Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Jim's 50th birthday

Jim crossed the half-century mark on Saturday, and Lisa planned a surprise party to celebrate. At one point, we weren't sure where he was (Doug lost him), but then he came in from the garage and was indeed surprised.

Sandy, the gnome's previous owner, couldn't be there, so Colleen presented him to Jim. We talked about where he's been and where he'll go (the gnome, I mean).

Great conversations were had. Heavy topics covered:
• Why Colleen never answers her phone.
• Where to store extra hangers. (What if your closets are really small?)
• How smokin' hot Scott and Wendy know Jim.
• The omnipresence of sugar.
• How Dave pulled a hamstring at Jaws.

The pasta and wine were free-flowing, and we ate both of Cindy's cheese-and-grape pizzas. So good!

Thanks to Jane and Sophia for helping decorate the cupcakes. When I worried that I didn't make them a consistent size, Sophia put it in perspective: "He can deal with it."

That also sums up Jim: He can pretty much deal with anything (unless it's a missed overhead, then he gets super emotional).

Happy birthday, our well-preserved Jim Jim! Enjoy the gnome.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Happy 14th birthday, Papaya!

Today was Pops' birthday: 14 years old (or 98, in people time!).

I almost didn't post this first photo because she looks a bit frail and off balance. But sometimes she is, because she's 14 years old, for pup's sake!

As a senior, she's getting fussy: no interest in the chicken-flavored Nylabone I gave her (she used to enjoy chomping on those), and only mild attention to unwrapping her new frisbee. Gnawing and shredding things don't hold the appeal they once did.

Now, she prefers staring. Not into space, thankfully, but into your soul. And staring while we eat. My dad does give her noodles and ice cream (and today, potato chips), so her begging has paid off. This is but one photo in the cheesecake series.

I'm glad my good buddy is developing new interests. Cheers to your birthday, Pops!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pops' visit with Sandy and Jeff

Pops got the royal treatment when she stayed with Sandy and Jeff.

Sandy updated me every so often about their guest's activities:

She can catch a pasta noodle in the air with ease, she knows all the hot spots on the block for her walk, wakes me up gently peeking up by me in bed then just looking at me with that cute face saying "Mornin! Here I am! Ready for my walk and breakfast!"

Pops was mostly polite, relaxing during the Australian Open and only peeing in the house once (not counting the two times before I left). I'm so glad she received such wonderful care. And so did I — dinner together before my trip, and tea and homemade chocolate chip cookies upon my return. Thanks, my friends!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hitting backhands

I got a great tip on my backhand from Mark, the tennis pro here in Newport Beach: "Have a longer relationship with the ball." Makes sense. When I tried it, though, he said, "Don't smother it." Something to work on!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Newport Beach 2014: Tuesdays with Julie

During last year's annual visit, Julie and I vowed to keep in touch more than once a year.

Either one of us could've texted, emailed, or Skyped, but we didn't.

Instead we caught up as we usually do — in person. At Tavern on 2, a gastropub in Long Beach, we talked about work over fries, mac and cheese, and fish fry.

Then it was off to La Creperie for catching up on everything that wasn't about work. It's hard to cram a year's worth of life into crepes and cappuccino, but we managed just fine. And this time, we made no promises to keep in touch. That will just give us more to talk about in 2015.

It's pretty astounding what can happen in a year. Cheers!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy 2014

A few weeks ago, we said goodbye to Pat, who's retiring in beautiful northern California. We got together to share chili and salad and cornbread, perfect food for frigid temps. And look — we barely fit in the photo, because that's how many Highlander friends Pat has.

I'm a bit jealous that she will no longer have to shovel — or de-ice, or sprinkle salt, or repeat that whole process while sweating in a parka.

But I can't complain too much, because this year started with a great tradition: New Year's Day tennis with the Highlander gang. And it continued with brunch, where we talked about tennis. After a brief rest, I went to Katy and Paul's for steak, potatoes, red wine, and cookies. And board games! I feel lucky to have enjoyed these things, all in one day.

I wish you days like this — minus the shoveling – and a happy 2014!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lucky Monday ornaments

I love handmade ornaments, and Super Sock makes adorable gingerbread men. They have great expressions (like "What the?") and some of them look like they're dancing. I was planning on giving them as gifts, but when they arrived, I couldn't resist keeping a couple for myself. They will also make good pals for Angry Gingerbread Girl — unfortunately her string fell off after she kept turning her back, so she hangs out on a plate now.

I placed another order on Saturday.

Yesterday night, I came home to a box stamped with little gingerbread men. (The fastest shipping ever!) Plus, there was a hand-written card:

We hope our gingerbreads and ornaments will bring you much joy... we made you something VERY SPECIAL (unlisted)... just for you for your loyalty and kindness. PEACE.

And yes, the something specials are also supercute. Bonus! Thank you, Super Sock. And thanks for the little pack of cookies, too! The nice surprise was a pre-Christmas miracle.