Merry Christmas!

Wow, has it really been so long since I have posted? Well, I’m sure you understand, being this time of year and all.

I hope you and yours are having a safe, warm, fuzzy holiday time. Not too stressful. Not too frantic. Not too expensive!

I wanted to share today with you. Once a year we all gather together and go to a mall. Now this may not sound like much, but as a rule, we don’t do malls. We just don’t. It’s not our idea of fun. And we don’t shop together. Sometimes me and a son might shop, or my hubby and myself. Never all of us together.

But at Christmas we (and usually a friend, the car has room for 1 more) pile into a car and hit up either Fashion Island (otherwise known as ‘Fascist island’ by my husband) or if the weather isn’t up to snuff (if there is a drizzle for example, you know we are all made of sugar down here) we will go to South Coast Plaza, these being the 2 high-end Orange County malls.  We check out the lights, the giant trees, the holiday decor and go to stores we might otherwise not dare to enter.

I was really hoping to see a flash mob. That would have been pretty exciting. Guess I need to spend more time hanging around airports and train stations.

Here are some of today’s highlights…

First off, we went to California Pizza Kitchen for a late lunch. Sorry, no pictures. But it was a grand feast with appetizers, pizzas, salads, desserts, ahh. Oh and wine.

IMG_0695 (765x1024)What is that on a leash?

Can it be?

IMG_0696 (765x1024)Kitty!

Now I noticed this outdoor mall did not have as much decorations. It had the largest Christmas tree on the west coast, if not west of the Mississippi, but just a smattering of decorations. Inside the stores there were lots of lights and bows and garlands. When we go to South Coast Plaza and the neighboring Crystal Court, they are indoor malls and are festooned with holiday decorations.

We strolled past numerous tempting stores. Like Sperry’s topsiders, shoes to wear while boating or reading about boating, or watching boating movies. And a pet store with an old cockatiel in an open cage that our friend Celina kept petting. It was a lovely white with salmon undertones and he kept bending his head down in a ‘give me neck rubs dear friend’ kind of way. Which she did. For quite a while in fact. Why didn’t I get any pictures? Guess I was too busy looking at kitties in the window.

But the bread store…ah. Where else but in Orange County can you spend $11 on a loaf of bread? At Le Pain Quotidien is the place. It started with us walking by the big inviting window. Oh look, 50 lb. sacks of King Arthur Organic flour, piles of them! My heart started racing…it was like getting injected with a cup of coffee in my veins. Can I act casual?

“Oh, lets see whats in here?” I fool no one. They all crowd around the window, showing polite interest. Actually, we have all become bread connoisseurs in our own way. And here was a store brimming with big, rustic loaves, all perfectly browned, slashed, glossy with a special wash, or all floury and crackly. Yes my friends, we spent $11 for this loaf of bread. When it comes to bread, I have no self-control. I don’t even pretend to.

Thanks Dave for indulging us all!
Thanks Dave for indulging us all! Whole wheat sourdough.It will feed us for a week.

Then this one too…

Olive and rosemary, yum. I have the recipe but never tried the bread. Now if we love it, I can try it myself, albeit without the steam injected ovens.
Olive and rosemary, yum. I have the recipe but never tried the bread. Now if we love it, I can try it myself, albeit without the steam injected ovens.

And my Dave picked out one for himself…

Hearty Rye
Hearty Rye

These are works of art. Beautiful. Almost too good to eat. But I will slice them up, freezing the extra slices. Hmm, seems I remember some brie and blue and Gouda in the fridge. All we need now is to open a bottle of wine…la buona vita!

Somewhere along the way we found a koi pond where my older son stuck his fingers in the water and the koi tried to nibble on them. Celina squealed as they made the water sucky noises.

Finally we found our favorite store. “Anthropologie”. Dave wants to be a buyer for them in his next life. What a fun place full of the unusual, the quirky, the lovely and, of course, the expensive. If you wear a size 0 to 6 you might be able to buy clothes there. I, although I am sure I could squeeze in, (ahem) go in for the drawer knobs, books, candles, butter dishes, aprons, and other assorted nick-nacks. They have loads of handmade plates with bees or cats or utensils painted on them. I saw what looked like a small log with 2 wicks coming out the top. Here is what the boys got me last Christmas from there…

He holds a special place of honor in the china cabinet, standing guard until a holiday comes when he guards the butter with his life.
He holds a special place of honor in the china cabinet, standing guard until a holiday comes when he guards the butter with his life.

This year I picked up a couple of gifts for friends and something for our daughter, who is in Paris at the moment, house sitting. (A whole other story) I wont divulge what we got her, in case she is reading this. (Bonjour Jess!)

Here are a couple of gifty things…

A special bowl, just for you, to indulge in some ice cream, or some morning yogurt with bananas and granola.
A special bowl  to indulge in some ice cream, or some morning yogurt with bananas and granola.
What special kind of tea would this cup likely hold?
What special kind of tea would this cup likely hold? I love the little flower near the handle.
I would say hot cocoa and marshmallows, but then you might not see the pretty flowers looking up at you from inside.
I would say hot cocoa and marshmallows, but then you might not see the pretty flowers looking up at you from inside.

When I was growing up we would drive around and see lights on houses. Even when the kids were little, now and again we would still look up in the paper where the blocks with the most Christmas spirit showing where and go drive or walk them. Once I remember, when they were real little, going caroling! Me, who can’t hold a note! But it was fun. What I lacked in musical ability I make up for it in loudness. Its Christmas carols after all and it was fun to take the kids. Not like a tabernacle choir or anything.

But recently, the last 3 years or so, it has turned into going to the mall. Just as a novelty. Its festive, there is food. Since we don’t go all year, it makes it special. “Wow, this looks just like in the movies!” my youngest said the first time we did this. Garlands everywhere, Santa’s village, giant trees, waterfalls…if it wasn’t for the commercialism abounding, it would be heaven! But we also enjoy coming home with gifts we hide from each other, behind our backs, pretending we don’t see each other buying them. Mostly it is spending the time together. Anything can be fun when spent with those we love.

I pray you are spending some quality time with those you love.

Joyeux Noël everyone!

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2 thoughts on “Merry Christmas!

  1. ANOTHER bowl lover! I am sure that we could all form a bowl admiration society…I adore bowls and Steve calls me a bowl hoarder. I am sure that there are worse things to hoard but I MUST check out the bowls whenever I go anywhere that sells china…I am going to say green tea or earl grey tea in that beautiful cup…or even chamomile? You would see the pretty flowers on the bottom :). I hope that you have an amazing Christmas this year and that you get to spend some special time with your family and friends 🙂

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