Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011.....in a nutshell

 So the year has finally come to the end. What a year it has been for me!

  •  God has been so good to me career wise this year . It seems unbelievable that at this time last year I had been newly laid off from the recording department at LSI Title and was wondering what my next step was going to be. My BA is in Communications but I honestly thought I could never make a career out of this. Never. I thought that door had been long since closed. Enter March, when I got a bug up my heiny and decided to pursue my freelance writing one more time. I went back to writing my column for Examiner.com. This year has been awesome for my column, which normally covers a nice, quiet city. Another Web site in the city began following me on Twitter then and asked me to come aboard in June because they liked my work. To say I was tickled would be the understatement of the year. A startup publication in the city also asked me to do some articles for them. Score! Also, one of my neighbors who is a reporter for the major newspaper in my area recommended me to his editor as a potential freelancer in the summer. I've been freelancing three days a week for them for almost 5 months now. Things will change career wise. I know that. There are constant ebbs and flows in life, and this will change also. I'm happy with the freelancing I'm doing though, in addition to working for a PR rep one day a week. Wow. I actually have a career that I like. It's nice, actually.

  • I participated in an adult Easter egg hunt: Yes, it was as fun as it sounds. One egg was hidden at a mediterranean restaurant while another was hid at a kinky lingerie shop. The prizes were nice, too! (and normal...)

  • I got the rest of my wisdom teeth pulled. Fun stuff! I had 1 wisdom tooth pulled in 2000 when it got cavity ridden. I didn't have dental coverage at the time, which is why the dentist only pulled 1. Another wisdom tooth got infected this year and was found to be dead. The dentist said to pull it, along with the 3 others I still have. I did that and all is well.

  • I learned that faith can help you get through things family related. My poor father has heart problems and needs bypass surgery. He's refusing it, so I know how he's going to die. The heart surgeon said his heart is in lousy shape and if 1 more artery clogs, he will fall over from a heart attack. It's sad to see this level of denial in him. My sister also provided closure for me this year. It's sad to see what's happening with her. That's all I'll say. God has been good through it all.

  • I went to Pechanga and got home at 4AM. You'd think I was 21 or something! :) My friend Chris and I went to Pechanga in February. We left a 10 and got home at 4 AM. It's nice to know that Pechanga pays out also!

  • I went to the beach. Yes, I know. I live in Orange County, CA. There is nothing unusual about hitting the beach if you live in this county. It had been awhile for me though.

  • I went to a wedding for a couple that met through EHarmony. I've now heard of 2 couples that I knew through church getting married after meeting through that site! It was a nice wedding and reception.
  I would like thank everyone who read this thing for joining me on my Blogger journey. Happy New Year and stick around for my rantings in 2012!

Recapping December



  (These monthly recaps should, ideally have a photo of me at the top of them, but dang, I looked horrific in the only one I took- one without makeup on! Therefore, Christmas lights tree it is!)

 Wow, I really made it through a year of doing these monthly statuses. Yay for me keeping up with something consistently! :)

 This last month was nice. I wasn't laid off, as I was at this time last year, which made it even better. I was also actually working at something I actually enjoyed too. Go me! I did have a day this past month when I wanted to scream at some editors, but that feeling passed and will probably come in waves throughout the coming year. :)

 I also made the choice to spend the holidays doing things I liked doing-making Christmas gift tags, seeing the lights at different locations throughout Southern California, wrapping presents and also spending time remembering the Reason for the Season. I can say that Christmas was mostly what I chose it to be.

 I tried out my friend Debra's church, which had a cool Renaissance theme one weekend. I covered an event at another church in Brea that I may want to try out this weekend to see if I like it.

 I'll definitely do these summaries again in 2012. Onward!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The tale of Christmas horseradish and other holiday tales known as family

 I'd like to tell you a little story.

 It's all about a little plant in my parents backyard called horseradish and my dad's persistence each year to make horseradish for everyone around him out of these plants.

 I'm shocked that this blender (which is probably 40+ years old) has withstood the grinding each year that my dad puts it through as he grinds up the horseradish. There have been years that he has really gone all out and had my mom get decorative jars to put it in as he gives it to friends and family. This year though, he made it only for Christmas dinner and ground that sucker up and poured vinegar in it as he shouted, "WOO! CLEANIN' OUT THE SINUSES!" :)

 Obviously, today was a good day and also a less stressful time with my parents. The mood was lighter because they were busy. My dad was busy making his traditional horseradish to go on the Christmas roast as my mom got the dinner ready.

 And we all tried the sinus cleaning horseradish with dinner. Mom had the sour cream handy to dilute it. :) It really did go nicely with Mom's roast.



 And then, the tradition of the moving of the gifts began. The gifts have lately sat under this tree:


 Yes, you see that right. My mom places the gifts by the table that holds this little tree, which my Nana bought for my sister and I when we were little. It went in the room that we shared for many years and now sits in the front room of their house each Christmas. Mom places the gifts around the table, and then, we all move them to the living room to open.... As you notice in the picture, there is seating in this room.....You may all think about that as I have many times. Many, many times...


 I couldn't figure out the indoor feature on my camera right then. But you get the idea. I have a quirky family. :) My wrapping got kudos from my mom though. It was cute if I do say so myself. :)



 I figured out the indoor settings on the camera. Yaaay! :)
  And I was also happy to get this:



 PROJECT LIFE! Becky Higgins has always been a genius when it came to scrapbooking, and this invention of hers seems cool also. Let's see if I can even keep up with it this year. With scrapbooking not as big as it once was, I think this is a genius way to keep it alive.

 I hope you all had a Merry Christmas as I did!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

It's a wrap!

 And so, the festivities wind down. It's literally a wrap.


 There's always a plus to buying wrapping paper from kids for their school fundraisers. I still have a few rolls around, so it looks as if Mom got Santa paper this year! :)

 This woman is a friggin genius when it comes to wrapping gifts. I debated using her paper bag idea this year for my dad's gift card, but alas, I only have plastic bags. I may use some of her ideas next year and buy lots of paper bags and have fun with it. Hey, I've got enough tags to last me until I die, so why not include them with my brown paper bags of gifts? :)

  Christmas Eve was stressful this year and slightly sad and showed me why some people need a drink after seeing family over the holidays. It's difficult to be the only child who cares about my elderly parents. Seriously.

 I went to my parents church this evening with my mom. It was a nice service and she thanked me for coming with her, because she didn't want to go alone since Dad wasn't feeling well. You're welcome, Mom. It's Christmas Eve. Either I come now, or it's the 11 o'clock service at my former church. That hour was slightly stressful, to put it nicely.

   I was so nervous when we got back from church. My parents ordered out from Mimi's Cafe for dinner, which was nice. My dad joked with me a bit during dinner that I was being a Christmas kill joy when asking if my Project Life arrived. (Okay, he was right. :) ) I could feel the tenseness though in my shoulders when I got home that evening. It was just stressful. Tomorrow should be interesting!

 And that is why it's so important to create independent holiday traditions. I'm glad to have spent some of the holiday this year seeing the lights, decorating and creating those tags that I'll probably never get rid of. It was fun, and I'll have to expand on that next year and in the years to come, also remembering the Reason for the Season.

 Until then, it's a wrap!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

They're done! Yaaaaay!!!!


 I was seriously dragging this year getting my Christmas cards out. Dragging with a capital D! I don't know why, either!

 I used to get my Christmas cards out on December 1st each year. Now y'all will be lucky to get them by Christmas. ;) I used to also stamp out my cards that had a zillion areas to color once stamped. I think age brings wisdom, because stamping seriously went out the window after I discovered the beauty of scrapbooking supply usage on Christmas cards. Cut, affix, done became my new mantra for many years for cards. This year though was actually the simplest I've probably ever gone for cards. Pre-made card meets Christmas themed paper meets computer printed saying and DONE!

 I like this holiday tradition also but see that it's kind of a pain in the you-know-what when you actually have a job and a life. I think that's why many people just send email holiday greetings now or do those computer generated photo-ish cards.

 And figuring out who you send these cards to is also a pain in the you-know-what also! I kept thinking of the little Christmas card address book my mom had for years as I addressed my cards today. What a good idea! Granted, I can do the same thing on Excel, but what a good idea! I guess I'm becoming my mother... :)

 At least they're done!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The good, the bad and the tacky....otherwise known as a display of Christmas lights

 I think I'm done seeing Christmas lights this year. Last night's fix was just more than enough.

 So my friend Debra wanted to show me a cute neighborhood right by Chapman University in Old Town Orange. I had never been to this street before of gorgeous old homes. I guess that the neighbors decide on a theme each year for Christmas lights. One block went patriotic while the other did a candy cane theme. Here is the patriotic theme:


 This is when I told Debra that I wanted to take a picture of the street and hopped out of the car. I was just going to be one second, but nooooo, she dropped me off and kept moving. She had joked to me earlier on that I needed to walk home from Orange, but dang! LOL!

 The trees in front of each house had red, white and blue lights wrapped around each of them.

 This house on the block was personally the coolest display of lights I had ever seen. What a great patritoic display they did! Hope they take it all out for the 4th! LOL!

 As soon as I got done taking this picture I hear a scream on the other side of the street, "KIM-BER-LY! GET IN THE CAR!" I guess she likes me after all. :)

 Okay, so now that we've seen the good of Christmas light displays, let's go over to the ohmygoshiwouldneverdothatmuchwork displays. These are all taken in a housing development in Brea, CA, which is one city away from me. They are neat to see and honestly, I just loved it last year. This housing development goes all out at Christmas and the city even gives tours on their trolleys of the lights. All I kept thinking this year though was that I wouldn't be that motivated to do all that work that the following folks do. Some of it though is beyond comprehension. Take a look and see:


 Now this house is nice and understated. What I want to know though is who puts the star at the top of the tree??? Do you hire someone to put it up, along with the lights? Or do they get dangerous once a year and put it all up themselves??? Inquiring minds are curious!


 Meet California Frosty. California Frosty was TALL. In fact, he was one story tall of that 2-story house. California Frosty looks like spray-painted sagebrush, which is cool, but my question is this: Where on earth do you store California Frosty once Christmas is over with??? Or is he dismantled and you begin the fun again next year??? Inquiring minds want to know!

 And then....there's THIS house. This house is what I like to affectionately term Ton O'C***. Talk about Christmas overkill!!! I really should shut my mouth though, because I loved seeing it last year. It's just overkill in my opinion, though. Not only are the inside of the garages decorated for Christmas, but they offer tours of THE INSIDE OF THE HOUSE, which is FILLED with Christmas stuff. I mean FILLED!!!! What I want to know is where in the heck do they store all of this once Christmas is over with? They'd have to rent a storage space!


 Here is a portion of the front of the house.....


 And the garage....

 And so, this is the story of the Christmas lights this year. Maybe now that I'm done seeing these I can get my cards out. ;)

Friday, December 9, 2011

it never grows old.....


 It just never grows old to look at this tree. Never, ever, ever.

 This tree of Christmas lights stands atop a high rise building in Whittier, CA-the city that I like to call Nixon town. Richard Nixon grew up in Whittier, and this tree, as a matter of fact, stands not too far from the house he lived in and Quaker church he attended as a boy.

 I decided to snap a picture of it the other night after I left my parents house one city away. Yes, I wasted gas and drove out of the friggin way to snap a picture of a tree made out of lights. That's me! :)

 This tree has stood atop this building for ages. I'm (COUGH!) 37, and I always remember it standing there when the building was owned by a bank-American Savings, I believe. My grandparents lived not too far from here, so whenever my mom would take us there, we of course would have to drive by the tree of lights and she'd always tell us, "Look girls! Look at the Christmas tree of lights!"

 I love to look at this tree every year and hope the multi-colored tree never leaves. It really never grows old.

 Never, ever, ever....

Tag factory in progress!

  The tag factory is in full production at my place!

 I have over 100 tags that I hope to sell this weekend at a craft fair at a junior high school by me. I dragged out my tag template and got out my red and green cardstock and went to town! The end result is over 100 tags that I hope will be tied to many presents around local Christmas trees this holiday season-and recycled for many years to come!


 Now that the front design has been done, the letter stamps need to come out for some of them (not the snowflake ones) to stamp "to" and "from" on them. Hole punching and ribbon tying will be next and then it's the home stretch-sticking them in bags to be sold! Yay! :)

 I had forgotten how much fun it was to make these for the Christmas season. I think my neighbor had a great idea to make all the same thing and bag them up. Let's see though if others feel the same way. :)

 Here's to traditions though. May they continue on.....

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sparkleballs!

 



 The town I live in has a street that does the coolest lights display every Christmas. I tried to capture the scene above, with some success, but it just really doesn't capture the sweet Dr. Seussness of it all.

 The street does a display of Sparkleballs every year that they hang from their front yard trees that is just the coolest thing ever. Literally, these home made, sparkly balls glisten in the trees of every house on the street. It's a wonderful sight to see on a wintry California evening. The adjoining street has now taken up the project also doing a whitish group of sparkleballs that are cool also. I found out about this street probably 2 years ago and think it's an awesome tradition to see.

 I took this picture while working with my camera settings. :( This is a house on one of the sparkly streets that has a radio controlled light display. It really is neat. Really! :)

 It's cool to see these things at Christmas.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

That Christmasy feeling

 I just can't do it. I just can't.

 I can't decorate the day after Thanksgiving!

 It just seems so un Christmasy and un holiday like to put all the decorations up the day after Thanksgiving. I feel like I need time to recoup-at least until December 1st. And so, that's what I did. The wreath went up today.

 I would love to get one of those big. gorgeous Williams Sonoma wreaths some year, but for now, I have this cute little wreath I picked up at a white elephant exchange probably 10 years ago. It's cute and I'll always cherish it as the first wreath I ever put up in my own home.

 I also put up my manger scene. It's not Christmas without that up! I don't forget the Reason for the Season and hope others don't either.



  I don't have a tree because I feel no need for it, so I guess this is my substitute. My mom made this for me roughly 5 years ago and I take a picture down each year to hang this up. It's cute and works for now.

 And so, this begins my holiday season. I hope this season is better than last year's. I remembered thinking that I was going to postpone Christmas shopping because I worked and worked overtime and then POOF! The workload stopped and 20 of us got laid off. Shows me for postponing my Christmas shopping! ;) (Seriously though, that was a blessing in disguise, because God had far better plans for me.)

 I hope all of you are having fun decorating for the holidays also!

November recap of funness


The month of November flew by! December is upon us!

 November was pretty uneventful. I mean, it was pretty boring if I do say so myself. Possibly the most unique thing I did was have Korean bbq with a friend. I don't think I've ever tried it before, so I thought it was cool how you cook the food right at the table. See how boring I am? LOL.

 Work for the major paper in my area continued on. I'm going into my fourth month with them and did some interesting stories for them this month. One thing that I'll remember is covering a Veteran's Day ceremony that had a survivor of the USS Oklahoma as their main speaker. Yes, the USS Oklahoma of Pearl Harbor fame. I also did another article about a unique educational program applying to become the first ever charter school in a city.

 Turkey Day was Turkey Day. I know that sounds funny, but it was what it was. It began with a call from my mom in the morning asking me to do a store run. I had to laugh, because the woman could have hopped in the car and did it herself in less time than it took me to drive over to give her the stuff for dinner! Call me nice daughter, but I did it. I had dinner with my folks (It was literally my parents and I. That's it.) and then saw my dad's relatives who live nearby in a cute, cute area. No Black Friday shopping for me, though! If you can believe it, a Facebook friend of mine actually got her arm broken during a Black Friday incident she had with a guy who wanted the toy she rightfully got for her daughter. He could care less, so he broke her arm to get it! How nuts is that?

 And the gift tag production began also! Pictures to come!