Monday, December 31, 2012

Theme for 2013: Follow Through

I am picking up on something my friend Nicole has done on her blog for the last couple of years and picking a theme for my life in 2013. I thought about this long and hard. What are the things about my life that are challenging or nagging or seem incomplete?  I have to admit that while my life isn't perfect, it's pretty damn good. But if there's one thing that I want to concentrate on in 2013, it's this: FOLLOW THROUGH.

I don't mean just finishing my batting swing at the cages. My dad used to shout "follow through!" everywhere from softball games to volleyball matches to driving ranges. But what I'm talking more about is following through with my life. It's not enough to just take a chance but to commit to it, work hard and follow it through to the finish.

This means a couple things to me: 1) not being so scared about something that it prevents me from doing something that I want to do, 2) when I choose to do something, I need to commit to it. Just doing 'good enough' is never really good enough. 3) Continue to the end, even when the results are not what I want. There are lessons in failure. I need to lose my fear of failing.

I will write my obligatory list of things to concentrate on in 2013 (I still refuse to call them resolutions) for a later post, but all will help me in my main theme for 2013:


Friday, December 28, 2012

Second Christmas

I am waiting again for Santa. But this time in the form of a UPS driver. Christmas was great, as I thought it would be. Thank you to everyone for your well wishes, your calls, cards and emails, and your thoughtful gifts. I spent a lazy day enjoying them all with Chef in tow. We ate well, slept well, and were the laziest versions of ourselves. It was great.

But today is SECOND Christmas. The day when we receive the items we bought on Christmas with our newly acquired gift cards. I am waiting for UPS Claus to bring me a fitbit. It's basically a fancy pedometer, but it also monitors your sleep. I'm curious to see how well I sleep. I mean, I'm so narcissistic and odd that I want to know what's happening with me while I'm sleeping. I'm also an analytics nerd so the ability to put data somewhere also intrigues me. Hopefully this will all be enough to keep better track of my health and strive to do more. And what's more is that it syncs up with the app I already like using, myfitnesspal.

I guess we'll see. . .

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Spirit Quest Complete

I don't want to blog too much on Christmas Eve so I'm just going to say that I completed my spirit quest and then show you the pictures.
#1-gingbread latte WITH whipped cream, #18- Chef took pics with his camera of me skating, but none on my phone, #4 touching man-made snow at The Grove, #25- lames lights of Rodeo Drive   

#13 my mom's zucchini bread- take 2, #20- my holiday nails, #5 and #15-- that's me in sparkles on a Friday with fancy lipstick, #8- I have an actual gift, but here's some baking I gave with it to Chef's friend that is a stranger to me.

#3- all the cats in holiday attire

#11- crafted a necklace scarf thing from an old t-shirt; Genghis chased it like crazy

#2- Santa Monica beach this weekend

This is the snow coming down at The Grove shopping center--wasn't the same, but still nice.

I don't have pictures for donating to charity--but you'll have to trust that I did-- several in fact. The stockings come tomorrow, but we're covered. 

So all in all. . . 

Mission Accomplished.

Merry Christmas
See you all again next year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dear Santa 2.0

I have no real reason to write to you. Not that I don't believe, but because there really isn't anything that I truly need. And while I can't say that I was entirely naughty this year, I can't claim that I was entirely nice either. I'm sure that cancels out somewhere in your listing-making capabilities, but I've never really understood how your system worked. I mean I knew some bitches who were spoiled by Santa so I found your methods a little flawed. I hate to criticize, but I'm also fairly certain that you grade on a curve so I'm not that scared any more. Maybe that's why you've given all those Elves on the Shelf their power. You need an enforcer to intimidate the children into good behavior. That's just not your strong suit, but it is a good use of management skills.

In any case, there really isn't anything that I need. We have our health, our home, full bellies, and no real worries. If there's such a thing as bequeathing my list fulfillment to someone else, please do so. If not, here's my ridiculous list for 2012 (also known as Holiday Spirit Quest item #24).
  1. For my wishes to be bequeathed to someone who really needs some Christmas cheer.If you won't do # 1, then here's my list:
  2. For the cats to adjust their bodies to want food at a more reasonable hour in the morning, like 6 a.m. when I normally wake up instead of 4:30 a.m. They really know how to mess with my sleep pattern.
  3. If you can't fulfill #2, how about giving me the ability to sleep like the dead so that when the little munchkins start their stirring around me, I am not affected. 
  4. Adjacent to #3, I ask to have legs of ice so that when Attila curls up next to me to sleep with his thousand degree body, my legs don't suffer third degree burns.
  5. A fitbit and the ability to be motivated by it as I have been less than motivated in the last week to do much more than power walk in the mornings and lazily count my calories. Neither of which has motivated me to change my ways.
  6. Momentum-building upon my motivation to finish my novel. The first one has to get finished before I can start on the next one that's in my head. Plus I need to feel that sense of accomplishment at finishing something that seemed like it would never get done. 
  7. More LA friends and the desire to want to leave the house to see them. I actually made some headway on this this year, but I still have to really really like someone to leave my husband to go hang out with them. I'm sure that says something wonderful about my marriage and something equally bad about my anti-social behavior.
  8. For my hairdresser to continue at least doing my hair even though she's officially quitting hair to be a paralegal. I wish her well and luck and will happily support her education with hefty tips if she'll continue to keep my "auburn" locks a shade that seems plausible in nature.
  9. For the Colts to win a playoff game. If that's too much to ask for this year, I then ask that the New England Patriots and Tom Brady do not get another Superbowl ring. Or that Peyton Manning wins another Superbowl. I'm really not that picky as long as it's some combination thereof. 
  10. Since I'm talking sports, I would be remiss if I didn't thank you for last year's early present of Christian Watford's 3-point basket for the win over Kentucky last year. I will not use this space to ask for anything for my beloved Hoosiers as they're just really fun to watch this year and I don't want to taint it too much with lofty, near-impossible expectations. I just want to enjoy a successful season.
  11. One more night of debauchery with my oldest friends. I know that this is probably not going to keep me off the naughty list for the coming year, but it would totally be worth it. Not that I really want to relive my youth, because it was nice while it lasted, but I'm okay with it being over. What I would like to do is get Brooke, Lara, Anne, Amanda and Schultz together at someone's house or with a hired driver or both for one epic expenses-paid all-nighter. This doesn't mean drunkenness, but more great food, good spirits, some karaoke, and a night of no worries--no kids, no husbands, no curfews. One of the bummers of not having a formal wedding (and there really wasn't a lot of down side) was that there was no big excuse to bring all the girls back together. 
  12. For the perfect red lipstick that compliments my skin tone and makes my mouth pop while staying only on my lips and not outside the lines. I would prefer not to look like Ronald McDonald.
  13. The ability to eat candy corn and sweet tarts by the handful without any caloric effect.
  14. To finally be able to make a suitable roux to make homemade macaroni and cheese that turns out smooth and delicious instead of having a slightly floury after taste. 
  15. To be motivated and willing to actually use the beach chairs we have stored in the closet a few times this year without feeling like it's too much of a hassle.
  16. To only use Pinterest for good and not evil.
  17. The ability to continue to squeal with delight when I have those moments where I can't believe someone so cute and funny and wonderful chose me. 
  18. To have more moments when I remember why someone so cute and funny and wonderful chose me. (It's because I can be awesome. And awful. But more awesome. At least I'd like to think).
  19. To do something fearless this year and feel good about it no matter the outcome. 
  20. Is my list starting to look more like resolutions, Santa? Sorry about that. I resolve to be more on point. I mean, I would like for you to give me succinctness and the ability to digress less.
Happy Holidays, Santa. I have baked many cookies for your visit, but sadly have eaten most of them. There is, however, plenty of broccoli and salad for your reindeer. Haven't touched that stuff lately. And help yourself to Chef's Egg Nog. Unless that would put me on the naughty list, in which case I say hands off.

Safe Travels and Merry Christmas (and to everyone that's reading this too!),

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Parties Out the Yang

A poorly lit photo of me and
a co-worker at our holiday
It's that time of year, isn't it? The time when you have a zillion holiday parties at various times for various people and with which you carry various levels of enthusiasm for?

I had three holiday parties last week and one the week before. Three of the four were work-related, because I'm still working on my LA friends. The one that was just the office and no clients was at a nice restaurant in Pasadena and included a Dirty Santa or White Elephant or whatever else you want to call a random gift exchange with present swaps and stealing. (What other names are there?) I ended up with a belly full of red wine, chocolate souffle, hangar steak and french fries, and a purse full of a new Sephora eye shadow palette (SCORE!).

The next night I grabbed some reindeer antlers with bells, and toilet paper (the perfect hostess gift in my opinion) and headed to some friends' housewarming/ holiday extravaganza. Because I'm kind of getting anti-social with new people in my old age and I wasn't drinking, I stayed for about 4 hours and then headed home. The party when on for another 5 hours. So technically I left halfway through. But I still had fun. And learned how to phonetically get my team to guess the name of the prime minister of Britain during World War I  (Clement Atlee). It was my shining moment in party games.

So, now I'm a little holiday partied out for a few days. However, I did make Christmas cookies out the yang (yes, there's a lot of things coming out of my yang in this post) yesterday, as well as homemade wheat bread. And a lasagna the night before. And my Christmas shopping is done and shipped. So I think I'm in a good place.

How many Holiday Parties have you been to this year? What were the White Elephant or Dirty Santa gifts that you ended up leaving with?

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Taste of Hollywood

When I left Nashville a few years ago, I wasn't the only one. There were a few people at my old place of work at the same time and with that a natural changing of the guard. One of those who came in as I left actually moved to SoCal a month or two ago. We had mutual friends and a mutual place of work and had met before, but hadn't really hung out. 

Until last night. She and her boyfriend were gracious enough to come up to Hollywood from their place in Orange County. She called me a little before we were supposed to meet and said they got tapped on the street to come to a Jimmy Kimmel Live taping and did I want to join them? My office is only a block away from the studio so I made good time and we were able to go.

It was fun. I had never been to a talk show taping. The guests were Hugh Jackman, Carson Daly and some guy from the show Happy Endings, which I'd never seen. He was actually the most entertaining of the three. Here's what I learned from the experience:
  • People will do almost anything for a $150 gift card.
  • There are a lot of people who will gladly laugh at anything.
  • I am not one of those people.
  • It's hard and oddly tiring to clap and cheer for what felt like an hour of the two hour taping. 
  • I may not be as in shape as I think since it hurt my upper arms to move my arms that much.
I had a great time and was super happy to have dinner and some drinks with my new friends afterward. I love how an ordinary-seeming day can turn into a memory if you just go with it. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Working My Way Through My List

Genghis looks so scholarly with his tie on.
Yes, I did go crazy. 
Slowly but surely I'm trying to get my holiday spirit together. Maybe it will come out a little bit more after the next couple of days when I have drinks with a friend, our company holiday party and another holiday party thrown by some other friends all in succession.

In the mean time, I may not have blogged in the last week, but that's not because I haven't been working on my Holiday Spirit Quest. I've actually gone through quite a bit of it and figure now's the time for a good ole recap through photos (and some commentary). So here goes:

3. Dress a cat in something holiday.
This is Genghis's turn in the holiday tie. He didn't love it nearly as much as I did.

Mila had a cute little white fur muff with a bow and jingle bells.
 However, the jingle bells were popular with the other cats who began chasing her more than normal. 

12. Make gingerbread men/ women.
Buy a new Christmas decoration. (The plate under the cookies is cutely festive)
I didn't make women not because I'm a misogynist but because I'm too cheap to buy the other cookie cutter.

Proof that I made them myself and didn't just decorate them. 

6. Sing a Christmas carol at the top of my lungs.
16.  Listen to Christmas music for one week's worth of commutes.

I didn't exactly sing "Baby, I'ts Cold Outside" at the top of my lungs (It was "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"), but I only had a screenshot of my holiday Pandora.

I've also taken care of :
7. Donate to charity.

I've almost got all of my shopping done and shipped, plus I wrapped everything that I shipped myself, so feel confident that those will get done. I am also on target to see ICE at Santa Monica, visit a beach, drink a holiday latte, and make my mom's zucchini bread this weekend.

Tonight I'm going to drink a holiday libation with a friend and hopefully finish my holiday nails. 

My big question is: What do I craft???

Thursday, December 06, 2012

A Cat in a Hat and All That

I had the penguin last year.
I might be the Santa stocking
this year. Who knows?
Oh yeah, Santa does.
I'm working on my holiday spirit quest. This list doesn't seem as daunting as last year. Maybe I know my limits or maybe I'm not ready to be moved by the spirit, so to speak, but I've only slowly started working on this year's Holiday Spirit Quest. So far I have done:

  • Dress a cat in something holiday. I bought a Santa hat for the cats and then proceeded to make each one wear it until they looked appropriately humiliated. We might start using this as the cone of shame when they do something bad. I won't really count it until I get pictures of them wearing the hat. 
  • Watch a Christmas movie that I haven't seen in a long time or ever before. I watched "Elf" the other day. I had only seem bits of it and never the whole thing. So I'm counting it.
  • Put up Christmas decorations. It might be small, but it's all I've got (and want). The picture is our display, which still includes the "Snooki" ornament from my "something tacky" quest last year. I just couldn't part with it. Plus she's had a baby now, so that pre-baby body mold is a collector's item. 
I did buy the Gingerbread fixings and cookie cutter, but that is more of a weekend project. I'm working on the gift list and hope to get some knocked out this weekend. I think I'll wait one more weekend to go to ICE in Santa Monica. I actually went to a meeting at a resort at Huntington Beach yesterday. I could see the ocean, but since I didn't get to wiggle my sand in my toes, I'm not crossing it off the list. 

What have you done to get in the spirit so far?

Sunday, December 02, 2012

You Know You're An Adult When. . .

the most accomplished you feel on a weekend is from cleaning out closets. Or maybe that's just me. But I'm not the neatest of people. That's not saying that I'm not organized.  I typically know where everything is, but I live my life in piles.

There's a pile of pillows in the corner of our bedroom next to my side of the bed. They are the various sizes and fluffiness I need to accommodate any one of a number of sleep positions. (I will gladly take the pillow pile over the ambien that I needed for several years to get a good night's sleep. Ambien-free for more than two years now!). There are several piles of mail, magazines and various things that I bring through the door with the intent on dealing with. And I do, but only when the piles get too big.

We live in a small place. Partly to save money and partly because it's expensive as hell to live in LA. That does a lot to prevent a ton of clutter, but we have our fair share. And between my closet being a disaster, weird stuff littering our bedroom for various reasons (cat carrier, beach towel, aforementioned pillow pile, large plastic storage container with gardening paraphernalia, plastic file box containing all five of my journals and tons of my writing files, etc) and the main storage area bursting with piles of pure crap, it was all getting to be too much for me.

I decided to jump in head first on Saturday night and tore through the main closet. Failed attempts to entertain the cats in the form of broken feathers, broken laser pointers, and numerous jingle balls that are never used because they wake us up? Gone. Basket of yarn and various knitting needles that haven't been used in LA? Donated, saved and consolidated. The shelf with blankets and towels now ONLY contain blankets and towels. Not blankets, towels, knitting needles, moisture wicks, plant water meters, IU Santa statue, one sheet that would never be used, and cat medications.

Once that closet was tackled, it seemed like a no-brainer to tackle some of the bedroom and my closet while I listened to the Colts game. Shoes were weeded, seasonal clothes were taken to a different closet, anything I hadn't' wore in 6 months was donated. When I needed an idea on how to store my scarves in the closet, I searched for it on Pinterest and BAM! Easy storage attained.

I finished with 2 minutes left in the Colts game and got to scream and shout and scare the cats and neighbors with the full satisfaction of a Colts win AND clean closets. Ah. . . .Victory all around.


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