It was a rainy cold Christmas morning--my favorite kind of San Diego Christmas.
I slept in later and we enjoyed our morning coffee in front of a wonderful warm fire (thanks to my thoughtful hubby, Bruce) and we exchanged our goodies filled stockings. We brought our gifts in from under the tree and enjoyed seeing the other open their gifts. Bruce was happily surprised with his Ruger M77 rifle (thank you again Dad!!) and is now looking forward to shopping for a scope and case.
By 2:00 our home was filled with the delicious aromas of Christmas food warming in the oven, and the voices of (most of) our kids and family and friends. More gift opening and laughter and love. We sat down to dinner at around 5:00 and afterwards we all pushed away from the table full and made our way into the living room and kept warm by the fire while we watched some Christmas TV specials. Later we had coffee, cocoa and pie (and candy from the overflowing candy dish on our coffee table).
I am looking forward to seeing my youngest son, T, who is driving down from Oregon today and will spend the week with us. He spent his first week of his leave with his dad for Christmas and will be returning to JAX next weekend. It's going to be so good to spend some time with him! I sure miss that boy!
Today we are sitting around in our jammies, relaxing and have a very quiet day together...ahhhh, so nice.
Oh yeah, I've been scoping out some more ideas and plans for our move...which has been slated now for May 1st. That is the day we plan to roll out of our driveway and head east.
I did NOT stop at 7-11 on my way out to finish my Christmas shopping and buy chocolate covered Hostess Donettes and a Big Gulp Pepsi for breakfast. Not me, I believe in eating a nutritious breakfast and I would never do something like that.
While Christmas shopping, I was NOT tempted to do some shopping for myself as well. I am much too unselfish to entertain the thought of trying on clothes and snapping up great bargains for me when I am supposed to completing my Christmas shopping.
I did NOT come home from shopping late in the afternoon, make dinner, wrap gifts, watch TV, blog surf on the computer and finally at 11:30 pm, fall into bed without taking a shower! Nope, not me. I always shower every day.
Hope your Monday is a good one!
I was happy that I did not have to spend much time searching for parking places or waiting in long lines. (I suppose that everyone else was either already done or they decided to go to the mountains to play in the snow). But not me. After sprinting around town, in and out of several stores and sliding my debit card a few times, I loaded the loot in the back of the Jeep and headed home.
Tonight we are sipping homemade hot cocoa (milk, cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla extract) topped with whipped cream in front of a nice hot fire in our fireplace.
We finally have wrapped gifts under our tree and it's beginning to feel like Christmas to me.
However, despite all of this, I am feeling a bit Scroogey and try as I might, I am having a tough time with Christmas this year. I love the whole shopping and gift wrapping, baking, decorating my home events, but this year most of it feels like a chore. And I hate feeling like this.
I'm hoping that by the time the predicted (and promised) winter rainstorm blows in with precipitation and wind and cold temperatures (and snow in our mountains!) and once Bruce and I have completed our traditional drive to see all the Christmas lights in our favorite neighborhoods, that the Scroogey part of me will have been exorcised.
I think I need a Christmas crafty project to help me....I love Christmas crafty projects.
I am adjusting to getting back to work, and the break at home spending time with Bruce and my daughter and son-in-law was just what I needed. I feel energized and refreshed.
And even better, today is Friday and the weekend awaits me. We are headed to the mall tomorrow to do some Christmas shopping. Our weather is changing to cold and rainy for the weekend and that will surely put me in the Christmas shopping mood. I have such a hard time shopping for Christmas gifts when the weather is hot.
I have already done some online shopping (my favorite way to shop). I mean really, how can you beat shopping from the sofa in your jammies? I do have to get out at least once to the mall to scurry about and feel the excitement (and terror) of shopping at this time of year.
We plan to get up early tomorrow morning, have a cup of coffee here at the house and head down to the mall as soon as they open. We should be done by midday and stop for lunch somewhere before we head back home.
I can't wait to dive into the craziness at the mall tomorrow. (Did I really write that? I think I really need my head examined...) Check back in with me tomorrow for a full report.
After a seriously busy week that culiminated for me on Thursday, tearing through my house and cleaning and getting the guest room and bath all ready. My daughter A and her hubby, K arrived for their highly anticipated visit. I get 5 days with them!
A is now 33 weeks along in her pregnancy and looks so beautiful! This is the first time I have seen her in person since her pregnancy. The last time I saw her over Mother's Day (for our girls' weekend to Vegas), she suspects that she was pregnant, but did not know at that time.
We are having a wonderful visit. Last night was the couples baby shower that her best friend and I put together. It was so much fun and they got to visit with friends and family that they had not seen in awhile. I stressed and stressed about it...wanting it to be perfect and a good turnout for them...and it was both!
Today is a quiet day. A & K were both feeling kinda icky, scratchy sore throat, and congested when they pulled in from their trip on Thursday night, and now A seems worse today...poor girl. Not much she can take for it and it's hard to see her feeling so yucky.
The weather is overcast and chilly (by San Diego standards) and so we have been snuggled under blankets on the couch with steaming mugs of hot tea. Nice way to spend the day anyhow....at least for me.
So I made reservations for four and we enjoyed dinner with my parents at Marie Callender's.
But our Thanksgiving day began very early and just as busy as most everyone else's, except that we were busy in the the rest of the house, not the kitchen. We had several closets and cabinets to sort through so that we could then move out to the garage to do the same on Friday.
We stopped around 2 pm, showered and got ready to meet my parents for dinner at 4 pm. We were surprised at how many people also had reservations and we stood in the "reservation line" to be seated. But once we were seated we had a delicious meal. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans and carrotts, and cranberries. We began our meal with a choice of soup or salad and finished it with a piece of apple or pumpkin pie. We took ours home to eat later. We ended up still being too full later and had it the next day!!!
Friday, we hit the garage with the same intensity as we had the day before (after running some errands) and managed to get through one section of our garage and sort a lot of things into different piles.
Today we had our carpet cleaned and so I did a deep clean on our kitchen (since I was kind of trapped in there with wet carpet everywhere else). Bruce took Kona to the groomer and then worked out in the garage on some more boxes that contained mostly his things. We have a lot of those boxes.
So tonight, we have a clean dog, (who has a clean bed) and we have clean carpet and a clean kitchen (including our refrigerator)! And more stuff got gone through!
Tomorrow...laundry, Christmas decorating, and more box sorting....
Nope, I meant Fryday...If you want to know more about this special post, about a special contest....just take a peek over at MckMama's blog to see what it's all about. I betcha you will fall in love, you'll be touched in a way you never expected and you'll become addicted. Don't say I didn't warn you...
I cleaned out our hall linen and bathroom cabinets and sorted though and stacked items to donate and save for the kids or sell. I made a lot of progress and felt good about my direction.
I dug into a cedar chest that, thankfully, contained a lot of things we are keeping. But then came the next chore....sorting through a tall chest of drawers in our extra room, that was full of "stuff"-- computer disks, cords, stationery supplies and two of the five drawers held stacks and stacks of documents and miscellaneous paperwork, cards, notes, pictures and manuals.
I spent most of the rest of my day sorting those papers (which included a lot of bank statements and check carbons that we moved with us AGAIN the last time) and then shredding all of the outdated bank statements and check carbons--some dating back to 1997!!! Thank goodness, I went paperless in 2005. Whew. It was a time consuming event to say the least. I am relieved that it is done.
I put a big dent in my list and now I have a clearer focus on my goal. I probably need to update my list now. You knew that was coming, didn't you?
Of course, then I had to spend some time wondering why that was so exciting to me and I figured out that it's because I have finally embraced the stark reality that we are not moving until it's done.
Yeah. Rocket science.
I am starting with the two "other bedrooms" first. I already cleaned out a lot of clothes from my side of our closet and put them in the "give away" bag, and I know that there will be more of that to come as we get closer to our departure date, so it makes more sense to save our bedroom for last.
The disposition of a lot of our everday things is going to be determined at the last minute anyway. I am making lists for disposing of the other stuff.
I have a lot of lists. A list of things to sell. A list of things to give to the kids. A list of things to donate. A list of things to put on freecycle. Yep. Lots of lists. Can you tell that I am a tad OCD?
I realize that I spent a long time floundering in the land of Overwhelm-ment. That feeling immobilized me. I had good intentions, but where do I start? How do I decide? What will I do with everything? Keep it all? Sell it all? A little of both? Which to keep, which to sell.... STOP! (Can you taste the panic I was choking on?)
But...now I have come out on the other side.
I have a plan.
But I am certain that is exactly what he would have said. (if he had been there, of course)
Imagine my surprise yesterday afternoon, when someone passing by our house (selling his own wares) happened to see our bedframe standing in our open garage and asked me if it was for sale. Honestly, I was shocked....I was beginning to think I would never be able to sell it.
Imagine my greater surprise when he bought it! Yep. SOLD.
I had tried three different times over the past several month to sell it on craigslist...resulting in a only a few interested inquiries. I blamed it on the economy and was starting to get discouraged.
Why is this such a big deal? Well, you'd know if you saw all the stuff I have to go through in our garage. I have my work cut out for me. I will blog more about that later.
So... SHAZAM! We have one more item out of our garage and more money in our 'Nashville Fund".
We have a big kettle of homemade vegetable beef soup cooking on the stove this afternoon and are going to heat a loaf of sourdough bread to go with it for dinner tonight. Yum!
So whadaya think about those Titans? Nail biter of a game there at the end...but my soon to be "home team" is 8-0. whoo hoo!
There is fear in the air as well. No one can predict with certainty where the fires will strike and where the winds will take the flames and who will lose their homes, businesses or lives. So we wait. And we pray.
This morning, I turned on the news and learned there were two fires burning. One was out of control. The other one was 25% contained. I stepped outside in the early morning darkness and there was the faint familiar scent of smoke in the air. It was not how I wanted to begin my day.
In 2003, I watched wind fueled fires travel from a small pocket in East County and traverse northwestward across three freeways toward the coast line. And in a very short span of time. Hours. Thousands of homes were burned, lives lost and our city shut down for two days. We were told to stay indoors and only go outside if necessary. The air was thick with smoke and ash. It was a memory that has scarred us, as much, if not more, than the scars that the fire left on our landscape.
From a single distant plume of smoke tall on the horizon, spotted from our driveway early in the morning on October 26th, throughout the day, we watched the smoke consume all of the blue sky until there was nothing but a haze that burned our eyes and throats. We literally could not breathe without coughing. Even inside our home. And we lived miles from the fire. At one point the fire distantly crested a ridge visible from our home and we wondered aloud if we should begin packing our own things in case we too, were told to evacuate. After all, who would have imagined that it could have come as far as it had? But we were spared.
We watched in horror again on October 22, 2007 --just four days shy of the four year "anniversary date" of the 2004 Firestorm--as fires torched the North and South areas of our county wiping out entire neighborhoods again consuming both stuctures and lives. We naively believed --or hoped--that the Firestorm of 2004 was a freakish disaster, one that would not repeat itself in our lifetime. But, those who lived through and fought the Inaja Fire of 1956 knew better. That fire killed 11 firefighters. Now we know better, too.
And today, October 14, 2008, at 11:40 a.m. I just read that one of the fires is contained, the other has forced the closure of a freeway and now, yet another fire has erupted...in Rancho Bernardo, an area that has only begun to rebuild from last year.
It is still early in October...but, sadly, the fire season has arrived. And we can only watch and pray. Please pray for our firefighters. They are our Heroes.
That wonderful rain and drop of temperatures down to the 60s sure beat the 98 degrees we had two days ago. I am so tired of sunshine and warm weather. This is just one of the reasons we want to move to Tennessee...we long for four defined seasons.
I know so many people think San Diego is Paradise and I really am not a complainer, but....yeah, hear that, BUT? San Diego does not have "weather"(Y'all know what I mean).
Instead, we have 3 seasons of different degrees of warm and one season of cooler. So my favorite season here is winter...when it is "cold" (according to the people that LOVE San Diego weather) and I can light a fire in my fireplace, light lots of beautiful candles, snuggle into blankets on the sofa, wear sweats and socks and drink hot tea. There is nothing more comforting than a candle lit room. After nine freaking months of warm....I am ready for COLD.
I love going to Julian in November or December and breathing in the brisk mountain air and wearing a warm lined jacket and boots. Sometimes if we are lucky, our visit will coincide with a recent snowfall. We duck into a warm restaurant for a hot lunch and are off again to make our way in and out of the local shops, some with pot belly stoves giving off blessed heat as a respite from the 40 degree temperatures outside . After perusing all of the nooks and crannies and finding treasures, we later make our way to the Julian Pie Company for a fresh piece of warm apple pie and a cup of piping hot coffee.
Today's cooler temperatures and rain reminded me that my favorite season is almost here!
Our family has a long held (20 year or more) tradition to spend Thanksgiving weekend camping in the California desert. We always have a traditional Thanksgiving meal with all of our family favorites and more food than you can imagine. There are usually 22 of us and our group usually includes a few friends. We caravan down and circle our motorhomes/campers with the same campfire ring in the center. We look forward to spending time as a family, laughter, s'mores, around the campfire, hiking, reading and of course playing "Mafia" after dinner. There is always some kind of offroading (mostly in Jeeps now) which also includes a trip to the "Glamis Beach Store" for a T-shirt or hoodie to remember the weekend.
Just look at this gorgeous sunset....this is usually what we are greeted with when we arrive into camp and set up for the weekend. We just bring a buckets of KFC and all the fixings to share for our first night, since we are too busy to cook and too hungry to wait. Another tradition for the guys is getting firewood for the campfire. The guys love going out in their Jeeps and trucks and dragging back limbs of downed dead trees from the back of their vehicles that were found in the washes. It becomes a competition of who can bring back the largest piece. Can you tell?
Here are the grandparents hanging out after breakfast, enjoying some morning sunshine and respite while the rest of the camp finishes up breakfast and moring routines before we make plans for where we are going to go on our off-road adventure for the day.
Setting up the tables for dinner....
The line forms here....and if it happens to be a chilly or windy day, we set up our food inside the motorhomes for serving. We are usually blessed with beautiful weather for Thanksgiving dinner so we usually are able to eat outside.Let the feasting begin! It's hard to get everyone in one single picture!
Time to gather by the fire for a game of Mafia. Also time to break out the marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey Bars....and mugs of coffee...and enjoy the star-filled sky with lots of shooting stars as well as the peace and quiet of the desert night. It is beautiful out there...our little piece of heaven on earth.
We are starting to plan our trip this year. We have our motorhome reserved and are getting excited for our trip. I have to make sure to take lots of pictures as this will probably be the last desert thanksgiving trip for us before we move to Tennessee.
It was also a bittersweet day for me...because it was just one day after the 5 year date of my good friend, Carla's passing from cancer. Carla introduced me to scrapbooking just months before her diagnosis. I could not help but think about her a lot yesterday...and I missed her sitting there with all of us, sharing laughter and our photos and stories.
I miss so many things about Carla. I miss her laughter and sense of humor and most of all, I miss spending time with her. But I have good memories that always make me smile. We met in high school and attended the same church and became fast friends--we raised our children together--hosting playgroups for our kids, birthday parties, camping trips and just spending time together. Besides scrappin' together, we also took a Wilton cake decorating class together and then began making masterpiece cakes for our kids on their birthdays...it was fun and I always think of her when I break out my cake decorating tools. I love ya and miss ya girlfriend!
You can see she is getting bigger and lighter...looking more like her golden retriever grandparent now. Sleeping again...but now she has discovered just how comfy our sofa is...now I know what they mean when they say it's a dogs life.
Well here she is now all full grown and still makes herself at home on the sofa to hang out whenever she gets the go ahead to do so.
This one was taken during a camping trip at Thanksgiving....one tired dog after running around outside with other dogs in the campsite. She loves going out there, but is so happy to come back inside and crash with us in the motorhome. She is definitely an indulged house dog.
Did someone say "Let's go for a ride in the Jeep?" I'm ready to go! Get my collar and leash!
Kona will be three years old this December. She is a very smart and obedient dog...the best dog we have ever had. Oh yeah, that 50 pound dog we were told she would be....make that 80 pounds. 80 p0und lap dog. Lovable lap dog.
I arrived on time at the imaging facility to check in and I was greeted by two staff members behind the counter. One asked me if I had drank my contrast liquid. I told her no, because no contrast liquid had been given to me nor had anyone mentioned it....before now.
There was an imediate scambling of paperwork and scanning the computer, and she told me I was supposed to have....some mumbling between the two front desk staffers and I again reiterated that I was there for a kidney scan (hoping that would alert them that no contrast was necessary)...more scrambling, mumbling and whispered chats about my having to have had the liquid two hours prior to my appt and then the two of them decided that 20 minutes would be sufficient and I was handed a big glass of chalky liquid to enjoy while I filled out my questionairre paperwork. *sigh*
Fast forward to the scan itself. My CT professional seemed rushed, nervous, and unprepared, but she was able to confirm that my chalky breakfast drink was unnecessary. But then the real fun began....
First she could not get the IV started in my right arm...too much scar tissue to advance it in my vein...then she quickly called another professional in, saying she was going to need his help (geeeeze.....this is where my panic starts to rev up, being the needle phobic that I am and having already had her gouge and probe my right arm) and the two of them are peering over my left arm. The 2nd tech spots a "monster vein" but in the next breath warns her to be careful because there is a "valve" near it....but she finds the vein on her first attempt (avoiding the valve--whatever the heck that is) and we get going with the scans.
The first part of the scans are uneventful....and then it is time for the contrast....hmmmm..."feeling anything?" she asks.
Some fiddling with the machine and then she asks me... "Any warmth in your throat?"
"Nope...wait...yes, warmth in my throat." Okay, now we are on our way again....
then I have to lay there for 15 minutes of "wait time" before she could come back to do one more scan....
I have a blanket on me, but I begin shaking off and on...trying to think of anything but the fact that I must lay there very still and not move my body for 15 minutes. Shaking, resting, shaking, resting.....
Finally...she comes back and does the last scan, takes the IV out and asks me,
"Have you had abdominal surgery?"
"Yes, four C-sections and a tubal ligation with the last one"
"Did they take anything out? We always ask that question...."
I wanted to ask her, "Why, is anything missing?" but I resisted and just said, "No".
AND then I went to work......
We will be settling in Clarksville to start with. Bruce will probably move laterally with his company and I will find a job once we get settled. I am looking at going back to a teaching assistant job with the local school district. I am pretty burned out with law right now. That may change in the meantime, but for now, I feel happy with that idea.
Gosh, I guess I should update with my latest news here. I am going to be a grandmother! My oldest daughter, A is a little over three months along and our first grandbaby is due January 25, 2009. We (soon to be known as"Memaw" and "Pepaw") are so excited and can't wait to have our first grandbaby to spoil. It's hard having she and her hubby, K living out of state and I keep nudging her to get her webcam hooked up so we can "see" her during her pregnancy. They just moved into a new house and are working on it and I cannot wait to see the "after" with new wood floors and carpet and paint!
My youngest son, T is in AE school in Pensacola. He has 7 weeks left and then he goes to Jacksonville for FE (Flight Engineer) school. He has a 4 month hold for FE school and then 9 months of school. So he will be finished with school next summer.
My eldest son, C and youngest daughter, M are both back in college and working. My stepdaughter, B just got a new job working on Base and also going to be going back to college in Ridgecrest. Our latest and greatest news is about my stepson, S who enlisted in the Navy today and will be an OS (Operations Specialist) when he finishes. He is scheduled to go to Bootcamp in March 2009, but could leave as early as January.
I really have to be better about posting to my blog.....really.