Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: A Year in Review

1.) Where did you ring in 2007?
On a Murder Mystery Dinner Cruise around Long Beach Harbor (this seems like a lifetime ago)

2.) What was your status by Valentine's Day?
married, but I'm not really a celebrator of V-Day

3.) Were you in school (anytime this year)?
yes, mostly online

4.) How did you earn your keep?
selling pens and pencils/babysitting adults

5.) Did you end up in the hospital?
yes, for brain surgery

6.) Did you encounter the police?
nope! At least not while they were on duty

7.) Where did you go on vacation?
Dominican Republic (May), Dallas (May), Colorado (fall), Vegas (September), Ohio (Labor Day)

8.) What did you purchase that was over $500?
New house, new cars, couch, brain surgery, please don't make me continue

9.) Did you know anybody who got married?
Halversons, Harikumars, Paganos

9.5.) Babies born? Emmary, Logan, Natalia, Laila (held her when she was hours old), Madeline (got to watch her birth)

10.) Did you know anybody who passed away?
Too many funerals this year!!! Will's "Uncle" Peter, whose funeral was the day I found out I had Chiari

11.) Have you run into anybody you graduated high school with?
I work with 2 of them...occasionally run into someone on MySpace...oh and now that I live close to home again, I've seen a few at the grocery store and around town.

12.) Did you move anywhere?

13.) What sporting events did you go to?
Kings games (yes, I know they suck - but they are on a 2 game winning streak!)

14.) What concerts did you go to?
Christina Aguilera, Tim McGraw/Faith Hill

15.) Are you registered to vote?

16.) If so, did you do your patriotic duty on Nov. 7?

17.) Where do you live now?
In my new house

18.) What did you do on your birthday?
My sister took me to the Christina Aguilera concert...and I think I had lunch at Panera Bread. Beyond that I can't remember - cut me some slack it was 9 months ago!

19.) What's the one thing you thought you would never do but did in 2007?
Have brain surgery - duh! Actually started exercising more and eating healthier - I pledge to do better in 2008 now that the brain surgery is out of the way!

20.) What is one thing you regretted this year?
Not getting to know Peter better before he passed away...we've been hearing a lot of stories about him, that would have been great to hear from him.

21.) What's something you learned about yourself?
I am way stronger than I thought I was and I am proud of all that I handled this year, both personally and professionally. 2007 was a year of survival, and I feel that I not only survived, but lived.

22.) Any new additions to your family?
No...not yet. Sorry grandparents in waiting - maybe in 2008?

23.) What was your best month?
November/December - if I have to pick one, then December! The first half of the year sucked, July - September was surgery preparation, October was surgery/recovery. November - I kept feeling better and better. December - I have never felt better and I got to spend time with all of my family and friends!!

24.) What from pop culture will you remember 2007 by?
The Spears sisters - Britney went nuts and Jamie Lynn is Pg

25.) How would you rate this year with a scale from 1 (worst) to 10 (best)?
7 - although if I were to rate it on a scale of 1 (worst) to 26 (best) - it's the 4th worst. I realize the rating system probably doesn't make much sense - It's probably my 4th worst year out of my 26 (at least I can think of 3 worse off the top of my head). Overall it's only rated a 7 because while a lot of crappy things happened, a lot of babies were born, I made a lot of great new friends, my husband and family were there for me, my self-confidence skyrocketed with the more I was able to handle, and I now feel "normal" every single day!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

What Not to Wear #2

Who thought it was a good idea to do this?

They hubby was watching the game and called me into the room because he didn't believe his eyes. I snapped the picture and then found this story a la Google.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Things I Tried in 2007

1) brain surgery
2) sporting an inverted mohawk
3) organic food
4) broccoli
5) yams
6) blogging
7) gym
8) chiropractor
9) doing my hair and makeup every day for work
10) crocheting
11) working from home
12) working for an idiot
13) landscaping
14) moving in an organized fashion
15) being like the Queen ;)
16) photography
17) making good friends while blogging
18) eating healthy
19) going back to school
20) traveling to meet new people
21) creating a wee mee for every occasion
22) getting my Christmas cards out early

For 2008: learning to love 22 almost as much as 3 or 33 :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Video Game Melt Down

The hubby got Tiger Woods Golf for Wii for Christmas. He has since been playing it every chance he gets. Since he's not yet mastered it, he periodically says words that should not be repeated on a family blog.

After one particularly loud outburst, I called downstairs to him and said that if he didn't stop cursing, I'd take the game away. I have since heard the following:

God Bless America!
Good Night Nurse!
Come on Man!
Come on, I suck!
I'm trying not to cuss! (This was yelled upstairs to me)

Reason #34 million that I love my husband!


And now, finally the Henry story...

Three years ago my mom made HAM on THANKSGIVING and I was outraged! So for Christmas I made my first turkey and decided to name him Henry I, thus intending to get to Henry VIII in 8 years.

Here are the pictures along with things I've learned.


Meat thermometers long as you make sure they are away from the side of the pan. It helps assure hypochondriacs like myself that your meat is in fact cooked thoroughly. Turkey bags are a MUST!

This is my TA-DA moment after successfully cooking my first wasn't until Henry was carved that I noticed my eyes were closed...sigh...

Throw away pans - both good and bad. Clean up is a breeze, but they aren't very sturdy.
Do not forget the turkey lifter - I didn't the first two years but did this year - NOT a good thing.

Sadly, this is my only photo of Henry II (that's him in the oven).

My first two Henrys (as I recall) had their necks covered, so that when I removed them, I didn't see this:
Somehow, rinsing my Henry is fun, as is rubbing him up with oil before plopping him in his bag.
This is my last picture of Henry III - I'd planned to take a picture in all his cooked glory, but forgot.

I'm looking forward to Henry IV!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Two Sisters Eat Yams

Not that it's too surprising, but in other Rachel Made Me Do This news, the Dahl sisters tried yams on Christmas...and loved them!!! After the Evans sisters tried the yams at Thanksgiving and loved them, I decided I needed to give them a try. I intended to try them at Thanksgiving, but it was just a bunch of chunks of sweet potato in a brown sugar anywhere...I just couldn't do it!

Since I was cooking Christmas dinner, I looked for a recipe that had lots of brown sugar and pecans and found one I thought might have just the right amount of "yummage".

And then it was time for the moment of truth:
Sweet potato goodness on the right, and cheesy potatoes on the left (also an experiment and a hit!).

Nicole went first...

And she LOVED them! I was still skeptical since she likes sushi, but I LOVED them. She wants me to make sweet potatoes for her in lieu of a birthday cake. YAY!

Alas, no day after Christmas miracle...

For Christmas, my mom got us a 4-pack of Kings tickets - thanks mom! Last night was the first game. Continuing their losing streak, the Kings lost to the Sharks 2-3. Their loss did not ruin the fun though!

Our seats were GREAT in section 214! I actually prefer the corner sections so that you don't have to turn your head back and forth to watch the action (I used to have neck problems, so I'm not just lazy!)

The obnoxious drunken idiots in the suite right above our section provided entertainment far better than the numerous fights on the ice. They only shut up for the first 10 minutes of the second period, after all of the red jackets and security guards stood facing their suite for pretty much the entire first period (red jacket in the middle below, security guard to his right).

The drunk guys in the suite (Sharks fans) kept shouting such wonderful things as:
-Go Sharks Go (literally the ENTIRE first 10 minutes of the game and then repeatedly thereafter)
-Kings Suck
-Game's Over
-Go Home
-I wanna see/look at all the empty seats

Obviously this annoyed the people in our section tremendously. Some of the great comebacks yelled up towards the suite:
-(Kings Suck) So does your mom
-(Kings Suck) If they suck so bad, why are the Sharks only up by 1?
-(Game's Over) Then go home
-(Go Home) You go first and we'll follow you
-(I wanna see/look at all the empty seats) We want to see an empty suite

When we left the game it was FREEZING and windy! We hurried to the fancy new parking structure where we had paid $25 to park right across the street from the convention center and diagonal to the Staples Center. It was worth EVERY PENNY!!! The structure is very well lit, a breeze to get in and out of, and sheltered us from the wind and cold. The only downside is that the stairs to the lower level are on the far side of the structure from both the Nokia Theatre and the Staples Center (the only thing poorly planned). In the middle is the ramp you drive down to get to the lower of course the hubby and I took the shortest distance between the two points (the ramp). It was only when we got to the bottom that we noticed this sign:


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Drum roll please...

The grand total for my brain surgery is: $138,567.74 (plus one office visit that hasn't yet billed which will bring the total to no more than $140k)

Based on your guesses on Medical Math, the winner is: EHW!!!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On the twelfth day of Christmas... spend time with loved ones, sharing warmth, laughter, fun, and good food!!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

On the eleventh day of Christmas... bust out your best Christmas attire! For the last few years (and probably since birth), my sister and I have worn coordinating/matching outfits on Christmas Eve/Christmas.

Back when we didn't dress ourselves, the outfits included dresses and lots of frilly lace and bows...

This tradition has mom and aunt now join in the fun and last year, I got red fuzzy socks for all of the women folk in our family (look closely and you can see them!)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On the tenth day of Christmas... can't get Christmas carols out of your head! Usually around this time I threaten to beat the next person to break out in a rendition of "Happy holidays..." (quite possibly the most annoying song ever - why does KOST play it CONSTANTLY?!)

For everything about Christmas Carols, go here - there's even a quiz!

Santa 101

For all things Santa, go here.

Starting on Christmas Eve you can track his progress. There's also a bunch of games to get you ready for Christmas and even an About Santa page where you can email Santa!!!

How GREAT is that?!

(This info brought to you by Leaky - hey, you snooze, you lose!)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Birthday to Kim1Bump!

Happy birthday wishes to the hysterical woman that started a year full of blogging
and too many followers to count!!!

Since the number of times I've actually met the Champ in person is a whopping 1, I don't have any actual photos of her. However, when I think of her, it's an image something like the one below that I stole from Jane (thanks Jane!).

Friday, December 21, 2007

I ♥ Queen B

AND Christmas!!!

More Reasons to Love Christmas!

I get a Venti Non-fat Chai every morning

I set the picture of Felix staring at the Christmas tree as the background on my laptop - it makes me happy!
If only the pillow in the background were right side up...yes, I'm a little OCD too sometimes!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

On the ninth day of Christmas... help Santa wrap all of the gifts to put under the tree.

I can't put mine out yet since Felix has an extreme love of ribbon/bows and would surely destroy them all before Christmas. Oh all right, I also haven't started wrapping them yet either! :) Instead, I'll share some "vintage" Christmas photos with "classic" wrapping. Please note the yarn ribbon and Disney wrapping paper!

What Not To Wear... work...or anywhere for that matter! Yes she's wearing capri leggings and a shirt that looks like an XXL undershirt. The hubby thought she was pregnant. She wasn't. That alone is reason enough not to wear this outfit. She was representing the fine establishment of Outback Steakhouse.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On the eighth day of Christmas... continue your holiday traditions...and create some new ones!

Last night my teacher friend Kat told us a story about how her special ed class read The Polar Express (twice) and then discussed their holiday traditions. It's middle school and she knew that one of her kids believed in Santa Claus so before he came into class, she asked that if the others didn't, that they not say so, so as to not ruin it for those that did. Then she had to leave the room for a minute and her aide took over. Right as she returned her aide asked one of the older kids what he asked Santa for and he made a face and mouthed the words "I don't believe in Santa". Obviously funny since he technically followed the rules and didn't actually SAY he didn't believe.

My Christmas traditions:
Christmas Eve with the hubby's family, stop by my aunt's on the way home,
Christmas Day at our house when I cook Henry (I promise that story is coming soon!)

What are your Christmas traditions?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On the seventh day of Christmas... struggle with what to give the "hard to shop for" people on your list.

I think Christmas lists should be required!!!!

And for the record, even if I ALWAYS ask for the same thing (Burke Williams, Starbucks, Target Gift Cards), I really do want them. Buying me one will make me happy. You don't need to be creative. I promise.

Who's to blame?

Shocker...Jamie Lynn Spears is Pg. She's 16. TMZ's info here.

They have a poll - who's to blame? Her parents, her sister, or herself?

I say: bad parenting, bad influences, but she made her own decisions.

My question:
Who will be the better parent: Britney or Jamie Lynn?

This is seriously sad!

Monday, December 17, 2007

On the sixth day of Christmas... go shopping...and neglect to wear proper footwear for walking the mall.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

On the fifth day of Christmas... fight to get a parking spot...and are amused despite your frustration.

Seriously?! A pink truck?! What's the resale value on a pink truck? I hate fighting for parking spots. I usually park somewhere in the middle and do a lot of walking. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

On the fourth day of Christmas... start Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree.

I've gotta take a picture with my new camera so that the lighting looks better!

I also need to get more ornaments!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's a Bright, Bright, Bright, Sunshiny Day!

Reasons to love living in SoCal:

View from the end of my street after last weekends rain/snow - cool huh?

Behind that palm tree is Orange County. It's almost never this clear, but you can all think that it is!

On the third day of Christmas... attend your work Christmas party.

This is not my line up of coffee, water, and beer, but this photo was taken at my work holiday function.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's the second (and a half) day of Christmas...

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your fellow bloggers. Thanks to MSN aka Leaky for bringing this to me...I don't normally do these, but it's a Christmas one!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper with fabric bows

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial is just easier!

3. When do you put up the tree? Tomorrow!

4. When do you take the tree down? The weekend after New Years

5. Do you like eggnog? Not bad...I just don't like brandy much

6. Favorite gift received as a child? The robe from my grandma (she made one for my sister and I) the Christmas before she passed away.

Edit: Since my sister didn't think she got a robe, here's the proof:

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No

8. Hardest person to buy for? Hmmmm...toss up between my mother-in-law and my mom

9. Easiest person to buy for? Either the hubby or my sister - we give each other very specific lists including where to buy

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail!!! And this year I mailed them the day after Thanksgiving!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Ceramic frog - it was a White Elephant gift...and it's still sitting on my desk at work (it's since taken on sentimental value)

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story - I triple dog dare you to name a funnier Christmas movie!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? It varies, but I'm lagging this year! I didn't buy my first gift until the 8th!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Pretty sure no...

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Hmmmm...Henry? (Henry the third this year!)

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I like to alternate each year...I'm greedy! If I HAVE to pick then colored

17. Favorite Christmas song. O' Holy Night - specifically Mariah Carey's version

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? If you count driving to Torrance and Diamond Bar on Christmas Eve as travel, then travel. But Christmas day is at our house!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixon, and Rudolph - the order's all wrong, but I got 'em! For Wikipedia's version

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I have not been able to find either an angel or a star that I like, so I have a Santa hat

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve with the hubby's family, and our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve (or when UPS delivers them :)), Christmas morning with my family.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Feeling that there's not enough time to get all of the festivities in (further compacted this year by my return to work)

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? traditional red and green - love Hallmark and Pier 1 ornaments (the painted ones)

24. Favorite food for Christmas dinner? Henry! That story is coming soon to a blog, I promise!

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I already got my gift October 2nd - anything else is just a bonus!

On the second day of Christmas...

...your hubby hangs up Christmas lights! Good job huh?

Monday, December 10, 2007

On the first day of Christmas... dress up your pets!

I Ate Broccoli...

and I didn't hate it. And mind you it was previously frozen in a Lean Cuisine dinner. I'm assuming fresh broccoli is better since most things are.

I also recently tried eggnog. It wasn't too bad, but wasn't really my cup of tea...or choice of adult beverages.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


I wanted to take a celebratory picture at Outback tonight (where we went after Will's softball game - he doesn't usually wear hats).

This was the first one:

The hubby didn't like it, so here's the second:

I blame the lighting!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

"Normal" & "Boring"

I finally surfaced and updated my Brain Blog. I'm calling myself normal (as normal as one can be with a titanium plate/screen and a 7 inch scar surrounded by sexy "boy hair" aka an inside out mohawk) and boring (as boring as someone who keeps a blog that people either comment on or demand that I post on regularly via angry/impatient phone calls). No symptoms, no limitations, I just feel WONDERFUL!

I'm so tired from my eventful week! I will summarize, which will also explain where I've been and why I haven't blogged.

Monday was the MRI and doctor's appointment in CO. After missing the earlier flight by about 30 minutes, we had to wait about 3 hours until our scheduled flight. Then it got delayed. Indefinitely. It was the last flight to Ontario of the day. This is when my mom got a wee bit snippy. This is when I was glad my mom had already enjoyed 2 Absolut and Diets. This is when I began to wish I'd had a few adult beverages of my own. End result? We got home about 45 minutes later than we were supposed to after the pilot found us another plane. Screaming children on the plane prevented us from napping.

Tuesday was my first day back at work. Thankfully there were three things to brighten my morning: 1) Starbucks Christmas Cup, 2) Mariah Carey, Merry Christmas CD in my car, 3) It was absolutely clear and beautiful - not a cloud or smog in sight (unless I looked toward Downtown LA). I got very little accomplished as I had visitors in my office all day. The hubby sent me an Edible Arrangement with chocolate covered apples - how could that not make the fact that I was at work at least a little better? Thanks Bunny! The infamous EHW took me shopping so that I could prove to the FIDM graduate that I'm difficult at best to shop for - not impossible, just VERY difficult!

Wednesday was a full day of meetings part 1, followed by the company holiday dinner with karaoke. Primary thought throughout the day? WHY CAN'T I FIND ANY WATER?! There was one pitcher of water on a table with 7-8 people for a 4 hour meeting - SERIOUSLY?! I could have drank the whole thing myself!

Thursday was day of meetings part 2. Thankfully they ended early so I got an almost two hour lunch with the infamous Rachel and caught up on my work so that I could leave at a decent hour and come home to blog - priorities people :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Off to Colorado I go...

I'm off to Colorado with my mom for a quick 32 hourish trip to see my surgeon so that he can confirm that I really do feel great and that the surgery was a success!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Rainy Day Tradition

Sometime last year I made it a tradition at work to go to Claim Jumper for lunch and have a Baked Potato Cheddar Sourdough Bowl on rainy days. That's pretty much all of my favorite foods rolled into one unhealthy meal - but since it rarely rains in Southern California, it's not exactly diet ruining.
It rained pretty much all day yesterday, but I wasn't "at" work. Yet I wanted a bread bowl badly!!! So the hubby and I went to CJ for dinner and I was not disappointed. BTW, Kudos to CJ for having tropical iced tea (the only "flavored" tea I'll drink) and house salads that come with more than just lettuce, croutons, and dressing.

One thing that we both noticed early on was that our server was just a tad too happy to be working on a rainy Friday night. Like seriously, annoyingly, happy. We had great service though, and I was so happy to be eating my bread bowl, that we were able to overlook the annoyance of her perkiness. Then she brought our bill, which pretty much spoke for itself...