The weather has turned downright CHILLY

Hi Everyone!

For Southern California, that's saying something. We hardly ever get colder weather but right now we are in for a little bit of chilly weather, which is fine by me. I always feel like it is more the holiday season when it is cold. That makes no sense at all since I was born and raised in California. But because we have relatives in New York and we've spent many a holiday there, it truly seems more like the holiday season when it's colder.

Last year on our annual visit to Long Island, we were doing some shopping (we always seem to plan our visits for early December!) and the holiday vibe was so strong. Every store had seasonal music playing, some places even had hot cider available or hot flavored coffee. I don't know who complains about the personality or friendliness of New Yorkers, but on every visit we take we are constantly reminded of how generous, friendly, and hospitable they have been to us. We definitely feel like we are visiting home when we go there. The 30 degree daytime weather doesn't hurt, either!

Two years ago it snowed the last day we were there, a good solid snowfall of about 6 hours that left about 5 inches of fluff everywhere. Sad thing was, it was our very last day and we had to pack up and get to the airport by 4 pm. We enjoyed it while we could and always say we wish it would snow when we visit.

Being a weirdo like I am, I have weather apps installed on my iPhone and constantly watch the weather in Long Island where we are staying. The current forecast is calling for SNOW the day after we arrive and also later that week....with any luck at all we will have a lot of fun playing in the snow and more importantly, Kiera will have fun as well. She is going with us for the whole week and we are going to have a fantastic time with our cute little granddaughter. I got her a couple of toys for the trip (one especially for the airplane) and I know we will have a blast with her.

I'm also looking forward to seeing my Aunt Ann. She turned 89 this year and is still as sharp as ever. Sure, she forgets a few words here and there but so do I. When I see her I feel comforted because she reminds me a lot of my mom who we lost several years ago to ovarian cancer. They were super close and my Aunt is such a great link to my mom. Then there's her awesome Italian cooking skills. The woman amazes me. In spite of her bad back and aches and pains, she can throw together a quick dinner like no one I know. I aspire to be like her someday!!

Normally when we visit we have gotten into the habit of throwing one big family dinner at our house (the house we rent while we are there) and inviting everyone from the New York side. Whoever is off work comes and we have a blast. Last time I made the whole thing but there's a local great little Italian grocery that has delicious cooked food and this year I will probably supplement my food with some of Uncle Giuseppe's. He's the BEST!

Okay, for now I will go tend the cabbage casserole baking in my oven. Like I said, it is COLD here! This casserole is one my grandma used to make and we got so fond of it through the years. She passed away at the ripe old age of 99 and cooked right up till the year before. I love all the things that connect me to my relatives whether they are here or waiting for the rest of us up in Heaven.

Have a great night, everyone! Let's get some more Christmas cards made and mailed out and then wrap some more Christmas presents!