Whew, sorry I haven't updated lately, but it's been a busy week, and when I wasn't doing something with family, I was recovering from doing something with family. I've also started working out again, and that's feeling really good. It's long overdue.
Well, for all my talk of not spending a lot on Christmas, I got a couple of gifts that really took me by surprise. I got several cool things, but a couple were really unexpected. I was planning on buying myself a Kindle after the holidays, but Ken got me one for Christmas! Yay! I've been learning how to use it, and I've already read one book on it (Draculas, by F. Paul Wilson and three other authors...it was gruesome, gory, and had plenty of dark humor...I loved it!).
The other was a gift from my sister Diana, and that's it in the picture. Yes, she got me a guitar. A freakin' guitar! Our grand-niece and grand-nephew also got guitars, and she got my sister Sue a keyboard. She says there was an incredible deal going on at Tom's store (Elder-Beerman), and she just couldn't resist. She handed it to me and said, "You're the guitar hero!" I was stunned.
So now I need to figure out how to play the damn thing. Ha! There is a website through the company that offers tutorials and lessons, so I'll start there. I have a feeling that real guitar isn't going to be as easy as Rock Band guitar...! (Makes me think of Cartman on "South Park": "Real guitars are for old people!") I strapped that baby on and found out that real guitars are heavy, too. I guess it makes a big difference when it's solid wood rather than plastic. Go figure. I measured it, and it is 40 inches long, making it exactly 20 inches shorter than me. I could almost play it like an upright bass.
My niece Jen has been in town for a couple of weeks, and tonight was dinner out with her. I had looked online for a few places in the area close to where she's staying (with her Dad--my brother-in-law Tom--and Diana...are you still with me?) and the most intriguing place sounded like a little restaurant called Bella Italia. We couldn't find it right away, but kept looking, and were glad we did! Their sign wasn't lit, and we made sure to let them know, because it was hard to find. But wow, was it worth it! Great food (I had artichoke and spinach ravioli in a light balsamic sauce), great service, great wine, and a visit from the chef, who was funny and charming (and from Sicily). He actually stopped by our table, and all the others, several times. When it came time for dessert and we wanted a dessert wine, he recommended a sweet sparkling wine. It seemed too sweet at first taste, but he said, "Trust me. When you have it with the dessert, the flavor changes." He was right! It was perfect with the sweet desserts. It was a good enough experience that I'm thinking I should probably write a note saying how much we enjoyed it. Isn't it fun when you find an unexpected place that turns out to be wonderful? I would recommend it to any of my friends in the area.
Tomorrow is another big day, with the Notre Dame-Miami Sun Bowl game at 2 pm. Then a New Year's Eve party at Diana and Tom's, and it's Jen's last night here. I'm sad. I wish she lived closer...San Diego is about as far away as you can get in this country! Hawaii doesn't count because it's not really a state. In fact, the Birthers have asked for the REAL certificate of Hawaii's statehood. Heh. I can't take credit for that...I read it somewhere. Maybe Andy Borowitz? But I digress. Saturday it's a visit with Shane and Matt, and Sunday it's watching football and putting away Christmas decorations. Monday it should be a return to normal...or at least as normal as it gets around here!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and here's looking to another year. There will be some good things, there will be some bad things...but I think I've crossed that line where just having another year is a good thing! Happy New Year! What would you little maniacs like to do first? (Does anyone get that reference? Anyone?)