Sunday, December 28, 2008

Northwest Bound

This afternoon we are finally on our way to the lovely Pacific Northwest. Because of the snow, our trip has been cut in half: from 10 days to 5, but we will make it work. With a wedding, a party, and a few friendly get togethers along with family gatherings, it it sure to be a busy but memorable trip.

And please, mother nature, please keep the snow at bay while we're up there!

We had a very pleasant first Christmas in L.A. this year. Matt wrote everything I wanted to say, so you can read all about it here.

And with that, I must go. The cab will be here any minute! Happy New Year to all!

P.S. I have to add that Christmas with palm trees just isn't the same.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Traditions in L.A.

This is going to be our first Christmas away from our families, and yet, we will be with family this Christmas.

We have many friends who are here for this special time of year and feel very grateful that we have places to go and things to do. And we are grateful that we are home and comfortable. My heart goes out to those who are still fighting to go home via plane, train, and bus.

Last night I made some of my Christmas presents and then we decorated the tree. Matt even said that next year we could get a real one or a bigger fake one! :) We watched Chronicles of Narnia with cups of tea, and then Nathan came over. We ordered pizza, drank beer, and watched old episodes of The Simpsons. Poor guy has to work today and tomorrow!

Today I'll finish the Christmas presents, get some wrapping done and go shopping for Matt's stocking (something else I didn't plan for). Tonight we'll have a get-together with friends (Jeremy, Katy, Paige A, and hopefully Matt and Jessica). Tomorrow we'll catch a movie or two (hopefully Nathan will join us) in the morning, and then head to Pasadena for dinner with Gayvin, Eric, and their 4 year old son, Jack.

While we have plans, and are grateful for all that we have here in L.A., I am still missing my family and our traditions. I know there is no time like the present to start our own, I guess because this was so unexpected I am not prepared for these emotions. It's a bit of a rollercoaster. Having our place decorated is so important to me, and yes, we have our tree, and our stockings are on the wall, and I really hope we can hang some lights tonight.

It just occured to me why this is so hard. My mom. She made Christmas so special. Presents were artfully presented under the tree, with the main gift or gifts not wrapped in boxes. I remember one year, when I was 10...I had begged and begged for an American Girl Doll, specifically Kirsten. I wanted her because everyone else I knew had Samantha or Kirsten, and I felt she deserved some attention, and I loved her story. Anyway, come Christmas morning - must've been around 5am - I went upstairs and there she was!! Just waiting for me as if she had planned the trip herself. I was so beyond thrilled. There were some other things I got that year, that were out on display, so I carefully removed her from under the tree and then bolted to my parents bedroom to share my excitement. They smiled, gave me a hug, and promptly told me to go back to bed, that it was too early. So I went back to my bedroom, but took my new doll with me. Over the years, I got more outfits and even her trunk and bed. Now she's in storage, awaiting perhaps our future daughter to play with her.

But I digress. Mom was an artist, and her artistic ways really shone through when the holidays came up. Advent calendars on the wall, stockings, decorations, our tree with all of our old ortaments, the one year we got Coconut and she was quite lively so we got a small tree and put it on a table so she couldn't destroy the ortaments. There was just something so cozy and warm about the house, the love and attention she put into the details. And the cooking...oh my gawd, the food was delicious! All kinds of Christmas cookies, the baked ham, mashed potatoes, brownies, Keith's chocolates, egg nog and homemade apple cider...YUM!! My Dad said they don't even have a tree this year, no decorations, and I doubt he'll even hang stockings. I hope weather permits Diane and Gregg to make it to his house for Christmas dinner. Hopefully a neighbor will offer to drive him to church.

Like I said before, it's a mix of emotions this year. I'm happy to be in L.A. and not dealing with the stress of traveling somewhere, but I'm also missing my family and traditions. It's up to me to try and keep those traditions going while creating new ones and making the old ones work for our little family. With this being our first Christmas away from the Pacific Northwest, I think we're doing pretty well so far. :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

So far, not so good.

For those of you who haven't heard, our flight was cancelled last night.

I have been trying to get ahold of Alaska Airlines since 8:15pm. The last attempt I made before going to bed was around 11pm, and this morning, well I tried just now and everything is still busy. I'm not sure if we'll get out today or even tomorrow if I can't get ahold of anyone. I might venture out to Burbank Airport and check out the line at the Alaska desk, see if there's a long line. But at this point, so many people are in the same situation as me, it might be easier to to wait it out. I want to be proactive, so maybe I will just go to the airport and see if someone, preferably a nice ticketing agent who hasn't been up all night, can help me.

I also will be calling Customer Care at Alaska Airlines, and getting the phone number for Kari C.'s well reccomended travel agent. She might be able to help.

We have a few offers from friends down here to spend Christmas with them should our plans completely fall through, which has been wonderfuly comforting. We can always celebrate Christmas with the family next month if this wacky weather and inability to get ahold of the airlines continues.

Thank you for all your suggestions on warm weather ideas and travel suggestions!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Getting prepared

So in order to prepare for the wintery Pacific Northwest, I'm trying to figure out how I'll stay warm. I have a ton of scarves, a few wool coats, and my Eddie Bauer parka is at my Dad's. Can't find any of my hats as of yet, and to see how bad the weather is, I checked the flight status today of the flight we're supposed to take tomorrow.

And it was cancelled! Effing cancelled! Trying to not panic right now. Seriously, there is nothing I can do. I don't control the weather!

Of course this means we might get to sleep in tomorrow. :D

However, this puts a kink into our plans, so in a way I hope we do make it. You can bet that I'll be up this early tomorrow to see if our flight is still on.

Any suggestions of what else I should bring to stay warm? Hot cocoa perhaps (with a shot of brandy)?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My latest obsession

I don't know where this comes from, and I know it's overly played on the radio. That wasn't enough for me. I had to go out and buy the CD. I listen to this song every chance I get, mostly when I'm alone because Matt's sick of it. But we spent a week figuring out the lyrics (I looked them up on line and we were almost dead on), and now it's even more fun to listen to.

I heard this song for the first time about a month ago, and it was as if the musical part of my persona had finally woken up. I used to be obsessed with music and bands, seeing concerts and listening to all different kids of bands. I don't know what happened, maybe it was after Mom died, or I just got really comfortable with my favorite singers. Maybe I got tired of the latest brand of Pop music, I'm not sure. But what I am sure of is that this song means so much to me, ..."for reasons I can't explain" (thank you, Chris Martin).

I have told Matt on many occasions that the next band I'm seeing in concert is Coldplay. They were in Orange County twice last month and I missed them, but hopefully they'll be back. And when they are, I'll be singing along with them...from the nosebleed seats.

And if you are sick of the song, I reccomend that you don't play the video. This song tends to stick in your head for awhile.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Isn't she beautiful?

(Photo courtesy The Seattle Times.)

And I'm home!

It feels so good to be home. Hubby, kitties, christmas tree, and a little junk food. Ah, life is good.

Dad is doing well for the most part. Yesterday we had a bit of anger due to him not being able to walk - and he won't be able to for the next 2 months - but it all worked out and he's feeling ok for now. I was a cooking queen - I made 2 lasagnas, lentil soup, lamb stew, and sausage/spinach soup. Dad is on a pain medication that's taken every 4 hours, and he has to take it with food. He yummed up the meals that I cooked, and so I froze all the leftovers so he can have some healthy meals while I'm gone. The healthy food has helped keep his nausea at bay which is excellent news. It's no fun to be bed or couch ridden, in pain, fading in & out from pain meds, and not being able to keep food down. We're all hoping for a safe and speedy recovery.

It was hard to leave yesterday, and yet it wasn't. I could have stayed another week, but I knew I had to leave. I can't be there all the time, every minute of every day. It's exhausting. And this was my first experience at being the #1 caretaker. When Mom was dying, it was easy to let others take over. But this time it was just me and my sister, and with Katie taking the ACT test and having a college interview last weekend, it was primarily up to me to make sure that everything was taken care of. It was harder than I thought it would be, but I didn't get emotional seeing my Dad like I thought I would. I'm also grateful that he's now my boss. How else could I travel up there in an instance to help out?

Speaking of travel, I'll never forget the time when Cindy commented that we Mesmers travel a lot. Yes, yes we do, and frankly I'm looking forward to a month without a plane trip. But this Christmas holiday should be really fun. We'll see family, of course, but I'm hopeful that we can see some friends that we've not seen in a very very long time. It will all balance out and instead of stressing out, I'm going to do my best and just roll with the days. I will enjoy my time and cause Matt less stress if I can just relax and go with the flow this year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Here I go again...

I'm off to the Northwest. Again.

Now while all this travel seems wonderful and perhaps slightly glamourous, it's really not. Come Christmas, it will have been my 4th trip to Washington in the last 2 months. And frankly I'm starting to get a little travel tipsy. I check my bags so I deal with the cranky security people as little as possible. I dress properly so I can get dressed quickly after practically de-robing at security. I know I've been traveling a lot because I recognized a few flight attendants on my way home last time!! That is NOT ok.

This time I am heading up for a few days to help my Dad during the first few days of his surgery. His knee is not well, there's 4 things wrong with it, so I'm heading up to help him get settled and also cook a bunch of meals for him. Meals that he and my sister can just pop in the microwave or heat up on the stove. So I've been double meal planning which has been fun, and also exploring some new recipes. I hope they turn out well. I also sent out an email to some of my family members, asking for some new recipes so that Dad doesn't get bored. (Thanks to Uncle Gregg for offering to come over on Friday and help out!)

I'm a bit worried about how everything is going to turn out. Dad is getting older and I'm afraid that I'm just going to have a mini-meltdown seeing him unable to move. I know it will only be temporary, and that he's in great health. But it's not easy watching your parents get older, no matter how healthy they are.

(insert plea for a ride to Sea-Tac on Sunday afternoon here)

Monday, December 08, 2008

An Unexpected Saturday

I didn't have plans this weekend.

Well that's not totally true. Matt and I went to see Stephanie Paige's show on Friday night. We got all dolled up and had a great time. It was opening night and the cast was really excited and had first night jitters. Definitely got me in the spirit of the season! Afterwards, we waited around for Paige, and she came out all glow-ey (and looking slightly relieved that the first night was over with) and full of smiles. I was so excited for her - this is just the beginning of her performing career in L.A.!

I wound up spending the day with Sarah, a new friend of mine and a very close and dear friend of Paige's. She's fascinating - a pilot for SkyWest Airlines. It was a very warm day - mid 70's - and so without our jackets, we set off for The Grove, a must see for any visitor to L.A. An outdoor mall connected to the farmer's market that screams "Los Angeles is the center of the world, SEE???" Complete with a giant Christmas tree with a fountain choreographed to christmas carols, I guess there's nothing like that plus blue sky and palm trees to get a couple of Pacific Northwesterners into the spirit of the season.

Poor Sarah. She's not the biggest fan of kids (which we talked about at length) and it being a Saturday afternoon, there were kids EVERYWHERE. Not to mention we had to pass by Santa's house a few times, which I have to say Sarah was an absolute trooper. I had a great time with her. It's always fun getting to make new friends (I know I sound like I'm 12, but it's true), and I don't think we stopped talking the entire time. We went to Banana Republic, Barnes and Noble, had lunch at The Farm (and for dessert, had a giant home-made oreo cookie - YUM!), and looked at the American Girl store - turns out we both had Kirsten as kids - and discussed that lots of people must've gotten busy early on this spring because there were babies all over the place.

We headed back to the valley - I had to get her to Paige's work in time for Paige to leave to get to the theater - and bismally failed at finding dinner for Paige. There are no teriyaki places! Just sushi. Everywhere. So I dropped them off, came home exhausted and hung out at home. Then 1am rolled around and the 3 of us headed out to Fred 62, a funky 24hr diner in my neighborhood that has a huge menu and great food. We talked, we laughed, and promptly got sleepy after eating a very late dinner. They dropped me off, we said our goodbyes, and I don't know about them, but I felt it was a great ending to an unexpected Saturday.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

This says it all!

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Curs-sed Thoughts Keeping Me Awake...

I'm having trouble sleeping.

For no particular reason other than I can't stop thinking.

About all sorts of things. Random memories. And "memories" that haven't occured. Like meeting my friends' kids for the first time, and what our eventual kids will look like. Wondering what will happen to my Dad after he has surgery next week (knee surgery, and yes I'm heading up again). Random high school pep assembly memories popped in tonight, screaming with my friends "NINETY SIX" at the top of my lungs as though it were the most important thing ever. I think about Mom and if she'd be proud of me (maybe a little frustrated). I think about my sister and hope she'll sort her life out someday. I think about my friends and how eternally grateful I am for such wonderful people. And I think about my marriage, this incredible man in my life who puts up with my mood swings, my random phrases, and how much closer we've grown together in this last year, even in the last few months.

I'm not sure how to turn my brain off. I'm exercising like I should, try to not eat sugar after 9pm, and don't watch tv. I read. Maybe I shouldn't do that either because I start thinking about the characters and the time I went to my favorite author's book signing (it was so much fun. She used to write for the Cosby Show and do stand up comedy in NYC years ago. I laughed so hard). Should I go talk to my doctor about a sleeping pill? Tylenol PM seems to do the job if I take it early enough. I just don't want it to become a habit. I've got an addictive personality.

Any suggestions?

I'm starting to get tired again now. I'll stay up a little later and see if I can just exhaust myself. And no work out for me. I can't run 2-3 miles in the morning on 4-5 hours of sleep. So perhaps it will be yoga instead. Or maybe I should start doing a little yoga at night to calm myself down.

See? This is what happens. One thought leads to another and before I know it I've been laying in bed for an hour and a half without a wink of sleep.


Well if you have any suggestions please let me know. I'll try anything once. Well, almost anything.