Tuesday, November 30, 2010
It wasn't always like this. I don't think I truly enjoyed a Christmas my whole young adult life. In fact, I remember vividly the Spirit of Christmas dying inside me the first year my parents were divorced and they still managed to scream at each other and my big sister in our living room despite the fact that they didn't live together anymore.
Even when I quit drinking there were years when all I did was sleep in marathon AA meetings because everyone was out of town and I either didn't have a car or had to work or something. I did, however receive a present from my step mom in that first year that showed me that the healing had begun. She had told my I had one chance to make things right. I got sober and the present basically told me that I was on the right track.
Still, Christmas was hard. I was in an abusive relationship between one and three years sober and wasn't aware that what was happening to me was actually abuse. I didn't ever receive a Christmas present from this man, but would make homemade cards and things for him. I got the sense that Christmas shouldn't really mean anything to anybody, if it's no big deal to the man you think you love.
I finally left that relationship in the Spring of 2006 and started dating Chris that June. Here was a man that appreciated me, opened doors for me, let me into his heart and helped me learn to let others into mine. Chris is festive during the holidays, giving me "hints" as to what he's gotten me or texting me just to tell me my present is being tracked by UPS and will reach the mail box in such-and-such days. He's included me with his family and has been willing to put up with the split-household holiday run that so many kids from broken homes have to grow up and deal with.
I love my man with all my heart for many things, but saving Christmas for me as a time to appreciate family, friends and togetherness is pretty high up there on the list, let me tell you.So now I sing along to the Christmas music, even when it's played before Thanksgiving (a cardinal sin, really), I play with Christmas bows and put them on my head, I get quirky things from gift stores when I can't afford them to give to people just to show them I appreciate them. That is what the season is all about.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I have had favorite shows in the past. Don't ask me to name them, I've forgotten. I don't know how AMC did it, but they created a show that I couldn't have liked better had they tailored it specifically to my taste.
I was amazed they were able to put into a weekly format a concept that had previously only been successful in movies. An hour and a half of zombies is hard enough, right? But zombies every week?! They nailed it. I think it helps that the show is based on a comic book series (which I will definitely be looking into, regardless of the fact that I haven't seen a comic book in years).
I suspected during the pilot that I would be hooked, but when Rick and Glen put zombie guts on themselves in the second episode, I knew. There's no turning back.
The work week was only three days long, and so went by rather quickly, despite Wednesday being the hardest I'd ever had. Due to the nature of my job, I can't go into detail, but I can say I left work feeling completely inept and stressed. I ended up in traffic on the way home and running out of gas. It was brilliant.
I went to bed pretty early Wednesday and woke up only for Chris to ask me if he could go buy Gran Tourismo 5, which had just come out. One less 60+ dollar game I didn't have to buy him for Christmas, I said, "Sure, go ahead."
The next day, we drove to Placerville for dinner with Chris's folks. Chris and his dad, Garry, went to take the dog for a walk while I shared with Chris's mom, Robin, my relief at finding a venue where I could have the ceremony and the reception in one place so that no one would be mad at me for either not being able to go to the ceremony or having to leave some family members at the reception hall or whatever. Robin thought that was excellent. I think Chris and Garry liked it even more because it meant they don't have to clean up the yard anymore.
When Chris and Garry and Baxter (the toy poodle) got back from their walk Garry asked Robin about Gran Tourismo 5 and whether or not it had been on Chris's Christmas list. Oops. The ensuing comedy (or tragedy?) of Robin booting up her computer and searching her email for the Christmas list on which Chris insisted he had never put Gran Tourismo 5 resulted in Chris being promised a bag of coal under the tree this year. Chris swears he doesn't remember sending that email, the poor guy, but there it was from his address. After all was settled, we had wonderful snacks and a lovely dinner.
The next day we went to Tracy for my mom's Thanksgiving. It was splendid! The turkey was super moist. I don't know how my mom does it. I ate seconds for the sake of seconds, as I was no longer hungry, but what the hell-it's the holidays. I did exercise this week for at least a half hour at a time, so I'm not completely in the red.
Afterward, we played the traditional Apples to Apples game, of course, followed by a new game that requires nothing but pens, paper and an imagination. It's called "Toilet Paper Roll." The idea is that everyone writes a sentence on the top of a piece of paper and then folds the paper forward so that the sentence is facing up. The paper is then passed to the left. Players read the sentence and then draw a picture depicting it and fold the paper forward again so that the person they pass it to next can't see the original sentence, only the picture. That person then must right a sentence explaining what they see in the picture. At one point, seeing my picture of an army of bunnies saluting Hitler near the bottom of the paper, Chris said, "Oh god. I see where this came from my original sentence." The game is a blast.
Michelle, my little sister, brought her Holland Lop rabbit, Waffle with her. She said she just felt like taking him, but she knows I'm trying to wear Chris down into giving me a rabbit for Christmas, so I think it was also a good tool to get Chris to look at the bunny, pet the bunny, know the bunny and maybe want a bunny himself. We'll see. I'm still working on him.
The weekend has been pretty lazy. I'm enjoying my time off. Work is going to be hard to go back to on Monday, which is pretty much normal after these long holidays, but I'm ready. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Saturday, November 20, 2010
An engagement party for two dear friends of ours Friday and errands at Chris's parent's house on Saturday led to Chris and I staying Friday night at my Dad and Stepmom's home in Placerville. We woke up to a light dusting of snow, the likes of which I had thought I escaped when I moved to Davis, and to bear claws and coffee for breakfast. (I love going home).
I woke up and began the loads of laundry I would be washing in my dad's free machines (any opportunity to do laundry at a parent's house when you live in an apartment should always be taken to the full advantage), and helped my dad navigate his notifications on facebook. Apparently, he's had the thing for over a year and didn't know what the little red boxes with the white numbers were.
I sat down with my bear claw and coffee and soon heard from the computer room, "Hey Kate!" I kept my fingers crossed that it wasn't some question about Farmville, as my dad has thus far avoided signing up for the stupid facebook game and bringing shame upon the family.
"Did Dennis [my uncle on my mother's side] have a heart attack?" he asked. "What?" I replied, thinking that if my Uncle had had a heart attack I surely would have heard about it by now and there wouldn't be any way that Dad could have found out only through facebook.
"Dustin posted that his dad had a heart attack last night," he explained as he scrolled around trying to find the original post. I instructed him on how to use the "search" option to go to my cousin's page and sure enough, his status said that my Uncle had a heart attack. There was only one thing to do: call my mother. If anyone knew it was her. My uncle and my mom are closer than any of their other siblings and my mom is very close to her mother. Being that my uncle lives on my grandmother's property in El Dorado Hills, I came to the reasonable conclusion that my mom surely had already found out and was waiting to call me until she thought I was awake (on a Saturday, that's usually any time between 9am and 12pm).
I was surprised to hear my mom answer the phone groggily, as if she had only just been sleeping when I called. Her response was, "What? No, no one called me! Hang on, let me call Dennis's house." She proceeded to use her cell phone as I waited on her landline.
"Dennis?" I heard her say, thinking she was talking to my uncle and this was all some big mistake, but then she said, "Oh, Dustin! What's going on?"
It was then that we got the story of how my uncle had had a heart attack a week ago and didn't know it until last night and that no one had bothered to call anyone else in the family. It hit me and my mom at the same time that we had to find out through facebook that my Uncle had suffered a heart attack. At the same time I was thinking, "My uncle had a heart attack and nobody called me?" I heard my mother ask Dustin, "My brother had a heart attack and nobody told me?
I told my mom to call me when she had more information so I could go see my Uncle Dennis if he was having visitors and hung up the phone. I am greatly relieved that my Uncle is alright. He's one of my faves, always ready with a witty, smart-ass remark and a smile. At this point, however, I was mentally facepalming the fact that only in my family could we find out through facebook that something serious had happened.
There was nothing for me to do but call my two sisters because I didn't want them finding out through similar methods I had. Talia was sleeping and Michelle was at work, so it took a few calls to get them on the phone.
I decided to start the phone call with, "Uncle Dennis is fine, but..." thinking that it would soften the blow and be less devastating than starting with, "Uncle Dennis had a heart attack." Unfortunately, when I called Michelle, I was finishing up a piece of bear claw and she heard me as saying, "Uncle Dennis is fighting, but he had a heart attack." Her strong reaction surprised me. "He's ok!" I insisted. "Oh, well, I can't understand you through your chewing!" I looked down at my delicious bear claw and laughed. "Sorry! Didn't mean to scare you!"
Two things happened here that I think are pretty unique to my family. One is that my uncle walked around for a week with a heart attack and complained about blurred vision and lethargy before finally and reluctantly going to the doctor under the advice of my cousin and my grandmother. The other is that the incident was only found out through facebook. I'm really glad my uncle is ok and I hope I can see him today but I will be wondering from now on what big news I'll receive next time I'm on facebook.
I don't want a wedding anymore. I don't want to spend what little money we have on stupid wedding table cloths and stupid wedding chairs and stupid wedding cakes and stupid wedding places, stupid wedding food and ... damnit, I'm tired.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I am very much enjoying bike riding. I did the complete bike loop on Sunday, half on Monday and Tuesday, and Chris and I did the whole thing tonight. It was dark by the time we got home and we enjoyed the leftovers of the awesome crock pot roast I made earlier this week. We would have had leftover shepherd's pie, but Chris thinks it bland.
I want cookies. I want cookies and chocolate and ice cream and starbursts. I want soda and chips and dips and snicker's and pasta.
Sorry, I just had to get that out. I'm trying to eat healthier, which means less eating out, less processed food and more calorie counting. It's just so hard when I know I've eaten plenty and my body is telling me it's still hungry. I have about 200 more calories I can eat and still stay under my quota, but I'm feeling calorie-shy today. I woke up this morning 0.2 pounds heavier than the previous morning. I think after a healthy snack I'm going to go to bed.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Today I ventured out to tackle the twelve-mile Davis Bike Loop that was established to follow bike and pedestrian-friendly trails and bike lanes around the circumference of Davis. I left at 3:50 and got back at 5:30 as for much of the ride I was facing a headwind and I'm not exactly in tip-top shape to be going very fast. I still feel I got one helluva workout, though.
The trail is beautiful, going through much of the Davis Greenbelt and almost completely avoiding the city streets. I took the trail clockwise to try to avoid left turns which turned out not to matter much because I wasn't on any roads for longer than ten minutes at a time. I felt very accomplished after the ride and went home to pull out my crock pot roast I had been cooking since the morning. Chris and I had dinner and he loved it!
Afterward, I did a bit of yoga to stretch my used muscles and called it a day. I burned a ton of calories and kept my intake under 1500 which is great, because I have to somehow lose a ton of weight by June. :p
Another weekend gone. Back to work tomorrow morning, bright and early.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Recently, they reopened their doors after a multi-million dollar modern-art add-on. The building is incredible and is actually connected to the old buildings. It is ultra-modern looking with a bright color scheme and a mixture of curvy and straight lines. It is very impressive and their collection of modern art is enviable.
After spending hours in the Louvre in Paris this summer, I feel I can tell a good gallery. While nothing compares to the Louvre (minus the stupid pyramid), the Crocker is a welcome and appreciated establishment in the center of art and culture in the Sacramento area. The new building is also a complimentary and well-received addition to the community.
The price is right, also, at ten dollars admission for adults, eight for students and-well, I didn't actually look at the children's prices because I don't have kids and don't really care. However, on Sunday, they have a "pay what you want" policy, which everyone that I've talked to at work who lives in Sacramento says is the "free day."
Chris and I spent hours there for Veteran's Day and brought a sac lunch to enjoy by the river. We watched the Tower Bridge raise for an old ship. The horn scared the bejeezus out of me. It was only when it stopped and the bells started ringing that I realized what was happening. We watched the middle section of the bridge begin to raise as the counterweights descended. We were looking back and forth down the American River to see what was trying to get through.
We laughed when we saw it. Sails up, a masted, wooden ship was gliding down the river. They were raising the vertical lift for a pirate ship! Of course, a desperate search for the Jolly Roger and any sign of "booty" left us disappointed. This was just a regular ol' ship. Still, it was a sight to see.
After our lunch, we continued exploring the floors of the new and old Crocker museum. We had a great day and finished it off with true California cuisine: In N Out. It was a great way to spend the holiday.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Yesterday was the bike ride of the century. Chris has class until after seven on Mondays, so I went solo on my adventure. I rode downtown, through the Arboretum, down Olive, and back up G street. I didn't stay on one path because I was shooting for at least a half-hour of constant cardio. I got forty minutes in before I stopped at The Artery downtown to look at some of the work they have there. I was quite impressed with the diversity of art they have there. I'll be revisiting.
I got myself a meal at Davis Noodle City. This place gives you two meals for the price of one, really. I fed Chris and I for eight bucks. I had to learn the best way to carry leftovers home on a bike with no rack, however, and it didn't look as good at home as it did when I put it in it's box. Chris didn't mind much and enjoyed it.
Today began sunny but the rain soon dripped in and so I didn't ride. I met Chris downtown after work where he was doing homework and enjoying Peet's coffee. I was driving toward downtown when all of a sudden I turned onto F street and the leaves of the trees lining the roads were lit up in their fall colors and hovering over the road. It was beautiful. It took my breath away for a second. This town is gorgeous in the fall.
After dinner at Oshio Cafe, we went home and are now just kickin' back like any ol' engaged couple. I have to make my sandwich for tomorrow and maybe hide it in the fridge because another Creature got in last night and eated the one Chris said he made for me. Darn Creature.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
The wind began to pick up a bit tonight, which is nice. It's been 70 and 80 degrees out here for the last two weeks. Even sitting outside coffee shops at night I have to take my sweater off. It's supposed to cool off soon so I went to the Target today to buy a warm weather hat. It covers my ears so that they don't hurt when I'm riding the bike through the cool air. Constant ear-aches as a kid led to them being pretty sensitive to temperature changes. Here is a picture of me wearing it:
I also found another creature tonight. I went in the fridge to grab a water and this little guy was in my fridge stealing mangos:
Friday, November 5, 2010
...And that's the last reference to that I'm giving you today.
Anywho. I keep finding creatures in the strangest places when I wake up in the morning. Last night, I found one in the fridge thought I had caught it in time, but there was another waiting for me when I woke up this morning!
Chris usually stays up later than me but claims to know nothing about how these creatures got there! Here are some examples:
And this one:
Can someone tell me what's going on?
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Today was a pretty good Thursday. I had my own group and chose our own outing today at work. That was very exciting and I feel like I'm really progressing with a lot of the clients. I feel confident in my job and in my co-workers. I have all the support I need and when I need direction, everyone is nice to me and open to my asking questions. I also get appreciation for when I do something well or when I catch on to something quickly. In bigger departments I know how easy it is for some people's work to go unnoticed while another staff gets tons of credit for doing the same job. They just don't work like that at my new job and it's super refreshing.
I got home and promptly fell asleep. I have been finding myself staying up late this week just noodling around with wedding websites and things. I have had quite the adventure gathering addresses. I'm not nearly done, but I have begun putting the ones I have online. I started at weddingwire.com but the site all of a sudden stopped working right for me a couple nights ago. Weddingwire was great about getting back to me promptly when I emailed their support staff but I went over to theknot.com and started a back-up list, just in case. Tonight I went back to theknot and I suddenly had duplicates of a bunch of my guests. I gave up and went back to weddingwire, which had apparently fixed the problem, but then my internet connection stopped working for some reason. Frustrated, I told a friend I was switching back to pen and paper. We'll see...
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
All I can say is that on this dark day, I can at least be happy that CA has a better memory than the rest of the nation. It took the rest of the US just four years to forget twelve years of Republican fail and only two years to forget eight years of Bush fail. Of course, they refuse to remember anything important in the meantime, like this stuff.
This entry is being cross-posted on all my blogs in honor of the victims of American illiteracy and ignorance, such as the great Ted Strickland and Russ Feingold.
Monday, November 1, 2010
This weekend Chris and I spent Friday and Saturday in Placerville. Friday night was the Halloween dance at the company I used to work for. Believe me, it was great to see familiar faces, no matter that it was still hard to say goodbye again. Chris and his band did some recording Friday night, which means that the new album is just about complete. We have been throwing around a few names, including but not limited to: "They're So Big" and other things Andrea and I heard them saying during practice that could be taken completely out of context.
Saturday was Venue Searching Day. We went to Mt. Aukum Winery, Lacham, Granite Springs and Fitzpatrick, which seems the most comfortable as a venue but has some weird rules regarding time and set up and will probably be the most expensive. We also took a look at Chris' parents' yard to see what it would take to get the garden at the top of the hill looking like a wedding venue. It doesn't look like it would take too much, so we're keeping that in the forefront of our minds. I just wish it was big enough for everyone to be there. As it stands, there is only room for the immediate family and honorable bridesmaids/groomsmen (we're not actually having bridal party/groomsmen, but there are a few people that we'd like to show our appreciation to for being great friends).
I carved a pumpkin this weekend for the first time in years and years. I was trying to make a picture of a Holland Lop, as that is the kind of bunny I'm trying to convince Chris to let me have, but the nose and cheeks ended up being harder than I thought. I eventually just turned the thing into a ghost. Chris carved the other side with a trippy-looking gypsy-eye thing so we put it on our front porch. Good times.
Chris ended up having a lot of homework Sunday night so I drove up to El Dorado Hills to go Trick or Treating with my nephews. We had a great time. Devin is taller than his mother now and very close to passing me up. Now, at 4"11' and 5"2' that's usually not saying much; most of the world is taller than us. But Devin is only ten. How fast those boys grow!
The Giants won the World Series tonight. We went out to dinner at Burgers & Brew downtown this evening and learned of the good news when some Giants fans ran by the outdoor seating area twirling their Giants shirts above their heads and wearing nothing but boxer shorts. That was interesting to say the least, but as Niner fans, we're glad that at least one SF team is doin' it right. Go Giants.