• place holder posts,  Tis the Season

    Whoosh! It’s Christmas already.

    Whoosh! It's Christmas

    This happens every year. I close my eyes in August and I wake up in December, buried under a pile of holiday stress. But I love the holidays so I’m blindly swimming through it with a big fat smile plastered on my harried face. Bring on the fussy decorations and cheery music. I love it all.


    Especially everything pink. I think pink is my official color of Christmas this year. Remember when I thought buying a pink tree was a risky decision? Eight years later it is still my favorite thing to set up. And speaking of setting up, our usual faux Christmas tree bit the dust this year and we made the scandalous decision to buy a fresh one. Oh, it smells so good.

    Us with Norman, the tree

    Meanwhile I am desperately researching the pros and cons of fake vs. real so I can debate my eco-friendly friends. It’s a lively discussion.

    In other news right before Thanksgiving Bug and I went out to the sticks to hang out with my family AND go to Oak Glen to get apples.

    Apples in the sticks

    Of course we stopped at Snowline to get mini apple cider doughnuts piping hot off the conveyer belt. We discovered them last year and now it’s tradition. They are sooooo good!

    I am so sadly off my healthy-eating journey right now. I have lofty plans of working out every day and eating kale regularly but at every turn I find some meaningful treat that I cannot pass up. And have I been getting up early to work out or walk the dogs in the rain? Nope. It is a losing battle. I’m hoping come spring I somehow shed this habit.


    And speaking of eating, I cooked a perfect turkey again! I brag because I used to be such mediocre cook. Yes, I’m getting better as the years go by but every time I don’t ruin Thanksgiving I feel like I should get a trophy or something.  I think next year I will stop bragging. It was nice to have family over and Payam finished the great piano bench! I will have to do a whole post on it with proper pictures that I do not have right now.woosh-its-christmas-6

    You know what time it is? The annual Christmas photo time. We are so basic. But now that I’ve started this tradition it’s not like I can stop. This year my friend Clio took the pictures and they turned out great against all odds. She’s a great photographer but we had so much going against us this year.

    We drove all the way to LA to take them (she lives there) and somehow took opposite directions than the ones she gave us. Neither of us knew that the park had two separate entrances so we spent about an hour trying to find each other with spotty cell coverage. It was horrible. We ran out of daylight AND we almost ran out of gas. It was highly stressful.

    But Clio is a professional and she went ahead and shot us in the fuzzy after-golden-hour light and guess what? They turned out pretty good! I’m not sharing our favorite shots yet because I’m saving them for the Christmas card.


    In other news November is our official anniversary month so Payam took me on this crazy adventure to Neotropolis, a Blade Runner-themed experience. It was silly but also super cool because I love surprise adventures AND I love historical buildings. The bar was located down a dark alley in the back of a pizza restaurant that used to be an old bank building. It was like walking into the future and back in time. We explored the boiler room and some secret passageways that were used as vaults for the bank and for smuggling alcohol during the prohibition. There were even bullet holes in the wall from when the police busted a speak-easy that was set up down there.


    Can you see the hastily-done victory rolls in my hair? I was trying. It wasn’t properly done but I think it’s sort of is reminiscent of Rachel. Anyway, I had a great time. I love to dress up!

    I shall try to get back here and write more holiday snippet stories but who am I kidding, I’ll probably see you after New Years. Which, by the way, we are NOT having a NYE party this year. I know?!! So unlike me. But I’m taking a year off to save money. I had dreams of renting a cabin instead but it looks like that isn’t going to happen either. It’s okay. Not spending money is sometimes almost as exciting as spending money.

    Hope your holidays are going well!

  • 15 minute posts,  BIG news,  Family Matters,  I forgot to tell you this earlier,  place holder posts,  The Desert,  the dogs,  the sticks,  Tis the Season

    Seasonal Acceleration Update


    It’s that time of year when you wake up and realize that even though it feels like August was yesterday, you are now in the middle of November and Christmas is probably tomorrow. Don’t blink.

    I love this time of year but it goes so fast for me. Firstly because it’s busy season for me with work and secondly because there is so much to celebrate that I love! Pumpkin pie, cozy fires, slippers, crisp early morning dog walks, apple picking, caramel toast… need I go on? I am in the thick of it and loving it all.


    My parents are back from harvest in Idaho. Have I mentioned that they go to Idaho that every year? My dad drives trucks for the beet and potato fields and earns some extra wages to help get them through the year. It’s a fun time for them because we have a lot of family in Idaho so they make money and get to spend quality time with family. It’s really really nice for them. I can’t say I’m not jealous but them’s the breaks when you turn your back on the religious beliefs of your relatives. (That is such a loaded sentence. You know I have not done this lightly but I can’t really get into that here.) Anyway, they are back and so I took Spreckles back to them.

    I was expecting a grand reunion but dogs are dogs and Spreckles acted like it was just another Tuesday.


    My brother is in town for a while. It’s really great to have him around. It struck me, as we were all in the car driving to lunch, with me sitting behind my mom and my brother sitting behind my dad that this is just like we were little again. There we were, the original family unit. I almost wanted to start complaining that my brother was crossing the line and breathing in my space. But he wasn’t. He was being big and lovable and I wanted to give him a hug.


    Speaking of hugs, right after I left the desert, my mom got really sick (stomach issues) and she had to go to the hospital. I should have lead with that information but I think she is going to be okay so I don’t want to make too big of a deal of it. She’s been in the hospital for a few days while they do every test in the book to see what is wrong with her. She has really good health insurance and good caring doctors so I am pretty confident they will figure out what is wrong and fix her. But of course I am worried. I think today we will find out what is wrong. Prayers are appreciated. And hugs and flowers if you are in her neighborhood. I will try to keep you posted.

    Edited to add: Mom is better! She is coming home Sunday (11/10/19). Yay!



    In other news, Bug has asked for a trip to Eureka to visit her dad’s side of the family for her birthday. What a fun and interesting thing to plan instead of the usual over-the-top birthday party! (I wish I could say it will cost less but I think it will be about the same if not more.) So far I’ve booked our flights and hotel room. So exciting!


Secret Agent Josephine
Creative Agency
© Brenda Ponnay