Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Fabulous Christmas!

I will admit that one of my favorite parts of Christmas are the presents. Of course I like to receive gifts, but I LOVE to give gifts. I love to watch people open them with excitement on their face and know I found the perfect present. I do take the easy route sometimes and give people gift cards, especially when I don't know them very well. But for the most part, I spend quite a while thinking about and shopping for the perfect gift. For example, this year we bought my dad a side table made from a huge tree root. It was absolutely gorgeous and I knew that he would appreciate all the time and care that went into making it. I wish I would have taken a picture of it, but I did not remember until it was packed for shipping and I took so long to pack it so that it would not get damaged that I would not even think of taking it out of the box.

Anyway, my favorite gift to see opened this year was actually the stockings my parents sent to our dogs. They were so excited and I wanted to share it with my parents, so I taped it. In a way it is like watching our "kids" open their Christmas presents.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Bestest Husband Ever!

Rommel always has a difficult time deciding what to get me for Christmas and my birthday. The fact that my birthday is just three days after Christmas makes is even worse for him. This year he mentioned that Zales has a new Hello Kitty collection. We checked it out, but in the end I decided against the necklace I adored because I just could not justify spending the money on it and chose a new camera instead.

He totally surprised me by getting for me anyway. I still feel a little guilty about the price, but not as much as I would have if I told him that was all I wanted for Christmas. Yes, I might have secretly been hoping for it, but I did tell him not to get it for me several times.

Anyway, I absolutely love it! Some may consider it childish, but I could care less. It is adorable and I love Hello Kitty. It always reminds me of a little plastic, pink purse I had as a kid that my sister and I would fill up with sand from the sandbox and carry around. I have no idea why we would do that, but they were good memories! Picture courtesy of Zales.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Apparently the universe is trying to tell me something.

And what is it trying to tell me? Slow down! I have had so many things happening lately that are literally forcing me to stop rushing around like I usually do.

First were the changes they made at my workplace. Instead of getting rid of employees, they are cutting everyone a few hours. Luckily I will still be working forty hours a week like I have been, but I have to avoid accruing any overtime. I am more than fine with that; it helps keep other people employed. The problem is that I am always early and I mean always. I show up to work thirty minutes early every morning and get myself situated. I also haven't taken a whole hour for lunch in years. Now I can only be five minutes early at the most and must take a whole hour for lunch. This is only the first week that these new rules have applied and it has completely threw me off. I woke up five minutes before I was supposed to be at work last Saturday and ended up being twenty minutes late. I have been late coming back from lunch. It messes up my day when I get to work and I don't get settled in. It may be completely coincidental, but I was also late for a dentist appointment and a massage this week, which never happened before.

It may sound stupid, but being early is part of who I am. I don't like sitting around the house in the morning waiting to leave for work or anywhere else I need to be. I like to get out of bed, throw myself together, and walk out the door. At lunch, I run errands or grab some food and head right back to the office.

So I guess I need to learn to relax and enjoy that extra time, but I think it is going to take me awhile. It just doesn't feel right.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

We will all miss you Aunt Dee.

My Aunt Dee passed away at 10:35 this morning after a long, courageous battle with cancer. She was surrounded by loved ones and not in any pain. My dad said that in the end she seemed at peace.

Now I just hope for good thoughts to surround my uncle, their children, and grandchildren. I keep glancing at a picture of my aunt and uncle from their wedding day. It was printed on the front of the cards they gave away at the sixtieth wedding anniversary party. They always seemed just as happy as they were in that picture.

She will be desperately missed.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Sunny Bunny

Sunny loves anything that squeaks, including this duck. I bought it for her after the whole pigeon incident because she behaved so well around the bird (meaning she did not maul it). She has been carrying it around with her ever since. She brought it into the bedroom the other day and laid down with it. She looks so cute yet so protective of that duck. Thank god Simba has no interest in toys. Otherwise we would have a continuous war in our house.

Why I deserved that $4 cupcake.

The first thing I did Monday morning was to mail out all of my family's Christmas presents and another special package, which was addressed to Making Memories in Seattle. Making Memories is an organization that sells used wedding dresses and wedding accessories at conventions all over the United States. All the profits go to granting wishes for breast cancer patients plus research and education. My dress and veil have been hanging in the back of my closet for almost five years and I am not one of those women who want to save it for my daughter to wear when she gets married. Who knows if I will ever have a daughter anyway. So I decided to donate it because it is was still in such great condition and they really needed modern style dresses.

I decided to take a few pictures before I packed it in the box so I could reminisce if I wanted to. I forgot how pretty the dress was. My favorite part was the beading on the bodice and the hem. I hope someone else falls in love with it and feels beautiful wearing it.

After mailing the packages I went to lunch with a friend from work. We decided to drop by this new bakery called Crumbs on our way back. I had seen the sign that they were opening a few weeks beforehand and it advertised milk and gourmet cupcakes. I have been looking for an opportunity to stop by since then and this was the perfect one. The Oreo cupcake I picked out was a little bit pricey for me, but it looked so good. It was chocolate with Oreo crumbs in the frosting (and there was a lot of frosting) with an Oreo on top. SO GOOD!

I came home and headed to the garage to get our Christmas wrapping paper. The dogs went straight for the recycling bin and I knew something was up. They usually head for the yard to see what has changed since they were last out there. It turns out that they were cornering a pigeon with an injured wing. I shuffled the dogs back inside and filled a small plate up with wild bird seed hoping the bird was not too hurt or exhausted to eat. Then I kind of freaked out because I did not know what to do with it. Of course I wanted to do whatever I could to save the poor thing, but humane societies and vets do not usually take in pigeons. I checked out the Internet and all I could find were ways to nurse them back to health. I happened to have a large bird cage, so I gently picked her up and set her in the cage. She immediately began to eat the seed, which was an excellent sign. I took my chances and called the Pasadena Humane society. Thankfully the vet tech that happened to be working sometimes takes home injured pigeons. Once he looked at her, he told me that she was not hurt to badly and that she should be fine.

At the end of the day I just kept thinking that I did more than my one good deed and totally earned my $4 cupcake.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Montrose Christmas Parade

In an effort to make it seem more like the holidays, my husband convinced me to go the Montrose Christmas parade. We were there an hour early and the place was already packed. Blankets and chairs claimed different families' spots up and down the entire street. It was almost movie-like with all the white lights in the trees and little kids running around the sidewalk waiting for Santa. We grabbed our coffee and something from the bakery and found a seat on top of a brick bench area where we were above everyone else. The perfect spot! I took some videos of the parade, but they are definitely not the best videos. They are kind of shaky and blurry at times, but there are a few good points like when the huge blowup duck fell off the back of the truck it was on.

First there was the Pasadena Humane Society with a bunch of adorable dogs, some even wore antlers.

There was also this group that did fire breathing tricks, etc.

Finally, the big duck. The people around us just kept commenting on where the guy was sitting, which you might even be able to hear.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Frame of Mind

I will completely admit that I was in a very unholiday-like mood for Thanksgiving. I had all these ideas of home i hoped to spend Thanksgiving. The smell of roasting turkey would fill the house as my husband and I unpacked Christmas decorations. My mother-in-law would be completely amazed by my cooking skills and never stop raving about dinner. We would spend the evening snuggling on the couch, watching some old movie, and enjoying the Christmas lights we hung up.

But in reality I was still really sick. The idea of spending another day in bed did not please me, but I did not have the energy to do anything else. Rommel drove me by McDonald's for breakfast just so I would not have to think about cooking more than one meal for the day. I was so afraid of making everyone else sick that Rommel ended up doing most of the cooking with me annoying hovering over him, telling him what to do. I at least was able to set the table and put all the food out, but my mother-in-law was no where to be found. Eventually we ended up eating without her. Turns out she went to the movies with a friend and her only comment was "I didn't know you were going to cook." Maybe she did not notice the freaking turkey in the freezer for the the last week and she just forgot that I have cooking Thanksgiving dinner for us that last three years.

Rommel went to visit some friends while I took a nap and continued to remind myself how much this Thanksgiving was sucking. I really missed my family and our holiday traditions. I missed sitting around the living room reading while my dad watched football, my mom fussed over the meal, and my sister went through magazines.

Eventually Rommel came home and I called his cousin to find out if we could drop off our dessert because I did not want to stay and take a chance their kids would catch my cold. She convince me that they would risk getting sick and wanted us to stay for awhile. We agreed we would only stay for thirty minutes, but ended up leaving over two hours later. And I was extremely happy we did because it reminded me what the holidays are really about.

It is about being with the people you love and knowing those who are not with you are safe and happy. Even though I was not with my parents for Thanksgiving, I knew they were having a nice holiday in Illinois with my sister. Rommel's mother may not have been there for our holiday lunch, but we knew the effort we put into it and at least she enjoyed time with her friends. And most importantly, I am married to a wonderful man who takes excellent care of his wife when she is sick, even when she is in an awful mood.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Things to do when you are sick...

I have been sick since Friday and slept almost all day every day since then. I went to the doctor this morning and am now able to breath again after having some miraculous breathing treatment. I am no longer as tired, but I am completely bored. I am not big on watching TV all day, so I had to set about finding other ways to entertain myself that didn't require too much energy.

What I have done so far today
  • lounged in the bath with a book
  • watched Sex and the City (the movie)
  • pampered my feet
  • cleaned up my cuticles
  • check my email and all the usual websites
What I might do the rest of the day
  • take a nap (I am still sick)
  • paint my fingernails and toenails
  • try a deep cleaning face mask
  • read
  • start my Christmas cards
  • watch Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (they didn't have much in the grocery store kiosk)
  • transfer Cd's to my ipod

Monday, November 17, 2008

More fires.

I had read about the Santa Barbara and Sylmar fires online, but they were spreading so fast and I had no idea how big they were. Then a fire broke out in Anaheim Hills. Even though we are several miles away, the wind slowly brought the smoke our way Saturday morning. That evening smelled like someone down the street was burning leaves and was unusually hot.

But the eeriest moment all weekend was when we were driving west for my friend's daughter's first birthday. The smoke was unbelievably gray and almost murky. We couldn't even tell if the smoke was from the fire north of us or the fire south of us. Finally the wind picked up so much, things cleared up and you could actually see the blue sky. But we couldn't get that image out of our heads.

Today was pretty much the same. I woke up with a sore throat after leaving the window open over night. It kind of smells like a smoker lives in our house. As I ran my errands, I saw several people wearing masks.

Hopefully the fires are under control soon and no one is hurt.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Whole Twilight Thing...

I have read the Twilight series and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I even made a date with a friend to go see the movie (while all the crazy screaming kids are at school of course). But I am not obsessed with it. Maybe you have to be a thirteen year-old girl to be insanely crazy about the series?

Anyway, I was on MSN today and saw a article entitled "Twilight: The Lost Script." If you have read the books, you should check it out. It is quite funny if you know the real story.


Thursday, November 6, 2008


Maybe Natalie Portman was right about what she said in that Funny or Die video; maybe puppies are the solution to all the world's problems. So I posted this link I found to today that streams live video of the cutest puppies all day.

Live video by Ustream

Hope for Change!!!

As soon as I got home from work Tuesday, I turned the TV on to the news and sat there intently watching the rest of the night. I felt so much pride and hope watching Obama give his speech after winning the election. I know I woke my mother-in-law up, I was cheering so loudly. Next thing I know, I was crying, but they were happy tears.

It was depressing yesterday to find out that Proposition 8 passed in California though. It hard for me to understand how it passed when people have such ridiculous arguments why gay marriage should be banned. Like saying it corrupts our children and will be taught in school. Come on people, wake up! I just hope that this can be turned around too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Random Stuff

Rommel always says that I surprise him with how "domesticated" I have become since we got married. The first year I spent adapting to California, finding a job, and getting used to being married. After that I began cooking up a storm, baking like crazy, and other things like that. We pretty much split things down the middle though. I cook, he cleans the dishes. He does the laundry, I put it away, although it may take me a week to do it.

He is also surprised by my gardening, which kind of surprises me too. After a successful season of tomatoes and green peppers, I decided to grow zucchini, English cucumbers, and mini pumpkins. I even started them from seeds instead of buying the plants themselves. A couple didn't make it after they were put in the ground, but the ones that did are doing so well. After a month, the zucchini and pumpkins are starting to bloom. Obviously the pumpkins will not be ready for Halloween, but I just grew them for fun anyway. This experience will help me decide what to grow in a larger garden next year.

I also started taking a quilting class. I picked out this great black, white, and yellow fabric to make an amazing graphic throw. Unfortunately, I have already made mistakes. I kept thinking that I was supposed to cut the fabric in three inch strips, but it was actually supposed to be three and a half. It will just make the quilt a little smaller, but it was such a stupid mistaken that I was pretty angry with myself for a while. Anyway, the class has really gotten me back into sewing again. I made some really nice pillow cases for my bedroom. I found this extra soft flannel fabric with sock monkeys all over it and decided to make some for my sister too. I think they turned out pretty well and my sister loved them. Plus, it was nice to be able to do something for her.

Friday, October 24, 2008

He's just so cute!

There's a local publication called the Pet Press that always has interesting stories about celebrity animal activists, pet health, and other topics. When I picked up the last issue, I noticed that they had a photo contest. You were supposed to send in a pic of your pet reading the Pet Press and write a caption for the photo. I mentioned something about Simba loving to lounge in bed on Sunday mornings with the latest copy of the Pet Press.

Anyway, it was so cute, I wanted to share it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Make it work."

Last night was the season finale of Project Runway, which is one of the few TV shows that I am completely addicted to. I love everything about it. There's the fashion, of course, but also drama. There are people you want to succeed so badly and some you just want to kick in the face.

At the beginning of the season I wasn't too impressed. A few contestants were obviously above the rest when it came to imagination and execution. But once it was down to the final four, I could see reasons each one had a shot at winning. They each had such different views of fashion, but they were all fabulous.

After the final runway show, it was clear that Leanne would be the winner, even though Korto and Kenley's collections were amazing. I am sure they will all find success after the exposure the show provided. I know that I want to renew my vows just so I can wear the wedding dress Kenley made (even though I would look completely ridiculous!).

Now the season is over and I don't know what to do with myself. Okay, I am just being dramatic, but they are in a court battle over the show being on Bravo or Lifetime. I just hope they figure it out quickly so I get my Tim Gunn fix as soon as possible!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


My friend Amanda suggested that I join Facebook several months ago, but I just got around to it yesterday. I think I spent at least two to three hours on there last night alone.

It was kind of cool because I am not very good at long distance friendships and I lose track of people very easily. I was able to find out about a bunch of people I went to high school with (which actually made me feel old - it's been ten years!). Plus I caught up with people I haven't seen since I moved to California five years ago.

Facebook could be very dangerous. It's addicting and time consuming, yet could be so useful when I am bored at work.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Halloween Is Almost Here!!!

Halloween is my favorite holiday to decorate for, even more than Christmas. I always go a little overboard, but it is just too fun not too. I think my favorite decoration this year are these gooey, bloody hand prints you can stick on the windows.

Now that the house is done, I have to find something to make for the Halloween party at work. Last year I made cupcakes with candy ears, eyes, and fingers on them. I am not really keen on making sixty cupcakes again this year, so I have to figure out what else I could do. It has to be fun, but more importantly, it has to taste fabulous. Maybe white chocolate covered peanut butter balls that look like eyeballs?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Love These!

Last night I went World Market to find a gift for Rommel's cousin. Her birthday is coming up, she is moving, and she recently made a lot of changes in her life, so the gift is covering quite a few occasions. After debating for a long period of time, I decided to go with a cooking theme because she has recently become interested in it. I found a recipe book on dishes you can make using a wok and then decided to get these fabulous asian dishes and chop sticks to go with it. I absolutely love these dishes! I am ashamed to admit that I considered keeping them for myself, but maybe I will go back to by myself a set. I don't really need any dishes, but I was even thinking about hanging the plates on my wall as art. They are just too fun not to get!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wild & Crazy Dreams

Since Rommel started his new job I have been having crazy dream after crazy dream. My subconscious is trying to tell me something, but what?

I think I was able to figure out one of them. In the dream I agreed to let Rommel date two other women, but I became insanely jealous and angry when he started to spend time with them. Obviously it has nothing to do with letting him date someone else because that would never ever happen. I am pretty sure one of the women was supposed to represent his new job and I was angry because he was spending too much time working. Of course we both knew he would be monumentally busy with his new job. It is a rather small agency that is becoming very successful, which means there is an overload of work to be done. Advertising is also a very social business and having contacts is extremely important, which means a lot of dinners, drinks, meet and greets. Once he makes a name for himself at his new place, things will start to calm down.

I’ll admit that I was even looking forward to him being busy. He was so bored for the last month, just sitting around the house, making phone calls, etc. And time to myself would be enjoyable too. There is plenty of stuff that I want to do, such as my gardening, that Rommel does not have much interest in.

Little did we know that he would be working late every single night, at least so far. He loves the job, so he is happy, and I am getting a crazy amount of things done with the time on my own.

But will it always be like this? I am sure it will work out for the best and I will no longer feel like he is having an affair with his job.

As for the other dreams, who even knows. I guess I will just keep having them until I figure it out.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Finally Able to Breath Again

They say that you never know how strong you are until your strength is put to the test. And I will admit that I never put much faith in my own strength when it comes to scary life situations. That's mostly due to my panic disorder and how I have learned to deal with the anxiety. I don't just prefer to run and hide because I don't want to face something difficult, but because there are a lot of times I physically can't face it. But over the last five weeks my strength was definitely put to the test and I found that I am quite a bit stronger than I ever thought I could be.

It was sitting at my desk when my husband called me and told me he had bad news. He had been laid off. I honestly had no idea what to think. I just sat there, cried a little, and then canceled any doctors appointments we had in the future since we no longer had insurance. After the initial shock wore off, I kind of calmed down because he was lining up some interviews. I was feeling a general anxiety, but he had a severance package and he was just so confident about finding another job.

I surprised myself the first week. I was just waiting for the panic attacks to start, but I was also trying to be strong. Now was the time for me to support my husband, not the other way around.

The second week was harder to get through. We were finding out that there were not many openings for media buyers and that everyone had hiring freezes in effect. I was trying to figure out what expenses we could cut and how we could save money. At the same time, we had the whole plumbing fiasco, which all had to go on credit cards just in case we needed to eat into our savings for day to day stuff. I was definitely feeling anxious, but I also knew that if I started having panic attacks I wouldn't be able to go to work and that wasn't a possibility.

The third week he was sure he was going to get an offer for some company he interviewed with, but the week wore on with no calls. We were also having problems with our COBRA payment and insurance, which is what almost put me over the edge.

By the end of the week, they finally finished the plumbing, so the price couldn't go up any more for that. We had paid for at least a month of insurance and could probably afford one more. And then I realized, we were pretty lucky. Both of us could be out of work. He might not have gotten a severance package. One of us could have been sick.

I tried to fill my husband with my new found optimism because he was starting to get frustrated. He had so many people on his side, but he never expected it to take this long. Unfortunately lay-offs are not a rare occurrence in advertising and he has been through this before, but was able to find a new job within a week. I kept telling him we were lucky to have each other, etc., and he would find a better job than he had before.

Almost a month to the day of the lay-off, he was offered a job and it was a really good job. A good company that takes care of it's employees, good benefits, and good people. He was so excited and I was so relieved. I didn't want it to come to a point where he had to accept a job he didn't want just because it was all that was out there.

We went out for dinner to celebrate and I started to overheat. I braced myself for the panic attack that was coming. That's my m.o. Things finally calm down and I lose it. So we walked away from the situation and I kept reminding myself to take deep breaths. The whole time I kept thinking about whether this was going to set me back or just be a one time thing. I was so worried about not being able to go to work the next day or go back to a crowded restaurant.

Luckily I woke up the next morning, went to work, and made it through the day. Each day is better and I realize that I made it through such a difficult situation without constant panic attacks. I am glad I was able to be there for my husband and that things all worked out, worked out for the better actually.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our Construction Site

I seriously wanted to rant on and on about our plumbing dilemma, but it seemed like every time I mentioned where we were at with the plumbers another problem would arise and the cost increased. After I week, I am finally able to vent!

Day 1 - $80 - $200 to snake the main drain.

Day 2 - $900 to dig up the outside sewer connection outside the house and snake it to the city connection. You can see how the hole they dug would fill up with soapy shower water while one of us would take a shower.

Day 2 - $4100 to replace 40 feet of sewer pipe using the trenchless method. The old pipes were made of clay and probably cracked in an earthquake years ago, which attracted all the roots in the neighborhood and they filled the whole pipe.

Day 3 - $10,000 to replace the 4" sewer pipe that connect our new pipe to the 6" sewer pipe because the 4" pipe is surrounded by roots. The roots were huge! They probably cracked the pipe just by growing in them.

Day 4 - $15,000 to get city permits, dig up the 6" sewer pipes, tear out the side walk, replace the pipe, and permaline the pipe all the way to the city sewer connection.

We are waiting for the city to do the final inspection and then the construction site in our front yard will be gone and all that will be of our adventure with Express Plumbing will be a huge dirt patch. Honestly, my husband and I are just happy everything is fixed and it is pretty much over with. We were so restricted with what we could do and it is nice to be able to do laundry again and not worry about how long you have been in the shower.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Laugh Out Loud

After the whole plumbing thing capped at $15,000, I needed something to make me laugh. It's kind of cheesy, but these cats did it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Plumbers Are Scary

I went home at lunch yesterday and my husband says, "We have a problem." That alone made my heart start beating faster, but then I look in the bathtub and see nasty, icky water in it. Apparently when anyone flushed the toilet in the back bathroom, sewage water would come up the drains in the bathtubs and showers.

First thing I do is call my dad because this is a bigger plumbing problem than I am used to dealing with and I was only on my lunch hour, so there was not a whole lot of time. He said it could be a clogged vent or a partially clogged sewage pipe. After doing a ton of research online, I was praying it was the vent that creates the pressure in the drains because it would be easier to fix. I borrowed a ladder from work, put my fear of heights to the back of my mind and climbed up on the roof. The people in the apartment building next to us probably thought I was crazy, lying on my stomach in the middle of the roof.

Unfortunately that was not the problem and after agreeing that it needed to be looked at as so as possible, we called a plumber. From that moment on I was an anxious mess. I was scared that the problem would be more than just a clog and that the cost would be so crazy we would not be able to afford it. I ended up hiding with the dogs in our bedroom, trying not to throw up, and hoping that Rommel would come through the door and tell me it was no big deal.

The plumbers arrived and tried to snake out the mainline, but there seemed to be a bigger problem. They needed to bring in a camera to figure out exactly where the problem was and how deep it was. That alone made our bill jump from $80 to $200.

They came back today and found the actual problem, which I suppose could be a lot worse. They are extremely nice guys though and are doing a good job. It just hurts to hand over $900. But it must be done.

Hopefully from now on my mother-in-law will understand the importance of maintaining our home, etc. And a bonus would be that she appreciates my handwork even more because it does not cost anywhere near $900. I could start charging though, that's an idea!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


A few weeks ago, when my mom was visiting, we decided to go out for lunch and stop by our favorite quilt store. I was stopped at a red light when the car started to shake. If I had to compare it to anything, I would say it felt as if someone was standing on the bumper and jumping up and down. I looked at my mom, who was on the phone, wondering if it was just me or had she felt the shaking too. Grasping for an explanation, I ask her what she just did that caused the car to shake like that. And then she asks me what I was doing to the car, thinking I was playing with the brakes or something. We keep driving to our destination, but the whole time I'm thinking there is either something seriously wrong with my car or we just had an earthquake.

Once we stop, I try my cell phone, but there is no service. Luckily my mom's phone worked because it was from out of state and I was able to call my husband. He told me there was a 5.5 quake centered about thirty miles from us.

At first I am not worried about it at all. Then we go get coffee and everywhere you turn people are talking about it. I start to worry about my animals at home. What if the gate opened, the gas is leaking, or something like that. We hurry through our errand so that I can get home to make sure everyone is okay.

After combing the whole house, we only found one casualty. It was an angel that I gave my mother-in-law for Mother's day. The poor thing's head snapped off.

In the end I am surprised that I was so calm. I have been fearing earthquakes from the moment I moved to California and besides a tiny one a year ago, that was the first real experience I had. People here always wonder why I was not afraid of tornadoes in Illinois, but it is just something I grew up with and know how to deal with the best I can. I guess it is the same way for people who have always lived here. At least people are not always talking about the "big one" when it comes to tornadoes, which is what scares me the most about earthquakes. They say it is about time for a "big one" or this was just getting us ready for the "big one." I think I would rather live with the threat of tornadoes, but that's just me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tomatoes, Tomatoes, and More Tomatoes

I have only had a couple ripe tomatoes here and there, so I was surprised when I walked outside yesterday and had to pick a dozen of them. The funny thing is that I don't even like tomatoes. When I was debating what to grow, my mother-in-law suggested tomatoes, so I really planted them for her. But there is no way she can eat that many tomatoes!

About half of them also have spots on them which I expected since I don't use any pesticides, etc. They are still good, but I don't want to give anyone a damaged tomato. The solution to my problem was salsa. It is the perfect way to use all the tomatoes and I can take it to work for everyone to enjoy.

I will make a regular tomato salsa tonight, but I also downloaded a few exotic recipes for the next batch I pick.

There were also some crazy monster-sized tomatoes. The one in the picture below was not even the largest in the garden. Maybe going organic is the best way to do it.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Whale Of A Bank

I planned a party at Color Me Mine last week and was finally able to pick up our fired pieces yesterday. Mine is the leopard print whale on the right. I must say that I am pretty happy with the way it turned out, especially since I am not good at painting detailed pieces. And we really did have a fabulous time. I can't wait to go again. Maybe I will try painting the bust of Elvis they had, although it would have to be an abstract version.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pepto-bismol Anyone???

As I said before, I skillfully put a fist-sized hole in the bathroom wall and it wasn't with my hand either. I was trying to put up a robe hook, which should be a really simple task. But when the former owners expanded the bathroom they apparently used thin slats of wood instead of something substantial like a 2 x 4. So the robe hook would not hold any weight at all and when I tried to unscrew it from the wall, part of the wood and drywall came with it. I kept meddling with it, which only made it worse of course.

I was able to easily fix the hole, but we just dropped off all our excess paint at the hazardous waste drop off a few weeks before and no longer had the paint for the bathroom. It just so happens that I was not a fan off the burnt rust color that was on the walls when I moved in, which you can see in the before shot, so this whole debacle was really a blessing in disguise.

I decided to go with pink because it is currently my favorite
color. I would never paint a large room pink, that would be too much even for me, but this is a small room and I am the only one who uses it. I went through several different versions, some were too rosy, some were too baby nurseryish (I have decided that's a word). I settled on two shades of pink and my husband picked the tamer of the two.

Let's just say it's definitely bright pink! It kind of looks like someone coated the walls with pepto-bismol. It may be a bit much for some people, but I like it quite a bit. It's fun and girly and makes me happy! I even added some artwork and changed all the fixtures to chrome.

Ultimately I would like to rip out the sink, mirrors, and those awful vanity lights, but this is a huge improvement for now.

Friday, August 1, 2008


I spent most of last week preparing for my mom's visit, which included a lot of repair work around the house. I know it sounds like my house is a disaster, but it really only needs small things all over, not major stuff. My mother-in-law has lived there for almost twenty years and never really took care of things like the faucets, etc, unless something broke. I have a very long list of things I have been wanting to finish and my mom's visit was the catalyst to getting a lot of it done. Usually we go to Illinois or we all meet somewhere, so she's never stayed at our place and I wanted everything to be perfect. Of course my mom said that I was doing way too much and to relax so I had a little energy left for her visit, but I still went at it all full force. After it was all said and done, I'll even admit that I took on too much.

But her visit was great and we had so much fun! I tried not to plan too many things because I wanted her to relax also, but we did something everyday she was here. I think we both enjoyed this quilting store we discovered the most. I have walked past it several times, but it was always closed so I never actually went in before. They had the best fabrics, all these amazing vintage prints. I could have spent so much money in there and my sewing machine has been packed in the garage for years. We ended up making some throw pillows for my bedroom and a few coffee cozies (replaces the cardboard ones you get at Starbucks, etc.). We even went back the day before she left and bought more fabric. I am going to attempt a pillow pattern the shop owner gave me and maybe a purse.

Once my mom left and I had to go back to work, I intended on relaxing for at least a couple of nights. I tend to get anxious after emotional events, such as a wonderful visit ending, and I didn't want to push myself too much. Well, it didn't happened. I got home and thought of something else to do, which ended up taking me hours and two trips to the hardware store. The next night I had plans with girls from work for dinner and a trip to Color Me Mine. I had to drag myself there, but I had a really good time. I painted a whale bank in leopard print. I'm excited to see how it turns out! If it's not too bad, I might post a picture.

Anyways, there is still more I want to do before my mother-in-law gets back. Hopefully I can get everything on my list checked off over the weekend.

What I have done so far:
  • filled nail holes in the walls and painted my bedroom
  • replaced curtain rods and curtains
  • replaced the diverter and the shower head in my bathroom (extremely happy about that!)
  • repainted a few items in my room, including Ziggy's birdcage stand
  • painted and hung five hanging planters in the backyard
  • put up a fence dividing the backyard (keeps the dogs from the tortoises)
  • fixed the washing machine
  • flushed the water heater (which I just learned needs to be done every year)
  • replace the drain valve on the water heater that broke when I flushed it out
  • replaced outdoor water faucets
  • replaced all the front yard sprinklers
  • cleaned out the garage and tried to organize it
  • put shelves in the laundry room
  • put a hole in the bathroom wall (long story)
  • replaced the toilet handle my husband broke off
Still needs to be done:
  • replace the tank systems in the toilets and clean out the scale
  • fix the hole in the bathroom wall
  • paint the bathroom a lovely fun shade of pink
  • plant some grass seed

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Daisy has a new sister!!!

The other day I was browsing Pasadena Humane Society's website and I saw that they had a tortoise up for adoption. I knew we would have the perfect home for the little guy because we have so much space and Daisy would have a friend. After double checking with my sister who knows everything about animals like tortoises, I convinced my husband that we had to bring this creature home. I took the afternoon off work, we went down to the shelter, and after waiting about a hour to see a counselor, I found out someone was already on the waiting list to take him home. I put my name on the list, but they were pretty sure the other person would be the one to get him.

Now Rommel can tell you that when I really get my heart set on something and it doesn't come to fruition, I pout and pout and pout, which is exactly what happened. But it turns out that Petco had a tortoise sale. I normally wouldn't buy an animal at Petco, but they had four tortoises in this tiny tank (I realize this is a sales tactic and it works!).

Needless to say, we have another member of the family named Squirt. Typical of Daisy, she ran away from me and Squirt, but by the end of the day, they were nestled together in an overturned pot.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Picture Pages!!!!

I finally figured out what was wrong with my camera and am so happy that I am able to use it again. There were so many sights that I wanted to share with everyone lately and I am finally able to.

Here's Sunny and Simba after their summer haircuts. Simba looks pretty ridiculous without his lion-like mane, but he is so much cooler and happier without it. Sunny could care less, she just wants her regular belly rub and she's happy.

This is a wind chime that I recently bought at the Montrose Arts and Crafts Festival. I absolutely love it! It's so different, yet not too cheesy or crafty looking. Plus it sounds just as good as my regular wind chime.

Another recent purchase is my new mode of transportation, a Raleigh Retroglide 2008 in turquoise and pearl. I pretty much walk everywhere, but now I can ride to some of the places that I would normally have to drive to. And it is so cute! All I need is a basket for the front and I am set.

My first tomatoes are starting to show up. The plants have been growing like crazy, but I had only seen one tiny tomato until now. Problem is that only one out of six plants has tomatoes on it. Hopefully with a little more time they will start to show up. People keep telling me that I will have more tomatoes than I will know what to do with.

The bell peppers I planted are almost ready for picking (I might even try one at dinner tonight). They have lived through a lot already, including a heat wave and a couple of transplants due to problems with sun and water. There are at least two peppers on each plant and more to come since I saw a few extra flowers. When they say it is cheaper to grow bell peppers than to buy them at the grocery store, they were totally right!

Here's Daisy's new enclosure. I can't get over the fact that it looks like a coffin, but if I want to keep my tortoise safe, she needs a secure home. I originally had her in a 4' x 4' pen covered with hardware cloth (wire mesh used to keep animals from getting under your house) because I thought the only threat was raccoons or stray cats. It turns out that my dogs are more interested in Daisy than anyone. Simba has tried pulling at the hardware cloth and Sunny has been chewing at the wooden frame. I knew it was just a matter of time, even with a small fence around it, so I constructed this one out of two old doors I found in the garage. It still looks a little rough. Ideally I would paint it, but it took me all day to do this much, so maybe another time. But it is definitely secure and I think Daisy is happy. She gets to bury herself and lie in the sun as much as she wants!

And finally one of the few flowers that managed to grow in my backyard. I bought several different varieties of flowers, ensuring the labels said full sun because our yard receives direct sunlight from dawn to dusk. Apparently "full sun" does not necessarily mean that they can take full sun all day long. I moved what I could to the back of the house where they could get a little shade and this particular plant is doing really well.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

War On Clutter

Not much writing has been done lately because I finally decided to attack all the clutter in my life. Sunday and Monday I made my way through the garage, which has been my domain since I started working in the yard so much. I tend to just throw my stuff all over the place, whereas my husband hates clutter so he stuffs things wherever he can find an empty space. Needless to say, there were garden tools and pots covering the floor and any available table space. I managed to empty the shelves and stack all the Rubbermaid containers together. It looks so much better and there is soooooo much room now.

Then I hit the bedroom. I decided that I want the bedroom to be as minimalist as possible, which is a challenge since the room is also my library/dressing room/sanctuary. It serves a lot of purposes. The little nick knacks were the first to be abandoned. I like the look of each piece individually, but they hold no real significance and all of them together are too much. I want all surfaces to be clear except for my plants and maybe one or two items. I cleared off a small bookcase and managed to move it into our spare room. I threw everything in my closet onto the bed and started sorting. It is hard to be honest enough to admit that you are never going to wear something or that it will never fit. Even after I cleared out two garbage bags full of clothes, there is still more in the closet that needs to go, but I will make a second run at it later. One of my obsessions has always been purses, so I let myself keep about half of them. Some cover a coat rack and there is also a box left in the closet. I gave the others away to people at work (who think I am crazy for giving away really nice purses, but they didn't complain).

After tackling my clothes in my closet, I decided I might as well go through the boxes of clothes in the garage. I allowed myself to keep one really large Rubbermaid bin, but I had to go through each box thoroughly so I didn't get rid of anything special or that I might still want. I ended up with eleven garbage bags of clothes that are going to Goodwill this weekend. I am almost embarrassed that I have that much clothing I don't wear. Some even still had tags on them!

There is still quite a bit to do, but the hard part will be keeping things clutter free.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The other day I found this blog by Gala Darling. She is into fashion, etc., and is totally fabulous. I love all that stuff, but haven't put any energy into it lately for various reasons. She inspires me to really go for it! Every Thursday she writes about the things she really loves and encourages others to do the same. I am in such a fabulous mood today, I love just about everything and decided that I would write about it too.

Things I absolutely love:
  • Fresh flowers - How can you not love beautiful flowers? They brighten everyone's day and make me smile whenever I look at them. I try to buy a bouquet for my desk each week. Today I spent a little more and bought orange tulips that have yellow lining each petal. They were closed this morning, but are beginning to open up as I write. I wished my camera was working so that I could show you how gorgeous they are. Maybe next time though.
  • My red ballet slipper-like shoes - They add a punch of color to my normal work wear.
  • Starbucks' green iced tea - I get up early each day so I can walk to the Starbucks before work and get my morning iced tea. I make tea at work and home, but this little routine starts my day off right.
  • Finding ways to reduce/reuse/recycle - I am always looking for new ways to "green" my workplace and I spent this morning taping stacks of printer paper together to use in one of those really old report printers. Little changes make a difference!
  • The Idiot-Proof Diet - Today was day eight and I have already lost eight pounds! I love the woman who wrote it because they are humorous, but honest, and have actually lost the weight themselves. They are not waifs telling other people how to be like them. They have done all the hard work.
I am going to stop now because I will seem way too happy for it to be natural.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Piggy to Twiggy

The other day mom and I were talking about how we both we needed to lose weight and that we should buddy up for the process. The discussion turned into an idea about starting a group where we would choose one idea to focus on each week, such as eating a fruit or veggie at each meal. Then we could all post how we did for the week and support each other, etc. So far at least ten people we know are interested, both in Illinois and California.

So last night I started a separate blog for my weight loss information plus our group stuff. My first day was today and I posted my embarrassing measurements. It needed to be done though, not only to encourage myself but also anyone else who is going to go along with it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Giving Can Be Tough

I know I said that I would not write about the 29 Day Giving Challenge on this blog since I am writing about it on their page, but there was something I thought would be good to share and that was that the challenge is harder than you would expect it to be. I tend to give books and magazines away once I have read them, I purge my closet constantly, plus I bake for people all the time. But even if you include that and the extra effort I am trying to put into it, the opportunities to give seem to be passing me by. Maybe I am just closed off and the universe isn't throwing my way? I am not giving up though! I still have twenty days to go and I will be calling the giving gods to me!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

This Calls for Drastic Measures

I woke up this morning and was excited to wear my new "My Dog Is a Rescue" t-shirt I recently bought from PETA. Maybe I just don't have the most exciting life, but I love little things like that. Rommel was getting all the laundry ready and I only had one pair of clean jeans, so I grabbed them. Guess what? They didn't fit! Well, technically they did, but I would be embrassed to wear them in public. I refuse to buy a larger size, I refuse!

I have always been "bigger" and I will be the first to say that I have gained a lot of weight over the last couple of years. I am an emotional eater and between my husband's health and my panic disorder, food has been an extremely big part of my life lately. If I am feeling depressed or worried, I go for carbs. But that's not the only problem with the way I eat and I know that.

As for exercise, I walk everywhere I need to go for daily things. I walk to work, the grocery store, Starbucks, even the pet store. We only drive on the weekends when we go to the farmers market, etc. I have been doing quite a bit of gardening too. But I need to do more than that.

Another huge part of the equation is stress. I am just one of those people who doesn't really have anything to be stressed about, but manages to be crazy stressed out all the time. That is a large reason why I am having panic attacks again and dealing with health issues such as TMJ (teeth clenching), migraines, and back pain. Stress causes you to put on weight and not be able to lose it.

But my clothes are not the only reason I need to lose weight. I have some health issues and my self esteem is pretty low when it comes to my body. It didn't help that my mother-in-law asked me if I was pregnant the other day, although it gave me quite a bit of material for jokes about my weight.

So I am going to come up with a plan this weekend with my husband's help and the doctor's input. No pills, etc., just eating right, exercising, and relaxation techniques. Hopefully this blog will help me stick to it when I am feeling tired or unmotivated.

So here is the part where I tell you my current weight. I honestly feel like I could cry putting it up here, but I need to do it. As of this morning I weigh 218 pounds.

Now it's time to get my butt in gear and lower that number!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Poor Little Fishes

I'll admit that I am more than a little depressed today because my fish are sick. Originally my 30 gallon tank became infected with ich when I brought home a few gourami and plants from the pet store. Six out of twelve fish died before I was able to get it under control with medicine, temperature, and water changes. Now my 10 gallon tank is infected. I have no idea how I could have transferred the parasite from one tank to the other, but I must have somehow unless it is just stress that caused it. I only have four fish in the 10 gallon tank, three mollies and one huge goldfish. The goldfish is called Battle Tank and the poor thing is so ill. He just floats around near the top of the tank. I know he has a lot in him because he is eating and zips around when the other fish pick at him, but I still feel horrible. There's just not much you can do to make them more comfortable besides change the water and add medicine. Other than that all you can do is wait to see if it gets better.

I learned not to buy fish from a certain pet store chain, but unfortunately it was at the expense of my older fish.

Update on the fish - I had to separate the mollies from Battle Tank, but now they all seem to be doing a lot better. The signs of ich are disappearing and they are more lively.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

29 Day Giving Challenge

First, I wanted to tell you about this challenge I signed up for yesterday. It's called the 29 Day Giving Challenge. Each day, for 29 days, you need to give something away. It doesn't just half to be physical objects; it can be time listening to a friend who needs to talk or even saying hello to a stranger on the street. There are so many ways to "give" to others. I am really excited about the challenge and have already found several ways to give today. I am hoping that I can change the way I think about somethings and be more mindful of my intentions.

I am writing about the experience on the challenge website, so I will not write about it here, but you can read my posts at http://givingchallenge.ning.com/profiles/blog/list?user=MorganD

Me in Hyper Drive

Sometimes I get in these crazy moods where I feel like I need to get twenty million things done in one day and actually try to accomplish them all. Yesterday was one of those days.

As soon as I got home from work, the list began to form in my head and I raced to check off each and every item on it.

  • I made cookies for a friend who made a donation to the Wags 'N Whiskers walk for the Glendale Humane Society that I participated in a couple of weeks ago with my dogs. I wanted to thank her and I knew homemade oatmeal cookies would be the perfect way to do that.
  • I made a new batch of laundry detergent. I try not to use any cleaners with chemicals, etc., and it only takes a few ingredients and a few minutes. It cleans just as well, if not better, than the store-bought detergent and I can add any scent I want.
  • I made dinner early so that when I crashed from my manic phase it would already be done.
  • I planted the two potato vines in the backyard. They have these tiny white blooms on them and will look so amazing when they start to cover the chain link fence.
  • I fertilized and watered all the plants.
  • I cleaned Ziggy's cage (canary) and then moved on to the two aquariums in the house.
  • I went through this huge pile of paperwork and junk mail. I shredded what I could and set aside the rest to file later.

At this point in the evening my husband walked in the door and asked if I was ready for dinner. I told him to let me take a quick shower first. I seriously started wind down and after a few minutes under the warm water I was so tired I even forgot to rinse the conditioner out of my hair before getting out of the shower.

After evenings like that I realize that I need to try and only do one task at a time. The list will get done eventually and if something doesn't, then it wasn't a priority.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Leaky Pipes & Bare Walls

When I first moved to California four years ago, there were quite a few things that took me by surprise when it comes to housing and the way people live. I found it really strange that most houses didn't have basements and even fewer have a backyard. Most houses have bars or grates on the windows and they all have steel doors, even in the safer neighborhoods. I know I grew up in the midwest and this is coming from a girl who lived in an unlocked house with a huge backyard and a creepy basement, but I still don't understand a lot of the Californian-way.

But the one thing that is absolutely unbelievable to me is the idea of gardeners and handymen. My mother-in-law pays a gardener to basically do nothing at all. We don't really have a lawn and I take care of the flowers, etc., yet there is still a check under the doormat each month. Whenever a problem arises or she wants something done in the house, she goes to call her handyman even though she has two adult sons. The handyman has painted a few walls, changed the doorknobs, and replaced the bathroom faucets. Sadly, none of it was done very well.

I watched my parents do all the work that had to be done on their house themselves. Everyone I knew had a family member or a friend who was handy and could fix things. You didn't pay someone to do a job when you are completely capable of doing it yourself. $100 to change a doorknob! I don't think so! $200 to paint three small walls in the bathroom! No way!

So when the kitchen sink pipes began to leak, I cringed at the idea of paying someone to replace them. I checked out a few sites on the internet, browsed a plumbing do-it-yourself book, and asked the guys in the plumbing department if I was buying the right materials. A few hours later, it was done and I only spent $30. Plus there is the satisfaction of knowing I did the work and if there is a problem in the future, I could do it again.

To date I have finished a lot of odd jobs around the house. I am extremely proud of the ceiling fan I installed last weekend. ( I will say that I consulted someone in our electrical department because the wiring was crazy old and I was afraid to get shocked.) My mother-in-law is in awe each time I tell her about what I did, even though she usually mentions that we should have called the handyman to do it.

Maybe people just don't want to spend the time to fix the pipes, etc., but if my husband and I did that every single time, we would have working pipes and no money to pay the water bill.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Movies ruin books!

Rommel had to work late last night, so I decided that I was going to veg most of the evening. I placed the cages I bought around my new tomato plants, watered all the flowers, and made sure all of the animals were taken care of for the night. Then I took a quick shower, grabbed a bowl of pasta, and sat down to watch PS I Love You. I was really looking forward to watching it all week, but I kept wondering if I would like it since I had absolutely loved the book.

I was so upset with the changes they made that I fumed about it all evening, which is totally ridiculous. Forget that they moved it from Ireland to America or that they seriously altered one of Holly's love interests, it was the changes to her family that upset me the most. In the movie Holly's father left when she was fourteen and her sister is a wacky character that you don't really care that much for, but in the book her family is wonderful. Her parents are together, she has supportive brothers and sisters, and they all keep in close contact. It wasn't that her family wasn't nice in the movie, but they weren't as lovable; you didn't necessarily want to be part of that family.

It's funny how much a book can mean to you and that even as a reader you feel protective of it.

I suppose from now on I should only read the books after the movie or not at all.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Strawberry Fields Forever

Before I even began building my raised beds for the backyard, I decided I wanted to grow some strawberries. I read that one of the best ways to grow them was in a hanging basket because the bugs will not be as bad and they will not rot from lying in the soil. Luckily the garden department at the hardware store where I work had two small strawberry plants. They had been there for quite a while and not in the best shape, but I figured I would try one anyway. I hung it up on the front porch where it would get plenty of sunlight and cared for it everyday by picking out any dead leaves, etc.

After a month a few small white flowers appeared. I was so excited and I'll even admit that I did a little dance because I hadn't killed my plant. A couple weeks later there were tiny green berries and not long after that I had strawberries! I picked four ripe berries last week and have picked others here and there. I will admit that there are not many strawberries because it is a small plant, but it is so nice to be able to walk by it and if there is a really nice looking one, I can pick it and eat it right on the spot. The only pest control I use so far are lady bugs and organic worm castings as fertilizer, so there are no chemicals on it. I still rinse it off, but I could eat it right then and there if I wanted to.

Here is a picture of my strawberries. This plant will send out shoots that I can place in other hanging baskets for new plants and soon I will have all the strawberries I can eat!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Endeavors

Let me just get it off my chest - I LOVE the Barnes & Noble that is a few blocks from my house. I love getting my favorite iced tea, sitting down with my book, and relaxing. I love watching people go about their lives when I look up from my book. I love finding new books to add to my list when I browse the shelves. And it was just so convenient. I never had to move my car from the street parking I fought so hard to get. I could just walk over after work and read for a hour or two before Rommel came home from work.

Sadly, my B&N has moved to a new outdoor shopping center. I could drive there, but the traffic is crazy since the place opened. Honestly, I could even walk, but it's not really worth it. The new store is so sterile and unfriendly, plus it is in the middle of a hundred seriously expensive stores. It's just not the same.

When I heard they were moving a month ago, I knew that I needed to find another way to spend my time after work. I could search around for another little coffee shop, etc., but I figured this was the chance to find something new. So I decided to start gardening more.

I have always enjoyed fixing up our front yard, which my mother-in-law pretty much ignored before I came along. At first I just cleaned it up, but over time I have put more and more energy into it. There is no crazy landscaping or anything like that, but I added containers full of lavender and placed mulch over the patches of dirt. I am learning things as I go and always finding ways to improve the front yard, but right now it is mostly just maintenance, so I am moving on to our backyard.

The backyard is a rather sad place that only our two dogs seem to enjoy. It receives full sun all day and nothing but weeds will grow in the desert-like soil. In the middle of summer, even the weeds die and just leave a wasteland. It took three years before I even wanted to try and work on it. My husband wanted a nice area to enjoy the evenings, so we amended all the soil, planted grass, and placed a few large planters with flowering bushes along the fence. Needless to say, the grass never sprouted, the bushes died, and we never enjoyed an evening out there.

I wanted to be prepared to start gardening when we came back from vacation, so I started a couple of weeks before we left for Oceanside with my family. I built three wooden boxes for raised garden beds. I wanted one for flowers that I could cut whenever I wanted, one for vegetables since I am interested in sustainable living, and one for my tortoise, who needs to start spending more time outside. I painted them with Linseed Oil, which will keep them from rotting too soon and won't leach chemicals into my veggies or Daisy, the tortoise. I also attached a weed barrier to the bottoms of all three and chicken wire to Daisy's. Rommel helped me move them into the back and fill them will good soil and compost.

Now I am back from vacation and ready to throw myself into this project. I have already finished a few little things, which I will write about in a later post, but I have a huge list of things I want to do, such as a composting center.

I am probably getting ahead of myself, which I usually do when I get really excited about something, but I am trying to take smaller steps so I don't run into any major obstacles and give up. That's part of the reason I am back on my blog after not posting for months. I wanted to keep a record of what I have done.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thick Skin...

One winter when I was in college there was an extremely nasty blizzard and they canceled finals. My anthropology teacher had vacation plans and called everyone in my class to see if we would still come in to take our final. I agreed since I lived on campus and was only a few blocks away from the building. I put on my scarf, hat, gloves, thick winter jacket, and some extra socks since the snow was at least two feet high. A couple of friends came with me because they were worried about me walking by myself in white-out conditions. I made it there, took the test, and walked home. No problem, just another walk to class in the snow, another winter.

The first winter I spent in California, I saw people wearing sweaters and jackets and thought they were crazy. It was so beautiful out and I was still wearing short-sleeved shirts, why were they so cold. This is my forth winter in California and I have totally lost that thick skin I developed living through freezing winters in Illinois. I walked to work this morning wearing a tank top, a long-sleeved shirt, and a jacket. Once I got there I talked with a coworker about how cold it was outside. It was sixty-five degrees! It is ridiculous to even think about, cold at sixty-five degrees! Rommel even makes fun of me when I put extra blankets on the bed because the temperature is supposed to drop below sixty.

The important question is if I can get that thick skin back. I eventually want to move back, but will I be able to make it through the winter?