Monday, October 31, 2011 |

Fall Bucket List

I found this awesome new blog Loves of Life that had this great Bucket List for fall. I really unfortunately don't know all the protocol that goes into crediting a person with their ideas, but I have her blog link above and she does give a link so that you can print out the list as well. I thought this was an awesome idea. Especially good for families, but I love to do all the stuff on the list as well. She has actually printed it out and frames it as a reminder of things to do through the season. Go check it out and all her other fun things!

30 Day Challenge - Day #24 A letter to My Parents

     You know some of these topics are really deep! A letter to my parents, can that even be done without taking up the entire blog page? I'm not really sure, but I'm going to give this a try.

Dear Mom and Dad,

     Where do I start in order to thank you for all of the things that you have in my life. I know you admit that you weren't the perfect parents, and what child doesn't have emotional scares from things that would have them spending thousands on a couch talking to a shrink, but honestly I know that I didn't have it bad at all and I know you did the best you knew how, and that's all that really matters, right?
     To my Dad, I know you always haven't been proud of me and have rarely ever agreed with what I do, or how I live my life. I know that you spent so much time away from home building a life for us and keeping a roof over our head, and working to provide us with all the little extras. For that I am humbly grateful for the hard work that you have endured over these long years. The time spent driving back and forth, the times you missed school plays, or functions or birthdays all appreciated because I know that I was always well cared for. I do know that because of all of that time away, you have rarely understood me. Seems since I turned 13, you really haven't been able to figure out a way to really relate to me, but that's alright. We can always agree to disagree and I know that you love me with all your heart just by the little things you do, not always by what you say.
     To my Mom, my life coach, my friend, sometimes my worst enemy, you have never failed to be there when I have needed you. Whether right or wrong, up or down, you have been the glue that holds me together. You are always my strongest supporter and always my biggest critic and love you or hate you at times, I can't deny that you have never left my side! You have always brought joy into my life with all the little extra things you do. Everyday is a new day full of surprises and smiles. From cards, to little treats, to outings and happy moments making popcorn, sodas and movie night you always have tried to fill my life with such beauty and happiness. I know it's not always easy running from one end of my tightrope to the other waiting for me to fall so you can catch me and I know you have to be just completely exhausted after 38 years! I know sometimes it's hard for you to separate that I'm a big girl now and that while I still love my safety net, you need to learn to let go. You have wanted so much for me and with that wanting have given me so very much. I thank God everyday for you and for the fact that you haven't been keeping a running tab all these years because I am indebted to you forever! I'm not sure that I could ever re-pay you for all the things that you have done, except to be here when you need me to catch you.
     Again, I'm not sure I have the words to express what you two mean to me. You have provided a loving and joyful home for me to grow up in, and you continue to bring me joy as an adult. I may not always like what you have to say, but I respect your opinions. I can't imagine what my life would have been like if you had not been my Mom and Dad. I can say that it wouldn't have been the same, and it wouldn't have been as good. Your two are the best and I love you so very much!

Sunday, October 30, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #23 Something I Crave A lot of

Something I crave? Hmmm let's see, craving and habits are two different things. So I would probably have to make a list of stuff. Here are 10 things I crave a lot of:

1. Chips - I am a chip whore! I love all kinds, plain, spicy, cheesy, and everything in between. My favorite is Dill Pickle potato chips and I ship bags of them home when I'm in Minnesota, because you can't find him here.

2. Homemade chocolate chip cookies

3. Starbucks Frappachino

4. Starbucks Black Ice Tea - No water, no sugar, with extra ice.

5. Affection - I crave attention, I'm a big hugger!

6. Popcorn - I love popcorn (there's the salty again) butter, salt and Tabasco for some spice and mix in some M&M's or other chocolate with it....oh what a treat!

7. Quiet me time - I can go for hours without putting a TV or radio on. I used to never be like that, had to have constant noise, but I'm so over that! I also can entertain myself for hours at a time as well.

8. Coffee - Can't start my day without at least 2 cups if not more.

9. Wine - I have become an amateur wine connoisseur, and I love to have several bottles in my house to choose from. My dad calls me a wine snob now, but I don't mind. I have my Uncle to thank for this snobbery, but it's nice to be able to go into a restaurant and be able to order wines.

10. Water - Sounds like a funny one, but I love to surround myself with moving water and I have three fountains around the house so that I can always hear the gentle lapping of water.
Saturday, October 29, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #22 What Makes Me Different

     I have to laugh at today's blog topic; What Makes Me Different? Let's face it, anyone who knows me would probably laugh too! I mean we are all unique and special, but some of us definitely stand out from a crowd no matter how hard we try to blend in. In fact, I gave up trying to blend in years ago! Sometimes it's a good thing and sometimes it's not so good, but one thing you can say for me is that I make an impression. For the good, the bad or the indifferent. Rarely the indifferent, but more to the point is that you either love me or hate me. There is very rarely any in between.
     First off I am not conventional in most aspects of my life and I like to defy the rules. Oh I try and play by them, but I find my own special way to get to the same conclusions everyone else does. As long as no one tells that I have to follow the instructions exactly, than I make up my own rules as I go. I'm also not afraid to ask why something has to be done a certain way, or not afraid to show people the easier or best way to get where they need to go either. If I find that something can be done without so much fanfare, I will do it.
     I am a strong women, and there are a lot of us out there and I prefer to surround myself with other strong like minded women. They are usually the ones that are least offended by me and definitely aren't afraid to be around me because they know that they can stand up to whatever I throw at them. Which isn't to say that I'm just off in left field somewhere, but let's face it, my strong personality can definitely turn people off and I'm OK with that. I would rather you keep up, than slow me down. I don't like stragglers and I don't like to have to hold people up. I do, however, because I don't like to see people hurting and I try and empower them to stay strong, move forward, not backwards.
     I have a strange sense of wisdom. Especially in the last year or so I have had so many people ask me where I can come up with some of my philosophy's and theory's and words of advice and wisdom. All I can say is that I have no idea! It just comes out. Sometimes people aren't always thrilled with the answers, but they can at least see the sound logic behind it. But what makes me especially funny is that I often can't decipher for myself the good wisdom that I provide to others and if I do, I rarely ever take it. It's like I say to myself, let's try this and see if it works. I normally fail, but maybe that helps me to help others later one down the road, I don't know.
     Along with the creative thinking and wisdom, comes a whole lot of creativity in my head. I'm not always good at doing things that I envision, but sometimes help other people with their creativity. What I mean that I can't always execute my idea, is that I'm not all together with certain machinery that would help me put my ideas into action. I wouldn't trust myself around to many power tools and me and sewing machines don't get along very well. When it comes to drills, and nails and things like that, I'm pretty handy, but I think things that cut or stab scare me.
     OK, you can't talk about what makes me different, without talking about the hair. Some people joke that my photo albums are not about the events and vacations, it's all about the hair, because you rarely see the same hairstyle from year to year. I have had short, and medium length hair and it's been every color from bleach blond, brown, and red. I even got my red mixed with the bleach and had pink highlights for a short while. I have never really been to outlandish, but definitely like to try new styles all of the time. Sleek to spiky and everything in between. Hey, life's to short not to try different looks. I just tell my husband that it's like coming home to a different women every few months. Oh and I have learned to highlight and color my own hair which is something that every professional hair dresser I have gone to can't tell. They always ask me, "who does your color?" Why me, of course!
Thursday, October 27, 2011 |

Expresso Yourself

I have had this picture in my box of to do's for at least 4 years now and I finally did it. Problem was I let it sit there for about 2 weeks on the table not really knowing what to do with it. Finally two nights ago I finished it. I'm not overly crazy for the layout, but it's not the worst I have done.

30 Day Challenge - Day #21 A Picture of Something that Makes Me Happy

Well I couldn't just put a picture of one thing that made me happy. I love fall and fall always makes me happy. The pumpkins, the change of the leaf colors, the cooler weather. I love it all!
My Brutus makes me happy. Having a puppy in the house can be frustrating but they can bring you so many moments of joy and love and I only have to look at his face and I smile!

My husband makes me happy too. He's so many things to me but most of all he is my best friend and he's always there to put a smile on my face!

 Wine can make me happy, and not just because it can make me tipsy, but I love the flavor, the colors, the variations of tastes and the foods that can be paired with the wines. It's such a versatile drink.

Much like flowers, bright colors from flowers also make me happy. I especially love the Hibiscus, and Sunflowers. They bring so much happiness to my life.

OK, and what women doesn't get happy in a bubble bath! I know call me strange, but I had to take this picture last time I took one. I was in this big garden tub that had jets like a spa. I didn't think I had put to many bubbles in, but when the jets started going, OMG, the bubbles were ready to spill out onto the floor. I was laughing hysterically because I was being swallowed by the mass amounts of bubbles! But oh so relaxing with the wine, and some candles!

I now that this picture to the right may be hard to see but it's a picture of a Bald Eagle at the top of the tree. This eagle and another one would sit for hours on top of these trees located right on my Uncle's property in Minnesota. Down the road was a HUGE eagle's nest that we could see through a clearing. What makes me happy is to see beautiful wild animals in their natural habitat. To see them flourish and they are just so breath taking you have to be happy about something this beautiful.

Than I have the pictures here of the wolf and the bear. While these animals are in captivity it makes me happy to know that these animals have been rescued and are cared for so carefully and with much thought and love. Also these animals are great educational tools to help the general public not be so scared of them and how to preserve others of their kind in their natural habitats. It makes me happy that there are people out there who work hard to preserve what nature has provided to us and that there is a balance needed in our environment. Without these animals other things would become unbalanced.

 Than there is my Boo Boo Bear, Dakota, She has made me happy, sad, mad, and frustrated for 13 1/2 years!!! But mostly happy. I look at that beautiful face and I just melt. She's my angel and I am thankful for everyday that I have had her in my life!

Snow, how can snow not make you happy. OK, well if you live in perpetual winter where the snow is piled 10 feet outside your front door I could see you not being so happy about it. However, I love snow and I am so happy to see it here in So Cal, when it comes. The picture was taken in my backyard when I woke one morning I could see the sea of white through my crack in the curtain. This particular picture made me happy when it won the contest for the new Calimesa Web site that was being put together and so anyone who visits that site, sees my picture!

Coffee, coffee makes me VERY happy!!! I love it in all forms, flavors and varieties. I love my Americano's in the morning, my own lattes that I make, Starbucks Caramel Frappachino's, the Salted Caramel Mocha hot or cold. I can drink coffee any time of the day and night and sometimes it keeps me awake and other times it doesn't, but it's all good because it's COFFEE!!!

I also love the ocean. I love to hear and watch the waves come rolling up on the beach. I have been blessed to see many beaches not only her in California, but Oregon, Hawaii, England and Jamaica and they are all so beautiful and unique. I can't wait to see more of them in my lifetime as well as the beautiful sunsets that go with being on the beach. I love water though, water makes me very happy. I love being on the lake as well. I love this lake which is Lake Vermilion in Minnesota up in the Northern part of the state. It's a beautiful lake and it's so quiet and peaceful and it's amazing to see the different changes that can occur so quickly on a body of water such as this. I loved the Lake of the Ozarks as a kid as well. They don't make lakes here in So Cal like they do in other parts of the country. So I try and enjoy them as much as I can.

Well, this is just a sample of the things that make me happy. I am sure that I can list so many more things, but I would be here all day. I try and just take life as it comes and make happiness from what life gives me. I can find happiness in just a quick visit from a hummingbird on my front porch to the sound of my water fountains. Life is meant to be enjoyed and happiness comes from what you make of it.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #20 Someone I will be with in the Future

     Only 10 more days left of the challenge! I am so proud of myself that I have been very consistent on keeping up with each day, except for maybe weekends. Today's topic actually read "someone you think you will marry/someone you see yourself with in the future." Well being that I am already married, I guess it would suffice it to say that I see myself with Paul, my current husband in the future. I mean really do you think I am going to say anything different? Well maybe some women might, but I know I would have no cause to not see myself with my husband. We have a pretty long history together of a lot of ups and downs. That and I have a very good man by my side, I wouldn't trade that for the chance to get someone who may be abusive, overbearing, cheap, mean, slave driver, and or a cheat.
      No body is perfect, but I know that I have as close to perfect as I can get. I wouldn't trade my husband for a lot of the ones that I know. He is kind, can be goofy, works so very hard, never complains if I didn't get something done, always supportive, let's me pretty much do what I want as long as the bills are paid and there is food to feed us. He's fun on road trips, and not always so fun when he comes home from work, but who isn't. He suppresses stress and anger and let's it fester to much, in my opinion, but he is never mean and nasty. He's a happy drunk and wants a snack and bed and I never have to worry that if we get into a fight he will do anything but walk away. He's not always good at doing things around the house, but when he does, it's always done with precision and care and when I have friends over he tends to my little outdoor fireplace making sure we are all nice and warm. He knows when to say sorry, and when to say thank you and he is always appreciative of all the little things that I do. That's my Paul. He's the best and I couldn't have asked for better!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #19 Nicknames

     Having such a short name and one that rhymes with a lot I have people come up with lots of nicknames over the years. Of course in school I was called Holly Hobbie, since that was a popular character back in the day. I never really liked that one for some reason, but sometimes I think it was appropriate now since I do have a lot of hobbies!
     Now I have nicknames like Holly Pockets, Holly Molly, and Holly Bear; which are all names my friends have come up with. My husbands name is Paul and for some reason people call us Pauly and Holl, which I haven't quiet figured that one out. Of course my husband calls me Honey, or sweetheart, but those are more like terms of endearment not necessarily nicknames.
     For a while I was called Mario Andretti, like the race car driver since I loved to drive fast, but I have slowed my driving way down to be called that now. Sometimes people call me Martha Stewart for my decorating and entertaining skills. I always like that one, I find that it's a great compliment. My aunt calls me Sweet pea, because that used to be my Grandpa's favorite flowers to grow and she has just always called me that. Sometimes she calls me other names jokingly, but they aren't fit for a blog, so I will just keep those to myself. My Mom calls me Pumpkin, and every year for Halloween she sends me a pumpkin card. My Dad used to call me Fred. Not sure why he calls me that, it just is.
     I think that's just about it when it comes to nicknames. Nothing more to write about this.
Monday, October 24, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #18 Hopes, Dreams, Goals........

     Hopes and Dreams? Goals? Wow, this is a heavy subject. Considering in the last year and a half, most of what I have worked for has been reduced to rubble, much like an earthquake can level an entire city in moments. It's hard for me to look forward to anything that far in advance anymore. Not to sound a little down on my luck, or hopeless, but honestly, I think the most anyone can "hope" for these days is to have enough money to keep the roof over your head, and food in your stomach. Not that things have gotten that desperate for us by all means, but things are tight.
     Seven years ago we bought a house and it was tight than too, but our careers were on the right track and we really didn't feel that we had bitten off more than we could chew. I figured within a couple of years things would loosen up, money would be stockpiled into savings and we could sit back and enjoy our life. Travel, eat at good restaurants, buy things that we really wanted just not needed. That was my goal, but now 2 moves later and a year of unemployment checks has me wondering if things will even get better again. It seems that all we have ever done is struggle. Of course it's not a unique situation, with the state of affairs these days. I just wish for all the hard work that we have put in over the years we could catch a break at some point.
     Not that I'm not happy and comfortable living back at the old homestead, and I can see some light at the end of the long tunnel waiting for us, but I'm almost 40, and it can be very depressing to have worked so hard for so little. OK, enough of being morbidly depressed at this point, but I'm sure you can relate to how I feel when it comes to trying to look ahead with optimism.
     I am so very blessed despite all the other things that have happened, and I do still look forward to the day when I can take a wine tour of Napa or buy my plane tickets for Paris and not have to worry about breaking the bank. I look forward to hopefully new employment opportunities that will be fulfilling and rewarding, without drama and political bullshit. (that would be to much to hope for, but I still hope for it.) I look forward to the times that my husband and I can just take little weekend vacations and not worry about if the gas is going to bleed us dry. I don't desire having a huge house, or lots of fancy furnishings. I am content to find things on sale, or at yard sales, why throw something away that's perfectly good? So I'm not about the materialistic side of life, I would rather be out living life and experiencing everything that the world has to offer. That's my hopes, my goals, my dreams.
     We don't have children and many may see that as a sad thing and sometimes I do, but I look at it as my opportunity to be able to pick up and go at a moments notice. Ironic though it may be we are still spending the best years of our life tied to staying home most weekends not because we need a sitter, because we have no money in the bank. Again I apologize for being such a downer. I see so many people struggle and I feel for them all. I know some are by the life style choices that they have made, while people like us seem to be thwarted at every turn by big business.
     I look forward to what the next years will bring. And in the spirit of the country that we live in I hope to regain some of those hopes and dreams through hard work and perseverance. If I can say anything about this topic, my biggest hope is that I am not finally beaten down but rise from the ashes in victory!
Sunday, October 23, 2011 |

My Landscaping Challenge

     I currently live in the house that I grew up in and over the years my parents made a lot of improvements with the house inside and out. However, with the improvements came no focus on what to actually plant. So I have inherited a house with virtually plants. For me that's just fine, this way I can do what I want, but after a year of living here I'm still uncertain as to what to do. Being that it's now fall and winter is fast approaching I don't have to really worry about anything at the moment, but I do have time to plan out what I want to do come spring time.
     I'm loving the fact that I get to start from bare bones, but at the same time my spaces do give me a huge challenge when it comes to finding things that are going to not only work in narrow beds for the most part, but also area that can get extreme heat for a good part of the year. I also want things that will go from year to year, and also be functional for most of the seasons. I originally thought about planting a lot of Hibiscus in the back area, but realized that they do shed completely by the winter and are very susceptible to frost bite, which can happen in my neck of the woods. So I figured that I would save plants like that for pots that would go around my large fountain or something. Than I can put them in the back of the garage under the eves for winter.
     I took pictures of all my spaces that I would like to fill. I am looking forward to showing you the changes as they occur. Again, looking for low maintenance and beauty, along with all year coverage, I think I have created a massive project for myself, but I'm up to the challenge. I can't wait to get this place looking beautiful outside!

Impromptu Dinner Party

     I was in the mood to have a little dinner party and cook up some fabulous eats. It was just a party of 5 and a few hours later a post came up on my Facebook wall that went something like this; "Went to a quaint little Home Chef Bistro tonight for dinner. Breaded stuffed portabel mushroom with Italian sausage, 2nd course was toasted garlic broschetta with fresh Myers tomatoes with a melted white cheese. 3rd course. Herb crusted wild salmon laid over a bed of Chicory, Curly endive salad with bed blue cheese crumbles, almond slivers with dry ed cranberries with a spritz of aged balsamic vinegar dressing. Did I mention the glasses of 2009 Layer Cake Wine." That's my friend Patty's interpretation of the whole evening. It was amazing and all her friends wanted to know where this little "Bistro" was located. Well some good things need to remain a secret, but what an awesome review that any restaurant would be proud to receive!
     That's just it though, I love making people happy. I knew that my dad was going to be installing a new door on the shop in the back yard, Mom loves my cooking, Paul and Patty both have very long stressful weeks, and it was so nice to be able to do something nice for them. Dinner was actually planned out to be very simple and everything can be done ahead of time. The most elaborate part of the meal was the Stuffed Mushroom Appetizers, which took the most prep time, but they had no problem standing on the baking sheet until I was ready to put them in the oven. While those were cooking I put together the already waiting ingredients for the Bruschetta. So while appetizers came out, wine flowed and than when everyone was ready I popped the fish in the oven, took out the salad I had also prepared ahead of time and voila! Dinner was served.
     I lit my ceramic pumpkins on the mantel in the dinning room, turned on my electric fireplace, minus the heat and a quiet dinner with conversation continued. I need to perhaps not serve so much wine after a long work week, because everyone went home happy and satisfied by 9:30!But it just goes to show you that it doesn't take all that much to make people happy and satisfied, and with a little bit of pre-planning you can have an enjoyable and relaxing dinner party. Here are the recipes for the evening.....

Holly's Stuffed Mushrooms

  • 2 pkgs of baby Portabello Mushrooms cleaned with stems removed (set aside)
  • 1 (6 ounce) package dry stuffing mix
  • 1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 roll of pork sausage cooked
  • butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Panko Bread Crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Arrange mushroom caps on a medium baking sheet, bottoms up. Chop and reserve mushroom stems.               
  2. Cook pork sausage till no longer pink
  3. Prepare dry stuffing mix according to package directions. (I used the onions and celery as well)
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  5. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Mix in garlic and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  6. In a medium bowl, mix together reserved mushroom stems, prepared dry stuffing mix, cream cheese and sausage. Liberally stuff mushrooms with the mixture. Top with the bread crumbs then drizzle with the butter and garlic. Season with salt, pepper,
  7. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven 14 to 18 minutes, or until stuffing is lightly browned.               
  8. Serve warm


This one is quick and simple and can be done so many different ways. Dice up tomatoes, add garlic, onion powder, dried basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. Slice any kind of french bread or other artisan breads of your choice, spread lightly with olive oil, top with the tomato mixture and a slice of Mozzarella cheese and bake at 375 till cheese is melted and just beginning to brown or the bread is browned around the edges. Serve immediately.

Dijon Fish

This fish dish is easy, quick, light and can be done with any fish of your choice. I prefer Salmon, my husband prefers Talapia, but can be done with any fish of your choice.


Fish fillets
Dijon Mustard
bread crumbs
Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper

Take your fish fillets and dry them real good. Place in a foil covered baking dish for easy clean up. Layer the Dijon Mustard (I prefer stone ground, has a milder flavor, but you can use any you like) over the fish fillets. Liberally top with bread crumbs. You can use the pre seasoned, but I like the Panko crumbs and than I just lightly add some Italian seasoning on the top. Salt and pepper to taste. Melt butter (depends on how many fillets you have) in microwave safe dish, and lightly drizzle over the fish and bake in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until your fish flakes easily with a fork. Turn the broiler on low and put fish in the broiler for a couple of minutes to allow the top breading to become a little brown and crisp up.

Again, each one of these dishes was made up a couple of hours prior to everyone's arrival, so all I had to do was pop everything in the oven, pour the wine, and enjoy my guests.

30 Day Challenge - Day #17 Trading Places?

     So what would it like to trade places with someone for a day? Well that's what I have to figure out today, who exactly that person would be. Women joke about how they would love to trade places with a man for a day to see what things are like in the other gender, but would we really. Aside from the monthly bill, I'm not sure I would want to be a man for a day. Well, I guess for a day it wouldn't be bad, but only if that day was on one of "my days" and that man got to see what we women go through!
     Seriously though, who would I want to trade with for a day. It would obviously need to be someone rich and famous. Someone who leads an interesting life. I would also want to pick the day as well, it wouldn't be fun to have a day that's boring or full of work, right? Of course if I picked someone of importance, than I would want it to be a work day so that maybe I could make some relevant change in this world. So if I was to go that route, it would need to be someone that could make things happen not be just another link in the chain.
   Maybe some people would have no problems picking the person that they would trade with. Maybe it could be Pink, or Lady Gaga, and I could perform on a stage in front of thousands of screaming fans. I could be Angelina Jolie, rallying for world peace or environmental issues. Maybe I would pick Bill Gates and have lots of money and jet off to some European country for the day or come up with the next big idea in computer software. All of these people sound good, but would they really be a great choice to trade with?
Would I want to be beautiful and admired, or just admired for being smart and rich? I could choose anything I want to be and yet, I can't think for one moment who I would rather trade places with. Hmmm, be married to Brad Pitt, or at least living in sin, or just plain little ole me. While I am trying to play along with today's topic, I'm really just not sure who I would want to trade places with. It worked out well for Eddy Murphy, but I think trading places with someone rich and or famous would leave me just wanting and disappointed in the end.
     So I think it's just best to stay me. Maybe a better version of me would be nice. How about just giving me someones bank account for the day? That way I can initiate my own changes, get them in motion and at the end of the day I'm the one who can still continue on and make the difference. I would rally to save some close to extinct species, start a movement of political change in our country, help initiate more green alternatives that are cheaper for the average American to purchase. Heck maybe even buy a Prius Hybrid for every household in my neighborhood! Who knows, the possibilities are endless! But there is only one me and I am content to be me!
Saturday, October 22, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #16 Another Picture of Me

If I was to take a picture of myself right now, the sight wouldn't be pretty! With temperatures still in the mid to low 90's during the day and being that I have been outside cleaning and moving things around the nice hair that I started the day out with has now turned into frumpville! So my picture is just from a couple of weekends ago at the Renaissance Fair where I thought I looked pretty cute all dressed up! I honestly didn't think I could pull off an outfit like this, but I love it, and I'm hoping that maybe...just maybe I can talk my friend Melissa out of this one! LOL!!!! I wish!
Thursday, October 20, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #15 My Random IPOD List

     I am half way through my challenge, and it's definitely been a great experience. Some sad, some happy, some thoughtful and some not so thoughtful, but it's been a great journey so far. So today, it's IPOD shuffle day. I have a lot of music on my IPOD some great and some not so great. I will flip through it randomly to find just the right song to fit the mood. So I have no idea what I'm going to get so here we go...SHUFFLE!!!!

1. It's Not Over - Chirs Daughtry
2. Strangelove - Depeche Mode
3. Summer of 69 - Bryan Adams
4. Welcome to the Jungle - Guns and Roses
5. Lullaby - The Cure
6. Against the Wind - Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
7. Proment - Hans Zimmer and Enya from Last of the Mohican's
8. Cloud Nine - Evanescence
9. All About Loving You - Bon Jovi
10. Feels Like the First Time - Foreigner
11. Clocks - Cold Play
12. Come Again - Damn Yankees
13. If I Can't Have You - Kelly Clarkson
14. Wherever I May Roam - Metallica
15. and unkown Eminem song - (just says Track 7 and I know that's from his first album)

     Well there you have it, my eclectic and random look into the music on my IPOD. Real exciting stuff huh? Stay tuned for tomorrow's post!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #14 A Picture of Me and My Family

 Today is pictures of me and my family and while I know I have a lot of extended family in places, I really don't have much contact with them, so my close family ties are very small. This picture on the left was taken several years ago when I decided we needed a family portrait. So this is my mom, dad, and my husband Paul. I loved these pictures of all of us. Below this is a picture of my Aunt and Uncle when we were at the lake in Minnesota. Hard to get a self portrait of three people with a phone, but I did it!
 I always have a really great time with them. The last picture as goofy as it is, is a picture of Paul and I with our Nephew Matthew and our sister-in-law (not in law now but family non the less) Karen. We met them in Vegas last year and other than the picture of all of us at Hoover Dam, this is the only other one of all four of us. These are the most recent photos of us with any type of family. Paul has more family, one sister and two other brothers, and than I have cousins in Oregon that I haven't seen for ages! My Grandparents have all been gone for almost 10 years now. I miss them and having the family get togethers that we
we used to have. Here in California, it's just the four of us, so my friends really become my family too. We need more time with our extended family, I would really like to have that in my life, it's just so expensive traveling across the country to see everyone!
Tuesday, October 18, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #13 A Letter To Someone Who has Hurt Me Lately

     I have actually been anticipating today's blog topic and have been trying to work it out in my head for a couple of weeks now. When I saw that this was one of the blog topics I immediately knew who the letter would be written to, but composing it would be difficult to keep it from being to lengthy. There is a lot of ground to cover with this one and I hope you all bear with me on this one. I will not actually put the name of the person on the letter, but many of you who know me will know exactly who this is while other's I would rather that person remain anonymous.
Dear Love One,

     How do you start a letter like this? What do you say to someone that you care about so very much who is so intent on self destruction? You have a problem? Yes, you know and I know that you have a problem and while you do recognize that you are an alcoholic, you refuse to do anything about it. The problem is that it's just not the alcohol that is a problem anymore it's all the other choices that you have made in your life that affect the outcome of your alcoholism. Your choices have not only ruined your marriage, but has alienated you from you family and that's not by our choice, but by yours.
     We have all asked that you seek some type of help, whether it being a rehab, or just some counseling, and while you have tried, half hearted, you hate being told what to do, so you don't listen or follow any one's advice; stranger or loved one alike.The things that you have harbored in your heart that were beyond your control for so long has been compounded by the life that you have chosen to lead that now leaves you empty and hollow, guilty, and ashamed. Yet you don't give any of us a chance to love you just for who you are. You don't let any of us just accept you for who you are and instead you have built a wall around your heart and mind. You ask for pity and sympathy and yet there is non to give anymore. You want me to walk a mile in your shoes and tell you that your life is horrible, but the only thing that I see is the horror that you have created for yourself. Now because I can't give you the answers you want to hear you treat me like I am nothing to you. You won't talk to me or even acknowledge that I have the right to agree to disagree.
     All my life I have done nothing but look up to you. I have always wanted to be the fashionable, confident, and beautiful women that you are. And through my idolization of you I have learned to turn a blind eye for years. I have seen the destruction of your marriage and your relationship with friends and family through your self destruction, and yet I have never said anything until now. I remember that day in the garage and you asking me "Do you see what I live? What do you think I should do?" My answer was plain and simple. "If you don't like it, than change it. You would be better living on your own. That I see what you live and personally it's a lot better than what others have, but if you need your own space than that's what you should do." You didn't like that answer and from that day forward you have had nothing but contempt for me. You don't realize that millions of women would trade your life in a heartbeat. I'm not saying life is perfect, but from where I stand it's about as perfect as life can get. You don't have to work, you live in nice houses, you drive nice cars, you have a husband that would give you the world even after you screwed him over numerous times if you would just show a small shred of love and kindness. You used to be kind and loving even with all the other problems. Now I see you as nothing but a high bred snob. Where did that come from? Do you remember where YOU came from?
     You have done so much for me over the years. You have provided me with vacations, clothing, shoes, and photo albums of great memories and because for one moment I don't agree with you, you treat me as if I'm an ungrateful insolent child. I am grateful and I love you unconditionally and if you think that all of these things were just to buy my love and affection your wrong. I would have loved you regardless and just because I can't take up your cause doesn't mean that I'm not grateful for the opportunities that you gave me or the things that you have bought for me. I have seen you do this with other people close to you. You buy and buy and buy and at the moment that they don't agree with you or do something you don't approve of you cut them off. You have given thousands and thousands to people that meant less to you than me. I have never come to you begging for money, or for support and yet you have handed it out to the same people that you look down your nose at. People that should have never been in your life because they were only there for what you could give them. I may never have been able to see you as often without the airplane tickets that you provided, but I have never used you. For years I would call just to talk to you to just get an answering machine and maybe I would get a call back a week later because you were so busy with these people. These people that now mean nothing to you. Your own best friend you treat like hot and cold water. It's not a wonder she didn't give up on you after all these years and now, it just grinds you that she's spending money on a home expansion and more furniture and dieting and you just have to do whatever you can to keep up. Do you need it, no! If you never bought another thing you would have more than enough to sustain you, but it's a competition, you have to show that your better than everyone else.
     Well I have news for you, your not better than everyone else! You have become a monster in some sense. You used to be kind and caring, loving, and charming and now the only kindness you have left in you is for animals. You treat your dog better than the man you live with and the family and friends that love you. We want to be there for you and even if you never get better, at least letting us into your heart and mind we can support you and be there for you, because after all, that's what family does. We have so much history you and I and I hate to see if go the way of the bottle. You have never let me completely in you always have that barrier and for what. I know you, I know you better than probably anyone on this earth does, I see the real you and this is not it. This is not the women that I look up to and love with all my heart. Where has she gone and do you think she will ever come back? It hurts me more than you know to see you like this, but it's not to late to make changes. As Dr. Seuss says, "Those that matter don't mind and those that mind don't matter." In the past you were always able to not give a care about what people think of you, but now it seems like you do everything you can to impress those that really don't care about you and be damned to those that really do. I'll always be here for you, all you have to do is reach out and I will be there to catch you. All it takes is a word from you, but until that time I am hear with my heart broken in two waiting. You don't even have to say your sorry, just reach out to me, that's all I ask. Until than I am loving you with my whole heart and praying that you find some peace in your life.


I think I covered it all, I sit here with tears in my eyes, because this person can be the most amazing person you could ever know in your life, and it saddens me to see this happening and there isn't anything that I can do. This letter is from my heart and anyone who has dealt with an alcoholic you will completely understand where I am coming from. It's never easy to see a person self destruct and even more difficult when it's someone you love.
Monday, October 17, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #12 How I found Out About Blogger and Why I Started One

     I probably was first introduced to blogger through the same person I got the 30 Day Blog Challenge from and that would be my friend Patricia. For a long time I was a reader of blogs and got a lot of great ideas from them, but never thought to start one of my own. I never thought I had anything really that interesting to say.
     Than I started a blog that was just a general life blog, that was boring. Than I tried one that was all about scrabooking, and that to got boring after awhile. Than I was having a hard time logging on to blogger so I went and started a unemployment journal type blog on another site, and that too seemed to fizzle and become boring.
     A couple of months ago and viewing many blogs later I came to the realization that I would love to have some kind of crafting sight. Something that maybe in the future will showcase my original designs. Of what, I'm not all that sure yet. However, I also did realize that blogs just don't have to be about one thing, they can be about many things. So I created HollyStar Designs. I think I really explained a lot about this earlier on in the challenge or even before that, so today's entry is short and sweet. Nothing much more to say.
Sunday, October 16, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #11 More Picture of Me and My Friends

     This last weekend my friend Stephanie and I went up North to the Northern California Renaissance Faire to see our friend Melissa who works up there. It was a great girls weekend. We left Thursday night and spent all day Friday and Saturday and most of Sunday at the faire. Friday night we went into Santa Cruz and literally bar hopped. I don't think I had ever done that before. We walked all over the place and met some great people and had drinks at each bar. My favorite was an Irish pub and the cider that we drank. We had a great dinner at a Sushi restaurant and walked down to the pier and back again. We went into all kinds of places from the nice bars to the dives.
     Saturday morning a friend of Melissa's brought costumes for Steph and I and we had someone dress us up and we spent the day going around in the faire garb and taking in all the sights. We had great food from the Tri Tip stand and free ale. We saw a concert and went to the Rescue Rally. Sunday was more of the same, but that day I couldn't be bound up in that bodice so I wore a really cool rag outfit. It was a lot cooler too. We had such a great time so these are my most recent pictures of my friends.

Saturday, October 15, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #10 Songs I Listen to When......

     I'm happy, bored, sad, or mad........That's a good one, I'm not sure my song selections have everything to do with moods, but I do flip around on my IPOD alot and it depends on what car I'm in. For the Element, I can listen to just about anything because while it has a really great sound system being stock, the Bronco has a huge system with an amp and base. So I definitely like to listen to thumping music when I drive that. Shhhh, don't tell Paul that because I have spent years telling him to grow up and stop trying to out do the teenagers. However, I have to admit I like a little thump power.
     Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" is a great empowerment song for me. I like to hear this when I am in need of reminding that this is my life, my time, and that it's more than OK to stand out from the crowd and be my own person.


     Pink is just awesome, and I love "So What". I become a rock star of my own world and I just love rocking out to this song and singing it at the top of my lungs. Not that I can sing it all that well, but who cares, when I'm in the car, I am the rock star!

     Pink's song "Glitter" is a song that I listen to for it's beautiful words of how sometimes I wish I could capture moments that could last forever. This performance at the music awards was just beautiful and tasteful and really the song it's self could make you cry depending on the mood I'm in.

     Lady Gaga in all her eccentric glory, is just a great song with some awesome base and it's a great song to put on in the Bronco. Pure entertainment value. I love most of what she does and I love her for her ability to do what she wants and she doesn't care. She's a little out there, but she lives life to it's fullest and I applaud her for that!

     I think this is a great song by the Flogging Molly's. I think I would want this one played at my funeral. Yes, morbid I know, but if you listen to the words it really says a lot about life and how we leave it for others.

     This is really a great love song, I know it's not the traditional songs that we would normally hear on the radio, but the Irish really have a great way with words and I just love this song.

     When I want to listen to some really high quality music, that's not necessarily classical I listen to Yanni. This video is just an exert from on of the songs from the Live at the Acropolis, and this women playing the violin is just AMAZING! If you have ever listened to any of his music, it's got such depth and you can feel the emotions move through the songs. He is an amazing performer and composer.
      I can go on and on with music. I love all kinds of music and I have built my life around having music. I learned to play the piano and started before I was even in the first grade on a toy piano. I don't play so much now, but I have always made music something that I have to have in my life. I couldn't imagine my world without it.

Friday, October 14, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #9 Something I am Proud of in the Last Few Days

     I won't beat around the bush on this, I know exactly what I am proud of, and this is standing up to my friends. Not in a bad way, but something had to give. Now I know that some people that I know will read this and perhaps those that I stood up to will read this and I am by no means bragging about it, because it's not something I wanted to have to do, but it was necessary. The first thing that they all have to understand is that I love them all VERY VERY much. After all, I choose them as my friends. They all have unique characteristics and bring something wonderful to my life. But things were getting a little bit complicated for me.
     Two of my couples friends are all having some problems and I remember specifically that one couple was very adamant about how they have lost friends in times of troubles because their friends took sides. Well I tried not to take a side. I wanted to be there to support, to listen, and to help them all whether they stayed together or decided to go there separate ways. However, what happened was that I became the person in the middle, the fall guy, the person that was thrown under the bus, whether unintentionally or not. I was being bombarded, I have made my life their lives and Monday I had had enough. I wrote them all and told them that I was sorry, that I couldn't continue to be in the middle and that they had to sort these things out for themselves without me as a sounding board. It was beginning to get to stressful and I needed to start focusing on my own problems (not that I have a whole lot of them), but I still need my time to deal with my issues. I put myself on a 30 day time out. They weren't allowed to contact me in any way so that perhaps we could just re-group and start again.
     Well two people thought that I was ending the friendship which is just not true, we have to long of a history to just end anything. The other couple was more than compliant, but one did break the text rule, but what she said made everything worth while. I'm glad that somebody understands. I don't know if me being in the middle has made things better or worse, and if worse it was never my intention, it was just me trying to be a friend to all of them and that's hard in these situations. I don't want to see any of them hurting and I'm always want to fix everyone, but in doing so I became entirely to wrapped up and they let me. It's not like I'm never again not going to be there for them, after all that's what friends are for, it just became to much. I am proud that I stood up for myself and to say enough is enough. It's hard to do that with people you love. Sometimes it's easier to tell family because they are family and you know that they will eventually forgive you, but sometimes when you do that with friends you loose them. I am hoping that they all realize that I just needed a break and that their friendships mean so very much to me and that all I wish for them is happiness. Because life isn't worth living if your not happy.
Thursday, October 13, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #8 Short Term Goals for This Month

     Today's challenge is really making me stretch a little. I haven't really had any goals over the last year except to just unwind and focus on myself. Of course I really haven't been focusing on my self to much and that's been a major problem. So here is my short term goal list:

1. Find a new car (OK, a newer used car) without that I can't even begin to look for work.
2. Start on one of my scrapbook projects that I have all the stuff for

3. Start figuring out what's going to make me happy in a new job

4. Focus on me and my husband and the things that we want to do

That's about it. Don't need to set my sights to high, finding a car is going to take a lot of time as it is.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #7 Someone Who Makes the Biggest Impact on Me

     My Mom, for better or for worse has been the person that has made the biggest impact on my life. She's always been my biggest supporter, my biggest defender, my biggest critic, and my biggest cheerleader. We don't always see eye to eye on things and sometimes, we have to learn to agree to disagree, but more often than not I am the one that eats crow and have to admit she was right and she most always will tell me "I told you so." But isn't that what mothers are supposed to do?
     She's my best friend and can be my worst enemy, but no matter what I have been through she has always been there. She's the person that I hate to let down the most, and I have and I hate it when I do, but she's forever forgiving. She's everything I want to be, yet, everything I don't, but I think I have learned to pick out the best. She may have not been the perfect mother in the world, but she was the perfect mother for me!

30 Day Challenge - Day #6 My Favorite Superhero and Why?

     Again, I am behind on my Blog, so much for the apology the other day, but than I never would have dreamed that I would come down sick. My head has felt like a balloon, and is ready to pop any moment! I haven't been able to concentrate on anything in particular except the T.V., and that's limited too. Anyway Day 6 is a tough one for me. I really have never had a "favorite" super hero. Of course I thought the list was limited to Batman, Robin, Spider man, Superman, Wonder Women, etc... So I looked up on google to find a list of super hero's and I got all kinds of them. One website even offers up Huey, Duey, and Luey as superheros? What? Really? Wow!! I guess by definition it's any character that has premiered in a comic book?
     There has also been an explosion of movies done from comic books over the last few years, so if I just go by the movies that I have liked the most I could list Judge Dredd, (yes, he started as a comic book hero), transformers, X-men, and Captain America. I totally could base my favorite superhero on the actors that have played superheros such as; Hugh Jackman as the wolf in X-Men, or Edward Norton as the Hulk, and even could consider George Clooney when he played Batman.
     What are the qualifications that a superhero must have to be considered in my list of favorites? They all save the world from terrible destruction, they all have some weird demented talent, most of them are good looking, and they almost always get the girl in the end. So that doesn't help narrow anything down either. So to keep this one really short, I don't have a "favorite" superhero. Plain and simple. Our world needs a real superhero and until someone comes along that can really fight for justice and the American way, I'm inclined to watch the movies and just dream of having a real superhero that can turn this country around.
Monday, October 10, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #5 a Picture of somewhere I Have Been

     I apologize to my blog followers, I wasn't able to do my blog this weekend because I was having a girls weekend up north at the Renaissance Pleasure Fair. It was a great time. I'm back now, and will continue on my 30 day Blog Challenge with today being a picture of somewhere I have been.

     Of course you should already know that this is London Bridge in London England. I was there back in 1990 as an exchange student my junior year in high school. It was only an exchange between Rotary Clubs and the trip was about three weeks long. It's the farthest I have ever been and my first trip outside the United States.
     We actually stayed in a town called Newmarket; considered to be the horse racing capital of the world. We traveled all over England from London, to Stratford Upon Avon (home of William Shakespeare), and up to the beach area bordering the North Sea. We met all kinds of great people, and really got to experience the culture and it gave me the travel bug something bad! I learned to drink bitter beer, went to my first and only Toga party, and taught the English kids how to TP a house.
     My favorite part of the trip was the two days we spent in London. We got to see the House of Parliament, Buckingham Palace (only on the outside), messed around with the Royal Guards, walk in Hyde Park, ride the subway, go to the market in Piccadilly Circus, rode a boat to Greewhich Village, and saw the entire city from the top of Westminster Abbey. It was an amazing time in which I wished I didn't have to worry about a group of people because I would have loved to had time to roam all by myself, but it was still amazing to see things that I had only ever read about.
     I can't wait to go back, and I can't wait till I can go explore other countries like France, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Germany.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #4 a Habit I Wish I didn't Have

     There are a lot of enjoyable habits to be had in this world. Coffee is one for me that I just don't think I could live without, along with scrapbooking, my morning routine of being on the computer and checking Facebook, being somewhat of a clean and organizational freak-a-zoid, and putting lotion on every night after I shower to keep my skin nice and soft. I can't even say that the one habit that I wish I didn't have is not enjoyable on most occasions as well. Most of my friends already know that I am a smoker....yes, I said it, I smoke. Statistically I think I was always destined to smoke, I am from a family of them. My dad, my aunt, my grandfathers. I was always around it. In fact one of my early childhood memories of my dad smoking was being stuffed into the backseat of the car with him lighting up his pipe or cigarette and getting chocked out in the back seat because the window was only rolled down slightly. Needless to say I hated that part, so in any type of weather my window is down to allow the smoke to float away outside not to the inhabitants of the back seat. I even remember the days where my dad smoked in bed!
     My dad tried quiting one time and his attitude was so bad that for Christmas my mother wrapped up his old pipe and gave it to him as a present. She couldn't handle it anymore. I wish I could say that he eventually kicked the habit and is now smoke free, but while smoke free he just went from inhaling to chewing instead. Both my grandfathers were smokers, one cigarettes the other a pipe and the only women in my family to smoke is my aunt. Of course I think sometimes we were made of the same cloth on most things, and being that she's a big influence in my life I thought that she made it look really cool, but ironically she wasn't the one that got me started either.
     By the time I turned 18 and graduated I had a friend that went away to Army boot camp and came back a boot camp dropout and a smoker. I'm sure that didn't help her asthma in any way shape or form. Of course in the name of peer pressure, I finally broke down to see what it was all about. I didn't start out to well and of course I NEVER inhaled. It was actually pretty funny to see me puff and blow. We smoked everything from Marlborough Reds, Salem's, Virginia Slims, and back again. The thought of a red these days makes my lungs constrict at the thought! Needless to say of all the friends I had in my life, she was the one who taught me lessons in what not to do in the future, but unfortunately the smoking habit has stuck with me.
     Have a thought about quiting? Have I tried to quit? Of course I answer yes to each question. Funny how most people don't realize we smoke and that's because I banned smoking in the house years ago. When my now husband wanted to come back from Ohio and really work things out I thought that not smoking in the house would be a deal breaker. I had moved outside or in the garage, re-painted our apartment and voila, a non-smoking venue is born. (On a side note however, most times most people didn't know we smoked in the house thanks to windows open 24 seven and great scented candles!) However, it wasn't a deal breaker and in fact sadly we adapted very well to smoking outside or in the garage. For winter we have a little heater that keeps us warm while we are out there smoking. Rain or shine, hot or cold we still trudge outside or to the garage to puff away on our little sticks. I have tried the patches, but they made me sick. I think because the concentration of nicotine is for people that possibly smoke twice what I do in a day. Than we have tried the electronic cigarette. I was doing fairly well on that one, until we made our last move last year and my husband just went crazy and bought a real pack of smokes. That was just supposed to get us through the move. No such luck.
     The real question is do I want to quit? Socially it's not all that acceptable anymore, but ironically almost every person we hang out with on a regular basis is a smoker. I still watch cars go by on the freeway and the amount of people still holding a cigarette in their hand is staggering. We always say once the price per pack goes up to ??? we will quit, but that hasn't even been a deterrent. Obviously not for a lot of other people either. I wish I was just the social smoker. We have friends who literally only smoke when they around their smoking friends, but don't smoke the rest of the time. Personally I'm really getting tired of our government and our health care people cramming this whole smoke free campaign down my throat. While I'm not saying that I can't get sick from it, I could get sick from something else, yes, I increase my odds, but when I pay for my health care than what business is it of theirs what I do. When I'm sick you treat me, period, end of story. I think this whole government push for non-smoking is all related to health care. This whole preventative medicine is there to make people feel healthier, for them to go to the doctors less therefore cutting the cost of medical care and saving money for these big companies. Problem is what happens to real medicine?
     So back to am I ready to quit? No, honestly, I'm not, but it is a habit that I wish I never acquired in the first place. It's expensive, and annoying sometimes, but it's also nice to have a smoke with your coffee, with an alcoholic beverage, or the after dinner smoke. For all the haters out there I have to wonder what their bad habits are? Do they drink excessively, over take prescription drugs, or take drugs, do they beat their wives or children, binge, purge, horde, or even over spend? we all have a vice, and if smoking is the worst habit I ever acquire than well, things could be worse! Don't judge me because I smoke, it doesn't make me a bad person, just a good person with a bad habit.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 |

30 Day Challenge - Day #3 Pictures of Friends

     I really believe the old adage that you don't miss something until it's gone. There are going to be more posts regarding friends coming up in the next couple of weeks, but I do have to say this: When I was making plans for us to move out of state, I didn't really think that I would really miss much here in California. I know people, but on a whole I can't say that I had a huge circle of friends. I have to now confess that I was completely wrong! Over the last couple of months I have been very blessed to be back in contact with some old friends and have been building stronger relationships with people that I know. Like my mom said, "You don't think you have any friends, but a person without friends would have had a party that no one showed up to!" Why is it mom's always say the right thing and are so dang smart?
     I guess that maybe my perception of what good friends are is a little skewed. I thought it had to be someone that you talked to on a daily basis, or someone that you did stuff with all the time. No, maybe that's how you develop a best friend, but friends are people that when you come together no matter how long you have been apart you can all have a good time, great conversation and laughs with. We all have so many different lives that it's hard to always see some people, but it doesn't mean your not friends with them. I also have a confession to make, sometimes I don't always make the best friend. As much as I love to be out there, I go through periods of time where I just want to close myself off from the world and hibernate in my own little world. Especially during the last year it's been hard for me to really get out there and be sociable. It's been difficult for me to do much of anything. I realize that making friends and keeping friends takes work to nurture and grow, and I want to take this opportunity to tell my friends thank you. Thank you for putting up with my eccentric ways, thank you for not giving up on me, thank you for still being my friends!

My two very best friends in the whole wide world, my mom, and my husband Paul. Without them many things in my life would not be possible. Thick or thin, they are both the glue that hold me together. Yes, I am counting them as friends, even though they are family, they are my best friends.
Stephanie, Patty, and Gareth, we are celebrating Paul's birthday here. I met Steph and Gareth on the night of their engagement party over 13 years ago. He proposed to her on the night Paul and I met. They have been with us through a lot of things and each time we move they ask are we moving closer to them? Nope we keep getting further away!!! I met Patty through another friend of mine and we just clicked. She's a firecracker and I love her for that! Were not just friends, we are practically family!
My BFF, Melissa (OK, I said mom and Paul were BFF'S, but really this in on a completely different level) We had the most awesome day at Disneyland earlier this year and I can't wait to do it again! This weekend we are heading north to Gilroy to see her at the Northern Renaissance Faire with Stephanie. Girls weekend it's going to be crazy!

This is my ex sister in law Karen. We really don't say ex and yes she is family, and I wish we lived closer because I know we would be great fun together all the time. She's a great friend and I miss her!

Here is me, Troya, and Cynthia. Troya I have known since about 8th grade and we have really re-connected during our 20 year reunion. Cynthia and I didn't really know that much about each other in high school, and we reconnected through an online scrapbooking group. We all lead such different lives, but these two ladies are so much fun to be around! Glad Troya moved closer to CA, so we can see her more often!
Kim and I at the reunion. Again, we went to school together and I didn't know her at all than, but thanks to the online scrapbooking group, we got to know each other. I'm also responsible for her latest boyfriend...still hoping they name their first dog after me!
Our friends Craig and Cheri. We typically only see them once a year for New Year's where they have a standing invitation. Love these two and wish we saw more of them.

Tomasa and I have been friends for over 10 years now. She started as my boss at my last job and we became friends. I'm so bummed she's moved back to LA County, but so happy that she got a better and well deserved job. I miss her!

Met Esther and Stacy through a scrapbook group and love the two of them dearly. They have the biggest hearts in the world and can be fun and crazy too.
HAHA!!! I had to swipe this picture off of Mandy's Facebook profile!!!! Funny Mandy and I have known each other for a couple of years now. She works at my local neighborhood Vons store. We have talked off and on and one day going through her line Melissa and I had our coupon books that we made. She loved them and we found out that she's a scrapbooker too! So she joined the group and in the last few months have really gotten to be good friends. She has a little dog named Abbey who's the same age as my Brutus. So we now have play dates. We have so much in common that it's almost scary! She's a lot of fun to be around and we just got our men to meet each other and we are looking forward to many more couple dates. We have lots of stuff planned for our babies too!
     That's not even the most pictures that I could put on my blog, but the people that I probably interact with the most. I have to admit that I weed out my photos on a yearly basis from my computer and there are some more I would like to include here, but it's difficult rummaging around Cd's trying to find all the photos I want. I haven't taken very many pictures this year either.
     Did I tell you that I do get very jealous when women tell me that they have had a certain friend or friends since childhood? Funny how I live in the same town I grew up in and a can say that I am not really friends with any of those people. They have all moved on, moved out, and maybe it's more about the fact that I don't always make a great friend. However, with the invention of Facebook, I can at least say that I am again friends with many people that I grew up with and while we don't always keep in touch personally, it's fun to be able to interact once in a while with them and see how their lives are going.
     I am lucky to have my friends and what I can tell you is that each of these people listed here and all the ones I have had during my life have made my life better by having known them and whether they live down the street, the next town, the next county, or another state; these women have all blessed my life in one way or another. Thank you to all I love each and every one of you!
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