Friday, December 31, 2010

Planning A Party

I've finally gotten the opportunity to host a party. It's a small one. I could only invite four people and they are crashing in my living room that night, but I figure if all goes well, I can eventually have more guests over. There are a ton of people who still haven't seen the new place and who I haven't seen in a long time that I'd love to have over. But this New Year's Eve is my trial party. It's like coming out.

Chris took care of the booze (I stay away from the stuff, I have a predisposition for getting shit faced and throwing my life down the drain when I drink) and I'm taking care of the food. I am using the new cookbook my sweet step-mom, Kathy, gave me and cooking up some meatballs with a hawaiian twist. I also have pesto and bruschetta courtesy of Chris's mom, Robin. In the morning, I plan to use my new waffle maker that my sis Sarah gave me to make waffles for everyone. That ought to soak up the alcohol left in their systems.

I feel so domestic! We did all our laundry this week. It cost over twenty dollars. I bought a real mop (I don't know what happened to the last one I had, so I've been using sponges and towels). I can actually get the floor that Pine-Sol clean smell! (Which Chris hated when I first poured it in the bucket because it was so strong, but appreciated it more after I mopped). I'm finally going through boxes in my closet to get rid of stuff I don't need or want. (Obviously, it's been in boxes for four months, what could I possibly be doing with it)?

The New Year is ahead of me, and I'm looking at it differently this time. I actually have an idea of what my life will be like, what to expect. I'm getting married in June and we've been looking into Disneyland for a honeymoon. I'm learning another language, ASL, and am going to try to recommit to practicing my rusty French a little bit more. I also plan on expanding my culinary experience. I've got about ten recipes I recycle all the time. It's time to break the cycle and learn some new tricks.

This last year brought a lot of changes for me. I left for Europe in August knowing that the next few months would completely alter my life. My big sister got married that summer, I moved to Davis and found a new job in Sacramento, Chris proposed to me, I even joined a softball team. I miss the people I left in Placerville terribly, but I know they're never too far. My life is full and rich and wonderful and I'm grateful for every day I wake up living it. I hope that everyone's new year brings the same joy that I've found. I'm excited about the new adventures I'm facing, while never forgetting "auld lang syne." Happy New Year everyone.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Update:I am cleaning my house and putting my presents away and there are a couple things I regret not mentioning because they are so awesome. My mom got us Christmas ornaments for our tree. One is Big Ben and the other is the Eiffel Tower. And we also got a waffle maker from my stepsister, Sarah, which is totally bitchin' and is what I'll be serving on New Year's morning if people end up crashing here! That is all.

Chris and I spent Christmas Eve and half of Christmas day at his parents' house. Robin, his mom, makes an excellent lamb, and as I learned at breakfast the next morning, a spectacular crustless quiche. It was good food and good times all around. Chris and I came back to Davis with our car well-stocked with presents. I won't go into all of them, but there are a few I simply must brag about.

First, from Chris's parents we got some very cool Beatles memorabilia. Original posters in frames of shows such as The Caver and Candlestick Park. We also got a photo album with professional concert photos that came with a CD of scanned negatives. Very, very cool.

I made out with ladybug stuff, of course. I have a new coffee cup, which I am using right now, thanks to my new family in Winnemucca. Ladybugs swinging on a a swing in a garden. Super cute!

Chris got me two books about Irish lore. One is a collection of Ghost Stories and the other is an encyclopedia of myth. He also got me "The Suburbs" by Arcade Fire. I must say, he knows me well.

Chris's mom made us some wonderful framed cross-stitches to hang in our kitchen near our coffee maker. Both are pictures of espresso drinks, one saying "Latte" and the other saying "Cappuccino." I couldn't resist temptation to tell Robin, "Thanks a latte!" after seeing them.

I got another very awesome present from Robin and Garry. Anyone who knows me would guess that the new AMC show, "The Walking Dead," is my kind of show. So I received for Christmas The Walking Dead Compendium One, a collection of the first 48 issues of the comic series. I read it. All of it. Last night.

At dad's house, we enjoyed more good times with family. My step brother was there and my awesome Uncle Mickey. Both my sisters were also there, which hasn't happened at Dad's house on Christmas in many years. Kathy had the house very festive and a delicious meal of ham, potatoes and other noms ready to be eaten. She also got me a "Better Homes and Gardens" cookbook and one-year subscription to the magazine. I'm so domestic now!

From my dad and Kathy, we got some very awesome things. A blown-glass jelly fish from Monterey that actually glows in the dark (I will post pictures on my facebook). A cute decorative towel from Apple Hill. And my favorite, a digital meat thermometer! I can't stand pulling out chicken and cutting into the middle of it to see if it bleeds. I'm very paranoid about proper food safety handling. Now, I have no more need to worry.

My big sister's big present to us was a shower curtain with a picture of the Cliffs of Moher where Chris proposed to me. Talia had asked Chris to email him a picture that he took because, she claimed, Hollis hadn't seen it yet. That sneaky woman! I love the hell out of her.

My little sister Michelle got us an awesome, romantic dinner in the form of a gift card to any Darden restaurant, one being Red Lobster, which I think we'll hit up. She also got me some awesome 'eau de toilette' from B&BW. Chris likes it, so that's good.

I got other stuff, but I'm not writing to categorize everything. I'm super happy for everything I got. There is, of course, the stuff I didn't blog about last week that I got from my mom and her side of the family (awesome stuff, including snowman poo candy, lol). I just wanted to highlight a couple things from the weekend. Hope everyone had a great holiday.

The Sheepherder's Bread

"Pass the mint jelly, please," Chris asked around the table on Christmas Eve at his parents' house. I gladly obliged, having already spread my share on the incredibly delicious lamb on my plate. We were enjoying our dinner with swiss beans, baked potato and a pear and lime jello mold that is Chris's favorite.

"We have Sheepherder's Bread for desert," Robin said, as her and Garry both started laughing. Chris and I looked at each other with eyebrows raised. "Sheepherder's Bread?" I asked.

"Well," Robin began to explain, "It's not really Sheepherder's Bread, but I've got to tell you the story."

"Your father and I were at Railey's yesterday picking up a few things and we saw this item in the bakery that looked like a red velvet cake with some kind of frosting on top. It said, "Sheepherder's Bread" on the label and was only two-forty-nine. I had never heard of it before so we went up to the bakery and asked what it was. The girl behind the counter was very busy and quickly explained as she glanced at the label distractedly, 'Oh yes, Sheepherder's Bread. It's a red velvet cake with a cream cheese frosting. It's delicious. It has a slight cocoa flavor to it. It's really good, I can give you a smple if you'd like.'

"So Garry and I tried it and it was delicious! We brought it up to the register and the cashier looked at us with this puzzled look on her face and said, 'Well, if that's the price they put on it, that's the price I'll give it to you.' At that point, she turned to the bagger and said, 'Look at this.' The bagger looked surprised and asked, 'You think there's any more in the back?' The cashier answered, 'You'd better go check, and if there are, save me some!'

Garry and I were so perplexed at the exchange, so we had to ask as we were paying, just what is up with this Sheepherder's Bread? Just then an announcement came over the loudspeaker, 'Attention Railey's shoppers, we have Red Velvet Cake for justtwelve-ninety-nine in the bakery.' The cashier then explained that the item was mis-marked. It was a red velvet cake we were buying. Sheepherder's Bread is like a baguette with spices on top. We got a twelve-dollar cake for under three! We were laughing all the way out of there as we saw the bagger run to the back to see if there were any more mis-marked cakes to buy up for himself!"

And so, the Grahams and I shared our Red Velvet cake for desert. It was absolutely delicious, and probably the cheapest cake in the world.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Christmas Eve Eve

I have the next five days off of work. Then I go back for two days and get New Years Eve off as well. I don't know how I'm going to drag my ass out of bed to get back into the five-day work week. This is excellent. Of course, I don't get holiday pay, but that concept has been foreign to me since 2008. Somehow, I'll always make my bills work out. If not, I'll just beg Chris for money. There will be a day when he'll have to come crawling to me (as I have to keep reminding him when he gets testy about buying groceries one more time or letting me borrow his car again until I can afford $3.20 a gallon). Anywho, money will be tight but every thing's going to be alright.

I'm having a great holiday season, regardless. I miss the hell out of the peeps in Placerville, but I'm really enjoying Davis and Sacramento. I gave Christmas cards to all my co-workers this year-the first time I've ever been able to do that. I feel like a real grown-up now! (Lol). Now, if only I had bought stamps... The people I'm mailing cards out to will just have to wait for theirs (along with the save-the-dates that Chris and I finally printed). Holidays! Yay!

I wonder if Chris will buy me stuff to make chocolate chip cookies for the party...

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I have most of my Christmas shopping done! Which means I'll be broke for the next month, but that's just the way it is during the holidays. I'd tell you all what I got Chris, but he happens to read this blog, so I'l save it for Christmas morn'.

New Years Eve I've decided to invite a couple of friends over. It will be my first official event with more than two guests over. It won't be a big deal, just a small get together (it's really all we have room for) but it being my first time is still exciting.

We got our first tree last weekend. It's a super awesome, 3 1/2 foot plastic tree. There wasn't any room for a real one. We got some glass bulbs and brought out the four or five ornaments that we own and set it up. I bought a few more ornaments from the South Side Art Center in Sacramento. It's a program similar to the Creative Arts dept. at M.O.R.E. where I used to work. It's beginnng to look like a true, blue Christmas tree! We even have presents underneath already! I love the holidays!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Night

I don't get out much on Fridays anymore, so what better to do than blog?

I'm extremely happy today. The work week goes by pretty fast for me. I don't have days where the clock is dragging. I suppose that's in part due to the field I choose to work in, but I must say that I'm very pleased at the way my new job uses the time we have. I feel accomplished, appreciated, and apt at my job. I can't go into detail, but the place is very streamlined and it shows through the incredible growth and independence of the people we serve. I'm happy there.

I didn't know if I'd ever find a job again where I'd be as happy as the last one, and while that one will always be in my heart, I have learned that sometimes you don't know a better way of doing things until you venture out to a new place. The grass is always greener, right? Well, I've hopped the fence and have realized the soil is an incredible, strong, fertile variety of the best lawn you can find in the area. I'm proud of it. I'm happy today.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I feel so awesome right now. I almost want to go exercise some more. An hour is really enough, though. It's not good to work out within two hours of bedtime, I hear. I'm proud of myself today.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I always feel guilty after a few days of not exercising like I should. Actually, I always feel guilty after a few days of not doing anything I should. So much so that I actually feel like I don't want to do it. Call your relatives. Well hell, it's been months, I feel horrible. Might as well not call now; it could be awkward.

So tonight I took the bull by the horns. It's my second hour this week exercising and I really should be doing 5-7 days a week. The weather has been poor, the daylight hours are shorter after I get off work and my body isn't exactly hormonally balanced right now, if you know what I mean. I feel like a blob, so I've decided to do something about it.

I've taken up jogging on the treadmill. I do it for as long as I can (usually about two minutes) and then power walk until I catch my breath. I do this in intervals for 10-20 minutes and then I jump on the exercise bike. I like how the air conditioner isn't blasting in the apartment gym because then I get all drippy-sweaty and feel like I'm an athlete or something. I never got drippy-sweat at those other gyms. Something about it just makes me feel like I've accomplished something. The night air when I leave to go back to my apartment is enough to cool me down.

I forget how good it feels to get moving. I'll be sitting there on the couch, watching TV or playing on teh internetz and I think it must be better to just sit here rather than walk all that way in the cold to the pool and torture my body on work-out machines. I suppose this is normal, right?

I feel good tonight. Probably going to get to bed early. Oh! I saw the venue on Sunday, it's gong to be just the right size and everything so we're going to start paperwork soon. Now I can stop having those dreams about it being the date and having no where to get married. Onto the ones where I show up walk down the aisle realizing I'm naked...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I Love Christmas

A friend's post about Christmas songs got me thinking. I really. Love. Christmas. I enjoy the songs, the apple cider, the smell of Fir in the living room, the wrapping, the lights, everything!

It wasn't always like this. I don't think I truly enjoyed a Christmas my whole young adult life. In fact, I remember vividly the Spirit of Christmas dying inside me the first year my parents were divorced and they still managed to scream at each other and my big sister in our living room despite the fact that they didn't live together anymore.

Even when I quit drinking there were years when all I did was sleep in marathon AA meetings because everyone was out of town and I either didn't have a car or had to work or something. I did, however receive a present from my step mom in that first year that showed me that the healing had begun. She had told my I had one chance to make things right. I got sober and the present basically told me that I was on the right track.

Still, Christmas was hard. I was in an abusive relationship between one and three years sober and wasn't aware that what was happening to me was actually abuse. I didn't ever receive a Christmas present from this man, but would make homemade cards and things for him. I got the sense that Christmas shouldn't really mean anything to anybody, if it's no big deal to the man you think you love.

I finally left that relationship in the Spring of 2006 and started dating Chris that June. Here was a man that appreciated me, opened doors for me, let me into his heart and helped me learn to let others into mine. Chris is festive during the holidays, giving me "hints" as to what he's gotten me or texting me just to tell me my present is being tracked by UPS and will reach the mail box in such-and-such days. He's included me with his family and has been willing to put up with the split-household holiday run that so many kids from broken homes have to grow up and deal with.

I love my man with all my heart for many things, but saving Christmas for me as a time to appreciate family, friends and togetherness is pretty high up there on the list, let me tell you.So now I sing along to the Christmas music, even when it's played before Thanksgiving (a cardinal sin, really), I play with Christmas bows and put them on my head, I get quirky things from gift stores when I can't afford them to give to people just to show them I appreciate them. That is what the season is all about.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Walking Dead

I have had favorite shows in the past. Don't ask me to name them, I've forgotten. I don't know how AMC did it, but they created a show that I couldn't have liked better had they tailored it specifically to my taste.

I was amazed they were able to put into a weekly format a concept that had previously only been successful in movies. An hour and a half of zombies is hard enough, right? But zombies every week?! They nailed it. I think it helps that the show is based on a comic book series (which I will definitely be looking into, regardless of the fact that I haven't seen a comic book in years).

I suspected during the pilot that I would be hooked, but when Rick and Glen put zombie guts on themselves in the second episode, I knew. There's no turning back.

Thanksgiving Updates and the Best New Game Ever (Not GT5)

The work week was only three days long, and so went by rather quickly, despite Wednesday being the hardest I'd ever had. Due to the nature of my job, I can't go into detail, but I can say I left work feeling completely inept and stressed. I ended up in traffic on the way home and running out of gas. It was brilliant.

I went to bed pretty early Wednesday and woke up only for Chris to ask me if he could go buy Gran Tourismo 5, which had just come out. One less 60+ dollar game I didn't have to buy him for Christmas, I said, "Sure, go ahead."

The next day, we drove to Placerville for dinner with Chris's folks. Chris and his dad, Garry, went to take the dog for a walk while I shared with Chris's mom, Robin, my relief at finding a venue where I could have the ceremony and the reception in one place so that no one would be mad at me for either not being able to go to the ceremony or having to leave some family members at the reception hall or whatever. Robin thought that was excellent. I think Chris and Garry liked it even more because it meant they don't have to clean up the yard anymore.

When Chris and Garry and Baxter (the toy poodle) got back from their walk Garry asked Robin about Gran Tourismo 5 and whether or not it had been on Chris's Christmas list. Oops. The ensuing comedy (or tragedy?) of Robin booting up her computer and searching her email for the Christmas list on which Chris insisted he had never put Gran Tourismo 5 resulted in Chris being promised a bag of coal under the tree this year. Chris swears he doesn't remember sending that email, the poor guy, but there it was from his address. After all was settled, we had wonderful snacks and a lovely dinner.

The next day we went to Tracy for my mom's Thanksgiving. It was splendid! The turkey was super moist. I don't know how my mom does it. I ate seconds for the sake of seconds, as I was no longer hungry, but what the hell-it's the holidays. I did exercise this week for at least a half hour at a time, so I'm not completely in the red.

Afterward, we played the traditional Apples to Apples game, of course, followed by a new game that requires nothing but pens, paper and an imagination. It's called "Toilet Paper Roll." The idea is that everyone writes a sentence on the top of a piece of paper and then folds the paper forward so that the sentence is facing up. The paper is then passed to the left. Players read the sentence and then draw a picture depicting it and fold the paper forward again so that the person they pass it to next can't see the original sentence, only the picture. That person then must right a sentence explaining what they see in the picture. At one point, seeing my picture of an army of bunnies saluting Hitler near the bottom of the paper, Chris said, "Oh god. I see where this came from my original sentence." The game is a blast.

Michelle, my little sister, brought her Holland Lop rabbit, Waffle with her. She said she just felt like taking him, but she knows I'm trying to wear Chris down into giving me a rabbit for Christmas, so I think it was also a good tool to get Chris to look at the bunny, pet the bunny, know the bunny and maybe want a bunny himself. We'll see. I'm still working on him.

The weekend has been pretty lazy. I'm enjoying my time off. Work is going to be hard to go back to on Monday, which is pretty much normal after these long holidays, but I'm ready. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Only In My Family

An engagement party for two dear friends of ours Friday and errands at Chris's parent's house on Saturday led to Chris and I staying Friday night at my Dad and Stepmom's home in Placerville. We woke up to a light dusting of snow, the likes of which I had thought I escaped when I moved to Davis, and to bear claws and coffee for breakfast. (I love going home).

I woke up and began the loads of laundry I would be washing in my dad's free machines (any opportunity to do laundry at a parent's house when you live in an apartment should always be taken to the full advantage), and helped my dad navigate his notifications on facebook. Apparently, he's had the thing for over a year and didn't know what the little red boxes with the white numbers were.

I sat down with my bear claw and coffee and soon heard from the computer room, "Hey Kate!" I kept my fingers crossed that it wasn't some question about Farmville, as my dad has thus far avoided signing up for the stupid facebook game and bringing shame upon the family.

"Did Dennis [my uncle on my mother's side] have a heart attack?" he asked. "What?" I replied, thinking that if my Uncle had had a heart attack I surely would have heard about it by now and there wouldn't be any way that Dad could have found out only through facebook.

"Dustin posted that his dad had a heart attack last night," he explained as he scrolled around trying to find the original post. I instructed him on how to use the "search" option to go to my cousin's page and sure enough, his status said that my Uncle had a heart attack. There was only one thing to do: call my mother. If anyone knew it was her. My uncle and my mom are closer than any of their other siblings and my mom is very close to her mother. Being that my uncle lives on my grandmother's property in El Dorado Hills, I came to the reasonable conclusion that my mom surely had already found out and was waiting to call me until she thought I was awake (on a Saturday, that's usually any time between 9am and 12pm).

I was surprised to hear my mom answer the phone groggily, as if she had only just been sleeping when I called. Her response was, "What? No, no one called me! Hang on, let me call Dennis's house." She proceeded to use her cell phone as I waited on her landline.

"Dennis?" I heard her say, thinking she was talking to my uncle and this was all some big mistake, but then she said, "Oh, Dustin! What's going on?"

It was then that we got the story of how my uncle had had a heart attack a week ago and didn't know it until last night and that no one had bothered to call anyone else in the family. It hit me and my mom at the same time that we had to find out through facebook that my Uncle had suffered a heart attack. At the same time I was thinking, "My uncle had a heart attack and nobody called me?" I heard my mother ask Dustin, "My brother had a heart attack and nobody told me?

I told my mom to call me when she had more information so I could go see my Uncle Dennis if he was having visitors and hung up the phone. I am greatly relieved that my Uncle is alright. He's one of my faves, always ready with a witty, smart-ass remark and a smile. At this point, however, I was mentally facepalming the fact that only in my family could we find out through facebook that something serious had happened.

There was nothing for me to do but call my two sisters because I didn't want them finding out through similar methods I had. Talia was sleeping and Michelle was at work, so it took a few calls to get them on the phone.

I decided to start the phone call with, "Uncle Dennis is fine, but..." thinking that it would soften the blow and be less devastating than starting with, "Uncle Dennis had a heart attack." Unfortunately, when I called Michelle, I was finishing up a piece of bear claw and she heard me as saying, "Uncle Dennis is fighting, but he had a heart attack." Her strong reaction surprised me. "He's ok!" I insisted. "Oh, well, I can't understand you through your chewing!" I looked down at my delicious bear claw and laughed. "Sorry! Didn't mean to scare you!"

Two things happened here that I think are pretty unique to my family. One is that my uncle walked around for a week with a heart attack and complained about blurred vision and lethargy before finally and reluctantly going to the doctor under the advice of my cousin and my grandmother. The other is that the incident was only found out through facebook. I'm really glad my uncle is ok and I hope I can see him today but I will be wondering from now on what big news I'll receive next time I'm on facebook.

Wedding Nightmares

I've just had a dream that Chris and I were dressed in wedding clothes on the wedding day and still couldn't find a venue.

I don't want a wedding anymore. I don't want to spend what little money we have on stupid wedding table cloths and stupid wedding chairs and stupid wedding cakes and stupid wedding places, stupid wedding food and ... damnit, I'm tired.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday the 17th

I am very much enjoying bike riding. I did the complete bike loop on Sunday, half on Monday and Tuesday, and Chris and I did the whole thing tonight. It was dark by the time we got home and we enjoyed the leftovers of the awesome crock pot roast I made earlier this week. We would have had leftover shepherd's pie, but Chris thinks it bland.

I want cookies. I want cookies and chocolate and ice cream and starbursts. I want soda and chips and dips and snicker's and pasta.

Sorry, I just had to get that out. I'm trying to eat healthier, which means less eating out, less processed food and more calorie counting. It's just so hard when I know I've eaten plenty and my body is telling me it's still hungry. I have about 200 more calories I can eat and still stay under my quota, but I'm feeling calorie-shy today. I woke up this morning 0.2 pounds heavier than the previous morning. I think after a healthy snack I'm going to go to bed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Davis Bike Loop

Today I ventured out to tackle the twelve-mile Davis Bike Loop that was established to follow bike and pedestrian-friendly trails and bike lanes around the circumference of Davis. I left at 3:50 and got back at 5:30 as for much of the ride I was facing a headwind and I'm not exactly in tip-top shape to be going very fast. I still feel I got one helluva workout, though.

The trail is beautiful, going through much of the Davis Greenbelt and almost completely avoiding the city streets. I took the trail clockwise to try to avoid left turns which turned out not to matter much because I wasn't on any roads for longer than ten minutes at a time. I felt very accomplished after the ride and went home to pull out my crock pot roast I had been cooking since the morning. Chris and I had dinner and he loved it!

Afterward, I did a bit of yoga to stretch my used muscles and called it a day. I burned a ton of calories and kept my intake under 1500 which is great, because I have to somehow lose a ton of weight by June. :p

Another weekend gone. Back to work tomorrow morning, bright and early.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


The Crocker Art Museum is a very old museum that once resided in a Victorian-era house on the Grid in Sac. (If you're not from the Sacramento area, that's just the colloquial term for the area downtown-"Old Sac.")

Recently, they reopened their doors after a multi-million dollar modern-art add-on. The building is incredible and is actually connected to the old buildings. It is ultra-modern looking with a bright color scheme and a mixture of curvy and straight lines. It is very impressive and their collection of modern art is enviable.

After spending hours in the Louvre in Paris this summer, I feel I can tell a good gallery. While nothing compares to the Louvre (minus the stupid pyramid), the Crocker is a welcome and appreciated establishment in the center of art and culture in the Sacramento area. The new building is also a complimentary and well-received addition to the community.

The price is right, also, at ten dollars admission for adults, eight for students and-well, I didn't actually look at the children's prices because I don't have kids and don't really care. However, on Sunday, they have a "pay what you want" policy, which everyone that I've talked to at work who lives in Sacramento says is the "free day."

Chris and I spent hours there for Veteran's Day and brought a sac lunch to enjoy by the river. We watched the Tower Bridge raise for an old ship. The horn scared the bejeezus out of me. It was only when it stopped and the bells started ringing that I realized what was happening. We watched the middle section of the bridge begin to raise as the counterweights descended. We were looking back and forth down the American River to see what was trying to get through.

We laughed when we saw it. Sails up, a masted, wooden ship was gliding down the river. They were raising the vertical lift for a pirate ship! Of course, a desperate search for the Jolly Roger and any sign of "booty" left us disappointed. This was just a regular ol' ship. Still, it was a sight to see.

After our lunch, we continued exploring the floors of the new and old Crocker museum. We had a great day and finished it off with true California cuisine: In N Out. It was a great way to spend the holiday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Autumn in Davis

Yesterday was the bike ride of the century. Chris has class until after seven on Mondays, so I went solo on my adventure. I rode downtown, through the Arboretum, down Olive, and back up G street. I didn't stay on one path because I was shooting for at least a half-hour of constant cardio. I got forty minutes in before I stopped at The Artery downtown to look at some of the work they have there. I was quite impressed with the diversity of art they have there. I'll be revisiting.

I got myself a meal at Davis Noodle City. This place gives you two meals for the price of one, really. I fed Chris and I for eight bucks. I had to learn the best way to carry leftovers home on a bike with no rack, however, and it didn't look as good at home as it did when I put it in it's box. Chris didn't mind much and enjoyed it.

Today began sunny but the rain soon dripped in and so I didn't ride. I met Chris downtown after work where he was doing homework and enjoying Peet's coffee. I was driving toward downtown when all of a sudden I turned onto F street and the leaves of the trees lining the roads were lit up in their fall colors and hovering over the road. It was beautiful. It took my breath away for a second. This town is gorgeous in the fall.

After dinner at Oshio Cafe, we went home and are now just kickin' back like any ol' engaged couple. I have to make my sandwich for tomorrow and maybe hide it in the fridge because another Creature got in last night and eated the one Chris said he made for me. Darn Creature.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Daylight Savings Time

Chris and I were watching a new show and catching up on an old favorite tonight when he got tired and went to bed. I decided to stay up and wait for my clock to change. I thought it changed at 3am; I was an hour late. Now I'm up with a very anti-climactic story to tell, so I might as well blog!

The wind began to pick up a bit tonight, which is nice. It's been 70 and 80 degrees out here for the last two weeks. Even sitting outside coffee shops at night I have to take my sweater off. It's supposed to cool off soon so I went to the Target today to buy a warm weather hat. It covers my ears so that they don't hurt when I'm riding the bike through the cool air. Constant ear-aches as a kid led to them being pretty sensitive to temperature changes. Here is a picture of me wearing it:

Hi there! Fuzzy and warm, I'm sure this hat will do the trick.

I also found another creature tonight. I went in the fridge to grab a water and this little guy was in my fridge stealing mangos:

It seems he brought along his friend Pacman to help him in his crime. Glad I caught him... Then again, I don't think we actually had any mangos...

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Fifth of November!

...And that's the last reference to that I'm giving you today.

Anywho. I keep finding creatures in the strangest places when I wake up in the morning. Last night, I found one in the fridge thought I had caught it in time, but there was another waiting for me when I woke up this morning!

Chris usually stays up later than me but claims to know nothing about how these creatures got there! Here are some examples:


And this one:


Can someone tell me what's going on?

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Today was a pretty good Thursday. I had my own group and chose our own outing today at work. That was very exciting and I feel like I'm really progressing with a lot of the clients. I feel confident in my job and in my co-workers. I have all the support I need and when I need direction, everyone is nice to me and open to my asking questions. I also get appreciation for when I do something well or when I catch on to something quickly. In bigger departments I know how easy it is for some people's work to go unnoticed while another staff gets tons of credit for doing the same job. They just don't work like that at my new job and it's super refreshing.

I got home and promptly fell asleep. I have been finding myself staying up late this week just noodling around with wedding websites and things. I have had quite the adventure gathering addresses. I'm not nearly done, but I have begun putting the ones I have online. I started at but the site all of a sudden stopped working right for me a couple nights ago. Weddingwire was great about getting back to me promptly when I emailed their support staff but I went over to and started a back-up list, just in case. Tonight I went back to theknot and I suddenly had duplicates of a bunch of my guests. I gave up and went back to weddingwire, which had apparently fixed the problem, but then my internet connection stopped working for some reason. Frustrated, I told a friend I was switching back to pen and paper. We'll see...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

CA Election Results.

All I can say is that on this dark day, I can at least be happy that CA has a better memory than the rest of the nation. It took the rest of the US just four years to forget twelve years of Republican fail and only two years to forget eight years of Bush fail. Of course, they refuse to remember anything important in the meantime, like this stuff.

This entry is being cross-posted on all my blogs in honor of the victims of American illiteracy and ignorance, such as the great Ted Strickland and Russ Feingold.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Adventures in Venue Searching

This weekend Chris and I spent Friday and Saturday in Placerville. Friday night was the Halloween dance at the company I used to work for. Believe me, it was great to see familiar faces, no matter that it was still hard to say goodbye again. Chris and his band did some recording Friday night, which means that the new album is just about complete. We have been throwing around a few names, including but not limited to: "They're So Big" and other things Andrea and I heard them saying during practice that could be taken completely out of context.

Saturday was Venue Searching Day. We went to Mt. Aukum Winery, Lacham, Granite Springs and Fitzpatrick, which seems the most comfortable as a venue but has some weird rules regarding time and set up and will probably be the most expensive. We also took a look at Chris' parents' yard to see what it would take to get the garden at the top of the hill looking like a wedding venue. It doesn't look like it would take too much, so we're keeping that in the forefront of our minds. I just wish it was big enough for everyone to be there. As it stands, there is only room for the immediate family and honorable bridesmaids/groomsmen (we're not actually having bridal party/groomsmen, but there are a few people that we'd like to show our appreciation to for being great friends).

I carved a pumpkin this weekend for the first time in years and years. I was trying to make a picture of a Holland Lop, as that is the kind of bunny I'm trying to convince Chris to let me have, but the nose and cheeks ended up being harder than I thought. I eventually just turned the thing into a ghost. Chris carved the other side with a trippy-looking gypsy-eye thing so we put it on our front porch. Good times.

Chris ended up having a lot of homework Sunday night so I drove up to El Dorado Hills to go Trick or Treating with my nephews. We had a great time. Devin is taller than his mother now and very close to passing me up. Now, at 4"11' and 5"2' that's usually not saying much; most of the world is taller than us. But Devin is only ten. How fast those boys grow!

The Giants won the World Series tonight. We went out to dinner at Burgers & Brew downtown this evening and learned of the good news when some Giants fans ran by the outdoor seating area twirling their Giants shirts above their heads and wearing nothing but boxer shorts. That was interesting to say the least, but as Niner fans, we're glad that at least one SF team is doin' it right. Go Giants.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hump Day

An eventful Wednesday, I must say. I'm officially a week and a half at my new job and I really, really like it. I feel comfortable there and am learning a lot. Starting a new job in the field I'm in has confirmed that I want to do this for the rest of my career life.

I got home and Chris and I enjoyed a dinner at Ali Baba's, the Kebab place downtown. It's very good food for very cheap. I enjoy the lamb sandwich because it is the closest thing to the Kebap we had in Germany that we've found in the States, so far.

After dinner, I decided to text my friend Mo, who bought a Go Phone to use because his iPhone broke. He hadn't saved his contacts to the SIM card, so when I text messaged him, he thought I was a mutual friend of ours. I just went with it. I recorded the thread and put it on facebook where it will live forever in its epicness. I finally told him hours later who I really was and we got a big kick out of it. Good times with good friends and the reminder that technology can always be used for great things.

Chris remembered that we had some more still pictures that weren't taken off the camcorder yet. They will be available in his photos and probably some in DeviantArt soon. He's been editing some of the ones from the Cannon, including a really cool one from the Eiffel Tower that he edited to make look like a miniature town. Check his gallery out here.

Wedding planning is coming along. I've started two online registries. I'm gathering addresses for the save-the-dates and, later, the invitations. I'm struggling with the budget. It just seems to keep going up as I research more. At this point, if my dress isn't free and I don't bake my own cake, we're going to be a bit in debt come next July. C'est la vie, n'est-ce pas? I waited years to hear him pop the question; be careful what you wish for!

Saturday we are looking at a venue in the foothills. I'm gathering as much info and ideas as possible. I've called Safeway for info about a cake. I've researched food. I've pretty much finalized my guest list (I'm sure I'll remember some more later, though). I spent an hour on the phone with my big sister this evening, which is always a good time. All in all, a pretty good day, I think. Time to get to bed so I'll be ready for work tomorrow.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Night Ride

If there's nothing to do in Davis, one can always ride bikes. The trails and bike lanes are laid out all over town. If I were to guess, I'd bet there were as many bike shops as churches. There are overpasses and tunnels built specifically for bikes. If you're ever at the Co-op and you look at the bike rack in front, there is a sticker stuck to it that says, "My other bike is a bike." Living here means owning a bike. I'm pretty sure that's a rule.

Chris and I often ride to the University and ride around because there are almost no cars on the roads that allow and there are plenty of side streets that are bike-and-pedestrian-only. While we were riding tonight, Chris described his first experience with ScanTron. As a T.A., he is responsible to feed the undergrad tests into the machine and make sure everything goes right. I swelled with pride.

Riding through the streets of Davis and chatting always reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin would tell Hobbes his own take on the ills of the world or some problem that was bothering him while they dragged a sled up a snowy hill and road down it. They would even talk while airborne. I imagine Chris and I are like Calvin and Hobbes. While going through the roundabouts and up and down the hills, I always get the mental image of those two comic strip characters pondering the philosophical implications of elementary school.  Chris and I discuss everything from Socialism to ScanTrons while we ride around, the world whizzing past us. The only thing I haven't decided yet is whether I am his Calvin or I am his Hobbes.

Spaghetti Squash!

I've made spaghetti squash plenty of times in ovens that looked much smaller than the one in the new apartment. Looks, however, can be deceiving. I can't fit my 17x11 baking pan in this oven. It looks like it's big enough lengthwise, but the back of the rack curves up about three inches from the wall, making the handle of the baking pan prevent the door from closing.

Putting it in the other way seemed almost impossible, but after some shimmying, I got in it. The handles are resting against the side walls of the oven and it's not actually touching the rack. I put a picture of it on facebook for fun. (Ever notice how when you move somewhere and you do something for the first time in that place, you want to put it on facebook as if someone is going to care? I digress...)

Despite little setbacks such as my inability to cook squash, I am very happy here. Some couples move in together and it's a culture shock. They realize they just can't live together. I don't really have that with Chris. I can't speak for him, of course, but if he's really bothered he hasn't said anything. Dating for four years before making the plunge was a good idea, as much as I wanted it to happen sooner. Last night we watched four episodes of "Flight of the Conchords," just for fun! Who else would have done that with me? I have some super awesome friends, believe me, but I don't know if any of them have the level of geek in them that Chris and I have to match. Spaghetti squash or not, I think him and I have done the right think. That's what it's all about.

Oh, and by the way, if you're wondering how to make spaghetti squash, I cut in in half lengthwise, take out the seeds and gunk, lightly season, and then bake it at 375f for 45 minutes with the rind facing up. Add spaghetti sauce when finished or just butter and garlic salt.

Renting a Hall

I've nailed the wedding date and the ceremony venue (Chris's parent's house), and am now in the process of renting a hall for the reception. I began by emailing the address on the website and I wish I would have just called her in the first place. She now wants me to rent the hall for twenty-four hours instead of the four I requested, which will be another $125 rent. Alcohol at the reception would be an addition $225 to the $200 deposit. I emailed her back to let her know that I didn't want the hall for the whole day but haven't heard back yet.

Also in the email was fax number where I could send proof of insurance. I've never been married before and have never rented a hall so my first reaction was "WTF?" Turns out I have to have a general liability insurance policy of no less than a million dollars to rent this place for more than fifty people. My car is insured up to ten grand, I think and it costs me over $100 per month. I'm a little worried what one MILLION dollars is going to cost me, even if it's for a day. General consensus online is about $200. So my low estimate here is $600 for a hall.

I hope I hear back from her soon, because while I plan on having more than 50 guests, I don't plan on having alcohol, which I hope will keep the deposit and insurance low. We'll see. Worst case scenario, I'm paying a thousand dollars for a community hall, in which case I'll just pay the same price and go find one of the local vineyards and have the ceremony and reception outside in the same place.

Getting married sucks, by the way. I have wanted Chris to pop the question for four years and now I'm thinking that it better be the best freakin' party I've ever  had or I'm going to be one upset little bride.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Battle of the Antenna

The Niners were playing the Panthers today, but here in the People's Republic of Davis the antenna signal isn't all that great, so our access to the game was limited. We got about halfway through the second half with the reception going in and out before Chris, my fiancé, got tired of it and ran to Target to get a new antenna. The results were disappointing.

We are able to get channel 31, but the game wasn't on channel 31, it was on 40, which is impossible to pick up no matter how new the antenna. We are now the proud owners of two antennas and have been using our laptops to catch updates on our twitters and They lost.

On the upside, The Wrath of Khan is on, so we're enjoying our lunch and watching William Shatner at the height of his career. So much for gameday, but we're having fun discussing the strategical disadvantages of the Enterprise.