Sunday, December 17

Ice Skates and Chocolate Fountains

Today Bryan and I went to the holiday skating party for the company for which I read and write coverage.

Now when I get an invitation for a Holiday skating party I'm thinking maybe 50 people and a table of decent booze. In fact it was a winter wonderland, but sadly, a dry one. It was held at the Culver City Ice Rink and the last time we were there was to film Patrick to prove to Marty in Canada that he could ice skate so we could cast him in our movie. But I digress...

We entered what was a huge party and worked our way around the ring, past the Santa and giant penguins who were taking pictures with little kids, past Lady Santa who gave us quarters for the video games and into the tent in the back where all the real action was at. We quickly realized that this was not the kind of party that was going to serve us wine. About 1/4 of the attendees were under 15. Instead of booze there were 2, count them 2, chocolate fountains, a huge buffet and enough arts and crafts to keep even the most industrious artist busy for hours. In truth if we'd had kids with us it would have been heaven. Chocolaty heaven. But being as we are and as Bryan had just come off a shift that started at 6am, we were a little too dazed to really partake.

Beyond that I don't really trust chocolate fountains. I'm down for some hot chocolate fondue, but the chocolate in those fountains isn't really hot, and it doesn't harden on the things you dip on it. I am wary of whatever chemical they add to keep it pumping. It seems a little gross to me. I tasted it. It was a little gross.

Anyway, Bryan and I decided to try our feet at ice skating. It's been a good 10 years for me and he claimed 15 years since he'd skated. For the record, I am still awesome. For the record, Bryan...not so much. Who'd have thought there would ever be a sports-like activity at which I would excel over Bryan. Not me, that's for sure.

I wanted to take pictures, but I knew I'd break my camera if I took it on the ice and so it ended up in a locker with my purse for the duration of the party.

I will say one last thing to the people who will be at Christmas Eve: The people whose adjectives sent me to the dictionary will get a really fun prize come Christmas Eve night. And that's all I'll say about that.

Saturday, December 16

I Knew I Shouldn't Trust Amazon

Remember how I said I was finished with Christmas shopping? Well Amazon decided to spite me and claim that it would have to wait until after Christmas to deliver several of my gifts. Fie. That's what I get for trying to avoid the malls.

Back to shopping I go.

Tuesday, December 12

Craig's (In)Famous Holiday Party

Sunday was Craig's Holiday party; a party he holds each year with great success. Those of us who know him from back at SC figure we've been coming to this party for the past seven years. I had said nine until it was pointed out to me that nine years ago I was still in high school. I think in my heart I've always been at this party.

Last year was Bryan's first year at the party and as you can see, he's taken to it like a duck to water.

Bryan, Tim and Craig's friend from Arkansas
Without a doubt, the most impressive thing about this party is the spread that Craig puts out. The man spends at least 24 hours cooking in preparation for his shindig.

Tell me that doesn't look tasty, even as a Vegetarian I appreciate it
And you can tell. How? One turkey, one ham, one salmon, stuffing, bacon-wrapped asparagus, spinach dip, veggie gratin, salad, green beans, mashed potatoes, roasted veggies, cranberry sauce and four, count them, four desserts. Heaven.

I counted about 22 people at this year's party. Some were new girlfriends, some have been around since the beginning. We had out annual gift exchange in during which numbers are drawn and one can either open a present or steal a present from someone else. Three possessions of a gift equal keeps forever. The quality of the gifts has significantly increased over the years. This year we ended up with a dartboard. I'm psyched.

Ethan prepares the tazer
Good foods, friends and wine is all well and good, but the highlight of the evening was when most had left and Ethan busted out his tazer. It's not a police one, it's the kind that requires a couple of 9volt batteries. Bryan insisted that it be tested on him. It was. Then it found its way to me. It was tested on Bryan a couple more times for comedic effect.
Bryan after being shocked; his heart's still beating
Mostly I think it was the equivalent of a really bad static shock. He didn't seem too fazed by it. Good times.

Friday, December 8

Christmas Shopping

I have officially finished my Christmas shopping today. If that doesn't qualify me as deserving of a nice glass of wine, I don't know what does.

I will say this, there is a definite theme to the gifts I've bought this year and no it's not "things you can get at Amazon" though I'll be expecting those boxes to arrive presently. It has much more to do with NPR than anything else.

And that's all I'll say about that matter. I know some of my readers are expecting gifts, fortunately there aren't very many of you (readers that is). You won't be disappointed.

I've also come up with a Christmas Eve menu, but I'm waiting for approval from powers greater than myself. You better believe it will be a tasty feast.

Monday, December 4

The Skateboarding Dog of Venice Beach

Yesterday, Bryan, Mel and I took a drive down Topanga Canyon, which ended in us eating lunch in our old stomping ground of Venice Beach. If Mel were a kid we'd probably have told her we wanted to show her where we used to live. We may have told her that anyway.

At any rate, as we were enjoying some winter sun, we noticed a bull dog with a special talent.

This guy was just cruising along with his owner, dodging tourists and barking at anyone who might get in the way of his board.

A couple of times he got stuck in the grass, but help was on the way.

Though his owner helped him out this time, another time I watched as he managed to flip the board on it's side and carry it out of the grass under his leg, in a manner that was surprisingly similar to the way surfers carry their boards.

Fortunately he was soon able to rejoin his pack.

You've got to love Venice.

Sunday, December 3

Don't Tell Me you didn't see this coming

I mean, the sun moved. And I was in the shower.

Now If I could just get that present out of the way...

Friday, December 1

Thanksgiving at the Buckley's

Here are my promised photos of Thanksgiving at the Buckley's home up in Mill Valley. First of all, to say that they live in Mill Valley is a little bit of an untruthitude, it's more like they live on top of Mill Valley. Once you drive through the cute little town, you drive up, and up until you arrive at this:

A view from the house.
which is not a bad backdrop for a Thanksgiving feast. Those roofs at the bottom of the frame are their house. That blip that's really light in the distance, is San Francisco. It's much prettier in person. I attended this Thanksgiving about four years ago and afterwards someone asked me if their house had a view. I said I wasn't sure. I'm assuming either I was overwhelmed by Thanksgiving at a (then) new boyfriend's family home, or the city was fogged in. Either way, I missed something really spectacular.

Throughout the day people arrive and gather on the upper lawn terrace outside the house.

In this photo above, everyone is looking at a remote control UFO spinning thing that Susan brought and which required a great deal of concentration to keep out of trees.

It works like this...
I recall one Christmas a similar device arrived at our house and I think lasted a full 10 minutes before it came to find its home on the roof.

Bryan as pre-feast athlete.
Much silliness and eating ensued.

A more realistic action shot - M'lu and Grand B diving in to Peter's tasty Abalone
And the next morning we climbed up that big hill behind the pool that winds up and up...

If only it weren't WAY TOO COLD for a nice dip.
and took in the view. This is what Bryan thought of it:

We're thinking of making this Bryan's directing headshot.
Is it just me or does he make this same face in every photo I take of him?