Disconnected. And it feels so good!

Well, it’s been a while, old friends! A week and a day to be exact. I didn’t plan it, but I ended up disconnecting for the holidays. With the exception of a few Instagram pics of my silly dogs, I avoided most social media, and most importantly, I didn’t write a word. I didn’t even take very many pictures (gasp!). Instead I spent lots of time with family, helped my husband put on a Turkey Trot race, cooked a lot, ate a lot more, ran a little, and had an amazing, wonderful holiday.

Here, with the few photographs that I took, plus a few that I stole borrowed from my family and friends, is a recap of the last week. And, many of the things that I am thankful for.

With the weather cooling down (though it was in the 80s on Thanksgiving Day), we had some cloud cover and even a little rain. That made for some beautiful sunrises. Did you ever notice that the most beautiful part of the sunrise happens when you don’t have a camera handy?

Sunrise

Johnny

As I said, I didn’t take many pictures, but sometimes I just have to share my dogs’ antics, no matter how disconnected I am. There is Johnny above, showing it all off during his nap, Penny below, who is soooo tired, and Goldie on the bottom, sitting in a food bowl. Silly dogs!

Penny

Goldie

 

On Thanksgiving Day, Alan and I put on the 16th Annual Turkey Trot, this year held in Old Town La Quinta. I say we, but he does all the work. I just help out and handle registration on race day. We had about 500 people, and in spite of a little course confusion (don’t ask!), everyone had a good time. And it gave us an idea for a different kind of race, a Scramble, where you run three courses, all the same distance, in different directions, and the first one across the line is a winner (that may give you an idea of how the Turkey Trot went!).

race

Pace Car

My son David and his girlfriend Melissa did the race for the first time. They also helped at registration.

David

Alan, posing with our daughter-in-law Lisa, and our twin grandsons Dane and Cash, before the race.

Family

Look at that intense look on Cash’s face. You can tell he wants to win.

Cash3And he’s leading the race! Not really, but he did really well.

Cash2This was posted on Facebook by someone that I don’t even know (she posted it on the race page).  Cash is pretty much leading the race at that point!

Race Start

Brothers!

Dane_Cash

Grandpa and the boys.

Dane

I look important, don’t I? I’m checking the results to see how Cash did.

Debbie

And he finished first in his age group!

Cash4

Proud mama Lisa and her boys after the race.

Lisa

One of our local newswomen, Gloria Rodriguez, announced the awards ceremony.

Gloria

Alan is always at home behind the mic. In addition to our own races, he announces quite a few in Southern California, including the Malibu Marathon and the LA Triathlon series.

Alan

By 10:00 we were done with the race and headed home (nice to host a race in your home town, just five minutes from our front door). Even though we weren’t hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I did have some cooking to do..vegan versions of stuffing, sweet potatoes, plus I roasted a Gardein Holiday Roast, to bring with us to dinner at Lisa’s and Alan’s son John’s place in Palm Desert. Believe it or not, I didn’t take a single picture of either family or food. Instead, we just enjoyed the holiday together.

We were exhausted though. Alan wakes up at 2:30 on race morning, and I sleep in to about 4:00. I think we managed about an hour nap each, so by 8:00 we were sagging. Still, we had a great time.

Our second Thanksgiving meal was held at my son Nathan’s new home. It was also a celebration of Samuel’s second birthday, so in addition to Nathan and his wife Sarah, David and Melissa were there, along with my niece Brynne, her boyfriend Eric, and his son Zach. This time Nathan made vegan versions of most of the side dishes (hurray for my Paleo son!), so I just brought along the leftover Holiday Roast. I also got back on the picture taking wagon (or fell off..or something).

Grandpa: First, let’s take a selfie!

Grandpa

Hurray for the Chargers!

McClean

Sarah and Nathan are loving their new home. They’ve just been in it a month, and are finally getting things where they want them.

Nathan

Uncle David giving Samuel a flight…

Uncle David

…and spending some time coloring.

David_Samuel

A boy and his dog. That’s Chloe, who just turned a year old. Nice that they’ll grow up together.

Samuel

My vegan dinner. Even my niece made her green bean casserole dairy free.

Dinner

 

Samuel2

Singing to the birthday boy!

Birthday

Samuel_Nathan

I managed to get a little training in, though between work, holidays, traveling, etc., I didn’t get my greatest effort. I did three runs, including a six miler on Saturday, my longest in a while, did one Pilates workout, and no yoga at all. But, December is the beginning of marathon training (for the SLO Marathon in April), so I started the month off with a five mile run and a yoga class on Monday.

Well, it felt so good to be disconnected, but it’s great to be back. How was your holiday? Did you get to disconnect a little? Spend some time with family and friends? Do you realize that Christmas is only three weeks away? And Hanukkah starts in less than two weeks? Yikes!

 

 

Things to remember:

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Decorate a Beautiful Thanksgiving Table

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Boombox Network. The opinions and text are all my own.

Thanksgiving is only two weeks away, so in my household I’m beginning my annual fall cleaning and decorating project. My family Thanksgiving is always, well, interesting. Because my husband and I put on the annual Turkey Trot 5k every year, we are pretty exhausted by the time dinner time rolls around. So, to keep things as organized as possible, I try to plan, prepare and decorate my house in the days leading up to the holiday. I decided that my Thanksgiving table decorations definitely need an update (something beyond my usual candles and cornucopia), so I was happy to find this Thanksgiving Tabletop guide for inspiration.

    1. Hot Skwash Pumpkins – Rich, velvety pumpkins in warm hues with real pumpkin stems. Handcrafted in Oregon. Centerpiece on the table, the buffet or adornment over the mantle. See them here.
    2. Branch iron candelabra – A rustic but elegant and certainly dramatic candelabra that holds 17 candles. Buy it here.
    3. Dripless pillar candles – A set of 12 dripless candles in a color to suit your decor. Save your furniture and table linens from dripping wax! Get them here.
    4. Leaf appetizer dishes – These glazed leaf dishes are the perfect size for each guest to use as appetizers or for the hostess to serve sauces, dips, olives… See them here.
    5. Pumpkin Dutch Oven – A perfect Oven-to-Table piece, and certainly one that is an ode to the season. By Staub. You’ll have it forever. Buy it here.
    6. Swirled tangerine glasses – These goblets boast of seasonal colors and style. See them here.
    7. Root wood bowl – This one-of-a-kind wooden bowl is crafted from reclaimed fir wood. It is food-safe and perfect to serve dry foods such as breads. Check it out.
    8. Footed leaf tray – Highlight your hors d’oeuvres and desserts on this elegant pedestal tray. Get it here.
    9. Live Thankfully napkins – A set of 6 natural cotton napkins that are very apropos with the “Live Thankfully” inscription. Buy these napkins here.
    10. Wine carafe -Stylish wine serving is to be had with this hand-blown wine carafe with an oak wood stopper. Or use it for water or juice. See it here.
    11. Wood candle holders – A set of 5 wooden candle holders, each with a different distressed finish. Love them for the Thanksgiving table and anywhere in the house for the rest of the year. Get the set here.
    12. Flicker LED candles – Perfect for the wooden candle holders and you won’t have to worry about them. The natural flicker will make you forget these candles are battery operated. Oh, and remote control is pretty cool. Get them here.
    13. Autumn floral basket – Preserved sunflowers, myrtle in orange and green, flax and natural wheat make up this decorative harvest basket. Put it anywhere in your home to announce Thanksgiving. Buy it here.

    Give your guests an inkling of the festivities that await them inside by adorning your front door this absolutely gorgeous autumn foliage wreath.

Thanksgiving Wreath 2

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Boombox Network . The opinions and text are all mine.

Whew, That Was Fun! And the Coolest Candle EVER!

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas. I know that I did, although it was pretty exhausting.

fun candle

My celebration really started last Friday, with all our pre-Christmas grandson visiting and family get together. It was tons of fun and it was very nice not to be hosting for a change.

Our plan for the actual Christmas day was simple. Alan and I would finish any last minute shopping on Monday (no matter how hard I try, there is always something I need), then spend the day together, open gifts, and enjoy a scaled-down feast (is that an oxymoron?). My youngest son, David, would stop by, probably eat with us, and exchange gifts.

fun friends dogs

Then, on Sunday evening, David tells me that he’d like to bring his girlfriend over for dinner. Normally I love when he wants to bring a girl over. Plus, I love sharing my vegan cooking, always looking to spread the news that a plant based diet can be delicious.

The thing was, though, that since I hadn’t planned on any hosting this year, my house, home to six dogs mind you, was not quite as spiffy as I’d like it to be. Plus we’d been gone for several days, leaving the pack to roam freely through our house (with a doggy-sitter of course).

fun dogs

So Christmas Eve was spent with cleaning, picking up those last few things, including vegan marshmallows, which I have to drive to Palm Desert for. I also baked another pumpkin pie and made the cranberry sauce.

Finally, I stopped at Target, not quite sure what I needed. I ended up buying a few iTunes cards and some candles. One candle, an Airwick, promised to glow with multiple colors when lit, although it looked like a plain white candle in glass. It was kind of expensive, but I bought it anyway and put it in my bathroom.

Christmas was lovely. All the work that goes into the holidays can sometimes leave you so tired that you don’t appreciate the holiday itself, but not this year. I was able to relax and enjoy the time with Alan. While cooking even a small Christmas dinner is a project, I love doing it. We stayed traditional vegan, with roast Tofurky, stuffing, sweet potato casserole and mashed potatoes.

fun tofurky

I was very excited that Santa brought me exactly what I’d asked for, a new lens for my camera! Thanks, Santa! You always get it right.

fun canon zoom lens

Oh, and the coolest candle ever? Watch the video below. For some reason I find it mesmerizing. (Even cooler is that now, two days since it was last lit, it still changes color when I turn on the bathroom light.) Yes, I’m going to buy more of those.

How was your holiday? What was your favorite part of your celebration this year? And for those who celebrate Christmas, what did Santa bring you?