Just breezing along enjoying the holidays and all the trimmings. Trying not to make myself crazy doing too many things. This time of year I have to keep telling myself that I am not Martha Stewart, nor will I ever be. I always feel that Christmas officially starts when I get the copy of her magazine, Martha Stewart Living, December issue. It ain't Christmas, till Martha says it is. Let the crafting begin.
Tis the season to be jolly, but of course it's easier for some people, than others. The holidays are a time that happiness is mandatory, and if you're not feeling it, you have to fake it till you make it. I blame Santa Clause for tainting children at a very early age by giving them a false sense that gifts come from a chubby old man who drops out of the sky. Delivering every materialist wish to their door, with no concern of how it is paid for, because they were good little boys and girls. While we're at it, why not eat that extra pound of fudge, because, after all, you have a whole year to take it off. If there is one thing that Christmas isn't, is a time of deprivation. We have all been good this whole year, and we deserve it. If we can't pay for it, well, that is why plastic was invented. Santa hardly ever said no. It was the one day of the year that collectively, was the best day of the year. We never lose that little child in us, who longs for the magic, that comes from believing.
That is why it is sad to see people so desperate to fill their needs this time of year. You have to sell more, buy more, eat more, party more and hopefully, love more. The stores are desperate to get you to buy and you can feel it from the moment you set foot in one. We are so happy to see you and please buy something, as my job, store, dreams are on the line.
I also get bombarded every day with desperate email, begging me to take advantage of a deal, that never existed a few years ago. Used to be we had to wait till the day after Christmas to get a bargain, but now greed has been replaced with survival. Times are hard, and who knows who will still have a job a year from now? Seems everyone is out for the extra buck this year, but by the looks of things, there aren't too many extra bucks floating around. Maybe this is the year to realize that Santa was just a gimmick, and real happiness is an inside job. Presents get broken, returned, forgotten. Memories remain forever. Make yours good ones, I know I am.
My favorite restaurant at the moment is Lemonade. An old school caffeteria style eatery that is taking Southern California by storm. Before sitting down, diners order from a vast array of salads, sandwiches and hot foods at the front counter. If salads aren't your thing, they have a pot roast bar where various types of stews are bubbling away on portable induction cook tops. They have everything from Basque chicken with artichokes and olives to red miso short rib and lamb tagine.
The highlight is the fresh salad bar, that features about thirty fresh salads. Many of them contain ingredients I have never heard of, but that doesn't stop me from loving them. Of course they also have lemonade. I love the mint cucumber one, or the ginger peach. To top it off, they sell desserts that definitely remind you of the good old days!
I can't get enough of the sights all over town. I've been trying to get everything done so that I can hang out with my daughters the week before Christmas. I was just complaining about starting decorating for Christmas too early, and now I am realizing it is not going to last long enough. The weather here has been so unseasonably cold, just perfect for transplanted Easterners, who still remember what it was like to have a white Christmas.
I am really enjoying this Christmas season and basking in the happiness and joy all around. This time last year, I was just finishing chemo, and awaiting my mastectomy in January. Needless to say, it was a bit tense and even the magic of the holidays couldn't lift my spirits. This year is going to be different. I am not looking back. Not crying about the past, but thankful for what is ahead. My favorite shopping area, Abbot Kinny, in Venice, had a Christmas open house today and even though it rained a little, it was still a lot of fun. I don't know if it's just me, but everything seems brighter this year. I think people are trying to forget why they are depressed and throwing themselves into the holidays. Just because it doesn't snow here, doesn't mean that kids can't go sledding. That yellow stuff you see, is imported snow just for the party. Actually the weather is cold enough, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a few flakes in the near future. For now we have to settle for rain. Hey, at least it's a diversion from all the sunny days we have.
It's not Christmas for some people until they see the Nutcracker. Fortunately for me, my friend has children who perform in it every year so I get to help out and experience the whole deal, from rehearsals to the grand finale. No matter how many times I see it, I still love it. Now that I know a lot of the cast members, it is even more fun. Watching them get ready, doing the curls, the makeup and the fabulous but uncomfortable costumes, makes you appreciate it even more.
One of the things I value most in life these days, is friendship and the people who have been there for me unconditionally during my darkest hours. Today was a dear friend's birthday and we helped celebrate with a cake from Sweet Lady Jane's bakery which just happens to be the best bakery in all of Southern California. Unfortunately for me, they just opened a new store on Montana Ave - a mere fourteen blocks from my house. This was probably the best cake I have ever had along with the most expensive. Worth every calorie and every penny.
My favorite month of the year brought to you by Snow and Graham. This is my all time special calendar and I get one every year because I love the way it adds a touch of class to my home. Oprah can have her favorite things and so can I.