Thursday, November 30

Happy December (tomorrow)!

Since Mom is coming in to town this afternoon, and with Howie, Arlene and Jorge arriving tomorrow night, I may or may not have time to blog much this weekend. I'll do my best though, as I hate to leave you all wanting. But because I'm becoming more and more excited about the holidays this season, I couldn't wait to break out the December avatar in her Christmas-ness glory.
I know that there's snow, and well, we'll be in California where it doesn't snow much, but the background fit the right mood.
I'm tickled with the Santa hat, too.
I like this one. She's happy!!

Last night's Rockefeller special

Sydney and I watched Christmas in Rockefeller Center last night. Well, we watched most of it anyway. Some thoughts on it: 1.) I don't get the attraction to Taylor Hicks, the American Idol winner and last night's first performer. And really, I don't think that most of the audience, which looked on in some disbelief when he broke out into jazz carols, gets him either. Dude, it's "Winter Wonderland" or whatever; just sing the song. Don't try to make it yours. 2.) I dig Bette Midler in a feather wig. Where can I get one of those? Mom bought Bette's CD the last time we shopped together, and on the cover of that, she is wearing a red feather wig. I would have preferred to see her in that one, rather than last night's white, but who cares. A feather wig is the f*cking coolest. 3.) NBC just simply had to put in their promos for shows, turning the festive event into a house ad. I'm not watching 30 Rock for a reason. Leave me alone. (That may change tonight though, as it's been moved to a post-Scrubs time slot.) And this new reality show about the Grease Broadway musical? Stupid looking. 4.) Al Roker and Anne Curry did a good job with minimal good material. 5.) Christina Aguilera looked nice, and having Sasha Cohen skate to her song ... "Hurt" ... wait a minute. Shouldn't she be rocking some cool yule song? Ripping through "Jingle Bells," a la Barbra Streisand, would have been an awesome thing to see and hear. A ripe opportunity was blown with her song selection. 6.) I didn't know that the first tree in Rockefeller Center was put up by some construction workers wanting to touch people with a symbol of hope. 7.) Lionel Richie does have a new album coming out. And it's a Christmas one, too! 8.) The switch to turn on the tree's lights looked like a Staples "Easy" button. 9.) While the tree looks good on TV, it's still so much bigger and better in person. 10.) Yeah, I think I'm catching the holiday spirit...

Wednesday, November 29

Finally! Some semblance of a winter!

Winter ... well, as wintery as it can be here ... has arrived in Arizona. I've put the flannel sheets on the bed. I've been donning socks before going to sleep the last couple nights. I woke up this morning still complaining about being cold (it's time for me to get my extra blanket). I should have put on a hat, and the regular sweats aren't cutting out the chill when I take Oliver out for his morning walk. (The sweats thing is just too bad for me, really, as I'll live with being chilled. I refuse to add the longjohn bottoms, as I would do for the morning walks in Boston; it's just not that cold here.) We've doubled Sydney's blankets, and even Brian put on his sweat bottoms to ward off the chill.
It's supposed to get down to 32 degrees or something as an overnight low tonight, and may only get into the 50s today. Sadly, it isn't appropriate to break out the scarves, heavy jackets and all that, but I don't feel completely ridiculous wearing a cashmere sweater today.
(And the pretty, snowy picture? Pulled it off the 'net because it seemed to fit my mood.)

Tuesday, November 28

Britney's new friend

Goodness gracious. She's traded her disgusting chicken-fried husband for the just-as-irritating, tacky, headline-grabbing heiress who's famous for no reason. Britney, Britney, Britney. I can see why hanging out with Paris Hilton may seem like a smart move, since she's always in the media, gets chased down by photographers wherever she goes, and tends to gravitate towards the better parties in town. But this is not the best course of action for someone facing: 1.) a custody battle for two small kids; 2.) the fickle media/bloggers/gossip and tabloid readers; and 3.) the difficult climb to evolve from a former pop princess into an artist looking to get serious about herself again.
You know I'm on your side, Brit. Don't disappoint me. I was so proud; now I'm just concerned again.

Monday, November 27

The halls are decked

I decorated my house for Christmas yesterday. I know, I know. It's barely out of Thanksgiving, and I've already got the garland, Santas and dancing snowmen throughout my home. I remember posting last year that I don't do Christmas decorations until the first weekend of December. I like it to be officially "Christmas-y" before diving into the whole holiday. But here's my thinking on shifting the way I do things this year: Mom and Howie will be out here with their friends this weekend, and I wanted my house to be done already; and with Sydney, well, I figured it would be easier to do the decorations with Brian home and he could watch her while I worked. There's no room for a tree this year, which really is okay since we're spending the holiday with Mom anyway; I was extremely picky about the decorations that I put out, simply because I feel like I have less room for all my stuff; and happily, it's "beginning to look a lot like Christmas" out here.
What else I need to get started on this week is my Christmas list for people, and getting a picture of my kids for the Christmas card (which would be so much easier if Sydney could hold her head up and smile). That adventure should make for a fun afternoon!!

Saturday, November 25

Thanksgiving flowers

I bet you all thought that Mom had dropped her floral class. Well, she hasn't. Here is the Thanksgiving arrangement. There are yellow lilies, gold baby mums, wheat stalks, and red oak leaves. The red berries on the branches remain nameless because the instructor couldn't figure out what they were -- they just looked good.

Friday, November 24

Lazy day with turkey

I totally spaced on watching the Thanksgiving Day parade on television yesterday. Oh well. We had a wonderful day in Tucson, and I hope that you all had a good Thanksgiving, too. We ended up not taking Lisa up on her offer to babysit Sydney so we could go see a movie ... and I'll tell you why. I was feeling nice and relaxed, was having a great time hanging out with the family, and just didn't feel like going through the effort of finding the theater and going to it. I am thankful that my husband can be as lazy as I, and was also perfectly happy chilling in Tucson. We didn't leave there until 10:30 p.m., got home around midnight, and had a good night's sleep.
In a moment of "sure, dear, whatever you want to do," I agreed to accompany Brian into Macy's after our lunch at The Cheesecake Factory today. I usually am the last person that you will find wandering through a department store on the Friday after Thanksgiving. I hate being jostled and rushed when shopping, and on high shopping days such as this, I avoid those situations like the plague. However, I love my guy, and walked through Macy's. We got a good deal on a couple new pairs of pants for him, and wandered through the rest of the shops, but basically went home a bit lighter than most other people who shopped today, I'm sure. (Alison is one of those that braved the shops at 6 a.m. this morning. She's a frickin' hero, and I hope her kids love her forever for it!)

Wednesday, November 22

They put red sprinkles on it, too

I know that I'm not the only one, so let me put it out there. How many of you get excited when the holiday drinks are available at Starbucks? I get so giddy that I literally have a very happy moment at the first sip of my favorite drink. The order: decaf, grande, non-fat, peppermint mocha, with whip. The holiday drinks are being offered now (I've already logged three hot and one iced drink), and I highly recommend the mocha. Also available are a gingerbread latte (too sweet for me), and an eggnog latte (too icky for me).
What brings this post about is an article on today's Apparently, the holiday drink is a new trend, and most every popular coffee joint is jumping on the bandwagon. Read about it here. Don't be fooled by the article about my mochas though, they've been around as long as the lattes. My aunt, who is my hero because she's worked behind the counter at Starbucks, tells me that I can order the peppermint mocha whenever I want throughout the year. I've noted that in my memory bank, but there's just something special about only getting my favorite drink only during my favorite time of year. It makes fall and winter a bit more warm and fuzzy. (Of course, the fact that I am enjoying it in 80-degree weather rather than on a blustery chilled New England day is a bit of a drag, but that's my cross to bear.)

The Banker was a no-show

Mom and Howie sat at a table across the aisle from Howie Mandell at dinner last night. Howie (too many "Howie"s for one post!) recognized him first, as, inexplicably, he has the same eye for finding celebrities in random places as I do. Rumor has it that Mandell lives nearby to the deli where Mom and Howie ate, and that his wife owns a shop or something in the area, too.
I find this noteworthy because Brian and I have become quite obsessed with Deal or No Deal, and because Mandell looks pretty cool with a bald head and soul patch. Mom didn't have any Us Weekly gossip about the dinner, Mandell or his eating companions -- it was just enough that they saw him, eating dinner, being all normal, and not torturing someone by saying, "And we'll see what's in that case ... (long pause) ... right after the break ..."

"Edelweiss" would have been better

I dug Gwen Stefani's last album, Love. Angel. Music. Baby. Andrea got it for me for my birthday a couple years ago, and it's been on steady rotation in the car since. The first single off the album, "Hollaback Girl," was kicky and fun (even though I still have no idea what a Hollaback Girl is). After watching Stefani perform her new single last night on the American Music Awards, I fear for the new album. I've got to tell you, I never ... ever ... thought that anyone would sample the yodeling puppet song from The Sound of Music for a pop single. That's just weird. Gwen comes off as a fair yodeler, but I think the whole hook is misplaced in the icky refrain, "Wind it up! Wind it up!"
And speaking of the AMAs: I only watched about an hour's worth of the show, but was pleased to see that there was a surplus of acts performing. It seems as though everyone who had an album to promote was invited to perform, including The Dixie Chicks, Jay-Z, Tenacious D (awful to be pimping a movie about performers on a show for performers, but oh well), the above-mentioned Gwen, and Lionel Richie. Actually, I don't know if Lionel Richie has an album coming out, but it was fun to see him perform "All Night Long" live.

Tuesday, November 21

Click wheels and steering wheels

I'm on the hunt for a way to get my iPod to play through the stereo of my car ... without paying a thousand dollars. On a trip through Best Buy the other day, we asked about such an invention, and were told that really the only way is to buy a new stereo, the iPod attachment, and then to have the whole smash installed for, "only, like, $50." In all seriousness, this option wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be. The whole thing may only cost us about $300 to do. The guy told me that if I wanted to deal with my dealership, it could cost me up to $600. I declared shenanigans on that, and called Land Rover.
But come to find out that Land Rover doesn't have its own attachment or anything. The service guy told me to call the guy at their stereo outsourcing place and price it there. "That's where we send all our special orders, and he should know everything about that," said service guy. I'll get around to it soon, because this is something that I've wanted since I got the iPod. (I know, I know, there are the FM transmitters--and I have one--but you can admit it, they suck the big one when it comes to clear play.)
So here's to the new obsession: making the car iPod active.

Monday, November 20

Just make the drink

Casino Royale took in a ton of money this weekend -- though not enough to beat out the adorably fun-looking Happy Feet for number one in box office. Given the choice for movie-going experiences though, I would have gone for the new James Bond. I'm beyond intrigued by the re-energized spy, who apparently answers, "Do I look like I give a damn?" when asked how he'd like his martini. I'm loving the idea of a Bond who might really kill someone without it coming down to a quip, and one who won't hesitate to get dirty. Some may say that Sean Connery was that Bond, but I don't think so. All the previous Bonds seem somewhat ... less than manly. Daniel Craig, I think, may be my favorite Bond. A bold statement certainly, since I haven't seen the movie yet, but the trailers, and my instincts, tell me that this showing may actually be worth the ticket price.

Turkey Day's comin'

Can you believe that it's almost Thanksgiving? This year has gone by in a blink, and it's blowing my mind. Brian, Sydney and I are heading down to Tucson for the meal, to be shared with B's family, and we're excited to spend some time with them. It'll be Sydney's first "trip," so who knows how it'll go! But Lisa, Brian's sister, has volunteered to babysit for us if we want to take some time and hit a movie or something. (I'm totally up for that too, by the way. Yay!)
So with Thanksgiving so close, it brings to mind that Christmas is just around the corner. I haven't even thought about my list of peeps to buy for, nor have I considered where I'll find the time to do much of anything for the holiday, except that we'll drive out to Cali for it. I'll make every effort to make this holiday good though, as it'll be the first in a couple years that Brian and I will be spending it with family. Last year's holiday sucked for that very reason: it was only the two of us for the second year in a row, and we missed the hysteria of a family holiday.

Sunday, November 19

It's a wedding!

It happened. Knock me over with a feather, but I didn't really think that Katie would go through with the whole thing. I hope that the contract, or whatever deal she signed with the devil, covers the actual marriage as well as the kid.
Actually, she looks quite happy in this photo. Of course, all brides look happy on their wedding day, and well, she's pretty anyway. So seriously, I hope that this works out well for her. I've got no concerns about Tom and how he'll weather this, but I really do worry about Katie and her little girl. I've gone on the record before saying that I like Katie. I've also gone on the record with my less-than-love for Tom ... but you know what? I'll say it:
Congrats to you, crazy kids! I hope that you are happy, and that your marriage is a good one.

Monday, November 13

Elvis, Brit and Sydney

ITEM!: Sydney G was born a couple weeks ago, so I'm sure that you'll forgive me for blowing off the blog until I got more into the swing of things. Granted, I still experience a full five seconds of absolute terror every time she starts to cry, and find that I am counting down to that magical three-month mark when, according to everyone around us who has dealt with this same thing, "everything will be better." Every day we learn something new. As an example, today I learned that the vibrating chair does not make for a good experience after a good-sized meal. Baby puke is awesome.
ITEM!: Pop-culture Christmas has come early! Britney's filed for divorce from her chicken-fried husband, and all is about to become right in the world again. Of course, this guy is going to do everything he can to get the most money he can, but Brit should be kissing the feet of whoever made her get a pre-nup signed before they walked down the aisle. That little piece of papaer is going to save her ass. She looks amazing (did you see her on Letterman?), and rumor has it that she's working on her new album. What this girl needs is a hit record, some time out of the tabloids, and a kick-ass attorney who will bring this guy to his knees.
ITEM!: I love that penguins are wearing shoes. Apparently, these penguins, having moved into their new environment, are experiencing some bad foot issues. Keepers and others developed these nifty shoes to protect the delicate webbed feet from the rocks, ground and such. Oh yeah, and those of who know me well enough also will appreciate that this particular penguin's name is "Elvis." I want a penguin named Elvis! That's too cool!
ITEM!: Here's the November avatar. Jeans and a nice sweater are my ideal outfit for the month, and I'm excited that there happened to be a corresponding outfit for the avatar. But, as I live in Scottsdale, where it's still getting into the 80s regularly, jeans can make the distance for the day, but a sweater is still a few weeks off, I think.