The 20-Year Itch: Part Two

Forget what I said before. I went to my high school reunion. Thanks to Facebook.

On Saturday, I was on Facebook and noticed that photos from the Friday night pre-social were posted. Flipping through the 40-or-so pictures I started to really want to see some of the people shown laughing and drinking. Just then…

“What’s up?” says M.

“I think I’m bummed that I’m not going to my reunion,” I reply.

“Why don’t you go? I’ll watch Baby A.”


Yes, he was serious. It was 2 PM. The party started at 6:30 PM, three hours away. Showered, dressed, and a bit nervous, I made it. Glad I did. I surprised a few people (since apparently they read this blog). But the important thing is that I saw the people I wanted to and reconnected with others that I had forgotten about.

When I left the over-riding thought I had as I drove the three hours back to LA was that I went to school with some remarkable people who are doing great things in the world  around them. I’m proud to a member of a class that has accomplished much.

The 20-Year Itch: Part Two

It’s Rivalry Weekend, Enjoy!

This four-day weekend isn’t about turkey; it’s about football. From Thursday until Sunday we can turn on the television and watch the pro or college teams fight for bragging rights. This weekend USC and UCLA will play for Los Angeles domination. If you’re a fan of either team, the game can be nerve-racking. And according to researchers from Ohio State University, this fear and near-despair may be what makes these rivalry games enjoyable.

Specifically, if your team is the one who wins but you thought at one point that they were sure to lose, the game was more thrilling and suspenseful than a fan of the losing team. “We found that negative emotions play a key role in how much we enjoy sports,” said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, co-author of the study and associate professor of communication at Ohio State University, in a prepared statement.

As for me, I’ll probably start watching the battle of LA in the fourth quarter. UCLA is my hometown team, but I don’t find enjoyment watching them. I find frustration. Sigh.

It’s Rivalry Weekend, Enjoy!

Preparing for a Thanksgiving Tradition: Black Friday

Photo by No Dents
Is this your Black Friday tradition? Photo by No Dents

Thanksgiving in my house was always a strange day. G. would cook this huge dinner—an enormous turkey, two types of stuffing, enough sides to choke a horse and at least two types of pies—for three people. My mom and I never ate too much. I usually ended up sick afterward and she was thinking about bed because she had (and has) to wake up early for Black Friday.

My mom doesn’t shop; she’s one of the many people who works in retail. She always has. Growing up, I worked in the stores she managed but I was always spared on Black Friday. To this day, I avoid malls or any other store like the plague the day after Thanksgiving. I know first hand the chaos and I prefer a simpler life, one that doesn’t involve fighting crowds, stalking people for their parking space and standing in long lines.

But for all of you bargain shoppers out there, here’s another way you can prepare for the biggest shopping day of the year, compliments of University of Utah marketing professors. Arul Mishra and Himanshu Mishra have found that the types of food we eat, such as turkey, make us behave less impulsively. In other words, if you’re looking to spend less this holiday season, eat a good Thanksgiving meal.

I’m not sure that I buy this. For years, the stores that my mom has worked at have beat out the prior Black Friday. And Americans aren’t getting any thinner. The husband and wife’s research was based on surveys administered after Thanksgiving dinner. There could be a good 8 hours before you see a cash register after you inhale all the turkey and trimmings. However, now that the time between dinner and your favorite stores opening is diminished greatly (I know of some places that are opening at 10 PM on Thanksgiving) maybe the gluttony of the holiday meal will mean restraining the credit card. (And well, there is also the economy.) We will have to see.

Whether you decide to shop until you drop or do anything else (there’s a kickball game in Palm Springs that I would like to attend), enjoy Black Friday. It’s a holiday tradition that is truly unique.


Preparing for a Thanksgiving Tradition: Black Friday

A (Possibly Twisted) Game to Play This Weekend

If you had to, could you get rid of 50 things today? Either toss, recycle, give away or sell 50 items in your home? M and I used to be able to on a given day, but it’s getting more difficult to reach that quota.

Every once in awhile, usually when the clutter in our house starts getting out of control, we play “50 Things.” [Disclaimer: We didn’t come up with this idea, a friend suggested it.] It’s easy, we go through the house and find things that can go elsewhere and don’t stop until the amount totals 50.

It’s liberating. It’s oddly cleansing and it’s expectantly freeing. We’ve played this game for years. Before I met M. I would always clean my house four times a year as if I were about to move. But now, he tends to instigate our purges. The timing is uncanny: I’m thinking that it’s time to clean, but I’ve decided I have other things to do. Each instance, I’m grateful I took the time to play—50 things.

We have a long weekend coming up so why don’t you play. It allows for charitable donations, gift possibilities and uncluttered closets (the best place to start).

A (Possibly Twisted) Game to Play This Weekend

The Thanksgiving To-Do: Shop

Thank you Trader Joe’s clerks for reminding me that I should probably think about shopping for Thanksgiving. Better yet, I should cook a whole turkey and bring it to them—two single men who don’t have anyone cooking for them this year. They’re right (about the shopping). I need to decide exactly what I am going to make. So far, there will be three and a half (me, M, Cy and Baby A).

Last year I was a food television addict. I watched everyone to figure out what I should cook. I decided on a turkey breast rolled with a corn bread/cherry stuffing compliments of Martha Stewart and assorted steamed vegetables and sweet potato casserole (The one with the marshmallows is M.’s favorite. However, I do a recipe that has meringue from an old Cooking Light magazine.) It was a good dinner that was relatively easy. I imagine this year to be the same.

The Thanksgiving To-Do: Shop

Free Jewelry?

Today on Baby A and my walk into Westwood village, a woman gave me two pearl necklaces: one for me and one for me to give to someone I love. What was the catch? None.

The necklaces were compliments of Dogeared Jewels and Gifts. Basically, they want to send “good energy into the world through personal and positive gifts.” The necklaces are small pearls with cards discussing beauty and love. I’ll be giving both of my necklaces away since Baby a will rip them from my neck. the one of beauty to my friend and neighbor Cy for being such a wonderful friend over the years and the one of love to my mom.

Thank you, Dogeared.

Free Jewelry?

I Challenge You to a Week of Thanks

The countdown to the biggest day of gratitude of the year, Thanksgiving, begins today. And I am throwing down the gauntlet. I challenge you to be thankful for something each day until Turkey Day. Here’s why:

  • People who are grateful are more content and hopeful, according to Robert Emmons, PhD, professor of psychology at University of California at Davis and author of Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier.
  • Thankful people recover faster from illness.
  • Gracious people handle chronic stress better.

So for the next seven days blog, tweet, write or tell others why you’re thankful. (You can leave comments here all week). Consider it a warm up for the big day.

I Challenge You to a Week of Thanks