin Pie or Cheesecake?

Lamarvelous and I stayed up way too late last night watching Food TV. We're trying to get inspiration for our Thanksgiving dinner. So many choices, and exciting things to try! I have my heart set on trying Bobby Flay's Sour Orange Glaze for the turkey, and maybe adding crushed pineapple and cinnamon to the stuffing to give it a tropical flavor (if such a thing is possible). Bobby also had bite sized berry topped cheesecakes - so cute! Ina Garten made a big berry topped cheesecake, and also a spicy gingerbread topped with whipped cream. But we must have pumpkin pie, so maybe some of these things will be good for Christmas. Too many choices...we ended up having kooky dreams, and I woke up with a big headache, and didn't go to church. (Absence due to recipe overload?) To top it all off, I'm still in a menu quandary. All I know for sure is that the turkey will be fresh, free range, and organic. (And will probably cost $89 instead of the usual $12, says Lamar. But we'll be healthier people for it, says I)

Whatever the exact menu, I'm looking forward to a short work week, 4 days off, and a house that smells like Thanksgiving. We'll eat our healthy, organic turkey, along with cream laden mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, and lots of pumpkin pie. It makes no sense from a nutritional standpoint, but I wouldn't have it any other way. The following Sunday is Fast Sunday anyway, (or Boo-Hoo Sunday, as L and I affectionately call it) so we can repent of our crazy overindulgence. It's starting to feel holiday-ish around here - even if it is 80 degrees.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Scrambled Eggs and Sausage

This morning I decided that I needed to get to work on time for a change, as there were many things I needed to do. In order to accomplish this, I thought I would forgo the usual pleasant breakfast I've gotten into the habit of having with my son. So as I sat there by myself eating a cold chicken apple sausage and some toast, I thought:
Getting to work on time is overrated.

There should be more breakfast time spent pleasantly (if not quickly) with children over pancakes and eggs.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Please help the Flake Family

On November 15th some friends of ours, Chuck and Dori Flake, lost their home in the devastating fires in Yorba Linda. I've known Dori since we were little girls, and their family has provided me with many happy memories. To help them, please click the link to the right to find out how to donate to the Flake Family Fire Fund. Please give what you can. This wonderful family needs our help and prayers!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yorba Linda Fire cont.

This is what Yorba Linda looked like Saturday afternoon at about 1:30pm. And then it got worse. On the news, it said that 80 homes were lost in Yorba Linda alone. This is in addtion to homes in Anaheim Hills, Brea, Carbon Canyon, and now, Diamond Bar. There are even more losses in the Sylmar fire in San Fernando Valley, and futher north in Santa Barbara. Tragic.
Some were mansions, some were more humble, but all were someone's HOME, with memories and dreams attached. Luckily, the memories can remain and live on, but rebuilding the dreams will be much tougher. Our hearts and prayers go out to all who find themselves suddenly homeless, and to all the firefighters who are surely exhausted and tired of being away from their own families. It seems to be winding down, but then reality will really set in. It's gonna be a long road.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yorba Linda Is On Fire!

Check it out on the news. It seems like all of California is on fire - or at least the southern part. There's still the Santa Barbara fire, the one in Sylmar that started last night, and this morning one started on the very eastern most part of Yorba Linda/Corona area. It is really going, and the sky is black with smoke. Right now it's 9 miles away from where we are, but it's close enough to be dramatic in effect. The air outside is very smokey so we're staying indoors as much as possible. Poor, poor people who live out there... some beautiful hopes and dreams going up in flames.
I imagine there will be some opportunities for service coming up shortly. At least I hope so. When you're one of the lucky ones, it makes you feel better to be able to ease the pain of someone who was not so lucky. It's heartbreaking to watch someone's life burning up - and so quickly, too.

Other areas of the country have their own particular brand of disasters. High winds and fires just before the holidays seem to be ours. Oh - and that huge earthquake that's just biding it's time out there. Say a prayer for California.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Holidays with No Sugar (well...LESS sugar)

This has been a longest week ever! So busy at work - I actually drove home last night feeling tight and tense all across my shoulders and chest. Funny thing, though, the sensation pretty much disappeared as soon as I got home... But as soon as this weekend is over I'll be so happy! I've got a church lady function tonight that I've got to help with, Saturday night is a huge dinner with 200 or so of our physicians and wives for work, and Sunday I have a lesson to prepare for RS. No pressure there. Somewhere in between I've got to find time to shop for something to wear to the work dinner soiree. Otherwise, I'll be wearing shorts and flip flops.
Mostly, I just want to find some time to be with LaMar. I don't know how I'm going to accomplish that, but I'm sure gonna try. I mean, that's what life's all about, isn't it?
Today is my third day of severely limiting my carb intake. (That is NOT what life's all about...I am feeling a little cranky about it.) But so far, so good. Every time I've been tempted to partake of bread or a yummy, sweet something, someone has been there to shame me out of it. Good. Exactly what I need. So far I've lost 2 pounds - of course, by telling you that, I've just jinxed the whole thing. But the sugar cravings are lessening - I'm not thinking about cookies every 5 minutes. I'm hoping for poundage to disappear. The really good news, though, is that with the lower carb thing, I've actually been feeling less achey, so yay! Pasty Doctor (my naturopath, so named because she is the palest thing going) will be so proud of me! She'll give me another gold star on my next visit. (She really does do that: literally puts a gold star on your chart.) Maybe it'll cause a medical breakthrough. It's ironic, however, that I pick the holidays to start my healthy ways, but when have I ever done anything in it's proper order?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Two Girls From the OC

This past weekend was one of those rare ones you keep treasured away in that place in your mind reserved for only the best things. My dearest friend Marion came down for a visit, and so the two of us were together again making some new memories in the place where we grew up, as well as remembering the old times. We only had about 24 hours, so we made every minute count. My sweet husband LaMar (my other dearest, best friend) arranged for us to have a room for the night at our favorite Westin across from South Coast Plaza (thank you, thank you, THANK YOU LaMar!) Scott announded Marion's arrival with "MOM - Popeye's here!" (Please see old picture posted below - he thought her outfit looked like Popeye, and the name stuck.)
We loaded our bags (yes...we each had full on BAGS for just one night - and I was glad I'm not the only one who can't pack lightly) into the Explorer and off we went!
The first stop was South Coast Plaza. She had never been to a Sephora (can you imagine???!!) so we went there and touched and played with makeup and product like two 13 year olds. We used to drive the old ladies at the makeup counter in Bullock's Fashion Square crazy doing just that: touching and playing, and trying on. Only this time we actually bought stuff, so it was OK. We wandered and meandered around the main side of the mall, and then we walked across the bridge to the other side. The last time Marion was at South Coast there was NO other side, let alone a bridge with beautiful lights on it. We took pictures like two nerdy tourists, and laughed a lot.
Once on the other side we headed for a store she was introducing me to: The Territory Ahead. I'm in love with this store: gorgeous colors and textures, yummy tweeds and soft cottons. And the leather bags... well, don't even get me started. We shopped and tried on, and shopped some more. AND - we each made purchases, which we admired once we went to the Westin and checked in. Marion is one of the very rare people I actually enjoy shopping with. I always have. We would make a day of it: shopping and lunch.

But back to our girls night: we checked into our room, and I was regretting mightily that I'd refused LaMar's offer to make a reservation at Maggiano's. The wait was 1 1/2 hours... Same at P.F.Chang at Fashion Island. We got lucky at the Cheesecake Factory: only a 15 minute wait. We made use of the time by taking more pictures of ourselves, and admiring the clothes and shell mirrors in the windows at Gary's Island. FINALLY we ate, and talked and talked and talked... I'm afraid I forced her to order (and share) the Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake, but oh, yes - it was worth it. Yes, indeed - yum yum yum.

After dinner, each being 55 years, we were really tired. So it wasn't the crazy ladies night out of yesteryear, but it was just what we wanted. We went back to the room and compared Sephora purchases. We washed our faces, she sympathized with my zit and swollen ankle, I commiserated with her about her sensitive skin, and we talked for another couple of hours. We kept saying "I'm tired, but I'm not sleepy" until finally we were. We both snored (but just lightly, I'm sure) (oh, the joys of getting older) and I laughed in my sleep and woke her up.
(Please forgive me posting the pic of you in your jammies, but it reminded me of when we had slumber parties years ago. So cute!)
When we got up - oh happy day - we are BOTH breakfast eaters! We headed again for South Coast Plaza to the OTHER side across the bridge and had a wonderful leisurely breakfast, after which we shopped a little more.

Reading back over this, I realize it doesn't sound like much. But how do you describe the time spent reconnecting with your oldest and best friend, and make it sound as wonderful and spiritually renewing as it is? We both felt as if we could have spent days and days, and never have gotten it all said. So we'll store up this memory and take it out from time to time to warm us when life is a little cold. We'll connect by phone, and hopefully, if we're very lucky and the stars align, we'll get to do this again soon - either here, or San Luis Obispo (where her mom lives) or in Washington, where she lives. Even though we're both getting on in years, she will always be to me the same beautiful girl and treasured friend I've been lucky enough to have since I was 11 years old. I love you, Marion - thank you so much for coming - I can't wait until next time!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't Forget To Vote!

I don't remember when I've been so invested and absorbed in an election. It's been partly entertaining, and partly a huge concern. But when all is said and done, we can't complain unless we get out there and vote for what we believe in!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy 6th Anniversary to Rex and Ronna

I can't let today pass without giving a shout out to Rex & Ronna, who are celebrating their 6th anniversary today. I love you, and wish you happiness and great joy forever!

No Stuart - But the Pirates & Fairy Princesses Were Out

My beloved Stuart didn't come trick or treating this year. What a huge disappointment! I feel a little bit like Puff the Magic Dragon after Jackie outgrows him. Is our neighborhood too small now? Too close to home? Too old to come with Dad? I don't know, but it put a damper on the night. The other damper was that there were only about 10 little Trick or Treaters total. We had a bit of a panic at the last minute: the orange lights on the Halloween arch shorted out! So just minutes before trick or treaters were due, LaMar and I were out in the front wrapping new orange and purple lights around the arch. (It just wouldn't do to have visitors and no spooky lights on the arch.)
And then we waited. Little Caden and Jimmy from down the street came - they were both pirates. So cute. A few more kids came, but no Stuart. And then came the ones that made Stuart's absence OK: three beautiful little princesses. Oh, excuse me, I was corrected: they were FAIRY princesses, complete with sparkly wings. So sweet. We gave them buckets of candy, they were so cute. Maybe they'll come back next year.

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