Priceless Memories

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, then it comes as no surprise to you that I LOVE CHRISTMAS.

The holidays just fill me with happiness and cheer.

I once fell in love with a man over the Christmas holiday season and although the relationship didn’t last, that feeling of awe and good will lingers.

I took my Christmas card pictures in May.

I ordered my cards in September.

I purchased all my gifts in October and November.

And now everything is wrapped and I am READY TO CELEBRATE.

Bring on VACATION!

My favorite thing is to watch the holiday decorations get set up at my parent’s house.

One decoration that never ceases to amaze me is my mom’s Mr. Christmas Santa’s Grand Marching Band.

Five little Santas holding two brass bells each strike their bells in time to make Christmas music.

It’s just beautiful.

The entire unit plays 25 Christmas carols from Silent Night to Silver Bells.

I bought this musical toy for my mom in Capitola at a gift shop while out with my Christmas boyfriend in 2009.

We were strolling through shops, just looking at things when the Grand Marching Band caught my eye.

You can hang it on your Christmas tree OR set it up on a table or mantle.

It’s very versatile.

Sadly, my mom has stored the Grand Marching Band in a location that we can’t seem to find and so last Christmas I didn’t get to hear Santa’s little bells ring.

This year I am determined to find it or else replace it with a new one.

However, Santa’s Grand Marching Band has become somewhat of a collector’s item which means if I don’t locate my mom’s, I’ll have to buy one from $150 – $300.

You can imagine I’m going to search FAR AND WIDE for the one we’ve misplaced.

But if I don’t find it, I love it enough to not be too heartbroken to have to pay to replace it.

Mr. Christmas Santa’s Grand Marching Band – $150

Christmas memories with chiming bells – PRICELESS

 

The Swedish Invasion

The Swede still MIGHT be coming to California for the holiday break.

He’ll be bringing his daughter and I’ve come up with all sorts of ideas for things we can do when they are here.

There’s JUST SO MUCH GOING ON in the Bay Area.

One thing I overlooked that would actually make a fabulous day trip is Yosemite Valley.

It’s open in the winter, barring any sudden winter storms, and I think they’d love to see the waterfalls, mountains, and wildlife there.

All for a $35 vehicle pass.

I put together a wine trail in Sonoma/Napa that features ALL SWEDISH WINERIES, which I think The Swede would like (but his daughter might find terribly boring).

There’s also a wine trail in my neck of the woods, along Pierce Road in Saratoga/Cupertino:

  • Mountain Winery
  • Kathryn Kennedy Winery
  • Sarahills Vineyards
  • House Family Vineyards
  • Ridge Vineyards
  • Savannah-Chanelle Winery

I think one day of wine tasting will be quite sufficient so The Swede will have to choose his favorite (my guess is he’ll want to try the Swedish wineries).

In order to make his daughter happy and not bored with us wine-tasting adults, I also looked into some sporting events we could attend.

The San Jose Sharks are playing the Anaheim Ducks and the Golden State Warriors are playing the Portland Trailblazers.

Who knows if Swedes like basketball, but they DO LIKE THEIR HOCKEY.

There’s TONS of stuff to get up to in the city and one event I found which would be titillating is “A Very Misfit Cabaret Holiday Special” – part musical theater, part burlesque show.

Kid appropriate?

Maybe, maybe not.

Judging from The Swede’s candy bowl in his living room, I know he’s a big fan of candy so CANDYTOPIA might be a good place to visit in the city, with stops at The Buena Vista Café for hot Irish Coffee, a ride on a cable car, and perhaps even a trip to Alcatraz to top off a day of activities.

There’s also a lovely preserve called Point Lobos, and on the trip down there to go for a hike we could hit all my favorite places – Vivolo’s Chowder House, Phil’s Fish Market, Lover’s Point, and maybe even take in a little whale watching.

I’ve literally got 4 pages FILLED with ideas for what we can do when The Swedish Invasion happens and if you want, check out CALIFORNIA.

 

P.S.  I did find naked yoga for couples, but I’m GUESSING The Swede will not be into that. . .

All is not lost

Wanna know how the love life is going?

It’s not.

I’m firmly stuck in NEUTRAL, not making progress forward (nor backwards) on any relationship.

I got an email the other day through MeetUp.

A man introduced himself to me and basically sent me an entire paragraph about himself without using ANY PUNCTUATION WHATSOEVER.

I couldn’t bring myself to read it in its entirety.

It was one long RUN ON SENTENCE and we all know I tend to be a grammar snob.

So needless to say, I didn’t reply to his email.

And what is he doing using MeetUp as a dating app?

My profile on MeetUp says I’m interested in doing things with people because my friends are all coupled up and I’m always the third wheel when we go out.

Sometimes I get tired of being the third wheel.

Sometimes I just want to hang out with other single people who, like myself, want to be social but without being the odd man out.

I got a message from another man looking for a “sweet mature cuddling experience” which is something I’m ABSOLUTELY NOT OKAY WITH.

Sorry to say I need to already have an affection for the people I cuddle with.

No strangers allowed.

It freaks me out, the idea of a stranger snuggling up to me.

Smelling my hair.

Curling his body into mine.

No thanks.

Of course The Swede is still in the picture.

I’d snuggle with him anytime.

He’s the closest I’ve come in the past 5 years to having a love interest.

I feel lucky to have struck up an international friendship with him.

So all is not lost.

It’s just stuck in Sweden.

 

Heroes and heroines

I was having a particularly troublesome day not long ago and I criticized myself.

“You are not even the heroine of your own story.”

Who isn’t the hero/heroine of their own story, I ask you?

Yes, this was unnecessarily harsh and I’ve forgiven myself for saying it, but it does make me think of something else.

If I was going to be played by someone in a movie, who would it be and why?

What Hollywood actress would play me?

Oh, I’d like to say Angelina Jolie or Amal Clooney, but the reality is I’m not that classy and stylish.

I’m earthy.

And funny.

Which is why despite considering Amy Schumer and Rebel Wilson I’ve decided upon Renee Zellweger.

I decided on the beautiful Ms. Zellweger specifically because she played Bridget Jones and I totally relate to that character.

More so than any other character I’ve seen on the big screen, Bridget Jones really comes close to who I am as a person.

Funny, but many times unintentionally so.

On the cusp of happiness, but just can’t seem to close the deal.

Always finding herself in situations where she has to act poised while having a meltdown internally.

Yup, that’s me.

The good news is that according to Helen Fielding, the author of Bridget Jones’ Diary, Bridget Jones does find happiness.

So I’m ever so optimistic about my future.

You should be too.

Who would play you in a movie version of your life?

More QUILTS!

Oh dear.

I’ve gone a little bonkers and bought myself eleven quilt patterns.

No worries, they were about $3 each, so I didn’t break the bank.

They were instant downloads though so I immediately got to look at the directions and plan out my quilts.

First things first, even though Good Fortune won the poll for my upcoming quilt, I’ve decided to go with Birdpond.

Why?

Because there’s not a smidge of pink in Good Fortune and I’m making this quilt for Barbara who LOVES pink.

Also, I think the pattern just makes more sense with the swatches from Birdpond.

And once I see something I can’t unsee it.

Sure, I could make the quilt with Good Fortune but I’d forever be lamenting that there was no pink in it.

I find it rather appropriate that the fabric collection is titled “Birdpond” and the main fabric I am using has hummingbirds on it.

Serendipity!

So it’s settled.

Barbara’s quilt will be made with Birdpond.

Don’t fret about Good Fortune, though.

Ironically, I already have the fabric and I intend to make this zig zag quilt from them:

Also?

I fell in love with another quilt, one made with batik fabrics the color of the rainbow.

I love it so much I needed to get the pattern.

All the fabric costs $75 on Amazon, so it’s a relatively inexpensive quilt as far as ingredients go.

I’ve decided if The Swede and his daughter don’t come to California this holiday break, I will spend my time quilting and binge watching old episodes of NCIS.

Pajamas all day.

Here’s hoping I don’t actually get a single stitch completed on my quilting projects.

I’d rather be with my Swedes.

 

Anyone for LUTEFISK?

Ok.

Have you heard of lutefisk?

It’s a traditional dish of some Nordic countries.

It is made from aged whitefish and lye.

Yes LYE.

It is gelatinous in texture and I’ve heard that it’s an ACQUIRED taste.

No shit!

Well, the Sons of Norway lodge near me is hosting their annual Lutefisk and Meatball dinner on November 30th.

I really want to go and see just what all the fuss is about.

This is a two-day event with three seatings a day.

How could there POSSIBLY be that many people who eat lutefisk???

We’re in California, not Scandinavia.

The problem is, I ALREADY told Barbara what lutefisk is, so I don’t think she’d be interested in going.

And I simply can’t think of anyone else who might be adventurous enough to try lutefisk with me.

Personally, I plan on smelling it and perhaps touching a little of the fish jelly to my tongue.

Somehow eating lye just doesn’t sound that good.

I’m sure a lot of these popular retro foods exist because when people were poor and lacked refrigeration, this was a way to preserve their food.

Not ideal, but certainly a necessity.

So I’m curious to SAMPLE it.

Anyone want to try lutefisk with me?

Bring on The Swedes!

The Swede MIGHT come to California with his daughter after Christmas.

I have decided that I’m going to be positive about the trip and just assume it’s going to happen.

Although we all know that Burning Man AND Vegas fell through.

But no matter, the important thing is that he’s interested in coming and is going to try to make it happen.

If you recall, I spent last year sweating my ass off in the land of the Midnight Sun.

Or is that ALASKA?

No matter.

I spent a week in Sweden during the holidays last year and all I can say is that I LOVED it.

I especially loved curling up in bed with The Swede at night.

I’ve decided, if they come, that I’m going to host a RACLETTE DINNER on New Year’s Eve.

No, it’s not a tradition.

But hot, melted cheese poured over charcuterie, potatoes, and pickled things sounds like a PERFECT way to celebrate their visit and the New Year.

I also think I will need to take them to San Francisco.

Not that I know what to do in the city, but I imagine Ghiradelli Square, riding a cable car, and Pier 39 are three MUST VISIT places to go.

My personal favorite outing has got to be Monterey, though.

Nothing like a hike and a picnic at Point Lobos “catered” by Gayle’s Bakery to really get the flavor of Monterey County.

Of course, there’s also my Swedish trip through Napa and Sonoma, visiting all the Swedish wineries that are in the area.

The only problem I see is that I have no idea what a hockey-loving, 16 year old Swedish girl would enjoy doing.

Perhaps I’ll ask her.

I think she might like to watch a San Jose Sharks hockey game (she’s a goalie back home in Sweden).

Or maybe catch a baseball game?

There’s tons to do though, and I’ve got all the time in the world to plan.

Bring on The Swedes!

 

Stubborn or cheap?

I bought a metric SHIT TON of booze for Burning Man this past year.

Handles upon handles of gin, vodka, rum, and tequila.

I also bought THE CHEAPEST booze you could buy.

Nothing over $10 per 1.75 liter bottle.

And plastic bottles, please.

None of this fancy, schmancy pudding pants glass stuff.

[Actually, this is perfect on playa because plastic = no broken bottle]

The thing is, Tejas and I BARELY made a dent in our booze supply.

Oh, we (and when I say we, what I really mean is he) certainly drank more than our fair share of mead, I mean booze.

But we just didn’t drink OUR SUPPLY of booze.

Truthfully, what we really should have done is started giving it out to participants AS SOON AS WE ARRIVED ON PLAYA.

I would need 20 livers to process that much booze!

All this is to say that I am now paying the price.

I REFUSE to buy more booze while I still have the cheap stuff taking up space in my wet bar.

So I’m forcing myself to drink it.

And honestly?

It’s not that good.

Definitely for MIXED drinks, not martinis.

So my question is, am I just too stubborn or am I just cheap?

F*cking Swedish Meatballs

Today, as I chatted with my friend Michelle, I realized that I’m doing things specifically to please The Swede.

I bought him a Man Crate for Christmas.

He has to open it with a crowbar.

I picked out a cool shirt for his daughter.

I’m joining a lodge for the Daughters of Norway.

I’m even learning Swedish.

Slowly.

Eventually I’ll be able to say, “Jag kan prata lite Svenska” and actually mean it.

The truth is I like to do things, and learning about my Nordic heritage is just one more worthy activity to occupy my time and keep me engaged.

My only reservation about it is that it is lacking in ethnic diversity.

Oh, sure there are all different age groups represented, though it does tend to skew toward older women but I’ve learned that there are acres of wisdom in older generations.

And how else will I learn how to cook those awesome little Swedish meatballs without someone showing me?!

I got a recipe for FRUIT SOUP during my first lodge meeting.

And it is NOTHING like sangria, which is MY version of fruit soup.

These are the things I need to know.

Yes, so I can impress a man.

He should already be impressed but just in case he isn’t I am pulling out all the stops.

I might not be able to speak the language as well as The Swede speaks English, but at some point I will be able to cook him a Swedish meatball.

I’m obsessed with fucking Swedish meatballs.

😉

 

 

 

Beer whore

Going to karaoke did not turn out as planned.

I bombed on stage, got tired, and left early.

This time I’m trying something different.

This time I’m going to Game Night at the Hofbrau.

That’s right. . . tasty beer AND games, what could be better?

Judging from the RSVP list, this event looks more “Female Friendly” because I’m not the only woman who has signed up to attend.

If you recall, I was one woman among 20 men at karaoke.

No one can accuse me of not doing my part to make new friends.

I suppose it helps to STAY AWAKE when meeting them, but damn if I’m not exhausted after a day of working.

This time around, Game Night is taking place during the Thanksgiving holiday so I should be well rested and ready to win a few rounds of Monopoly.

Or, as The Swede likes to put it, I’m ready to CHEAT at Monopoly.

Personally, I’m just hoping to get out and have a good time.

Maybe meet a few new men and women.

One thing is for sure. . . I’ll DEFINITELY get to drink some good beer.

I absolutely LOVE the selection of beer at the Hofbrau.

I’d attend any type of event held there JUST TO DRINK BEER.

Oh,who am I kidding?

I’m not going for the games.

I’m going for the beer.