December 2008

I stole this from Flat Coke & Flies’ blog, because I thought it’s a nice way to think back about the past year.

1) Where did you begin 2008? at Mr. W’s house; I was shocked he wanted to stay up and celebrate New Year’s Eve for once, and then he explained that it’s got new meaning because we were now engaged.
2) What was your status by Valentine’s Day? 7 months engaged.
3) How did you earn your money? playing Bejeweled, mostly.
4) Did you have to go to the hospital? just for check-ups.
5) Did you have any encounters with the police? *sideglance*
6) Where did you go on holiday/travel? NorCal for a friend’s wedding; Vegas for a few visits of Mr. W’s family and his niece’s wedding. I think that’s it. 2008 was about saving up for the wedding.
7) What did you purchase that was over $1000? we wrote lots of $1K+ checks for stuff, but the only PURCHASE was this house.
8) Did you know anybody who got married? me (which Flat Coke seems to have forgotten about), Mr. W, my college buddy Jimmy, another college friend “Little Dave”, Mr. W’s niece Jenni, my cousin Diana, an acquaintance (college roommie Diana’s close friend) Sabrina, my cousins’ cousin Wydd. I have 2, POSSIBLY 3 more in 2009 to attend, too. *shrug* We’re at that age.
9) Know anyone that passed away? no one I know personally.
10) Did you move anywhere? Yes. Mr. W and I moved into our new house in August.
11) What concerts/shows did you go to? we hit up some local shows in Vegas with Mr. W’s gamer bro.
12) Are you registered to vote? APPARENT-FRICKEN-LY NAWT. *fume*
13) Where do you live now? near the Lake in the OC.
14) Describe your birthday. pretty quiet and low-key. The day itself was spent running errands in preparation for the wedding. Mr. W took me and his kids out for a joint bday dinner (his son’s bday is 2 days before mine) at an upscale steakhouse the day before my actual bday.
15) What’s one thing you thought you wouldn’t do but did in 2008? almost die of exposure, exhaustion and dehydration with Jordan in the middle of a lake on a pedalboat.
16) What has been your favorite moments? hanging with the NorCal friends when I visited for Jimmy’s wedding, staying up late and chatting with college roommie Diana like we used to 10 years prior; having just about everyone I could possibly want in 1 place with me on August 31; spa day with a sinful lunch and dinner with the girls for my bridal shower organized by MOH Vicky and bridesmaid Diana; Dodo’s cone coming off after 6 years; the process of earning my bartending certification; dancing with my new husband at my cousin Diana’s wedding; realizing last week that EVERY NIGHT is date night living with Mr. W; goofing off with Jordan running amock in Long Beach; my first mani/pedi courtesy Jordanabanana; finding Mr. Englyng and hanging out with him, his wife and Dwaine in Mr. Englyng’s backyard all night; packing with Vicky’s help and finding a planner from high school that totally insulted her; I could go on…
17) What’s something you learned about yourself? I *really* don’t wanna open that can of worms on this post.
18) Any new additions to your family? oh my gosh. Mr. W, his parents, his 4 brothers (one of whom I’ve still not met) and their respective families, my cousin Diana’s new husband Doug, and I acquired my godson this summer.
19) What was your best month? prolly August, my skinniest month.
20) What music will you remember 2008 by? Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be,” “Fascination,” “The Prince of Denmark’s March,” Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This,” Celine Dion’s “I’m Alive,” (specifically, Mr. W’s daughter’s versions of the last 2, which I enjoy more than the original singers’) Kardinal Offishaw/Akon’s “Dangerous” (because of Jordan’s slideshow of us playing)
21) Who has been your best drinking buddy? Gym Trainee, during our bartending “homework assignments.”
22) Made new friends? surprisingly, yeah. I’m also surprised how MUCH I like these girls.
23) Favorite night out? wow, um. there were so many. the nites alone with a days-old new husband drinking wine on the sand, staring out at the lake come to mind.

Right now, my college roommie Diana is vacationing in Australia, where it’s apparently daytime, cuz she sent me this not long ago from her cameraphone:

I am extremely jealous, as she appears to be doing what Dwaine and I have only dreamt of doing long before. I don’t know whether Mr. W was trying to make me feel better or just being a poo-poo head when I showed him the cameraphone picture and he said, “Pssh, she’s probably visiting a zoo.”

Meanwhile, in my life right now, I am hosting my first stepmother duty event: Mr. W’s daughter’s 18th birthday shindig at our house. We ordered food from the Newport Rib Company, got a giant chocolate coma-inducing cake from Costco, decorated the back yard into a winter wonderland, and let the teenagers entertain themselves. Right now, we handed out hot chocolate, lit a fire, got the music going on our outdoor speakers, and they’re cozy and content.

Here they are again from the opposite perspective.

The great thing about chilly weather is that outdoor fires become a very nice thing. This is the first time we’re lighting up our outdoor firepit, and earlier in the week, we lit our living room fireplace for the first time, too. Even Dodo has been permitted to cozy up to us on the bed. Not a flattering photo of me right before bed a few days ago, but it’s a great one of Dodo.

Tonight, I expect to go to bed to the same thing. A sleeping fuzzy boy in each corner of the bed, with a space in the middle just for me.

Did I tell you guys that when Jordan was laying out yesterday in 80-degree sun in Florida, Mr. W had to scrape ice off our windshield with a spatula so that we could see enough to get us through the drive to work in Sunny Southern California?

Mr. W’s kidlets left some time ago to attend Round 2 of Christmas with their mother’s side of the family. I guess it doesn’t hurt for them to get used to all the traveling for when they’re married and have the spouse’s family to add to the partyhopping. Having made myself a 4-shot Screaming Orgasm drink over ice (Bailey’s, Kahlua, vodka, Amaretto), I got sleepy and went to take a cat nap with Dodo in the bedroom. He’s so warm to snuggle my face into during the winter. I woke up and came downstairs to this:

There’s nothing like father-son bonding over fishing together…on the Wii.

As I type this they’re playing House of the Dead 3. Shooting zombies together just like in the good ol’ days right before Santa’s reindeer trot their way onto our roof as the aroma of gingerbread wafts through the air.
What’s Christmas without hearing in the background: “Reload. Re-re-reload.” “What’re you shootin’ at them heads for?” “Cuz that’s the weak point.” “They’re comin at us from all areas, too!” “Re-re-reload.” “Oh my God, the shotguns!” “He’s not feeling them, though.” “Ahh! He got me!”

Since Thanksgiving when we were in Vegas visiting Mr. W’s family, “the brothers” were working on a Christmas Scam to pull on their parents. It started with Gamer Bro asking Mr. W, “Hey, you wanna pitch in and get Mom and Dad a Wii for Christmas?” I wondered aloud if they’d ever play it. Gamer Bro said that his parents have said that they want one, and that a lot of “old folks homes” have them in their recreation room for fun and exercise. Gamer Bro got their Rocker Bro involved, and then said they were going to call their Chicago Bro to join in, too. After the four brothers all gave the thumbs-up, their parents decided to come to us for Christmas. Mr. W called Gamer Bro and asked if we should just buy the Wii here and give it to their parents, but Gamer Bro already bought it, so it’s in Vegas. How to get it to their parents for Christmas?

Gamer Bro boxed up the Wii and the extra accessories he got, wrapped it up, and put a tag on it that made it look like it was a gift to Mr. W from Gamer Bro. And then he got THE PARENTS to transport it themselves! The parents asked what the present was, and Gamer Bro lied, “I got him an XBox Live access card. It’s the size of a credit card but I put wood blocks and bricks in a box to throw him off.” So when the parents got here, they said to Mr. W, “This is for you from [Gamer Bro.] Isn’t it HEAVY?” Mr. W wondered aloud what it was. They kept making a point of, “It’s heavy! Be careful, it’s HEAVY.”

Just now on Christmas morning, Mr. W sat his parents down, put the box in front of them, and said he was gonna open his present. Mr. W’s father warned him again that it’s heavy. Suddenly, Mr. W ripped the tag off and explained that it’s ACTUALLY to THEM from their four sons and their families. I snapped photos of their shocked expressions as they learned they were duped, having lugged and driven their own present here from Vegas. They seemed happy with the Wii, and Mr. W’s mother warned her husband, “I’m gonna be hitting you playing this.” The father’s phone call to Gamer Bro after opening was a simple voice mail, “Hey, thanks for the Wii, you con.”

Tonite for dinner, Mr. W’s mother made meatloaf, I made (by special request) onion mushroom soup with seasoned cheddar French bread toast, Mr. W threw some veggies into the nukebox, I spun up some cocktails (Chambord Manhattans for Mr. W and his mother, Bloody Mary for Mr. W’s father), and we had a nice homemade dinner listening to Dean Martin and Brian McKnight crooning Christmas songs. Now, the fireplace is lit with some organic coffee log crackling, and we’re hanging out in the living room. Dodo’s curled up napping on our bed. Life’s pretty sweet. Here’s our front yard, in a crappy cameraphone pic:

Mr. W’s about to show his parents his fobby side by making loose-leaf tea the old-fashioned Chinese way with all his special tea utensils and precious tea service sets. “What the HECK is that?!” I just heard my father-in-law exclaim. Haha!

We weren’t gonna do Christmas this year, mostly cuz we’re just feeling lazy. Christmas seems to be more about the kids anyway, and since Mr. W’s kids aren’t with us and Dodo doesn’t seem to care one way or the other, we decided to skip it. But then there was always the “Well, this IS our first Christmas as a married couple, we ought start SOME tradition” guilt hanging over us.

And then, Mr. W’s parents decided to drive aaaaall the way out from Vegas (where it SNOWED last week! we saw photos!) and then the decision was made to have Christmas at our house. Up went the Christmas lights and lawn decorations and pine mantlepiece and garlands wrapped around the stairway railings.

My mom sorely disappointed me this year. They were invited but she immediately had a ton of excuses why she (meaning her, my dad, and her mother) can’t make it. It was so ungraceful and left me in the awkward position of having to explain to my new in-laws why my parents and grandmother won’t be joining us, while I could not think of any reason that wouldn’t make them look bad. So the in-laws arrived yesterday, did indeed ask about my parents, and I chose the least offensive reason my mother gave me.
In-laws: When’re your parents coming?
Me: Oh…they’re not coming.
In-laws: They’re not? [Mr. W] told us they were invited.
Me: They were…but they think we live in Egypt.

The in-laws chuckled and nicely left it alone. If it were MY mom in their place, she would’ve said, “We drove all the way from VEGAS and she thinks driving from your home town is too far for one day, even though you guys drive out there EVERY WEEKEND to see them?!” But luckily we only have one of those kind of moms in this marriage. =P

Okay, enough talking crap about my bloodline. We’re gonna have a nice few days together, just me in a house of white people. Including Mr. W’s daughter’s 18th birthday party on Sunday at our house, just her and her closest 7 friends for a winter-themed semi-formal dinner, games, and firepit fun. We’re having it catered by the Newport Rib Company and I know there’ll be good music because she sat with me for a couple of hours last nite picking out 90s R&B, which I grew up with. I’ve always thought it was the best decade of music, but wasn’t sure if I was falling into the ol’ stereotypical, “All this crap you kids listen to these days is just noise! Now music in MY day…”

The mountains around us are white with snow;
Surrounded by furry bodies and flannel sheets,
the tapping of rain lulls me to sleep.

Two nights ago, I spent a couple of hours watching the season finale of The Biggest Loser. I hadn’t seen any of the other episodes this season, but that show always inspires me to work out. To watch these people push themselves at the gym with fitness trainers yelling at them to suck it up and give them 5 more, and the triumphant weigh-ins as their lifestyle changes begin to remold these morbidly obese bodies…makes me feel guilty that I’m sitting on my butt popping Junior Mints after not seeing the inside of a gym for weeks. That night I dreamt I jogged to work, jogged at lunch, and was surprisingly not winded.

Last night, I spent the evening watching the Victoria’s Secret 2008 Fashion Show. I LOVE the below segment, the Ballet de Fleurs, which has great music and my favorite wings of this year’s show: a gorgeous pair of butterfly wings with an assortment of floating life-size butterflies around the model’s big wings (1min30secs into this video). I also love that these models were allowed to show off their angelic smiles, and not just strut around smoldering. And they DO strut…I couldn’t strut so hard my hair’s bouncing like theirs without everything else on me jiggling, too. Blech. Mr. W was shockingly disinterested in watching supermodels strut for an hour in lingerie. He said he doesn’t understand fashion shows because who in their right minds would wear crazy concoctions like giant feathered gold wings on the street? I had to explain that they are exhibiting their 2008 lingerie collection and the decor is just eye candy interest, like when you order a simple vegetable at a French restaurant and it comes out on a plate decked out in swirls and whorls of sauce and shaved truffle and decorative hand-carved carrots in the shape of a rose. You’re still just eating that vegetable in the plate, but the presentation adds a lot. I’m sure model after model in just lingerie would start to look the same after awhile, too. Nevertheless, Mr. W’s attention was unbroken from his computer while I called out name after name of stars the camera panned to in the audience of the fashion show. You’d think he was watching porn or something. What could be more interesting than half-nekkid strutting? Here, see for yourself.

So anyway, I was again inspired to hit the gym. I should watch this video daily for motivation. So I can hit the New Year on a running start, instead of just starting out New Year’s Day on a diet resolution like everyone else. It takes awhile to get going so I’m gonna start early, hit the ground running.

It is POURING right now. The streets are flooded, up to 4-5 inches deep along the edges of the roads. The gutters and storm drain systems are unable to handle this amount of water. On the way to work splish splashing other cars next to us, Mr. W griped about how California (unlike his hometown of Chicago) has no clue how to equip itself for any type of weather except sunny days. I shrugged. Why spend billions establishing a system for something that only happens 15 days of the year? Hopping over the flowing wide rivers trying to get to the building from the parking structure, it did feel a lot like UCLA finals weeks (when it seems to ALWAYS be pouring).

Here are some memories of sunnier days, taken from a walk Mr. W and I took around our neighborhood just last month.
The afternoon before our walk:

The Lake:

Mr. W, taking a break on the path:

While Jordan and I were pedaling our heinies off on the 2-person pedalboat the day before the wedding, we came across one lakeside mansion that Jordan claimed to be hers. She took a bunch of photos of it, and then suggested we get close enough so that she could climb onto the property. “Drop me off! I can be in there a WEEK before they even realize I’m there!” she said. This is the front entrance of that property. The backside is the Lake.

(as always, rest mouse pointer over photos for captions)

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