Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Recently I'd heard of a "Buy Nothing Day" for Black Friday, the day that merchandisers all over the world anxiously await. Buy nothing? Sure, not a problem for me but maybe less to joining the BND group and more that I can't stand the crowds. The last time I braved the masses was maybe 25 years ago and said a silent vow to never do that again. There is usually nothing I want that bad to wait hours in line for.

Our small family reduced it's Christmas buying habit a long time ago by drawing names at Thanksgiving and purchasing a gift for just one person. We started when my father was ill and wanted to take the pressure off his wife and just kept it as a tradition. I like it a lot. Christmas is less about presents and more about being together. Plus, you find out you need less and less as you get older. I'm trying to reduce the size of my "stuff."

Less time on present buying means more time for a wonderful, gourmet Christmas dinner and it's always quite tasty. I'm sure this year will be no different. We all meet in Palm Desert with our darling step-mother and laugh, play cards, eat and catch up. It's very relaxing and I look forward to this time more than any in the year.

If shopping is your family tradition then make this the best Black Friday it can be--we all know the economy can use it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This time of year is always bus and this year is no different. Our Thankful day was last week so I won't need to get up tomorrow and cook a bird but I am planning to get a turkey smoked before the end of the year. I'm just itching to try it. The wind has to stop though because that cools my smoker down too much and makes for inconsistent temps.

Our friend Di's visit was short but fun with a trip to the beach and a little sitting in the sun. She resides in the Seattle area and rain is a big feature this time of year so she visits us and her family for this holiday event. Even with the wind Southern California is a much better choice. She still thinks of herself as a S Californian which I understand fully.

Taking her to her family yesterday required a few of the regular and not so regular stops. Tito's, Surfas and a new stop in Silver Lake; Intelligentsia Coffee. Little, very busy, coffee house in a transition area. The area can't make up it's mind whether to be hip or not but it's trying. Cute shops (she bought a fantastic leather shoulder bag) coffee bars and restaurants with whips and leather shops. Not completely gentrified--yet.

Since I don't have to cook a bird in the morning I whipped up a batch of Posole and am planning to head to the Christmas Tree lot for lunch but, shhhh, don't tell my sister, it's a surprise.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanks for the memories

Our dinner with my sister and bro-in-law might be the last until Christmas. They'll be busy at their assignment, hawking pine trees in Valencia. We did laugh at the stories they told about last years gig. Anytime you work with the public you will be challenged and selling Christmas trees is no different.

Our time together has been fun and we've laugh and ate and cooked together. Shared a sad time, the passing of their dear Buddy-cat, and had fun with friends. Our Thanksgiving was small but delightful last Sunday with big and lil bird and Doodles and Mr Doodles. How can something so simple as cooking a meal be filled with so many wonderful memories?

Doodle and I watched the princess for a few hours while her mom went to the beauty parlor. Just using that phrase dates me much older than I am but my grandmother used that term. She also called a women of less than adequate morals a "strumpet" so I have a useless albeit colorful antiquated vocabulary floating around in my brain.

Most times the princess is a tiny mass of near two-year-old energy but when she can "color" she sits quietly for a long time. We sat at the kitchen table with her while she, with her crayons, drew in her color books. What I did find interesting is she knew the difference between a ball and a circle. At this age you can almost see them learn and being with her reminds me so of my own sweet daughter.

The past few months have been good times to remember for a long while.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A sad passing

My sister's darling Buddy-cat has passed away. I'll let you read about him but he will leave a whole in their heart for sure. We loved you, Buddy.

Friday, November 13, 2009


After a larger dinner party last night with family, extended family, family of the extended family all the way from Canada, and friends; my hips are screaming this morning. Thanks to the help of my darling sister and all our pre-planning, it was a success.

What did we serve? A fantastic antipasti, pasta with artichoke tomato cream sauce, and sausages. Barb supplied a great bottle of wine from Arizona. Yes, Arizona. Coronado Vineyards 2004 Meritage. I'll let my wine-snob friend Tina comment on the wine but it was very tasty--dry and spicy--perfect for the sausage and garlicky pasta.

We had a double-long table and a darling friend summed it up. This is like a typical Italian meal. Big table, lots of food, people coming and going, and many conversations at the same time. Maybe the wine had something to do with it but we had a wonderful time. My hips will feel better tomorrow but I'll remember the fun we had much, much longer.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Time out

It isn't because I've been bad or I'm not well or my beloved isn't well, it's just because I need to be able to spend more time with my darling husband. I'm giving myself a bit of a time out. I truly love being a docent at the Getty Center but for the next six months I'll not be there every week. I'll work as a substitute probably once a month. I'm hoping 2010 will be the year of travel and exploration.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

We make fun

We attacked Los Angeles yesterday morning. Arriving at Union Station on the Metrolink we hit the ground running, literally; I had to find a rest room. The usually clean facility on the train had passed the "use by" date and a dash through the train station looking for another relief station wasn't of much help. Standing in line for a marginally clean stall I decided we'd catch a Dash Bus to our first stop and I'd turn off that section of my brain.

After a few false starts we found the correct bus and headed to Clifton's Cafeteria for a quick bite of breakfast and a bit of reminiscing. Sister Doodles had eaten there when she was enrolled in Beauty College a few blocks away but this was my first visit to this location. Both of us, as kids, often were taken to the Clifton's on Crenshaw. It was a Friday night ritual and we laughed and speculated that maybe the food wasn't as good as we thought. Our breakfast was just a snack to hold us for lunch and finally; whew, a clean restroom.

Back on the bus and over to the Garment District, an area selling fabrics, notions, and beads. Doodles was bitten by the necklace making bug after our own Lil Bird reintroduced us to this area. You see, our mom, Lorna had frequented these streets when she had a bridal shop. She made custom bridal/formal wear and since she didn't drive, I accompanied her downtown. We'd also drag the poor lil bird and when Doodles was in town, she'd come, too. These trips were always a treat and full of laughs and lunch.

It was like necklace making heaven and bought enough supplies to keep my sister busy all winter. She has a very good "eye" when it comes to colors and design so I bought some stones and handed them over to her. I'll get a necklace or two back. Nothing like custom made anything.

We were getting a bit hungry and had pretty much run through all our money so it was back on the Dash Bus to an ATM and then the Metro for a trip to Langer's Deli for lunch. I love the public transportation in Los Angeles. After the ATM it was down stairs to the Red Line and over one stop to 7th and Alverado. I did get a bit turned around in the Metro Center Station, we entered from a different area, but some nice gentlemen pointed us in the right direction and we were on our way.

Langer's was everything we wanted or needed. The #44 is a Hot Pastrami on rye with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on the side. We shared this as they are huge sandwiches. The waitress gave us two pickles, what a doll. After this fantastic lunch, and a discussion about how to pronounce "Philippe's" with the table next to us, we were back on the train and headed for Little Tokyo.

Our trip to the Japanese section of LA was short. We were both running out of steam and felt heading back towards Union Station to be our best bet. Plus we'd been dragging bags of merchandise all this time. When purchased who knew how heavy twelve long-sleeved t-shirts would get. We HAD to stop at Olvera Street and, though we couldn't eat another bite, darling Doodles bought some sweets from a vendor; I enjoyed my Alfajor this morning with my coffee.

Union Station is a short five minute walk across the street from the Calle and we sat in the beautiful waiting area for a few minutes. We are both marveled by the architecture. On to the platform and the hour-long train ride home. Love the Metrolink for it's comfort and cleanliness and at 5:20 pm we pulled into Simi Station. A lovely day and we really laughed a lot. Can't ask for much more than that.