Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jet Lag?

I have traveled across the US, to Europe, heck, even Africa and up until yesterday I have yet to suffer from jet lag. Sure, I've been tired from my trips before, but nothing like what I have suffered from since returning from visiting my mom in Hawaii.

My flight out of Kona was at 9:30 Sunday evening, yes the red eye, and I arrived in LA at 4:45 am. I returned home about 6:00 am, dutifully unpacked my bags, worked out, and then got my clothes sorted to start the laundry all by 7:30 am. And that was the end of me. About 7:30 I crawled into my wonderful, comfy bed "just for a little while" and woke up at 9:30 am.
I called my friend who was watching my dog while I was away and said I'd be there in a little while to pick up Koho. I went back to sleep and woke up about noon. Often I sat up in bed and told myself it was time to get up and then I'd fall back to sleep. About 2:30 I finally pried myself out of bed, put on sweats and went to get Koho. On my way home I remembered I had laundry to do. So when I got home, I went back upstairs to get the laundry, but found myself back in bed. I think I woke up again about 9:00 PM to let the dog out and went back to sleep. Still forgetting about the laundry.
Even after all the sleeping I did yesterday, I still slept soundly and didn't wake until about 9:00 am. Again, let the dog outside, came back up to bed, checked my email, and fell back to sleep. Finally, about noon I dragged myself out of bed to do the laundry and work out. However, I forgot all about the laundry again and just worked out.
After deciding I had a couple of errands I needed to run I took a shower and then sat on the couch for about an hour trying to get up the energy to go outside. I had three places to go, all three in the same side of town, but instead of going in that direction, I went the other way - the whole time trying to remember where I was going?!?!?!?!
I ended my errands with a trip to the grocery store and I got out of there without incident. As I drove into the garage and saw the washer and dryer I remembered that I needed to do my laundry. So I went upstairs to get the laundry and got side tracked on the computer when I realized that the groceries were still in the car. Ugh!
After the groceries I went outside three times to get the mail and take the garbage cans out and two of those times I forgot why I went outside. Seriously.
It's so weird. This flight was only about 4 1/2 hours and it's only a 2 hour time difference right now. I keep thinking that it's because I'm 35 and not a spring chicken any longer, but I'm hoping it was just because of the red eye!
It's about 10:00 PM, a day later, and I finally feel back to normal. Oh, and I just finished the laundry.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Panda Sneeze

Someone showed this to me Christmas day and it is just too cute not to share. Make sure your sound is on (and my blog music is off) and watch mom's reaction. It is just great! Enjoy!

Meeting the Artist

This past week my mom and I visited the Wyland art gallery in downtown Kona for an artist event. Wyland is a marine life artist who is most known for his 100 "Whaling Walls" all over the world. I have seen his work a lot as it is quite prominent in Southern California and Hawaii. On Sunday, Wyland was at his gallery in Kona and I got to meet him.
After some champagne and hors d'oeuvres he painted a picture in front of everyone. It was amazing! His work is not really my style as far as it doesn't go with the decor in my home (plus it's super expensive), but his work is truly beautiful and to watch him paint was so cool. First he sketched out the honu (sea turtle).

Here is a closeup of the sketch.

After letting the paint dry a bit (and signing books and prints), he went back in and added the color and detail to the honu.

Then he signed his name to the painting.

Here is the finished product. The honus are my favorite part of Hawaii so to watch him paint one right in front of me was quite a sight. I also must add that he was very friendly and seemed to enjoy his audience (I'd be a nervous wreck). It was a fun night! Oh, and in case anyone was interested, the painting was put up for sale for $15,000. Yikes!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mele Kalikimaka!

Merry Christmas From Hawaii!
Taken on Alii Drive, Kona, Hawaii - December 21, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Quiz...Just What I Wanted!

This post was copied from Happy Wife and it's a Christmas quiz. I love quizzes, so here we go.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I like wrapping paper and a real pretty bow. If I have time, I make it fancy. When I don't have time, a bag is real easy.

2. Real tree or artificial? Awwww, this answer has always, up until last year, been real. I grew up with real trees. Real trees, real tress, real trees! After a couple of years having to bring home my own real tree, put up my own real tree, keep my own real tree alive, and cleaning up after my own real tree, I now have a fake tree. It sure is easy; Not a good smelling, but easy.

3. When do you put up your tree? When I put one up it's usually the weekend after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take it down? By December 26, I am so sick of all the stuff, it comes down on the 26. One time I even took it down and put everything away on Christmas night.

5. Do you like eggnog? No

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I'm the only child so I got a lot of good gifts. It's hard to say which was the most favorite, but I loved my Big Wheel, my blue ten speed bike, the doll house my dad built, and my first stereo (with record player).

7. Worst Christmas gift ever received? There's been a lot crap, but it's the thought that counts, right?

8. Hardest person to buy for? I have a hard time with most of the adults I buy for. I find as adults, we don't casually comment, "Oh I wish someone would buy me a _____." That makes it difficult to buy gifts.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Because of #8, I have resorted to gift cards for most of my main gifts. I know they are not super personal, but I know I like to receive them. They are much easier.

10. Do you have a nativity scene? I grew up with one, that I played with every year. I do not have one now.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I make AND mail my Christmas cards.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? "Charlie Brown Christmas" and "A Christmas Story".

13. When do you start Christmas shopping? I'm on the earlier side, Thanksgiving weekend.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Hanukkah brisket - when I lived back East I often spent Hanukkah with some friends of mine. Their aunt made the most delicious brisket. When I moved back to CA I brought the recipe with me and told my dad he had to try it. We now have it every year for Christmas too.

16. Lights on the tree? The new fake tree has the lights build right in.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Good King Wenceslas and another song that I can't figure out the name of it for the life of me.

18. Travel or stay home? This year I'm traveling, but I'd prefer to stay home.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes - "You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet, and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you recalllllllll, the most fa-mous reindeer of ALLLLL? Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer"

20. Angel or star? Star

21. Open presents Christmas morning or eve? In my family, the kids always got to open one present (parent's choice) on Christmas Eve. The rest on Christmas morning, after letting my parents sleep until at least 7:00.

22. Favorite ornament theme or color? My parents bought me an ornament every year. After I started riding horses when I was about 6, my ornaments were always rocking horses. I have all those ornaments now. I have a mishmash of themes, but mostly rocking horses. Someday I will a do a tree of just rocking horses. Wouldn't that be pretty?

23. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Inconsiderate people, but that's annoying any time of year.

24. What do you want for Christmas this year? Since becoming independently wealthy is probably not something I will get this year, I would say change. My job, my state, my country, my world is in bad shape right now. I'd like things to get better sooner than later.

Now it's your turn!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Random Thoughts

  • It's officiail...I'M SIIICCCKKKK!!!! (said in a whiny, stuffy-nose voice) Friday night after work and some last minute Christmas errands, I arrived home tired after a long, slow week. As the night went on, my throat got a little scratchy, but "No," I thought, I'm probably just tired, so I did some things around the house and went to bed at a reasonable time. Yesterday morning, I got up a bit stuffy, a bit achy, and still with a scratchy throat. I went grocery shopping and picked up some Airborne. That's the stuff that is supposed to stop a cold, but it's also the stuff that looks like throw-up in a glass, blech!! I don't think it works though...I took some NyQuil (my savior) last night and woke up this morning with a full blown head cold. I hate being sick.
  • There are two movies coming out in the next couple of weeks that I am looking forward to seeing. I leave for my mom's this weekend and I'm hoping I can pass the time there by going to the show. Some buttery popcorn might help too. The movies are "Frost/Nixon" and "Nothing Like the Holidays" (with Grace from Will and Grace). My mom wants to see "Marley and Me". I'm not sure if I want to or not...I hear it's a cute story, but the dog dies at the end and for someone who owns an aging pet, that's the last thing I want to see.
  • Am I the only one in the world who can't stand Jim Carrey? I'm sorry, let me clarify, I don't know Jim Carrey, so it's not him the person I can't stand (although maybe I wouldn't like him either), but rather the characters he portrays in the movies. I know his movies are not written for girls, but the movies and the characters he plays just annoy the heck out of me. I am in bed, feeling sorry for my sick self, and watching the chick flick "Someone Like You" with Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman (my new celebrity crush). The preview for "Yes Man" has played about 10 times and the movie following "Someone..." is "Liar, Liar". Ugh! I hate those movies - my opinion, not trying to offend anyone who is JC fan.
  • Did you hear? George Bush had shoes thrown at him in Iraq. Apparently, the throwing of one's shoe in Iraqi culture is a sign of contempt and this guy threw two. I'm surprised the man hasn't had a whole shoe store thrown at him.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Open a Book

(Thanks to Jill for allowing me to use this picture of Téa)
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them!
How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.
-Arnold Lobel
The holidays are just around the corner. If you are looking for a good book for a loved one or a book for you to curly up next to the fire and read, let me help.
The Thirteenth Tale was chosen by Jason for our book club about a year ago. At first I was skeptical. I am not a reader of fantasy/weird/unreal type books. In fact, the back of the book mentions ghosts and ghost stories. I complained a little, but started the book - I always start the books for bookclub, even if I don't finish them. However, after about a chapter I was hooked. It is an outstanding book with a lot of twists and turns and the "ghosts" are explained in the end. It is one of the best books I have read. Really!

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree is an oldie but a goodie. In fact, the book I have is from 1963 and done in ink drawing and green washes. It is very cute and the story is a sing-songy rhyme - there's just something fun about stories that rhyme. My mom read this to me when I was little (way after 1963 by the way) and I loved it. I read it to my students last week and they enjoyed it as well, even without the color pictures. All ages will love it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Last week I made some card packages for my friend Tami. Tami has been a big supporter of my cards for the last couple of years which is great because I love making them. This year she asked if I would make her some different sets so she could give them as gifts for the holidays. I made 78 cards (packaged into 6) over my fall break from school. Each set has 6 cards and they are inside a small folder tied together with ribbon. I think they turned out pretty cute.

Marey over at elementl-p is doing a fundraiser and I just donated 2 card sets to her good cause. Take a look if you are interested in donating an item or donating to win an item.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tasty Tuesday

This week, Tasty Tuesday may be a day late and a dollar short, but I wanted to share a side dish I made this year for Thanksgiving. I went to my cousin's house for Turkey Day this year (that's a whole other post) and when I asked if I could bring anything I was told that anything was fine, but if I wanted yams to bring them myself since they weren't being made by the cook. I don't particularly like yams or sweet potatoes, but I figured if they were mentioned I might want to bring them. I looked on AllRecipes.com and found several typical yam dishes, but I just don't like them. But I found this recipe that sounded so much better than the typical candied yams business. Disclaimer: If you like candied yams, that's fine, I am not insulting you here, I just don't personally like them. Please don't leave me a comment that I am stereotyping yam eaters, or that I'm not knowledgeable enough about yams to like them. This is just MY opinion. You don't have to agree with it and I don't have to agree with you. This doesn't make me a bad person.

Anyhow, this dish was a hit with the Thanksgiving diners. I changed up the recipe a bit. Below is how I made it, but I have linked the original.

Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered (Note that sweet potatoes and yams are different. Sweet potatoes are actually a white potato.)
2 tblsp melted butter
2 tblsp brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large cooking apples - peeled, cored, cut into 1 inch pieces (I used Granny Smith)
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1. Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook 25 minutes, or until tender but firm. Drain, cool and cut into 1/4 inch slices.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 8x10 inch baking dish.
3. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar (2 tblsp), cinnamon and nutmeg.
4. Layer sweet potatoes, melted butter (2 tblsp), brown sugar mixture and apples in the prepared baking dish.
5. In a medium bowl, mix flour, remaining brown sugar, remaining butter and pecans. Spread over the top of the apples.
6. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Here is the dish, put together at home before being baked.
It's a sweeter dish than I prefer, but it was tasty. The caramelized sauce on top is delicious. A few people didn't know it was sweet potatoes and were surprised when I told them after eating it. My cousin who doesn't usually try the yams/sweet potatoes tried it and liked it as well. Maybe you can try it for your upcoming winter holiday or save it for next year's Turkey Day!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fall Break

Fall break from school has been this week. I didn't realize it would be, but it has been a much needed break. It has been relaxing and busy at the same time. That's my favorite way to spend a vacation - busy, but with the kinds of things I want to do, and the day doesn't start until I want to start it. I was summoned for Jury Service this week, but, HOORAY, after calling in each night, I never had to go to court. So instead, here are some leisurely things I have done...
I went to see the new James Bond film - Quantum of Solace. MmmMmm, that new James Bond is good looking.
This photo is actually from Casino Royale, but it's worth looking at again. Mr. Bond didn't wear a bathing suit in the new movie, but there was a shirtless scene. It was a fun, actiony movie. Plus, did I mention how hot Mr. Bond is?

My oldest friend Kristen and I took her three kids to the LA Zoo. They are one of my most favorite families so it's always fun to spend the day with them.

Here are some of my best photos of the day.

Here are the three kids - Matthew (the monster), Emily, and Nicholas. All three are such hams for the camera.

Emily spent more time playing on the mosaic animals than she did watching the real ones.

Don't tell anyone, but Nicholas is my favorite.
"Winter" during an 80 degree day.

We spent about 20 minutes in the orangutans' area. They were a lot of fun to watch. A baby (fur to the right) climbed all over the older one. The kids enjoyed watching both of them and the orangutans seemed to enjoy watching the kids as well.

I love animals, so the zoo, in one way, is fun to visit. The exotic animals are so beautiful. They are truly amazing creatures. On the other hand, I am troubled by the zoo. Some of the animals seemed lonely and depressed, and some seemed like they were going crazy being trapped in their small habitat. Others didn't seem to mind at all, and I enjoyed watching them, but it was very difficult to watch the animals who seemed to be having a hard time. The tiger, for example, paced and paced around it's area without stopping. I was exhausted just watching it. The elephant, one of my favorites, was all alone in a very small area. It either threw dirt on itself, which can be a sign of distress, or rocked back in forth for long periods of time.

My friend Tami asked me to make her some cards for her gift giving this year. After working for several hours each night, I am just about finished making the 78 cards. It has been fun being able to work late and not have to worry about getting up early the next morning to go to my real job. I will post some photos of the sets when they are completed.

I am two gifts away from having my Christmas shopping DONE! Woot! Woot! It is such a nice feeling. I still have to write my Christmas cards, but that will get done this weekend.

The best part of this week so far has been the sleeping in. I haven't gotten up before 9:00 am so far this week. I haven't set the alarm and that is a nice feeling. After Thanksgiving Thursday, I still have four more days off. I love vacation!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tasty Tuesday

I know, I know, I know...I have posted this recipe before. It pains me to repeat a post and I know I give other repeaters such a hard time, but the repeat is for good reason. Back in August I posted this recipe in my first Tasty Tuesday, but it was August and everyone was hot, from the heat. It is now November and in most of the world it has cooled, except of course in Socal where it's still super hot, so I wanted to remind you about my most favorite and easy soup recipe. So this is not really a repeat but more a public service announcement. Slàinte!

Chicken Tortilla Soup - Slow Cooker
2-3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts (can be frozen)
1 (15 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chile peppers
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups water
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 (10 oz) package frozen corn
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (add more if you like it like I do)
7 corn tortillas
vegetable oil

1. Put all ingredients (except tortilla and oil) into slow cooker. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours. Before serving, shred chicken using a fork - it will just fall apart.
2. Preheat oven to 400.
3. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with oil. Cut tortillas into strips, then spread on a baking sheet.
4. Bake in preheated oven until lightly brown and crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Add tortilla strips and any other toppings...serve!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just One Word

Grandma J over at Ask Grandma J posted this meme and I "borrowed" it for my own post. You all know how much I LOVE quizzes. Plus, there's not too much thinking, since the answers are only one word. Wait, I don't respond to anything in only one word, that might be difficult. I'll try...
Where is your cell phone - charging
Your hair color - blond
Your mother - Hawaii
Favorite thing - bed
Your dream last night - none
Your dream goal - debt-free
The room you're in - bedroom
Your hobby - art
Your fear - SNAKES
Where do you want to be in 6 years - somewhere
Where were you last night - Getty
What you're not - patient
One of your wish list items - supplies
Where you grew up - SoCal
The last thing you did - drew
What are you wearing - t-shirt
Your TV- old
Your pet- Koho
Your computer -Dell
Your mood - tired
Missing someone - Dad
Your car - Escape
Something you're not wearing - pants
Favorite shop - DSW
Your summer - hot
Love someone - yes
Favorite color - red
When you last laughed - now
When you last cried - always
I did it! It was hard not trying to explain my answers, but I was able to do it. You are next!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Merry Thanksgivoween

Someone sent this to me in an email last week, and it, quite frankly, sums up the way I feel about the holidays these days. Don't get me wrong, I do like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, but what's the deal with it arriving earlier and earlier every year? Yesterday we stopped at the Citadel Outlet Mall for lunch on the way home from the conference in San Diego. Walking back to the car we heard Christmas music playing. YES, that's right, Christmas music on November 18th! It's not even Thanksgiving yet PLUS it's still 90 degrees outside. It's just too early and I'm so not in the mood yet.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tasty Tuesday

Away at a conference in San Diego. Posting will resume when I return.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tasty Tuesday

Last week I held Book Club and this was the dessert I made. It comes from a Southern Living party I went to a few years ago. It is probably the easiest desert ever and is always a hit.

Easy Cherry Cobbler
2 cans cherry pie filling (any fruit works great)
2 sticks of butter (melted)
1 package white cake mix (not Jiffy)
2/3 cup water

1. Spread cherry pie filling into the bottom of a 9x12 baking dish.
2. Pour 2/3 cup water over the pie filling.
3. Sprinkle the cake mix over the top of the filling.
4. Pour butter evenly over the top of the cake mix.
5. Bake in oven for about 45 minutes, until top is golden brown.
6. Let set for 10-15 minutes.
7. While still warm, serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
8. Enjoy!
Being the host, I forgot to take a picture of it when it came out of the oven or when it was served. This was what was left after everyone left. It's funny how food that has already been partly eaten doesn't look quite as appetizing as it does before everyone digs in. But I promise you that it is very, very good, even if looks like a big mess in the picture.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It was another busy Saturday and I was inspired to write, however after the length of last weekend's post, I thought I would include these inspirations under "Random Thoughts" since that's what most of them are anyways. I have been addicted to taking pictures with my crappy iphone camera (it's so easy), so most of this post is in pictures, albeit not very good ones...

  • I met some friends in Pasadena yesterday morning. We went to Dick Blick, one of my favorite stores and then the Cheesecake Factory for lunch.

    On the way back to the car we walked past Mrs. Beasly's bakery and spotted some cupcakes. Cupcakes are all the rage right now, but these are not your ordinary cupcakes.

    My friend's son said, "I don't think I'd like those very much." Ha, ha! I agree.
  • My wonderful dog Koho has some hot spots on her paws. She got them many years ago, and there is no medical reason why. She has them again and she licks them raw. There is nothing I can do to keep her away from them other than an e-collar, a.k.a. a cone collar. I don't like the regular, plastic collars because they are uncomfortable and hard. She runs into and scratches walls, couches, tables, and me because she can't judge the size of her cone-shaped head. Yesterday I bought her a padded, nylon one that is supposed to be more comfortable. I think Koho would beg to differ.
    How funny looking is this. I feel so bad, and I can't even look at her because it makes me feel bad. She stands in the middle of the room without moving. She's so sweet though and wags her tail the entire time. I took it off of her for a little while this morning to give her a break. She slept the entire time, probably so exhausted from having it on. I keep telling myself it will just be a couple of weeks and once the hot spots are healed, she won't have to worry about it, but I still feel bad.

  • Last night I went to the Van Morrison concert at the Hollywood Bowl. The Bowl is probably my most favorite place to see a concert - it's outside and the sound is great. I love Van Morrison and was so excited to hear him do so many of the hits that I grew up with. However, last night did not meet my expectations. The music and his voice are great, but he only sang four, count them, four songs that I knew (and I have 3 or 4 albums that I regularly listen to) and those four were sung so differently than the album versions that we weren't able to sing along. It was a disappointing show.
  • After the concert we walked down Highlands to Hollywood Blvd to jump on the subway. It was a quiet walk back to the station until we got to Hollywood and Highland. All of a sudden, we were in the middle of a Prop. 8 protest. The protesters were on two corners, chanting, and not really bothering anyone. The police dotted the street, there to keep order if needed.
  • We stood across the street and watched with other lookey-loos for awhile. As we watched, the protesters got louder and then walked into the crosswalk and stood, blocking Highland. The police ran around a little bit and then a police truck drove past us with police in riot gear hanging off the sides. The "audience" gasped. The police lined the intersection. We were told to either go across the street and join the protesters or leave. The subway station was right behind us so we slowly walked towards it. Before taking the escalator down to the station, a large group of protesters poured onto the streets from the station. We stood and watched for awhile and then a police officer looked at us and said, "Go, now." We quickly turned and hopped on the escalator. On the ride down, I had two thoughts. First, I wondered why the police armed up so quickly. The protesters were chanting, but being very civil. No one was being disrespectful or dangerous. My second thought was about the two 15ish year old girls riding down the escalator in front of us, who then turned around and rode it back up behind the protesters. Tell me, how is it that these "little" girls are out, in Hollywood, at 11:00 PM on a Saturday night with no parents around, and gay marriage is being blamed for the crumbling of family values. Just wondering.