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Wednesday, December 31

Have you ever felt as if you could have done more, felt you wasted precious time. Perhaps you have so many items on your to do list and not even one has been marked as complete, or perhaps there is so much going on that you just feel overwhelmed.

As I began to upset and worry about the little time I have  and everything that is going on, I stumbled upon a precious site "The finest things in life",  then as I read and discover more about Tom Davis it came back to me how lucky I am and how blessed I have been, how far I've come. What is left is the determination to stop obsessing/stressing about the things I just can't change - and instead enjoy the process of this precious life's stage that is just about to end.

I wanted to post about things that all the sudden looked so trivial: how wonderful "The Return of the King" was, how much I have to do, and how our sofa has finally been serviced and it is not squeaking anymore. Instead, I've decided to take my own old advice "to stop in the middle of the road", it makes more sense in Spanish "hacer un alto en el camino".

Now as year 2003 ends and I start thinking about the goals and resolutions for 2004, I've decided to focus on happiness and on what I read today on LiquidsKyarts and on "The finest things in life".

The best part of my life is not just about to start, it started 3 years ago when I met again the most wonderful person on earth.

Happy New Year!

Health, love and happiness to you and those you love. 


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Monday, December 29

This will be a very short work-week for me; I will be taking a few days off (here and there) to take care of some personal errands and wedding stuff. If there is one thing I need right now - that will be time, and with it "order".

Now, before the Holidays are actually over, click here to get the Snickerdoodles recipe. Enjoy! 


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Friday, December 26

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! DB and I had a terrific one. Christmas Eve was a little hectic at the beginning. I had to work that day and even though I knew I could go home early, I had so much work that my hopes for a quite, slow day did not materialize.

At home it was a different story, I cleaned and organized while DB cooked a delicious meal: a whole chicken, mashed potatoes, home made gravy, rice pilaf, beets and bread. I stopped by one of the Spanish stores in Jamaica Plain and I picked up a traditional Dominican bread (La Telera) an egg based bread that it is really, really long and big. Dinner was delicious, DB did a great job.

We couldn't start a fire on our fireplace, because the temperature was really high. I couldn't believe, I was hoping for a white Christmas, but instead we got a little bit of summer in the middle of winter (sounds familiar?).

On Christmas Day we did absolutely nothing, we spent most of the day hanging out,  just relaxing in the couch. In the morning we finished wrapping each other presents (we were really behind this year). DB was wrapping the presents he got for me in the living room area, while I cleaned the kitchen (from the night before). Then later that morning, while DB prepared blueberry pancakes, I moved to the living room and wrapped DB's presents (it took me a long time to have everything wrapped; this year I had many, many little stocking gifts for him). After brunch - and after I was done wrapping presents - we sat on the couch pretty much all day long. We watched movies ("The Italian Job" and "Pirates of the Caribbean") and drank hot chocolate (I made the best hot chocolate in the world - DB's words - it is very rich, but it is worth every single gram of fact). The weather was still off on Christmas Day, but we were able to start a fire by keeping the temperature in the house very low (we pretty much turned the heat off). We then kept the fireplace going all day and open each other's gifts by the warm comfy fire.


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Tuesday, December 23 

We got a Christmas tree!

On Sunday we made it back to the garden center, we did not get there until noon (sticking to our weekend/Sunday traditions). The garden center was really nice and fancy; their selection of plants is pretty good and the service is excellent. We are definitely coming back to Mahoney's Garden Center. It did not take us long to find a nice tree, we thought about trimming it a little bit on the base, but then we realized that the tree looked good just the way it was.

Along with the Christmas tree we got a tiny-tiny pine tree that I thought would look great in our building entrance. I placed it on a copper pot that we bought a long time ago at a garden show. I kept the tiny tree on its original container,  put moss all around it and placed some dry rose hips at the base, it looked very nice - I got the rose hips at Mahoney's. We also got a Poinsettia just the right size for our coffee table.

We just finished decorating the tree and it looks great! DB had so many ornaments that I could not believe it. He got a big group of them when he was living in Germany. They are small, whimsical and cute (hand made wooden ornaments. We have some big ornaments, but we did not use them all. Our collection of tiny ornaments took over the whole tree. We got new Christmas lights today, I hope to publish some pictures (hopefully some day).

This morning I delivered the home made Christmas cookies we baked over the weekend, I gave them to some of my friends at work and my whole team; like last year we placed the cookies on Ziploc containers with layers of parchment paper in between. The big hits were once again "snicker doodles" and the new ginger thingies.

Yesterday morning, I brought to work the brown sugar vanilla cookies (made with the horrible cookie shooter) that did not make our cut. To my surprise they were gone pretty fast, my co-workers like them. The big disappointment were the lemon Christmas cookies, had to throw them away, the entire batch, they were just horrible and tasted very bad. We still don't know what went wrong, after all this little accidents we've decided not to introduce more than one new recipe each year. Four new recipes and a new cookie shooter were just a little too much!



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Saturday, December 20

My friend A. V. was coming to visit this weekend, but her car started acting up and we thought it was be better to postpone the visit for another time. She tried to get a rental car, but because of the short notice she had no luck - she lives in a small town in Vermont. .

After the sudden change of plans, I decided to make some phone calls and catch up with some friends; I ended up making only one call - I spent three hours talking to my friend S. C.; every time we call each other we promise that the next time we will be brief, we always say: "we need to call each other more often, so we don't have to spend more than 15 minutes on the phone". One time we even set a rule of "no talking for more than 15 minutes", I think we followed it only once or twice (that was more than a year ago). It was so nice to talk to her; we laugh and vent, and talk about all the things that have gone well and wrong throughout the year and my "wedding planning process".

S. C. won't be able to make it to our wedding, her and her husband are one of 7 or 8 couples that are expecting a baby during the December-February time frame, they are very exited this is their first child, they are expecting a girl.

We tried to get a Christmas tree today, but we got to the garden center just as it was closing; the guys at the entrance were very nice and let us in, but it was just to dark and we couldn't find a tree within 5-10 minutes, we felt a bit rushed and bad for holding the guys up. So, we decided to come back tomorrow morning as soon as they open (9:00 AM - for weekend's-Sunday's standards is a little bit early).

Tonight, we continued with our Christmas cookie baking project. We currently have two different kinds of dough in the refrigerator. The first one is for lemon Christmas cookies and the second one is a traditional sugar dough that is great for cookie cutters. In the meantime, we've decided to try our new cookie shooter. We bought a new one over during our  Thanksgiving weekend in New Jersey, but the new gadget is a real nightmare, it's just horrible. The cookie shooter is just too hard to handle, you need to have a strong hand and in general very good arm muscles.  This new cookie shooter is just worst than the old one DB had last year (we had to replace it after oxidation took over). DB said "not wonder it was on sale" - then I said "yeah, I would not give it to my worst enemy...uhmm!" - then I thought of some inconsiderate neighbors that are deserving of such device.

DB thinks that the dough could have had an important role on the cooking shooter fiasco, we did use a different recipe than last year (and just in case it has been marked with a big "NO" on the cook book for future references). The dough didn't taste bad, but it was very hard to handle with the cookie shooter. The whole thing was just so bad, that we decided to make little balls of dough and smash them with a fork, it was either that or throwing it away. Then, after everything was all set and done, we noticed that the cookie shooter booklet came with a sugar recipe in the back - uff! We might give that recipe and the cookie shooter a chance next year.

In the mean time, we will stick to snicker doodles, sugar cookies shaped/cut with cookie cutters, ginger thingies (that we made a few days ago) and hopefully lemon Christmas cookies. I think these should be enough.


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Thursday, December 18

We just came back from visiting our friends M. and J. D. What a great time we had, we completely lost track of time; we needed to be back home early to bake cookies for my company office party tomorrow. Everyone in my group is bringing something, I volunteered to bring home baked cookies (well, not everyone is bringing something, I take that back - some people gave money instead and it will be use to buy more food and drinks). So, this will be another long night for us. We are baking my favorite cookies "snicker doodles" these are sugar (butter) base cookies that are coated with cinnamon/sugar. I will post the recipe before the holidays are over. DB is the one doing most of the baking, I'm  just helping roll the little pieces of dough on the cinnamon sugar, isn't that fun!

Our house smells like Christmas! We are definitely getting a tree this weekend.


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Wednesday, December 17

I have a long list of errands and things to do. I really don't have any excuse, I keep procrastinating or just being too tired, too exhausted or like today - just too disappointed to do anything else outside the things that were absolutely necessary.

I'm just tire of chasing people for one reason or another. I've decided not to make any more phone calls, not to send any more e-mails, and most of all stop worrying!  I guest I should get the hint and leave so many people alone (those that don't call back or never respond, or just give me a hard time altogether). Sometimes I wonder if I am the only person that treats e-mails as serious as phone calls; I always, always try to respond as soon as I can, but I'm not always extended the same courtesy.

Can't wait for the weekend. Lately - I live just looking forward to Friday afternoon, for my short commute from work to home and for the following two short days (very short days) of crazy errands and relaxation!


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Sunday, December 14

I just discovered Haloscan and I've decided to add a daily comment section to my little-simple-manual Journal (the BBlog). Could you help me test this new feature by leaving a message?

Let it snow, let is snow, let is now... it looks like tomorrow will be another 6:30 - 2:30 work day.

We had brunch with our friends T. and J. this morning. DB made French toasts for them, we also had eggs, bacon and all kind of berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. The brunch was in celebration of our friend J. birthday (Dec. 7th); we also served a Perrier-Jouet fleur de champagne from 1990, we served it on the new champagne flutes that our friend A. gave us the week of our bridal shower (the first one in Boston). To dress it up, I added a strawberry to the champagne flutes - they all loved it.

Talking of birthdays:

 Happy Birthday Laurie!



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Friday, December 12

I'm back in the road today. After 4 straight days of getting up at 5:15 AM, today I was able to sleep until 6:30 AM. I worked from 7:45 AM to 4 O'clock, leaving early enough to get a well-needed haircut.

I am really enjoying the city. When I got home tonight, I thought I was going to drive around for hours to find a parking spot on one of the streets near by, but to my surprise no one took my parking spot . There is still a considerable amount of snow and parking spots (on the street) are tight. So, I am wondering if there is a secret code of honor on my street, one that I am not aware of. Normally after a heavy snow storm, once you clean a parking spot on the City of Boston (dug your car out of the snow) - you are allow to mark it with a traditional orange cone, with a piece of furniture or any other object that you might have at home  (chairs, stools, garbage cans, etc.). So basically, if you dug out a spot, for as long as you mark it you are entitled to it.  This time around I did not see one single chair in our street and only on Sunday I saw an orange cone protecting a spot. So when I left this morning, it felt funny marking my spot (the one DB dug out for me).

I finally saw my doctor yesterday and I've started to get rid of all my illnesses. I feel I'm in the way to recovery.  I was encourage to go back to the gym, stretch several times during the day and start taking things a little easier. Sometimes I try to do just a little too much, even though I don't feel I'm under too much stress, my Doctor thinks my body is telling otherwise. So I will try to make of this weekend a very relaxing one.


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Wednesday, December 10

I like getting to home early. For the last three days dear DB has driven me to the office; we start our morning around 5 AM and leave the house by 6:15 AM, because of the reverse commute we reach my office around 6:30 AM.

So, by 2:45 PM I'm in the lobby waiting for the shuttle to take me to the train station (the T) - so I can get home.

I've never been a morning person, but I can see the advantage of having an early start. It's hard getting up at 5 AM, I still don't know how many people can do it every single day. Many of my colleagues start working between 7 and 7:30 AM and many of them have a long commute (40 minutes to an hour - or more). One of the business analysts in my floor (M. B.)  gets to work at 6 AM and our office assistance (J. H.) starts here days about 6:30 AM. So, on Monday (the day after the snow storm) they were already at the office when I got there. You can imagine their surprise when they saw me: "you are here three hours earlier than usual, what happened to you" they said; then I had to start explaining that my street was still covered with snow, that parking is a bit tight and that I will probably be doing this for a couple of days, until the snow melts or the city decides to plow my street.

I don't think I'll change my work schedule (6:30 - 2:30) any time soon, but I am definitely considering getting to work earlier. DB really enjoys driving with me in the morning, which is so sweet, if you consider that he goes south so he can drop me at the office, then goes back north to then finally drive out west to get to work. My company add at least an additional half hour to his "already long commute".

Taking the T again has not been so bad, the company shuttle in the other hand it's just like I remembered it (awful). I actually bought my car in 1998 just to avoid taking the shuttle, well not only for that reason, but the shuttle did prompt me to buy my car a bit sooner.

Early this afternoon, I attended a funeral service. It was good to be back in a church after such long time, too bad it was under such sad circumstances. The sorrow of others always bring back very sad memories of my own. One of our colleagues lost his wife last week; the minister words were very comforting and wise, but it will take a long time for that sweet family to heal.


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Sunday, December 7

 I can't believe a week has passed since our Thanksgiving weekend in NJ. December is definitely here and Christmas is just around the corner.

There is snow everywhere; we got more than 2 feet of snow and we are still trying to figure out how to make it to work tomorrow. My car is not really suitable to drive in the snow, I desperately need new tires. The snow hasn't stop since Friday and I just read that is supposed to keep going until 8 AM tomorrow morning.

Our Merengue class got cancelled because of the Nor'easter and we had to re-schedule it for next week. I don't mind staying home at all, specially since DB's sailing race got cancelled yesterday morning and he stayed home with me.

I am really grateful for the wonderful "White" weekend at home. We had the fireplace going since Saturday morning (non stop) and we have been making hot chocolate and tea on and off. It has been fun. It would have been even better if it wasn't for the nasty cold that we both caught at the beginning of the week (we think we caught it in NJ) - and on top of that my back has been killing me since Tuesday, I had to stay home last Wednesday to get some rest - and as much as I don't want to I will have to pay the Doctor another visit.

In another tone, today is the birthday of a very special person. I know he is having a wonderful day!

  ¡Feliz Cumpleaños Jose!

Happy Birthday Jose!

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