Friday, January 18, 2019

Puerto Vallarta

A week from tonight we'll drive to Spouse's sister's house near the airport to stay overnight, and then leave at the crack of dawn the next morning for Puerto Vallarta!  If you're interested in our past visits, click here.

This will be our 3rd visit to Puerto Vallarta.  Our 1st time with the Newlyweds we actually stayed just south of PV in the village of Mismaloya in a wonderful home on a mountain surrounded by the jungle and overlooking the water.  Our 2nd time we stayed in the Romantic Zone downtown in a fabulous condo in the Signature by Pinnacle condo building overlooking the water.  This was the view from our giant terrace:
We liked it so much that this time we're staying in the same building, just a different condo.  Its a very short walk to the beach, to the resort where all the pool parties will occur, and to lots of restaurants and bars.  We won't have or need a car.  Our friend Carl is coming too.  This will be his 1st time to PV.

Like last time, our visit will overlap "Beef Dip", Puerto Vallarta's bear week. We had a lot of fun joining some of the Beef Dip parties and activities last time so I'm sure the same will be true this time.

It will be wonderful to escape the cold weather at home for temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s in PV.  I anticipate lots of time spent on the beach soaking up the sun and enjoying tropical beverages.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Travelers

I recently discovered a new series on Netflix called Travelers.

The premise:  Hundreds of years in the future, the last surviving humans discover a way of sending consciousness back through time, directly into people in the 21st century, "travelers," who assume the lives of seemingly random people. They're also secretly working as teams to perform missions in order to save humanity from a terrible future. Armed only with their knowledge of history and an archive of social media profiles, the travelers who include an FBI agent, a single mother and a college student discover that 21st-century relationships are as much of a challenge as their high-stakes missions.

There are 3 seasons with 12 episodes per season.  I got so hooked on it I had to binge several episodes.  One Thurs when I was off work and had no specific errands to run or things to accomplish, I started watching at 9am and didn't stop until 12midnight, with a few short breaks to eat, use the bathroom, and take the dogs out!  Its THAT good!

If you liked Sense8, Altered Carbon, or Black Mirror, you'll probably like Travelers too.  If you're looking for a new series, I highly recommend it.  If you watch it or have already watched it, let me know your thoughts.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Holiday highlights, the finale

Spouse & I remarked to each other that this was probably 1 of the best holiday seasons we can remember.  We never felt stressed, and everything just seemed to fall into place.

We got our tree up, our interior decorating done, and our exterior lighting all done before our tree trimming party.  (That has not always been the case.)  Our tree trimming party was fun, as always.  We attended the town Christmas parade which wasn't rained out as it has been in some recent years.  While our holiday shopping got off to a slow start, all ordered items arrived on time so I could wrap them without feeling rushed.  I got to attend the town's Christmas home tour for the 1st time ever.  I spent the good part of a day baking cakes, brownies, and breakfast casseroles to take with us.  We enjoyed our annual pizza and hippie roll luncheon with our dear friends Kerry, Hugh, Kelly, Carl, Lisa, Alex, Kim, and Danny.  We had dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant followed by cookies at the home of our old buddies Ron & James, along with Mike & Clark.  We had a lovely visit/lunch with my cousin Nez and her husband Steve.  We saw most of the family on Christmas eve and/or Christmas day.  Once we returned home we debriefed with our friends Steven & Thad over dinner.  We went to a lovely post-Christmas party at Marty & John's home. We did a lot, saw a lot, and ate a lot; pretty much the perfect holiday season!

Here are a few photos of some of our special/unusual tree ornaments:
Purchased in Palm Springs Oct 2018

1 of 2 clear snowflakes purchased at the Dollar store several years ago, and a Paris ornament from 2003

Large, silver snowflake from Joey & Glenn

Lenox sleigh from my friend Dawn
Eiffel Tower purchased in Paris Dec 2003

Translucent chicken from our friend Megan 15+ years ago, Lenox bear from Dawn, and clear rainbow swirl ball from Calvin

Another clear rainbow swirl ball from Calvin, and Chihuahua from Dawn

Blue glass ball with white swirl from Calvin
 Here are some of our interior holiday decorations:
Although not visible in this photo, the snow-covered trees have glitter on them and were found inside our very 1st home together in 1996.  I adore them and suspect they're pretty old.

The reindeer were from my cousin Nez, the snowman was from our friend Clara.  The old school ceramic tree is actually not old; we bought it at the QVC clearance store about 5 years ago.
Red truck pillows purchased about 3 years ago

Red truck floor mat purchased this fall

Red truck wall hanging purchased 2 years ago

Without any knowledge of our red truck decor Spouse's sister gave us this red truck cookie jar which coordinates perfectly
 And last but not least...
Marvin & Walter in their Christmas bow ties on Daddy's lap on Christmas day
I hope all of you had a great holiday season.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Holiday highlights part 3

I was delighted that our niece's daughters didn't wake up super early on Christmas morning.  We actually got to sleep until 8:30.  I slid the 2 breakfast casseroles I'd made in advance into the oven so they could heat up while we opened gifts.


After the gifts we had the breakfast casseroles which were a big hit!  Here's how I made them:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Empty a 2 lb bag of tater tots into a greased baking dish
  2. Cut fully cooked sausage links into bite size pieces and toss pieces in a bowl with real maple syrup so that all pieces are covered.
  3. Spread syrup coated sausage pieces over tater tots
  4. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese, as much as you want
  5. Mix 18 extra large eggs, 1 cup half-n-half, salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder in a bowl until fully blended.  Pour over contents of baking dish.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
Later that day Louis & Karen and my aunt Mary came over to visit.
Around 4:00 we had Christmas dinner.  Spouse's sister made most of the food in advance which really made it nice for her on Christmas day.  She made chicken parmesian, eggplant parmesian, gnocchi, ziti, meatballs, Italian sausage, and stuffed shells!  It was an Italian smorgasbord!!  For dessert we had aunt Mary's hummingbird cake and assorted cookies, brownies, bark, cakes, and chocolates.

For the 3rd year in a row, our nephews made a short film for the family.  The 1st one was a spoof on the MTV show 'Made', the 2nd one was a spoof on a product infomercial, and this year's film was a spoof on the TV show 'Bar Rescue'.  We watched all 3 films in a row, and there was no shortage of laughter.  Then we all just hung out and enjoyed being together, including some silliness.





 With no nap that day, Marvin & Walter were exhausted and climbed up into my lap for a nap.

It was a very nice holiday!  We went home the next day.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Holiday highlights part 2

On my the 24th Spouse & I made our annual trek about an hour west to my cousin's house.  Inez (Nez) and I are less than a year apart in age and have always been close.  She and her husband Steve live in a 200+ year old stone house which is the perfect Christmas house.  They always decorate it so nicely for Christmas and its just so incredibly cozy to sit with them in their kitchen/keeping room with a fire going in the giant stone fireplace.  Nez made shrimp chowder and Steve grilled steaks for lunch, which were delicious.  I brought an experimental cake for dessert but unfortunately the experiment was a flop, which gave us all a laugh.  We talked and laughed and just really enjoyed spending time together.  Unfortunately I neglected to take any photos of this visit, which is probably evidence of how present and in-the-moment I was.  This annual visit is another highlight of the Christmas season for me.

When we returned to Spouse's sister's house abound 4:30, Spouse's brother Paul and 1 of his daughters Evelyn were already there.  We had a nice visit with them while Spouse's sister and her husband and adult kids were at church.  Once they returned home Spouse's other brother Louis and his wife Karen arrived and we had a casual Christmas eve meal.  12/24 is also Spouse's mother's birthday, and although she's no longer with us, we still thought of her on her birthday in a happy way.  She was a unique, delightful woman who inspired lots and lots of funny stories and remembrances. I only took a couple photos that night.  Here's one of our brother-in-law Eric with Marvin & Walter in their Christmas bow ties, courtesy of the lady who trims their nails:
After a long, active day Walter was tuckered out so he snuggled up on my shoulder for a nap.
Spouse's sister displayed all her nutcrackers on the mantel this year.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Holiday highlights part 1

Sun the 23rd we loaded up the car with our luggage, gifts, food, and dogs and got on the road by 8:30, right on schedule.  After unloading everything at Spouse's sister's house, our 2 nephews joined us as we met up with our friends for our annual hippie roll and pizza luncheon.  We had a wonderful lunch with Lisa, Carl, Kerry & Hugh, Kelly, Alex, and Kim & Danny and I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes more than once.  As is our custom, we took a group photo:
One of the things that had me laughing so hard were the 'mini hands'.  Or as I called them, 'Trump hands'.  Kim brought these little plastic hands that fit on the end of your finger, which were simultaneously hilarious and creepy.  We kept finding different ways to position them for comedic effect.

I've lost count of how many years we've been doing this, but its certainly a highlight of the Christmas season for me.  And the owners of the restaurant couldn't be nicer to our wacky group.

Afterward we hung out at the house with the family for a couple hours, then met up with our old friends Ron & James and Mike & Clark at our favorite Mexican restaurant Cantina Mexicana, also known as The Taco House.  Unfortunately I neglected to take any photos of our gathering. We've known them for over 20 years and we're all very happy we've maintained our friendship despite Spouse & me moving away 12 years ago.  The 4 of them have visited us many times at home, and we were happy we all had an opportunity to meet up for dinner.  We were also overjoyed to see the Taco House owners Juan & Gloria too!  As we were looking at the margarita menu we noticed a small typo.  One of the choices was a "Caddillac" margarita. We speculated about what it was made of. Someone suggested it was made with top shelf tequila, so I joked that the top shelf liquor made it special and was responsible for the extra "d" in "Caddilac".  Then I said "Who doesn't like some extra D???" and we all had a good laugh!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Doctor

Several months ago Spouse & I received a letter from our doctor's group practice informing us that our doctor had left the practice to work at the VA hospital.  We were instructed to call and make an appointment to be transferred to the new (female) doctor taking his place.

I was rather disappointed in this news.  Although I don't go to the doctor a lot, I really liked my doctor and felt comfortable with him, especially when it came to 'male things'.

Spouse mentioned this to his personal trainer who suggested a doctor in a nearby town that was very nice, so Spouse called and made an appointment.  He really liked the new doctor and thought I would too, so I made an appointment in January.  I'm hopeful that I will feel as comfortable with my new doctor as I did with my previous one.



Tuesday, January 01, 2019