- Saturday my friend Pat and I went on a holiday decorated home tour, my Christmas gift to her and a fundraiser for a cancer wellness organization. We visited four large and beautiful homes (5000-7000 sq ft) in the Thousand Oaks/Westlake area. The first house was the most over-the-top decorated home I've ever seen, with about 25 trees in the house in every possible theme, and every surface, corner, and wall decorated. We were told the owners begin decorating October 1. Pat said she could easily fill up a shopping cart from that house. Our favorite was a hillside Spanish style house with an interior courtyard and a view that stretched to the ocean 20 miles away. It was warm, rustic, and had hand-painted wall stenciling done by a set designer. And, no, I didn't take any pictures!
- If you love caramel, get yourself to Trader Joe's for some of their fleur de sel caramel sauce. To-die-for, sweet and salty flavor all at once. Try it over some vanilla bean ice cream and sliced bananas. That was my dinner on Saturday night.
- My drivers license was up for renewal this year. I received a notice saying I was eligible to renew it online, so I did. That was October 21 and I have not yet gotten my new license in the mail, six weeks later! I better call, you think?
- Among the list of movies I have never seen, "A Christmas Story" is one of them. I believe I was an adult of many years before I saw "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It's a Wonderful Life". The latter is my favorite. I love James Stewart. In the scene where he and Donna Reed are celebrating a family moving into a new home and George is all embarrassed that his rich friend Frank is watching, the house number is the same as my parents' house, the one I grew up in--4587. Pretty cool.
- There is a jar of pickled herring that I forgot to put out on Thanksgiving. It's a tradition from my husband's side of the family and I bought it for my MIL and BIL. No idea who's going to eat it now!
- Erica is searching online for throw pillows for her new digs. She wants dark navy but cannot find any. Some of the prices are outrageous. I would not pay $60 for an 18 inch plain fabric pillow, ever!
- Traffic rant: I've complained about speeders, lane changers and tailgaters, but the truly scary are the Inattentive Drivers. They are everywhere and of every age. They talk on the phone, reach for things, turn from the wrong lane, stop suddenly, fail to signal, and drift into your lane because they didn't look. But mostly, they fail to realize they are operating a one ton plus sized machine that can easily mangle, mutilate, and kill. Focus, People focus!
- The most disgusting thing that I hear in the news this time of year is that of homes and cars being broken into and holiday gifts being stolen. A local high school who has a special education students' designed recycling collectibles program had all their cans and bottles stolen from an enclosed gated area. Sick, sick, sick. Lock your doors and windows and don't leave anything in plain sight.
- Pat and I also visited the holiday boutique during the home tour. A group called The Quilting Club had a table. This came home with me:
They were selling placemats, table runners and wine bottle cozies, all of which were beautifully made. I was pleased to give my money to a worthy cause for this charming handmade item, now gracing my half-bath, along with my handmade paper chain you can see hanging down, made in the same manner as gum wrapper chains but with holiday wrapping paper. Happy Holidays!