Monday, December 29, 2008

Ugly Sweater Party Pics

On Saturday we had our first Ugly Sweater Party. It was more difficult than I thought to actually FIND ugly sweaters, but everyone did a pretty good job. Even had a few people end up with the same ones! We had a gift exchange, games, and oh so much food. It was a lot of fun.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Successful Christmas!

When I say successful, I mean it was relaxing, fun and stress-free. Luckily I got most of my Christmas shopping done pretty early this year, so on Christmas Eve we got to focus on just wrapping the gifts and preparing delicious food. We had the Christmas music going and it was raining outside, so it really felt like Christmas this year - ya know? Sometimes there's so much hustle and the weather doesn't quite match the season, so its hard to get in the zone. But not this time. It was so nice. My brother helped me bake cookies and my husband's family came over for dinner and presents.

Christmas Day was still raining and we rolled ourselves out of bed around 11:30 to go eat some french toast. We spent the afternoon relaxing and watching movies before joining in the festivities with some of the other relatives. We played White Elephant and got to see a new baby (she is sooo cute!) What a great holiday. Even yesterday we had our HomeView Holiday Party and got to spend the day freezing our buns off at the race track. It was fun to bet on the horses, but even more fun to come home and get cozy for the evening.

Usually I am very sad to see Christmas go - and this year won't be any different - but it's not over yet. We still have the gift exchange with our friends tonight, so we are cooking again and getting ready for everybody. Hubs has all of this week off too, so we will get to spend some more time together cozy by the fire, watching movies. And to top it off, some of my family is coming to visit next weekend for Mom's birthday, so we will exchange more gifts and get to see Disneyland all decorated for the holidays. I just love this time of year!

Hope all of you had a Merry Christmas too!

Friday, December 19, 2008

P.F.T. (Pretty Frickin' Terrible)

PFT actually stands for Pulmonary Function Test. I had one of those today. I went in not really know what to expect, just that they would be monitoring my breathing. I had no idea what a traumatic experience it would be! They put me in a little glass box with just a chair and a machine that you blow air into. The mouthpiece was exactly like one you'd use while scuba diving. Then, they plug your nose and make you take a lot of normal breaths, then a lot of deep breaths, then empty out your lungs, etc. Just lots of different types of breathing.

I kept watching the therapist's face as she was looking at my results and it was sort of a grimace. Like this:

And I thought "Well, that can't be good".

The scary part was one particular test in the middle of my session. First, I had to breath normal - as normal as I could with my nose plugged and breathing through a scuba mouthpiece, by the way. Then all of a sudden, the therapist would say "Ok, let all the air out! Go, go, go, a little longer, keep going, let it all out, a little longer, a little longer.... OK!" and when you were completely out of air, they would block the mouthpiece and you would have NO AIR AT ALL. Just when you want to take the biggest breath of your life, you can't! I had to sit like that for a couple seconds, but it seemed like an eternity. I started getting totally panicked because I was sitting in this little box, with no air - I just couldn't do it! I pulled away from the machine and completely ruined the test. So we had to start over.

Then second time wasn't much better. The third time, she got frustrated with me because I wasn't breathing NORMAL in the beginning of the test. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO BREATHE NORMAL, KNOWING FULL WELL THAT IN A FEW SECONDS I WILL BE COMPLETELY WITHOUT AIR?? My heart was racing and my hands were sweaty and it just made me so nervous and uncomfortable. Finally, the fourth time I guess I did it well enough that I didn't have to start over. PHEW! But seriously, so scary. I mean, I knew she wouldn't kill me or anything, but in the moment it was so upsetting.

I began hating the therapist. I hated her face and the way she talked - all because she was the poor lady adminstering the test. Once it was over, I had no ill feelings toward her at all. She was actually quite nice. But while it was happening I wanted to pull her scraggly brown hair out.

Diagnosis: (Get ready for this shocker)

I have asthma that is out of control.

Thanks Dr. Obvious! Why do you think I came here in the first place? I swear, these fancy doctors with their fancy titles and fancy coats are YET to tell me something I don't already know. Unbelievable!

Monday, December 15, 2008

New York State of Mind

First, let me preface this entry by saying that I was originally keeping a little notebook of all the things we did, because I have the worst memory of anyone I know. But the notebook was lost somewhere in the shuffle. So I will try to remember as much as I can off the top of my head. Brace yourselves, this will be kind of long...

DAY ONE: I had my "New York Moment" as soon as we arrived in the city. It was Thursday at 5:30 in the morning. We grabbed our bags and waited in line for a taxi. It was cold. And it was raining. The cabbie started heading toward the Manhattan/Midtown area. He was quiet most of the ride, but then started playing Michael Bolton and singing and whistling along to the music, which was cracking me up. Then, no joke, New York State of Mind started playing. I wiped the fog from my window, pressed my face against the glass and looked out to see the Chrysler building and the lights from the big city. I sighed and realized immediately that I was going to love New York. Just as I was completely wrapped up in my moment, the driver rolled down the windows and the cold knocked me right out of my haze and back into reality. That breeze was no joke. It was FREEZING! And he left the windows open for like 5 minutes. Do they not have a defrost button for the windshield??

We arrived at the hotel a little before 7am and woke up the other couple traveling with us. They had arrived the night before and I'm sure were just cozy in their beds when we barged in. Hubby and I laid down and swore we'd be up in a few minutes, we just needed to rest for a bit. Three hours later, I think we finally rolled out of bed and got ready to see the town. We immediately hit a Dunkin' Donuts for some breakfast treats and walked over to Times Square. Our hotel was just 5 or 6 blocks away so it was really convenient and easy to get everywhere.

Times Square was pretty much the way I imagined it, except for all the rain. And it did not stop all day. It rained long into the night, past the time that our jeans and shoes were soaked through. But what are you going to do? We only had 3 days to see everything, so the rain did not stand in our way! We walked through Bryant Park, the NY Public Library, the Empire State Building, the enormous Macy's (I have never seen a bigger shoe section in my life!), Jekyll and Hyde's - and eventually wound up at Rue 57 for a yummy dinner with my cousin. He was super nice and paid for ALL of us and it was fun to see him after so many years. After dinner, we ran over to FAO Swartz and then decided the rain had sufficiently kicked our butts and it was time to go back to the hotel. We still had a little ways to walk, so we got to see quite a bit of the city at night with all the Christmas decorations everywhere. We also thought it would be a good idea to invest in ponchos in case the rain didn't stop - luckily, we never even had to open them. (That always happens!) We had some good laughs in the hotel room that night, kind of like one of those slumber parties where you can't stop giggling. And it was just nice getting caught up with some old friends.

DAY TWO: We got to move all our stuff over to the apartment that was very generously offered to us by some relatives of my girlfriend. The apartment was located in the Financial District and had the most awesome view! Just beautiful. And it was small, but that made it all the more cozy.

First, we got bundled up and walked a couple blocks to Ground Zero. It sure doesn't look like much because there is so much construction going on. But it was very sobering to see all the dedications and memorials hung up around the area. I wish I had seen the towers before they fell because its hard to imagine how tall they were. All the buildings around it are tall, but the towers apparently dwarfed them all by a lot. They are in the process of building a few new towers with one extra huge "Freedom Tower" in the center of it all. That will be such a sight!

We had to stop for hot dogs from a street vendor and even though its just a hot dog, its so darn good! Then we walked a couple more blocks to Wall Street and the NYSE, all the while bracing ourselves against the freezing wind. The tall buildings almost act as a wind tunnel and it sometimes takes your breath away with how cold it is. We also saw Battery Park and got a little more familiar with the subway before heading to Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center. We took an elevator up 70 floors to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck and that was amazing! You could see the whole city and it was just so beautiful. Then we took an NBC Studios tour and got to see the SNL set as they prepped for Saturday's show. We went down to the front of 30 Rock and saw the ice skaters and the Christmas tree. Across the street was Saks 5th Avenue and St. Patrick's Cathedral. We ended up going down into Little Italy for dinner and got totally stuffed on all you could eat pasta and bread. We took a cab back to the hotel and didn't last long before our exhausted bodies just knocked out.

DAY THREE: We knew we had to see Liberty Island and Ellis Island, so after a quick breakfast, we bought our tickets and waited in line for an hour and a half to get on the ferry. At this point, I can honestly say I have never felt more cold in my entire life. When the wind wasn't blowing, it was barely tolerable. And whenever there was a gust, it would just go straight through to your bones. I was initially worried I'd be sweating under all my layers, but I am fairly certain I did not lose one drop of sweat during the entire trip. Thankfully, we got a seat on the INSIDE of the ferry and took the short cruise to the Statue of Liberty. It sort of gave me chills seeing it for the first time (unless that was from my frostbitten toes) because its just sort of surreal. Seeing all the iconic symbols that you've heard about your whole life. So rad to actually experience it. Ellis Island was nice too. I didn't really know what to expect but there is a cool immigration museum and lots of history contained in one building.

By the time we returned from the islands, it was already getting dark. We ran back to apartment to add more layers and then took a subway ride over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or just The Met). That place was enormous and I know we barely saw any of it in the hour and a half that we were there, but it was really cool. Very beautiful also. We had dinner reservations at Ruby Foo's in Times Square so we ran back just in time for a delicious meal and then took a Carriage Ride through Central Park. Our driver was slightly insane, but if nothing else, it was an experience. I remember that he really liked blondes, so he was in luck with my girlfriend and I, but otherwise I just remember laughing at all the weird stuff he would say. We got some hot chocolate and shopped for a few little souvenirs, walked back through Times Square again and took a subway back to the apartment.

The next morning, we were on our way home. We slept quite a bit on the plane - just exhausted from the whole trip. I mean, we walked the heck out of that city and were all over the place for 10 hours every day - and I know we still only skimmed the surface. There is SO MUCH to see and do there. We didn't even go north of Central Park! I had no idea how big it all was. Thank goodness my husband really loved it too, because I know we will be going back. Then we can see what the rest of New York City has to offer. I'm sure we won't be disappointed.

I truly do Heart NY.

To view a whole butt-load of pictures, click here:
To hear another blondie's perspective of the trip, click here: Treen's Blog

Sunday, December 7, 2008

John Mayer: Take 2

After a failed attempt at seeing John Mayer in concert this last summer (which we DID get our money back for, by the way), we thought we'd take another shot and see him at an indoor venue where everyone is guaranteed a seat. He was playing at the new Nokia Live Theater in Downtown L.A. and it was a great venue. Absolutely loved it. And that John Mayer is one talented cookie. It was an acoustic show, so just him and the guitar, and he did some pretty awesome stuff. My husband pointed out to me at one point, that he had tuned down the top string on his guitar and was playing BASS with his thumb, while his other four fingers were still playing the chords/melody of the song. Amazing right? As a musician, he is top notch.

As a storyteller... well, let's just say he could have been better. One thing I usually love about acoustic concerts is the fact that you get the know the musician a little. They talk about where their inspiration comes from. And things they have seen that touched them. And stories about their families. And tell funny jokes and antectdotes. But poor John - he basically can't get over himself! Mostly shared how awesome he is as a person and how well his life has turned out. He has 5 grammy nominations, he gets followed by the paprazzi, he has an fantastic dating life, he has lots of money, he is super famous, etc, etc. And then closed with "But I'm still the same old John, right?" I couldn't help but think "Highly doubtful!" I really can't imagine that the old John Mayer, whom I have been listening to religiously since the late 90's, was this full of himself. But he HAS dated Jennifer Aniston, so I guess you can't blame the guy. If I had once dated Jennifer Aniston, I would think I was pretty rockin' too. Eh. I still loved show overall.

On Sunday night, we celebrated my big-little brother's 21st birthday. That was really fun and all the friends came out to play. We had pizza here at the house and then went to a comedy club called the Ice House in Pasadena. I had seen on the events calendar that there was a special engagement that evening, but no details at all. So we weren't really sure what to expect. Turns out, it was "Comedy for Queers" (stand-up acts by all gay and lesbian comedians). We were a little surprised and had some laughs about that before the show began. Like, go figure that we came on that night, right? Then we just enjoyed the show. It was raunchy and hilarious, just like a comedy club should be. And I think the bro really enjoyed himself. And he got HOOKED UP, let me tell ya. Our friends are so nice and generous. So it was a successful night and really fun, busy weekend.

Also got my Christmas decorations up! Love it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

She Deserved It...?

I have never considered myself a work-a-holic, but I have figured out that a lot of my self-worth came from working really hard, being good at my various jobs, making money, and rewarding myself with stuff. Now, that isn't the case any longer and I am relying 100% financially on my husband. It is really weird and hard for me. I always saw myself as a stay at home Mom, but never a stay at home Housewife. Dream big, right! When I was working my tooshie off at my various jobs, all I could do was imagine the day when I got to stay home, but now that its happened, its freaking me out a little bit.

For the first few months that I was home, the personal business was going really well so I hardly had an opportunity think - I was just keeping my head above water trying to get everything done. Now that things have slowed down, I have to find other ways to occupy my time. (Hence, my three blogs). Anyone who knows me will say "Well this is when she goes shopping!" And I want to. Pretty much every day. But with no income of my own, I feel weird spending my husband's hard earned dough on silly sweaters and shoes. I've been getting by the last couple of months because I was pulling money from my savings account. Money that I had put in there originally, so I figured it was there for me to use. However, I didn't know that whatever I had been pulling out, my husband had been putting back in from his own checking account. Sneaky!

He keeps saying that we just need to get a joined account and share the finances, but I haven't been able to bring myself to do that yet. I can't figure out why, since its always been my anti-feminist dream to have a man take care of me. But I always told him that I wanted my own checking account with some of my own money to buy the things I want without having to justify my purchases. Its not that he ever asks or says anything negative about what I'm buying. Sometimes he laughs when I bring home another jacket, but he's usually very understanding. So he's never given me a reason to NOT want to share the finances.

I suppose the bottom line is that I figured once I was home with OUR children, it would be different and he could take care of all of us as a family unit. But taking care of just me - the same me that spends most of the day sitting on the computer, hanging out with the cat and occassionally doing laundry and other chores? I'm ultra grateful, but I just feel like I don't deserve it.

What a goofy thing to whine about. But how do I make this transition?

Monday, December 1, 2008

We Elfed Ourselves!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

I love doing these every year!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

We were lucky enough to have two delicious Thanksgiving dinners this year. And each were enjoyable for their own reasons. On Thursday, we headed down to San Diego to spend some time with Husband's side of the family. Several of his uncles, aunts and cousins were there and it was fun seeing everyone again. We usually only see his Dad's side of the family a couple times a year (if that) so it was good to get caught up. Dinner was great and the hosts are always nice about letting so many people invade their home.

We stayed the night in San Diego at a Vagabond Inn (slightly scary) so that we could get an early start the next morning to Utah. Our plan sort of worked - we were out of bed by 6:30am, but by the time we showered, got our stuff together and had breakfast, we didn't hit the road until 9:30am. The trip felt long and we hit some traffic here and there, but besides being bored and having to stop every hour so Hubby could pee, it went fine. The fam is all doing well. My mom and step-dad were on a special diet the last couple months and both lost a significant amount of weight, so they just look awesome! Happy and healthy for sure. My nephew is cute as ever - running around, climbing on everything, giving kisses, throwing fits, clapping and imitating animal noises. I couldn't get enough of him. I still don't think he understands that I'm the same Aunt from all the pictures, but he warmed up to me pretty fast. I miss him already! Here he is really taking advantage of the toy box.

We didn't get to stay long in Utah. We arrived at like 6pm on Friday and were out of there by 9:30pm on Saturday, but that was just because we knew we could avoid the traffic if we left a day early. It was worth it. The last time I drove home on a Thanksgiving weekend, it took over 10 hours. Its just exhausting when the normal trip is only 6 hours. So by leaving the night before, we saved ourselves quite a bit of time.

But the short time we were there, we had fun as usual. Saturday afternoon was our Thanksgiving dinner #2 and it was seriously the bomb. The turkey was so good and the peach cobbler for dessert! Oh, I could have just died. Besides stuffing ourselves, we mostly just hung out, and that was just what we needed.

So much to be thankful for:

Etc, etc, etc... On to the next holiday!