The Christmas Gift Exchange

Today was the office Christmas party.  It was held at a restaurant one can only get into with reservations made light-years in advance.  We were served a lovely buffet and I ate way too much.   I had chicken, turkey, pork, shrimp, ahi (fresh tuna) and squid.  I tasted several different salads, had a bit of rice with curry sauce (more shrimp), and tasted 4 different desserts — well, truthfully, I more than tasted the flan.  I ate every bite and considered licking the last of the caramel sauce from the bottom of the dish.  (I did manage to restrain myself.)

After the eating came the service awards.  After the service awards came the door prizes — none of which I won.  BUT, after the door prizes a basket came out.  It was filled with envelopes and everybody not called for a door prize was to take one.  Irene, one of my co-workers, couldn’t decide which of all the identical envelopes she wanted.  She kept picking envelopes up and trying to figure out what was inside by rubbing them and holding them up to the light.

I just reached out and took an envelope, than started to walk away.  “Wait!”  Irene called.  “What did you get?”   I looked back at her and shrugged, showing her that I hadn’t opened the envelope.  “Open it, please,” she said.  “I want to know what they’re giving away.”

I opened the envelope and extracted a Starbucks Gift Card.  At the same time, Joe, another co-worker opened a Block Buster Video gift card.  Irene looked at the Block Buster Card and then she looked at my Starbuck’s card.  She reached in the basket and grabbed an envelope.  I started to walk away.  “Wait!” she called.  “I’m going to open this envelope and then if I don’t like what’s inside, we can trade.”

Halfway through the door, I stopped and turned back to look at her.  “You forgot to take into consideration that I am happy with my gift and I don’t want to trade.”

“Ugh!”  She said and put the envelope she’d been holding back into the basket.

The last thing I heard as I walked away was her muttered, “Don’t tempt me,” after Joe dryily asked her why she didn’t just open all the envelopes then take the one she liked the most.

After the Party

After the party I gathered up the dishes and tossed them away, put the glasses and silverware into the dishwasher, then returned the chairs back where they belonged. I wiped the counters, did a slow pirouette and found all was in order — just as tidy as before my guests arrived. Now that’s the perfect kind of party!

Once a month we gather at someone’s house to share fun, laughter and food! We call it “Cooking Club” and we have a theme for each party. The first gathering was a “whatever” potluck. We all snatched “whatever” from our fridges and took it to Mariposa’s house to eat by the pool. At that gathering we discussed the theme for the next party — and decided upon cocoa. Every dish had to have cocoa in the recipe.

I made chicken mole with rice. Mariposa put together a spice rub for vegetables and grilled them. The Clarks made spiced nuts for the appetizer. The other couple flaked out on us, so at the last minute Mariposa mixed up a batch of brownies for dessert.

At that gathering we decided the theme for the next one — and since the only day we all had free was Mother’s Day, we decided the theme was, the guys cook. The guys decided their theme was tropical fruits. OC made the appetizer. He wrapped bacon around pineapple and broiled it, then added a yummy sauce. He also tossed together a salad of cauliflower, broccoli, tangerine slices and pineapple bits. Everybody was surprised at how well the flavors merged. The Clarks made baked chicken with pineapple salsa. It was yummy. Mariposa’s boyfriend made his last appearance at that party. He brought mango tea and baked a lemon poppy seed cake.

And for Sunday night’s gathering the theme was picnic foods. OC couldn’t understand why I was so insistent the house sparkle when we were supposed to be outside, but it has rained here every afternoon for two weeks. I didn’t expect party day to be any different — and I was right. Seconds after the guys grabbed the basketball and went out for some hoops, the skies opened up and drenched them.

So, the party gathered in our living room. The Clarks brought an Italian pasta salad. Their daughter (10) made a jello-fruit salad. Mariposa brought grilled chicken and cantaloupe. Wiley — a gentleman from church who has recently moved here and didn’t know better than to accept our invitation — brought Key Lime pie. I made Fiesta Shrimp Salad. The recipe is below (sorry, I forgot to photograph the salad until after its remains were in the leftover container):

Fiesta Shrimp Salad
[click here for larger photo]

1 pound shimp, cooked and shelled
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium red pepper, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 large cucumbers, peeled & diced
1/2 cup cliantro, chopped
juice from two lemons
salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and let marinate for several hours. Serve chilled on lettuce leaf.

(This makes quite a large salad, make certain you’ve company coming or you’ll be eating it forever.)

Feast of Beauty

Hello, my friends. Come in. Relax. Enjoy the beauty of my virtual home, while I am busy scrubbing our real one. Tomorrow we are having a small gathering of friends. Today I am cleaning.

I offer you a feast of beauty, starting with our unassuming little (I do mean little) church, and moving outside to the landscaping. All of the flowers thrive courtesy of our pastor, who has recently answered another call and will soon be leaving us. However, you can see that we will have many visual reminders of his time with us.

Waianae United Methodist Church

Double Oleander

Waianae United Methodist Church

Sunrose

Madagascar Periwinkle

Madagascar Periwinkle

Jetrophia (male flower)

Bougainvilla

Double Hibiscus

Frangipani in Pink & Yellow (aka Plumeria)

Waianae United Methodist Church

Frangipani in White & Yellow (Plumeria)

Jetropha (female flower)

Rain Shower Tree Blossoms

Pink Plumeria (aka Frangapani)

Love the Ocean Blue

Every grade level took part in the end-of-the-school-year celebration.  Our pre-K kids did a simple hula telling about their love for the ocean and how it is everybody’s responsibility to keep it clean.  They didn’t do the hand motions well, but they were adorable trying.  We all wore matching tie-dye {white} t-shirts with the ocean blue at the bottom, and the sun shining from our left shoulders.  The kids wore head-bands depicting ocean life.

Ms. Jewls, Ms. Alice & I dyed the t-shirts right in the classroom.  We got to ohhh and ahhh at the blues and greens as each one came out.  All of the children together looked adorable in their matching shirts — and the teachers matched, too.

Each child painted his/her own head band under Ms. Alice’s care.  Then, after they dried, Ms. Jewls helped them apply the glitter.

9th entry
Project Blue
brought to you by Anna

It’s Back — Sort of

My laptop returned home from the Gateway fix-it folks. The hard drive is fine. Now the wifi won’t work.

The laptop was returned to me with a note that claimed all systems had been checked and were in good working order. I find that highly suspect since my wifi has no drivers. How the hell could they have possibly checked it?

You’ll be happy to know that their automated system — the one you have to go through before you actually get a live person — assured me that the problem was wholly fixable. All I have to do is log on to the internet and download the drivers. Hello?!

Finally, I got a real-live person on the phone — several of them. They all exhibited less personality and compassion then the automated system. I spent almost $700.00 on a laptop that crashed, destroying all my files within just a few weeks of it’s purchase. The laptop was repaired and returned promptly — sans my wifi drivers. A phone call to that effect left me speaking to no less then 4 people over 7 hours. None of them were kind, considerate or compassionate. All of them were condescending and spoke to me as if I were short on intelligence. Why shouldn’t they? I obviously am short on intelligence. I bought a computer from them, didn’t I?

I would strongly advice you not do the same. I am still borrowing computers to check my email and post.