Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

It was a stressful work week trying to get everything wrapped up and in a place where I could feel comfortable not checking email much during our time off, but I made it. As if I had a choice! Time passes and Christmas arrives and there it is.

We did have some fun at work--our department had a "light off" competition between the teams, which at first I thought would be something to do with saving energy but turned out to be quite the opposite. Each group decorated their area of the office, mostly with lights, and then our graphic design department came over to judge who won. And my team did! It was great fun, and a nice way to take a breather here and there during the day. We turned one of the desks into Santa's, and one of my coworkers and I created the fireplace, which I think turned out particularly well. So many uses for sparkly red tulle!


On the way home from SFO
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
Murray's sister Christin and her boyfriend Scott arrived on Thursday afternoon, and we've been having a jolly time. We've had a break in the rain, which has been very welcome--we had a lovely view of the City on the way home from SFO.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Safari West which was so fun! Well, seeing cheetahs and the larger animals like rhinos in small enclosures is a little depressing, but most of the creatures have a fair amount of space to roam around. We toured the aviaries first, then took a jeep tour around the 400 acres--lots of giraffes, zebras, varieties of boks, cranes, wildebeests. It was funny seeing so many exotic animals wandering our familiar oak studded hills.

I now officially covet Watusi cattle, Victoria crowned pigeons, cranes of every feather, and perhaps a Red River hog or two. In the gift shop, M pointed out porcupine quills to me, so I purchased two, perfect closures for my cocoon scarf! In the gift shop, M pointed out porcupine quills to me, so I purchased two, perfect closures for my cocoon scarf!

More photos on Flickr.


We'll open presents today, maybe see a movie. M has a prime rib dinner planned. Tomorrow I think we'll have lunch at Rustic, the restaurant at the new Coppola vineyard. It's so nice taking a break from the everyday routine!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Recent Recap

New scarf
Originally uploaded by suzipaw
I've taken a long break from my shrug project--it's both a little hard on my hands and frankly, boring. However, I found some very cheap cocoon yarn at Big Lots and whipped up this cozy scarf. It's a bit on the short side, so I had to figure out a closure. I was going to use some beautiful silver buttons I bought at the Grand Canyon on my 40th birthday trip, but I've found that long hair pins I have work very well and are easier than a permanent clasp of some sort.

Today M and I had fun choosing and cutting a Christmas tree. Thankfully we planned it as the second activity of the day, the first being a visit to Bed, Bath and Beyond which was a holiday vision of hell. It was cleansing to drive out to the fog-shrouded hills of West County, dreaming of what it would be like to live out in that very dear countryside. It didn't take us long to find a tree that we both liked particularly since it didn't have to be very tall--we're putting it on a chest to keep it out of range of Roxy's tail.

Since we had a "light off" at work last week and my coworkers and I had pooled every string of light we had to festoon our digs, M and I needed lights for our fresh new tree. So after the tree sawing, we swung by Big Lots--my ulterior motive of course was hoping for more cocoon yarn which someone had scooped up soon after I had been there, but I was disappointed yet again. We picked up many hundreds of feet of new lights, both for inside and out. I was excited to try white LED lights on the tree, but I must admit I'm a little disappointed--they're a bit too bluish. So I think I'll be picking up a few more feet of illumination tomorrow. Which means we still have tree decorating to look forward to this week.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Thanksgiving and into Twelfth Month

It seemed like an extra good Thanksgiving this year, though it wasn't particularly different from our traditional holiday. Thanksgiving Day was achingly brilliant weather-wise and some of us celebrated with a walk on the beach. Roxy tested my limits, wandering off not once but twice into the beach grass where her brindle coat made her invisible and not coming when I called. I got a lot of exercise that day, which is not a bad thing. And she scared up an enormous jack rabbit, which is always a happy sight.

M reports that the brined and grilled turkey came out perfectly, the best ever. Steve was there with his girlfriend Tammy and it was nice to see him after so long. The day after Thanksgiving we met Liz, Katrin, and families in town for shopping and beer drinking, which was lovely.

I slept well, ate well, felt relaxed. A true vacation.


We left the coast a day early--M's truck has been deteriorating into a heap for a while now and he wanted to take care of it, but was waffling. Spend a fair amount of time and money on the clutch, windshield, starter, and getting it smogged? Or just throw in the shop towel and get a new one?

We got home Saturday afternoon and decided to visit his old car sales haunts to do some advance work, coming home with a very clean Toyota SR5. They had let him borrow it overnight. The next morning we drove it over the hills to Napa to see how it performed on both the windy roads and the highway and it did very well. So he pulled the trigger and now we have a lovely new vehicle in the driveway.

Funny how Roxy played a small part in the truck decision. The truck has a camper shell and is carpeted, so the dogs ride in the back when M takes them for walks. She's a lot of canine, and it's a relief to be separated from her panting self, though it was really not too bad on the way up to Manchester.


Thanksgiving is also the going-steady anniversary for M and me--it's been sixteen years now. It's fun to think back to that first holiday we spent together, in my tiny New York apartment, sharing split pea soup as our dinner feast. I think we were both pretty sure even then that we'd be married one day. (I just asked him about it and he agrees.)


We're off to a party tonight--one of M's friend's wife is having a 50th birthday bash. Pizza and togas, beer and Hawaiian shirts, that sort of thing. I have to work on securing my toga well since I plan to cut a disco rug or two this evening.