We had a fun and food-filled Christmas.  My whole family came to San Diego for almost a week.  Shawnee’s dad, grandfather and his wife also joined us. Some pictures are below.

Shawnee was a cooking machine.  We had a full Xmas dinner, butternut squash mac and cheese, a full brunch, and many other really great meals.  We’re planning on having a food detox this week.

But the true star of the holidays was Sophie.  She was a hit with the family.  People were lining up to take her for walks, and she got the biggest stocking on Christmas day.  I can only imagine what it will be like if we have kids.


Amarillo Visit

img_5171I went home to see my mom for her Birthday just before Christmas.  We had a blast getting pedicures (Thanks Ray!), visiting with my friend Ryan and his adorable son, playing dominoes with Ma Ma, and having cake at Aunt Jo’s.

Every time I go home to Texas, I have at least one “Everything is bigger in Texas” moment.  The moment came on this trip while we were looking at Christmas lights.  There were several that covered every inch of the house with lights National Lampoons style, there was a Southwest themed display, and a nativity scene with REAL people!  It was very cold out, and I just kept thinking, “baby Jesus must be freezing!”

Christmas Tree


The Merriman’s have been cutting their own Christmas trees for years, and Mike and I thought it would be fun to keep the tradition going.  We found a little tree farm about twenty minutes away.  Both of us cracked up when we were cutting down the tree and realized there was a giant fruiting orange tree about fifteen feet away (top right hand corner of photo).  Palm trees, orange trees, and pine trees–all happily living together in sunny Southern California! What a strange and wonderful place.


New Cell Phone And Some Good News

I’ve had the same Treo for over 3 years.  It’s pretty old and beat up, but it worked just fine.  I finally got a new phone yesterday.  I didn’t get a Treo, just a regular phone.

When I got my phone, the woman working at the store said, “And another good thing about your new phone is that you’ll get a lot better reception.”  Shawnee said, “I hope so.  I could barely hear when I used your phone.”

This was great news for me.  I thought I was losing my hearing because I had a hard time hearing people on the phone  (the men in my family have lousy hearing).

One other thing:  I was able to pick a new plan, because it had been so long since I renewed.  I told them that I wanted some text messages for free, because I don’t use many each month but was tired of paying 20 cents a text.  The manager’s response: “We can’t just give you something for free.  It doesn’t work like that.”  My counter: “I’m not asking you to give it away.  I’m asking for some text messages since I’ve been a customer for 9 years and my wife got 1000/month free just by asking.”

The manager turned to the Sprint guy next to him and said, “Should we give him a $60 credit, or 1000 texts a month, or both?”  What a hypocrite.

Then they charged me a $18 “activation fee”, even though activating my phone didn’t cost Sprint anything.  So I guess then can charge you for nothing, but can’t give you anything for nothing.

In the Neighborhood: Part 5 or 6

I’m sure glad I carry my camera with me on morning walks.

This poor guy must have had a long night. The funny thing is that at noon, 3, or 6 he’ll still be sitting on his porch in this exact same position minus the always stylish coat over his head. I’ve often wondered if maybe I should surprise him with a stadium pal, which would totally alleviate any need to move.


‘Tis the Season–Maybe

Shawnee and I went to Holiday Nights last weekend in Balboa Park.  The museums open up for free, International Houses at the park sell food from their home country, and there is a carnival.  Thousands of people come out and they decorate the park with tons of holiday decorations.

They have an “ice skating rink”.  It was hilarious.  First, a lot of the skaters were wearing shorts.  Second, the rink was about 15×25 feet.  Third, the rink was made of plexiglass and a very thin layer of ice.  The noise created by the skaters wasn’t the “swish-swish” that you normally hear.  Instead, it sounded it like they were running on plywood, which I guess in a sense they were.

Artsy stuff

If you’re in Chicago, you should check out my friend Melissa’s show at Peter Miller gallery. She has some gorgeous prints and a giant hanging origami sculpture that makes my fingers hurt when I look at it. I think she’s been folding paper for a year straight.

I just found this neat site ran by a gallery in New York that sells prints by emerging artist for every budget. They even have a series that starts at just twenty bucks! It’s called 20 x 200, and I am definitely going to do some Christmas shopping there.