Monday, January 22, 2018

Permanency

I really enjoyed our Christmas decorations this year.  They really were beautiful and brought me quite a bit of enjoyment.  In fact, I enjoyed them so much that I convinced Spouse to keep them up longer than he wanted to.  Since I had this past weekend off work, we agreed to do it then. We started with the outdoor lights, then the Christmas tree, and then the inside decor.  It took both of us 5 hours to disassemble everything, pack it all up, and put it away, so 10 man hours all together.  It was worth it.

Despite its lack of permanency, the holiday decor was still beautiful.  This theme was echoed to me on Sun when I went to the theatre to see "Call Me By Your Name".  I should probably warn of possible 'spoilers', but if you know anything at all about the movie then what I'm going to share isn't really a 'spoiler'.  In the film Oliver is a graduate student spending 6 weeks as an intern for a professor at his family's summer home.  The professor's 17 year old son Elio develops an attraction to Oliver who eventually gives in to Elio's desire.  (All of that is shown or insinuated in the trailer below.)
At the end of the film, just after Oliver's departure, the professor delivers a tender, loving soliloquy to Elio about feelings and permanency.  

He tells Elio that he is very lucky to have had such a special friendship, perhaps more, with Oliver.  He says that many people do not experience something that beautiful their entire lives.  And while he is now feeling the pain of loss, he should not try to repress or blank it out.  He tells Elio that it is better to feel than to not feel.  Only by feeling something wonderful can you also understand the feeling of pain.  He cautions Elio never to choose feeling nothing over feeling pain.  The fact that something wonderful ends does not negate it being wonderful.  Its non-permanency does not make it a failure.

I found this to be a profound declaration; one that I've struggled to verbalize over the years.  

Those of us who have been in relationships that didn't end up being permanent can still remember the good times in those relationships.  No doubt we laughed, loved, and learned in those relationships. But because they weren't permanent, the world has a way of considering them "failed relationships" which is just not true.  We have still experienced something wonderful even if it wasn't permanent, regardless of whether its end was by choice or by circumstances.

I believe this a key to not regretting the past.  We are not failures and our relationships were not failed as long as we know there was goodness, fun, or something positive experienced.  

In my case my 1st relationship (if you want to call it that) was not balanced.  I was more smitten and willing to move-heaven-and-earth than him, which was not his fault.  But we had some good times, and its end was by circumstances.  But what I learned was that a long distance relationship was not for me.  I needed someone who'd be physically present the majority of the time.

In my 2nd relationship I wanted to be 'out and proud' and strive for greater authenticity, but he was satisfied living a quiet and inconspicuous life.  I felt I just couldn't compromise, and he felt he didn't want to, so it ended by choice.  But we had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs!  I learned much about life and about myself.  It was a time of huge personal growth for me.  What I took away from this relationship was that I now knew who I wanted to become and what I would accept and not accept from a partner.

Neither of these were 'failed relationships' because they weren't permanent.  I have memories of wonderfulness experienced in both of these relationships, and both were stepping stones on my path.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Winter Getaway

For several years now we've gone on a vacation in Jan or Feb.  Its great to escape the cold at home by going somewhere warm and tropical.  Also, since I'm a real estate agent in a summer resort area, its not practical for me to take a vacation in the summertime when most people do.  I'm too busy at work then, so a winter getaway is perfect for us.

In past years we've gone on 2 cruises (both to islands in the Caribbean) and twice we've gone to Puerto Vallarta, which I love so much.  This year it was a toss up between returning to Puerto Vallarta or trying something new by going to Palm Springs, CA.

We decided on Palm Springs, and our good friends the Newlyweds (who live in Portland< OR) will meet us there.  We've been intrigued for years by Palm Springs mostly because of its mid-century modern aesthetic. Several noted mid-century modern architects designed homes in Palm Springs in the late 50s and early 60s like David Wexler, Bill Cody, and Richard Neutra.  
William Krisel is credited with designing the iconic butterfly roof homes (above) built all over Palm Springs.  Their roof lines were likened to a butterfly in flight.

Palm Springs was called the "playground of the stars".  Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Jack Benny, George Hamilton, Rock Hudson, and Dinah Shore all owned homes there.

More recently lovers of architecture and home furnishings have embraced the unique look of mid-century modern which is on full display during the Modernism Week celebration.  We'll be there during Modernism Week and look forward to enjoying some of the tours and activities.

And since we'll need a car to get from the airport and get around town, I've reserved a convertible.  I mean, when you're staying in a city that looks so cool, why not contribute to the coolness by slipping around town topless!

We've rented a mid-century home with a pool, hot tub and firepit so when we're not touring the town or soaking up the local culture, we'll be soaking up some sun and catching up with our old friends poolside.  While it won't be as warm as Puerto Vallarta, the pool is heated so there's that.

As an added bonus, we have 3 friends/couples who live in the Palm Springs suburbs so we'll likely get an opportunity to see them while we're in town.

It should be a great trip, both because of our interest in Palm Springs and Modernism Week, and because of spending time with our friends.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I need your help!

We recently purchased one of those talking scales.  When I stepped on it the scale said "One person at a time, please".

Gulp.

But I'm at a loss right now and could really use some help from my friends here in the blogosphere.

I'm looking for rapid weight loss suggestions which do NOT include exercise or dramatically changing my diet. 

That's right... I want to lose 10 lbs (plus or minus) in a very short amount of time (like yesterday), and do not want to exercise or dramatically change my diet. 

I've read that exercise alone doesn't make you lose weight, so that's all I need to know about exercise.  Plus I know from past experience it can make you sweat.  I'm not really 'into' sweating. 

Now, I am willing to change my diet a little bit, but not dramatically.  So no Atkins, Weight Watchers, or NutriSystems.  That's just too much!

I'm considering a few options, but since I have no experience with them, I'm not sure which is best:
  • wiring my jaw shut.  This is probably the least invasive, but knowing me, I'd probably find a delicious, highly caloric milkshake to which I'd become addicted and end up losing no weight at all.  Plus, cosmos can also be sucked threw a straw.  Not daintily, but it can be done.
  • medically induced coma.  This one is tricky in that, by virtue of being in a coma, it precludes me from working for the length of the coma.  Since I'm a realtor, there's no paid medical leave or vacation.  When I don't work, I don't get paid.  And for it to do me any good, I'm thinking the coma would need to be at least a solid 2 weeks.  Maybe 3.
  • stomach stapling surgery.  This one is pretty invasive too, being that it requires surgery and recovery.  Plus I know there is the potential to stretch your stomach back out after the surgery, so this is probably my least favorite option at this time.  Oh, and I hate hospitals too.
  • Weight loss pills (both FDA and non-FDA approved).  I'm not sure of the efficasy of weight loss pills or appetite suppressants since I really don't over-eat out of hunger.  I over-eat out of loving the taste of delicious food, so suppressing my hunger may not work.
  • cleanses.  I had a colleague years ago who would do various cleanses to detoxify his body and lose weight.  But he was like 26 years old, and when you're that young, almost anything you do to lose weight works.  I'm not sure I can drink gallons liquids unless they taste like a cosmo, OR unless there's an iron-clad guarantee.
So, if any of you dear readers has any insight on these options, or any other options I have considered, please DO speak up.  I'm all ears!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Crazy weather

It was literally 1 week ago today that schools were closed, the State government (where Spouse works) was closed, and my real estate company was closed, because of a winter storm that blanketed the area in snow.  Temperatures were in the single digits and low teens, which is highly unusual for us.

Yet yesterday, it was practically a different world!
But I ain't complainin'!!

As you can imagine, there was a whole lot of melting going on yesterday.  But it was great to be out and about and not even need a coat or jacket.  I saw several people wearing shorts and even saw someone driving their convertible with the top down!

Today its not quite as warm, but still in the low 60s with intermittent showers.  You can best believe there's a whole lotta meltin' goin' on!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Belated blogiversary

I completely forgot to celebrate my recent blogiversary.  
On 12/28 my blog turned 13 years old!  There have been times (mostly prior to Facebook) where I've spent more time writing really thoughtful posts, and then there have been times where I have 'phoned it in', but I've always striven to keep this blog going.  Not because I think anyone's depending on me to write, or that anything I have to say has much meaning to anyone.  Really, most the stuff I write is little more than entertainment (if that) to others.  But I have on several occasions used my blog to determine when things happened in my life.  If for no other reason I'll continue to keep it going for that.  Hopefully readers will also enjoy it.

Speaking of my blog, you many have noticed there was no New Years resolutions post from me.  Typically I'm a big believer in writing down my intentions for the new year, and making sure they are measureable so I know when I've completed them.  But for whatever reason, this year I just couldn't think of anything new.  The things I want to do/change/improve are really the same as I've written about before.  I should go back to my new years resolutions posts and celebrate the ones I accomplished, AND make a new list of those I haven't.  THAT could be my new years resolutions for 2018!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Long Lost Family

My new OBSESSION is the TV show "Long Lost Family" on TLC.  Hosts Chris Jacobs and Lisa Joyner (pictured) both of whom are both adopted and have been reunited with their birth mothers, use public records and DNA samples to help reconnect family members.  While most are searching for birth parents or children years after adoption, some are searching for relatives separated for other reasons.

I saw a preview for the show and decided to watch an episode on demand and was immediately hooked.  I was happy to find there were 9 episodes in the 1st season, and 18 episodes in the 2nd season.  Having been at home for most of the last 4 days due to the snow, I binge-watched many of the episodes.

Oh.  My.  God.

First, its absolutely amazing to see the research paths Chris and Lisa use when investigating informational leads.  Hospital birth records, marriage records, high school year books, obituaries, and websites like Ancestry.com.  Second, the reunions they are able to accomplish are so real and touching!  I have yet to make it through a full episode without tearing up.  And its not staged, sappy stuff either.  Its actual footage of the reunions, which are so healing to the long lost family members.

Anybody else watching this show?  If not, you should be!

Friday, January 05, 2018

Snow days

Earlier this week the huge storm everyone had been talking about developed and positioned itself so that we were in the blizzard track.

It began snowing Wed night around 10pm and by the time we went to bed at midnight everything was covered in a blanket of white.  Since the temperature has been below freezing for a week the snow didn't melt as it typically does.  The light and fluffy snow fell gently, as the wind gusts had not yet arrived.

Thurs is my regular day off and Spouse's office closed so we were both home for a snow day.  By mid-morning the wind was really gusting.  Poor Marvin & Walter didn't want to go outside.  They hate the wind, even if its warm outside, so it was extra offensive to them to have the gusty wind and temperature around 13 degrees.  So we decided to take them out onto the screened porch to do their business, since it was partially shielded from the wind.  This technique was somewhat successful.  

The wind created crazy drifts.  Check out the drift outside the screened porch which was easily 3 feet high.  
There was another drift INSIDE the screened porch near the opposite corner which was nearly as tall.  This photo shows how crazily the wind affected the snow.
Notice how the left side of the driveway and even the grass have NO snow on them, yet there were drifts nearby that were easily 3 feet high.  Wild!

We stayed in the house and watched movies all day, with brief breaks for food.  Marvin & Walter took great advantage of the electric space heater we had on while watching TV.
But most of the time they looked like this:


Knowing the storm was coming we'd stocked up on comfort foods, so we had grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, Poptarts, and chicken pot pies.  We also cooked our Hello Fresh meals.

Both mine & Spouse's companies closed the offices today as well so we had another snow day at home.  We watched more movies in the morning but after lunch I did brave the frigid temperature to do some shoveling.  This photo shows the height of the drift between my car and the convertible.  Notice its taller than the shovel.
The nice thing about the wind is that it eliminated the need to clean off the cars.  The snow was light and fluffy so it wasn't back-breaking to shovel, but there was a LOT of it to move to get my car out to the street.
The street was "plowed" if you want to call it that.  We didn't see the plow since it came while we were sleeping, but it appears that a pick-up truck with a blade on the front made 1 pass and that was it.  The street is still very dicey now.  But at least its passable.

Typically when we get snow here it doesn't stick to the ground because the ground isn't cold enough.  That was not the case this time, as we'd been below freezing for several days in a row, also not typical.  And usually the temperature warms up the next day after a snowfall so it melts quickly.  That, too, isn't happening this time, as our temperatures aren't supposed to get above freezing until maybe Mon.  But I'm not complaining.  The snow is really beautiful and since we have had 2 days at home together with our dogs, comfy and cozy in our home, its been really nice.


Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Madness

I received a music CD as a gift. But trying to open the packaging raised several pertinent questions:
  • Why are the CD cases hermetically sealed, as if the disc might get stale if exposed to air? I mean, seriously, it took me nearly 15 minutes to get the clingy plastic wrap off the darned CD box. Personally I wouldn't mind if my CD wasn't as moist or chewy.
  • And why, after removing the plastic wrapper, is there yet another thicker, sticky seal on the case? I mean, I’ve gotten medicine bottles with childproof caps open in less time and with more ease!  I've gotten a date out of his clothes in less time... oh wait; nevermind. 
  • Why should I need scissors, a steak knife, a box cutter, and the jaws of life to open a CD case??  Its ridiculous!
In discussing this dilemma with a cop/friend of mine it was suggested that its all to prevent theft.  

Imagine a shoplifter wanting to steal a CD in a store. The case won't fit in a pocket, and if it could it would likely be visible due to its sharp corners. Then you've got the RFID thing buried somewhere in the case, so you'd have to somehow avoid that scanner.  So the only way to steal the disc is to remove it from the case.  Hence the need for the jaws of life to liberate that CD, but who's going to be silly enough to try that in a store?

While I understand downloading music to one's phone is the latest trend, its not the best option in some situations.  If you want to listen to music while doing something active (loading the dishwasher, undecorating your Christmas tree, etc) you have to have your phone on your person with earbuds that can get caught on your hands/arms or other things. In that scenario its easier to put a CD on your CD player.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy New Year!


Yesterday we tidied up house a bit, watched some TV, and had a generally nice/relaxed day.  We both showered, dressed, and then met Steven & Thad to drive through the holiday light show in the park. It was cute, and while geared toward kids, it was a fun Christmasy thing to do.

Then the 4 of us went to Bethany Blues to ring in the new year.  We typically go to Dos Locos but this year decided to do something different.  Thad had learned that a local band he likes a lot was playing at Bethany Blues so we decided to switch it up and go there.  We started out in the bar for drinks but quickly realized it would be WAY too loud once the band began to play.

So we moved to a table at the edge of the dining room which turned out to be perfect.  We couldn't see the band from our table, but its location allowed us to hear them well and still be able to talk amongst ourselves.  We all enjoyed our food and drinks, and then shortly before midnight the staff passed out hats, horns, and glasses of champagne.

We toasted the new year, then headed out into the frigid cold (13 degrees) and went home.  Spouse & I stayed up until shortly after 1am watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.

Today we just relaxed and watched TV nearly all day.  The dogs loved napping under the fleece throws on our laps.  That evening we went to The Pond with Steven & Thad for their 1/2 price specials for dinner.  We returned home and watched TV until bedtime.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas recap

Since Thurs is my regular day off, I planned nothing else but wrapping and baking.  I mean, we were leaving the next day so I really couldn't put it off anymore.

This was 1 of the few gifts I actually wrapped with paper and ribbon. I think its beautiful but it was really time-consuming.
Most of the gifts this year where wrapped in tissue paper and went into reusable shopping bags.  Without really planning it, we ended up with this shopping bag concept which worked well and saved a lot of time.

I made 4 pans of magic cookie bars.  The 2 in the foreground are the original recipe with coconut flakes on top.  The other 2 were variations; 1 with crushed candy canes and the other with peanut butter chips.



I made them in these aluminum pans with lids so they would stack easily for transport to VA.  We had them both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and they were a big hit!  I made so many that I wound up bringing some home, which is definitely NOT a bad thing.  I also made 2 pans of breakfast casserole (not pictured) to take with us too.

On Fri our former neighbors dropped off a gift and card while I we were at work.  They have 2 young boys whom we love and who were so sweet to our dogs.  The envelope of the card touched me!
Their card was added to our growing collection which I staple to wide ribbons hung from the top of the molding with push pins.  I love displaying cards this way and incorporating them into our holiday decorations.

Spouse & I both came home from work early (unexpectedly) so we decided to have a very early dinner out, then packed our bags, loaded the car, and hit the road.  We arrived at Spouse's sister's house at 9:30.

Sat we hung out with Spouse's sister and her family all day.  But that evening I drove back to DE to perform in the last holiday LEGENDS show, then drove back to VA afterward.

Sun Spouse & I drove out to my cousin Nez & Steve's house.  
They live in a 250 year old stone house that's really cool.  Its been our tradition to spend some time together on Christmas eve.  We had lunch and a lovely visit together.

When we returned to Spouse's sister's house they were leaving for Christmas Eve mass, so we helped set up while they were gone.  Shortly after they returned, the rest of the family began showing up.
Our niece Anna's daughter Gabby with her dad Randy

My handsome husband

Our nephews Tommy and Eric

To be honest I was a more than a little concerned with how Christmas Eve would turn out.  As long as I've been a part of this family (20+ years) we have always celebrated Spouse's mom's birthday on Christmas Eve.  With her passing last April, this was our 1st Christmas Eve without her and I hoped it wouldn't be a sad time.  But her 4 living children were all there, with their spouses and their children, and everyone ate and drank and visited just like before.  I really think Spouse's mom would have been supremely happy about this.

Christmas day was very relaxed and fun.  The boys & I enjoyed coffee in the quiet before the rest of the family was up.
We had breakfast casserole and then opened our gifts.
It was a nice day spent hanging out and enjoying each other's company.
Our brother-in-law and 2 nephews chilling
That afternoon I picked up my aunt Mary and brought her over to join us.  
Mary with Marvin
We exchanged gifts and then had dinner.  Spouse's sister made rigatoni, gnocchi, sausage and meatballs, eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, and salad.  Aunt Mary brought sweet potato shuffle (a family favorite) and a hummingbird cake (my favorite).  It was a peaceful, wonderful Christmas day.

On Tues Spouse's sister and her husband joined Spouse & me as we met up with our dear friends Kerry & Hugh, Kelly, Lisa, Carl, Kim & Danny, Pat, and Alex for our annual hippie roll and pizza luncheon.
The infamous hippie rolls

Alex and Kerry

Spouse's sister, Kim, Pat, Danny, Spouse's brother-in-law

Me and Lisa
We returned to Spouse's sister's house, packed up our stuff, loaded the dogs into the car, and headed home.  It was a wonderful holiday!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!


However you choose to spend the holiday, I hope your day is warm and peaceful.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Eve

While I don't typically post on weekends, I'm making an exception today because it is my tradition to share this song/video on Christmas eve.  I love the lyrics which are especially appropriate on Christmas eve, and of course the amazing voice of Karen Carpenter has a slightly haunting undertone in this song as she describes being away from someone you love on Christmas eve.

Merry Christmas, Darlings.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Holiday travel

Spouse & I (and Marvin & Walter) are leaving tonight after work and dinner to join our family in the DC area for Christmas.  We're staying until Tues afternoon.

As we typically do, we have a few meet-ups planned with friends and extended family while we're there so we can maximize our visit and enjoy as much time as possible with those we love.  

If you're traveling over the holidays too, please drive safely and be aware of others. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Season's Greetings!


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Preparations

Its busy around our house as we work to finish the gift wrapping, baking, and packing.  

We're leaving Fri after work so everything needs to be done by Thurs night.  Fortunately I'm off work tomorrow so I should be able to bake the breakfast casseroles and magic cookie bars then.  Nearly all the gifts this year are being wrapped in tissue paper and placed into gift bags which greatly simplifies the wrapping.

The older I get the more I try to make the holidays a fun and enjoyable time, so I don't stress over little things like wrapping gifts versus using gift bags.

Its the most wonderful time of the year!