Happy New Year!!

Ok, guys.  If I’m completely honest, I can say that I’m pretty darn happy that 2013 is drawing to a close.  Looking back, it was definitely a transitional year for me.  At some point, I consciously/subconsciously decided I didn’t want to be the person I was being to make my last major job and last relationship work.  I decided to realign my life to be in tune with my more authentic self.  I am finding that I’m a much more spiritual, open-minded, stronger, more peaceful person without that job and relationship, and it’s made me much happier to leave them behind.  But it took awhile for me to completely shed the attachment to the “old” me and not look back at what could have been without regret.

So I, for one, am looking forward to the new chapter that 2014 represents and all the possibilities ahead.  I hope it will be an amazing year for you and your loved ones as well.

Cheers to new adventures ahead!  <<clinks glass>>  Happy New Year!!!

Clothes Make the Man

Or, in this case, the clothes make the (wo)man feel great!

For Christmas, I got 2 new pairs of jeans.  They’re Levis, and I’m pretty sure they were even on sale.  (Thanks, Santa!)

I don’t need fancy designer duds to feel good; I just need clothes that fit properly.  And it was definitely time to find some well-fitting jeans!  In the last year or so, I’ve made some healthier choices, including eating paleo and doing yoga, and I walk my dog several times each day.  So, there were some changes with my body.  Plus, my old jeans were faded, had permanently stretched out and dirty knees, and were too big in the waist.  (Although they fortunately still fit in the thighs and rear, so I was able to use this to help keep them up.)

But I gotta tell you, there’s nothing like strutting your stuff in perfectly fitting jeans with a cute pair of boots.  (Am I right, ladies?!?)  I’ve been making do for years, thinking that there wasn’t a pair of jeans that got my waist-hip-thigh ratio right.  So I’m really excited to report that there IS in fact, a style of denim that fits me.  How exciting!

Sorry, I just had to share my excitement with you guys.  <<End uber girlie spiel.>>

 

 

P.S.  The entirety of the Mark Twain quote from above is,

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”

Ha!

Technology Update

Ladies and gents, I am excited to inform you that I have re-joined the 21st century–I am now the proud owner of a new smartphone (again)!!  Although I’m very glad I was able to borrow my dad’s old flip phone so my friends didn’t think I completely fell off the face of the planet, there are just so many things I can do with a smartphone that I was missing.

I can get my emails on the go!  I can text without pressing “4” three times to write an “i!”  If I have a burning question, the entire internet is at my fingertips!  I can find all the answers to my questions (of course I’ll forget them 30 seconds later but that’s beside the point)!  If I want to know if I should carry an umbrella on a given day, all I have to do is ask my phone!!  This is an especially cool feature because I wasn’t able to speak to my phone before and expect any sort of response!

Of course, there’s a definite line between utilizing one’s phone as a source of information and hiding behind it as a substitute for human interaction.  I refuse to be one of those people tethered to their smartphone 24/7.  (And don’t even get me started on the people who walk around with bluetooths [blueteeth?  ha!] in their ears all the time.  Is a phone call you may or may not receive at any given time that much more important than the actual conversation you’re having with the person in front of you?  It looks like you’re just waiting for a better offer.  In the style of Stephanie from Full House, “How rude!!”  <<gets down from soapbox>>)

Still…  Oh technology, I’ve missed you!  Sigh…

Have a great weekend, WordPress friends!  I wish you all some good news as well!!

Transitioning

Akela the reindeer dog says, “What up homies?  Who’s got leftovers to share?”

What up readers?

She also says, “Get these stupid antlers off me!!”*

 

Hope you all had a great holiday and/or a great nonreligious day off.  For a lot of people, today marks the return to normalcy.  The frenzy of Christmas planning, shopping, baking, wrapping, unwrapping, cooking, and eating is over, and it’s back to the grind.  (Except for holiday leftovers…  The eating of various treats and leftovers will continue a little while…)  For others who are lucky to have an extended winter break, it’s just time to count down the days till New Year’s.

For me, it’s a time to buckle down and refocus on my goal for 2014: opening my own business.  Between various holidays and driving across the country, I’ve been absorbed in planning and driving and, well, basically what I just described as the Christmas frenzy.  But the best part about coming home to Florida for the holidays is catching up with friends and family I don’t see very often.  As a result of our gabbing, I’ve been describing my future business plans and getting excited about them all over again.  (Well, and also a little nervous.  It’s a BIG career change for me, but one I feel compelled and inspired to implement.)

I know it’s a little early to make New Year’s resolutions, but I say there’s no time like the present!  So I’m gonna ride this wave of momentum and hopefully get a lot done over the next week, so that maybe, just maybe, by New Year’s, I will have a lot of research under my belt and hopefully more definite plans.

What about you guys?  Have you started thinking about New Year’s resolutions?  Does anyone even make them anymore?  I historically haven’t, but I think this 2013-14 transition is gonna be different for me.  I think there’s some good stuff on the horizon.  I’m looking forward to it!

 

 

*No dogs were actually traumatized in the making of this photo.  However, one was bribed with yummy treats to sit, stay, and not to shake off the antlers.

Merry Christmas!

I’d like to wish all you guys out there in the blogosphere a wonderful Christmas!!  Hope you were on Santa’s nice list this year!

If you don’t celebrate Christmas, then I hope you have an awesome day off!

I will return on Thursday with some new thoughts to share with you.  Till then… eat lots of yummy goodies!!  Like Christmas cookies!

Merry Christmas from South Florida!!

Merry Christmas from South Florida!!

Thoughts on Christmas in South Florida

As you may or may not know, Florida is kind of a special state. And by “special” I mean “weird.” (If you don’t believe me, google “weird news Florida 2013”. You’ll see what I mean…) Despite all the crazy shenanigans of some non-representative Floridians, I gotta say I love this state. (I mean, I grew up here, and I certainly like to think I turned out just fine.)

That being said, being here for the holidays is unlike any other place.  Here are a few reasons why:

 

1. It’s hot.

I mean, duh, it’s Florida.  But seriously, you guys, I really wish I had packed shorts.  And more than 1 short-sleeved t-shirt.  When I left California, it was pretty chilly, and I was driving through some really cold temperatures.  Somehow it didn’t compute that my destination was gong to be so much warmer than my stops along the way.  (Most of my readers are probably saying “Oh boo hoo” to me.  And you’re right.  I deserve it.  But I am tired of being sweaty all the time.)

 

2. It’s humid.

My hair is poofy.  It’s not cute.

 

3. It’s crowded.

It’s basically like I never left LA with all the traffic.  In Florida you have “snowbirds” during the winter months, a.k.a. people who flock to the Sunshine State (ha! see my pun there?) to escape the colder temperatures pretty much everywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere.  And there are a LOT of them.  The roads are more crowded, the restaurants have much longer waits for a table, and don’t even try to find a parking space close to the mall entrance!

 

4. Floridians put Christmas lights on their boats.  And then have numerous parades.

Oooh pretty!

Oooh pretty!

 

4a. We also put Christmas lights on palm trees.  We still have Christmas trees inside like everybody else, but the outdoor holiday light displays often involve palm trees.

Yup.

Yup.

 

 

5. The local color is, well, colorful.

I was walking my dog in my dad’s neighborhood yesterday, when we happened upon a bottle-blonde mother-daughter duo powerwalking towards us.  They were dressed in matching black tank tops and electric blue leggings, and one of them was pushing a stroller.  I was too busy paying attention to my dog to realize that they were pushing a Maltese in the stroller until they were passing me.  I REALLY wish I’d had my phone (or camera) with me so I could share this bizarre moment with you all.  I don’t think Akela even realized there was a dog in the stroller because she didn’t bark or growl or even sniff at all.  Literally 10 seconds later, we were passed by an older gentleman driving a golf cart with a giant fluffy poodle riding shotgun.  Apparently the dogs here don’t have to walk.  Geez.

And there you have it, folks.  5 (1/2) reasons why spending the holidays in South Florida with my family is never dull.

Sick as a Dog

Hello ladies and gents!  I regret to inform you that there won’t be any new content posted today.  My dog got pretty sick overnight, and we took her to a vet near my parents in Florida today.  We got some meds and she is doing MUCH better.  However, I’m not feeling particularly inspired today as a result of too little sleep (and too much worrying…)

We’re definitely out of the woods, though, so nobody else has to worry, too.

I’ll try to come up with an extra exciting post on Monday to make up for it, though.  Hope you all have a great (and healthy!) weekend!!

Going Through Withdrawal

I drove 2,800 miles across the country, with nary a hiccup (except for my trunk freezing closed overnight in New Mexico but that really wasn’t so bad since it unfroze later the same day).  But then tragedy struck shortly after I pulled into the driveway at my dad’s house.  In my haste to grab everything and get out of the car, I quickly shoved my bottle of water in my purse.  After I hugged my mom and dad, I realized that my purse was dripping.  I hadn’t screwed the lid on my water tight enough!

At first, there didn’t seem to be any major casualties.  I dried out my purse and went out to a yummy dinner with the family.  It wasn’t until later that I realized my cell phone wasn’t working properly.  When I poked at the touch screen, nothing happened.  The buttons seemed to work, but not the screen.  I turned it off and tried to turn it back on.

Then I tried to turn it back on again.

And again.

And again.

Now my phone won’t turn on at all, and it’s been 3 days.  Aaaargh!  According to the sticker behind the battery, there hasn’t been water damage.  But it doesn’t work!!!  The red light just flashes.

Fortunately, I was able to slip my SIM card into my dad’s old phone.  Unfortunately, it’s practically a dinosaur.  (OK, I’m being dramatic here, but that’s what it feels like.  I have to press the “2” three times to type a “C”!!!  It takes me 10 minutes to text what I could have typed in less than 10 seconds on my pre-water damaged phone.)

I didn’t realize how reliant I was on my smartphone and all its amazing apps until I didn’t have a smartphone with amazing apps.  I can’t hop on the internet to learn the answers to my burning questions.  I can’t chart a route with the GPS feature.  And I have to wait until I’m in front of my computer to check emails or facebook.  Baaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!  Withdrawal hurts.  Sniffle.  Sniff.

Hopefully Santa will bring me a new phone for Christmas.  I think I’ve been good this year.

Day 7: Home Again, Home Again (Jiggity Jig)

States visited: Just Florida

Miles driven: 204

We had a really nice visit with Grandma.  She told us stories about life in Indiana before the family moved down to Florida for my Grandpa’s health.  Apparently she had to kill, pluck, and cook 5 chickens a day to make a big lunch for all the farmhands.  Yikes!!  I think I’d be a vegetarian if I had to do that.  Also, one day when she was out on the farm working, she came back to the house to discover that my mom and aunt had eaten an entire stick of butter!  Eww…

However, my dad had to go to New York for work, so my sister and I cut our visit a day short with Grandma in order to spend time with him before he leaves.  We stayed for lunch in the dining room with all of G-ma’s friends, showed her how to Skype with her brother (and then helped him via phone when he had problems with his video), packed the car, and headed south.

The middle of Florida is pretty boring.

It's so flat!

It’s so flat!

 

Although, I guess the occasional orange grove is pretty exciting if you’re not from around here.

Mmm oranges

Mmm oranges

 

However, you really know you’re in Florida when…

Gator jerky!

Gator jerky!

 

Seriously, this is the biggest mountain in Florida:

Mount Trashmore.  It has a particularly lovely aroma.

Mount Trashmore. It has a particularly lovely aroma.

 

Fortunately, day 7’s driving schedule was pretty short.  My butt didn’t even fall asleep!  But after driving 2,800 miles across the good ol’ US of A, you bet your sweet patootey I was SO ecstatic to reach my destination.

Ahhhhhh…  HOME!!

Day 6: G-ma and the Fam

(Does that sound like a band name?  Probably not a GOOD band name but it could maybe be a one-hit wonder.  Maybe?  Anyone?  Bueller?  <<crickets>>)

Anyhoo…

Road trip day 6 was another day off from driving.  Wheee!  As the post title suggests, we spent the day hanging out with Grandma (who apparently really likes the nickname “G-ma,” according to my sister) and the rest of the family.  As regular readers may remember, my grandma lives in a senior citizen community that I call “summer camp for old people,” with all sorts of activities: art classes, shopping trips to Publix (grocery store)/Walgreens (drug store), water aerobics, field trips to look at people’s Christmas lights/movies/etc, several on-site libraries, a beauty parlor/barber shop, bingo and board games.  It sounds pretty awesome.

Day 6 started with a lazy morning.  My great-aunt (G-ma’s younger sister) came over for a visit, which was so nice.  At 11:30, we all started making our way to the dining room (have to get there early! lol) for lunch.  Grandma enjoyed showing us off to all her friends.  After lunch, we got the tour of the facilities.  Grandma scooted around on her walker, and the rest of us followed behind.  After a short visit with my great-aunt, G-ma was pooped.  She has pretty intense arthritis and back problems, and it had been awhile since she was out and about, so we probably tired her out.  Nap time!

My uncle’s birthday was a few days earlier, so the entire family was gathering at a local chain restaurant for dinner.  All in all, there were 14 of us!  I think the last time all of us were together was at my cousin’s wedding about 15 years ago.  (And technically ALL of us weren’t together because 4 of the people at the table hadn’t been born yet, and the other cousin hadn’t met his wife yet…)  Wow.  It was so nice to get to see my cousins and their kids.  Because of facebook, I feel like I know what’s going on in their lives, but it was even better to see everyone in person.  My cousins’ kids are so big now!  They’re real little people with opinions and personalities instead of babies and toddlers!!

All this sitting and driving and eating unhealthy food right before the holidays is making me sorta antsy.  I can’t wait to get to my parents’ house and settle in.  And walk the dog and eat yummy healthy food and sleep in my bed and not live out of a suitcase…

Tomorrow!  That will all start tomorrow!