Fresh Start to a New Year


So how is the new year treating you so far?

Mine has started with a bang! New writing deadlines, a child flying back to college, general clean-up of holiday stuff, feeling behind already, a few feelings of omg-is-it-really-only-week-ONE?, and … wow … snow!

We got snow on our Southern California mountains on Dec. 31. (So not technically 2015, but it was still exciting and felt like a nice way to start a new year!)

This is called Saddleback Mountain, and it’s normally dry and brown, with some flashes of green in the spring after it’s rained for a bit. (Unfortunately, the green only lasts a nanosecond.) But the morning of Dec. 31, I pulled out of my housing tract, glanced to my left to look for oncoming traffic, and sucked in my breath when I saw this:


I seriously breathed out “Wow!” right into my empty car. I did a quick U-turn and parked on the side of the street to take the above photo. (The things in the street are palm fronds that blew off the trees and into the street the night before, during our rainstorm.)

Hubby had called me in the morning and had told me there was “snow on Saddleback,” but I wasn’t prepared for THIS. Usually when there’s “snow” it only covers that very top peak, not ALL the mountains!

So I drove up to the lake (about a mile up that road) and took these:

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I wasn’t the only one! There are a ton of people standing right behind me taking the same photos, and there were even cars parked on the side of the street with snow on them, who drove from about a mile away, from the base of the mountain. I guess they were even able to play with snow in their back yards! It was such a treat of beauty for us.

This last photo is one of my favorites because in all my 18 years in this town, I’ve NEVER seen snow on top of those mountains to the right! What-the-whaaaa?

(Plus, who doesn’t love a nice palm-trees-against-snow picture?)


So that got my new year off to a crazy, you-never-know-what-to-expect start! I hope the rest of the year is filled with such magnificent, beautiful surprises.

How is your year going so far?

My Favorite New Ornament This Year

Aw, look at this super-cute ornament my mom gave me:


Isn’t it cute?

She glued “The Red Bikini” cover on the top book, and we’re thinking we’ll put “Ten Good Reasons” on the blue spine when I get my new business cards (with the cute small print).

Then … hmmm … it looks like we’ve got a few more spines to fill next year…

I’ll get on that!

Pretty Christmas Floral …


So every year my company has a big Christmas party, and there’s always a huge raffle of TVs, ipads, Apple TVs, etc. I mean, like, five or six gifts per year. That’s a lot for a small company like ours. And I’ve been there for YEARS and have NEVER won! I’m just not lucky with those things. (Either that or they’re not putting my name in the Santa hat. I might not be on the “nice” list. …)

Anyway, I HAVE managed to walk out with a centerpiece “win” a couple of years, though, and this was one of those years. I thought this one was so pretty. I put it on my buffet, and then realized it needed some “height,” so I put it on top of my mother’s cake stand she gave me from her 1965 wedding gifts. (I love that cake stand!)

I really like how this livens up my dining room this week! Isn’t it purty? What are those crazy red flowers, anyway? Does anyone know? They look sort of tropical. …


The Stockings Are Hung by the Chimney with … Caution Tape???

Yep, the stockings are hung by the chimney with … er … uh … caution tape. Or right next to the caution tape, anyway. And the pretty exposed cement.


I realized I wasn’t going to get around my house of destruction this year, so I just decorated around it!

What do you think? Does it work anyway?


Now the tree is another matter. We haven’t put that up yet. We’re still trying to figure out what to do there. Too much furniture is now stuffed into the living room, and the den is still complete chaos. So my gifts, as I wrap them, are still sitting in my upstairs hallway waiting for a location:


I just keep piling them in the hallway for now!

This may be a “crowded” Christmas this year — and may involve lots of exposed drywall and beams and sawdusty-smell and exposed cement — but I’m decorating, dang it! It’s my favorite time of year!

How is your decorating going? Am I the last person to get a tree up? Does anyone still put their tree up on Christmas Eve????

Yeah, This Can’t Be Good…


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This is the yellow tape at the base of my stairs right now.

We had a slab leak between some downstairs walls, and now my downstairs powder room, kitchen, base of the stairs, and den (a.k.a. writing area) are torn down to the cement and 2-by-4s as the area gets dried out. Blah. Here’s more: …  Continue reading

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