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November 2023

Enjoying Life's Simple Pleasures...

I love Thanksgiving! People are around. Family is a priority and life's little pleasures pile up like Fall leaves. This week, my friend Colleen was in town, so we got to get pedicures together with her daughter and Cheryl. (AKA writer Hannah Alexander) What a fun day! 

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Yesterday, my son Jonah and I got lunch at Cracker Barrel and he took me to the airport. Once in California, my son Seth picked me up and took me to the Olive Garden. Now, I can count on one hand how many times I've been to the Olive Garden, but I will never understand the hate this place gets. It was lovely. I took this pic and sent to everyone saying, "When you're here, you're family." Because I'm cliche and basic like that. But two meals with 50% of my kids, that is a win for one day!

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This morning, I woke up and like he does every time I'm here, my dad drove me to Starbucks. It makes my brother thankful I'm here because he gets Starbucks when I come. Then, comes the enjoyment of sibling rivalry.  My brother is developmentally disabled and no matter how old we get, we will fight over a chair. It doesn't matter which chair I'm sitting in, my brother will want it. And my brother. Is. Relentless!! If I move, he'll come find me and need that chair. It's especially annoying when I have my computer out and I'm working, but it's the dance we do and truthfully, I appreciate the simple fun of it. It's like an ongoing, decades long game of Musical Chairs.

Finally, two of my childhood besties are here this week, so I get to see them and giggle. Nothing better than childhood friends who know you so well. Then, my mom and I will catch up on "The Crown" and maybe a few House Hunters episodes.  We'll do a Ravensburger puzzle or two...

So you can see why Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Oh, I forgot to add one: My mom makes homemade cranberry sauce, but I make her get the canned kind too, and leave the indents in it -- because it makes me happy. I eat both, but it's a small gesture that lets me know there is love in the world. 

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What simple pleasures will you appreciate this week?

 


"The Holdovers" Movie

I went to see "The Holdovers" movie. I've been a Paul Giamatti fan since "Big Fat Liar." My kids loved that movie and he's so great in it as the Hollywood villain. He was fantastic in this movie as well. This is really an homage to classic Hollywood movie making. It's a STORY based on characters and they drive the plot. The plot doesn't drive them. I think Hollywood has lost its own plot when it comes to film-making. It's no longer based on great characters but rather what CGI kick-butt character is in the Marvel Universe. Granted, I don't see Superhero movies so I'm biased. But it was nice to go to a theater and see an actual movie that moved me. 

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It's got a few adult themes that are not for the Hallmark movie crowd, so if you're looking for light-hearted holiday fare, this probably isn't it. But I loved the rag-tag family that was created from these characters as they struggled with their separate reasons for being alone on Christmas. The young student in the movie is played by Dominic Sessa and he is fantastic. He really commands the screen and I hope he has a long career ahead of him. (Off to IMDB to find out if he's been in a 100 Marvel movies and I have no idea.)

Okay, just looked him up. He's never been in a  movie before. He was discovered at a prep school (Deerfield) while researching the movie. I love stories like that. Here's the article in "Town & Country" if you're interested. Anyway, everyone in this movie is a star. Every character is fully-formed and has their own story arc. If you like good, old-fashioned movie storytelling, this is a good one. 

Warning: There is adult language in this movie and some tough scenes to watch emotionally since it takes place during the Vietnam era. Next up for me, "Wonka" when it's out. Are you excited about any new movies coming out? Sounds like we may be having the last good ones for a season until the writers' strike ends. Come on, Hollywood, pay your writers! AI won't cut it! Films need humanity to work!

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Home to California & Family

Well, I'm off to home for Thanksgiving. I'll be checking out houses (read: shacks) that I can move into now that my son is finished with college. It's been very difficult for me to write in Arizona. I have no idea why. I have a lovely office and only two dogs here all day.  

I used to write for two or three hours a day with four kids and their sports' schedules. Maybe I miss the constant chaos and I have to learn to deal with the quiet. It's a strange phenomenon. I think part of it is I miss my people. I miss people who get my snarky humor and don't hold it against me. I don't think most Arizonans know how to take my humor. My writer friends do, naturally.  They've known I've been quirky all along. Writers were never the "normal" ones at school I don't think. I think writers fall somewhere between the drama kids and marching band kids.

But I'm talking about new people. Not sure they're ready for quirky Kristin. And when you get to be my age, I'm not great at editing myself. Like my son said, "You'd make more friends if you stopped wearing 49er gear everywhere." And maybe that's true, but if I want to support my man Bosa, I'm going to do it. I figure I'm just weeding out the people who think Californians caused all their problems.

Newsflash America: We got bought out first in California. With cash offers for million dollar homes. The house I grew up in, which is literally a basic tract house on the San Francisco peninsula.  It's smaller than my tiny house now -- and it's worth $2 million!  Well, I mean, it's not worth $2 million, but that's what people are paying for a basic three/two in the Bay Area on the "right" side of the Bay. 

I get how the other states feel. I mean, I'm fourth and fifth-generation Californian, and I can't afford to live where I grew up. Here's what makes me so sad about all this. It's ruining the generations of families and their abilities to leave nearby. People are having to leave their homes to have their own family and a house. Our country has lost its soul and that makes me mourn for the world. I grew up where I could bike ride to either grandparents' house. 

This morning, I watched some doctor on TikTok. He wrote a book about anxiety and he's in the Dave Ramsey world. I am NOT a Dave Ramsey fan. I think he gets a lot right, but he also doesn't get that the Millennials might work their entire life for nothing. They may never own a house through no fault of their own. Why would they be motivated to save? Why wouldn't they want to buy a car they can't afford? You can't expect people to go to to work every day of their lives and not be able to afford more than rent and groceries. It's not a sustainable model. Sorry, back to Dr. John Deloney who posted that he and his wife decide where they're going to travel for the holidays and send their mother news of what they've decided. If his mother decides to throw a tantrum, he says, that's on her. They're adults and they can do as they please without worry.

This is all true. But it also SUCKS! I was fortunate enough to have all four of my grandparents until I was 37. My last grandfather didn't pass away until I was 49. He was 100 years old and I never spent a holiday without him. Never. Not one. And now that I don't have them, I'm so grateful I got every last holiday with the people who mattered to me. If Dr. Deloney decides he wants to prioritize his children, that's fine, but someday, they might do the same and that doesn't foster family in my opinion. I also do not believe in "child centered" families. I don't think they work. I think the couple must put their relationship first and the kids add on to that solid foundation.

Maybe your family is unhealthy and spending time with them is hard on your mental health. I understand that. I'm not talking to those people where the holidays are a nightmare. But if you've had good parents and you don't make them a priority, I will never understand that. The Bible says to honor your mother and father and I believe in that tradition.

As my parents get older, I travel to them.  Soon, I'll be moving closer to them now that I can afford to move there. I just feel like this country has lost its soul and all that matters is money, but in the end, if all you have is money -- you really have nothing. Family is forever. 

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I'm stuck...Random thoughts to avoid work! #amwriting #writingfiction

I'm 16k into writing my latest book. (Book 3 in the Pacific Avenue Series) and wow, I have been stuck on this chapter for a long time. If I didn't write linearly, that wouldn't be an issue, but as it is, I am looking for anything to distract me from this issue. Right now, I'm in Starbucks writing with a friend, but here I am blogging...handbag shopping...making a Christmas list...

The Golden Bachelor

Last night, I watched the latest episode of "The Golden Bachelor" and Gerry is not it for me. Let me preface this by saying I'm sure he's a lovely man, but I do not trust him to be a good boy in the Fantasy Suite.  Which has always been a gross concept to me anyway, but I definitely have the "ick" over old people in the fantasy suite. Teach the younger generation that it's about getting to know each other. I realize I have too much hope in the Bachelor realm, but there it is. 

I'm angry at him for telling two women he loved them. I think Theresa is the best fit so far even though she didn't know "Don't Stop Believing" on her date. For some reason, this is unforgivable to me. I know she was so into Gerry she wasn't paying attention to the flash mob, but that in itself is a little disturbing. She seems old-school worshipping of a man and I think he'd like that.  But he's a man, so he's probably more into Leslie, who has WAY too much energy for Gerry. He's going to want to sit out by the lake, and she's going to want to parachute into it. Not compatible in my mind. 

Who do you think he'll pick? 

Rage-watching Sister Wives

Admittedly, I have only watched the last two seasons of "Sister Wives" so I don't know if Robyn was every likable, but I do believe she is a shopaholic and single-handedly responsible for destroying that family. Every little thing that comes out of her mouth does not match her actions. Case in point: "I want to sit with my Sister Wives on the porch as we grow old." If that were true, she'd sit there now. She wouldn't make everyone sit out on the cold side yard in the snow because her house is inhospitable. What is that about?

Since Robyn, Kody has taken on a dark presence and doesn't think his children, nor apologizing to them, is a priority. Anyway, I'm done hearing from Kody and Robyn. Get them off my TV. Let's hear about Janelle's future and watch Christine's wedding. Unlike others, I have enjoyed watching Meri redecorate her carriage house and I want to see her make the big bucks.  I abhor watching Robyn's daughters with their Stockholm syndrome commentary. Man, I hope those kids make it out of there. Go to college. Get educated. Do not marry into polygamy!

Back to work now. Anyone watching or reading anything good? I started "House of Ho" on Max and I do love that family. Being from a majority Asian area, it makes me want to go back home. I love the Vietnamese culture, but that show makes me hungry. 

 


Good Morning from Las Vegas!

Well, I am in ADD paradise. How I wish the world sparkled and radiated like Vegas. That there might be Louis Vuitton stores on every corner (possibly more than Starbucks!) and writers were always gathered. Granted, I could do without the constant pot smell that permeates everything and shirtless men my boys' age trying to flirt with me to get me to buy a ticket. I want to shout, "Does your mother know where you are?"

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On a sad note, I did not get to see any Bravolebrities at the airport. And I literally made the rounds. I took so long at the airport, my suitcase was in a back section and I had to go retrieve it. But the Vegas airpot has this bling store, where literally everything is rhinestone, and like all shiny things, it calls to me like a beacon. 

Today is Cosplay day at the conference, so I am excited to see what everyone is wearing. If I were to cosplay, I'd need a newer handbag. Speaking of which, yesterday, I went to the "Princess Diana Exhibit" and it was in the Crystals mall, which forced me to walk by every expensive handbag known to womankind. Luckily, Loewe wasn't in there and that's what I've been coveting. I did walk by Celine, Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Burberry. The only handbag that tempted me was a brand I'd never heard of: Loro Piana. I took my past season's Burberry and LEFT!

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Princess Diana's exhibit was meh. It was cool to see some her letters, but it didn't have enough of the fashion for my taste and it had an artist's rendition of her wedding dress created out of paper. That's weird, right? I did get a "Diana" wine glass for my troubles. I took this pic because this outfit was my favorite of hers. Until Prince Charles opened his mouth and said, "Whatever love is." Or whatever he said. Creep. 

We went to the lovely solarium at Bellagio. It changes every season and Fall was a chef's kiss. Absolutely gorgeous and creative. Bellagio is where I go to get my Starbucks in the morning and it's also filled with expensive handbags. But since the espresso is $8 for a grande, I get the reality check I need and walk right out. 

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We also saw the new sphere out the windows and I have to say, it's really something. I did not expect to be so mesmerized by it, but it's very cool. 

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Today, I am working. I'm behind on this book, and I want to start doing two a year again, but it's been too chaotic in Arizona with all my travels, so prayers that I'll be back in California soon. If you have any Vegas tips, pass them along!