Monday, December 31, 2007

Year in review…

It’s time for my yearly wrap up – my ‘Best of 2007’ as it were.

We spent the first 5 months of 2007 looking for a house. Yup. 5 months. Some people like to say I’m indecisive. I’m still on the fence about that.

In May, we finally met little miss Keira and closed on our house the same day. Thank you Keira for making that day beyond memorable. Despite what your daddy says, you were a really cute baby… your crooked nose simply added ‘character’ to your face.

In June we took a ‘if I have to sign ONE more mortgage paper I’ll kill you’ break and went to Palm Springs with our church. It was a great time to strengthen our marriage while getting a tan at the same time. Oh. Wait. I don’t tan.

In July, John-E graduated paramedic school. Paramedic school and a new baby in the same semester. Dude, you amaze me.

October was a crazy month! I went to Mexico (wow. Me. Mexico. Who’d a thought?!?) AND, stood by John-E and Lindsey’s side as they got married. I looked hot in my bridesmaids dress. Lindsey looked alright I guess. ; ) OK fine. She looked absolutely gorgeous!

Then, to top things off, Lizard shared the news that baby 4 was on the way! Come on fatty 122. Put on some weight please! You, Colegate, Stef, and Lindsey are all good moms have fantastic kids. You’re making the world a better place.

In November, Chris and I went to Napa, San Fran, and the Coast. I absolutely love spending time with him – even though I have to occasionally close my eyes when he parks the car.

In December, as always, I ran around like crazy searching for the ‘perfect gifts’, often misfiring and getting something totally ridiculous. Unfortunately, the best day of the year, December 24th, passed all too quickly.

I’ve learned a few things this year:

1. Buying a house will ensure at least 5 more years of marriage. Divorce would equal buying or selling a house and the experience is so awful, no new homeowner would want to go through it again.

2. There’s a saying, ‘Things you buy yourself, you take better care of.’ Those people have obviously never seen our yard.

3. If John can have kids and survive, maybe I can too.

4. Never book a hotel online.
… wait. I take that back. That was kinda fun.

5. I won't buy candy directly related to holidays. In October, it's embarassing to give your nephews green St. Patty's day candy. I'd rather they NOT know how old it is.

6. I’ve had more than my fair share of laughter and joy – most from my family who loves me. Regardless of the numbers on my bank statement or drama of life, my family stays the same and that is worth smiling about.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Another wonderful Christmas moves swiftly behind us…

First, for all those family members who could not make it to our yearly celebration of Christmas, you were sorely missed. Lizard, Paul-The, Rand Man, Bames, Stef, Kidlets, Grams, Gramps, you know who you are.

We started off our day in Julian where we ate a fantastic breakfast. The restaurant owner sat quietly at another table while we chatted and laughed. As soon as our meal was finished, she thanked us for being ‘angels’ and a great ‘big group’ of people.

I didn’t see any alcohol around her but if she called us ‘angels’… I was wondering…

Mom was beaming... of course.

Here’s some photos of us wandering Julian…

Guns? Of course we bought the boys dart guns.

We made our way to the bowling alley where, even after my two semesters of college bowling, I still managed to get the second lowest score. Good to know I learned something in college – or not.

Mom and pops bought some very expensive prizes (at the 99 cent store) and awarded stand-out teams and stand-out players. I won something… but that’s only because mom felt bad and thought it was only fair if everyone won a prize.

Aaron was running late so we made him play the whole game as Lilian. He didn't think it was funny but we did.

Even Keira got into it.

Mom's 'victory dance' after she picked up a spare.

John won a high score prize... a Superman chest plate built for a 6 year old.

But that didn't stop him from wearing the cape too.

We headed over to Horton Plaza for some last minute shopping then to dinner at the Panda Inn where we ate in our super cool 'don't you wish you were us' private room – a yearly tradition for over 10 years now.

John-E was tired and didn't feel like putting the onesy UNDER the pants.

He didn't feel like finding a trash can for the diaper either. Pop's door handle worked just fine.

We watched National Treasure 2 then headed home for some much needed rest.

Sorry, I'm not feeling very creative in my event telling, I haven't been eating all that much and I think I'm lacking some serious protien in my brain. On the good side, I'm under 120 pounds which is never a bad thing. ; )

Friday, December 21, 2007

Um. But it’s so not my fault…

Sorry for the recent disappearance but I have a song for you:

On the first day of Christmas my nephews gave to me,
A fever over one hundred and threeeeee.

On the second day of Christmas my nephews gave to me,
A food eating inabilityyyyyyyy.

Yeah. That’s the end of the song. I ran out of energy… and the ability to rhyme or whatever.

But maybe the whole, ‘no food’ thing isn’t so bad. It’s a great excuse to eat like a cow on Christmas – if I can eat by Christmas.

Whelp. I’m going back to bed. Have a lovely holiday!

AND... Happy belated birthday to Lizard. Once again, I didn't forget what day your birthday was, I forgot what day of the week it was! I swear!!

And do us all a favor on this pregnancy... pig out a little.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

San Diego SUPER Chargers!!

San Diego Super Chargers... San Diego Super Chaaaaaargers... CHARGE!

In celebration of finishing school (whew!), Chris and I went to see the San Diego Super Chargers play the Detroit Kitty Cats, I mean, the Detroit Lions. We were a mere 12 rows or so from the field... sweet!

Um. Unfortunately, the game got a little boring toward the end. The score should never go over 50!

Oh, the grades came back and I aced both classes. Maybe this whole 'cooking' thing isn't so bad.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Congrats Bro...

A Fireman's Prayer
When I am called to duty, God,
Whenever flames may rage;
Give me strength to save a life,
Whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child
Before it is too late
Or save an older person
From the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert
And hear the weakest shout,
And quickly and efficiently
To put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling
And to give the best in me
To guard my every neighbor
And protect his property.
And if according to Your will,
I have to lose my life,
Please bless with Your protecting hand,
My children and my wife.
- Author Unknown

Congrats to Johnny Boy for passing academy. How awesome is that?!?! Here are some photo's from a super proud sis. And yeah, I photoshopped out the department written on the rig. If you know Johnny, you know where he works. If you don't know him... well, you don't need to know that info.

Getting sworn in

Receiving his badge

Pinning the badge

Family photo ops

My two firefighting bros

John and Lindsey!

Happy birthday dude!! Nice cake Lindsey... ; )

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Just a little to the left, no wait, a little to the right…

Grinch. It’s our theme this year.

Nope. We’re not putting a giant grinch on our front ‘lawn’ – and by ‘lawn’ I mean dirt with dead leaves – and the who’s of who-ville won’t be scattered around.

When I say grinch, I mean no decorations at all.

And trust me, we stick out like a sore thumb. Our neighborhood is like Candy Cane Lane on crack. One of our neighbors decorated their green house in all green lights. It looks like the Jolly Green Giant puked after a Saint Patty’s Day Party.

It’s not that we don’t like decorations, and it’s not that we don’t have them (I bought a TON in an after Christmas sale early this year in anticipation of having a house at Christmas). We simply have not had the time.

We finally caved to peer pressure and decided to hang a string of lights this weekend. Unfortunately we only have a 4 foot ladder… which is fine… if your roof isn’t taller than 8 feet and you don’t have a peaked garage… which we have.

So Chris put up lights where he could then stood outside with his hands on his hips staring at the house.

‘Hey Hon, I think I can reach the top portion if I pull my truck parallel across the driveway and put the ladder in the back. THEN, I could stand on the top of the truck and toss the lights onto the roof. Oh and I have a great idea for our pre-lit Reindeer. I’d like to hang him upside-down from the front tree. You know, like he fell off Santa’s sleigh and died in our tree’

Put a Budweiser in his hand and I’m pretty sure you’d have the beginnings of a redneck joke.

Ever working on being a good wife, I smiled and said, ‘Sure Hon.’

My teeth may have been clinched but I said yes so that counts!

I’m going to have to apologize to a lot of little kids this year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

So it’s a little cold. Get over it…

It’s really beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. I woke up yesterday morning to a ‘balmy’ 56 degrees. Can you get frostbite at 56 degrees? It sure feels like it.

Now before my lovely family in the Mid-West and North-East chew me out and start insulting Californians, let me clarify.

It was 56 degrees INSIDE MY HOUSE.

It would seem that during the ‘Great Wars’ - which occurred shortly before our house was built - they rationed food, rubber, metal, fabric, … and insulation for houses.

We have a brand new furnace but my husband married a miser so…

He freezes.

I just don’t see the point of paying to heat a house when we have free blankets.

But there are some good things…

I can guiltlessly skip going to the gym because I burn more calories at home… shivering.

If I take food out of the fridge and set it on the counter… it gets colder.


I scribbled the wine refrigerator off my Christmas list… and replaced it with a wine defroster.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Stop it! I will not give this to you!!

OK, so my iPod/Craiglist experience turned out not so great.

I posted the ad with a selling price I thought was fair. A woman e-mailed me 20 minutes after the ad was placed, agreed to buy it, and decided on a location to meet. The sheer excitement in her voice along with the ‘It works right? It does? Is there a reason you are selling it at such a low price? Is it damaged?

That’s a low price?

Over the next few hours, more e-mails followed like:

‘I’ll take it! I have cash! I’ll meet you anywhere!’

‘Is this still available? Is there something wrong with it??!?!’

‘Please let me buy it!!’

And my personal favorite:

‘I am really interested your pink nano ipod. I was wondering if you are willing to go as low $5 or $10 dollars just because I am really tight on money.’

I’m not going to say how much I sold it for – because obviously I sold it for too little based on the overwhelming response – but it wasn’t ANYWHERE in the neighborhood of ten bucks. Heck, it wasn’t in the neighborhood of fifty bucks!

And she wasn’t the only one! Another woman asked if I would give it to her ‘out of the goodness of my heart’!

… goodness of my heart…

Now that’s just funny.

Not to sound harsh but…

Ladies, if you’re tight on money, perhaps a Nano is the last thing you should be surfing for on Craigslist. Last time I checked, the necessities in life are: Food, Clothing, Housing, & Gray’s Anatomy – in no particular order of course.

I am selling this item because I NEED the money. If I didn’t NEED the money, I’d give it to a family member. If you are interested in a Socialistic society where we all have the same things, there are a few European countries you might like and Canada is ever willing to pay your healthcare.

I didn’t write that to either of them – as much as I wanted to. I held my tongue and replied, ‘The iPod was sold – at full price.’

When I told Chris that I thought I might have undersold my iPod, he nodded his head in shame. That’s the estimator in him. Shoot high and negotiate downward.

I mean really, how do you think he ended up with me?

Oh shut up Cole! It was on the ‘shooting high’ part!!
Grandma’s got my back!

Oh well. I met with the lady who bought it last night. She’s a firefighter’s wife and she was buying it for her daughter as a Christmas gift.

Firefighters = Appreciated but horrifically underpaid.

She couldn’t stop telling me how perfect it was. I think she said thank you 100 times.

And I have no regrets on how much I sold it for. It went to the perfect person.

Maybe I do have goodness in my heart. It will cost you, but it’s there.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

But I neeeeeeed it!

I hate Apple.

The company, not the fruit.

Actually, come to think of it, the fruit isn’t so great either. Anyway…

I’ve had my hot pink Nano MP3 player for a year now and I’ve been happy with it. Happy until they came out with the new one that comes with games and plays videos. Suddenly mine’s not so cool.

I’ve been ‘casually’ hinting to Chris that I’d like the new Nano for Christmas. ‘Casually’ for me of course means, ‘Hey hon, buy me the new Nano for Christmas please.’

His response is always, ‘I’m not buying you one. You’ve got a Nano that works perfectly fine!’

This from the man who won’t wear his San Diego Charger - Tomlinson jersey anymore because it’s from last season.

For most, when your man says that, it secretly means he’ll buy it for you. Um, not so much with Chris.

So, a hearty thanks to the San Diego Reader for publishing two of my BLOGs, the lady from Craigslist for buying my old Nano, and Jesus for my job because…

I’m buying the new Nano for myself.

By the way Chris, I’m returning that Castillo jersey I bought you for your birthday.

And James…

I have a fabulous picture of Mike holding Keira while she’s reaching in earnest toward a gi-normous bottle of Sapporo but I have a feeling if I posted it, mom would lament over the ‘tackiness’ of babies and alcohol.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dogs? No, I don’t have any, why do you ask?

In an attempt to ‘be a responsible dog owner’, I purchased a $90 rod iron fence to cover the little holes the dogs were digging to ‘visit’ the neighbors.

Three days later, after letting her anger stew a while, the neighbor came over to yell at me again about the dogs. Mike wasn’t home so I couldn’t shove him in front of her and tell him to take his shirt off and smile to calm her down.

Apparently my dogs were able to wiggle through the bars and get into her yard. The bars are 2 ½” apart. My dogs are 5” wide. Either a.) They’ve got hops – enough to leap over a 4 foot fence or b.) They’ve been breaking into the house, stealing the Pam Cooking Spray from under the stove, greasing the fence, and shoving themselves through.


I went immediately down to Lowe’s and plopped another $50 on more fencing.


Casey came over to visit yesterday and let’s just put it this way…

Casey has dogs, I have dogs. My dogs smell Casey’s dogs on her purse. My dogs ‘mark their territory’.

And no, it can’t possibly be a $20 purse from Target – it had to be a brand spankin’ new Coach Purse.

So it’s no exaggeration to say that yesterday wasn’t the best day for a ‘pet friendly’ realtor to drop off her card, a note pad with pictures of her and her dogs on it, and a sticker for my front door that says:

‘Dear firefighters and police officers, in case of a fire we have animals in this house. Their names are __­­­­­__________’

I took a fat felt tip marker and scribbled, ‘Nope, we’re good. Please save the little girls next door. Thanks!’

Then, to make things worse, I took the purse to the cleaners this morning. Nothing says ‘ROB ME BLIND’ like a beautiful Coach Purse. I explained to the lady that my dog had… relieved himself… on the purse and I had washed the bag but it needed a professional cleaning.

She spent 5 minutes looking me up and down then said, ‘This needs to be sent out. Very expensive.’

‘Umm. Can you spot clean just this part?’ I begged.

‘No, I can only clean the whole purse’ she said.

‘But they didn’t touch the whole thing just this…’ I tried

‘No. Whole thing.’ She snapped.

‘But…’ I started again.

‘No!’ She said in finality. ‘And this will take a week.’

‘Wait! A week!?!? But I don’t have a week!’ I pleaded.

‘Let me make a call.’ She picked up the phone and started speaking in a foreign language. I’m guessing she said, ‘Yeah, I’ve got this lady here holding a very expensive Coach Purse and I’m trying to figure out how we can get as much money as possible from her. Oh, and she literally has ‘sucker’ written across her forehead.’

She hung up, ‘I can get it done tomorrow but that will cost you extra.’

I didn’t know what else to do so I left the purse in the hands of the crazy cleaning lady. As if she hadn’t raked me over the coals enough she called me back to sign a waiver.

‘Just in case anything goes wrong’ she said with a smile.


Monday, December 3, 2007

Excuse me… published author coming through…

For those of you who didn’t hear the screams of glee, my BLOG has been published in the San Diego Reader. You can view the online version at:
Feel free to say something nice (IE. something totally untrue) about me in the comments section then run to your local 7-11 to get a paper copy before Thursday.

I’ve been published before… lots of times. But I’m not technically sure the Cuyamaca Community College paper, the ‘Coyote Express’ counts – especially when the paper is produced by students and if you don’t have something published, you get a really crummy grade.

That… and they didn’t pay either.

So, in clarification, this is the first time someone paid me for my writings.

…and I think it’s pretty cool.

Friday, November 30, 2007

In sickness and in health…

Monday night I had a tiny scratch in my throat. Tuesday morning, I could swear a truck had run me over in my sleep. By Wednesday evening I was a mess. In my cough/cold medicine induced fog, I drove home from work and found myself on the far left hand side of the freeway wondering… when did I change lanes?

I came home, dropped my bag on the floor, and collapsed on the couch. My toes cramped so bad they resembled a hobbit…minus the hair of course. Whatever crummy cold virus I caught started attacking my right eye so I couldn’t close or open it. It was stuck at that awkward halfway point, which surprisingly was a good thing because it covered the white of my eye… which was no longer white but a bright red.

After a couple hours, I had grown tired of constantly wiping my nose so I jammed a tissue up it. I was holding onto my toes in an attempt to get them turned the right way, and the constant ‘I’m going to sneeze feeling’ caused my eyes to water so much it looked as if I had been sobbing.

That’s when Chris came home and I sincerely wondered if I had ever looked worse. I looked at him – well, with one eye anyway - and thought, ‘Please, please love me anyway’.

I could romanticize it and say he picked me up, carried me to bed, and fed me soup while I watched Judge Judy but… that’s not what happened.

Instead, he laughed at me.


But I’m feeling so very miserable that I’ve actually been watching what I eat in an attempt to get better. I’ve been taking vitamins, adding whole wheat and grains into my meals, and I’ve stopped eating sweets completely.

This is a big deal because…

I’ve modified my diet precisely two times in my life. Once, when I was 19, I tried a go at anorexia. It my twisted teenage mind I thought, ‘Well it worked well for my sister, so it should work for me.’ I had made my decision to become an anorexic at 8AM. At 12PM the same day, my friend asked me to go to lunch. My bout with anorexia lasted exactly 4 hours.

The second time was when I hit 24. I was grazing 120 pounds but I thought I would look oh so svelte in my wedding dress if I were 110. Mom and Liz had done a ‘Liver Cleansing’ diet where you eat all healthy, natural foods for 8 weeks. I started but after a record 20 days I could no longer resist the temptation of a carne asada burrito. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad on it’s own but following it with 5 rolled tacos and carne asada fries…well. You get it.

We’ll see how it goes. I’m on day three of whole wheat bagels and lettuce with flax seeds and I’m starting to feel better.

As long as no one says, “Hilberto’s”, I’ll be OK.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No seriously... I don't like him...

I was editing a film for school on Sunday when I was interrupted by a loud banging at my front door. I opened it and was greeted by my very disheveled neighbor who was furiously upset and notified me that my dog had been in and out of her yard for the last four days. She followed that with a 20 minute lecture on ‘responsible dog ownership’.

I was tempted to interrupt and say, ‘Perhaps this is information you should have shared FOUR DAYS AGO’ but instead repeated in my head my ever present mantra… ‘I will not fight with the neighbors, I will not fight with the neighbors, I will not fight with the neighbors’. I started the mantra when the grouchy old lady across the street told me not to let my friends – even on rare occasions - park on ‘her’ side of the street – umm, silly me, I thought it was a public street.


I maintained my cool, apologized for my wayward dog, and promised to solve the problem then threw in a fake smile for good measure. She gave a glare, then trolled back to her house.

Unfortunately, I’m beginning to wonder if Chris was correct in his assertion that my dogs are simply ‘glorified rats’. As my dog escaped back into my yard from a hole the size of a ping pong ball, I wondered if I should check him for collapsible ribs.

I decided to go high tech … and stacked a couple heavy rocks in front of the offending hole then patted myself on the back for being so smart.

Unfortunately, I’m soooo not.

My dog made another hole and escaped yet again after I left for work. The difference was, my brother was left to deal with our neighbor and their exchange was more along the lines of…


Mike answers the door with a smile - teeth gleaming like the White House crystal chandelier.

Neighbor: Hi. Umm. *Giggle* Your dog somehow got into my backyard *Giggle*

Mike: Oh gee, I’m really sorry. It’s actually my sister’s dog.

Neighbor: It’s no big deal *Giggle* Just thought I’d let you know. *Giggle* *Hair flip*

Mike: Great thanks. I’ll let her know.

Neighbor gives one of those stupid ‘girly baby' waves and saunters back to her house... still giggling like a school girl.

I’m going to ghost write a book for Mike and title it:

‘The terrifically difficult life of a young firefighter: It’s not my fault everyone thinks I’m really ridiculously good looking and showers me with love, affection, and the occassional gift’

Friday, November 23, 2007

Napa… last one I promise…

Chris and I decided to go on a romantic nature walk early in the morning. As we slowly strolled down the path hand in hand I felt my long hair skim my shoulders and chest. I flicked away the stray strands but the persistent itchy ‘hair’ feeling stayed with me. Annoyed, I looked down to pull the stray strand of ‘hair’ off my chest only to see a big, black, hairy spider creep down the front of my tank top.

I screamed. And not a cute ‘I’m such a girl’ scream - it was a loud ‘I just ran into the murderer from America’s Most Wanted and there’s nothing between me and him but a bloody chainsaw’ scream.

I yanked down the front of my shirt – not caring in the least if anyone saw - and turned to Chris while screaming, ‘SPIDER, SPIDER, SPIDER!!!!’

Let’s make something clear here. I was wearing a WHITE shirt, my bra was WHITE, and my skin is practically translucent it’s so WHITE, so seeing a nasty BLACK spider should be easy.

Instead, my ‘loving’, ‘caring’ husband just stood and stared with a lopsided grin on his face.

I ran backwards (as if the spider would fall off or something), leaned backward, leaned forward, shook my arms, and even blew on it but the stupid thing was hell bent and biting me – and it’s not like my ‘dear’ husband was helping.

I finally mustered all my bravery and flicked the stupid thing until it fell off.

Meanwhile, Chris was still standing… staring.

When I started to yell at him for not helping he said, ‘I couldn’t see it!’

But the grin he was trying to hide said everything.

Thank you sweetheart. One day, I hope to return the favor.

For the next two days, we went from winery to winery to winery on tour buses and cars. So really, it wasn’t a surprise when Chris – at winery number five of the day – said, ‘Forget Hawaii, Napa is our new tradition’.

And so it is.

Stupid spiders and all.
Our AMAZING B & B - soooo much better than the crappy hotel!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

And Napa continues...

According to my spreadsheet, Saturday’s agenda was:

Hike the Sonoma Trail
Bike around Sonoma
Walk the outdoor city square

None of which could be done in the current conditions.

Chris and I woke up to… foggy, rainy gloom.

Chris smiled and looked at me expectantly, ‘So what’s plan B?’

‘Plan B??!! PLAN B?!?!? THERE IS NO PLAN B!! How could I not have a plan B!!??’ I panicked.

I had spent weeks pouring through books and websites until the wee hours of the morning and I hadn’t thought to create a plan B?!?!?

We went to breakfast at a mom and pop diner while I was feverously praying for sunshine. As we walked outside and the rain soaked everything we were wearing, we caved and bought umbrellas.

I was left to…

and I can’t believe I have to say we had to…

Wing it.

I am NOT a ‘wing it’ girl.

I DO NOT fly by the seat of my pants.


I have to say, our choice of driving from winery to winery wasn’t such a bad idea… for me anyway.

Poor Chris was trapped in the car with me and my iPod playlist. All he heard for the next several hours was Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera belting out Christmas tunes.

I may have thrown in a little John Denver, Dolly Parton, and Kenny Rogers – but it’s simply not Christmas in November without them!

Chateau St. Jean


We also stopped by to wish Chris' grandpa a happy 75th!

And to check out his office.

Yeah, because it's oh so normal to have pictures of you with three of the US presidents, many many world leaders, and you on the cover of magazines.

Wow. I was amazed, but I think I hid it well by only saying 'Oh my gosh' 100 times instead of the 250 times I thought about saying it.