12/31/18 Chronicles

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  Monday 12/24/18

Our trip to Dallas during Christmas vacation, continued!

I didn't sleep much last night, so we were up very early for breakfast. I found a place called Company Cafe that has many gluten free dishes, including pancakes, waffles and french toast. We took Lyft over there. It's in a ritzy, yuppie area. There's a Trader Joe's across the street.  I ordered some venison sausage and bananas foster pancakes. They were very good. The pancakes were super sweet, though, and there were way too many of them. I took them all to go. They also had a list of cakes and other desserts, so I got a piece of Tres Leches cake to go. I've always wanted to try this super moist cake. It was a huge piece, too. I ate a little bit of it every night.

We went back to the room after that. I was very tired, so I went back to sleep. David didn't eat at the cafe, so he went off to get lunch on his own.

Later on, we went out to dinner at a French restaurant called Toulouse. It was very crowded, being Christmas Eve. It was not a very good atmosphere for dining because we were stuck in a tiny table in the middle of everyone. The food was pretty good, though, and mine was GF.  They had one neat idea there. They had these little metal stands that kind of looked like canes but with multiple hooks on the top. They were for hanging your purse on! That was neat. So you don't have to put your purse on the floor, table or on the back of your chair. All restaurants should have that.

I had a lobster bisque, which was delicious. There was a lot of it, too. Too much, really. This may be only the third time I've ever had bisque or any thick soup at a restaurant that was GF.  Usually it's thickened with flour.  I ordered the duck entree, which was also very large, so I couldn't finish it.

It wasn't super cold, but it was very windy. As we dined, there were many horse-drawn carriages going by, decorated for Christmas, with many people in them, waving at us and people on the street.  Many of them paid $175 to get tours of the nearby Christmas lights on homes. That's a lot of money...not sure I would do that (as much as I love Christmas lights). Especially when it's chilly outside.

From there, we went over to the Irish pub, The Crafty Irishman. I had tried to find karaoke, but the only place I could find started at 10pm, which is a little too late for my early bird husband.  We had a pretty good time tonight, anyway. I had a great hot chocolate at the Irish pub.  From there we walked over to The Westin, which is a very nice hotel across from ours. We usually visit there often when we visit downtown Dallas.  We just had some drinks. The bartender there was the same one from last year.  I had a Spiced Pomegranate Martini, which was very good, but it took me a while to drink it because it was strong.  I also had a Champagne cocktail of some kind that she made for me. I don't drink very often, or very much, but it's the holidays!

After we got back to our room, I watched part of this Christmas movie on Netflix starring Kurt Russell, "The Christmas Chronicles." I got tired and went to bed fairly early, before midnight.

  Tuesday 12/25/18

Merry Christmas!

I slept in until almost 11. I was so tired! Well, it's nice to sleep a lot when you're on vacation. It's been very restful.

We took Lyft over to the Alama Drafthouse, which is a great movie theater chain in Texas. They have big theaters, comfy seats, and a menu you can order from (including liquor). They have gluten free pizzas and buns, too. I had a cheeseburger on GF bun, with fries. The fries weren't that great, so I didn't eat them all.

We saw "Aquaman," which I enjoyed. David's not a comic book fan and is not much into movies, either. I thought it was OK. It could have been edited better as there were too many action scenes and it was just not as tight over-all as, say, "Wonder Woman." It was better than the Justice League movie and most of the rest, and certainly not as dark as any of those. The acting was fine. Jason Momoa was good, I thought. He reminds me of Tom Selleck sometimes. I grew up reading the Aquaman comics, but I don't really remember them that well. I did think that some of the movie was too similar to "Black Panther," and I guess I'm not the only one.  Unlike "Wonder Woman," though, the plot didn't become a weird mess at the end, and they didn't kill off his girlfriend, either.

It was drizzly when we got out of the theater. We walked over to the Westin to get some drinks, and then we went back to our room for a nap.  I found a good karaoke place to go to later.

We weren't hungry enough to have "Christmas dinner" this year. We went back to The Crafty Irishman.. I had a salad, and I forget what he had. Something light.  Then we took Lyft over to this bar called Inwood Tavern, which had karoake. It's a fairly large place.  I had met the KJ on Facebook through another karaoke guy I know, so we met in real life, which was fun. He seemed very nice, enjoyed his job, and he sang well, and ran a good show. I would definitely go back there again.

Most of the crowd were younger people, and the majority of the songs were either country or grunge/punk/metal/hard rock type of songs.  Many of them were humorous, though.  I sang "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and then "Can't Stop Dancin'" by The Captain and Tennille (I've been wanting to try that song live for a long time, but most don't have it). Then I did "Last Christmas" by Taylor Swift and finished with "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence, a duet with the KJ.

The crowd was great. They didn't seem to mind that I was not singing the same kind of songs as everyone else. They really loved our last song a lot.  Several young guys were singing along with the KJ loudly by the stage. It was very fun. We were there from about 9 to midnight, so that was great.

I stayed up pretty late...I couldn't sleep, though, because of all the sleep I had last night.

  Wednesday 12/26/18

We went to this Thai restaurant for lunch called The Mint. It has tons of GF foods. I ordered too much, but it was fun. I had chicken "summer rolls," chicken satay and crab rice. It was all very good. David had pad see yew, which is a noodle dish he likes, and he shared some of my rice. The rolls and satay had delicious peanut sauce for dipping. I don't normally like the spring rolls that aren't deep fried, but these were pretty good, especially with the sauce.  It was good food, although not as good as the one in Kearney Mesa (in San Diego) we went to in May.

After that, we went to Trinity Hall, another Irish pub that we've been to before.  It was raining a bit. We went back to our room for a while and had a nap.

One of my SAU class mates, Brenna, was in a serious car accident. I hope she'll be OK! It sounds pretty bad. She's such a nice young women.

Later on, we went to the basketball game at the same arena where we saw the hockey game, American Airlines arena. It was pouring rain, though, and we didn't have rain jackets or umbrellas. The Lyft guy didn't drop us off at the box office like we asked, so we got really soaked by the time we got the tickets. That was not fun. I dried off pretty easily, thankfully. David was a little more soaked than I was.

The game was a lot of fun, anyway. It was a close game, for the most part. Dallas managed to win it in the end. We had good seats, but they were weird. We were right behind the super-close seats, but in a little corner, with a slight metal obstruction (not that bad). We were right above where the Mavericks run in and out of the locker room, and near one of the cameramen. It was pretty cool.  I took a lot of photos and videos.

It was still raining a lot when we left the arena, and then we took a wrong turn, so we weren't really sure where we were going. We finally found a restaurant called The Happiest Hour, but they were no longer serving food.  It was also really crowded and loud.  We called Lyft from there, though, and it was useful to be out of the rain.

I wore my Santa Yoda sweatshirt tonight and got lots of compliments on it! That was neat.  We went back to our room so that David could change his wet socks.  Then we went back to the Westin.  We just had some drinks and snacks there. We finally called it a night and went back to the room about midnight.

I stayed up and watched movies and shows on Netflix. I finally got to sleep around 4, I think?

  Thursday 12/27/18

Brenna opened her eyes and is breathing on her own, so hurray!!

I set the alarm for 7am. I took a shower and got ready.  We went back to The Company Cafe for breakfast. I had their farmer's breakfast, which was scrambled eggs with veggies and cheese; I had it with a GF biscuit. I ordered some more venison sausage as well and brought most of it back home with me. I was tempted to buy some more cake, but I didn't.

We went back to the room and packed up all of our stuff, and then we checked out.  We drove back home. First we stopped at Mount Pleasant again to get gas and so that David could grab some lunch. I just had a soda and half of an ice cream sundae. I was very warm.

We picked up Brandy at the vet's.  She was really hyper.  There were some other cute dogs there, and a kitty, too.  After we went home and unpacked the car, we had a nap. I was very tired and slept until about 5.  Brandy slept with me for part of the time.  We finally opened our Christmas presents and stockings, so that was fun! I got a bunch of DVD's, an ukelele, a humidifier, a Star Wars calendar, and a few other things. Of course, the big TV was my main gift.

I had an irritating time tonight. I have several emails, as many people do. For Amazon I use one particular email. Yesterday I got three emails from Amazon to "Sharon Lanoue."  Two were receipts for apps, and another one was for her trial period for a Kindle.  So I went on Amazon chat to ask them to fix it. I figured that this Sharon probably uses a similar email address to mine, so she just typed it wrong. I didn't want to keep getting her emails. I only contacted Amazon in chat because they got rid of their email support. I hate talking to tech support people on the phone if I don't have to (or anyone else, for that matter). I just wanted to let them know, so they could contact her about it and get the right email address, or make sure that it's not someone trying to hack my account or something.  I talked to 4 or 5 different people on chat and I had to repeat the problem every single time. They were just not understanding what I was asking them to do. The last one said I had to just delete the account, even though I told him that it's not mine. He even insisted that the other account was mine, even though it had her name on it and not mine. Crazy. So finally, I called their phone support, and they confirmed that changing her password and deleting the account was the only way to work it. But I had to call because you can't just cancel your Amazon account yourself. You have to phone them.  Anyway, it took like an hour and was very frustrating. I vented about it in a very short post in Facebook, and two "friends" of mine made nasty comments to me about what I said, as if I was somehow insulting or being mean to these Amazon customer service people, or customer service people in general.  Even though they can't see my comments! And I certainly didn't say anything to them on chat or phone about it. I'm always very polite.

I made it very clear that I've had years of customer service myself, so I know what it's like to deal with rude people. (I also know what COMPETENT customer service is)  I've been a long-time Amazon customer and spent thousands there. When they mess up, I call them on it. When they give me good customer service, I let everyone know, too. There was no way I was being "unkind" to anyone or hurting anyone's feelings. I gave all the details about what happened and how badly they messed up. It was annoying that anyone who claims to be my friend would act that way.

Anyway, after that, we just watched "The Godfather" I and II on AMC. I just stayed up until about 1am and went to bed early (for me). It was a very nice, lazy day of doing nothing.

  Friday 12/28/18

I woke up coughing about 5am and couldn't go back to sleep. It's now 2 hours later, so I might try to go back to sleep, after I eat something.

It's Friday, but it doesn't feel like it. It's felt like Saturday all week.

I did go back to sleep.

I've been catching up on some stuff for my site, and I put batteries in some of my Christmas decorations.

We went to Wal-Mart for groceries...just needed some prescriptions and a few other things. It's hard to get my brain back into non-vacation mode so I can get some things done.

I did walk Brandy this afternoon. She enjoyed it. We saw the boy down the street, Jack (and the girl who lives next door to him, Tinnley). They were happy to see Brandy and vice versa. I hadn't seen them in quite a while! The weather was a little chilly, but not too bad.

I've been catching up on some work on my site, and I caught up on this week's "Bold & Beautiful" as well. That's the only soap I watch regularly. They had a nice Christmas episode as always.

Later on, those two women on Facebook were complaining to me more about the Amazon thing, so I just deleted all their comments. I also posted that if one of your friends is venting, you should just sympathize and not argue with or complain about her. Then one of them kept arguing with me! Hard to believe how some people act and never grow up. I hope she was just in a bad mood or off her meds or something.

I was tired and tried to get to sleep around midnight, but then I was coughing, and I couldn't sleep. I stayed up until about 6am. I mostly watched Christmas movies and surfed social media, and chatted with some friends. Nothing too exciting.

  Saturday 12/29/18

I woke up in the afternoon. Then I was sick a lot. I wasn't as careful as I should have been last week, to be honest! Sometimes I just want to eat this one thing, and I'm worried that if I ask about gluten, they'll say, oh, no, you can't eat that.  And then I will have to choose something else that I don't want. I know, it sounds stupid, and I keep doing it to myself. I just wanted a salad for dinner on Tuesday, and we were at the Irish pub, so I ordered their salad, which had blue cheese crumbles and some kind of coated, candied walnuts. It also could have been the cinnamon pecans I ate at the sports arena. They told me the ingredients, but any of those ingredients could have had gluten, like the cinnamon or the vanilla.

Apparently, some companies put "gluten free" on their products even though they're not wheat free. They extract the gluten from the wheat. Well, that doesn't help me, since I'm allergic to wheat! Also, they don't extract ALL of the gluten, just enough to make it under 20 parts per million as required by U.S. law to mark it "gluten free."  So stupid.  UGH.

I've been watching a lot of Christmas movies I recorded this month on Lifetime and Hallmark. Some are better than others. The more modern ones do seem to be less sexist and patriarchal, at least. I love Christmas, so I enjoy watching them. Most of them are not so bad that I give up on them.  A lot of women I know love watching them. I used to watch many of them with my MIL when she lived with us.

I walked Brandy about 5pm, just before it got too dark. It was colder than I had anticipated, so we walked fast. It's in the 40's today. Brrrr! I'm still enjoying watching the Christmas decorations up in the neighborhood. Only one house that I saw had already taken them down. We always take ours down on New Year's Day. I'm not looking forward to that!

I think I actually may have lost a little weight over Christmas...at least, the pants I wore today were a bit loose. They were very tight not too long ago.

This was a really nice Christmas this year, and I can't complain, even though I did get sick for a few weeks.  For the first time ever, we went to a photography studio and got a professional photo done of us and Brandy, and we made it into Christmas cards. I sent them out right after Thanksgiving, and I've gotten a ton back (I'm still getting them!). I did most of my shopping then, too (on Amazon). I sent out mostly gift cards, so that made it easy. I made tons of cookies, first for my classes, and then for the people that David works with, plus our neighbor.  Being sick did put me a little bit behind, especially with decorating, but I got it done, eventually, and with Trisha's help. I really went all out this year on the decorations, adding a lot of lights and other stuff. It was so much fun and looks so pretty!  Then we had such a nice vacation in Dallas - we really had a good time. We had a lot of great food, drinks, and fun things that we did. Nothing went wrong and everything was great. Even with a little rain :)  The weather has been pretty good, too (a little snow would be nice, though!). I've only worn my big heavy jacket a few times.  I got nice presents, too. The main one, of course, was the big TV, but I had many nice little gifts as well. David seemed to enjoy his. It's just been a very nice holiday.

Tonight David's watching the Bama game, and I'm just trying to catch up on stuff... I'm finally feeling better, so I'm going to start the laundry. I've been doing that, and I also cleaned up the kitchen and ran the dishwasher, and I put away most of our Christmas presents and the packaging from them.

We have always argued, sometimes yelling at each other...this is how we always are. But now we can't act that way because poor Brandy gets very scared whenever we yell at each other. She cowers next to me and shakes like a leaf. Poor baby! So we will try not to yell any more. Maybe every relationship should have a scared little dog around to keep people from fighting! :)  Bugs didn't like it when there was ANY loud noise, even from the TV, or thunder outside, but he would just go hide somewhere, like on his bed (or under it). He wasn't scared or anything (well, maybe from the lightning, but not the rest). It was more like, it bothered him, so he just went away. He didn't seem scared, just annoyed.

I made some GF, low carb cookies for myself. They turned out great! I stayed up until about 6:30am.

  Sunday 12/30/18

David woke me up about 11. We went out to Java Primo. I just had a soda and watched him eat.  We went to Brookshire's after that to pick up a couple of things. We're going to have to do more shopping tomorrow because we can't pick up our Champagne on Sundays!

He drove me to McDonald's after that. The drive-thru was crowded, so I went inside (which was fine). He told me that they're closing the McDonald's for a while to rebuild it. Too bad for me, though. :( Thankfully, it won't happen until the Spring.

I went back to sleep for a few hours after that...I was going to walk Brandy, but it's raining, so she loses. Too bad...I'm pretty sick of the rain. Some snow would be nice, though!

I made more cookies later on. I ate way too many! They're GF and low carb, but they're not "diet" cookies, that's for sure. They came out great, though. I plan to make two more types and then I'll be done. I think!

I got a little more work done on my site today. I'm trying to do better about managing my time.  I'm really not looking forward to the new year. There's a lot more work. Christmas is over as of January 1st (we take down all the decorations).  Then I have to put all those away and get the house cleaned.  We don't do anything for new year's except stay home and toast at midnight. Pretty boring! I wish someone would invite us to a party!

This is another time I really miss living in a big city. When we were in Honolulu, we used to walk all around the downtown, going from one bar or restaurant to another, having drinks and snacks. We'd usually end up at the Gordon Biersch down by the pier. I usually stopped at one or two karaoke places, too. We would have some good drinks and snacks at Epic (which is no longer there, sadly). We just had a great time. We didn't even stay out that late past midnight, either. It was so much fun.

David has to go back to work on Wednesday. I only have another week after that before I have to go back to class. Ah, well. It's been fun!

I tried to go to bed around 3:30, but I wasn't tired enough. I'll try again soon. After New Year's Day, I will definitely need to start getting up earlier again.

It's been raining all night and is supposed to also rain Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Yuck. I hate when the dog gets all wet from going outside.

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