Wednesday, December 29, 2010

end-of-the-year bullet points

* My Christmas vacation was filled with lots of Judah-time, really good food, looking at Christmas lights, relatives at my parents' house from all over CA and OR, singing Christmas carols at a nearby assisted living facility, going to a live nativity re-enactment of Bethlehem including angels, camels, wisemen, Roman soldiers, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and a zonkey (half zebra/half donkey), GLEE Karaoke on the Wii, and some great walks (when it wasn't raining).

* I went back to work this week. Whenever I return after vacation, I'm always like, "What do I do? Who am I?" It's a bit of a transition.

* A couple relatives were sick and now I feel like I'm coming down with something. Noooooooo

* Complaining bullet point: I wish it would not rain or get dark at 5 pm. I would love to exercise, but one of those two reasons has kept me from a good run or swim for a long time. I am craving a good, long, hard workout.

* While we're waiting, can you pass the leftover Christmas cookies and brownies? Thanks.

* Have you seen The King's Speech yet? Please do! The acting and writing are superb. I wish I was British.

* Highlight: my electric blanket. My bed has become a cozy cocoon of warmth on cold nights. Lowlight: not being able to get out of bed in the morning. Seriously, how can I leave that coziness and face the frigid world (aka: my room)?

* Can you also pass the leftover chocolate chip bread and almond rochas? Thanks.

Are you ready to say goodbye to 2010? Are you excited for the new year?

Monday, December 27, 2010

favorite Christmas picture

Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE being an aunt?

Friday, December 24, 2010

unto us a child is born

Mary Did You Know?

Mary, did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding is the great I AM.

-Mark Lowry

Welcome To Our World

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home

Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

-Chris Rice

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

recharge the ol' batteries

Vacation is the best, no?

I just got home from a lovely 8 days of vacay in southern California visiting my bestie and doing absolutely nothing. Well, we did SOME stuff, but I basically wanted to get away and sleep and eat and not think about work. Recharge my batteries. And boy, was it great. I slept in till noon every day. I ate a lot. I lounged around a lot. I thought a lot. I read. We watched multiple episodes of Psych and I'm now in love with that show. Here are some pictures of other stuff we did during the week.

* Disneyland. If you have never gone at Christmas time, please do! They go all out. Elissa (BFF), her hubby Mike, our friend from college, Jessica, and I went and frolicked in the happiest place on earth one night and it was awesome.

This was in line for Thunder Mountain. Mike is flashing his gang signs.

* Kathy Griffin show. We saw Kathy two years ago and I couldn't wait to see her again. I laughed for 2 and a half hours straight. Her favorite thing to do is make fun of other celebrities. Here were some of her favorite people to talk about: Taylor Swift dating Jake Gyllenhaal, Lindsay Lohan, Ryan Seacrest, hosting New Years Eve with Anderson Cooper, Bristol Palin, Larry King's final show, Miley Cyrus, and many others. She also talked about her mom, Maggie, who is one of the biggest highlights of her show "My Life on the D-List".

And because her show was in LA, we got to see some celebrities. We saw Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays Mitchell on Modern Family. He was there with a bunch of friends. And then we saw Kathy's mom, Maggie, walk in. I yelled her name and waved, and she looked up at us. And THEN we saw Jane Lynch walk in! As a huge GLEE fan, to see Sue Sylvester in person was a real treat! I was going crazy! And we realized our seats were right by the "secret celebrity entrance". Sweet.

Elissa and I (rockin' the glasses) before the show started.

* Elissa and Mike have an annual Christmas par-tay at their house and I was stoked that I was there for it. Their house was super decorated, they made a yummy taco bar, and in the midst of the mingling, there were some intense rounds of the card game "Nertz" happening on the second floor.

Now I'm home and looking forward to Christmas. 3 days!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

white elephant gift exchange

On Saturday night, we had our annual Christmas par-tay. Every year the big event is the white elephant gift exchange. In the past there have been some lame gifts: a bag of cement, old wooden skiis, a toilet. Dumb. As we've gotten older, everyone's gifts have been getting better. I am going to give awards to the top 5 gifts given this year.

1st place:

Our friend Peter has connections with people in the printing business. He secretly had a picture of our friend Dave blown up to real size and gave that as his gift. As you can tell in the video, Dave had no idea Peter did this and was SO embarrassed. We were all DYING. It was so amazing. Everyone was fighting over it and trying to get Dave to take a picture next to it. He would hide or run away.

We finally taped it to our window so it would be in the background for the rest of the night. This gift definitely wins 1st place!

2nd place: the Shake Weight
How is it possible I have not heard of this or seen commercials for this new invention? They are so ridiculous. And dirty. Please tell me the inventors knew they would get teased mercilessly for this?

3rd place: creepy painting
Someone brought this painting of an old woman (who kind of looks like Tootsie) from the 70's wearing a star of David necklace. They had cut out the eyeholes in her glasses so you could look out the painting at everyone else. So freaky! But so funny!!

4th place: "Dancin' Grannies" workout video
No one, and I mean no one, should ever wear a shiny turquoise leotard that high on the hips. ESPECIALLY not grannies. I know the elderly need to workout, but whatever happened to a nice pantsuit outfit with legwarmers and sensible tennis shoes?

5th place: gold plunger
No one likes a backed-up toilet. Gross, right? But think of how much more fun it will be once you pull out the solid gold plunger! It will bring a smile to everyone's face. My friend and travel buddy Amy won this beauty and is going to use it as her "hall pass" for her high schoolers (she teaches high school). I love the idea of high school kids walking down the hall, trying to look cool while carrying that thing.

There were many other great gifts this year, but those were my top 5. Yeah for Christmas traditions. And now it is time for another tradition: a week down in southern Cal with my BFF and her hubby. Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

i feel like a druggie

I could seriously open up my own pharmacy.

Lemme 'splain.

My story begins 4 months ago when my roomate Jen got married and moved out. She and her sweet cat had lived with us for 5 years. When they left, she deep-cleaned the carpets in the living room and her bedroom. Those were the places the cat (Spooter) mostly hung out. Spooter would come to our rooms and snuggle with us too, but those were her two main hang-out rooms. Anyway, after the deep-clean, I remember having watery eyes and sneezing a lot. But whatever, I brushed it off. I've never been allergic to anything.

Two months ago, things started getting really bad. My nose started running all the time, but I wasn't sick. And I was having sneezing fits that were unusual. I started wondering if I was getting allergies. Mold? Dust mites? Pollen? Or animal allergies? Three weeks ago I had blood taken and sent in for testing and it turns out, yes, I have developed cat allergies. Weird! I was always fine around cats my whole life - even lived with one for 5 years. But then maybe when the carpets were cleaned, it flew stuff into the air that set me off.

To be honest, friends, I've been miserable these past 3 weeks. The worst has been sleep. My nose will run like a banshee all day and then as soon as my head hits the pillow, bam! I can't breathe through my nose at all. I have been waking up 5-6 times a night. I feel like a mom with a newborn, but without the benefit of a cute baby.

I have tried everything. I took my down comforter off my bed, in case I was also allergic to feathers. Nope, it wasn't that. I bought a neti pot and tried that. Nope. I started taking Claritin. Nope. I got a nasal spray and it would help...but just for a half hour. I bought the generic brand of Zyrtec and took it two nights ago. Bad idea! I woke up so disoriented the next morning. Who am I? What day is it? What am I doing? I felt like I was going to faint in the shower. And I felt weird and "off" all day.

I couldn't take it anymore. I went back to my doctor today. She has put me on a "allergy regimen". Here's the plan: I take a prescription pill in the morning, plus a Sudafed, plus two sprays of a prescription nasal spray. In the evenings, I take another pill, two more nasal sprays, and Benadryl. I feel like a druggie. But I have to sleep. Seriously, I feel like I've been a zombie.

I hope this works!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

GLEE-cap #10

I am listening to the GLEE Christmas album while I type this blog, so I am definitely in the Christmas spirit. So, did you like this episode? I did, for many reasons. We saw 3 Santas - a "tan" Santa at the mall, Coach Beiste, and the Grinch Santa. We heard some great songs. We got to see Mr. Schuester in more sweater vests. Let's begin, shall we?


10) "Last year, I left my stocking up over Christmas vacation and an entire family of mice started living in it. Their Christmas gift to each other was rabies." -Brittany (have I mentioned lately how much I love her?)

9) "Look, I'm the first one to say that things haven't turned out exactly how I'd would have liked them to this year. But Christmas is all about being grateful for the things that did." -Mr. Schue

"I thought that was Thanksgiving." -Puck

8) I loved the whole scene in the mall. Brittany leaning down to the department store elf and saying, "Can I be honest? I don't understand the difference between an elf and a slave" and later "Just know you have rights". I also loved what each of the kids said on Santa's lap:

"I've been a very good girl, Santa. I want a pony and a doll that laughs and cries of us smells like McDonalds." -Mercedes

"I would like Puckerman to love me. He's a fox. I would also like sweet potato fries." -Lauren Zizes

"I want Channing Tatum to stop being in stuff." -Mike Chang

"When does 'Asian Santa' arrive?" -Tina

7) Will trying to think of what to get Sue for Secret Santa. Idea #1 - dog robot. Idea #2 - a soul.

6) "Baby It's Cold Outside". Ok first of all, maybe it's because Darren Criss (Blaine) was Harry Potter in "A Very Potter Musical" (look it up on youtube) so I associate him with Hogwarts, but I felt like he and Kurt were singing in the Gryffindor study room. Tables, couches, fireplace, etc. Where are the rest of the students? Second, whenever I hear this song, I think of the movie Elf when Buddy is in the ladies room singing this with Jovie. Third, both Kurt and Blaine have nice voices so they did a good job with the song...but I dunno, the whole scene made me uncomfortable. It's like they're trying to get us to buy into Kurt and Blaine being a couple through cutesy songs and looks. It's hard to explain, but with the creator being gay, I feel like he has a strong agenda in this area.

5) "You filled your tub with your name only?!" -Emma to Sue about Secret Santa

"You're a regular Agatha Christie, except even more sexless." -Sue

"William, Elmo, you...get out of my office."

And then Mr. Schuester took her phone off the hook as he left. Ooooooooooo, he showed her!!!

4) Sue is the perfect Grinch. She even had poor naive Becky be her rein-dog. And Brittany coming in with the Cindy Lou hair was just classic.

3) My second favorite song of the episode was "Last Christmas" with Rachel and Finn at the Christmas tree lot. BTW, Rachel needs to stop following Finn around like a puppy dog and just let him have his space for awhile.

2) "Get a good night's rest, Ken, you're going to need it. (*whisper*) Barbie took the early flight from Tampa." -Brittany to her Ken doll, who's in bed with another female doll

1) I am going to combine two scenes as my last and favorite parts of the episode. The first scene was when the glee club sang in the teacher's lounge. This was my favorite song of the episode. Sue had taken all their gifts for the homeless children and ruined their Christmas tree and decorations in the choir room (Just like when the Grinch took everything from the Whos in Whoville). But then they sang a beautiful version of "Welcome Christmas" and it melted Sue's heart (and mine as well). Or should I say Sue's heart grew three sizes that day?

And then to make me even more emotional, the glee club heads back to the choir room and sees Artie STAND UP. Whaaaaat? There was a Re-Walk under Brittany's Christmas tree that helped Artie stand and walk.

"I assumed her dad got it for me, but he has no idea where it came from. He went to take a long poop and when he came back, it was there." -Artie

And then as Artie takes some more steps, we saw Coach Beiste watching through the window and I will be honest, I got teary. These two scenes combined were a real heart-wrencher.

What did you think of "A Very Glee Christmas"?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

'tis the season

I love the Christmas season. I don't really love winter, but I LOVE Christmas time. It is my favorite holiday. I used to have a roomate named Carrie who also loved Christmas. Anytime we did anything Christmas-y, she would say "Tis the season!"

We'd make popcorn on the stove and drink hot chocolate with marshmallows. Carrie would say, "Tis the season!"

We'd play the Amy Grant Christmas album. "Tis the season!"

We'd do a Christmas gift exchange between the roomates (everyone picks someone's name from a hat). "Tis the season!"

You get the idea.

This year, there have been all sort of "Tis the season" moments already:

cutting down a Christmas tree for our house

Christmas caroling downtown

baking Christmas goodies

watching Christmas movies

Which "Tis the season" moments have you been enjoying lately?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

GLEE-cap #9

New Directions headed to Sectionals! And a lot of drama led up to it. Did anyone else feel like so much happened in this episode?! Well fellow gleeks, grab your magic combs and your Cadbury creme eggs and let's begin.


10) "But we all know you can do it." -Artie, trying to encourage Brittany when she's nervous for Sectionals.

" And I know that I can't. Just like I know the cricket that reads to me at night is totally stealing my jewelry." -Brittany

Can we just go ahead and say that Brittany had all the best lines in this ep? ("If we lose, we should throw possums", thinking "adultery" meant being stupid, like a "dolt", and sharing that she goes to motocross practice). I love her. And I would NEVER have put her and Artie together. But they are actually very sweet.

9) "I want you to use that madness to recruit a new member. Glee needs you to be its ambassador." -Mr. Schuester

"More like its am-badass-ador." -Puck

8) Glee club has a new member now that Kurt is gone. Lauren Zizes. Previously we have seen her as the head of the A/V team at school and rigging the choir room with microphones (so Rachel could find out who was and was not singing during practices), being a part of the Single Women's Club that Sue takes Rachel to, pretending to be a vampire and biting Jacob Ben Israel's neck with some other girls, and screaming about wanting to have Mr. Schuester's babies in the gym while he and the glee club sang "Toxic". She rescues Puck from the port-a-potty ("Buddha! Allah! Satan! Help me!") and gets recruited for the Glee club. She also gets 7 minutes in heaven with Puck. Win-win, Lauren!

7) I LOVED Rachel and Kurt's rendition of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina". I love every time these two sing together. Defying Gravity, their Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy mash-up, and now this. I laughed out loud when Kurt raised his hands, and Blaine showed him to put them down with closed eyes and a small shake of his head. I thought it was so funny! But then I thought about it, and it made me sad. Dalton is all about fitting in, looking the same, no individualism. And that is everything Kurt is not. So although he won't get bullied at Dalton, he doesn't really get to be himself. Hmmmm.

6) Speaking of Dalton, the Warblers were able to redeem the most over-played song of 2009 and 2010: "Hey Soul Sister". (Did we not hear that song way too much on the radio and TV commercials?) But their acappella skillz once again come to the song's rescue. I especially enjoyed how their voices sounded like the ukulele opening. Kurt looked a bit uncomfortable, Puck looked mad, Rachel was beaming, and Mr. Schue looked like he had fallen asleep with his eyes open. Blink, Schue! Blink!

5) Whoa! Mr. Schuester loses it not once, but twice with his glee clubbers. Once in the choir room - "Take that off! (Rachel's tape) I'm tired of this! You have a terrible attitude! - and once before they went on stage at Sectionals - "Enough! Listen to yourselves! I'm ashamed of you!" Much needed smackdown? Or too harsh? You decide.

4) "Best. Green Room. EVER." -Lauren (this was another moment when I laughed out loud)

3) Sam and Quinn singing "I've Had The Time Of My Life". Dang, with Jennifer Grey winning Dancing With The Stars and now Glee covering this song, Dirty Dancing has been getting a lot of love lately. (RIP Patrick Swayze *sob*) When Ken and Barbie came walking and singing down the aisle from the back, did anyone else have flashbacks to Finn and Rachel doing the same thing at Regionals singing "Faithfully"? Anyways, I liked their version of the song and it really WAS fun to see other people have a chance to shine (besides the Rachels, Finns, Mercedes, and Kurts).

2) Who the heck is "Valerie"? Should I know this song? Sorry Santana, I didn't really care much for your song. You know what I DID care about? Brittany and Mike Chang killin' it on the dance floor. Lordy, they were awesome!!

1) "Dog Days Are Over". Again, should I know this song? Oh well. I liked Mercedes and Tina singing it while the other Glee kids went into spastic fits of dancing fervor behind them. Oh and Sam, please don't ever imitate Michael Jackson again. Thanks.

A couple extra things to bring up. First: a tie at Regionals? Cop. Out. Come on, really? Second: now don't get me wrong, I love me some Uncle Jesse/Dr. Carl, but a shotgun wedding in Vegas? Didn't see that coming! Third and final: Finn and Rachel - done? Puck and Rachel - beginning again? Ack! What's going on?

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