Monday, December 30, 2019

It's the Eve of New Years Eve

Another new year is upon us, and I know they must really be going faster when my now 16 year old son is noting how fast 2019 went. Christmas was a whirlwind and it was less fun than years past because it seemed as if there was all the same amount of stuff to do only not as much time to do it all.

Of course I knew this would be the case when we decided to take a 15 day cruise from December 3rd to the 18th, but I don't think I really knew how much there would be to do. More so is the pressure I tend to feel because I am the only one in my family who does not truly enjoy all the store bought gifts that make up the bulk of the holiday for most people, including Dave and Mason. All of you who know us, you know Dave is a shopper, Mason is a kid (Christmas = gifts), and I would rather tap into all the feels of the season. Some of those feels can be a gift, but more so for me it's the baking, the decorating cookies, making ornaments, decorating the tree, watching the Hallmark Christmas programs, and trying to find a gift or two that will really touch the recipient, maybe even evoke some real emotion. What happens is, we gather around the tree on Christmas morning and there are easily 5 gifts for me, 5 for Mason to every 1 gift for Dave - it feels awful! Dave says he doesn't care but a day or two later he will talk to the dog (with me sitting right there with them) and say, "Papa didn't get any candy in his stocking..." Grrrr! He says he doesn't care, but he does.

I made it clear a number of years ago that I just financially cannot keep up with the gift-giving rivalry and that I didn't want to even try. Mason gives us a list and more often than not, one gift will wipe out the gift budget and there likely is not money to buy 2 or 3 of his suggested gifts. I stopped hounding the boys to not shop for themselves after Halloween (for fear that I already purchased a gift and then they would purchase it for themself and spoil my gift come Christmas) and told them that I would buy them something if it really spoke to me for them or I would give the way I want to give... and sometimes that gift may be the gift of nothing. Yes, it's a real gift!

I can't tell you how many times I've purchased fun little things for Mason only to find them in his garbage can or the box to donate to Goodwill a few weeks after Christmas. Really?! The last two years I bought Dave really thoughtful gifts, things he had mentioned on numerous occasions he would like to have, one was a metal detector and the other was for his birthday the following June, 2 fishing poles. The metal detector didn't come out of the box until after his birthday, and that was when I gave him the fishing poles. He has not used the metal detector yet (Mason took it out of the box), and the fishing poles are collecting dust in the garage. He will argue that he doesn't have time to use them but it's common knowledge that we all have the same 24 hours in a day and Dave no longer works full time. Does this hurt my feelings? A little bit, but it more so validates that we don't need all the things and in fact, we don't even really want them. We think we want them, but truth be told, what Dave spends his time doing is socializing with his friends, he spends his time at Pete's watching football with the other fans, and the same when Football is not in season and NASCAR is on. We have a full bar at home with a kegerator and the NFL ticket. He's hungry for the social time, the comradery, and even the rivalry between teams and or drivers.

Isn't it ironic that I want to celebrate Christmas with my people doing the things that we have come to love about the season (holidays) and he wants things, though he doesn't use the things because he wants to spend his days with his people sharing the things that they love about the season (football/NASCAR)? For the record, Dave gets really meaningful and thoughtful gifts, he just typically gets so many of them! LOL! This year he bought a recreation of my favorite dog Riley... it's strangely awesome. I went to WalMart and bought Dave 5 boxes of Mike N Ike Sours and even though they weren't in his stocking, he seemed pleased to have his own candy. It's a small price to pay to make my man happy and now we can put Christmas away for another year.

In other fun news, the film Mason shot over 2 years ago has finally been released in theatres across the country, APParition is a thriller based on the true story of the events at Preston Castle in Ione, CA. Seven boys went missing and Mason played one of the boys in the reform school. We've been able to see it in a few early premieres and it's really something to be proud of. I don't think Mason will keep working in the film industry, but this film gave him a real taste of what that looks like. I'm glad he got to have the opportunity, it was fun for all of us.

I wish you a happy new year and smooth roads to whatever goals or resolutions you may see for yourself. I know I have big plans for myself in 2020 and us Partaks have some pretty exciting things on tap as well. I'll share more about all of that in January. Welcome 2020!

Monday, December 23, 2019

It's the Eve of Christmas Eve

This has been the craziest holiday season ever! Having been gone December 3rd -18th has left Dave and I only 5 days until Christmas Eve, only 5 days! I would like to have been more prepared prior to December 3rd, but no, work schedules were just not allowing for time to prep for Christmas. I was literally working up until we got off the Bay bridge in San Francisco to be dropped off at the pier to board the ship. Thank goodness for hot spots so laptops work in the car.

The Hawaiian cruise was lovely, but truth be told, it was too long. Maybe I feel that way because it was the two weeks before Christmas, or it may be that I am not a Sailor, I don't love being on the water for extended periods of time. I have friends who live on a sailboat, others who vacation every year on sailboats in the Caribbean, and of course those who love the cruise industry. We did a Disney cruise a number of years ago and I loved it! It was only 4 days so there was just enough time to really discover all the things to do on the ship and then we were back in Florida ready to do a little more Disney with our land-legs. In any case, I'm glad we went, being on 4 islands and all 4 beaches in 4 days was bliss. The 5 days back to the states created forced relaxation for Dave and I, we slept late, watched movies, read magazines and books, and even napped during the day if we felt like it.

Now we're home, the tree is not all the way decorated, my cookies are not done, I still have shopping and wrapping to do and who knows if it will get done. I'm feeling the pressure of our differences in what Christmas looks like, Dave and Mason love our traditions (as do I), but they love the gifts aspect of Christmas way more than I do. I don't buy gifts out of obligation, I want to buy a gift that speaks to me for you... not a candle or a bottle of body wash because I can't show up empty handed. Let me show up empty handed and let my gift be my presence, our time together. I know it's the gift for me, to get to spend time with you.

So here we go, I am doing some baking today even though I know I won't be able to decorate my cookies before Christmas. It's okay, I'll decorate them between now and the new year and it will be just fine. And with that said, let me share a cookie making tip with you all, I can't believe it took me this long to figure this out! Merry Christmas...

If you like this tip, subscribe to me on YouTube and follow me on Instagram for more useful information coming in the new year. Big smiles!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Mason Made Desserts for Dutch Bros. Holiday Party

I couldn’t be more proud of Mason! He did the desserts for the Dutch Bros holiday party tonight, he did it completely on his own and did the Dutch gingerbread as a bonus gift to Heather. I love that she trusted him with something so important, I hope she was happy. It all looked great and though I’m not home to taste any of it, I know his truffle recipe because it's the one Dave uses that originated with our friend Theresa. Finally, the orange-cranberry cupcakes are my recipe so I know they are good. He even sugared fresh cranberries!

Though I'm sorry I'm not home to help Mason with his Dutch Bros order, I've had the time of my life on this trip with Dave, Lisa, David, and Lisa's mom and her husband. I'm so inspired to make 2020 crazy amazing along with Jennifer Smith Taggard. It's time to see some of those bright ideas to fruition. With that said, I am ready to be home with Mason and the dogs and enjoy the rest of the holiday season as we see 2019 off and ring in 2020. What about you, what are you looking forward to in the coming weeks?

Monday, December 9, 2019

Our Hawaiian Cruise

We made it on the ship and ready to set sail! I have worked so diligently and hard for the last two weeks leading up to set sail today. If I could work like that every day, can you even imagine what kind of life I could be living? LOL! Frankly, if I worked every day like I’ve been doing, I would have no time to enjoy my life and my people. Not to mention the pace I was keeping was grueling. I’m not sad to be through that almost impossible list of things to do. It did remind me however what I am actually capable of. In any case, we are here and I’m ready to have some fun and get to vacationing.

The first 4 days on the ocean, we were rocking & rolling pretty constantly since we left San Francisco and I'm not talking about music. Jules would have been in heaven while I would like a break from the Princess (Cruises) Ride! I didn’t get officially seasick, but I was eating Dramamine a bit like candy. I should have planned better and purchased it at less than $8 for 6 tablets. 

We did have plenty of fun participating in the activities and games on the ship. We not only played music trivia, but we also gambled in the casino, we both played in tournaments, Lisa and I played in a slot tournament and Dave played in a blackjack tournament, and of course, we saw some shows. We’ve won two of the music-trivia contests, the 80s and Country Music. There's more than one way to drink free on a cruise! #freechampagne #prizeisabottle The Anderson's have been our partners in crime winning the trivia games!

Coming into port early morning at sunrise, I was so ready to feel my land-legs! 
Most of the sunsets were spectacular! This photo from Oahu has no edits or filters. The iPhone 11 Max Pro is amazing! In fact, I tagged Princess Cruises on social media and they asked to use the photo on their social media, website, and marketing, how cool is that?! I’m loving the camera on my new iPhone 11 Pro Max, seriously it changes the phone-camera game. 

Then there was the fall that made my already “not pretty” legs, even more, “not pretty!” Talk about embarrassing... my pride hurt more than my leg. Oh, and for all of us parents that tell our kids peroxide doesn’t hurt, LIAR!! LOL! And yes, it’s been washed with soap twice and the dirt and gravel are ground in for now. I’ll wash, scrub, and disinfect several more times while drinking shots of tequila.

*Island hopping was the best part of the trip and frankly, 15 days was too long for the trip. The 5 days it took to travel from the mainland to the islands and back was just too much time at sea for me. Sailing is not my idea of the ultimate vacation and our Disney cruise was so different than the Princess trip. In any case, I loved the time with the Anderson’s and celebrating Lisa’s and my birthdays were epic. I love those people so very deeply and as some of our very best friends we just don’t get as much time together as I know Lisa and I would like to have. 

*Updated after returning home so the trip is documented in one place, for the most part

Monday, December 2, 2019

My People!

Last Tuesday was amazing! I spent the whole day just hanging out, talking, laughing, dreaming big, solving world problems, being grateful, looking at pictures, hugging, loving, and just being with Michael J. There was also time with Sari, & her mama, and daddy, some of my favorite people - my people. The 23rd was Michael's 29th birthday and he and his new bride are planning to move to Chile in just a few weeks so I made plans to fly to LA and spend a whole day with them. It's only a day, but it's all we can do for the moment. Can I just tell you, it really was an epic day!

Later in the week, we were preparing for Thanksgiving, which if you recall we celebrate on Saturday instead of the official turkey day which is Thursday. Diana arrived in Sacramento on the real turkey day and she, Jenn, and I went wine tasting on Friday. We had such a good time girl-talking, laughing, singing along with the radio, and of course, tasting wine at Runquist Winery in Amador County. We ended the day with a group of us having dinner in Grass Valley and then enjoying Cornish Christmas before calling it a super-fun-filled-night!