Tuesday, November 29, 2005

More Holiday Cheer

I'm trying really hard to get into the swing of things for Christmas! I think I'm getting sick again, so please say a little prayer for me--I don't want to miss another month of things with another cold!

We had a great Thanksgiving holiday--we went to Matt's Dad's house for the day and played a fun Christmas Mystery game: "Who Killed Santa Claus?" It was fun dressing up and playing the different roles and figuring out clues! Vivi worked extra hard and got all the props and even made some fake Santa legs that were laid out under some packages to complete the theme!

I'm really sad we missed seeing Matt's mom for the holiday, but at least we did get to see her recently for her birthday party. Friday we made dinner at home for my parents and we even got to do a little holiday shopping this weekend!

This week it's the dreaded leftover turkey week! I had turkey on Sunday and Monday, and turkey soup on Saturday and Tuesday! Tomorrow I think it'll be quesadillas for a change (dare I make turkey ones?)

I wanted to share a couple of fun holiday photos we took over at Fashion Island on Sunday. It was such a beautiful day there! Going there to see the 115' tree (really—that's not a typo—it's a live tree and it's really that big!) will really put you in the mood for celebrating! If you look closely into the ornament you can see our reflection. Matt is like most Californians and wearing shorts to enjoy our beautiful Southern California sunshine. I'm always cold, so you can see me wearing a long-sleeved sweater and hat to keep warm in the frigid 65* weather!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Something's up with Jack!

Well, thank you Disney for helping me get my Christmas Mojo this year!

I have been feeling pretty darn stressed and not looking forward to Christmas at all. I thought I would be super-organized this year and do everything as early as possible, but then I got that darn cold. I'm still trying to get over it completely and it's been almost five weeks! Five weeks—how could it have gone by so quickly!? A bonus is that I stopped eating refined sugar when I got sick and it has been that long since I had any candy! The longest I've ever gone in my whole life! I'm trying my hardest to hold out until Thanksgiving, so wish me luck. Every day it is a little harder to resist, since I am feeling better now!

So anyways, since I've gotten sick I haven't done anything useful and the big day is closer and closer! And I am more and more stressed and turning into a regular humbug!

Tuesday night Matt and I went to Disneyland right after work so we could see the Haunted Mansion decorated for Christmas. I really love The Nightmare Before Christmas and think Danny Elfman's soundtrack is pure genius. It is one of my favorite albums of all time (and how can you resist a skeleton disguised as Santa?) I love the whole skeleton-Christmas theme of the movie and am in love with the thought of my beloved Haunted Mansion all dressed up! I've never actually seen it before this, but this year we have season passes so we could go.

Seeing the way Disney decorates Main Street really perked up my holiday spitits. They have a huge gold-festooned tree right in the town square that is really festive. I told Matt that it was prettier than the Fashion Island tree in Newport, but he didn't agree. After all, FI flys their humongous tree in from Norway (or wherever) each year and the Disney tree is fake. So Matt does have a point and he sure won that round! Real-tree-goodness always trumps plastic in my book. I know—call me a murderer and a tree killer, but I like a real tree!

Everything looks festive right now at Disney and the Haunted Mansion was so much fun. I loved the spooky-looking herald angels they have in the snow-filled graveyard—too cool! The Mansion was great fun despite the cutsie details they added. After all it's for kids, so I won't complain about a little cuteness for the holidays! So, thanks again, Disney and especially to you, Jack Skellington. I appreciate the Christmas boost.

On a side note, my blog got tagged by Nicole ! It's a fun game some people are playing on a message board I am part of . Thanks, Nicole for visiting my blog! My challenge was to post the 11th line of the 23rd or most recent post. I've been a little stressed out and under the weather, so finally, here it is: "along the path that leads between all the different temples. As we walked ". So stop by Nicole's blog and say "hi" if you get a chance. She has two cute kitties and it's worth a visit just to see her little furry friends!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Chased Out with a Rake!

I thought I'd share another of our Japan stories to make you smile. It's hard being an obnoxious tourist in a country so different from our own I tried hard to learn some things before we went; I read etiquette books and guide books, but I guess we can't help being American buffoons wherever we go! I apologize to the Japanese people for staring at people on your trains, laughing like hyenas in public places and just being morons while we were in your beautiful, refined country!

Kyoto has many beautiful temples and is a wonderful city to visit. We especially wanted to visit Daisen-In Temple, which has a Zen rock garden that is “designated as the special scenic beauty” and is part of a large complex of temples. There are majestic pine trees and historical buildings along the path that leads between all the different temples. As we walked we were captured by the beauty of it all. We saw a temple where the main gate was closed, but some people were entering through a miniature door where you had to bend over to enter. I smiled at the charming Alice in Wonderland feeling of it all and we happily bowed as we shuffled through. Johnny’s girlfriend and Japanese guide, Manami was with us so we felt like all was well.

There was a tiny garden complete with blooming plum trees and a small cemetery off to the side. I took a photo of the tombstones and Manami was shocked that I would do something so unlucky! Oops—I didn’t know that it was unlucky and I promised not to do it again. Right after that is when disaster struck, proving her point. We strolled out of the cemetery where the other people were praying and decided to look at the serene Zen garden that was there. Daisen-In did not allow photos, so I took a photo of this garden instead. We breathed in the tranquil surroundings oblivious of our transgression.

That’s when he noticed us. The groundskeeper saw us and did not like our presence one bit. He yelled at us in Japanese and Manami tried to apologize. We decided to make a graceful exit, but it was too late. We were clustered around and trying to file through the narrow pathway that led to the miniature door. The man was coming closer and he had a rake. He was madder than hell! He shook his at us rake and shouted as he ran. We trotted faster, trying to reach the sanctuary of the exit before he got to us. He shook his rake over his head. We ran faster and scrambled to get through the door. Finally we had made it to safety. Whew!

Later that day Manami told us that she didn’t think we were supposed to go in there, but since we wanted to go she thought it would be ok. Luckily we all escaped without being “raked!”