Thursday, December 31, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

So today is New Year's Eve and tradition dictates that I am suppose to reflect on the previous year and list goals of the next year; although I’m not normally like that especially after I learned that only 5% of resolutions are kept. I figured “why bother?”

When I was younger, though, I used to set aside time the week before New Years to fill my journal with my adolescent drama and musings regarding the previous year and to make some New Year resolutions (usually something about writing in my journal more often). However, the past few years, I haven’t really had much time for that – it was a year! Whatever! It’s over! I’m so happy! Let’s move on! – but perhaps because this year marks the end of a decade (a decade consisting of my 20’s!), perhaps because I am exhausted and introspective lately, or perhaps because we plan to spend tonight on the couch with Rock Band, board games, tiramisu and a bottle of sparkling cider and therefore, I’m not racing around, I’m rather drawn to the idea.

Mostly, I will remember 2009 as the year “we had no plans for traveling,” but seemed to do a lot of domestic travel. This was pretty much my own fault, of course – Girl Has Serious Case of Wanderlust. This year, on the year the Rossini’s decided not to travel, I visited Alexandria, LA, New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama, Pensacola, FL, Denver, Sacramento, Seattle, Cambria, Las Vegas, Alaska, Sequoia National Park, and Cabo, Mexico. And, did I mention that besides the Alaska trip they were all weekends away? Maybe it’s more of “Girl Has Serious Case of Wanderlust with Husband Who Has Limited Vacation Time.” But, 2009 was also the year of trying to establish myself as a freelance writer and finally, graduate from the “Master of Arts degree that never seems to end.”

Also, this was the year I got knocked-up. Maybe I’d given you the impression that I was pretty laissez-fair about that kind of thing, but the truth is that I sort of wasn’t: I was kind of quietly ready a few years ago, so the fact that we are expecting our little bundle of joy in February 2010 means that it isn’t a moment too soon. But, after all, good things come to those who wait.

I’m not very good at New Year’s resolutions – is anyone? – But in 2010, I think I am going to try a little harder not to be quite so anal and neurotic. I am not going to sweat the small stuff, I’m going to take more deep breaths, practice a little more patience and tolerance, grow thicker skin, and remember to prioritize some ME TIME in with my other obligations. I’m going to be better about folding the laundry and ironing my shirts, better about making sure my days are productive, and better about not spending money, and lose this pregnancy weight, and you know, keep a baby alive, happy and healthy. I also pledge very solemnly to be better about making sure I eat plenty of Mint Chip Ice Cream weekly in front of mind-numbing shows like Chuck, LOST, and Grey’s Anatomy because hey, I need at least one resolution I can keep.

Happy New Year! Much luck for the upcoming year and decade!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A very merry Christmas post

Happy Christmas, Internet!

I hope you all have a wonderful day with the people you love, giving and receiving fantastic presents, drinking lots of champagne, laughing your head off, and eating your weight in cookies, chocolate and ham. Which is exactly how I plan on spending tomorrow. (well, minus the champagne. But, please do drink a glass or two of bubbly for me. I mean, what are friends for?)

If you can be bothered to wait for the video below to download, you'll be treated to the Rossini family dancing as Elves in a comical rendition of Jingle Bells. Seriously, you'll laugh so hard you'll cry.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, December 21, 2009

My city celebrates: Los Angeles

I religiously read National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel Blog, in fact I can’t start my day without reading through their daily post. It’s like my Wall Street Journal. Anyways, ITB recently launched a new series, “My City Celebrates,” a spin off their “I Heart My City,” which I participated in last spring. As I love the holidays, and am resolved to making the most of my time in LA I thought it would be good for me to fill out this survey and tell the Internet exactly why you can “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” in Los Angeles.

When I need a dose of holiday cheer, I always head to the DWP Holiday Light Festival at Griffith Park for the Christmas music, beautiful lights and a walk in the crisp, cool air.

The best place to grab a cup of cocoa is Zona Rosa Caffe, in Pasadena on the corner of Colorado Blvd and El Molino Avenue. Their Mexican Hot Chocolate has the perfect amount of cinnamon and vanilla in every sip.

If you want to find great sledding you have to head to the Big Bear or Mountain High, but personally my favorite is to head to Mammoth Mountain for a snowy, weekend getaway.

Strap on your skates at Pershing Square and enjoy the view of the skyscrapers and historical landmarks of downtown LA.

For a classic holiday photo op, don’t miss Disneyland at Christmas with its seasonal decorations adding to its already considerable charm. Main Street boats a 60-foot Christmas tree covered with thousands of lights and decorations, Sleeping Beauty’s castle sports snow-covered turrets, and the nightly fireworks display include swirling snow, just for the season.

A great place to take the kids during the season is Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena. This historical landmark contains nearly 135 cedar trees decorated with nearly 10,000 lights.

For all of your gift-giving shopping in one store, check out Vroman’s (for book lovers), or the Beverly Center (a mall featuring classic American retailers) or Paseo Colorado in Pasadena for the ultimate outdoor shopping experience (since it usually is 72 and sunny during the Christmas season!)

The historic Farmer’s Market (at Third & Fairfax) has the best shops, produce, and strolling yuletide carolers; be sure to pick up delicious seasonal fruit, a sampling of nut butters at Magee’s House of Nuts, and a Christmas scented candle at By Candlelight for your next holiday party.

No holiday meal in my city is complete without a Peppermint Mocha at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

My favorite holiday tradition in my city is the sense of unity and respect that the citizens display during this time of year. Despite the growing diversity within the sprawling southland, generally people seem to respect the beliefs of the numbers cultures and religions all residing in the same area.

Locals know to avoid the throngs of shoppers at any of the classic mega-malls and find the real magic at the Glory of Christmas at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. This live-action pageant tells the classic Christmas story with actors, flying angels and a parade of live animals including camels, sheep, horses and a donkey.

The best part about my city during the holiday season is a rare rainy Saturday when it’s cold enough for a wood-burning fire.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Its all about Community


Are you guys watching this show, Community that is. I mean, honestly, it’s hilarious. We thought we’d start recording it, purely because it was on Thursday night, and we’re still loyal to NBC on this particular night. Plus, we thought it would make a nice warm-up for our evening – but now I would hasten to go out on a limb and suggest that perhaps we like Community even better than The Office and 30 Rock (Both which are falling hard and fast. What’s up with Dwight these days?) Man, we lead such wild lives! You should come over and watch us put the crib together on Saturday night while we talk about our budget!

Anyway, unlike The Office, Community is a traditional sitcom...well, a witty, creatively erratic sitcom. NBC describes the show as “Breakfast Club” fashion – although I think Breakfast Club and I think a return of Molly Ringwald and show tunes – but the jokes are sometimes just a little...sharper. The writing is clever, and the pace is brisk. The show is follows a Spanish study group and centers on Jeff Winger, a slick, but loveable layer forced to attend community college after his license is suspended. As a traditional sitcom, the show must include a love interest, and diversity: a religious black woman with attitude, a pop culture-spouting quasi-foreign student, a slightly pompous and considerably clueless senior (come on, we ALL had at least one in our college classes....), a former high school jock, a Peace Corps alumni, and an overly sensitive and easily offended nerd.

Are you watching? You should be. I mean, maybe then it would be less annoying when I quoted lines from the show if you were.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Some obsessions

Me? Obsessive? Is the pope Catholic? Is Edward Cullen a vampire? Is red wine the nectar of the gods? Is Tiger Woods seriously cheating on his supermodel wife? Well, just a little bit then, yes. Having spent the morning trying to get the measurements on photo sizes on my latest Blurb book (why yes, I just caught up with my 2008 photos, and my Alaska vacation!), but not so perfectly aligned that it looked too boxy, as well as neurotically reading consumer reports on stroller reviews, I decided that a little reflection on some of my old obsessions seemed curiously fitting.



Missing a day of running in high school and college was like telling me I couldn’t breathe. OH. MY. GOD. Meltdown. It was like I couldn’t function without my daily dose of endorphins. I had a schedule and a tempo and neurotically kept time with my stopwatch, and that could not be altered. Christmas fell on a Tuesday? That was a track workout; I needed to find a track. We were going skiing over the weekend? I couldn’t leave until I finished my long run on Saturday. And I literally mean timing my running – freezing the watch for any shoelace tying or red light waiting I had to endure. Seriously, if I tripped and fell over a curb (a regular occurrence with my two left feet) I would be sure to press stop on my way down.


It all started with this old poster my Mom had hung in the laundry room of the Kings & Queens. Then it was the Beatles. Then fish and chips with vinegar and tea and Prince William and Jane Austen and – for reasons I have yet to fathom – cricket. I longed to go to England, specifically to live in London: wear a uniform, go to Maths, take A- levels, and hang out at my local. I had an opportunity to study abroad in Dublin in college, which was my first time being so close (barring a 9 hour layover in Heathrow a few years prior) and I adapted to the Irish culture in an instant. I even took to calling strangers “Love,” watching Coronation Street and inhaling massive quantities of Cadbury chocolate and digestives. I ended up in England nearly half a dozen times during that 8-month stint, and every single time was perfect. Even now, years later from my last visit, I can still hear “Mind the Gap,” and see the pub near the Shakespeare Globe where we drank pint after pint of Guinness with the smell of curry lingering on the streets. I have to say, I’ve been disappointed by many things in my life, but emerging from Heathrow Airport and seeing the red double-decker buses has not been one of them.


I have no idea what it was about this musical, and why I discovered my passion for it in 1997, but for some reason I memorized all the lyrics to every song. Maybe it’s because John Travolta was so dreamy.

Sweet Valley High

When I was in junior high, I fell madly, passionately, irretrievably in love with Elizabeth & Jessica Wakefield and the whole Sweet Valley crowd. (What do you mean they’re not real people?) Even now, some 18 years later, I sometimes pull the book out at my parents’ house and read the back covers of worn books. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so obsessed with anything since. I really had it bad. In fact, I wanted to be a writer because Elizabeth Wakefield was, and I loved the color purple because it was the official color of “The Unicorn Club.” I used to read the books over and over again. Really, Francine Pascal should really be thanking my parents for putting her kids through college.

Gary Farrell

Poor guy, he was the object of my affection from 1992 until 1994. Yes, Internet I was in junior high when I fell in love with Gary Farrell, who was tall, handsome and the played percussion in the Travis Ranch Junior High Band. I was painfully shy (you would be too with a mouth full of metal and coke-bottle eye glasses). We had a few classes together (band being one of them – nerd alert!) and I would pretend to find reasons to talk to him, but I would merely turn bright red the minute I came within a 10-foot radius. He asked me how I was feeling the first day back to school after I fractured my elbow, which gave me the confidence to ask him to sign my 8th grade yearbook two months later. Honestly, that was the highlight of my year. (Don’t judge, junior high was what I consider my “awkward years.”) I even drew a heart around it. He’s married to an acquaintance now, and living in Las Vegas, and should he ever stumble upon this post would probably have a chuckle.

Cotton Balls

I just can’t touch them. I avoid them at all costs. I still get a mild panic attack every time I am going to open an Advil or Tylenol Bottle for fear there may be a cotton ball stuffed inside. I’m actually fairly certain I’m going to hyperventilate just writing about it now. I’m going to stop now. And possibly have some chocolate in order to recover.

New Kids On The Block

Oh, please. Like you weren’t.

So, what about you – any obsessions you want to own up to? Do you avoid touching cotton? Do you know all the words to “Summer Nights?” Were you secretly digging Gary Farrell too? (Uh, wait, were you really? Are you still in touch with him? Can you tell him I’m happily married with a kid on the way and I hope he/she is as cute as his little guy? Not that I occasionally look at the pictures his wife posts on facebook.)