Thursday, March 6, 2008

Because today is so crappy…

It has just been one of those days so instead of angst filled writing (which I absolutely despise), I’ve decided to share a few more photos from this weekend.

Before we took the top photo, the Seaworld staff member had accused Mike and I of fighting. What she didn’t understand is that when we, for example, say the following:

'Oh my gosh, look at you. Anyone else hurt in the accident?'

'Calling you stupid would be an insult to stupid people.'

'Do you love 'NATURE' - In spite of what it did to you?'


'Do you want people to accept you as you are or do you want them to like you?'...

We actually mean, ‘I love you’

I think there was a manatee behind my head in the bottom photo. As if my day wasn’t bad enough, now I have to come to the realization that my head is so big it blocked out the animal also known as the ‘Sea Cow’.

I’m going to go cry now.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hello? HSN?...

For the last few months, I’ve been attempting to eat somewhat healthy. I figure, as I’m inching toward 30, I’d better start preparing this aging body by caring – at least a little – for it. That, and eventually, I’d like to have children and I’d rather they not pop out with an addiction to the convenience of 7-11 processed foods and beverages.

* Though I do wonder, if I polished off a Razzmatazz Lime Slurpee while in labor, would I have a kid with a green umbilical cord? Because that’d be cool and it’s worth trying. *

Poor Taco Bell has suffered a considerable slump in sales since I backed off those cheddar potatoes.


Things have been going great, except for this silly culinary program I’m in. Recently, we made buttermilk cheddar cheese and chive biscuits accompanied by bacon gravy (as if the buttermilk or the cheddar part of the biscuit wasn’t bad enough, we opted for an ultra flaky texture only created by mass amounts of butter) and we finished the class with a citrus chiffon cake layered and topped with sugared whipping cream. Last night we made pizzas – loaded with toppings of course.

Just thinking about the fat content of those recipes makes my butt bigger.

Unfortunately I’m left with 2 options to keep this figure looking good:

1) Eat less of this fantastic food I’m learning to make


2) Work out more

* And by ‘more’ I mean more than the 14 steps I take from the house to my car that I currently consider ‘working out’.

As I sit here nibbling on the most amazing left over pizza and a warm buttered roll, I can’t help but add option C…

3.) Purchase industrial strength body slimmers from the Home Shopping Network.

No worries. I have them on speed dial.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Wordless Monday?!?!?

I've been really busy lately and haven't had time to update. Today is no exception. Sooo...

Here are pictures of my weekend.

Friday I spent time out on the jobsites which was actually pretty fun...

Don't be jealous. Hard hat hair is so cute.

And Chris was working Saturday so I went to Seaworld with some uber cool people...

And saying, 'Casey, you have a big trunk!' may lead to Beth saying, 'I bet I can fit!'

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Photo facts...

I’ve been tagged by Ashmystir to post 5 facts about myself to be illustrated by photos. Thanks for the tag!

Eek. The trouble was deciding which facts would be the least embarrassing.

1.) I am a card carrying member of the geek club. Sadly, yes, that is one of the less embarrassing facts.

I was probably the only person crying at my college graduation because I was done with school rather than the fact I was scared of the ‘real’ world.

And, I ‘read’ books on CD.

A lot.

But what else am I going to do while: cleaning, feeding the dogs, cooking, walking, shopping at Target…?

So. I took a picture of my rented library books for this week…

(P.S. Oprah, your book club sucks. I’ve never read a more depressing collection of literature in my life. If I feel like becoming suicidal, I’ll check into your recommendations)

2.) I’m frugal. Hubby darling likes to call me… cheap.


Our heater doesn’t kick on until the temp hits 53.

I’m just hoping leg warmers will come back into style when we have kids. Then maybe I could dip it down to 48.

3.) I LOVE to travel. OK, so most of my traveling is to and from Hilberto’s Mexican Food Restaurant but I like to travel further on occasion.

4.) Most of my friends are blonde. I didn’t realize this until I was flipping through my pictures. BUT, I do live in California and rumor has it... we're all mostly blonde.

Let’s overlook the fact that two of my friends are by force – I mean – by obligation. One by marriage and the other because she’s dating my brother. I think the others stick around out of morbid curiosity. Never the less, they are a great group of girls and I love them.

5.) I have a totally awesome family. Sure sometimes I walk around with them pretending to be the person employed for the crazy home they hail from and I’m just taking them for some exercise but there are times when I almost want to claim I’m related to them. Few. But some times.

And to pass this on, I am tagging Lizard Breath at Cherishing the Little Hands because she’s got nothing better to do with her time. 3 toddlers with a baby almost here? She’s probably watching Oprah right now. I'm tagging Colegate of One Mom’s Dreams because I’m sure she actually is watching Oprah. Tallon told me she was. I’m tagging Cousin Lisa of Life the Great Adventure because I don’t see enough of her. I’m tagging Cousin Megan from I am the Turtle because she just had a kidlet and I haven’t seen it. And last, I'm tagging my new sister in law, Lindsey, who doesn’t have a BLOG but needs one. How else are we supposed to talk about her behind her back unless she gives us some good gossip?

The rules for this meme are as follows:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Paula!

Ready to head to Ireland again?!?!?!

To my favorite foreign travel buddy:

I know it will be difficult to have a good birthday since I'm not there, but try your best.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Rev!


Hope you have an awesome birthday! Remember, out of all the aunties, you love me most ... right?!?!?
Love you!

What a weekend…

Chris and John surprised Lindsey and I with a trip to Temecula to go wine tasting. We took a half day at work on Friday and enjoyed a rare traffic-free trip up North. We spent Friday and Saturday enjoying the scenery and the beautiful wineries.

Our hotel room:

Chris looking at the floor above trying to figure out who was stomping. John was the guilty party.

Cocktail hour at the hotel:

When they said, 'All you can eat', John-E took them seriously...


John and his sippy cup...

South Coast...

Dude, can you hand me my sunglasses? Or not...

Saturday night, we rushed up to mom and dad’s to visit with James, Stef, and the girls who had flown down from Sacramento. It was good to see all of them, we don’t see quite enough of their beautiful faces.

Sunday, Chris’ family came over for dinner. Mike, Stacy, Steven, Jeremy, Josh, Tim, and Heather all came by for a couple hours to play video games on the new TV and visit. Chris made his smoked chicken while I made focaccia bread and chocolate chip cookies. I accidentally over kneaded the bread and made it a little too solid but hey, at least no one could doubt it was home-made!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Flashback Friday…

As I was shaving this morning I couldn’t help but smile and remember the very first time my legs were shaved…

Growing up, our family naturally split into clicks. Paula and James were in their own world, Lizzy and Cole were best friends, and John, Mike, and I were attached at the hip.

So it should come as no surprise that I wasn’t the most ‘feminine’ of the girls. John, Mike, and I were the reason mom had to enact the ‘shower at least once per week’ rule.

When I hit 13, Cole would constantly tell me that I needed to shave my legs. I was completely aware of the hour and a half it took her and Liz to get ready and I wanted NOOOOO part of that business.

Cole had started shaving at about the age of 9 declaring to mom, ‘I fell in the shower and the razor accidentally shaved my legs.’ She was a die hard fan of hairlessness.

Months went by while Cole and I continued to debate the issue.

Cole was a rather plump teen and would frequently use her weight to intimidate the rest of us.

And by intimidate, I mean… sit on us (which is probably why Liz and I have permanent serious cases of claustrophobia). She’d tell you to do something and if you didn’t, she would sit on you until you caved (literally and figuratively).

One summer afternoon, I walked into the bedroom Cole, Liz, and I shared wearing a tiny pair of purple shorts. Cole angrily glared at me while I walked by her with my defiantly unshaven legs. She calmly walked out and came back in 3 minutes later with a can of shaving cream, a razor, and a very intimidated Lizzy at her side.

She quickly cornered me, shoved me to the ground, and sat on me while screaming to Lizzy, ‘Spray her down with shaving cream and go! Go! Go!!!’

I tried to fight back but quickly realized that fighting back resulted in nicks from the razor.

10 long minutes later, my legs were cleanly shaved. I told Nicole I hated her and went into the bathroom to rinse off. As I put my legs under the cool water, I rubbed my hands on them to wash off the patches of blood mixed with shaving cream and noticed… they felt really… nice.

I dried them off and stared at them in the mirror while thinking, ‘Holy cow! I have cool looking legs!’

I never admitted to Cole that I actually liked the result but I continued to shave under the argument that I didn’t like ‘itchy, spiky’ legs.

I’m not sure when I would have started shaving. Probably when I began to think boys were cute when I was like… 20.

So, thank you Cole for sitting on me – that time and ONLY that time. I like my legs.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Silly Chris…

I got home from work tonight and noticed Chris sitting on the couch with a huge grin just staring at his TV. Near the front door was a sealed box from our cable service provider… the box containing our high definition cable box.

‘Hon, you’ve been home for an hour and you haven’t pried open this box yet?!?!?’ I asked while leaning down to pick up the package.

I flipped it over and noticed he had already tore it open, installed the HD box above the TV, put the old cable box in the package and sealed it to mail it to our cable company.

He just nodded his head in my general direction. ‘Babe, I already took care of…’ then he cut himself off, transfixed by the HD NFL network which is now showing crystal clear re-runs.

This. Is my new life.

It was nice knowing him.

Ten minutes before his class was to start, he tore himself away running out the door hoping to make it in time.

I tidied up the house, did the dishes, and started to open the mail HE brought in. In all his efforts to watch his new TV in High Def, he missed this very important letter:

Dear Christopher:

Congratulations! You have been admitted to San Diego State University for the Fall 2008 semester. Each year, our selection requirements become increasingly rigorous, and you should take pride in the fact that you are among our highly qualified admitted students…

There were a record number of applicants this year (somewhere in the neighborhood of 65,000) and he didn’t think he would make it.

But he’s in class tonight totally unaware that he made it…

So I’m celebrating by myself.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We’ll take that one…

For the last 3+ years, Chris has worked odd jobs on the weekends. We use this money to vacation, pay bills, pay dental bills… you get it.

He has never asked to keep any of the money for himself, he simply hands over the checks for me to deposit into our account.

This weekend, he worked Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. He had already spent Monday through Thursday up late into the wee hours of the morning working on homework and rather than kick back, he went out to earn us some extra money.

The guilt was overwhelming.

So while he was out ‘working hard for the money’, I looked into making his fantasy into a reality…

Getting a big screen plasma HD TV.

I did a little research and made some decisions.

Last night he got home from work completely exhausted. I mentioned my idea and it took about 8 seconds for him to get into his truck and start yelling for me to hurry up.

At our destination, I pulled out my 4 pages of 10 point font research and started saying, ‘OK, this one received an 8.3 rating and this one received a 7. BUT, this one received a high customer satisfaction rating which I trust a little more because it’s normal people looking at it, not super judgmental computer geeks. And according to the average reviewer, at a distance of 6 feet, the optimal resolution is…’

Chris started laughing, grabbed my face, and kissed me.

Hmm. Two things. 1-He’s excited to get a TV. 2-He could care less about my research.

I gave in, pointed, and said, ‘In short, if you like this one, buy it.’

He loaded it onto the cart and started walking through the store. Every guy in the place was looking at him and smiling in complete envy.

I was tempted to ask him if he wanted to do a victory lap around the store but decided against it because… he probably would have.

So now I have a tiny living room with a ridiculous looking 50 inch plasma HDTV and a husband who hasn’t stopped smiling since yesterday.

Thank you honey for being the selfless man you are. You make life a joy.

Out with the old... in with the new...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sometimes… I wish my mom wasn’t there…

When I got started in the culinary arts program and mom joined with me, I was thinking, ‘Yeah, this will be fun. We’ll be able to hang out and learn new things together.’

But I’ve learned that having dear ol’ mom there isn’t so great sometimes.

Going to class with mom is like going to class with Jesus.

At the end of our lab session, we have to sign out. On Tuesday, the crowd surrounding the sign out sheet was thick. I was next in line but a guy came out of nowhere and attempted to take the sheet from my hands. Fortunately, one of my lab partners grabbed it back and gave it to me. I signed the sheet and the sign out stealing guy expectantly jabbed his hand in front of me and grunted for my pen. No ‘Please may I use your pen?’, or even a ‘Do you mind?’, nothing. Just a belittling grunt, like I don’t even deserve to be spoken to like a real human being. I stopped and stared at him with complete indignation then clicked my pen shut and said, ‘Actually, it’s my pen and I’m leaving. Use your own!’ with all the attitude of Kanye West at the Grammy’s.

Mom just looked at me and nodded her head in shame.

Sure my tone wasn’t exactly friendly but I followed it with a fake smile. That has to count for something!

Mom! He was a jerk!

I swear I heard her moral police say, ‘Turn the other cheek’ and ‘Do unto others’.


The teacher was in the middle of explaining kitchen safety and said, ‘In case of fire or if you get burning liquids spilled on you, these chef jackets are meant to be ripped right off’ then proceeds to demonstrate by tearing his jacket off, exposing a tight t-shirt clinging to his obviously well toned body.

Drooling in class? Bad idea?

All the girls blush and giggle, meanwhile, mom leans over and whispers, ‘I didn’t know that. What great jackets.’

Uh. Yeah mom. The jackets are great.

So is the chef’s chest.

But I can’t say that. I’m forced to stare at my notebook and say, ‘Jackets. Yeah. Great. Whatever.’

Paula, you should really be in this class.

Sure, he sets off my gaydar but let’s see… he rides a motorcycle, he’s a super great chef, he works out, and…he’s the only teacher I’ve ever had that makes me want to pray for a grease fire.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Happy Anniversary...

... to James and Stef!

Hope it was a good one!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

If you missed it...

Go check out Lizzie's BLOG. Apparently naming kids is a difficult thing but I'm so glad we have the wisdom of our Ozark family members.

Flashback Friday…

I’ve decided to flashback to some very dark years in my life. Dark years our family rarely speaks about.

But I can’t stay quiet forever.

I need to break the silence.

I’m talking about…….


Mom and dad never had a lot of extra money lying around. Perhaps that’s because anyone with 7 kids is bound to be broke for life. But somehow, we always had the things we needed and a few extra things we wanted.

Life was good.

Well. Until about 1993 when mom and dad traded hardware supplies with a world renowned orthodontist for braces for 5 of us kids.

The guy was an orthodontic genius who frequently traveled the world training others. Though American, he practiced dentistry on the other side of the border.

Those were the 2 ½ longest… darkest… years of my life. Once a month, we crossed the Mexican border and forever it will haunt us…

I’ve tried to block it out but the occasional nightmare filled with children screaming ‘Chiclets, Chiclets’ while chasing me down the dirty streets of Tijuana wake me and flood my tortured mind with memories.

Our car insurance stopped at the American border so we’d park on the US side and walk across to Tijuana. The big, metal, gates that only spin one way somehow promise that once you leave the United States… you’ll never get back.

Those same gates almost claimed John’s life (This said with the dramatics of a Mexican Soap Opera).

We were walking through the massive metal gates and into Mexico when we heard a long ‘BONG!’ We looked back to see John’s head lodged between the bars on the gate. His flailing body was in Mexico with his screaming head stuck in California.

Once we stopped laughing *cough* I mean, once we ‘assessed the situation’, we recruited some friendly border crossers to hold the gate while we yanked John-E’s head out. He didn’t think it was funny, but the snickering Border Patrol Agents did.

A few months later, John and Mike were required to wear head gear. If you’ve never seen head gear (since most people are ashamed to been seen in public with it) it looks like this:

The orthodontist wouldn’t let John and Mike leave without wearing it so they were forced to go outside… in public… with headgear on. Rather than chalk it up to, ‘These are the embarrassing years in my life and I’m just going to have to deal with it’, they decided to pretend the headgear was a government issued communication device. They would stick their fingers up to the metal protruding from their braced mouths and say, ‘Copy that home base we are on our way’ while busily walking down the streets in Tijuana.

I’m very sure that 13 year old boys with head gear were believable as CIA agents.

Our family group was predominantly female and my two older sisters were gorgeous skinny blonde model types. Unfortunately, this prompted a lot of male gawking and frequent dirty words and gestures. Trying to avoid this, mom would tell us to look at the ground and keep walking – fast.

What she didn’t say was… ‘Watch where you are going’.

That would have been helpful.

As we were walking home one afternoon, I walked full speed into a street sign and knocked myself off my feet.

Sitting on the littered sidewalk, I was suddenly surrounded by tiny children taking advantage of my incapacitated state. ‘Chiclets! Chiclets! Chiclets!’ they yelled. I tried to scream for mom but she took her own advice and kept her eyes down while ‘walking’ about as fast as an Olympic marathon runner.


We survived those years… barely… and we all have beautiful straight teeth but we will forever be haunted our Mexican past (and forever laugh about them over Sunday dinners while mimicking John’s head stuck sideways in the gates – arms flailing).

Thank you Mexico?

And here are some pictures from mom. A fluke storm hit San Diego...

All in favor of global warming say 'Aye'...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Chris decided to surprise me with chocolate covered strawberries this year. They were delivered to my office yesterday morning. Is it a bad thing to eat 6 of them before noon?

Have a good one!


Thanks to dad for the flowers and the strawberries. Sometimes being the bosses daughter is pretty cool. A girl can NEVER have too many strawberries!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

You are soooooo not funny...

We met with our tax guy on Friday. We had to pay $2,600 last year in addition to what we had already paid during the year so I was fearful of what this year held for us.

After inputting our information, our tax guy looked at Chris and I and asked if we thought we were going to have to pay or if we were going to get money back. Chris threw out a highball number guessing a refund while I guessed we were going to have to pay $1,000.

‘Let’s make a deal’ he said while leaning over his desk. ‘You can make one of two choices here. A.) You pay me my $200 fee and I’ll file your taxes as usual. Or you can choose B.) If you owe money to the IRS, you don’t pay my fee but if you get a refund more than Chris guessed, every dollar over the random amount he guessed to get refunded back, we split 50/50.’

Chris excitedly responds, ‘B B B B!! We choose B!’ then he looked at me, ‘Come on babe, we won’t even get how much I guessed! We’d get the filing fee for free!’

‘Uuuuh. I guess.’ I responded shakily, secretly just wanting to toss two Benjamin Franklins on the desk and be done with the shenanigans.

The tax guy smiled. Big.

Bad sign.

The office filled with: Click. Click. Click. Ching. Ching. Ching. Click. Click. Click. Ching. Ching. Ching. Tappity Tap Tap. As he typed on his calculator.

‘You guys owe me….

$381.47. Cash, Check, or Charge?’ He said with a smile. ‘You guys REALLY need to change your deductions.’


‘Wait. We are going to get $800 MORE than amount he guessed? And, did you seriously just figure out a cruel way to make me depressed about getting a nice tax refund?!?!’ I gasped.

More silence.

‘Ha ha! Gotcha! Suckers! I wouldn’t do that to you but you should have seen the look on your faces!’ The tax guy laughed.

I don’t think he’s funny.

I’ve never been so grateful for a mortgage payment in my life. Those things are such great tax write offs! I consulted with Colegate and she said kids are good write offs too so I’m thinking about popping one out by the end of the year then selling it on e-bay after I get the tax rebate check.

OK, OK, I wouldn't sell the kid on E-bay. Who do you think I am?!??!?!

I’d actually sell it on Amazon, I think they have a lower commission rate.

The rest of the weekend was fantastic. Maybe that’s because I was riding the ‘I don’t have to pay this year’ high.

John-E, Lindsey, Keira, Casey, Beth, Kelly, and I went to SeaWorld on Saturday.

Saturday night the boys went to Supercross while the girls came over to my house to enjoy some ‘interesting’ games and some good wine.

Sunday we relaxed at mom and pops while Chris smoked some chicken. It was great to see Uncle Jack and Shirley there. She is a super cool lady! We didn’t get back home until after midnight (thanks to mom and that stupid addicting show) but all was well.

A little late....

Sorry dude, I wasn't around a computer this weekend sooooo...


Can't wait to see you in a few weeks!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

California Dental Massacre…

Two entries in one day? Silliness I know, but I've got to distract myself from the pain...

I had to go to the dentist again today. She was replacing my temporary crowns with the permanent ones.

I’ve been through this a time or two…

Or five…

So I know the drill. They pop out the temp, pick off the glue, and cement down the permanent crown.

Not. A. Big. Deal.

Except this time. Apparently, my gums were inflamed and she couldn’t put a permanent crown on inflamed gums so the solution was – drill the gums down.

She called in her assistants to prepare the torture chamber – I mean – the dental appliances and started to burn time with small talk. NORMAL people consider small talk: job questions, weather patterns, family life, etc. But nooooo, my dentist starts talking about politics.

She goes on and on and on about Clinton and Obama as she starts to drill. Then, she stops drilling and looks at me seriously. ‘You are going to vote for Obama right?’ she asked.

Yeah. Right. Like I’m going to claim to be anything but a staunch democrat while you’re wielding a deadly weapon.

‘Go Obama!’ I said with a smile and a thumbs up.

I guess that’s why I don’t work for the CIA. I’d sell out the federal government to avoid an unnecessary root canal.

The dentist started in and everywhere around me looked like a scene from Braveheart. She even stopped the drilling and yelled at the assistant, ‘Go get me the…’ she started snapping in the air trying to jog her memory, ‘Get me the medication that stops the bleeding. And hurry please.’

I popped open my eyes and stared at her in complete fear. ‘Um. Excuse me? Was that supposed to make me feel better?’ is what I would have said had she not jammed a handful of gauze in my mouth.

The assistant rushed back in and filled my mouth with the most painful nasty tasting stuff ever. I’ve smelled lawn fertilizers and weed killer products that would taste better. And it burned! I felt like my mouth was on fire!

After what seemed like an eternity, she finished the crowns. She let me go rinse my mouth and…is this blood on my arm?!?! Actual DROPS of blood on my arm!?!?


I’m just glad I didn’t tell her I was a Republican.

That could have been lethal.

Oh, and here’s an article for Colegate and Lizard:

You ladies know how I feel about that.

But… but…

While surfing the net, I stumbled upon a popular television station looking for America’s worst spaces. This summer, they are filming a design competition and are looking for bad bedrooms, kitchens, backyards, etc.

So… I was thinking…

Why not submit mine?!?

I made two submissions: one for our backyard and another for our kitchen.

The questionnaires required photo submissions so I went home to snap my awful, awful backyard and kitchen.

Unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of rain lately and my previously hideous dirt patch backyard has suddenly sprouted a ton of green weeds. Even more unfortunate, in photos, the weeds look like a lush green lawn.

It’s kinda difficult to say you have the worst backyard in America when it looks like this:

Stupid rain.

I should have put and asterisk on the bottom that said: *Objects in photo are uglier than they appear.

Then, I moved to the kitchen thinking, ‘I’ve got this in the bag!’

Come on, my cabinets are spray painted, my countertop has stains, my oven is only big enough for a Cornish game hen…

And then…

It’s not my fault that my Judy Dench kitchen photographs like Cindi Crawford.

* Please note, I did not say Giselle Bundchen because, like Cindy Crawford, the kitchen is a little older but you can still tell it was really pretty in its younger days.

I considered contacting the DMV to ask what kind of cameras they use but then I decided…

The backyard, despite the weed infestation, has a great view of the city. In the summer, it’s easy to overlook the ugliness of the yard to see the beauty of the valley.

My kitchen is actually kinda cute. Sure, the pilot on the stove clicks for 50 years before lighting and the whole time all I think is, ‘PROTECT YOUR FACE IN CASE OF FIRE!’, sure the fork drawer requires two hands to open, and maybe wine spills on the countertop require a triage of bleach but…

We OWN this house. We OWN it. We get to make our own memories here. And one day, after they tattoo my burned eyebrows back on, I’ll look at the stains on the counter and remember the fun times we had putting them there.

And I realized shouldn’t complain.

… but of course, I submitted the photos anyway.

Just in case.

Monday, February 4, 2008

And that’s when the cake turned to shoe rubber…

We threw an Anti-Super Bowl Party at our house yesterday. We figured, we hate the Patriots and we don’t particularly like the Giants, so let’s boycott the game and throw a party.

Chris spent the morning making 4 different seasoning rubs and mops for the chicken and brisket. He followed it with some amazing homemade BBQ sauce then threw all the meat on the smoker and cooked it for 3 hours until it practically melted in your mouth.

What did I make?

Two types of guacamole: ‘Mild’ and ‘Beg for Mercy’
Rosemary and Olive Oil Focaccia bread
Pound Cake with Sliced Raspberries and Strawberries
Crispy Garlic Potato Wedges
Sangria with Oranges, Green Apples, Strawberries, & Pineapple

Chris and I quickly realized we were a little overzealous in our efforts…

We soon ran out of dishes… and counter space.

When a friend asked for a bowl to make chili cheese dip, I had to pull out a weird crock container for lack of any clean bowl shaped objects.

Everything turned out great – except for the pound cake. The rock solid mass masquerading as my pound cake required a steak knife to penetrate its rubber shell. I wasn’t sure what went wrong in my baking process but I wasn’t about to let anyone see it. I quickly threw it in the trash, covered it with paper plates, and then spent the next two hours starting the following rumors:

a.) Wasn’t the pound cake delicious? Oh you didn’t get a piece? Those silly boys must have chowed down the whole thing before you got to it!


b.) Wasn’t the pound cake delicious? You totally had a piece! I can’t believe you forgot. Maybe you should lay off the Sangria!

I would say the dishes were difficult and a pain but they weren’t bad. Turns out, I had some extra energy. I was kinda excited about a certain team being…

18 and 1.

Dear Tom Brady,

Ha. Ha. Ha.


Friday, February 1, 2008

Flashback Friday...

Technically I'm only flashing back to last month but I'm going to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse tonight - which has nothing to do with flashback Friday, I just wanted to drop that in somewhere, can you tell I'm excited?!?!?


Grams and Gramps gave mom a set of super adorable snowman cooking ornaments from Williams and Sonoma. I absolutely loved them and decided to write grams and gramps a kind letter about them:

Complaint Department
J and J Assoc.
Somewhere in a city ending in - Ville

December 28, 2007

To Whom It May Concern:

On a recent visit to the house of a client, Mrs. Deborah H, I was made aware of some precious items in her possession that perhaps should not be. Ms. H had four (4) snowpeople from Williams and Sonoma hanging from her Holiday Tree (previously known as the politically incorrect, ‘Christmas Tree’).

It is my understanding that these were gifts from you in recognition of her recent Culinary Arts Cooking Class completion. I would like to inform you of the truth because obviously, she has deceived you. Ms. H would not have passed that class without my constant monitoring. Ms. H did not even have adequate transportation or a parking permit. She forced me to drive for her while constantly belittling me and telling me to, ‘shut up you little brat’. Ms. H does NOT deserve any sort of recognition other than that from a law enforcement officer. Frankly, I find it offensive that Ms. H received these snowpeople while I did not.

I’m not sure what kind of people work for J and J Associates, but I question your moral character. The fact that you consort with this ethically bankrupt woman worries me. On the day in question when I took notice of said snowpeople, I was only near Ms. H to serve her with a restraining order.

It is my request that you immediately take back said snowpeople and give them to me.

In your heart, you know what is right.

Thank you for your time,

Rebekah Atkinson
Parole Officer
San Diego County Jail

Unfortunately... grams and gramps had already ordered a set for me... prior to receiving the letter because they heard how much I loved the ornaments. I got the set in the mail a few days later. Oops. Soooo, I had to write another because I think it's very important to take responsibility for your actions. And I NEVER make excuses.

Complaint Department
J and J Assoc.
Somewhere in a city ending in - Ville

January 10, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

Please accept my deepest apologies for the letter dated December 28, 2007. The Christmas holidays are a busy time here at the jail (all the DUI’s and everything) and I forgot to take my psychiatric medication. Although this is a medical and very personal issue, I feel the need to explain.

I found a copy of the letter to you dated December 28th, 2007 in the trash can. After reviewing the letter, I was shocked and dismayed at what was written. But, I can assure all at Johnson & Johnson, that I did NOT write that letter.

I suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) and some of those personalities suffer from Schizophrenia – I know, my doctor says it’s weird. My strongest personality is ‘Beatrice’ and she likes to complain… a lot. Although quite kind at times, she thinks everyone is ‘after her’. I’m sure Mrs. H is a very nice person, but for some reason, ‘Beatrice’ was terrified of her. Please disregard the letter and please… don’t sue me or ‘Beatrice’ for slander.

I am heavily medicated at this time and haven’t seen or heard from ‘Beatrice’ in 10 days. You should be safe from another letter.

Please send me a bill for any and all of your necessary psychotherapy. I receive a bulk discount and have very good insurance.

Oh, and ‘Beatrice’ says thanks for the Snow people. She now plans on returning the ones stolen from Mrs. H.

Thank you for your time,

Rebekah Atkinson
Parole Officer
San Diego County Jail

I'm just very glad I have grandparents with a sense of humor... oh and grandparents that are half the country away....

they can't hit me from there.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I feel like a Private Eye!

There have been some, for lack of a better word, ‘delicate’ issues going on in my life lately and surprisingly enough – one of them required me to check out the San Diego County Courthouse records. I got what I went for… then spent the next 4 hours completely and totally fascinated with the whole idea of ‘Public Records’.

I discovered that:

My dentist has 18 lawsuits of malpractice and personal injury against him.

My ex-boyfriend has a record…

So does his brother…

And so does his brother’s wife…

And so do his parents!

And so do the people we bought our house from.

Oh, and the lady who does my nails has one as well.
(It could be a mistake. There are LOTS of people whose names are spelled with 16 consonants and one vowel. OK fine. It IS her but she cuts cuticles like no one else so I’m NOT CHANGING!! I’ll just watch myself when she has a sharp object)

So what does all this prove?!?!

I sure can pick ‘em!

Oh snap… is that mom and pops I see on the listing too?!?!

Someone’s got some explaining to do….

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Proud sis...

Mike was on the news this morning fighting a fire. You can check out the article below:

He is in the picture on the right of the three firefighters. He's in some of the other images as well. Check him out!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Me a hypochondriac? Nooooo….

I read an article in the oh so newsworthy magazine of Cosmo about a girl in her young twenties who went through menopause. The magazine described the symptoms in detail and offered support groups to those dealing with this so young in life.

The symptoms:
Hot flashes, insomnia, headaches, body shape changes around the abdomen, water retention, emotional ups and downs, and forgetfulness.

A few days later, I went to the theater with the girls to see 27 Dresses and as soon as we hiked to our seats, I was roasting. I yanked off my sweatshirt and started fanning myself. I looked around at the girls as they sat there peacefully in their thick sweaters and thought…

Oh. My. Gosh.

I have all those symptoms!

I am absolutely roasting in JANUARY, I can’t sleep, I had a nasty headache yesterday, I’m getting pudge in my tummy, I retain water, I’m emotional, and I forget everything!

I’m going through menopause!!

Then I start thinking about how much Chris and I want a kid. Well, I guess we could adopt. American adoptions are kinda out of the question though, it would take too long. I’ve always wanted a baby from Africa. They are very hip these days. I wonder if I should start that process because I heard it takes a while. Should I just go to or something? Hmm. I wonder if they have those menopause support groups in Santee?

All this, and the previews still hadn’t finished.

By the time I got home, I was worked up to a tizzy. I burst through the front door and yelled to Chris, ‘Honey! I’m going through MENOPAUSE!’


His eyes rolled to the sky and I literally heard him think, ‘Lord, why me? Why? She is absolutely nuts.’

He asked why I thought I was while desperately trying to hold back a snicker.

He failed.

I told him about the symptoms and how I had every one of them and he said:

1. You were wearing a sweater in a heated theater.
2. You’ve never slept well.
3. You didn’t drink water and you got a headache.
4. If you think that’s pudge, you’re stupid.
5. You retain water because you eat the equivalent of a salt lick daily.
6. There are therapy groups for the amount of emotional you are.
7. There is a lifetime supply of post-it notes all over this house that prove you have a bad memory.


I guess I’m not going through menopause.

Bummer. I was really looking forward to that African baby.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Winning... is so very nice.

I more than doubled my money in Vegas.

I’m interested to see the reaction of my tax guy when I claim my Vegas winnings.

Heaven forbid I dupe the IRS out of taxing my 10 bucks.

Oh. You thought I won big? Well, to win big, you’ve got to bet big. I would hardly call 4 bucks in the penny slots, ‘betting big’.

As soon as I crossed the 10 dollar mark I cashed out. Thank heavens for those automatic ticket redeeming machines. I’d be too embarrassed to actually cash the ticket for 10 George Washington’s at a window with a real person.

As I started toward my room, I noticed a creepy guy standing by himself waiting for the elevator. He turned around, dirtily looked me up and down, and a disturbing smile spread across his face. I immediately detoured to the closest slot machine and dumped in a dollar of my hard earned winnings.

I lost the dollar in the poker slots but that may be because… I don’t know how to play poker.

Look. I didn’t have a choice of machines ok?!?! It was a girl emergency!

But I don’t count it as a loss anyway. It was a ‘no way in Hades I’m riding in the elevator with the gross man’ fee and I was happy to pay it.

A couple hours later, we were driving down the freeway. Pops was on a business call and I stared out the window at the strip… and noticed…

‘Uh. Is the Monte Carlo on fire?’

Dad glanced and continued his call – completely brushing me off by the way.


‘Pops, those are flames. That is a fire.’

And then pulled out my camera… because that’s how I roll…

…like a tourist.

An hour later we rolled by again...

Here's pops losing 3 bucks...

And me winning 10!

Seriously, we're high rollers. $7 combined.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Joshua!!

It's time to convince your mom to come to San Diego again!

Have a good one!

Oooh, THOSE cards… oops.

Well, it’s been an interesting two days.

Before leaving, dad asked, ‘Do you have cards?’

‘No. But I loaded up my ipod and I rented a movie from itunes so I should be good. I’m not sure how good the movie is going to be but I’d rather watch a boring movie than stare at some of the freaks and geeks at the airport. Besides, I haven’t taken playing cards on a plane since I was 13… oh wait. Business cards?... Of course?’

My dad just stared at me as if he was trying really hard NOT to call me a complete moron.

I always have business cards – What else am I going to drop in those little glass ‘win a free lunch’ bowls at the front of restaurants?

Shoot. Did I just say that? I mean. I only use them for business purposes!

The first meeting went well. The guys were in their mid to late 20’s and fans of the Chargers. How could we not get along? And they were at the same Detroit game Chris and I were at – um hello?!?! That’s like… bonding.

Lunch went well too I guess – since I live for embarrassing moments. We had to make it a quick stop since we were running late. I tried to order an ‘All American Meal’ from McDonalds but the guy behind the register just stared at me blankly. I leaned closer and whispered, ‘It’s a happy meal without the toy and in a regular bag pretty much.’

Still a blank stare.


‘You want a happy meal?’ He said curiously after staring into the ceiling dumbfounded.

The line was growing so I told him that was fine.

Yeah, fine if you don’t mind sitting among a group of business suited people with a Kid’s Meal connect the dots bag and a giant plush bunny.

Oh well.

My red cheeks still recovering, we walked into our second meeting, not remembering it was going to be with a conference room full of superintendents and some company big wigs.

Superintendent. Definition: The guys who make every subcontractor pee their pants in fear.

Company Big Wigs. Definition: The guys who make every superintendent pee their pants in fear.

Why don’t I have a job where I can just sit and look cute?

I mean, sure, my presentation section was only about 4.5 minutes long but it only takes about 4.5 seconds for me to turn bright red in fear.

But it went well in spite of me.

After the meeting finished, a superintendent walked up to me and said, ‘I have your picture hanging in my work trailer.’

‘My… my… picture?’ I stammered.

‘Yeah, right near our door where we can see it every day.’ He smiled.

‘Um. How terribly… uh… flattering? Where’d you get a picture? I asked.

‘Your co-worker e-mailed it to me.’ He grinned.

Mental note: Kick Katie in the pants immediately upon returning to the office.

There was more but this entry is long enough. I’ll update you later on…

‘Is that the… no…is that…the MONTE CARLO ON FIRE!!! I’ll get my camera.’


‘Heck yes, I more than doubled my money’


Food, food, food.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Wes...

You are the craziest kid I know... but I have to love ya.

That's what aunties do.

And yes Cole, I know the picture is from Christmas 2005...

I can think of worse…

Our company had some meetings scheduled in Las Vegas for Thursday and Friday. Unfortunately I was chosen to attend.


Like it’s ever ‘unfortunate’ to be ‘forced’ to work in Vegas.

Even if you never make it through The Strip, the food in that whole city is amazing. And, in case you missed it… I really, really, really, really, really like food.

Well, that and I like playing the nickel slots in the airport until about the 5th time they page my name to ‘PLEASE GET ON THE PLANE!’.

I was to fly up Thursday morning, attend meetings, stay over Thursday night, attend more meetings, and fly home late Friday.

Well, Friday’s meetings were rescheduled. ‘Unfortunately’ it’s cheaper to leave me there than fly me home a day early.

40 bucks on red?

I’m packing a bikini and kicking it poolside with a margarita on the Mandalay Beach.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The weekend…

It’s been a rough couple of weeks so Chris decided to take me on a date. Anywhere I wanted for dinner and any movie I wanted to see.

Not necessarily a smart decision based on the high volume of over the top chick flicks at the theater.

I wasn’t much in the mood for a crowd so we stopped for a high class dinner at Hilberto’s and went to see 'Juno' (I didn’t want to abuse Chris’ offer, lest he never offer again).

Despite the obvious signs of a potentially bad movie, i.e. an audience full of teenagers and the unhappy faces on guys who looked like they were dragged to the theater, the movie was f-a-n-ta-s-t-i-c.

Chris worked on Saturday and unfortunately I lack the ability to laze around without feeling overcome by guilt so I deep cleaned the house.

I scrubbed the toilets, the floors, the baseboards, the windows, the sills, the shower, the sinks, the mirror, the walls, the light fixtures, the toothbrush holders, the door handles… you get it.

As I pulled a load of laundry out of the dryer and walked back into the house, the smell of bleach assaulted my nostrils and I realized something…

The most comforting smell in the world to me isn’t cinnamon, or vanilla, or fresh laundry, or baked pie… it’s harsh cleaning products.

There is something so refreshing and relaxing about it. It puts a skip in my step. It’s the smell of clean. Germ free clean. But don’t get me started on germs because that’s a whole… well… just don’t get me started. I AM the one who did a semester long project on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and realized… I may have a teeny tiny little problem with it. Whatever.

Someday… a psychologist will make a case study out of me and you'll want my autograph.

I wonder if they make candles that smell like Lysol, Simple Green, or Clorox?

Sunday we mourned two terrible losses. I knew it would come eventually but I thought we had more time together.

The Chargers lost to the Patriots (Does anyone know where I can get a ‘I hate Tom Brady’ bumper sticker?!?!?) and Green Bay lost to… ugh… the Giants.

What a rough day.

I went immediately home and scrubbed the shower with Clorox… again.

Keira has learned to clap... just in time to cheer for our Chargers.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Flashback Friday…

When John, Mike, and I were 13 and 15, one of my dad’s oh so responsible employees showed us how to build a potato gun.

Because everyone knows the combination of pipe, potatoes, a bottle of WD-40, and a flame tool are landmark in safety and you should share them with teenagers.

We made the biggest potato gun possible and spent our afternoons launching the potatoes into targets… *cough* the pool deck… *cough* the new trees… *cough* the house siding… (sorry ‘bout those dents dad)

On a particularly hot day, John filled the chamber up with Rave hairspray and WD-40. The fumes filled the air as he quickly spun the cap on and pulled out the matches. As soon as he touched the flame to the side, a loud BOOM exploded into our ears. Mike and I looked down to see John on his back, his shoes smoldering and the lawn burst into flames.

He hadn’t spun the cap on tightly and instead of launching the potato, the force rocketed the cap and the flame onto John’s shoed feet.

Responsibly… we laughed hysterically at John.

We laughed so hard, we overlooked the fact that the lawn was still on fire… in the middle of summer. About 60 seconds of laughing at John’s blackened shoes went by before we suddenly became aware that the fire was growing. And then we realized, if mom saw the fire, she’d never let us shoot another potato again.

Mike ran for the hose while John stomped out what he could. It’s not like his shoes could get worse.

Fortunately they got the fire out (hence the reason they are such good firefighters… they started young) but there was still a huge problem…

Now there was a huge black spot of charred lawn directly in front of the screen door that mom surely wouldn’t miss. We couldn’t think of a believable story for the burn spot and we certainly weren’t going to tell the truth sooooo…

We dug out the lawn, tossed it off the back hill so no one would find it, threw on some fresh dirt, then went inside and told mom the dogs had dug a patch of the lawn out and she should be mad at them.

As for John’s shoes? ‘Pssshhh. Mom, that’s a fashion statement. Don’t you know style?!?!’

Why do I believe there is a God? There is NO way I would have survived childhood in the country without Him.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's days like these that make me wanna cry...

It's houses like these...

...That make my soul cry.

For those not in Sunny Southern Cali, this is a smokin' deal.

I'm suddenly feeling very, very, VERY upside-down.

Oh well.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

But I’m alive!!

I went to the dentist today to have two crowns replaced. Don’t be jealous OK?

I’m already deathly afraid of anyone who is legally allowed to drill your teeth out (Um, hello? The horror film ‘The Dentist’ was probably based on a true story!) and today’s experience didn’t make my phobia any less present.

You see, at my ghetto dentist, you would close your eyes to prevent any water being splashed in them. At this new high tech place, they give you huge yellow foggy glasses. The giant all plastic blind old people glasses.

Totally Hot, I know.

Then, my dentist is lovely, but I didn’t appreciate her conversation with the assistant.

‘Doesn’t she have beautiful skin?’ she said while pointing at me.

‘I’d kill for her eyelashes. She should be an actress or something.’ replied the assistant.

‘Her shoes are sooooo cute!’ The dentist said, muffled by her mask.

OK, two huge problems:

1 – Please don’t talk about me like I’m at a funeral parlor and you are preparing me for a viewing. I’m alive… and despite these gi-normous glasses that cover most of my face, my ears are still fully functional. Though, if you give me one more shot of Novocain, I’m not sure how much longer they will work – but trust me, I’m willing to take the risk. Load me up.

2 – I’m on to your little game. You are trying to make me feel better by developing a ‘connection’ from compliments. Let me clarify something for you - you could say I was hotter than Claudia Schiffer and I still wouldn’t like you. It’s not personal; it’s your pain inducing drill.

I survived, but barely.

Does anyone know how many Tylenol you can take just before it becomes toxic but way after it takes the pain away?

Monday, January 14, 2008

My weekend?!?!…

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

But, I CAN be grateful. Out of all that could have gone wrong – electrical, roofing, etc – the problem was plumbing, which happens to be my man’s specialty. What would have cost the average Joe Blow upwards of several grand in city charges, backhoe charges, and labor charges - only cost us about $180 and a whole lot of arm strength from my fantastic dad and Chris who both put in an entire day of hard labor. Many thanks to those who stopped by to lend a helping hand.

Sure Chris was smiling, he was in the backhoe while my dad was 6 feet down a hole!

Jessie stopped by to help out. Dad was in the hole, you just can't see him.

Chris' family stops by to help put the yard back together.

And that's it. If you don't hear from me for a few days, it's because I'm showering.