So my official countdown to Christmas starts today. I know some people may start with the 1st, but I thought I'd break with tradition and start my advent calendar on the 2nd (at least it's another day closer).
For your delight today I have some 'Dancing Santas' snapped in a huge garden on Sunset Boulevard (they also had a fairly awesome Halloween display with a garden full of ghosts and ghouls). I get the impression the owners may be loaded, or at least have a design company to help decorate every occasion.
I'm trying my best to feel festive, but it's slightly harder in L.A. One of my concessions to winter has been to wear a jumper and light jacket in the mornings (well it is colder at 6am in what was formerly desert land).
In my list of things to do is to buy some Christmas cards as I have no idea how long it will take for them to get to the UK. My other dilemma is 'to tree or not to tree, that is the question'.
With a 70lb+ puppy bounding around the condo is it really wise to have a nice big fir tree for him to knock over and hanging baubles ripe for the plucking? Hmm, I think a compromise of smaller decorations may be in order.
At least it'll soon be time to watch all my favourite Christmas movies like Elf, Muppet Christmas Carol and Love Actually.
As an early Christmas present, I'm pleased to say that visitor levels to my blog are up 33% for November. The amount of time you've all visited is up 39% and the number of pages that are being looked at up by 25%, with 60% of you living in the U.S.A. (only around 16% from the UK, so come on you lot). But it's encouraging to know that someone is appreciating what I'm doing.
These results are even better considering that November had one less day than the previous month, but I'm sure my traffic figures were bolstered by all my Halloween coverage, especially the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnival.
I'm not so optimistic for this month though. Back in my old job and the web world at large, Christmas was a notoriously hard month for traffic (unless you were an e-commerce site), the first three weeks are generally fine and then around Christmas time traffic just falls off a cliff as people are too busy with festive merriment to do much internet surfing.
Anyway, I'm feeling all invigorated this afternoon after a wonderful massage at the California Healing Arts College on Santa Monica Blvd. It was a fabulous fifty minute therapeutic massage and did wonders for my aching limbs.
My personal trainer recommended the place as it's a teaching college, so you don't pay extortionate prices, just a $35 fee (plus tip obviously if they are any good). My student massage therapist was great and expertly targeted the problem areas I suggested like my left leg and neck.
In other news, it looks like we've discovered the cause of the leak in our apartment too, so that's great news, especially as they can come and fix it tomorrow.
So with all that feel-good energy to harness, I'm off to buy some Christmas cards so people can hopefully receive them this year rather than next Christmas.