Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Vacation, Part 3: Hollywood!

For my Christmas present, my wonderful husband bought tickets for Wicked on Saturday night. The show was at the Pantages theater on Hollywood Boulevard, so Dad and Debbie treated us to a room at the historic Roosevelt hotel down the street.
Chris and I checked in Saturday afternoon and played tourists for a little while before getting ready for our night out. I hadn't been to the Walk of Fame in more than 10 years and Chris had never been there. We walked over to Grauman's Chinese Theatre and checked out some of the handprints and footprints. I wasn't expecting so many tourists on Christmas weekend but the place was packed.

Later, we had a nice dinner before catching the shuttle to the Pantages. Wicked was incredible, and the old, restored theater was beautiful. After the show, we went to the burger and wine bar in our hotel for milkshakes.

Sunday morning, we met up with Lindsey for breakfast before heading back to Dad and Deb's. Our whole time in Hollywood, we didn't see any celebrities - but we did see John Stamos in the airport bar Sunday afternoon. Chris didn't want me to take a picture, though. Boo.

Christmas Vacation, Part 2: The Getty

So, I've been to Southern California maybe three times every year for the past ... 25 years? At least. And I'd never been to The Getty. So we asked Becky if she'd like to go, and the three of us headed up the morning after Christmas, which turned out to be the perfect day because it had rained on Christmas and the sky was as clear as ever. The museum is up on a hill with beautiful gardens and you can see the whole city - from the snow-capped mountains at Big Bear to the ocean to the city skyline. It was gorgeous. Not to mention the art. We saw photos of California (and Northern Nevada) from the 1850s to 1900s, and hundreds of years old Baroque paintings. There were many more exhibits we didn't have time to see. I think you could spend a week up there and not see everything.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Vacation, Part 1: Family

Chris and I got up Christmas eve morning to open our gifts from the Gabels and each other, then we packed up and headed to the airport for our flight to Los Angeles and Christmas with the Krikorians.
Christmas eve night we stayed in for dinner with my Dad and Debbie, which kicked off the food fest that lasted through Sunday (okay, it's still going on). We had yummy appetizers (including fried ravioli!), a delicious salmon dinner and several desserts (including the baklava I made as a surprise for my family - my grandma's recipe that came out great!)

Christmas morning we had egg nog French toast for breakfast (see the recipe tomorrow on rgj.com/makeiteasy ;), and in the afternoon headed over to my Uncle George's for Christmas dinner. Jennifer and Jim came with Juliette, and we were so excited to meet her! She is too precious.
Juliette's first Christmas, with her Mommy and Daddy

Juliette would only look at the camera when Uncle Chris was holding her

Chris and I stopped back by Uncle George's on Friday afternoon to see my little cousin Georgie, his mom Lauren and his brother Miles, who came up from San Diego.
Chris and Miles making a Lego tractor

Georgie didn't feel like smiling for the camera after his nap

Then we headed over to see the three Js for an Italian dinner and lots of sweets.

Juliette loves taking a bath before bedtime

On Saturday morning, we went to Long Beach for a couple hours to visit with my great aunts Ruth and Geneie. It was my first time in Southern California for Christmas in probably 10 years, and it was really great to get to spend time with my family for the holidays.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weeknight Shenanigans

Now that I'm getting off work a little earlier, I can resume my previous social activities. I mean, activity: Watching Chris' city league basketball games with the girlfriends of his teammates.

During the regular season, they play Tuesdays and Thursdays and most of the time, most of us go. (Last week, before a later game, the ladies got together first for a bite and a drink. Hopefully we'll do this more often.) In the pre-season, they play in a tournament. Last week was the final week of the tournament, and they played four nights in a row, winning the first three nights. It was one if the higher scoring games they've played, and a close one. The Shenanigans lost the final game of the tournament 69-72.

Me, Jen, Vicki, Erin, Na and Serena

The boys, after the game. I was afraid to take a picture during the game because it was so intense.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I stole the following blog from NieNie. It seemed like a better idea than washing dishes.

Keepin' It Real:
1. Fridge: Plenty of condiments and leftovers

2. Closet: Not too bad. Chris is very tidy.

3. Kitchen Sink: This is one area where I definitely do not take after my Mom ...

4. Toilet: I did not put the lid down for this picture. The lids are always down in this house.

5. Favorite Shoes: Betsey Johnsons, $20 on sale. Thanks, Michelle!

6. Favorite Room: It's hard to pick a favorite, but the living room is where we spend most of our time together.

7. What are your kids doing? Chris is at work. Hehehe.

8. Laundry: Whites have entered the washing machine since photo was taken.

9. Self Portrait: Baby, it's cold outside.

10. Dream Vacation: There are plenty of places I'd like to go. But if the stars align, Chris and I will be cruising around here come Anniversary #1.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Constant Struggle

This is a picture of our thermostat, if you couldn't tell. It was taken when I woke up last Saturday. The line on the left indicates the indoor temperature: 55 degrees. Unlike Ernesto, we know how to turn on our heater. The problem is that Chris doesn't want to. Ever. It's become a daily routine, where I ask him if we can turn it on and he says no - or I turn it on without asking him and he comes behind me and shuts it off. Saturday, you wouldn't believe my excitement when he came home from work and suggested we turn it on. But Sunday, when he came home from work and I already had it on, he said "We don't need to turn the heater on during the day." Huh? I was home all day and It. Was. Cold. And then it got colder. We got snow last night. For real this time. And there's going to be more all week. And just a couple hours ago when we went to Chris' basketball game, it was about 24 degrees outside. So when we got home, and I turned the heater on, what does he say? "Not yet." My blankets, sweatshirts, scarves and I are becoming great friends.

Here is the current scene from our balcony:

Without the flash

With the flash

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Speaking of basketball ...

On Tuesday night, by some miracle, I got off work around 5 p.m. One of the higher ups at the paper had a few tickets to the Wolf Pack basketball game he couldn't use, and passed them down to our editor - who offered them to just about every person left in the newsroom by the time he got to us, and since I was all caught up in the excitement of leaving early, we took four and brought Erin and Sandor along with us.
It wasn't really a hard sell to get Sandor to come. Our tickets were in the fourth row - but this is where he'd normally sit (and where our other friends were):

These guys were awfully enthusiastic for a Tuesday night game against Sonoma State.

It ended up not really being much of a game ... but we had fun anyway!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

In 45 Years ...

I was just reading the New York Times, and I saw Chris' future. Curious? Click here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ugly Sweaters

On Saturday night, Chris and I went to an Ugly Sweater Holiday Party hosted by our friends Erin and Sandor.

There were prizes for the two ugliest sweaters and, I have to say, I was robbed! I have two theories: one, since there were about 30 people at this party and I didn't know a lot of them, they didn't vote for me because they didn't know my name. My other theory is that, while the guy I thought I could've beaten didn't have the uglier sweater, he was wearing a women's Christmas cardigan with an attached scarf over a Mr. T T-shirt ... so he won because it was pretty funny.

I have to say, a lot of the guys were wearing women's sweaters (some with shoulder pads!) If I'd have known this was the case, I might have found Chris a women's sweater as well. His definitely wasn't the worst.

The party was a great time, and there was tons of food. It was like Thanksgiving, part 2 ... except with Beer Pong.

The snowman turtleneck really completed my look.

Erin, John and Na show off their fugly sweaters.

Sandor deep frying the turkey.

Jen, Tom and Kyle looking very festive.
Chris and Lucas playing Beer Pong.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister ...

Today, Michelle and I exchanged a couple e-mails and she was telling me about some of her family Christmas traditions, which include advent calendars and watching "It's a Wonderful Life" on Christmas eve.
So, since I got home from work a couple hours before Chris tonight, I decided to partake in a few Christmas traditions started by my mom and my sister and me. I plugged in our Christmas tree to set a festive mood, whipped up some oatmeal raisin cookies and watched "White Christmas." There are lots of movies we usually watch when we're together around the holidays - "Miracle on 34th Street," "The Bishop's Wife", "It's a Wonderful Life," "Meet me in St. Louis" - but we're probably most consistent about watching White Christmas. Usually I'd call Mena and play the "Sisters" song over the phone , but I refrained since it was past midnight in D.C. when I was watching ...
Yes, we are a bunch of cornballs. But, if there is a season for cheesiness, this is surely it, no? It's too bad Chris and I can't go to Quincy tomorrow for the Main Street Sparkle (Tree lighting! Hay rides! Santa! Mistletoe! Hot cider!) But we have a few holiday events coming up around here in the next couple weeks ... stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

We still have jobs

As many of you know, our company announced they were making layoffs back in October. The layoffs were conducted at our paper yesterday and today, and I can report that Chris and I are still employed. This does not mean we are jumping for joy. More than 60 people lost their jobs, some who we've worked very closely with, who have children to support and spouses already out of work. We feel very grateful that we were spared, but our hearts go out to those who weren't. In the immediate future I know my job will change, as I will take on more multi-media responsibilities. But what it means for our future in the long-term in this business, I don't know. (If you're interested, there's a short story about the layoffs here.)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Our first Thanksgiving dinner

Okay, this wasn't our first Thanksgiving together, but it was the first time we made our own Thanksgiving dinner. And when I say "we" of course, I made the dinner. But Chris helped with carving the turkey, cleaning up before and after and, when I sent him to the store this morning, he returned with the requested items, plus these:

And that's one of the reasons he's the best.
I haven't made a turkey in about 10 years, and that time it was under my Mom's supervision. I think it turned out pretty well, and I can't believe I forgot to take a picture before we cut into it.
Our coworkers John and Julie came over, and brought some yummy veggies and delicious apple dumplings. I also made my first pumpkin pie and my grandma's cranberry bread, which has almond extract (my favorite of all the extracts) both in the batter and icing and pretty much kicks ass.
I decided a festive beverage was in order, and since my mom had brought over some cloves and cinnamon sticks recently, I figured mulled wine was the way to go. Yum.

The whole day went off with a hitch. Well, except when I caught my oven mitt on fire.

Now Chris is at work and I'll be going to sleep soon, so I can be up with the doorbusters in the morning for the requisite Black Friday story.
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks

Being married to my best friend.

The best little sister a kid could ask for.

Wonderful parents (including the two new ones I picked up over the summer), a
terrific extended family, and all the little blessings bestowed upon
many of our cousins and friends this year.

Dad and Deb with their brand-new great-niece Juliette (daughter of Jen & Jim)

Mom with her nephew Neco and brand-new great-nephew Zach (son of Tanya & Jason)

Kiera (daughter of Melynda & Edward) and Makayla (daughter of Daniel and Holly)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!