Monday, December 30, 2013

A Whole Lot of Holiday Random

I spent today taking down our Christmas tree and packing up the decorations; putting them into storage until next year. As I did, I thought a whole lot of random thoughts from the holiday season:
1. I received a whole lot of wonderful ornaments and cards from blog friends this year:
I participated in a great festive swap/holiday ornament exchange organized by Miriam. I received the very cute gingerbread man from Heather and the delicate star from Miriam herself! I also received a wonderful, unexpected surprise ornament.
It's from Andy Lean, a wonderful artist and blog friend who I met this year. Plus, I got all sorts of wonderful cards and goodies from friends in blogland. And, yeah, I still haven't sent out my cards (but I will this week!).
2. I'm binge watching The Good Wife and House of Cards on Netflix. Enjoying both immensely!
3. I'm reading The Round House by Louise Erdrich for my book group. Her first novel, Love Medicine, is one of my all time favorite books. This one is very different, but so far I like it.
4. I spent a glorious Saturday morning on the soccer pitch:
The Half Moon Bay High School soccer program traditionally holds its alumni game on Thanksgiving Weekend. This year, they decided to hold an alumni 8v8 tournament. Henry and several recent graduates formed the team that eventually won the tournament. It was so much fun to reconnect with these young men and see what they have been up to.
5. Here's a great recipe I enjoyed at my brother's house (quinoa salad, served warm or cold):
saute onion in olive oil; add one cup of quinoa and two cups of vegetable broth; simmer until all liquid is absorbed; drain and rinse one can of black beans, once can of corn and one can of chopped tomatoes; when quinoa is cooked, toss in beans, corn and tomatoes. Season with lemon pepper. 
6. While in Southern California, Clara went on her first college tour with my brother who works there:
She really liked the campus (which made me happy). Clara is interested in studying animal behavior and Cal Poly Pomona has a good agriculture dept. where she could do just that. Other good schools with agriculture departments are Oregon State, Chico State and U.C. Davis.  A few schools have animal studies programs which are actually even better suited to what she wants to do. Those schools include the University of Redlands in Southern California; St. Joseph's outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Wheaton in Massachusetts, and Canisius in Buffalo, New York. It's still a long way until she needs to apply, but it's fun to start thinking about it! She does not want to be a Veterinarian (a decision that became even clearer to her after she did a Vet shadow program this week).
7. Paul and Clara are working on constructing a chicken yard out back. So far it involves a lot of digging. Clara's decided to get pullets, instead of chicks, and they will be available mid-January. They should have a nice fenced yard (around the coop) by then.
8. I got all dressed up to go to Christmas Tea with friends
I took this selfie before heading out. It occurred to me that there is a big difference between Going to Tea (which is what we do in the United States) and having tea (which is what we do in the U.K.). The former is fancier and rarer. The latter is an everyday occurrence. In the U.S., we treat grabbing a cup of coffee much more the way that Europeans treat having tea.
9. My bad luck streak trying to win at the annual cookie exchange party continues. The theme this year was college spirit, and I thought I had a winning entry:
Until I got there and saw this:
Sigh. Someday I'll win!
10. My favorite Christmas present this year was a fitbit! I love being able to track my steps every day. I've logged 10,000 steps most days (or gotten close). I found out that I climb lots of stair flights each day, too! 


Irene said...

Loving the selfie. Sorry about that cookie contest. Glad that Henry and Clara are keeping busy. Happy New Year to your family and all my cousins in California.

scrappyjacky said...

Great selfie,Rinda.....and your tea comments are fact,there are two kinds of tea taking over here as well.....'having tea' which is everyday.....and 'afternoon tea' which is fancier and rarer!!

Anonymous said...

Great looking selfie Rinda. Oh my, looking at colleges already. Sorry about the cookie contest. Happy New Year.

Cheri said...

I love my fitbit! Sent you a friend request.

Sian said...

..and aren't the holidays just the very best time for a whole lot of lovely random! Great fun post as you head towards a new year which I hope will be full of everything you and the family loves

debs14 said...

I love learning little snippets of people's lives through random posts! Great selfie ! I'm having a mug of tea while typing this but yes, we too have posh afternoon teas where you dress up and have dainty sandwiches and fancy cakes ( usually very expensive unlike our daily 'cuppas'.)
Happy new year x

Melissa said...

Lovely catch up on your random thoughts today! Your cookie entry is so cute, but I have to say - HOOK 'EM HORNS (you know, don't mess with Texas!). LOL

Alison said...

Great post Rinda...full of little snippets about your life.....I have been thinking about a fitbit...I SO need to focus on my health and fitness next year!
Happy New Year!
Alyson xx

sky-blu-pink said...

Thanks for sharing your yuletide fun! I think our Afternoon Tea, with sandwiches, scones and cream and jam, and cake is like your Going for Tea. That is a treat, whereas for me and probably the vast majority of English ladies, the consumption of vast amounts of tea is 'de rigueur'!

Jo Murray said...

LOVE handmade ornaments and received some myself this year. Your new photo is gorgeous, and the children both doing well so you should be very happy with the year 2013. Maybe 2014 you'll get the cookie prize too. Happy New Year Rinda!

Karen said...

I thought of you this week when I opened my Christmas gift from Sarah and Adam---a flying pig. I first saw them in Half Moon Bay, and didn't buy one. When we returned later, they had gone up in price and I decided they were too expensive. Sarah found one in a flea market near Chicago this fall, and he (she) is absolutely delightful! I'll post a photo eventually!

Looks like a great holiday. We visited UC Davis with Matt when he was thinking about graduate programs, and just loved it. Looking at colleges was always lot of fun to me.

Joan said...

Not to be a broken record, but Michigan State has strong ag. First four season (!) organic farming program in the country. We live across the street from the sheep farm, where the sheep are herded by donkeys and cared for by students. Good call on not vet med. They have the same debt/job issues that we have in law, but probably even worse.

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

You had me with "random" in the title of this post! lol

I love me a good random post, and it was fun to read your selection, including a yummy sounding recipe and information on Clara's college possibilities. Yikes! I'm not ready for her to go too! Haha! Glad it will be a while!

Susanne said...

What a fun "random" post. I always love your photos.

Missus Wookie said...

I do like a random post - such a fun collection of bits. University tours were fun for us, hope you find just the right place for Clara. We like proper teas too - scones etc. one of Princess's favourite things.