Monday, November 19, 2007

R*O*M*E #1

Seeing as how my posts have been kinda text heavy and picture light, I'll let the pics do most of the talking about the Rome portion of our sojourn to Italy this past no particular order... Oh the Trevi Fountain... so beautiful. It is absolutely huge. And randomly placed; you turn the corner of a little alley way, and there it is.

These are all the nice people that shared the view with us. Other than the Sistine Chapel, this was one of the most crowded places of the whole trip. I especially like the guy in the left hand corner. He looks like his name should be Guido, and is your stereotypical Italian guy, puffin' away in 100 degree weather.
Us. We found the guy with the best looking camera in that mass of people and ask him to take our picture. He was from Australia and very nice. What the picture doesn't really convey is just how hot and humid it was. Our backs were completely drenched. My bermuda shorts were clinging to my body. Even in the shade, standing absolutely still, there was constant dripping. That night, there was a ring of salt around my head from the evaporated sweat. I don't think that's ever happened to me before. It is easy to understand why people liked the toga - the less clothes the better! Luckily, there was this right around the corner:
Ohhh, gelato. I'm drooling just thinking about it now. This was one of the things that made that Mediterranean heat bearable.
My lemon is on the left, Joe's cream is on the right. NOTHING is as refreshing. And unfortunately, nothing here matches it. Sadness.

These two are of the outside of the Pantheon, which is one of the oldest buildings in Rome. It was a temple to one of the gods before Constantine converted it into a church.
The inside shot.
Little street performer who was around the back. She really added a lot to the atmosphere. It was very, very nice to be walking around little side streets hand in hand with my honey to the wafting sounds of accordion music.
The Piazza Navona...full of art, people and cafes.
Joe was obsessed with the massive doors on the majority of buildings in the city. They were wood and iron with really ornate knockers (ha ha - sorry, Joe & his dad's juvenile senses of humor are starting to rub off on me), nobs, key holes, spikes, you name it they had it.
A shot of the River Tiber one night as we headed back to our tiny hotel, that was close to the Vatican & St. Peter's Basilica, which you can see the dome of.
I am really lucky that the Colosseum is not a woman, because if it were, Joe would probably leave me for it. I know that this was his favorite thing that we saw in the whole trip. We spent a lot of time here during the day and the very final night of the whole trip. It is SO OLD. It was built around 80 A.D. It is just hard to wrap your mind around the fact of something so ancient, and big and is still here. There's the whole technical aspect as to how did they really construct that with only manual labor? How did they really make the arena flood with water for mock sea ship battles? Listening to the audio guide also made me think about just what an evil place it really was. For the opening ceremony of the Colosseum they killed something like 10,000 people and 20,000 animals.

When I saw this view of the arena, it made me think of Hadassah, from the Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers, and what happened to her there. Many were murdered for their faith there.

It really gets you thinking about the early church. I mean, you're walking the streets that Paul walked. And Peter. And the Caesars. And the great artists like da Vinci and Michelangelo. It makes you feel very small and insignificant.
Well, tune in to the next installment of Rome, where Joe & I got separated at the Vatican for about an hour. True story.
Shouldn't I get a gold star for uploading all these pictures?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Have No Fear...

Hello kids!

No, I didn't die. Or buy a house yet.

I've been fighting the good fight against a nasty sinus infection, an army of ants that wanted to dominate my kitchen, family birthdays/anniversaries, and life in general. You know, the never ending cycle of laundry, work, grocery shopping, blah, blah, blah. Blogging was pretty low on the totem-pole of what to tackle.

But tomorrow we look at a house. I'm not holding my breath, but who knows?

I went to a birthday party today for Joe's Grandma K who celebrated her 90th birthday and is a total example of a life well lived. It must be a great feeling to look around at a house full of 25 people who call you mom, grandma and great-grandma knowing that you are the matriarch of all that fun, loud, lovingness.

I only have to work 2 days this week! I cannot tell you how psyched that makes me...I am excited to celebrate Thanksgiving with all it's tradition-y goodness.

I ordered my very own Candace Clutch and it should be arriving soon!!!

I also ordered a book to help me learn the ins and outs of my camera. I don't want to be one of those suckers who thinks that just because they have a pricey camera means their photos are awesome and call themselves a photographer. I really want to learn to document people, places, and experiences well.

So I'll try to get back on track with the blogging. I don't want Debbie worrying about me anymore (though it was very sweet). I think the people who signed up to do NaBloPoMo are insane, though I do enjoying reading the fruits of their labors...

Tomorrow the goal is after the house look-see to post about Rome. I know, I know, two months late. But Joe asked if I was ever going to write about it. And when he requests something for this little ho-hum blog of mine, that I'm not sure he always thinks is the greatest thing (why do you want to share things with complete strangers?), I think I should capitulate.


Friday, October 26, 2007

A Jonah Week

If you ever read the Anne books, you know that Anne's term "a Jonah day" is code for a really, really sucky day. Because let's face it, getting swallowed by a fish is pretty bad. Well, I dub this week "Jonah week". Let's just say work was not a happy place to be. Which is really rare for me. Normally it's pretty routine and placid and although I definitely don't see myself being there for years to come, I enjoy the people I work with and for. Right now, some coworkers are having major life issues at home and just because of proximity/typical office stress stuff that normally wouldn't phase them, but is totally triggering them, I get to bear the brunt of it. Just being rude, icy, nitpicky about my work which in turn makes me defensive, and in general not like their normal selves...I hate it! The worst thing is, the problems that they're dealing with are things that I've never had to face, and so mostly all I can do is listen and pray for them - I have absolutely no advice to give, and any words of comfort I think to say seem pretty hollow.
Now that I'm cozy in my sweats and curled up here at home, some of it seems really silly, and I don't know why I let it bother me. But I hate the tension, and feeling like I've done something wrong...even when I haven't, and thinking that someone is unhappy with me, even though I know perfectly well that I don't have anything to do with the root of the problem. Ack!
Well, I have two days to recover. Focus on other getting my booty in gear and cranking out the remaining things I have to do for the fall boutique at church...and coming up with a Halloween costume, 'cause we're going to a party on Halloween night. I don't know if it's just the week I've had, or that I don't feel in too Halloween-y a mood right now, but my creative juices are not flowing - any suggestions as to what I should be?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sorry Charlie

The house is a no go. The short version is they got another offer for the exact asking price, and they took it.

The longer version is that on this past Monday while at work, I got a call from the realtor who was a "sub" for ours while he was out of town, saying that he hadn't seen anything new on the market that would interest us, he wanted to let us know that he hadn't forgotten about us, and oh, by the way he had talked to the seller's realtor and he was going to be presenting the sellers 2 offers in 15 minutes.

WHAT???????? This is the point where shock took over and my mind went numb and I was pretty much useless.

"But I thought we were waiting for them to counter our offer, or at the very least respond with a yes or no....and what about getting the mom evaluated? Are they raising the asking price? I don't understand...", I sputtered. The agent said that it was highly unusual that they never got back to us and basically let it fizzle out. And no, they weren't raising the asking price, they just wanted to get one that would be a lot closer. And did we want him to call the selling agent and tell him we were still interested and he could throw ours into the pot with the other 2? At this point, I told him to call Joe and get his opinion as to what we should do. This is where it got sticky.

Joe, bless him had gotten off work at his regular time in the morning, but had to stick around for traffic he was tired, and hungry, and did I mention tired?? That is not the most winning combo. So he called me after talking to the sub agent dude, and it went something like this. Keep in mind that neither of us had any paperwork with our chicken-scratch figures, Joe was really fatigued, and I was in shock in an office, because basically at this point we had 10 minutes to decide what the deuce we were going to do with a LARGE sum of money and our future.

Joe: Do you think we should go for it?
Kate: I don't know.
Joe: If they don't get the mom evaluated, what's the worst that could happen to us legally? I mean, if they don't like it after it's done and sold to us and then they realize she wasn't in her right mind, I guess they could take it away from us and then we'd be back in the same position, right?
Kate: I don't know.
Joe: Even if they said yes to our higher offer, we'll still have to work with these people on all the inspections/ this really the type of people we want to deal with?
Kate: I don't know.
Joe: Do you recall any of the figures as to what our mortgage payments would be if we put down an offer of X amount? I mean, I recall that we qualified for X amount, but just because we qualified for that, doesn't mean we can actually afford it...
Kate: I don't know. (See how helpful I can be at very crucial moments in life?)
Joe: OK. Let's do it.
Kate: Really?
Joe: I don't know, what do you think?
Kate: I don't know.
Joe: Forget it! We're not doing this. It just doesn't feel right, and I don't have any peace about this situation at all...let's just hold tight and see what they do with these new offers.
Kate: OK.

And there you have it. I was a little mopey throughout the rest of the day, but I'm over it now. It was nice to finally have a definitive answer, even if it was the one I didn't really want. I'm sure that we'll be back out there this next week, scoping out houses, so definitely keep us in your prayers that the right one will pop up, and I will keep all of you in the loop.

***Chris, I'm surprised at you! Where do you think I learned my repertoire of moves to entice Joe with? I know, I know, Joe is a lucky man. And it's all due to Showgirls. Don't knock it till you've tried it!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What the frap???


I walk out to my car this morning to go to the party store and Safeway to pick up a few things for the big birthday-palooza that we were having with Joe's family to celebrate all the fall birthdays (5 in total). I got in my car, started backing up, and noticed something funny looking about the windshield wipers. They looked a lot smaller. Infact, they looked a lot like two metal rods, no acutal wiper part seemed to be attached. So I put in it park, hopped out, took off my sunglasses thinking maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me...and nope. They weren't. Someone stole my windshield wipers.


What kind of loser does that? This is the third thing that has happened to my cute little car. Let's recap: they've scraped the registration off, they broke in and took clothes from the trunk, DVDs (which I had to pay Blockbuster back for) and my favorite pair of sunglasses, and now they stole my stinking windshield wipers. And it's supposed to rain this week.

I CANNOT wait to be gone from here...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I guess that is the best way to describe where we're at with the whole house thingamajig. Here's the scoop...
Remember how I said that the lady who owned the house is in her 80's and now living in a nursing home, and no one is really sure what her whole understanding or frame of reference for this whole process really is? Yes? OK, keep that in mind.
So on the night we wrote up our offer, our realtor Craig took it straight to the seller's realtor, Jon, and he took it to the owner's son and daughter-in-law to discuss and go over. The three of them felt that it was a very solid offer, they could work with us, and they were pleased. And the people rejoice.
The next morning they went and talked to the mom/owner, and as Craig put it, she "went off the deep end", and completely wigged out and started saying that she knew good and well that her house was worth x amount of dollars (about $60,000.00 over what the asking price was that she agreed and signed to), and that everyone was trying to put her through the wringer. Boo!! Hiss!! And there is where it's at. Everyone pretty much thinks that she needs to have her mental competency evaluated, and if she doesn't really understand what is going on, then the family needs to step in and either get power of attorney over her, or something. It stinks because all the sane people think it's great and didn't shoot our offer down, but as of now the only person who legally can do anything is out to lunch (so to speak), and basing her figures on about a year and a half ago. Funny, I thought that the son would be the problem person, since the sale of the home is really going to be his inheritance, I thought for sure that he would be a real stickler for the price and not like our terms, and here it is that she's the one with the issue! I guess technically the offer fell through because they didn't get back to us with a firm answer by the time we had asked them to in the contract. We just had Craig let them know that we are very much still interested in the house, they know what our offer is, and once they hash out all their details they know how to reach us. I guess that's all we can do.
I would really appreciate prayer for contentment and patience. I think because there wasn't a firm answer either way it bugs me, since I didn't hear a "no" I'm still holding out hope. And I guess that anything could happen. It was nice to see a date that we would be out of the apartment by and on to bigger and better things; coming back here to something so tiny each time seems harder and harder. As it happens, our realtor Craig is leaving town and won't be back until the 18th (I think), so not much could really be done on our part until then anyway. Maybe this is just the Lord's way of slowing things down a little, or protecting us from some unseen problem. I just have to TRUST in the Lord's timing and wisdom for our home. Easier said than done!! In the meantime, until we hear from the seller we'll just keep our eyes open for other homes popping up and see what comes next...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Pins & Needles

Today Joe and I did something we've never done before...we made an offer on a house. So now we sit and wait to see if they'll accept our offer.


I'm sure that they'll come back with a counter offer, and things will go on from there. But it is a weird feeling. To have to love the house enough to be willing to sign up for 30 years of debt and a sizable mortgage each month, and then still be able to walk away and not look back from it if they don't meet our terms or won't come down in the asking price. I've been told numerous times not to get attached to any one particular house...and I've tried not to. But it's hard for me. When I walked in it for the first time, it instantly felt like "home", and I was already trying to mentally place the sofa and loveseat in the living room. It's the right age house for us - the previous owner is now in a retirement home, but she took really good care of it, so it isn't a dump, just a little dated. Which is very much what we wanted to find - something livable now, but with potential to update and put our own twist on, at our own pace, as opposed to a complete fixer-upper where you have to do mucho work just to make it comfortable. It's ready for a young family to give it some life! Is it weird that I really wanted the house to need us? Probably not, since I also believed when I was a kid that my dolls and stuffed animals had feelings. Now you probably think I'm nuts...oh well.

It would be an extreme blessing for us if in fact this house works out; the only reason that we're able to even consider it is because of the dropping prices and very generous grandparents who are eager to help with a down payment. But this is the type of house, that if we had 2 or 3 kids, we could comfortably grow into it and live there for an extremely long time. Nice size back yard, quiet street, great school district, the whole kit 'n caboodle. The great thing is, Joe and I have been on the same page throughout the whole process, and that I attribute to prayer. This is the biggest financial decision we've ever (and might possibly ever?) made.

All that to say, am I excited? YES Will I be disappointed if it doesn't happen? Yeah. But I'll be OK with it. I know that the Lord will provide us with exactly what we need, when we need it. It's just exciting that this process is underway. I think I'm in for a sleepless night tonight though...I can't wait to hear back (hopefully) tomorrow from our agent!!!

Friday, October 5, 2007

New Favorite?

I've mentioned before that I'm not on the forefront of new things... it takes a little bit of watching and waiting to see if they pan out before I take the plunge. TV shows fall into that category, especially since we got cable when all the series were ending last season, I really felt out of the loop. Mostly what I watch is on cable - lots of TCL and Food Network, and I get my dose of reality (or lack thereof) TV by watching Lauren and the girls on The Hills. If my TV received only those two channels, I could make it. I'm not a fan of too many of the shows on ABC, NBC, you know the main channels...I think they had their heyday when I was in high school and you had the good version of ER with George Clooney, Seinfeld, Friends, Mad About You, and a super stellar cast on SNL. Anymore, a lot of the shows are just plain trashy to me, or interest me.

All that to say, I was channel surfing last night and landed on NBC at 8:30PM on 30 Rock. I'd obviously heard about it for awhile, but knew nothing about it, except that it won the Emmy for best comedy, so I decided to watch until the first commercial. Well, I watched the whole darn thing and laughed a lot during it. I think I'll tune in next week. What really surprised me though was Tina Fey, aka Liz Lemon - she is so watchable!! And cute. And smart. And witty. I think she may be my new favorite sitcom lady. I haven't had one of those since Jennifer Aniston. Huh.

And since I'm on the topic of TV, I must say that on The Hills, Elodie was absolutely amazing and got hers in the end over Heidi. I wish I had that kind of guts!!

The Birthday Boy

Is my hubs!

Today we celebrate 27 well lived years, and pray for many, many more to come.

What did we do to celebrate this momentous, joyous occasion you ask? Why, we worked opposite schedules (fun, no?), and I gave him 27 spanks, with an extra one for good luck. OK, maybe that was TMI. In a perfect world, we'd be hitting up a restaurant in SF, or maybe our favorite restaurant Kincaid's. Unfortunately, it was a no-go tonight. The turn around time between me getting home and him leaving for work was just too tight. I did manage to swing by Whole Foods after work and pick up his favorite schtuff to make a kick-butt birthday dinner, just for him. I really try to limit my shopping is not far at all from where I work the majority of the week, so it is a BIG TEMPTATION, because it's beautiful. The produce section looks like an artists palette the colors are so bright, and they have just about every food product you could think of. But it is uber expensive for everyday only for special times do I let myself enter the front doors.

So here's the spread...rack of lamb cut into chops, tomatoes stuffed with couscous topped with breadcrumbs and cheese, throw in the Martinelli's and you've got yourself one scrumdiddlyumptious meal/party a deux. It looks great, but it tasted amazing, if I do say so myself.

Here's to you Joe, my darling husband. I love sharing life with you and watching you become more and more of the man you were meant to be with each passing year. Happy Birthday!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

September Breakdown

Do you keep a calendar? I do. I love to write down appointments, dates to remember, birthdays, etc. While I was flipping throught my little Hallmark freebie one that I keep in my purse, I was pretty shocked at how many big things happened this month. But that accounts for why it felt like it was a blur. The fall is my favorite season of the year (unlike others I know *Marisa*), but it's also the kickoff in our household to the birthday/anniversary/holiday extravaganza that doesn't really let up until February. Here's what my schedule looked like for the month of September.

On the...

2nd: Spent our last day in Italy and flew home. Boo.

Us in front of the Trevi Fountain, Rome.

The view of the Duomo and red rooftops of Florence from our bedroom window.

Joe in front of the Colosseum.

The Grand Canal in Venice, riding on the water taxi to our hotel there.

9th: Happy Birthday to me!! I turned 26. It's not that different than 25. I was hoping I'd wake up with more wisdom, patience, maturity...something? But nope. It's not quite the same as when you were a kid and woke up on your birthday morning feeling empowered and slightly magical because you were now EIGHT as opposed to only SEVEN, and your world was bigger with new priviledges, responsibilites and a later bedtime. I still wake up excited that it's my day, but the age really doesn't seem to matter anymore. Anyhoo, I got some new kicks that I love - Uggs (or ugglies as Joe calls them)!! Lots of cards and phone calls and feeling loved on. Cheers to another year!

11th: Full time hours start at my work. Went to the 9/11 memorial at our church. They also honor all the local first responders (fire dept, police, emt) and Joe got to wear his uniform and looked like a stud. I felt very proud of him!!

12th: Met with Jim & Carolyn Millen and decided to do a weekly Bible study with them. So excited about this!! (But to do full justice to this topic it deserves its own blog)

15th: Went to my hair appointment for a trim and decide to dye my hair darker. Originally I was thinking a chocolate brown (I was just really sick of the blond grow-out that really bothered me when I looked at myself in the Italy pictures), but my hairdresser said she knew the perfect shade for me called "mahogany" that has some darker reddish tones in it. I've only ever really highlighted my hair, so this was rather extreme for me. I came home and knocked Joe's socks off. It's just a tish darker and more auburn-y than my own color. I think it's great! I wish I had a picture of that to show you...I'll have to get on that. Walked thru some open houses with Joe later than night just to get a feel of what's available.

17th: Happy Birthday Mom!! Celebrate with the family and go out to yummy Greek food.

21st: Knowing that Joe's schedule shift is fast upon us, we head to our mortgage broker to see how things look as far as getting a loan to buy a house since our goal is to be in one by the end of this year. So we looked over our budget, income, spending and bills for about 3 hours (before we met with the broker, so we'd have some #s to give him). Not the most fun thing I could think of to do. We had to do like 5 different scenarios of a budget to make sure that we'll be able to swing the house payments when we have kids and I stop working. But it was worth it. This time I didn't feel like puking when we talked about those humongous sums of money like I did when we touched bases with him earlier in March. All the numbers meshed up and we walked out of there pre-approved for a loan. Hurrah!

22nd: Can't stand not having anything fallish out even though technically fall is still one day away, so the wreath goes up. Get started on the onsies for Sandy's shower on the they are finished below. Sandy doesn't want to know if it's a boy or girl, so I made one for each. I'm really partial to the little girl's one. Sandy and her husband are living in New Orleans right now, so that's why I incorporated that into the onsie. Drive all around our town that afternoon with Joe and my folks going to open houses, my dad teaching Joe what to look for when you look at a house (he used to be a realtor), call a lot of Realtors to get house info. Have dinner with Jim & Carolyn at Texas Roadhouse, which is where I ate the best chicken fried steak I think I've ever had.

23rd: Joe changes to vampire hours. The shift starts at 9pm til 7am, with Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays off. Boo. Start watching Ken Burn's new documentary The War about WWII - very, very good.

25th: Happy Birthday Darlene (Joe's mom)!! We'll celebrate with his side all the September & October birthdays in a couple weeks.

26th: Was asked to submit a recipe for a new cookbook that our church is putting together, and it's due today. Since the last one was published in the 70's, this is exciting. But then I had total indecision about what to choose. I felt like I was going to be judged by what I selected to have put in the book, like if people thought it would sound gross, or weird, or be too easy (silly, I know). In the end I chose to send my Frittata recipe because: I make them fairly often so I stand by it as a GOOD recipe, it's easy to change to your own taste once you know the method, and I was fairly certain it would be the only one like it in the book. It'll stand apart from all the Chicken Divan, ya know? Mmmmm, doesn't it look yummy?

29th: Can't go to Sandy's shower b/c we're meeting with a realtor and with her parents living a good 2 hours away from me (where it was to be held), I didn't have enough turn around time. Very bummed about that one. Drop her present off at my friend Debbie's house so she can take it to the shower for me. But the meeting with the realtor went well. After three hours of talk, we're now serious home buyers; after Joe is off probation with work on Oct. 15, everything is good to go!! It is crazy cool to think that we might just get to celebrate Christmas in our own, new home this year. It makes coming back to this little apartment tough, so I just keep telling myself we'll be outta here soon, I can hang in there just a little more.

So, come on October!! Can't wait to see what you're gonna bring me!

Monday, September 3, 2007

La Dolce Vita

I'm home! After a whirlwind 10 days, 3 blisters, 618 pictures, many euros, 3 train rides and 3 cities later, I'm back home in good old CA. In all honesty, I'm a little dazed. It's a little cruel actually how life demands that you hop right back into the routine at full speed ahead. It seems like you need an extra 3 days to process where you were and what you saw. I don't know where to start. I feel like there's so much to share and tell and describe, how do you encapsulate our adventure in one little blog? It would be big, boring, and probably scare all you off reading my posts for sure. So what I think I'll do is share things by topic, and sorta spread it out. So have some patience with me. I will say now, however, that it was definitely the trip of a lifetime, and something that I'll be forever grateful that we decided to do now, rather than relegate into the category of "someday". In Italy, they say they live the "dolce vita", or "sweet life", and I have to completely agree. The pace is slow. The people are wonderful. The food is amazing. Truly, whether you're at a little mom & pop trattoria, or a tiny pizzeria, or a big hostelaria, you can't get a bad meal. The blend of ancient and modern together in Rome, Florence, and Venice is beautiful and surreal. You feel richer just for seeing the things that those cities have to offer you, be it works from the masters like Michelangelo and da Vinci, old ruins from the Forum built by slaves, or the lazy rivers that glide through the cities. Rome absolutely stole our hearts, and will forever be a special place to us. On our last night there before we flew home the next morning, we went to our favorite restaurant in the city, and then walked across the street to the Colosseum, where we laid out on the grass in front of it, and got some amazing pictures. It was the perfect way to say goodbye. Even though I could have stayed on vacation for a whole lot longer, 10 days was a good amount of time - we left in love with Italy wanting more, rather than feeling like we were sick and tired of living our of our suitcases and just ready to be home. The funny thing about travel though, it once you get a taste of it, you want more, more, more!! On the plane ride home the wheels were already turning as to where we could explore next. It would be really nice if we could swing another big trip before any wee-ones come along. But I don't know...if we get into a house, that's where all the $$$ will be going... so who knows. It is nice to be home though. Nothing feels as good as your own sheets, pillow, and bed, plus this is the land of complementary ice with your drinks. And fall is almost here, which means my birthday is just around the corner, as well as my favorite season of the year. So stay tuned, much more to follow...Ciao!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Wicked Awesome Feat

So while I was slavin' away at work on Friday, Joe was out enjoying the great outdoors with a buddy from work at Yosemite. They decided that they would drive up, hike up Half Dome, and drive back home all in one day. Like all goodly planned things, it didn't exactly happen that way. But nevertheless, they had a great time. When I saw the pictures the next day of their hike, I had to post them because one: they're pretty cool, and two: I'm really proud of Joe. Now, he did this hike once before by himself, so, obviously, I knew he could do it. But it's a lot different when you go with other people. And this hike is not to be sneezed at. It is massive, and tough. You had better have the right gear and mental toughness otherwise, you're in trouble with a capital "T". This is no little walk in the woods - it is a pretty big endeavor. Granted, you're rewarded at every point along the way by absolutely amazing views, but this is not for the faint of heart. Depending on the pace you go at, it's a 6-8 hour trek, that really becomes a climb at the end straight up the granite back with just cables to help you, so you're pretty much hugging the rock, trying to scoot up and not think about what would happen if you tumbled and took a fall. It wouldn't be pretty. I don't think I'll ever be able to do it, because of my fear of heights, so I'll just stick to the Yosemite falls and Vernal falls hikes. Guess I'll just have to live vicariously through Joe...

Almost to the top. See how high up you are?

There he is, reaching the summit...I love how the setting sun looks. I know that technically this picture is a little too dark, but dang it, this is my blog, and I have the artistic license here, OK?

I know this isn't Joe's favorite picture of the bunch, but I like it, especially for those of you who have never been to Yosemite, this gives you some scope for just how high and big it really is. The valley floor of Yosemite is below him, plus you get to see how he is sitting right on the top of the curve of it. My feet and pits start to sweat when I look at this picture, because there he is, swinging his legs off it. If it were me, no way would you have gotten me to the edge, and I would probably be face down clinging to the rock crying my eyes out, and dreading the trip down, cursing whoever it was that talked me into doing it in the first place. Not Joe. He looks completely carefree and at home on the little ledge, right?

Here's the winner shot of the batch in my opinion. The lighting is gorgeous. A man and his mountain. Gotta love it. He told me as he tumbled into bed upon arriving wearily home in the wee small hours, that despite the screaming sore muscles, total physical and mental exhaustion it is worth it. So I'm sure that he'll be right back up there again. And, just in case anyone out there has forgotten...


Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Shout Out to Sandy

I just found out today that one of my ol' friends from school days is expecting her first baby in January. I am so excited for her - I really haven't been able to stop thinking about it today. I'm not quite sure why. I mean, quite a few people from my class have had kids...heck, even my high school boyfriend has now been a dad for about a year. But this is different...she's the first one from my closer circle of girlfriends from then to actually experience pregnancy - she's the one sustaining life. Not like the guys I know who're now dads...I mean, that's very cool too, but not the same b/c it's their wives who went through all the emotions/physical change/etc. Trippy! I mean, this is Sandy who in 3rd grade volunteered to pull out my tooth for me, watched Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken with like 84,000 times (small exaggeration), played soccer with at every lunchtime in Jr. High, giggled and gossiped with in High School during band... Of course, we had our arguments and normal girl drama too...but when I think of my school experience, she is a big part of it. Hard to believe that we're really at this stage of life, when I can picture running around Chabot Elementary school's field chasing soccer balls with her like it was yesterday.
Not too uncommon, but we kinda lost touch during college; however, thru the joy that is MySpace, have reconnected enough to know what each other is doing, send a comment, and keep tabs on each other. She should be really grateful that I still don't know how to use the scanner, otherwise I could post some adolescent pics that are know, that lovely awkward stage. Actually, come to think of it, Sandy always looked good. I look like a skinny geek, so you're really not missing much.
Anyhow, I just wanted her to know that I'm thinking about her, excited for the journey she's on, and wanted to pay a small tribute to her, because saying "congrats" just doesn't seem adequate enough. Especially since it made me get to reminiscing about elementary, Jr. High and CVHS. I don't think I let her know how much I valued her friendship - and that's not right. She was an awesome buddy to have. Bye 4 now !!

***Edited to Add***
Sandy was kind enough to send me our eighth grade sticky-pic from the yearbook...can you dig the matching overalls? Very 1995. So I'm on the left, Sandy's in the middle, and Debbie is on the right. Interestingly enough, Debbie was always interested in showbiz, and lo and behold she graduated from UC Berkely and has been wrapping up her master's (all aimed at the entertainment field) at Stanford and directed a short film for her thesis. She'll be famous, and I hope she remembers that she owes us a limo ride like she promised if she ever "made it". She is also gorgeous now, no more pouffy bangs... Good times, good times!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Special Day

I can't let yesterday go by without saying that on July 24th 3 years ago, Joe proposed to me at Yosemite. Like everything else about life that I am figuring out, the reality of what it has turned out to be is better and different that I imagined. Life with my buddy by my side is so satisfying and good. He amplifies my life in every way. Even though the wedding was 6 months later in January, and that's when we made vows to each other in front of everyone, July 24th is really the start of it all, when we promised to be each other's for life. It has a special place in my heart. That's all.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

OK, so I'm hooked

As I was heading out of the apartment to Target last night, there was something on the doormat. Lo and behold it was a glorious little package from Amazon, with my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I let out such a big gasp that Joe came running into the room thinking something was wrong. Being the mature adult that I am, I squealed, jumped up and down, then calmly put the package on the coffee table, determined to do my shopping and open the package when I got back. So I did. When I returned I ripped into that bad boy, and proceeded to read until 5AM this morning. I don't even remember the last time I did that. I didn't even feel tired. I finished it this afternoon. So before, I was completely ignorant about the wizarding world, not really caring about what I was missing, and somewhere along the way Harry and the gang won me over. I think it was around book 3; that's when I found myself wanting to know what happened next. I have to say, I love the way the series ended. I like it when there's a definite ending, and you know where the characters end up in their lives. So to sum it up kudos to Harry, Hermione & Ron, and kudos to J.K.Rowling for creating an awesome world/sport/story... (what would it be like to spend a day in her imagination?) it was simply smashing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Enjoying the "now"

Lately I've been ruminating about how I love different periods of time. Seeing as how history was my major, this isn't really surprising. I think it's fascinating to learn about people, places and how day to day life was. WWII, the pioneers, the Tudors, the Spanish Inquisition, the Boston Tea Party, I'll take it all. You'll either find my nose stuck in a book reading, or when I'm not doing that, I'm day-dreaming about the future. Funny, huh? I mean, complete opposite end of the spectrum. I like to imagine what our house will be like, what colors I'll paint the walls, what flowers I'll put in the backyard, where the playhouse and swing set will be in the backyard, and three cute kids bouncing around. It doesn't seem to take much to spark some sort of dream in my head; just getting the new Pottery Barn out of the mailbox does it. Seriously, that thing is to me now what my American Girl catalogue was to me when I was 9. I love to pore over every page, see what's new, read all the descriptions, you get the idea. The thing is though...I don't think I give enough attention to the present. Not that I'm not happy with my life now (quite the opposite), but it just doesn't seem as interesting. By thinking about the past or the future, I don't know if I'm getting as much as I can out of right now - and I don't like that very much. I don't want to cheat myself out of all the great things that my life has to offer me right now. I think some of my problem is that I compare myself to others, and see where they are in their lives, and instantly think that I need to be right there too...even though I know that what's right for them now, isn't necessarily right for me. I don't think that loving history, or thinking about the future are bad things, but being consumed by them sure is.

Relying in the Lord's timing isn't easy...I know that I'm being prepped for the next stage of life, even though it sometimes seems like I'm going nowhere fast. But God ushers us into different seasons of our lives, not a day too early or late. That's a comforting thought. So while I'm here, I will embrace all things that He's put on my plate and in my life. I will embrace all that each day has to offer me. I will embrace the now.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Oh, happy day

Indiana Jones is coming back into my life sometime in the spring/summer of '08. I actually squealed with delight when I saw this production photo - proof that they really are making a fourth one. I CANNOT wait! It's a good thing when Joe and I were dating that no whip-cracking, antiquity hunting archaeologist ever ran into me, because things might've turned out very differently... Just to clarify, it's Indy I have the crush on, not Harrison Ford. And also, I'd just like to say that when I'm 64, I hope I look as good as he does.

Lake Berryessa, CA & Italy, baby!!

So I'm in the bedroom, while Joe is languishing on the sofa watching Apocalypto (which is why I'm hiding in the bedroom. No way am I about to watch that movie). He got a nasty, nasty sunburn on his entire back this weekend; so bad, that he didn't go to work today. Poor guy. So I'm the go-fur girl, and aloe vera applier extraordinaire, since coincidentally I was off work today too.

We were up at Lake Berryessa this weekend, helping our friends Brian & Cami with their newly purchased houseboat. They went in on it with our other friends, Luke & Amy Taylor (who just had the new baby), so we'll probably be up there quite a bit. It was a lot like camping - no running water, no electricity, and HOT!! The guys built the swim deck on the back, and we organized and cleaned inside. The entertainment of the weekend were their too cute for words kids, Grace (5) and Sam (3). Sam has the deepest voice on a kid that I've ever heard, and is obsessed with trucks. He carries around an orange monster truck and asked Joe about every 20 minutes "Joe, where your truck?", and when Joe wasn't around to be asked, he asked me, then his parents. Very funny. We were also there to witness Sam catching his first ever fish with his brand new Shrek fishing pole. He was about ready to jump outta his skin he was so excited, and proceeded to bellow for about an hour after to everyone who walked down the dock that he caught a fish. So it was a good weekend, other than the burning. I assumed it would be me who came home redder than a lobster, seeing as how I have a love/hate relationship with the sun. I hate being this fair, and how anal I have to be about protecting it. I love being on the boat, and in the water, but in that intense of a setting, sometimes its just not enjoyable - its a pain to have to reapply the sunscreen, and still feel yourself toasting up, and then being all splotchy, red and stingy the next day. Oh, the crosses I bear... I know, I know, whine whine whine.

On a much more exciting topic, ITALY HAS BEEN BOOKED!!! We bought our round trip tickets to Rome, so it is definitely happening. I don't think there's a word for being this outrageously excited. Just the thought of walking around some palazzo, eating gelato gets my adrenaline pumping. We'll be taking off August 24 and coming home on September 2. It's not a very big chunk of time, but we kind of felt like it's a now-or-never kind of deal. Who knows when Joe will get this amount of time off for vacation again, and we don't have any super big, off we go! We'll be in Rome then take the train to Florence and on to Venice. It is cramming a lot into a little, but we figure we're young and can do it. We won't be able to see everything, and that's OK - at least we're going. There's a lot of choices to make, and they're not all easy. We came to the conclusion that we can't make it to London this go-round, which is disappointing. I love it there, and Joe really wanted to see it...we were really tempted to get round trip tickets to London, and then just catch a charter flight to Italy, but in the end it would be more expensive, and eat up 1.5 days with extra travel, so it's just not worth it. Just another reason to go back there though, right?

So today, I've been pricing accommodations and enjoying every second of it. I think so far, the place I'm most excited to be staying at is what we've found in Rome, the Hotel Santa Maria. It is a converted cloister, and right in the heart of the ancient section of the city, the Trastevere, which (supposedly) is central to all the big sights. It looks quaint, beautiful, and like it's got a lot of character. I was super opposed to staying at the Marriott, or something like that; I want a real taste of the local flavor - and I think we'll get it with this place. As soon as I wrap up this post, then I'm gonna jump into Harry Potter #2. I finished the first one over the weekend, and I liked it. I'm curious to see what this one'll bring. I hear Joe, gotta go slather on some more Banana Boat...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

This is me, jumping on the bandwagon

Again I manage to have a huge gap in my postings...I don't mean to, but here it is almost 2 weeks later...excuses, excuses...I have lots, but they don't really matter. The bottom line is, I just haven't done it. McCloud was fun, I took lots of pics, but honestly, I don't even feel like posting the pics because there are so many to choose and write about, it feels like an overwhelming task. Eek! Someday...onto other things...

Here's something juicy about me (OK, well, maybe not)...I have never read the Harry Potter series. And I was given the first 4 as a Christmas present about 2 years ago. I dunno, just never had the urge. I suppose I have a preconceived notion that I won't like them because they're in the fantasy/science fiction realm, and I just can't get into that genre. I've attempted many times to read Lord of the Rings, can't do it, it is way too painful. It's like my brain can't conjure up the worlds because they're just too weird, nothing makes sense, so I give up. A Wrinkle in Time and the Lion, Witch & the Wardrobe were as far as I could delve into all that. Plus, when big phenomenons like the Harry books or trends come along, I'm never on the breaking wave of them - usually I'm at the tale end. I guess I like to see if they really pan out before I invest time or money into them. Anyway, I've heard that if I can get past the first two, it gets a lot better. I'm ready to see what all the fuss is about - I mean, lots of people I know and respect adore these books and are voraciously rereading them before they get the last one this summer. That is dedication - they wouldn't do that for a lame series, right? I also think that it will be good reading material for the plane; you know, something easy and quick. So here I go with book one, jumping on the Hogwarts bandwagon.

In crafting news, I've been stitching some onesies that are to be baby presents, but as luck would have it, the little guy that was supposed to be born on July 8th, decided to make his appearance yesterday morning in the wee small hours, and I only have one onesie done, one in the works, and a blanket to make. So. I have a little catching up to do on that front. But I learned that I can get one stitched pretty much in one night. My mom called yesterday and said that there was an impromptu baby shower thrown together at her church for this Friday night, and she has a gift card, but was hoping I could stitch her a onesie to go with it (one for a little girl), so could I pretty please do it? I said yes, and this is the result.

I really like how it turned out - so cute! When I was ironing on the transfer, I also prepped another onesie, because its my goal to make a semi-duplicate of whatever I'm currently working on and stash the other away to sell for our church's Holiday Boutique in November, so that way when it rolls around I'll be set and won't have to scramble last minute as much. I'm really curious to see if my goods'll sell, and if people even like them (and of course to raise $ for missions too). I also want to use my spiffy camera and take some pics to decorate the kitchen wall with - I have some ideas that I'm really excited about and can't wait to start! So much to do, so little time...
***BTW*** The Prilosec-like meds have really been helping my stomach, I feel great! Finally 2 days ago I got the results from the blood test. The #'s are alright, it shows that I am anemic (which most likely means the ulcers bled a little), so I have to come back in for another bloodtest. Lucky me! Thanks for all the kind prayers and words.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wilderness Survival 101

That's what I call it. To Joe and his family, they call it camping. And that's what we'll be doing this weekend. But they can't fool me. There's no public sinks/showers, or outhouses with the crescent moon on the door. You wanna wash up? Jump in the creek. Need to go to the bathroom? Here's the shovel. Of course, I do have to say that when the girls are along for the trip, they do pull out all the stops, and set up a shower in the trees, and set up a little port a potty for us...but still. They have a serious aversion to campgrounds and all the people in them, and really never go to them.. So they head out to their little Shangri-La up by the base of Mt. Shasta called McCloud. You know you're there when you see a little bar, post office and gas station all rolled into one building. Turn immediately left off the highway, drive around the forest for a ways, then stop. Set up camp, you have arrived. This'll be my second time going. It's all a little shocking to me - I was not brought up to be a camper. My family has a cabin, so that's where we would always head because there was always work to do on it, and my mom loathes camping. She says that its no vacation at all for the woman, and I do see her point. Its a lot of packing/preparing, and then a ton of clean up/ laundry. But, Joe adores it, so I better get used to it, right? Besides, I get totally soft when he talks about doing stuff with our future kids there, and teaching them stuff, and keeping the tradition of going there with his bros up. So really, it's a lost cause.
Of course, McCloud does have its is very tranquil, and beautiful. At night you hear the creek rushing by, and the stars are awesome to see. And, its just fun to be together. So even though I was a punk when writing the first paragraph, I'm not really dreading the trip. But I am dreading the heat. I saw today that one of the towns up there was at 103 degrees - yuck. And it won't be a restful weekend by any means; I overheard Joe and his brother Jake go over the pros and cons of a day hike, and there's rumored to be a night hike in the works. The boys and Lisa left today to go set up camp and stuff (and they're the real hardcore campers anyway), and I am heading up tomorrow night with Joe's parents after work. Hooray for a 6 hour drive plus weekend Bay Area traffic when we'll be trying to get out of town! Smile!! Then we come home on Sunday, and jump right back into the grind. So, here I am, blogging, when really I should be packing my bag.
It's a little weird without Joe here. It's not like I can't sleep if he's not here, but it is a little strange, all the same. When I got dinner tonight, I just chose something that sounded good to me. Didn't think about quantity or making a complete meal. Trying to combat the blazing heat, I treated myself to cold shrimp with lots of cocktail sauce, corn on the cob, and some lemon gelato for dessert. Yummy! I also had total domination of the TV and computer (a rarity), the alarm won't go off at 4:30am, I don't have to iron him a shirt or pack his that's all swell. And I'll definitely enjoy it. But I'll be glad when he's back. I miss him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

iPod Lovin'

This is my apple green mini iPod. I use it everyday and love it to bits. When its not in the dock, it's in my purse/car being toted around. Quite awhile ago, Candace made a cozy for her iPod that was awesome, and I tucked away that idea in my head to do at a later time. Every time I would go to make it, something would come up, and it would get put on the back burner. The other night, when Joe was watching something he had DVR'd that I wasn't really into, I grabbed some felt scraps, floss, a needle and went to town. This is the finished result:

The front; please folks, hold your applause till the end.

The back with spiffy initial letter "k"...

And we'll wrap up with the full body shot.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Mostly, I was using it as an exercise to practice some different stitches, because on the onsies I find myself using a lot of the split stitch, and that's it. If it was truly heinous, I could pitch it...but I ended up thinking it was pretty darn cute, and wanted to share it. Right now, I'm a real navy girl, and I love the aqua and coral against it - gives it a retro kick that I can't get enough of. Note to self - next time, use a ruler when cutting fabric. Eyeballing it is tough. And also, invest in a white pencil, because free styling your design on dark fabric at night is not the easiest. Having a little guide would be lots easier.

Lately, these two men are dominating the play time on the iPod...

Chris Rice is relatively new to me, and I think he's great. Especially the "Lemonade" song. I find myself humming it throughout the day.

Michael, well, I could listen to him sing the phone book and be enraptured. My mom and I are going to see him in August when he comes into town...till then he croons to me on my commute.
And there you have it. The up-to-date info on me and my iPod.