Christmas 2017

26 Dec

Let’s see, what’s happened since I last posted in November?

We recovered from Europe. Mike had a birthday. Michaela turned 8. San Diego experienced terrible wildfires, which had me working like crazy. Then, all of a sudden it was time for Christmas!

Mike’s mom and stepdad came to visit us for the holiday. They came during a week that Mike and I were working, and Michaela was at a week-long, all-day “Cooking Around the World” camp, so I feel like we didn’t get to see as much of them as I would have liked. But the time we had together was nice.

Santa was very generous with his gifts. Michaela got eight baby dolls – her current passion. Our house looks like a nursery. She got doll bunk beds and a doll toilet and doll diapers and doll clothes… Plus washi tape, books, a make your own computer set, board games, and more. I got a giant TV (woo hoo!), which I think of as a gift to everyone.


We had my parents and Mike’s cousin Maggie over for Christmas dinner, in addition to the five us of (me, Mike, and Michaela, plus Mike’s mom and stepdad). It was lovely. We had so much food! Ham and Thanksgiving sides, plus a beautiful cheese board, apple pie for dessert, and bacon-wrapped, goat cheese-stuffed figs that I made. And all that was after Mike made his homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast and I squeezed OJ with fruit from our tree!



Basically, our stomaches were stuffed with food and our stockings were stuffed with gifts. A lovely day!


26 Nov

We took our second big international trip of the year this month, spending about two weeks on a Mediterranean cruise. We took our nephew along, so the trip was even more special (and different– I’m not used to having 2 kids, and I’m not used to being around 9-year-old boys!). We hit several cities in Italy and Spain, plus Valletta, the capital of Malta (thereby allowing me to cross “visit a new country” off my 40 before 40 list).

I shared some pictures on my Instagram and Facebook pages, so if we’re friends IRL, look for them there. If we’re not friends IRL, here are a couple of highlights.

Flying from LAX to Heathrow, before going on to Rome.



Dabbing at the Colosseum.



Second time there, but still excited to see it!




At Taormina, in Sicily, Italy.



My happy place.



Valletta, Malta. It was gorgeous there, which took us all by surprise.



Inside the caves of Nerja, Spain (near Malaga).



Roman ruins in Cartagena, Spain. (Now Mike, Michaela, and I have been to Cartagena in two countries, on two continents!)



A very crowded bus in Valencia, Spain.



On a cool electric train that took us from Palma de Mallorca to Soller, Spain.



Outside La Boqueria, the central market of Barcelona.


It was a great trip!

Kind Heart

26 Nov

We don’t have cable, so when we have TV on, it’s either Netflix/something streaming or over-the-air broadcast TV, which is mostly shows from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, and some of the worst commercials you’ve ever seen. From spots for pills that will help cure your addiction (no matter what you’re addicted to) to AARP membership ads to heart-tugging pieces for Wounded Warriors Project, St. Jude’s, etc., they’re a motley mix.

Today I had the TV on and a commercial for Unicef came on. It talked about how children live in different parts of the world, how people’s donations can help make a difference to those children. I didn’t even realize Michaela was watching until she ran to her piggy bank and came back with a handful of coins and told me she wanted to donate it to Unicef to help other children.

It was so incredibly sweet. I gave her the money back and told her I’d make a donation for all of us (I actually made a donation to Unicef earlier this year), but she put the coins back in my hand and said she wanted to help. She insisted I take the money and made me promise to donate it.

I am proud of my girl’s big heart and desire to make the world a better place.

So Many To Dos

5 Nov

We’re leaving in four days for a two-week long vacation, so this weekend has been a rush of activity. Load after load of laundry. Trips to Target and the mall for last-minute purchases (including my failed attempt at finding a light windbreaker-type rain jacket for Michaela. I know we live in San Diego, but seriously, why aren’t there any in stores?!?). Many purchases on Amazon– with Prime, the jacket and other things I ordered, like a new pair of running shoes for me, will be here in two days. Checking and double checking the calendar to make sure nothing slips through the cracks while we’re gone (gotta get food for the canned food drive Michaela’s Girl Scout troop is leading!).

I need a vacation from all my getting ready!

And then I’ll need a vacation to recover from my vacation. ;)

Halloween Through the Years

31 Oct

In 2010 – Michaela’s first Halloween – she was the cutest monkey I’ve ever seen.


In 2011, she was an adorable garden gnome.


In 2012, she went trick-or-treating for the first time and dressed as a strawberry.

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In 2013, she continued with the fruit theme and dressed as a banana.


In 2014, she – like millions of other girls – dressed as Elsa from “Frozen.” It was probably her least-inspired Halloween costume (and also the funkiest wig).


In 2015, Michaela was back to her usual, creative, random self. She was Ms. O from the PBS Kids show “Odd Squad.” The resemblance (the girl who plays Ms. O is a little brown girl) is much closer than her resemblance to the blonde Elsa.


Last year (2016), Michaela went back to fruits. Her dad helped her make a cool grape costume using balloons.



She really liked that, because this year (2017), she declared she was going to be a raspberry and wouldn’t go for anything other than balloons again.


Isn’t she sweet?



Solo Target Time

29 Oct

I woke up early this morning and everyone else was still asleep. I quietly brushed my teeth and threw on some clothes before sneaking out the door. I pointed my car west, rocking out to some Echo and the Bunnymen (“Killing Moon” is my jam) while running through the Starbucks drive through for a grande chai tea latte. A couple of minutes after that, I pulled into Target for a blessed solo trip!

I meandered through the clothes section, trying on some jeggings and a few tops. I picked up a few kitchen essentials we needed. I grabbed some new makeup. I went upstairs and looked at their books. Bought the hangers I needed (Michaela’s grown so much, her clothes are too big for the kid hangers we’ve been using). Hit the girls’ clothes section and bought a couple of things for Michaela that I didn’t need, strictly speaking.

Hell, I even splurged on the 10 cent bag since I left my reusable ones in the car!

It was amazing. Happy Sunday to me!


18 Oct

The last two weeks have sucked. A couple of close relatives have had bad health news, a not-that-close relative passed away way too young (leaving two children behind), Mike’s been out of town, and I’ve had all the usual stuff to juggle. I was talking to a friend about it and she said, “It’s an avalanche.”

YES! That’s exactly right. It feels like everything is tumbling down, all at once, leaving me stuck.

I am extremely lucky to have lots of help. My colleagues are incredibly kind, picking up my slack at work when I had to head to the hospital and offering to help even with personal stuff, like picking up Michaela or keeping her overnight if necessary. It hasn’t been necessary– my parents have stepped up big time and the babysitter we’ve been using has been super flexible. We have a cleaning lady coming every other week, so the house is clean and tidy, and I make ample use of local restaurants.

I also have been trying to keep things in perspective. My relatives’ prognoses are good. I have a roof over my head and (too much) food in my belly. I work a comfortable, white collar job and have a lot of control over my schedule and working conditions. There are people with problems that are way worse than mine.

I’m digging my way out from the snowbank.

September Highlights

1 Oct

How is it October already?!? I feel like the month of September flew by. Of course, I also felt like the summer flew by, so I guess that’s just par for the course around here.

We had a lovely September. Michaela started school in August, so while there was no first day of school, there were some firsts, like securing Michaela’s first Global Entry card (expedited entry upon returning to the country from abroad and TSA Pre-Check for domestic flights) and our first time making s’mores in a solar oven.

Other highlights include:

Mike went on a deep sea fishing trip in Mexican waters with some guy friends over Labor Day weekend

Michaela bridged from Daisy to Brownie, along with the other girls in her Girl Scout troop

I celebrated my 38th birthday (On the night of my birthday, Mike and I did Taste of Downtown, which is my favorite local exercise in gluttony now that the Fair Media Party isn’t ta thing anymore)

Michaela and I went to a retirement party for one of her pre-school teachers, so we got to reunite with kids and parents we haven’t seen for a while, and celebrate an amazing teacher

Mike and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary

We went to LA for the wedding of a good friend from college. It was an Indian wedding, so we got to experience all the beauty and color and fun of that culture’s wedding traditions. Michaela got mendhi (henna tattoos), we ate a ton of yummy Indian food, and we hung out with friends and made new ones.

After the wedding, we stopped to visit some other friends from college who live in Glendale. We swam and had lunch and the kids played together like no time had passed, when really, it’s been a while since we’ve seen them.

We went to some friends’ house for movie night. Michaela finally made it through “The Princess Bride!” Of course, all of the adults loved the film and were quoting it as it went on.

We ended the month with a family trip to an SDSU football game. I had to go for work; Mike and Michaela came with me. We made it all the way until the middle of the third quarter, and a good time was had by all.

I hope October will be similarly fun!

Two More Years

19 Sep

I started a list of “40 things to do before I turn 40” list back in 2014, when I had five years to go. I just celebrated my 38th birthday (yikes!), so it seems appropriate to check in with my progress on the list.

When I turned 37, I had done 11 of the items. I’ve crossed an additional three off the list, and one item can’t happen (since Prince died), so I have 26 to go.

I guess I’d better get moving!


On Getting Older

9 Sep

Michaela started second grade a couple of weeks ago. It dawned on me yesterday that 10 years from now, she’ll be (practically) 18, and applying to college. Ten years is a long time, but it’s also not. It’ll go by in a flash.

My dad turned 70 last weekend. His mother, my grandmother, died at 83. If he lives as long as she does, we only have 13 more years with him.

This week, I turn 38. Thirty-eight. That’s solidly middle aged. How the hell did that happen?

Time is going too quickly.