December is one of my favorite times of the year in our neighborhood. The holiday lights perfectly highlight the unique features of each of our homes. While not the most fantastic, over the top, display you will see, it is simply beautiful. The volunteer neighborhood association holds a lighting competition and winners are announced mid-December and a lighted sign is placed on their front yard. We have awards for the Most Whimsical, Most Continue reading
Sunday the 13th was a Super Moon, one of the closest distances from the earth to the moon in 68 years. My parents were camping at San Clemente State Beach, so we went down to enjoy the view, and some wine, with them. Continue reading
I have two holidays that I host: Halloween & Thanksgiving. Halloween is because we get loads of kids and I don’t want to let them down by going to another house. Thanksgiving was a necessity because Alex and I were tired of eating twice (once with his family, and once with mine). So, in taking on Thanksgiving, you kind of have to deliver on the food. I prefer to do unique things each year. Try as I may to do something other than Turkey, my family would rebel if the bird didn’t make it to the table in some form. So, in order to get my creative juices flowing, I always have a theme to guide my menu and keep things interesting. I’ve done French, Spanish, Greek, Beer, Wine, Napa… and so on. It’s usually inspired by a trip we went on during the year. I really wanted to do an Indian theme, but my curry phobic mother would not have enjoyed that. So, this year the theme is Fire. Continue reading
One night, in the wee hours of the morning, we heard a stir from the laundry room. Not unusual, our dog is a nocturnal eater, and favors his dinner around 2 or 3 am. We quickly found out that it wasn’t our dog that was stirring about. In a moment, my dog, sleeping on the bedroom floor, sprang up, ran to the laundry room, and began violently barking, Continue reading
Alex and I volunteered our home to be on the annual home tour our neighborhood hosts to raise money for the neighborhood association. Each year, over 2,000 people come to get a glimpse of these old homes, hear their history, and see the way they have been modernized for the modern family. When this many people are going to walk through your home, you really want it to look its best. We had a designer (provided by the neighborhood association) come visit and provide recommendations. We cleaned for two weeks prior. We got every project on the “Honey-do” completed (bonus!). All this in time for the home tour’s big weekend. But we had one dilemma… Continue reading
I love a good Roast Chicken. Not those soggy rotisserie chickens from the store, but a homemade roast chicken. It’s cheap, simple, and full of flavor and texture, if done properly. My goal is Continue reading
Every once in a while I work from home, which are really some of my most productive days. I can really focus and get through a large volume of work. One of the things that I love to do on these days, is put some nice cheap cuts of meat on the stove to simmer and soften, so that by the time dinner time rolls around, we have a delicious dinner waiting for us. So easy and Continue reading
On Saturday evening, Alex and I ventured out to one of my favorite DTSA night… Night of the Altars. Family members set up elaborate altars (ofrendas) to honor the memory of their lost loved ones. Many believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of the deceased are allowed to reunite with their families. The ofrendas are decorated with sugar skulls, candles, marigolds, and bread called pan de muerto. Sugar skulls represent a departed soul and is placed on the ofrenda to honor the return of a particular spirit. This tradition has been transported to the faces of the attendees with hundreds of people adorning face paint to make the sugar skull come to life.
We began our night with Dinner at the new (and amazing) restaurant El Mercado, which serves tapas style modern Mexican cuisine and inventive cocktails. Our waitresses, of course, donned sugar skull face paint. Alex’s cocktail arrived in a glass cloche full of smoke, which was unveiled at the table with a puff of smoke surrounding our table. Talk about immersive.
We then headed to Art Walk, which is traditionally held on the same night as Night of the Altars, and viewed both static and live art displays. My favorite display this year was a colorful forest of foraged cardboard, which had been painted in vibrant colors and you could wander through the “trees” and see all the different designs. Alex’s favorite was definitely a photo of Hume Lake, his childhood (and adulthood, really) home away from home.
Finally, we headed to the main attraction, which was the altars where we were surrounded by hundreds of people, both live and made-to-look-not-alive. On both sides of the street, candles glowed, and paper flowers were illuminated by the dim light. At the end of the street, a jazzy big band played Mexican music.
As I wrote in my original Night of the Altars post, I was surprised to find Mr. Ward of Santa Ana Winds on an altar. Apparently, Mr. Ward continues to take the opportunity to reunite with his “Winds” family. This night, one of the assistants to the band members approached me while I was listening to them play, and asked… “Weren’t you in “Winds”?” I was surprised, and the man in front of me smiled and said, “I was too, I played trumpet.” As he walked back to the band, I smiled and thanked Mr. Ward for the music, and his legacy.
I try not to be political, but today I must ask something of you. I understand that my family, friends and neighbors have views which are different than my own, and I respect that. That is the foundation of our community and our country. Collectively, we will decide what is best for our country, and who we want to represent us.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
This year, many believe there is no perfect answer, but voting is a MORE PERFECT answer than NOT voting.
Tomorrow is your day. Tomorrow is the day to be heard. Tomorrow is the day to exercise your rights. Tomorrow PLEASE vote. Because if you don’t, then your voice will be silenced, and we may end up with a less perfect result.
How to be Neighborly: Support democracy. VOTE.