Focusing on the Positive

So I played hooky at work yesterday because the Air Conditioner in our house isn’t working so I had a guy come out to look at it and figure out what the heck was wrong with it.  The short answer is:  everything.  The long answer is:  We just need to get a new one.  But the AC guy was nice enough to tell me that he has seen new systems as cheap as $6,000. 

Blink. Blink.  blinkblinkblinkblink.

Well golly gee, that’s good to hear.  They’re cheap!  OMGKILLMENOW.

So yeah, not so much goodness happening around these parts this week.  We’re going to go ahead and add the A/C project to our To-Do list of *life projects that are totally going to be cheap to do I’m sure*, which also includes:

-Landscape Front and Back Yard
-Fix Air Conditioner in my car before Sacramento gets sucky and sweltering
-Fix CV Boot issue in Garrett’s car
-Paint Interior House..oh, and my personal favorite
-Go to the dentist to get to the bottom of that tooth of mine that is hurting

So Yeah….since I’m trying to stay positive here, I’m choosing instead to focus on this to-do list, which I like to call

Shit I’m Prioritizing This Weekend:

*Making this Warm Quinoa Salad
*Reading this book. 
Real Quick, can somebody tell real quick when I turned into a giant hippy?
Meh.  Whatever. 
*Watch copious amounts of Criminal Minds

I’m going through an obsession with that show, pretty much as I did with every single one of the CSI franchises (except NY, I just can’t get into CSI:NY), where I can watch like 5 episodes back to back and not bat an eyelash.  What can I tell you?  I can be a master at the art of time-suckage when I want to be.  

This weekend, will be great damnit!  And at least it won’t be hot, so I’ve got that going for me with no Air Conditioning…hahahahahahahahaSOB.

Hope you are doing something great, friends!

Arrested Development

Since we’re all friends here I thought today might be a nice time to tell you about a brush with the law I had a little over a decade ago. You see, I consider myself a pretty law abiding citizen these days. I mean, it’s The Law, right?  So I try to respect it.  I mean this hands-free headset cell phone thing does irritate me and even though Oprah is all over it, I’m still finding it a very bitter pill to swallow. That said I drive in the mostly no phone zone, even though it bugs me, but that is a product of age, I think.  Because my 21 year old self was not quite so level headed about The Law.

Once during the LA Years I got pulled over for not having a front license plate and subsequently was given a fix it ticket. But “fixing it” was going to cost me somewhere in the realm of $50 and I was sort of pissed at this. That was money that I could have been spending on important things like booze and tacos  and stuff. I certainly wasn’t going to spend it on some mounting thingamajig so that I could affix my license plate to it. I didn’t even know where that plate was anyhow, since it had been like that since I bought the damn car so why don’t you go give the dealership a fix it ticket, Officer Shut-Your-Face.  Also – I was single. And I wasn’t really skilled at the whole Art of Affixing Things. I mean, even if I was willing to spend $50 at an Auto Parts Store (which I wasn’t) what the hell would I do with it when I got home? (No idea.) I was living with A Diva and A Gay Man, and while we threw FANTASTIC parties, there were not a lot of handy people in that house, you know?

So I ignored it, obviously. It seemed like a reasonable thing to do at the time. I had other things to think about and I’ll tell you what, none of those things were license plates.  I got a follow up letter about it, and I think I may have possibly put it in my stack of papers to look at later. Maybe it got thrown away, I don’t really know, organization at that time was also not my strong suit. And I think another letter or two may have come in the mail but I didn’t really pay attention that stuff – you know booze, tacos, whatnot – remember? These things  were important! Not some silly letter.  But then one day a letter came that I did end up paying attention to because it mentioned things like COURT DATES and WARRANTS FOR MY ARREST.

And holy shitballs, that was pretty important.  So I went to court.

The judge was actually pretty nice. I was honest (you know, without mentioning the booze or the tacos) and I think he probably thought I was a giant spoiled douchebag that needed to learn a new filing system or something (and I probably was) but he let me go if I was willing to pay the fine and, of course, actually fix it. You are probably not surprised at this point to find out that I drove to court that day (months later!) in a car that STILL didn’t have a front license plate. Man, some days I weep for my former self.   Anyway, all was well and good until I got to the little window outside of the courtroom and found out this “little” fine that I would have to pay was something to the tune of $700. Um…do you know how many tacos that can buy?

So — lesson learned the hard way and all that. I wish I could say that is the only lesson I had to learn the hard way, but alas your 20s last an entire decade, don’t they? Among other things, this whole incident has now given me an irrational fear of the fix-it ticket and its potentially unforeseen financial consequences. You could probably argue that a normal person would have seen those financial consequences coming and so I have nothing to worry about, but I admitted that the fear was irrational, okay? Let me be.   Anyway I’ve obviously straightened things out over the last decade and things like that are a distant and laughable memory, but I still have The Fear.  And for the last few years I’ve been driving Garrett’s second car and wouldn’t you know it, it’s an old car that was a hand me down from his grandma and when we got it, it didn’t have a front license plate.

“We need to fix that STAT!” I told him the day we got the car, and many days since. (See, at least I learn from my mistakes.) But of course he insisted that I’m being insanely paranoid since he has driven a car for 13 years without a front license plate (apparently they aesthetically offensive to some, who knew?) and never been pulled over, and of course he always reminds me this is Sacramento and not Los Angeles, and Gee Whiz Holly…don’t get yourself all worked up and crazy about it, we will get around to fixing it some point, and ….WELL GEE WHIZ BUCKO, GUESS WHO GOT A CRAZY FIX IT TICKET FOR THEIR EFFING CAR AND THEIR LACK OF AN EFFING FRONG LICENSE PLATE THIS AFTERNOON?

I’ll give you one guess cuz I’m nice like that.

I’m so ri-DONK-ulously irritated that I got the ticket because it totally could have been prevented, but also because – Hey Mr. CHP, aren’t there like REAL criminals you could be going after? The worst part of the whole thing though is that I had to sit, pulled over, looking like a criminal on the side of the road right in front of my super duper dream house and of course they came home while I was sitting there.  Of course they did.  And so did their neighbors actually.  And you know at least one of them thinks I’m some sort of scoundrel now.  I wanted to lean out the window shout “Garrett is the scoundrel! The scoundrel that wouldn’t fix my license plate!” right as they pulled into their garage, but I didn’t.  I just kept mum until the officer wrote out my ticket and then when he handed it over to me I said Thank you. THANK YOU! Gah, I hate myself for saying that. I’m not thankful, yet I still said thank you even though I had sat there for like 10 minutes in the car reminding myself over and over to make sure that I DIDN’T say thank you when he handed it over.

But the silver lining in all of that is that I’m secretly feeling a bit Smuggy McSmuggerson because GUESS WHO WAS TOTALLY RIGHT? Right. Right. Right.  I am so Right.  And totally NOT paranoid! BOO YAH! And if you haven’t already guessed that I made a super-illegal-apologies-to-Oprah, “I Told You So” phone call to Garrett as soon as I pulled away from that curb and out of that CHP’s eyesight, well then, you may not know me at all.

Tree of Life

I lived in the same house from the time I was very small until I was 17 years old. When it was my turn to move out of the house, my parents did as well and it was sort of this weird simultaneous transition. They say you can’t go home again, and the truth for me was, I couldn’t. Ever since that house I’ve lived in a number of different apartments and in many different places: college in San Luis Obispo and then Los Angeles just because (in Westwood right by UCLA, then in Mar Vista right by Marina del Rey). After that I headed up to Sacramento where I have lived Downtown, then in East Sacramento and now in the suburban outskirts of Carmichael (which trust me, are all very different living experiences). With each move I have become more efficient with that dance of systematically unpacking my stuff, setting up a brand new life, finding Target and the grocery store and the good gas stations, and then of course trying to make my house a home. But part of me was always still searching for something.

I’ve always had a bit of wanderlust. I’ve discussed that here before, I love to travel and when I do I rarely go for fancy hotels. I much prefer renting a house or a condo in my destination, and pretending – even if just for a weekend – that this is my home. It’s fun to play the part of a whole new life. I’ve always thought of myself as someone who was adaptable. I’ve always though I could pick and move anywhere at anytime. It’s something I know how to do, something I do well even – moving from place to place and always finding where I belong there.

I think I took for granted the stability of my home growing up, but I mean what can you expect? I was a kid and idyllic suburbia was all I knew. I longed for “bigger and better” things as I grew up – living in the city, or having a fun apartment downtown – whatever it was. But as I’ve gotten older, moved around, and lived in different places I have such a better appreciation for everything my parents did to make our house more than just this place we all slept. It was home. And of course even though I have had great living experiences in my 32 years — lived in fun and quirky places, had some fantastic roommates (and some not so fantastic ones, too!) — I still found myself in search of that feeling of home and often wondered what it would feel like as an adult.

Yesterday afternoon I fell asleep on the couch as I often do on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I took a catnap with the sun coming in the windows just a bit making the house that perfect temperature for snoozing. It was quiet and when I woke up Garrett was tip-toeing around the house cleaning things up in the kitchen.

“I’ve never seen you sleep more soundly than you do at this house.”

And it’s true (although truth be told regardless of chair, bed, or couch, I can be a champion sleeper in any locale.) But even more than that, I realized – I do sleep sounder here. I breathe deeper here. Moving in to this particular house with this particular boy has – at the risk of sounding a bit cheesy – been a bit of a homecoming.  (Collective barfing can commence!)  My favorite stuff and my favorite person are finally all in the same location. No more subconscious worrying about one or the other. No more shuttling back and forth on the weekends. No more buying groceries for one house just to end up having them spoil because you both are staying at the other house.

THIS, is home.

And you all, it is like this giant exhale for my soul.

And I know you are probably thinking to yourself – hey genius, it’s already been a year and you are just getting around to this epiphany now? And the answer to that is: kind of. What can I say; sometimes I’m slow on the uptake.

Lately I keep looking around the rooms of my house – our house – and seeing our intertwined lives in every single room. The things we’ve done together, the things we’ve chosen together, our shared tasks, and our shared goals. I’ve looked around at this house – well, at this life really – and seen roots.  Which is exactly what I have always missed about my life with my parents in our little old house.  This is the thing I have been looking for.  This is the life I’ve been searching for. And I know that if you take this blog’s word for it, sometimes it is a small and mundane life — who are we kidding, right?  But even though it is a silly little life, you guys sometimes it is such a good life – and on days like yesterday I almost can’t believe my luck that I found it at all — and can hardly believe that I get to watch it grow.

Time Flies When You’re Having…Well, let’s just say time flies, shall we?

The last couple of weeks…oh lordy, the last couple of weeks…can I tell you?  They have been interesting.  Lots of work-ish stuff going on, which of course keeps me from blogging.  You know the feeling, all you want to talk about is what’s happening with this GIANT UNBLOGGABLE TOPIC, and then all of a sudden time passes and you realize that this all consuming things has made you utterly boring and you have nary an interesting thing to say.

Yeah, that’s been me as of late.  Life is good though, no need to worry, I’ve just sort of been out of the loop.   And I hate that.

So I just wanted to pop in and say hello for a minute and let you know that on Monday I will be back with some regularly scheduled programming.  People are often curious why I write here since it’s mostly just my personal drivel, and many can’t quite understand how I could possibly call it a hobby…but seriously, when I don’t write here — I MISS IT!!  (And of course I miss you guys, duh.) 

I had a friend once who ran marathons and I just could not wrap my brain around marathons as a hobby because it sounds like torture but then she said, “I just feel gross if I’m not running regularly.”   And that, I understand.  If I’m not writing, I just kind of feel gross.  Life sort of isn’t in balance. 

So I hope you are all doing well, and are planning to have a nice relaxing weekend, and here’s to next week, catching up, writing some stuff down, and nixing The Gross! 


Red Wine Sangria

I don’t know how you all organize your recipes but I have four main systems.  I have a D-Ring binder (Down with the O-Rings!) in the kitchen for recipes I have printed out from the internet (that is overflowing by the way — what did I do before food blogs?), I have an accordion file of family recipes and random 3×5 cards, and then I bookmark recipes I want to try at

The fourth system is, well…less of a system and more of a compilation of random scraps of paper scribbled from god knows what source, newspaper clippings, and ingredients to try scrawled on the backs of envelopes.  Cooking is sort of an organic process around here at times, what can I say.  So before I start with the cooking talk today, can we pause so you can tell me: How do you organize your recipes?  I’m dying to know, please please please enlighten me!

Whew!  Thanks!    

Ok so you probably saw this coming, but this following recipe is from that 4th Realm of Organization so unfortunately I can not politely tip my adaptation hat, but since I have made and tinkered with this recipe so many times I feel comfortable making its official name Holly’s Refreshing YET DANGEROUS Sangria.  And may I suggest serving it anywhere you want to get the party started.  

Holly's Red Wine Sangria

Now I’ll admit it starts off with some arbitrary ingredients:


Not pictured: a can of orange juice concentrate and sugar to taste.  I forgot to include those because I had already had a glass of this when I took these pictures, so sue me.  

After assembling this motley crew, the concocting couldn’t be easier:

*Slice the following fruits in wedges and juice over a  pitcher:  1 lemon, 1 lime, 1 orange.  Throw them in the pitcher — it looks pretty.
*Add one small can of chopped pineapple with its juices
*Add frozen berries to taste (any berries will work, pick your poison.  I like to get crazy and add a lot.)
*Add 1-2 cans of ginger ale (you could probably use Sprite too, but I haven’t tried it.  If you do, let me know.)
*Add 1/2 cup of orange juice
*Add 1 bottle of red wine (my advice,  go inexpensive — but not too inexpensive)
*Add sugar to taste (I usually add  a few tablespoons, if you like it sweeter, add more! This recipe is easy like that.)

****and here’s where things get a little nutty*****

*Add 1/2 to 1 Cup of gin or vodka.  (My suggestion, Bombay Sapphire, and 1 Cup, but that’s just me, your raging alcoholic hostess.  You can decide what’s right for you.)

Stir, refrigerate until chilled, and enjoy with friends.  

I have never had anyone not like this Sangria, in fact quite the opposite.  I have received some pretty sloppy hugs and kisses over it, so my last warning to you is be careful who you serve it to.

Now drink up!

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