Here is a peek at our fun and festive "Baking Day" at Kathryn's. 

Several of us gathered on a rainy December Saturday morning to mix, melt, stir, roll, bake and decorate lots of sweet, decadent goodies. 

We all brought an appetizer to share and nibble on while we stayed busy in the kitchen!  It was a day full of friendship, sharing and laughter. 

Freshly baked Sugar Cookies and Almond Bark...Oh My!

Mark and Kathryn put their spatulas to work and  made homemade

 Linda took a break to hold her sweet grandson!

Here are two of the three little helpers that decorated the dozens of sugar cookies Linda baked. They were so cute and the cookies were beautiful!

I had such a good time with everyone and I look forward to this special tradition with my friends at Christmastime.



San Diego has been soggy.  The river valley (where two of our major malls are located) flooded, hillsides slid, and it's was a mess in a lot of areas.  I don't remember the last measurement on rainfall over the past 4 days, but it's a lot! 

We've exceeded our annual average by several inches.  It just doesn't rain like that here.  You know the song, "It Never Rains in Southern California"?  Well, this past week,  it has rained and rained and rained.  The ground is saturated. 

We've had a reprieve until last night (Christmas night), then it began raining and we are due for several days of more rain. It's not supposed to rain as much as it has been, which is good news, but I am not sure what effect even a little more rain will have on the areas already flooded.

The Poinsettia Bowl was here Thursday night and for all of you sports fans, I know you saw and heard about the flooded stadium and parking lot (that 1.5 million of gallons of water that was pumped out in time for the game) and probably saw the field (before) in its oh, so soggy state.  (Photos from signonsandiego.com)



Amazing difference isn't it?



We spent our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with family and friends. 

* * * ~~~~~~~~~~~~~* * *~~~~~~~~~~~~~ * * *

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!



I have been out-of-sorts, stressed out and impatient lately. I feel off kilter and out of whack.


I have asked myself that very question over and over.

And I have come up with several answers.

It's that crazy, list making, shopping, too-much-to-do time of year and to top it off,  I am feeling a bit "Scroogey" this year. Bah. 

Plus, I think I am fighting the cold virus that my daughter M and now hubby, Bruce have been sick with.  I've been feeling worn out and tired and so I have been trying to get to bed earlier and get more rest.  I have been diligently taking Airborne and doses of vitamin C lozenges.

My job has delivered a whopping share of crazy-making, pulling-my-hair-outta-my-head days/weeks, too. 

I suppose it could be everything all together, or just one thing, or hormones (aren't they usually partly to blame?) ... or maybe it's just something that happens to everyone now and again. 

Yup, that is what I think it is. 

Time for another good night's sleep.  Sweet dreams!



This Christmas I have simplified everything. 

We chose a small tree and I decorated it with a single string of lights and ornaments that created the theme for our tree "an old fashioned country Christmas".

I went through my boxes of Christmas decorations and only put out a few favorite decorations around the house.  I chose ones that copied the theme of our tree.   

It feels good.



I realize it's been two weeks since I posted anything but I have been happily spending time with my kids and grandbabies who are here for a visit!

Our daughter, A, hubby K and grandbabies Grace and Aaron are here from Utah and we surprised the whole family and flew our son, T in from Virginia to visit, too! 

More surprising the rest of the family...

Greeting Nana and Papadaddy at the door

Reunited with his "irish twin" sister, M

And gal pal and our "adopted" daughter, Olivia

Our house has been filled with the voices of Nemo, Dorrie, Sully, Mike, Boo, Woody and Buzz.  (Grace loved watching Finding Nemo, Monster's Inc. and Toy Story). Just this week, we watched Cars, Elf and Rudolph, too.

Grace has stayed occupied playing with boxes of wooden blocks, Hot Wheels
and Matchbox cars, her baby doll, toy groceries filled in her shopping cart, and coloring.  

Here is our slidin', noodle eatin' and cookie makin' grand-daughter in action. 

Slide again, Memaw!  More!  More!  More!

Grace loves some noodles and sauce! and Meatballs!

Rolling out gingerbread cookies to cut out, ice and decorate!

Aaron has been very content to nurse and sleep in between some long periods of looking around. And growing.  I swear that boy has grown inches and put on some pounds (probably ounces) since they have been here.

T and his sister, M went to Snow Summit to snowboard and have some brother/sister catch up, bonding time. 

With much reluctance, I saw T off to the airport on Sunday (I did not want to let him go, but the Navy needs him back)  and am I enjoying the last few days of my time with my eldest daughter and grand-babies. 

 A and I and the kidlets went down to Mission Bay to ride her tricycle (that her Papou and Yia Yia got her) and play on the play gym and of course, in the sand.  It was a beautiful day to spend down there.  Aaron chose to take a snooze in the stroller.

I had to go back to work today...it was not the best day work-wise, but it was great to be back in the company of my good friend and co-worker, Linda, and our one "boss" who understands how crazy things are and how to make the day better.
 Tonight, Domino's pizza and red wine are making the best end to a stressful day. I mean, really, thin crispy crust pepperoni pizza and Leonesse red wine, what could be a better end to a rough first day back to work?

Maybe, no dishes?



The rain began falling early this morning. However, the soft spatter of rain that I woke up to grew into a harder, yet steady rainfall by noon and it continued all day.

We were out today, braving the rain slick roads, flooded streets and puddled parking lots.  It was, at times, a challenge, and I laughed and said that we are in training for Tennessee.  True enough, we will need to be ready for more rainfall than we get here in Southern California once we move to Middle Tennessee. 

Tonight, we are snug in our house, sitting by a warm fire in our fireplace and we enjoyed bowls of chicken tortilla soup for dinner.  Recipe follows.  It is delicious!

Favorite Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 large chicken breasts (coated in chili powder, cooked in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and shredded.

Add to that 1 onion-chopped finely, 1- large carton of chicken stock, 1 large can of crushed tomatoes, 2- teaspoon dried crushed oregano, 1- teaspoon cumin, 2 cups of frozen white petite corn, 1- 7 oz can of crushed chiles, 1 small can of black beans. 
Simmer all until heated through. 
Top with sour cream, shredded cheese and sliced avocado.  
Serve with your favorite tortilla chips or cornbread with real butter.  YUM! 

Bruce also made our "Famous Margaritas" to have with our soup. 

Fill a 12 oz. glass with ice
2 shots Cuervo Gold Tequila
1 shot Triple Sec
1/2 shot Grand Mariner
3 shots Margarita Mix (or if you want to go "lite" on your mix, use 1 single serving Crystal Light Lemonade Mix with  12 oz. water to make your own calorie free mix)

Add a splash of prepared orange juice, fresh squeezed orange juice or fresh squeezed lime juice to perfect your Margarita.

After a very busy Saturday, we are enjoying a very laid back Saturday night.  Life is good!



Because Part One of my Nashville 2010 post was missing photos, I decided to dedicate a pictorial post of our trip to Nashville. 

Downtown Nashville where old brick buildings sit adjacent sleek glass high rises and the heartbeat of Music City is held safe in her history.


 A little further outside the lights and energy, the quiet majestic beauty of her hills, lakes and colors becomes the place to pause. 

Until we return to Nashville again....



Still having a sweet time in Nashville!

Monday-- we made a  visit to Arrington Vineyards (co-owned by Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn) with our friend Lynnette. Sipped some delicious wines, bought some Raspberry Dessert Wine and chocolate and ate lunch at Puckett's Grocery in Franklin.  Such a great day!

Drove to Lexington on Tuesday--surprised my Aunt for her birthday and had a fun time visiting with my Auntie, Uncle Bill, cousin Debbie and her family!  Debbie is a wonderful cook and we had the most delicious food for dinner!  We stayed up til 1:00 a.m. when we ran out of steam, spent the night and were treated to a delicious breakfast before we headed back to Nashville.

After our drive back to Nashville Wednesday morning, we got in a short rest at our hotel before we got ready to head downtown for the CMA award festivities.  Lots going on and we joined the crowd all vying for a peek at the celebrities arriving on the Black Carpet.  We ate some dinner, hit  "The Stage" on Broadway for a drink and listening to the local band playing that night.

Our son, T surprised us with a visit (he drove all night from VA) and we took him downtown, toured the Ryman, ate some lunch (we each got an appetizer and shared) at the Hard Rock Nashville, stopped at The Second Fiddle and listened to the band, had a few drinks, visited with locals, ate an early dinner at the Wild Horse Saloon and shopped for souvenirs.

All three of us were exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before, so we made up for it with going to bed at 8:30 and getting a solid night's sleep. 

We met Shelly for an early morning hike at Radnor Lake, this time taking the Ridge route (steeper and longer) around to the lake.  We saw only one group of deer eating near the edge of the trail we were on.  It was another beautiful morning for a hike.

Breakfast at the Loveless Cafe.  I could have made a meal on their biscuits!! I can't get them out of my head.  We cruised the Natchez Trace Parkway and stopped for some pics and skipped rocks at Percy Priest Lake.

That is most of the good stuff...here is the ugly. (WARNING--ugly bruise pic below)

Yup, that my friends is a pic of the worst and largest of my seven (yes, seven) bruises--specifically the one I received on my left thigh.  This pic was taken 9 days after my aforementioned fall down the hotel stairs.

Enough ugly...Beautiful Nashville is helping me forget my pain. (The Cabin Fever Maple Whiskey helped a little bit, too). 

Our vacation is winding down with going to hear a friend, Mike Broward, play at a local downtown Irish bar and our last night will be spent with friends at the Nashville Predators game.

Nashville, I already miss you.



Yup, we are in Nashville, having an amazing time and wishing (more than ever) we lived here.  3 days down...7 more to go!

Country Music Hall of Fame--I was especially drawn to the songwriters' stories and loved all the costumes, guitars and boots!

Old Chicago in Clarksville--hung out with our friends, Pam and Steve, I enjoyed a birthday glass of Syrah and shared some yummy appetizers. 

Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival--I stuck to Bourbon tasting and found a whiskey that I loved.  Cabin Fever Maple Whiskey...can't wait to add it to my eggnog for some holiday cheer.

Radnor Lake hike at 7:40 a.m.-- cold Tennessee morning air, deer just a few feet away from us.  We also saw several wild turkeys, squirrels and "munkshins" (chipmunks)--my kids will "get" this one--and views of the lake that took my breath away. We may just take in another lake hike later this week!

Bowling Green, KY--met up with my cousin, Pam, hubby John and kiddos and had some dinner and lots of laughing and catching up.  I realized that 5 years is much too long to go without spending time with them.

On our first morning here, I took a nasty spill down the exit stairs on my way down to the hotel gym. From the 4th step from the landing, the toe of my left shoe caught and propelled me face forward down the stairs ending with my face on the landing, inches from the wall. 

Needless to say, there was no workout for me that morning (or any morning since). I had to quickly ice the large lumps on both thighs, both knees, both shins and my right elbow.  The next day, whiplash pain set in all over my body from slamming onto the floor and I was in considerable pain for two of my three days here (the Bourbon helped a lot yesterday, hehe). 

Today has been my best day and I felt good enough to get out and really enjoy our lake hike this morning.  The bruises are horrid, but I am thankful that I did not hit my head or break any bones.  AND, I am not letting it spoil my trip--ummm, maybe 'trip' is the best word to use--I am not letting it spoil my vacation.

I'll blog more in a couple of days and may have some photos to post, too! We have already taken a lot of great ones--I just need to see if we brought the right cord to upload them to the laptop....



I thought I'd post this video I received from my daughter, A and Grace in anticipation of my arrival tonight. 

Now isn't that the cutest thing ever?  I can't wait to kiss that cute face and snuggle that little sweetheart and her adorable brother!  Being a Memaw is the BEST!



I am in the middle of my fourth week of JW's program and feel amazing!  I have tons of energy, don't need any sleep aid to go to sleep or stay asleep, have improved my stamina and fitness level and have lost pounds and inches!

I am flying to Utah on Thursday for a long weekend to meet my brand new grandson, Aaron and spend time (every waking moment) with both of my grandbabies, daughter and son-in-law.  This time tomorrow I will be heading to the airport.  I simply cannot wait to get there!

I will, of course, be the "Paparazzi Memaw" while I am there and come back with lots of photos of my precious, darling, adorable, sweet and snuggly grandchildren.  Can you tell I don't like them very much?  *wink*

I have lots to do before I leave (laundry, pack, workout), so I will say Ta-Ta-For-Now!



We have just spent a fun, laughter filled weekend with some of our best friends, Tom and Heidi, who live in Seattle.  You know that a friendship is true and solid when you can after long absences apart, pick right up where you left off and it's as if that time apart had never occurred.

Heidi and I became good friends in college while we both were taking a horseback riding class and began carpooling to the class which was a out in the country, and a long drive from our campus.

Our 35 year friendship has seen us through a lot.  We attended each other's weddings, raised our babies, spent countless hours in playgroup, at each other's homes making fun crafts, group dinners, pushing strollers at the Mall, attending evening painting classes, summers taking our kids to the beach, late night heart to hearts over coffee and even divorces.  We've toasted and celebrated our happy second marriages and shared each other's joy as we've added sons-in-law and became grandmothers.

Bruce and Tom have also become good friends and get along famously, too. The four of us have so much fun when we get together!  It's hard to say goodbye, knowing that it may be another long stretch of time before we spend more time together. 

But we know when we do, we will once again, pick up where we left off.



This is a group shot of all us at the Croptoberfest scrapbooking day I went to two weekends ago. I'm in the back on the left.  We are all signing 'I love you' for a special girl, Britt for whom we also raised $140 to help purchase a laptop so she can continue doing her school work while she goes through chemotherapy and heals. Sending out our love and prayers, Britt!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 A sent me this sweet photo of Aaron yesterday.  They were out shopping.  He looks pretty relaxed, doesn't he?

Last, but not least, here is a photo of big sister, Grace taken at the hospital when she went to meet her little brother for the first time.

It's a rainy Monday here in San Diego and its supposed to be rainy through Thursday.  It sure feels more like Seattle...but I am loving it!