Monday, March 30, 2009

My Life as a Sitcom

My Monday job is really really really informal. I work in the shop in the owner's backyard.

I used to go to work in my gym clothes after working out. Because I can, and because it made it easier for me to get to the gym on at least 1 day of the week.

Yesterday, I went to work in my gym clothes and told myself I couldn't go home until I had stopped at the gym. And it worked!

While I was there, once I finally got a machine, I was thinking about all the pros and cons of evening workouts vs morning workouts. For instance, in the morning I wouldn't have to wait for a machine. Nothing feels like a bigger waste of time or energy than standing there, at the gym, waiting for equipment. Poke me in the eye with a spork, please! So there's that. Plus, when I was using my G1 to listen to some new tunes on instead of listening to my iPod, I ran out of battery power. In the morning, after a full charge, I imagine there's a chance that the G1 would make it through the workout with me. Not to mention the added boost my metabolism would have all day long if I made it in the morning. ;) Now let's see if any of this actually helps me get out of bed next time I try to go in the morning.

Since my G1 died after 2 songs, I had to switch to one of my trusted workout playlists on the iPod. And those are getting a little dusty, even though I haven't worked out for a while. So to keep myself from drowning in a sea of "I don't want to be here", I started people watching.

Oh man, have you ever done that at the gym? It's awesome. There are so many opportunities to just imagine what these people would be like if they were characters in a sitcom. I wish I could type and use an elliptical machine at the same time. I think it might have been funnier in my head than on paper. I won't post it here, because it could be misconstrued as "mean". If you really want to read it, and you promise not to be offended and to understand that it's just completely made up in my head and not actual judgments on people, than comment or email me and I'll send it to you.

I'm glad I went to the gym, and I'm glad that I stayed and didn't just work out and get increasingly bitter as the minutes went on. I really don't like working out. At least, I don't like just being on a machine for 30+ minutes. Eventually I'll be able to go to classes again, and that will be more fun. I'm just trying to get to where I can workout for a while without having a coronary. :P

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I absolutely cannot believe I just got my Blackjack II in June of last year.

It feels a little like cheating to have my new shiny G1 after just 9 months of having the other "smart" phone, but I'll get over it.

Now, Aaron and I both have a smart phone, and we got them from Costco for $129.99 each, and that included a Bluetooth headset as well! AND no activation fee! Score!

I believe that our lives should be easier when it comes to scheduling, and that Aaron will feel more organized when it comes to his tasks and calendar. We were both glued to the new toys all afternoon and evening. I hope that we get over the excitement because it's fun to play, but there's work to be done. :)

For those who don't know, a G1 is a Google Phone. To check it out, go here.

I'm not only thankful that we have new phones, but that we had money saved up to be able to do this, and that we got a GREAT deal, and that Aaron will now have more access to his calendar and email. I think it will help him to be more effective and to feel more satisfied as a result. Happy Aaron = Happy Kimbo.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Love, Love, Love

Those reading my blog must think I'm a real piece of work.

I first was going to write that I was thankful for sleeping in, which I am, because I got to today - Aaron even got up and took care of Scout's morning routine. But I just wrote about being thankful for rest on Thursday, and come on, it's sleep! As the great Linda Bisesti used to say, I can sleep when I'm dead! :)

Here's where the "God-stuff" starts in, for those who care to stop reading. ;) I'm not offended, and I hope you aren't, either.

Today I'm thankful for love. Particularly for love expressing itself in service and through the people who make Crossroads happen. I got to see a bunch of ladies today who were there on this amazing little journey I went on a couple weeks ago, and to hear how they're doing and what they're up to, and to worship with them. It's so comfortable for me there, in a good way. It's a place where I feel I can serve and I have something to give. I mean, I give a lot - at least, I try really hard to give a lot. But this is different. This is set up so that what you give is given to help the receiver focus on God.

The whole experience is designed to immerse people in their faith for a whole weekend. To just love, love, love those who are there to receive that. This has done amazing things for my walk with God. I also just went back and reread the Laiken entries, because for some reason they came up in my search for "sleeping in". And how crazy is it that Psalm 63:1-3 was there, too??? I'm somehow thinking that God is telling me a lot through that passage, as I just used it in a devotional not too long ago, too.

Okay, I'm shutting up now. I'm just overflowing with thankfulness today, for everything that God has done for me even when I wasn't paying attention. And now so much more for what He has done and continues to do every day since I've been home.

And I love my girls over there, too. I can't wait to see them again and to serve with them in October!

Also, I heart this song and I think it fits with the post. He's playing in Santa Ana on April 16th, just so you know.

Because Of Your Love - Phil Wickham

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's Friday

Yep, I'm thankful it's Friday. TGIF, I say.

A quiet day at the office, with a few tablespoons of productivity.

Add 1 cup of Skype usage discovery and testing, mix until you have one geeked out technophile.

Bake for 8 hours, let technophile cool in living room. Meanwhile, mix Husband and Dad and stir until they make the lawnmower work again. Once cooled, place in good Italian restaurant with an excellent low-fat 12 point option for dinner, send home for some Hulu on the big TV and relax.

Ahhh, sounds like a recipe for a chilled out Friday with the fam.

Sorry this is silly and random, it's how I feel today. :P

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Extra Rest

I took a bit of a personal day, well, half-day. I got some much-needed sleep and to slow down my pace a little bit. I told Aaron I probably could have slept the whole day, but right now it's not really possible for me to stay home and do that.

That notion stresses me out a little, in the event I were to get really sick or something. I guess as long as that doesn't happen on a Tuesday or Thursday I'll be okay, there will be someone at the office to cover.

Anyway, I'm thankful that it is such a quiet week and that I was able to stroll into the office around 12:15. Hooray for Angie, she normally wouldn't be in this week, and she's really the reason I was able to do that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Break

Aaron came to have lunch with me today at work, even though he was super sleepy from getting up early to go fishing.

Then, when I came home, it was to practically empty sinks because he had cleaned up my wreckage from the previous night's feast.

I pretty much love that guy. I'm so glad that he helps out around the house so much when he's off work.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dinner: Elaborated On

In the picture below, you see 3 main components:

A Bean & Cheese Burrito
Chips & Salsa
Jalapeno Poppers (and Ranch Dressing! Holla!)

I know, I know, I keep talking about food. But let me tell you why I'm so dang excited about food. I'm a food junkie. I love food. Whenever I try to lose weight, it's food that defeats me. Sometimes I do really well at exercising, and when I get in my groove I know I can do that, but it's the onion rings beckoning me, or the craving for a certain off-limits food that gets me every time. And then I get that stupid attitude in my head about how I just blew it so I might as well throw out the rest of the weekend... and I'm off the wagon.

Right now, I feel like I can actually stick to this thing! I either read on WW or HG about not eating food you don't love, and I think that's my problem. Whenever I've tried to diet, I've crammed the Chick Fil A grilled sandwich down my throat, or whole wheat tortillas (YUCK!)...

So for me, the trick is having food that I actually enjoy eating, and feeling full, or at least satisfied, after eating.

And tonight, after that dinner, I was full! In a good way. :) In case anyone wants to know how I pulled it off, here's the rundown:
  • The burrito was a Mission Carb Balance tortilla, so it only had 2.5 grams of fat and 11 grams of Fiber! For the cheese, I used a whole 1/2 cup of fat-free shredded cheddar, and the beans were Rosarita Non-Fat refried beans. While cooking those, I added a little bit of water to give them a thinner consistency. In the end they almost were like beans from Baker's (mmm). Once I put the beans and cheese on my warm tortilla, I microwaved it for 15 seconds to get the cheese nice and gooey.
  • The chips were baked tostitos. They actually taste good. I've always tried to do this with baked blue corn tortilla chips from Trader Joe's (yuck!), but these Tostitos are a great substitute for the "real" thing.
  • The Jalapeno Poppers (called Jalapeno Swappers in the cookbook), were just jalapenos halved and de-seeded filled with a mix of 1/4 cup fat-free cream cheese and 1/4 cup fat-free cheddar cheese, then dunked in Egg substitute and coated with Fiber One crumbs with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • For the ranch dressing, I used a packet of Hidden Valley ranch mix with some fat-free sour cream. And I only had 1 tbsp of it, which was almost enough for all 5 of my poppers. They were too hot anyway, so I couldn't finish them. Plus, I was full.
Eventually I'll stop blogging about food, there is a lot more in life to be thankful for. But right now, I'm getting a lot of joy out of these successes and I hope that maybe someone else reading this can be inspired or feel like maybe they *can* lose that weight after all. I'm actually feeling like if I had been choosing these options all along, I wouldn't have gained so much weight. And that's making me feel like once I lose it this time, it's gone for good. :P

My 9 Point Dinner!!!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hungry Girl

I know I just blogged about this, but seriously, I am so thankful for this new cookbook. On Weight Watchers? Check out the points and go get a copy, seriously!

I'm really excited to get all of the recipes down to a science so that it doesn't take me as much time to make them.

Tonight I had a spicy chicken sandwich for dinner with onion rings. Yep, onion rings. That tasted *almost* believable. I told Aaron I was actually enjoying eating them more than the real thing, because I didn't have to feel guilty about it. Amazing.

Watch out, Flipside Biggest Losers, I'm a force to be reckoned with if I have healthy food to eat that actually tastes good. ;)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sense of Completion

Ahhhh, I finished the last section of the Stained Curriculum today.

I'm still going to have to go back and edit and put all 4 sections together, but it feels really really really good to have gotten to this point. I don't have another deadline looming over my head in 6-8 weeks or whatever.

It was stressful, and today was actually a pretty bad day between the dogs driving me crazy, feeling sick, being uber tired, missing church, the printer jamming, and getting in a tiff with Aaron, but I am so glad to have the Stained stuff done that all that pales in comparison.

So yay! It's over (sort of)!

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I did not end up making it to my women's group this morning.

I did, however, manage to find my way to the Anaheim Garden Walk to meet up with Siobahnne and Marisa for the Lush opening. That was fun. Lots of waiting in line and elbowing people to get at wonderfully amazing smelling little bath luxuries.

After Lush, we headed to CPK, which, I discovered, has absolutely NO nutritional value information on their website or anywhere else, really. Shame on you, CPK! I opted for a grilled vegetable salad with fat-free balsamic vinaigrette and I guess I'm just hoping for the best. I guesstimated the points.

Then I got to go enjoy a Vanilla coffee concoction courtesy of Sio at her & Dave's place. She introduced me to Hungry Girl, which has the potential to be the greatest cookbook ever. Tons of low-fat, low-calorie options for great food.

Naturally my next stop after discovering the cookbook was Target to pick it up, as well as a few other supplies for my quest in health and wellness. Like My Fitness Coach for the Wii, a candle for my prayer and study area, as well as a new notebook and a beautiful treasure box for little faith momentos.

Then the guy ringing me up at Target told me he got that same treasure box at Marshall's for cheaper, so instead of paying the overpriced Target price I went there. They didn't have the same one anymore, apparently, but I found one that suits me and will work beautifully.

It was a good day, I spent a lot of money, and may not be getting that Disneyland pass after all, but I don't think I will regret any of today's purchases at all. I had a lot of fun on the journey today, whereas I usually am an, "Are we there yet?" kind of girl.

On that note, I will add that it just occurred to me that that is one of the things that I feel is beginning to shift in me. I am so very thankful for that. It seems like a better place to be.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Feeling Full

With this Weight Watchers thing, I'm supposed to actually try to eat more. I kinda love that. The only problem is, it should be healthy stuff. Duh.

I really need to figure out ways to grab quick healthy snacks. I was starving most of the day at work today, so by the time I was making dinner, I was miserable. And I tried this recipe for onion rings from the Weight Watchers website and I think they would have been awesome if I had done them right. Anyways, the point is, the onion rings took forever. And I made these Tex-Mex burgers, which were really good.

Once I did actually eat my food, I felt full afterward. Like the good full, not the guilty uh-oh I ate too much full. And I even had points left for some angel food cake with strawberries.

I think one of the reasons I keep failing when I try to lose weight is that I get so tired of feeling hungry. And today was a prime example of that. But after that dinner, I felt great. If I take the time and energy to prepare, I think I can do this. I'm the little engine that could.

I hate to talk (well, blog) about it, but I feel like I need the accountability. So if in 3 weeks I'm talking about putting down a whole pizza and a large Coldstone, slap me around a little, k? ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cheap Dates

I don't have too much to say today. It was a busy evening, came home from work, got Lori's key, went to first Weight Watchers meeting, went to pick up Abbey, came home, got dogs settled, went to dinner at Red Robin.

Weight Watchers was cool, I'm a little leary but I think it might work for me. It's at least accountability. It felt a little surreal at some points, with Stephanie the uber-eager pep-talk cheerleader leading the meeting, and ending with making us read aloud with her a quote:

If food is not the problem, then eating is not the answer.

Um, yeah... I'm excited about losing weight, but not so excited about these weekly meetings. lol.

Anyway, Red Robin was great. I didn't eat all of my french fries. And I know I can splurge once in a while, but this was the last time I could do so without having to write it down and count it towards my points. :P And we had coupons that saved us $7 off our bill! Yeah. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lost and Found

A while back, Lori and I did a key exchange because we were trading dog duty for a couple nights.

About two months ago, Lori asked me for her key back and I realized I had misplaced it.

Sometime between then and now, I found the key, but I still hadn't given it back to her. At least, I hoped it was the right key.

Now, I need to know it's the right key because I have to go pick up Abbey Road tomorrow after work. So I drove out to her place to make sure the key worked. In the process, I scared her half to death. I forget how easily my BFF gets scared, even if she saw you approaching the door through the window, you could still scare her. I guess it is a little creepy to watch your door unlock itself. But in my defense, I had called her 20 minutes prior and left a voice mail letting her know I was coming and I know she and Abbey both heard me walk up. I just assumed she knew it was me. Guess not. ;)

I'm glad that I'm able to watch Abbey for Lori while she goes to Colorado to say goodbye to her grandma. I'm thankful that I did have the right key, and that I didn't lose it between December and now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm Free to do What I Want

Ever since we moved into our home, our cell phones have been driving us crazy. Dropped calls, garbled calls, sometimes I can't even send a text message!

I had finally had more than enough when I discovered that T-Mobile offers less expensive data plans, and they have the G1 (aka Google Phone).

Once I realized that, I decided to go ahead and pursue getting freed from our AT&T contract. After a couple calls to customer service, and going into a store to let them "troubleshoot" my phone, aka give me a new sim card, which still didn't make a difference in my house, I was able to call and get customer service to agree that I could be released from my contract without those nasty early cancellation fees.

I still haven't bought my Disneyland pass, and I'm debating whether or not I'm going to. A G1 costs $180 plus tax, and I somehow feel like the more tangible thing that I get to have for as long as I want it is somehow worth more than the year of visiting Disneyland. Don't get me wrong, I love the big D, but if Aaron doesn't have a pass, and Lori doesn't have a pass, and my schedule is crazy, it seems like it might not be worth the $. I'm more than a little sad about that, but it definitely helps knowing that we have friends on the "inside" and there is still hope of visiting the happiest place on earth.

Whatever I end up doing, I am so glad to know that I can kick AT&T to the curb. It was fun while it lasted, but this no coverage in the house thing is driving me batty!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Creating Space

Tonight I took a seldom-used craft area in my house and made it into a study and prayer area. It can still be used for crafting, but it will more often be used for God-time. I put a few little trinkets in there, and gathered my favorite devotionals, my big inductive study Bible, a pen, and some notebooks.

I went on my "retreat" this weekend expecting to experience God and He blew me away. So I think if I expect to meet Him here at this little table in my house, He'll show up. I'm the one who sometimes doesn't show up, not the other way around. I'm excited for the space because it's not so hard to get to, like the little tent I used to have in my closet was (though that was pretty cool in its own way). It's facing a window in my backyard (which will someday be beautiful). It's going to be a great place to go and just sit and absorb. I just know it. :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The "Wow" Factor

NOW I understand why Rose never told me too much about Crossroads.

NOW I understand why this thing keeps going on, year after year after year.

NOW I understand why I didn't go until just the right time, this weekend.

NOW I understand what it means to experience the meaning of the word "lavish".

NOW I understand how it feels to want someone else to go experience this.

Will you go? Will you allow yourself to experience a rest and period of refreshment and encouragement like I doubt you've ever experienced? I've got a list of people who I want to experience this. I am absolutely overjoyed.

Here's how overjoyed I am. I've been home for two hours and all I've managed to do is babble on and on to Aaron about what God shared with me this weekend, and send some emails. I could care less about my dirty hair. Although, after I'm done with this last blog entry I'm springboarding into the hot shower.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Friends

This environment is definitely conducive to creating friendships. Already I count Maria, Gloria, Nancy, Maybelline, Selena, Lynn, Militza, Becky, Shirley, Patty, and Yvette.

I know some of them I may not keep as much contact with after it's all said and done, but these women are blessing me in amazing ways!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Good Food

Not only do I not have to cook or do dishes this weekend, but the food is uh-mazing. Yes, as in, amazing. I'm getting so spoiled!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Emerging from the Comfort Zone

Well, as of 6:30 this evening I am officially disconnected from the world. I'm even leaving my cell phone AT HOME, on purpose.

I'm going to go subject myself to whatever has been planned for me for the weekend, and I truly have no idea what that is. I do know I don't have to cook or clean all weekend and that in and of itself is something to look forward to!

I do expect to spend some awesome time with the Lord, and that makes any discomfort or apprehension automatically insignificant.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Girlfriends and Free Stuff

I got to hang out with Lori and Alicia last night. Heather couldn't make it because her poor baby had to go to the doctor.

We still had fun though. I "bought" Alicia dinner at Qdoba (read: wannabe Chipotle) with my buy one get one free coupon, and then when Lori met up with us we got FREE frozen yogurt at Golden Spoon. I heart coupons, especially ones for absolutely free stuff, no strings attached.

I'm really glad those two get along so well. I definitely consider myself a more-the-merrier kind of person. It is oddly difficult to get multiple friends from church to all be friends with each other. In theatre, it happens naturally because you're all stuck in rehearsals and classes together. In high school, same thing, well, classes, not necessarily rehearsals. At church, it's easy to go to different services (or even end up going to a different church), and lose opportunities to hang out with certain people.

Sometimes I try too hard to make it happen and I make it awkward. But I kinda don't care. I think it's worth the effort, especially now that it's paying off.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A List

So yesterday I felt like I had almost nothing to be thankful for. Today, it's quite the opposite. But I am going to be late for work if I go all philosophic/poetic on you, so here is a list:

  1. My Spy Equipment - No, my dog did not bark all day. She did bark constantly from 2:45pm until 2:47pm... a whole 2 minutes! I feel extremely vindicated. Today, I will try again on the opposite side of the house. Hoping for more of the same results.
  2. Ashley O - I got to go have vegan food tonight with my friend, Ashley. Ashley is one of those smart charming awesome people who I am always glad to spend time with. It kinda sucks that the distance between LA and Rancho Cucamonga is often multiplied by insane amounts of traffic.
  3. Elizabeth T - Yeah, I got to hang out with her a little tonight too, briefly. Her, Ashley, and I ventured off in search of coffee before Becca's show. I may be able to convince Aaron to get a low level Disneyland pass because her and Justin are getting them. *fingers crossed*
  4. Becca - Becca is moving to NY on Friday. I haven't gotten to know her as well as I would like, but I know enough to tell you she is frickin' brilliantly creative, funny, and talented. I hope that she does fantastically for herself in NY and that her moving out there gives Wahima some new momentum and assurance that she can make it.
  5. Becky - A new friend I met tonight. She and Ashley went to high school together, or were friends in high school at least. She seemed really cool and I'm pretty sure she's smart, too. :) It was really fun sitting next to her and not at all awkward. That's instant friend-love in my book.
  6. This is Not a Musical - Becca, David, and ... sorry, I blanked on the composer's name, but he was great, have created this piece that is all about life in LA, musicals, and the messiness and humor in life. I really hope that somebody recognizes how smart and relevant this thing is. I got to see pretty much the first staged reading of it last night. I'm really impressed and glad I got to be there.
  7. Forgiving Myself - I have been harboring a lot of self-resentment. Mostly over allowing myself to gain SO much weight. I feel gross. But I made a firm decision yesterday to forgive myself for it. It may take a while for that forgiveness to be actualized and to sink in, but it's a start.
  8. Moving On - With that forgiveness in mind, I'm ready to move on and actually lose my weight. I'm going to keep it off. I never want to be in this boat again. I want to have energy and feel good about myself. Not because of the "feeling" but because of what I believe I can accomplish when I'm operating at full capacity.
  9. Phil Wickham - I had the best time with Singalong in the car on the way home. I miss songs like that, I miss experiencing that every week at church. I think I got spoiled.
  10. Finding God in Little Things - There were a few spiderwebbish threads tonight that stood out to me as totally and completely being God in the midst of the evening. I know a lot of people don't believe in God, per se, or at least the Christian view of Him, but you've almost got to admit... there is some power, some force, something that ties it all together. Keeps friends as close as sisters, keeps boyfriends with their girlfriends, keeps people on planes from dying in the Hudson, places people in the right places at the right times (see NYC 2008), allows a parent to unconditionally love a child... I believe that's God. Whatever you believe that is, look for it today. See something that you would normally take for granted and stop to appreciate the magic. Smell the roses, if you will.
And that still took forever and ended up being really long but it's worth it. I feel filled today. I hope you do, too.

How To Spy On Your Dog

After getting a note and a stern talking-to from my neighbor about my dog's "constant barking", I started to despair over having to crate my poor mutt all day long while Aaron and I are at work.

And then I thought, I should observe this before I change up her routine. Make sure that I'm not just throwing her in a 3x3 box at a time of day when she wouldn't be barking anyway. If only there was a way I could RECORD the sounds from the backyard... old school tape deck from a thrift store? Call the house from my cell phone and listen in all day? No, the cordless phone battery would die.

AHA! Rock Gtalk on my laptop, hook my corded headset to my blinds by the open window, and voila! I am spying on my own backyard. Not only that, but I'm able to listen right from my desktop at work instead of having to wait until I can come home to check. I just have to explain to my coworkers why they might hear a dog barking coming from my speakers...

If you want to try the same setup, here's what I did. There may be an easier way, but I am loving the flexibility of this:

  • Step one, if you don't already have two gmail accounts, go ahead, make yourself a second one.
  • Step two, go to and create an account and install it on your home computer.
  • Step three, sign in to Google Talk or enable Voice and Video chat in Gmail. Make sure you use your secondary account to get all signed in on your home computer.
  • Step four, plug in your headset and rig it so you would feasibly hear loud noises such as clapping coming from the target area, then drive to work or wherever you're going.
  • Step five, open Firefox and go to, and in another tab, open your primary Gmail account. You'll have to enable Voice and Video chat in this account as well.
  • Step six, once you're logged in to Logmein, open up the Dashboard for your home computer and click on Remote Access.
  • Finally, From your primary Gmail, "Call" your secondary Gmail account and accept the call via remote access to your home desktop.
Now you are listening in and able to see if the neighbor's claims are fact or fiction. Of course, if you work somewhere that is a little more stringent on installation or your coworkers would raise eyebrows if your dog DOES actually bark, you can always make adjustments.

Option 1, plug in headphones to the work computer so nobody can hear it but you.

Option 2, instead of "calling" from your primary Gmail, use the secondary Gmail to "send voicemail". I think this option only works in Google Talk, so you'll have to have that installed on your home computer. I discovered this only lets you record 10 minutes at a time, so you would have to log in remotely every once in a while and grab another 10 minute capture. Plus the audio files take up a HUGE chunk of gmail space, so you might want to actually set up a third account to do this. Now I'm going to make Google mad at me... sorry, guys, you're just too dang useful. ;)

Option 3, go old school and just use Audacity and set it to record all day, but you don't get the same super-sleuth MacGuyver satisfaction of being able to listen and sit smugly as your dog does not actually bark all day while you're at work.

I am feeling better by the minute.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I have no idea

As I sit here writing this, I really have no idea what I'm thankful for about today.

This morning, I went in my backyard to discover that Scout and the neighbor dog had managed to remove part of the fence in order to try to get to each other, presumably for a playdate.

So I decided I had to take her to work with me down in Chino, and as I was loading her into the car, the neighbor on the other side approached me saying that she barks constantly while we're gone. Which, in all honesty, I don't believe because I've asked other neighbors and they say she only barks when she hears something. But still, in order to be a good peacekeeper I'm going to have to make a point of coming home at lunch and putting her in her crate. I will not leave her in there all day, to me that's just cruel.

I guess I'm thankful in some bizarre way that now we can attempt to have some kind of relationship with the awkward neighbors from the purple-trimmed house next door. I wish it were under better circumstances, and I wish I could think nicer thoughts about them right now, I'll keep trying.

Honestly I think they hear another dog in the neighborhood that barks, because there is one who gets left out at night and barks CONSTANTLY for an hour or more at a time. I don't know which dog it is, but the first time I heard it I had to check and make sure Scout was inside because it sounded like her. The note said she barked "day and night" and we crate her when we leave at night, so that's another thing that's arousing my suspicions.

Anyway, this isn't probably the most "thankful" thankful blog I've written, but it's the best I can do for now.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"Meetings" with Jeff

I love our friend, Jeff Logsdon.

Even going to In n Out with him after church qualifies as a "meeting" in his mind. I mock him for that, but I also respect the intentionality that he imbues his time with by thinking that way.

He and Aaron discussed many facets of Watchmen and I kept stomping out any attempt at discussing ministry. Not because I don't want to talk about it, but because Jeff and I are workaholics who need to take opportunities to not be "working".

Jeff is the closest thing I have to a big brother, complete with punching privileges. I'm thankful for the ways Jeff pushes myself and others. I'm impressed with how he can be really straightforward and blunt, maybe err on the side of unforgiving at times, but he has the same capacity to be generous and extremely forgiving.

He has a lot to learn about relationships and balance and boundaries, but I think we all do. He's great at letting people know that it's okay to fumble around sometimes. You are who you are, and sometimes that ain't pretty, but Jeff will still love you and help you to become a better version of yourself.

Other reasons why I'm thankful for Jeff include his beautiful wife, Heather, and his adorable kiddos, Nathan and Noelle. He has run I don't know how many marathons, and even when he's in a foul mood he greets everyone with a smile.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I am thankful for our friend, Nathan.

He is caring, sweet, thoughtful, and a gentleman.

We had been trying to plan a trip to Knott's Berry farm for a couple months to use some extra tickets his family ended up with in January. There were a couple potential days that the guys could have gone without me, but Nathan insisted that there were 4 tickets and that I needed to go. It's good to know that he and Joe don't just put up with me because I'm married to Aaron.

Today we finally went and we had a blast. I love how Nathan has grown up in a lot of ways, yet is still able to maintain his personality integrity by being loud and inappropriate at times. ;) He is almost always willing to laugh at a joke, even if it's not a very good one, which makes me feel sometimes like I'm actually funny.

And even though his bank account is far from overflowing right now, he wouldn't allow himself to be a bum yesterday and let everyone else pay for him. Sometimes I wish he would just let us do nice things for him, but I definitely appreciate that he would rather be overly strict on that philosophy than overly lax.

I also wish Nathan knew just how valuable he is to those of us who love him, and I would imagine to other people as well. Perhaps someday it will sink in. I think it might be starting to.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Familiar Faces

I haven't really kept in touch with anyone from high school, except for Brenda. Even that contact is sporadic, probably because she lives on Vandenburg AFB and has 3 boys to keep her busy.

Thanks to Myspace and Facebook, I'm back in touch with a few more people now.

I ran into those people last night while we were stuck in the nightmarish line for Watchmen, thanks to the Imax projector breaking at the Edwards in Ontario. It was nice to see them. I wish that I could hang out with them more, but schedules never seem to permit.

I'm really proud of and impressed with Bernie for doing so well in her dental hygiene school, and for becoming the kind woman that she is. If you had the experience with her that I did in junior high and high school, you might be surprised. I'm really not saying that to be mean, I mean it as a huge compliment. I experience a lot of people who I don't think have changed one iota from how I imagine they must have been in high school. It has to be really easy to stay the same, especially when you run with the same crowd. But Bernie has turned that around, and she's even nice to me, which if you saw me back in the day, you probably wouldn't think I deserve that. ;)

So I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm thankful for running into people who look familiar to me, but are all "grown up" now. May and Jason are married with a cute little girl, Bernadette and Brad are married and recently bought a house, Cari is teaching high school (and hopefully not getting pink slipped with the budget crisis).

Also, I saw Howard - I can't remember his last name, but Brenda, you might remember him - he had Heath Ledger hair and wore cowboy boots? That was random. I'm not quite sure how I managed to remember his name, probably because it was a unique one. He was looking at me funny and I saw him and we both had the realization that we knew each other.

I saw Steve on the way out... can't remember his last name, but any BHSer would know him if you saw him.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My $10 Investment

Last night, while at the grocery store buying Lean Cuisines (for $1.50 each, I might add), I picked up a Reynolds Handi-Vac for vacuum sealing food. It was only $10, and we had just stocked up on ground beef that needed to be frozen and stored.

I froze all of my ground beef last night, and tonight, after buying almonds and walnuts at Trader Joe's, I sealed what wouldn't fit in my jars to keep them fresh longer.

I'm pretty sure this little investment will more than pay for itself. If I find myself staying on top of this saving money buying in bulk thing, I may have to go out and get a fancier sealer. For now, I'm just experimenting.

Maybe we can buy some steaks at Costco next week and stash 'em for later. I am seriously enjoying having food on hand at pretty much all times.

In non-thankful news, I turned off word-verification on comments. So please comment away, especially when you have tips and tricks for me!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Signs of Life

See the tree in the background of this picture? With the little pink flowers?

I snapped this photo with my phone on one particularly beautiful morning out walking with Scout last year. I absolutely love those trees.

I remember thinking to myself that I would love to buy that house just because of that tree.

Then, when we bought our house, it wasn't until after we had put in our offer that I noticed it had a "fruitless plum" tree right in front of the kitchen window.

By the time Christmas came around, I thought it was a goner for sure. It was looking like the tree was just dead and there was not going to be any way to bring it back.

Tonight, as I took out some trash, I looked up at my poor sad skeleton of a tree and noticed something... leaves! And a couple of little blossoms! I think there is hope for her yet. :)

Now I really want to get someone out here to take a look, trim her back maybe, get her on the road to recovery. I'm just so excited that she's showing signs of life. Maybe I'll still get to view my street through the lens of beautiful pink blossoms.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No more waiting in line at the bank

Ever since I made the complete switch to ING, I haven't been waiting in line at the bank. Not only that, but I get way better interest on our savings accounts (yes, we have a few, which ING allows us to do quite easily, and makes our lives easier, too), but we get interest on our checking account, as well. With no minimum balance.

We had a couple bumps in the road with locating ATMs. Now that's solved by simply viewing any Target as our own weird little bank (we can use their ATM for free). Plus the gas station down the street from our house has one of our free ATMs as well.

Then there was the scary feeling of not having physical checks. Now that I'm used to that, it's not so bad either. It's really easy to send electronic checks.

So while I was being helped yesterday at Wamu, er, I mean, Chase (whatever), I looked at the long line and thought about how glad I am to basically never have to wait in that again. The paychecks that aren't direct deposited get mailed to ING, and at Wamu I'm a business customer so at the most there's 1-2 people ahead of me.

There are a lot of things that demand my time, and it's a nice feeling to tell the bank it can't have any of it.

By the way, I'm not trying to "sell" ING, but I really think it is a great banking option. If this made you want to try it out (it's all free, not even any overdraft fees), make sure you list me as having referred you because I'll get $ and you know I need it. ;)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Five Iron Frenzy

There has not been another band or musician that I have loved as much as I love Five Iron Frenzy.

I caught myself singing along in the car yesterday to songs I didn't even "like" per se. I just know almost all the words to all the songs on all 6 of the "albums" plus the variations on the 2 live albums.

I'm not quite sure what it is about the music that band made. Maybe it's because they're just a bunch of nerds using clever lyrics mixed in with cultural and literary references. Maybe it's because of the way Reese Roper wore his heart on his sleeve. Maybe it's because listening to them made me feel validated and affirmed in some of my negative feelings about the church, but in a really good way. A way that challenged me and made me think differently, counter-intuitively.

Lori and I had tickets to go to their final show in Denver Colorado on November 22nd, 2003, but when I was cast in the Crucible I opted not to go. I still get a little bit sad when I think about the fact that I missed that show, but I did manage to see them 13 times over the years that they were around, so I really can't complain. I cried like a baby at the last San Diego show, which I thought would be the last time I would see them. Then I got to see them the next day in LA when I wasn't called for rehearsal, and that was just sweetly anti-climactic and joyous.

Only someone like Jeanne, with her ravenous love for The Mountain Goats, or maybe Joe at a Death Cab show, could understand the level of happiness that those moments bring.

Five Iron definitely had a solid fan base, as in, a lot of people who loved them the way I did. In fact, I saw a guy who I used to regularly see at shows at Disneyland last time I was there. He was wearing a Five Iron shirt, but I would have recognized him without it. I think he might have recognized me, too. We were fans on the same boat, scrambling to get to the front row so we could be pushed around and sweat and spit on. I took a lot of that kind of abuse at the Chain Reaction show, but that is one of my favorite memories.

Five Iron will never be in the hall of fame. You've probably never even heard of them. But in the hearts of fans like me, their music and memories of their shows will continue to bring joy.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Little Luxuries

When I was in New York this past summer, Wahima and I went to Serendipity. It's a little restaurant that is featured in the John Cusack movie of the same name.

On the menu, there's this ridiculous ice cream sundae that costs $1,000. It has edible gold on it.

Even if I could afford a luxury like that, I really don't think I would waste 1k like that. I asked our server if anyone actually ordered it and she said yes. Of course she said yes. It's one of the most expensive places to live, so I imagine the people who live there are more likely to be able to afford things like that.

While I didn't partake in any edible gold today, I did enjoy a massage and a sugar body scrub at my favorite local day spa. I have had a really stressful 2009 so far, everything is moving at full speed ahead right now, so I think I actually somewhat needed it. As much as one can "need" a massage, anyway.

So I'm thankful once again for that tax return, but also that I have a husband who is generous and who understands that I don't do this kind of stuff all the time. It was a lovely afternoon of being pampered.