Thanksgiving Week in Pictures

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Took the week off work – the captions (and images – tell the tale) – well, except for the Thanksgiving meals that we had on Tuesday night and Thursday since I never took my phone out for those. Assume family gatherings and turkey consumed 🙂

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Run #1 on Tuesday on the 56 trail – 5 miles – I had to snap these shot of the bottoms up duck in the pond 🙂

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Run #2 on Wednesday – also 5 miles – on the middle school track. It has been unseasonably warm and truly beautiful weather.

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Run #3 on Thanksgiving morning was the unofficial first annual Corporate Tri training group’s 5k Turkey Trot on the 56. Lots of fun!

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Really – just stunning sunsets every single night.

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Spent a few nights removing name plates from the red jerseys to prepare for the year end dinner. Seniors get those put into a shadow box display for them. The white jerseys will be draped in front of their seats as they get places of honor for their final event. I took a moment to surround myself one more time with memories of the team – and #18 was the last name plate removed.

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Decorating began for real Friday. Had to focus inside since that was our one day of intermittent rain. The star is new and I am very pleased with how elegant it looks – and it was a cheap one from the drug store Black Friday sales!

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As usual, Amber was a huge help. I had just tossed those down unloading a box – haven’t placed them where I want them yet and there she is taking ownership.

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Daytime view of the tree with, well, a LOT of ornaments. It’s a new LED pre-lit tree and the spread of the branches encouraged me to go a little nuts. Outside lights were put up Saturday with tons of help from 28. I had cleared out tons of overgrowth all day Tuesday and then more Saturday morning and we put out every working light strand. I really want some LED netting strands now. Have a few perfect shrubs for them. Might still go get those so I will hold off photos until I know it is done.

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The best part of the week though, was this morning. I FINALLY got to explore the Penasquitos Trail and see the waterfall. Ever since we moved to San Diego where we were on the eastern end of this trail I have been hearing about it. For various reasons it just never lined up that I could join the girls on their occasional runs there. The couple of times 17 and I ventured out in our hiking days to go there, it was too soon after a rain and was closed. Thankfully, the Friday rain was not THAT substantial and enough time had passed. I was due to run 12 miles today, but Eve wanted to do 13 and the lure of this trail twisted my arm to make the 2 mile leap to the complete half marathon distance. It was so great to be on a NEW trail – kept the boredom at bay – and then to feel so strong all the way and to finally see the rocky water fall and rushing stream. It is a harder trail thanks to rocks and some kick ass hills (especially on that last mile – that was brutal!!) – but totally worth it. I am 100% ready for the half now – with exactly 4 weeks to go.

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Pre-Christmas partying

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This was the week of parties.

It started out Tuesday when I took my department at work out to lunch at Pacifica Del Mar. A friend of mine recently bought into the restaurant and has turned it into a really lovely spot. Been hearing so many good reviews and was finally able to have a good excuse to wander over. Lunch was so good that I already promised them a February visit for all their birthdays. Here’s my Ahi salad – fabulous!

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Wednesday night was the first of two cookie parties. This was with the Leg Up group and even with two no shows there were PLENTY O’ COOKIES to exchange:

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Poor lighting, but you can see those chocolate truffles up at the top? Yeah….my downfall….they are AMAZING!

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Even though we had enjoyed a pretty good dinner, we still dove into the treats afterwards!

So, those truffles – I purposely took in more than half of my haul of the truffles in to work the next day. Even though we would only be there Thursday and then half a day Friday, I had to offload some of them. Because they are SO DAMN GOOD that I would have chomped them all down by myself. As it is, the half that I kept with me? There is only one left. I’ve rationed myself to one a day after eating about four on Thursday and at least that many Friday. No self control with those!

Thursday the big bosses upstairs took out the managers to another fancy spot in town called Burlap. Another relatively new spot that I’ve been wanting to check out and it was also really nice. Atmosphere is really fantastic and the food was a hit with everyone. My favorite was dessert (since I’ve clearly not had enough sugar in my life!)…an espresso/ice cream blend with whipped condensed milk concoction on top. Oh my WORD was that good!

Friday was a short day at work and I thought it would be fairly easy to slide on over to the closest mall for a couple of holiday gifts.

I left work at 12:15….and gave up at 12:45 when 20 minutes of circling resulted in no parking spots! Then I sat through ridiculous traffic just to get AWAY from the mall and over to another area off to the north. At 2pm I was finally eating lunch after having purchased ONE item on my list. I was frustrated and fearing what the weekend would bring so I vowed to get out early Saturday.

Which would be kinds hard since cookie party #2 was Friday night. Thankfully just next door 🙂 I actually managed to come away from that one without a huge number of additional treats! I’m down to two cookie containers now (and the lone truffle).

Saturday I managed to get out at the perfect time. Back to the dreaded mall with a parking spot secured immediately – yay! That was at 10am and I was home by 3pm with all items on my list procured. Then I tackled the wrapping and by 5pm I was finally done – yes, it took me that long because I was being very creative with the containers I used and the left over wrapping paper from prior years. Plus, there was the inevitable feline “assistance”.  They are not too thrilled that one of their favorite napping spots is now blocked off:

Tree gifts

So the presents are wrapped, cookies baked and consumed – now what you ask?

Time to run some of those damn cookies OFF!

Sunday morning trail run today we set out to explore a new spot – Lake Hodges. It was COLD and a little wet but still just perfect. 6 miles later I felt a little less guilty about the week’s food intake.

Lake Hodges

Of course, later on tonight we will start it all over again 🙂 I’ve got beef stew/soup in the crock pot and the ingredients for a pot of glogg and we will fill our bellies, fill our mugs, and then head out to walk the neighborhood ooohing and aahing and Christmas lights. Wherein I will gather ideas for next year 🙂

One last photo – Lake Hodges was gorgeous today – glassy and calm providing the perfect reflection of the hills around it. Which, from the right angle and distance, look like a sleeping brontosaurus. This is the hump:

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Happy Festivus!

Merry Christmas Eve!

and Merry Christmas (if I don’t get back in here again until after)!

More ornaments!

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OK, well, just one since I don’t have time for much more, but this seems to The Color right now. When I put events or meetings in my calendar I use a color coded system to organize them by the type of event. Purple happens to be the color I assigned for “Party” and given that it is December, my calendar for the next two weeks (starting tonight) is exploding in PURPLE!

So, here is the prominent purple ornament from the tree. Yes, it really is that big! I love sprinkling some non-conforming colors into my tree. Purples, blues, pinks to brighten up the more traditional red/green/gold/silver patterns. Another one originally from my mom – it’s not quite as old as the first two but it is also probably a good 10-15 years old at this point.

Anyhow, off to the first purple event – 16’s end of year football team party. If I approach him properly I may even get a picture of him and with him tonight – in dress clothes! A tie! A button down shirt! Shhhhhh….keep your fingers crossed that I can pull that off 🙂

Merry Go Round

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It’s a tree ornament AND a state of life!

Another old classic, though not as old as the mouse. This one has been around ever since we started using white lights in a tree – which I think is pretty much when my parents bought the first fake tree we owned and my mom and I perfected the art of “wrapping” the branches with over a 1000 lights. Yeah, really. It was pretty obnoxious – and very very bright!

This ornament is almost more entertaining in the daylight. What you do is remove one light from a strand and plug in the merry go round instead. And then, it spins. Hence the slight blurring of the black horse. The mirrored bottom and top accents reflect the lights all around it. But, when positioned properly on the side of the tree nearest a window that gets direct sunlight at certain points of the day…it also catches THAT reflection and then bounces light all around the surrounding wall.

Given that the ornament is at least 25+ years old, I am quite impressed that it is still going strong!

Me this week? Not so much 😦 Started out feeling a bounce back from the cold and other stuff on Monday & Tuesday. Even baked a batch of chocolate cookies to follow up on the first jello spritz batch. But then the whole car sharing with 27 got a little complicated this week and started weighing on me Wednesday. As did the news that my dad had chest pains and was in the hospital. That meant spending Thursday with my mom while we waited for those tests though still with lingering transportation issues covering 27’s work day. He got a ride into work at the last minute, but I still had to muddle through worse than ever evening traffic to pick him up after a long day of sitting around.

Thankfully my dad is OK. Nothing major to fix or surgery needed. Just some new medications he should take to help his heart work more efficiently. It’s not working at 100%, but after bypass surgery and at his age, they don’t expect it to do that. It’s a relief that nothing more invasive than the tests had to be done, that’s for sure!

But yeah, it was a long, out of sorts week and I was very happy to know that today I could have a ‘normal’ day and have my car the whole time.

Yes, I am a super independent control freak who needs to keep certain things in order so that I keep a grip on sanity. Sue me. It works 🙂

Tree Ornaments

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A twitter friend is posting daily photos with short descriptions of the ornaments on her tree and I thought I would copy that. Though maybe not daily and probably as add ons to regular posts 🙂

Yes, the inside is done, and boxes are put back away. The first batch of jello
Spritz cookies are almost gone & I’ll need to bake another batch tomorrow night. My neighbor just sent out her invite for a cookie exchange – two days after mine! I’ll be ready with plenty of treats to share for sure.

So – let’s start at the top shall we? The bow topper is not the subject here though it is integral. But, the topper changes per my mood & lights burning out. No, the real star here is the mouse on the ladder “holding up” the tree topper.

If my mom had made a habit of taking pictures of our tree way back when (you know, the days of Polaroids & real film cameras!), I am sure we would see Mr. Mouse in this same spot.

Yes, that cloth & plastic ornament is easily 40 years old.

And as far as my memory serves, it had been displayed either on my moms tree or mine every single year.

That’s pretty cool considering that my tastes in overall tree decor has bounced all over the place in the last 25 years! Somehow I always manage to fit in the mouse.

Someone has to hold up the topper. And in my current household, Mr Mouse wants to stay up as high off the ground as possible! There’s cats down there at the bottom after all 😉

Baking List for the year

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I’ve started a tradition a few years ago of baking cookies and bringing them into work during the month of December. My next door neighbor sometimes also has a neighborhood cookie exchange party. Last year I was a cookie elf bringing treat plates to Renee & Eve and Renee & Quyen (yes, the two couples in my training group are female, and, there is one Renee each). It is not confusing AT ALL! Anyway…I suggested that this year the training group have our own cookie exchange party and I volunteered my place for it. We’ve set the date for the 19th so I’ve got lots of time to prepare, but I would also rather make sure I plan ahead for all the baking I want to do and get the right combination of ingredients to take advantage of free blocks of time. So today I sifted through recipes, scoured Pinterest…and made my choices. Oddly I didn’t end up with anything new from online sources but instead chose a combination of staples and some older recipes I’ve had in my folder and never tried.

I need to save this someplace so I don’t forget:

  1. Ricotta Cheese
  2. Jello Spritz (use existing jello packets only)
  3. Chocolate Sugar
  4. Cranberry Cheesecake Bars
  5. Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

I figure that’s a good blend of chocolate & sugar varieties along with some fruit themed flavors.

Starting off with some blue raspberry jello spritzers tomorrow per 16’s request 🙂

A Spectacularly Explosive Fail

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Photo by benballer on Instagram

Over the San Diego bay last night, there was a bit of a..shall we say…premature ignition….of Every. Single. Firework set to explode for their 4th of July show.

Check out this post on the snafu, complete with a couple of utterly hysterical videos on Grist

I do believe this is as close you will ever get to a visual representation of the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, don’t you think?!