Thursday, September 27, 2007

THE fight…

Chris and I had a ‘difference of opinion’ last night. We were talking about baby names and it led to a heated ‘discussion’.

Why were we fighting about baby names? I have absolutely no idea.

Now before you get those panties in a bunch… I’m not preggo. Maybe someday.. but NOT TODAY.

ANYWAY, we already have two girl names picked out. Some people don’t like to say what they are naming their kids so that no one steals the names but I’m putting it out there that these are OUR names and if someone steals them, I’m printing this BLOG to prove ownership of said names.

If you do steal them or our initial ideas, I’ll never talk to you again – which for some, wouldn’t be a bad thing. Now Cole, no fair popping out another kid just so you can steal our names and reap the benefits of me never speaking to you again. That’s just mean.

Girl name #1 – Natalie Remington Atkinson. N.R.A. We totally dig the initials and the gun name right in the middle should evoke fear in any guy’s heart who is interested in dating her.

Girl name #2 – Hennessey Monea Atkinson. French Cognac and the most beautiful Irish Castle I’ve ever seen – plus Paula and I chased cows there, good memories. Why Hennessey? It’s a pretty name AND Chris wants to call her ‘C’.

No problems right?

Um yeah. Except if genetics plays any role… we won’t even have a girl.

So that’s what our ‘discussion’ was about last night – boys names. Wanna hear what Chris wants to name our prodigy?!?

Kire. Like Tire with a K.

He wants to nickname him, ‘er’.

Ooooh, but it doesn’t stop there. He wants…


Wait for it…

Kire Optimus Prime Atkinson.

Yeah. That’s when I started laughing so hard I cried.

Well, he relinquished Optimus Prime but he’s not budging on ‘Kire’.

It will be cold day in hell buddy.

Cold... day... in hell.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The mystery of the shredded sheets…

Friday night Chris took me out on a date. Is it a bad thing when three years after saying ‘I do’, I get more excited about going out on a date with him than I did when we were actually dating? He opens my car door, he holds my hand, he tells me I look cute… what’s not to like?!?!

Saturday I cleaned the house and organized the linen closet while watching the ‘Ugly Betty’ Marathon on ABC Family. It’s totally like a Spanish soap opera. I dig it. Chris spent the day at Nicole’s house (see her
blog for photos).

Sunday morning Chris and I went to the early service at church. Our pastor is starting a new series toward the end of October on the before’s and after’s of marriage. His last series on marriage a year or two ago was fantastic so I’m really excited about it. In preparation, he wanted everyone to fill out a survey with questions like:
Are you married or single?
Is this your first/second/third/etc marriage?
Did you meet your spouse on a dating website?
Do you feel your mate is responsible to make you whole/meet your needs?
Please rate the satisfaction/happiness level of your marriage on a 1 to 5 scale – 1 being miserable, 5 being very happy.




Of course I was overcome with curiosity and tried to peek at Christopher’s answers. He wouldn’t let me see but he had a smile on his face showing his sheer pleasure in keeping it a secret from me.


After a ‘tiny’ inappropriate in church scuffle, I emerged victorious with his survey.


Awww. So what do I owe you for lying hon?

A mystery has been solved. Edward Scissorhands did not sleep in our spare bedroom. The comforter was inexplicably slashed and shredded and for the past week I’ve been trying to figure out how it happened.

Turns out, Wesley has a flare for scissors – that or Chris is just pointing the finger. Hmm. A hot pink comforter that I loved and he hated was shredded? Was it Wesley?!?!?

I know this is getting a bit long but…

I would just like to give a quick thanks to our neighbor for making us feel welcome. Thank you for reaching over your fence to put rat bait on top of OUR fence because you think rat bait is unsightly. Oh, and thank you for buying effective rat bait. Now I have a big butt rat who died with all four feet in the air… on top of our fence… conveniently 6 inches lower than your fence so you don’t have to look at it.

How’d a dead rat get into your pool? Umm…I don’t know.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Flashback Friday…

Back in my budding high school years, my mom decided it would be best to send me to a private tutor of sorts – something about ‘rounded education’ and ‘you don’t listen to me anyway’. Mr. Mueller, the tutor, taught five other students and me the subjects of history, geography, and a little English/composition. He was well known for being difficult and his classes were nearly impossible to pass.

I hated him, but he was able to influence me more with one ‘don’t you dare backtalk me’ glance than my mom could with a good solid yell. He made me so terrifically frightened of failure that I studied for hours – even then, I barely grazed a B.

One semester, he decided it was important to know the states in the USA. But looking at a blank outlined map and identifying shapes of the states was far too easy according to Mr. Mueller. We were to practice drawing the map from memory on a blank sheet of paper and writing in the state names – including Washington D.C. If we missed any states on the drawn from memory map on our exam, we would be required to hand write the name of the state 100 times and hand draw 10 maps.

But nooooo, I couldn’t miss U-t-a-h.

I forgot P-e-n-n-s-y-l-v-a-n-i-a and W-a-s-h-i-n-g-t-o-n D.C.

2,400 letters to write – 20 maps to draw.

That was the day the battle lines were drawn.

I wrote out those two hundred state names… in the equivalent to 5 point font. I literally wrote smaller than a computer could print. Ohhhhh, and it didn’t stop there. Every homework assignment for the next two years was written in the smallest print I could possibly manage.

Unfortunately he was as stubborn as I was and never said a word about it – never once complained. He continued to grade my papers with an evil gusto making them look like a bloody red battle scene from Braveheart.

It took me 3 years after graduating high school to realize that he was preparing me for college and it would have been easier for him to let me slide. His goal wasn’t to reign like Hitler; it was to create bright, successful students who believed in themselves.

Hellooooo humble pie.

I ran into him at my classmates wedding a few years back…

I hugged him and thanked him…

Then offered to pay for the stylish bifocals he was wearing.

So thank you Mr. Mueller. Would you like me to draw you a map of the U.S.? Unfortunately the only places I can locate are Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I guess I’m still on the STEEP uphill learning curve…

When I used to say I didn’t know how to cook, I always assumed that I could if I wanted to – without any help.

School has always been a walk in the park for me. I pick up a book, flip through the first and last page of each chapter, and ace the test. And to make things even easier for me… I LOVE LOVE LOVE to learn new things. Sure college had its difficult moments but those moments were usually caused by my not reading a book at all and expecting that if I slept on it (literally), it would radiate into my brain.

I also tried falling asleep listening to the Spanish radio station. Turns out – you can’t learn Spanish that way.


Cooking should be the same right?!? Follow directions = cook like Emeril Lagasse.

Humph. Not so much.

Cooking is quite literally an art.

I know what you’re thinking – ‘didn’t you get a bachelors degree in the fine arts?!?!?’ Well, yes and no. Film is an ‘art’ but it’s a very technical art. In school they teach you what light temperatures are effective for different feelings, what music brings out certain emotions, what colors on the color wheel to use to push your message, what sound volumes cause fear/happiness/excitement, etc.

When it comes to actual art… I ride the short bus.

I really am trying to learn and I appreciate all the help from mom. Perhaps she gets annoyed when I call her 15 times from the grocery store and beg for help – but she doesn’t let on.

Even with help, I had two pretty bad ‘cooking offenses’ this week…

When looking for purple cabbage… I ended up with Radishia (yup, I know I’m butchering the spelling of whatever it was I bought). What is Radishia? I have no idea but it looks a lot like purple cabbage – only smaller and a heck of a lot more expensive. I only realized my mistake when the cashier had to ask a co-worker what the cost code for Radishia was. I was too embarrassed to admit that all I wanted was purple cabbage so… I took it home and it sat in the veggie drawer until it rotted and I guiltily threw it away.

Then, I made dinner for everyone on Sunday. I nailed the Thai chicken (whew! - Nicole did help though) but when I went to cook the rice, Nicole just about blew a top.

‘Don’t you have regular rice?’ she asked

‘This is regular rice!’ I said as a stared at the box.

‘Hey. Retard. That’s instant rice!’ She laughed.

‘Aren’t all rices instant?!?!’ I questioned.

I honestly had no idea there was anything other than instant rice. Really?!? And it takes 20 minutes to cook?! Holy Cow! That’s a long time!

That's pretty much why I don't speak up in class. I'm hideously embarrassing.

Just so ya know, I am getting better. I made a total kick butt sautéed chicken with pasta last night. Sure it took me three hours to make it (when it probably should have taken an hour), but it was AMAZING!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Weekend… on a Wednesday…

What a full weekend!

Friday night John, Lindsey, and Keira came over. I made Chimichitos (Baked Chimichangas) and they turned out… OK. I overdid the enchilada sauce a little. Turns out, the sauce was supposed to be on the outside, not the inside.

Mental note: Read directions.

Keira started projectile vomiting afterward. Lindsey was nice and claimed the little miss had been struggling since getting her shots earlier in the week.

It’s OK Lindsey, you can admit it was because Keira was sickened by the thought of me cooking.

Saturday John-E-Boy graduated from paramedic school. I told him I went to the graduation to ‘support him’ but in reality, there were 20 or so extremely hot guys in his graduating class and I wasn’t about to miss out on that sort of eye candy.

Katie – don’t lie. You weren’t there to ‘support’ John either.

Regardless, congrats dude. Your dedication to this has been amazing and despite the HUGE failure rate (classmates dropped off like flies throughout the last year) you successfully finished and finished well. I’m totally proud!

Now I have two totally awesome paramedic brothers!!

Sunday EVERYONE** came over to our house for Thai food. Wesley, in typical Wesley fashion, tornadoed the house in under 30 seconds. He found my candy stash in under 4 minutes (an all new record). Conversations with him went like this:

‘Hey buddy, is that my cordless phone? Where’s the other half?’

He leads me down the hallway and points to the floor.

‘Um no, that’s my ipod… and um, where’s the other half to that? I didn’t know my ipod could break apart like that – oh, I don’t think it’s supposed to. Is this rice?’

He followed that with a devilish grin and took off running.

More statements/questions made to Wesley (since conversations are pretty much always one way with a kid who doesn’t speak):

‘Hey bud, can you please not touch those papers? They are very important to Auntie Bekah’

‘Please don’t shut off…’ He runs over, finds the power button and turns it off ‘…my computer.’

‘Why are these papers all torn…up… WESLEY!!’

‘Nightstands are not made for jumping on.’

‘No!! Not the lamp! It was $8 and definitely NOT childproof!!’

‘Exactly how much candy have you had?’

‘Does anyone know why there is a tampon under my pillow?’

And my personal favorite –

‘Why are my shorts on your head?’

To which Nicole responds, ‘He probably couldn’t find your underwear.’

** ‘Everyone’ is defined as: Mom, Pops, Colegate, Rev, Tallon, Wesley, Me, and Chris. Happy mom?

Friday, September 14, 2007

I thought so!!

Chris and I received a Supplemental Tax bill a few days ago.

What is a Supplemental Tax bill? It’s when the city sits down, looks at what you already paid, and says, ‘You know what, let’s charge them more! Sure the people are probably broke but we need another $900 toilet seat for the mayor’s bathroom’.

Technically: On July 1, 1983, California State law was changed to require the reassessment of property following a change of ownership or the completion of new construction. This reassessment may result in one or more supplemental tax bills being mailed to the assessed owner, in addition to the annual property tax bill.

How much is our Supplemental Bill?


Nope. I don’t think it’s coincidental that our additional tax assessment is also the ‘mark of the beast’.

We paid $667… just to be safe.

In case you missed it, try out the Thai Curry recipe below!!

No seriously, I AM posting a recipe. Weird huh?!?!

Chris and I are fascinated by Sam the Cooking guy (previously on Cox Cable channel 4, but now he has his own show on Discovery Health called ‘Just Cook This with Sam the Cooking Guy’)

For those of you who like ‘Panang’ Chicken with a little bit of ‘Evil Prince’, you’ve GOT to try this!

Frankly, if I can make it… YOU can make it – even though I did overcook the chicken just a little. I’m getting better, the chicken was edible!

It says it serves 6. Well, it serves 6 … or one person who loves Thai food.

Oh, and watch Sam the Cooking Guy. He’s amazing.

Thai Curried Chicken


6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

One 14 ounce can light coconut milk

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons curry powder

2 tablespoons Asian chili paste (I used Asian chili sauce and it worked just as well)

Zest of one lime plus the juice (no zester? no worry - just use the juice)Cilantro, chopped fine for garnishCooked rice for serving

Trim chicken of any extra fat. In a large bowl, combine coconut milk, cumin, curry, chili paste, lime zest and juice, mix well.

Reserve about 1/3 of the sauce for after, but add the chicken to the rest. Mix well, cover and marinate—anywhere from 15 minutes to overnight.

Heat bbq or grill pan and cook chicken on both side until cooked though—those cool grill marks are perfect here. While the chicken cooks, simmer the extra sauce in a small pot to thicken.

Slice into strips, serve on top of rice with a little extra sauce and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Serves 6.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Those sunglasses? I’ll take two!

Over the weekend I purchased a VERY expensive pair of sunglasses. 10 whole dollars! Hey, when you live on a budget of thirty bucks, more than 33% is a lot to spend on such frivolous items! Especially when Kenney Chesney is releasing a new album… there goes another 33%!

The sunglasses are black and HUGE! I literally look like Nicole Richie when I put them on.

I put them on yesterday and debated whether or not to return them. Let’s be realistic, I could spend ten bucks on so many other cool things and I wasn’t sure if I REALLY liked them.

I was driving through Del Taco (goodbye another 9%) and carefully handed my cash to the drive through attendant (I treat money so very tenderly these days).

‘Hi there! Are you skipping school today?!?’ he asked as he took my bills.

‘School?’ I questioned.

‘I know when you Santana kids ditch!’ he laughed.

Santana… Santana?!? For those of you who don't know, Santana is the high school across the street from Del Taco.


‘Actually…’ I started.

*LONG pause*

‘Yeah, you caught me. It’s senior ditch day! Come on! Just don’t tell my mom OK?!’ I smiled.

Sure the glasses cover half my face but in doing that, they cover the fine lines around my eyes, and the smile lines on my cheeks.

I’m buying 10 more pairs of these sunglasses.

Like. Totally.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Reason for divorce? Well, your honor, it’s like this, it was the shower doors…

Chris and I finally have two working showers, two working toilets, and one working sink. The second sink will be installed tomorrow. I’m so ECSTATIC about having TWO showers and TWO toilets, I’m not too concerned with the whole ‘missing sink’ part.

But there’s a problem - those stupid shower doors.

As I mentioned before, we had to buy plain glass shower doors – a cleaning nightmare. Hey, when you don’t have a choice, you don’t have a choice. Each morning, the last person out of the shower spends 4.67 minutes squeegeeing the glass. Yup. I timed it.

4.67 minutes shivering in the shower while listening to the ‘EEEEEEK, SQUEEEEEEK, SCRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEECH’ sounds of the squeegee.

It’s enough to drive anyone mad.

Mad enough to wake up at any time necessary to be the first in and out of the shower. Mad enough to trip/kick/hit your husband on his way to the bathroom and lock him out. Mad enough to shout, ‘HA HA! SUCKER! Beat you again! Squeegee duty for you!!’.

‘When did our marriage start its downhill plunge? Well your honor, that would be September 8th, the day I went to Target and bought a squeegee.’

Friday, September 7, 2007

Flashback Friday

This was an old journal entry from March 14, 2005:

Chris called me on my way home yesterday and asked me to pick up a few things for dinner. I did my typical stroll around the grocery store and grabbed his requested rice, beans, and Louisiana hot sausage. On my way to the rice and beans, I was summoned to some freshly made cinnamon rolls… and some bagels… and some ding dongs…

I stood in the frozen foods aisle and debated whether or not potato skins could be considered a meal. Potatoes, cheese, bacon. Mealish right? After thinking carefully, I decided that they couldn’t… unless I ate them by myself.

I finally finished and started looking for check stand. The ‘9 items or less lane’ was relatively deserted so I looked at my tiny basket and thought, ‘Surely there are not more that 9 items in there. I’m just here for rice, beans, and hot links!’ and started to unload my stuff onto the conveyer belt. One, two, ….Eleven, Twelve… Sixteen, Seventeen - do bagels count as one item or six? And what was the limit again? Quickly realizing that I was over the limit, I carefully stacked my items to hide the quantity. You know how you do it - you stack the 8 boxes of rice behind the 3 cans of beans. I glanced at the girl behind me knowing she was thinking, ‘One, Two…Fifteen, Sixteen…HEY!!!’

By that point I was embarrassed and felt awful about my complete lack of estimating skills. Who knew those ding dongs and bagels (which either counted as one or six) could throw me over?I finally get up to the cashier who stares at me and says ‘Wait a minute.’

...Just as I was about to throw myself to the floor, beg for mercy, and tell her what an accident it was she says, ‘I know you.’ I didn’t know whether to be relieved that she knew me and could grant forgiveness or embarassed that she knew me and may have thought I was ‘one of those people’.

I’m not ‘one of those people’!! I just can’t count!!

Come to find out, I know her daughter.

Umm, Alicia. … yeah… you can tell your mom I’m sorry for being the 17 (23 if the bagels are more than one item) items in the 9 items or less lane.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Did you just day that out loud?!?!!?

Cooking class has been… interesting. I’m learning more and more each session about my classmates. Unfortunately the program isn’t just a bunch of cooking classes with helpful tips to use at home. It’s a full fledged culinary arts program designed to train students to become professional chefs. Most of the students have the ‘chef mentality’. You know: self absorbed, know-it-all, vain, cocky, mean, etc, etc.

I finally found my element!


The frustrating part is, I’m not there to learn how to cook in some muffy buffy La Jolla restaurant. I’m just there to learn how to bake chicken so Chris won’t have to cut it into tiny pieces to swallow whole since chewing the dry crusted rock I usually make isn’t an option.

I know I can’t cook very well. That’s why I’m there. A good portion of my classmates on the other hand raised their hands during the ‘getting to know you’ portion of the class and proudly declared they had been cooking for 18 or more years. These people are 21!! Will someone please tell them that mixing flour and water for a paper mache project in preschool doesn’t count?

I was blanching (see! I use big words now!) broccoli for the required 2 minutes when a fellow classmate tapped his shoe and crossed his arms while staring me down. He needed to clean the pot I was using. I smiled and apologized for taking so long (not sure why I apologized, I was 10 minutes ahead of schedule). He grunted and said, ‘You guys are the slowest team. So slow.’

I desperately wanted to say, ‘How can you speed up 2 minutes? Do you think I’m Cyclops from X-Men and can use my laser to cook faster?!?! By the way, you have a huge booger hanging half out of your nose!’ then kick him in the kneecaps BUT…

1 – He probably thinks Cyclops IS real.
2 – NOT telling people they have boogers hanging out is meaner than telling them.
3 – He probably would have kicked me back.

I’m slowly figuring out why chefs wear those big hats… it’s to cover their HUGE heads.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Weekend Stuff…

Chris and I started our weekend off right by going to see Mamma Mia at the San Diego Civic Theater. Mixed in with the excellent dialog, the cast sang ABBA songs. I, of course, SANG through the whole thing and bobbed my head to ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘S.O.S’, and ‘Mamma Mia’.

I looked at Chris halfway through and asked him why he wasn’t more into the music. He pulled his fingers out of his ears (I didn’t think I sang THAT bad – but of course, I wasn’t exactly hitting the high notes on the ‘Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tambourine oh yeeeaaah. You can dance, you can jiiiiive, having the time of your life’ part) and told me he didn’t know the music.

Didn’t know ABBA?!?!

How the …?!?! What the …?!?! GRR!!

He was robbed.

I’m ordering the CD off today.

In all actuality, he liked it the show. But how could you not? ABBA?!? Hello?!?!

Saturday we had everyone over to the house for a mini-BBQ. The food was fabulous and the four or so bottles of wine were great too. I was ‘researching’ for my wine class mom. ‘Reeeeesearching’.

Sunday we hit up a fabulous Irish pub called ‘The Field’ before the Padre game. I’m not sure what ‘boxty’ is but it was yummy! The service was so so but the food was amazingly good. I miss Ireland.
The Padres lost to the Dodgers but we were sitting in the air-conditioned comfort of the Western Metal Building with amazing seats near third base so I didn’t care.

Monday we worked on the house all day. Had my mom told me to work out in the yard in that kind of heat while I was still at home, I would have threatened to call the Child Abuse Hotline but somehow, when it’s your own place, it’s not so bad. OK. It was awful. It was stinkin’ hot. It was flaming hot and I thought I was going to die! But the yard is looking better. We planted two more Queen Palms (so very California I know) and three more bougainvilleas – the only two plant types I haven’t killed…yet.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

And it’s planned…

I’ve been looking for a place to spend Chris and my third anniversary for over a month. I’ve been watching airfare deals, hotel deals, rooms in exchange for services…

And the winner is:

Napa Valley!!


Southwest was offering a steal of a deal to Oakland.
Thrifty Rent-a-Car loves me.
The Beazley House B & B peeps are nice.

… and there’s a motel in the ghetto for um… I’m not even going to say how much we are paying a night. It’s just embarrassing. Let’s just say, Chris and I went out to dinner the other night… and it cost more than our hotel… and it was a cheap dinner.

The itinerary -

Day 1-2.5:
Driving through San Fran, Sausalito, and Marin. Hiking around the Russian River, biking through Sonoma, walking on the coastal trails, checking out the Armstrong Redwood and Petrified Forests. Avoiding our ghetto motel at all costs.

Day 2.5-5:
Wine tasting, checking out Downtown Napa, wine tasting, catching the Napa trolley around town, wine tasting, enjoying our awesome Bed & Breakfast, and wine tasting.

All this and it’s $468 less than a trip to Temecula for the same amount of time. Psh. Temecula. What a rip off.

9 weeks and 2 days to go.

That seems like forever.

I’ll update you later on our weekend. It was a full one.