My family huddled around the warm glow of the internets

Me and Kristyn finally decorated the tree today.  We already had the lights, garland and star on it but hadn’t gotten around to the balls.  I was irritated right off the bat this morning because the cats had torn off half of the garland and some of the lights in Mortal Kombat earlier in the morning.  I dramatically declared, “That goddamn tree is gonna be the DEATH of me!  Mark my words, I will have torn it down by New Years!”  Haha.  So in order to make me smile (and to save the tree not to mention the cats), she started putting the ornaments on.  Because she had to go to work, it turned into a marathon ornament putting-on session but we got it all done.  This picture doesn’t even show the whole tree just because my lens wouldn’t let me get the whole thing and I was too lazy to switch lenses.  I’ll get a better picture later.  The bottom line is that the lower half of the tree has next to no ornaments on it haha.  It’s not worth it because if I have to put them back on I am sure to tear my tshirt and shorts and turn into the Hulk.  Merry Christmas!

Anyway, here is a picture of MOST of the tree.

And here is a picture of the top of the tree.  Yes that is a lady’s leg you spy.  Yes there are an awful lot of birds.  Definitely that is masking tape at the bottom of the star.  What can I say, we’re classy broads…

So then I wrote down some recipes for a while.  I have started writing up a book of all of the recipes I use all of the time because I am tired of always searching for them.  I mean almost NONE of them are my own.  They’re from other people, cookbooks and some are just off the box of something but I hate having to rely on finding that stuff.  A few years ago I had bought three hardcover notebooks at Barnes and Noble with inspirational messages on them.  I gave one to me (!), one to Kristyn and one to my Dad.  They were just to keep track of life goals because we were all in a time of flux.  WELL. Me and Kristyn started using ours but my Dad didn’t use his and I found it in a box of his stuff when we moved.  I snatched it back from him haha.  So I started writing my recipes in here.  The cover says, “Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.”  That’s apt for a cookbook in case you want to create a lardass out of yourself.  (And I do!)

Anyway, my sister Christine  and her boyfriend Matt invited my parents, brother Charles, Grandma and Matt’s parents over for “Thanksmas”.  In other words she made a Turkey and they exchanged grab bag gifts.  From what I saw of the gifts, there was: A Santa Clause outfit Snuggie (want), A bottle of viscous fluid (my Dad purchased this and Matt got it, I tried to get them to crack it open and drink some with a spoon but they weren’t having it), a Jersey Shore poster, a candle and I forget what else because my brain lost steam with the viscous fluid.

THE POINT IS that we Skyped for like an hour haha.  Here is my Sister and my Dad (and me in the little window at the bottom):

Here is my Grandma Barr (my Dad’s momma), my Mom and my Sister:

Here is my Dad and my brother Wee Charles (or just, ya know Charles if that’s how you are) (P.S. Wee Charles is at like a foot taller than me and eleven years younger than me haha.):

Here is my Sister and my Momma:

Here is another one of my Grandma, Mom and Sister:

And here is my Dad and Charles doing god knows what.  It was weird to scream “LOOK AT ME!!!” at them from 3,000 miles away haha.

So that was that! I forgot to get one of Matt!!! He might have edited himself out of the photo shoot though if I know him haha. And who can blame him, computer cameras are not the most flattering format. My video kept cutting out so they could only see me like half of the time. Drat. Anyway, I’m a tad hungry so I’m going to go slap my feedbag on. TTYL.

mr. Gnome!

Guys my first LA Music Blog post went up!  I went to see mr. Gnome play at the Silverlake Lounge last Wednesday.  They were awesome and I highly recommend them.  Go here to read my review. I also shot the photos. Silverlake Lounge doesn’t have much in the way of lighting effects so I had to shoot these at 800 ISO. I’m proud of how (mostly) clear these pictures are because I had my aperture WAY open (sometimes to 1.8) and my shutter speed was like 6. I guess those ambles around Silver Lake working on my steady hand have been helping haha.

Here are a few of my favorite shots:

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Productive Day o’ Blogging

Me on my 31st Birthday!

I was uploading my 31st Birthday pictures and they made me happy so here's one of'm.

If a day can be measured as productive by time spent blogging things, then I have had a seriously productive day. I worked on some stuff for LA Music Blog, blogged all of my Tofurkey Day pictures and now I’m getting all of our pictures off of our SD Cards and onto Flickr.

I need to get a more physical hobby than blogging and sitting. I was just, and this is ca-razy, reading a blog about a guy who decided to stop going on the internet for four months. He is somehow blogging about his experience AS IT HAPPENS. I don’t know if he is snail mailing his blog to someone who is then posting it or if he is dictating it over the horn or what. The point is that I am uploading pictures off of my digital camera onto a laptop while organizing the photos on flickr AND reading a guys’ blog that is documenting his time AWAY from the internet on my cell phone. I’m like a goddamn junkie. Oh AND I should mention that I was also watching “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” on Netflix Instant on the Wii at the same exact time…this is a movie entirely in Swedish with English subtitles. I am out of funking control.

And as soon as the movie ended, I ran right here to get another hit off of the internet. I am nearing rock bottom I think. Ah well, I’ll see you all down there.

What I REALLY wanted to (briefly) discuss was how freeing a time 4am is to do shit like this. I don’t have anywhere I have to be in the morning so I don’t feel all stop watchy. During the day I am hyper aware of the sun and it’s gradual downward slope. The later it gets, the more of a failure I feel like. I suppose should feel all “fail” for doing THIS at 4am instead of getting some shuteye but it doesn’t seem to work like that. ALTHOUGH I should lay down because while 4am seems like an okay time to get inane work done, 5am seems like a criminal time to be awake. I have a rule that if I am awake and the sun starts to come out, a firing squad has to take me down immediately. This is how strongly I feel about never being awake to see the rising sun. I guess it reminds me of my errant youth. There’s nothing more gross than walking OUT of a New York City club while the sun is at full blast and you had NO IDEA. Ugh. Blerg. Shiver. Not me. Good times at the time but I am (choose to be) too old for that shit, EVEN if all I’m doing is giggling to “Parks and Recreation” under a crocheted blanket I made.

ALSO me and Kristyn realized that we have seriously cut back our portion sizes in the year + we’ve lived here. In NJ we ate out all of the time and you KNOW what kind of servings restaurants give you. Here we cook every meal and can’t afford to eat out. When we do, we end up gagging trying to stuff the entire meal in our pie holes because:

a) We misguidedly think we can.
b) Because we don’t know when we’re going to eat out again and…
c) Leftovers aren’t as good.

WELL, we were just NOT PREPARED for Thanksgiving. We filled our plates as usual and then were dismayed by how much food we’d put on the plates for a couple of reasons:

a) It was definitely way too much food.
b) I looked at my plate and actually said, “I have no idea how in the hell all of THAT is supposed to fit in here. *points to stomach*”
c) It looked like two if not three meals to me (on each of our plates so like total 4-6 of our regular meals). It seemed like a waste.

BUT, we again crammed that shit down our pie holes because it’s Thanksgiving and that is what you are required to do, no? Kristyn was actually SCREAMING in pain intermittently. But then got up for more haha. I don’t know what is wrong with that girl.

But everything we ate last night had me actually feeling full until around 9pm tonight. I had some biscuits and cookies throughout the day but that was just gluttony. If I’m honest, I was not hungry one iota all damn day. It was weird. And then I had Thanksgiving for dinner and I stuffed myself again. I don’t think I’ll need to eat again for another 24 hours.

Okay, well now it’s 4:19. I really gotta go. Before you know it, 5am will be here and you all KNOW that the firing squad has a standing order to arrive if my eyeballs are not closed. And they’re good guys but they mean business. So goodnight fools.

Stuffed…

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Usually I would post a whole blahblahblah story about our night but I went ahead and uploaded 45 pictures and that is WAY TOO LONG of a story. So here’s a shortened version:

* Kristyn cleaned things as if people were coming over, which was nice.

* Then she peeled stuff.

* Then I chopped things.

* Then Kristyn went to Target to buy a sensor for the Wii. One of our furry fools chewed the wire so we haven’t been able to pay with the Wii or watch Netflix Instant. We haven’t spent any money on entertainment in a LONG TIME so we decided that this would be the thing so we could play a game together after dinner and watch some TV.

* This was Kristyn’s first Black Friday experience EVER so she was quite proud of herself, haha.

* While she was gone I put the Tofurkey in the oven and prepped some more food.

* She came back and set the sensor up.

* Then we boiled things.

* Then we made things.

* Then we set the table and put the food out.

* Then we gorged ourselves like crazy. We are NOT used to eating like that.

* Kristyn gasped for air but managed to take in seconds.

* I knew there was no way I was fitting seconds in there and anyway I wanted dessert.

* We drank some wine and watching some South Park Christmas episodes. Hiiiiiiidey Ho!

* Then we had some pumpkin pie and Empire Biscuits.

* Then we played Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

* Then we took a series of weird pictures.

* Then we watched episodes of “Parks and Recreation” until we fell asleep.

* It was the bomb day.

Here’s what we had for Thanksgiving:

Tofurkey
Potatoes, carrots and onions
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Turnips and Carrots
Corn
Greebies
Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce
Biscuits
Sparkling Apple Cider
Two Buck Chuck Chardonnay
Pumpkin Pie with Cool Whip
Empire Biscuits

P.S. Sorry for adding so many pictures of me, my double chin and root vegetables!

Also…

Please go see “The Next Three Days”! I read this script on my very first day Interning at Lionsgate last year so it’s really surreal to see a trailer for it. The script was really good but more importantly, a lot of good people worked on this movie. I can’t afford to go see it in the theater right now so I’m going to need you to go see it and tell me how it was! I’ll have to wait for it to come to Netflix. *sads* GO! NOW!

What I am Thankful For

In my last post, and in last year’s Thanksgiving posts too, I forgot to write what I was thankful for. Oversight and it will never happen again! Haha.

I will number them because that’s how I do:

1) Kristyn – Kristyn is THE best friend I could ever want and I am forever grateful and thankful for her. I thank my lucky stars for her every day and always will.

2) My family – I am blessed to have such a large, accepting, funny and LOUD family haha. My family, on both sides, takes people as they find them and welcomes everyone with open arms. I am lucky to have such people in my life.

3) Kristyn’s family – Kristyn’s family are such good people and I love them as if they were my own. They always make me feel welcome and are a ton of fun to hang out with. I am so lucky to have them as well.

4) “The cats” aka the cats and Chucky – They knock everything over and chew anything that remotely resembles a string (or a WIRE Jesus Christ) but they bring so much goddamn love into our lives it is ridiculous. AND they’re so cute that I am grinding my teeth down to nubbins from the involuntary clenching my jaw does when my eyeballs witness potent cuteness. I will need dentures some day. It’s worth it.

5) Los Angeles, California – I know it’s been rough for us but I feel like a much differerent, much less naive person since coming out here. I think this has been a gigantic growing experience for me and it was one that I desperately needed. We now know the value of a dollar. We know not to take good fortune for granted as a given. We now know what we want out of life. We know the value of our family and friends. It has been a really awesome experience as well as the culmination of a lifelong dream that we both happened to share.

6) Opportunity – Since we’ve been here, we have had the opportunity to see and do things we never imagined we’d ever be able to do. Kristyn started writing for LA Music Blog and gets to review her favorite artists on a regular basis. I now get to do it too. We’ve both done internships that have taught us so much and introduced us to some really wonderful people. We’ve gotten to peep a LOT of celebrities (which might not be important to you but is something I LOVE to do) and be a part of some really great events. The highlight of the famous people I’ve met this year is DEFINITELY Eric Stonestreet (Cam from Modern Family). Jesus Christ was I excited about him. It was at the SU2C Telethon. I am REALLY professional when I meet anyone famous at work but with him I just couldn’t. I was pressed up against the stage door by a crush of people and he ended up crammed into the melee like a foot away from me. I just blurted out, “You’re my favorite!” And he was like, “No you’re MY favorite! Well at least out of the three of you standing along this wall. You are definitely my favorite.” And I said, “I am SERIOUS. Out of all of the people here, you are the ONE person I have been dying to see in person because I’m such a huge fan.” He said thank you and told me I was sweet and moved towards the stage door. After he walked past me he said to the other two people (one of which is an awesome Oncologist doing work for SU2C’s Dream Team and his publicist), “I was just kidding. You two are my favorite. I just said that because you know how she is.” HAHA AAAAAAH! So good.

7) Time – I know that I have been climbing the walls being stuck at home like this but I am self aware enough to realize that this time will likely be THE only time in my life where I have nothing to do and nowhere to be. SO I try to cherish it, get enough sleep, work on creative projects and try to enjoy the day. The alternative is to worry and freak out and then get a job and worry and freak out once I’m there. SO I’m glad for this time and I’m glad for the perspective it’s giving me on how lucky I would be to have a job.

8) Health – About a year and a half ago, I though I was going to have to get spinal surgery because my back was in THAT bad of shape. Now I have no pain and am SO grateful for that.

9) Creativity – I have had to rely on my creativity a LOT this year. Creatively stretching our money to make sure we’re fed, the lights are on, a roof is over our head and our animals are happy. Creatively finding ways to make us feel like things are okay (such as decorating for holidays and forcing us to have fun when we need it). Using my creativity to learn to crochet and then making seven thousand blankets. It’s been a good way to feel productive and it’s a hobby that keeps us warm when we sleep at night haha.

10) Friends – Last but not least (at all) is our friends. We have some really, REALLY good friends around us who make us laugh every day and pick us up when we are down. We are forever indebted to you and we love you!

Harry Thanksgibbing everybody!!!

Second California Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! I can’t believe it is our second Thanksgiving here already. This past year has felt like it went by in a wink but ALSO feels like “THE LONGEST YEAR OF MY ENTIRE GODDAMN LIFE” haha. I re-read the post I wrote last year on Thanksgiving and the post I wrote a few days later to showcase our grub. I am flummoxed by those posts for a few reasons. At that time we had JUST gotten here. We were still filled with that dizzy giddiness to be here. Also that Thanksgiving was difficult because it was the first one we spent away from our families and even away from each other because Kristyn had to work. One thing hasn’t changed, she’s working again today so we’re going to have our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow because we have the whole day off together. I am oddly less homesick this year but I guess it’s because I deal with homesickness in one way or another EVERY day so why should Thanksgiving be any different? That said, I wish I was there and having fun with our families. Another thing that amazed me about those pictures is how short Kristyn’s hair was! Hot damn them’s some short hairs! Haha.

Anyway, we have all of our food ready to go except one or two little things we will pick up tonight after Kristyn gets home. We had a mini Thanksgiving meal today. I toasted some wheat bread, put heated up Tofurkey deli slices, stuffing and cranberry sauce on it and made “Thanksgiving sandwiches” for us. Good shit. Kristyn is probably going to have a busy but fun Thanksgiving at work today. I have some work to do that I don’t want to have to do tomorrow. SO I’m listening to Christmas music and blogging to warm up my hot little fingers so I can start my other writing assignment haha.

Later, I am going to watch Dexter, drink a bottle of already opened wine (it’s asking for it) and crochet this blanket:

I had bought these colors to make a Thanksgiving blanket with the leftover orange yarn from Nana’s Halloween blanket. BUT they clashed with the orange but looked nice together. (I think we’ve been through this.) Anyway, these colors are Gryffindor colors! SO this blanket is going to make me forever say either “Harry Thanksgiving!” or “HP Thanksgiving!” to people and they’ll love it.

This week has been fun because Kristyn’s co-worker Nina and her boyfriend Marco threw a Thanksgiving party on Tuesday. It was an ambitious endeavor because there were SO many people there. The food was so good and it was SO nice to get out of the house haha. We met a lot of really nice people to. So thanks again guys! :)

And I’m writing for LA Music Blog now so I went to my first show last night. I went to see mr. Gnome at Silver Lake Lounge and they were so good! Here is one of the pictures I took:

So okay I’m going to go do all of that stuff right now. And this below picture is for our families that tease us about our Tofurkeys haha.

A Spaced Out Ramble for Your Viewing Pleasure

Mondays are Kristyn’s day off and now that we have the Internet reconnected she doesn’t have to go into her internship to keep up with writing the music blog. This means that we have one full day to do shit together! And that is up from no days so we consider ourselves lucky for the time being.

I had an appointment at 8am that I thought was going to take three hours for some reason but really actually took less than twenty. This kind of fuckocked me up because I was up until probably about 3am tossing and turning a bit. Then I had to get up at 6:30 to be to Glendale for 8. It’s not far but I didn’t want to be late.

I had a good time on the way there though because I got to talk on the horn with my friend Rachel. That was a nice way to start the day! I should do all my horn-talking at that time because I was freshly caffeinated.

So basically I got no sleep and then amped myself up on goofballs to have a fifteen minute appointment so I could turn my fat ass back around again and go home. I tried to wake Kristyn up but she refused to even acknowledge me. She played possum so hard that THE ONLY question she would answer is, “Are you ignoring me?” She responded with the very tiniest nod a person can make. It was barely a nod and could have easily been passed off as a tick. But I know Kristyn and she will try to get away with the vaguest phrasing and gestures as humanly possible. That tiny spasm meant, “GO AWAY YOU WHITE DEVIL.” Well, alright.

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Thanksgiving in California is delicious.

So as I said in my last post, Kristyn had to work on Thanksgiving Proper (Thursday, November 26), so we had our Thanksgiving on Friday, November 27th. We slept late, got up and had a leasurely breakfast. Then we drank tea and watched “A League of Their Own” on the couch. After that, “Sleepless in Seattle” came on and we decided to start cooking. On Thursday night, while Kristyn was at work, I’d pre-cooked some of the food. I’d made the Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potatoes, peeled a ton of potatoes and made the:

Turnips and Carrots! This is one of those Grandma Barr recipes that I have to have for it to feel like a holiday.

So while we watched “Sleepless in Seattle” (Kristyn used to have the soundtrack but never saw the movie, OMG), we started cooking everything. Since I’d already pre-peeled a lot of the potatoes, I started chopping them up as well as the carrots and onions for the Tofurkey. I use the directions to prepare the Tofurkey from the box but with some changes. On the box it says to use three tablespoons of oil with one tablespoon of soy sauce. It says to cut up like three potatoes, two carrots and some onion and put it in the dish. You are supposed to use half of the oil/soy sauce dressing and pour it over the tofurkey, cover, bake. I cut up probably about six potatoes, three carrots and half of a giant red onion and put the Tofurkey in a 9 x 13 dish. Therefore I doubled the oil/soy sauce ration. Six tablespoons oil (I used Canola bc that’s what I had but last year I used Olive and it was just as good) and two tablespoons soy sauce. Then I added Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika and Pepper into the dressing and whisked it all together. I poured the whole bowl over the Tofurkey and veggies then sprinkled them all with the seasoning again, covered with foil and baked it for an hour and fifteen minutes on 350. Here is the Tofurkey I used (for those non-veggies reading this):

Tofurkey!!!

Here is what the whole thing looks like prepped and ready to go in the oven:

This is the Tofurkey all ready to go in the oven.

So then Kristyn decided to vaccuum to make the house nice “as if there were people coming over”. But, alas, she didn’t get far because the vaccuum is broken:

Kristyn feverishly vaccuuming with our broken vaccuum. (I broke it trying to suck up hay from the bunny, oops, haha.)

Edith chilling on her perch, tolerating her mothers.

After Kristyn vaccuumed, she started making Greebies. It’s a Lithuanian family recipe that Kristyn’s family eats on holidays. So good!

Kristyn and Greebies!

Done Tofurkey and Boiling Potatoes.

Here is the Tofurkey done and out of the oven!

These are the Garlic Mashed Potatoes I made. They happen to be the only good mashed potatoes I have ever made!

Here's Elvira sitting on our cat hair-laden couch. Our vaccuum is broken, boo hoo.

Food heating on the stove, mushroom gravy is almost done!

Kristyn does some last-minute dishes.

Here's Monster sleeping through all the chaos (on my Rocky IV Quilt), as usual. So cute.

Me smiling because my work is almost done!

Here is our spread, starting with my plate! There are not enough reasons to eat cranberry sauce in this world, I tell ya.

Here's Kristyn being a food paparazzi...All that preparation and we insist on taking a million pictures first, haha.

Time for pies! Pumpkin and a mistake pie. I meant to buy apple but instead bought this apple/cherry/raisin robo pie that is not as good as it sounds. Bad Coleen, bad.

There was a startling moment where we could not find the Cool Whip. We took turns looking for it, there was blame, there was panic. It had been pushed into the back of the fridge and we found it! *Whew!*

So after that, we ate pie and watched “Heathers” on the couch. This was a very relaxing and fun Thanksgiving! We missed our family and friends but on Saturday night, we got a chance to Skype with our friends at their own Thanksgiving Part Two:

This is Mike's body showing us a baguette. It is an awesome coincidence that the video cam appears to be his head.

This is Ray and Mike! Everyone's at Tiffany's House!

So Thanksgiving was officially a success!