Friday, November 30, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree

Don and I were both exhausted last night when we got home from work. I made no effort to work out or cook a healthy dinner. I was resigned to spending an evening reading by the light of my Christmas tree and really looking forward to it. And that's exactly what I did. Don mentioned that he had spoken with Jeremy earlier that day and that they wanted to come by and work on developing a new gaming character for the campaign since Jeremy's died on Wednesday. Perfect! I immediately tossed Harry Potter aside and surrounded myself with gaming books instead. Matt is going to be starting a new campaign in January and I have yet to decide what I'm going to play. So last night I immersed myself in gaming books and searched for ideas and inspiration. And finally towards the end of the night I came up with an idea that actually excites me. I'm going to create a character with a basic background, a basic class (probably rogue), and instead of planning her future out for her from the getgo, since we're starting at level one, I think I'll actually let her advance as is fitting to the story and decide what other classes she is going to take as we progress. Anyway, it was a most relaxing evening well spent and I'm looking forward to spending much more time with my Christmas tree this weekend. Thank God it's Friday.

Also, FYI, it is raining today. How cool is that?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Working it out

Yesterday at work was insane. Since things are slow on the auction side of things, the beloved company owner has nothing to do himself so he is micromanaging everyone else - except me. But he is micromanaging my boss which to a certain extent falls back in my lap. Now, I am actually quite busy this week already with lots of projects piled up on my desk to get to and lots of ambitions. But when owner man is asking for updates/reports/files/information from my boss every five minutes, guess who my boss is asking for assistance with these requests. I kid you not, I could not complete a single task yesterday without being interrupted ten times. It was incredibly irritating, and I admit that by the end of the day I was wearing my irritation on my sleeve. Thanks be to God that last night was gaming night and I got to go home and unwind to an awesome session which included one party death (Thanks Remus for your ultimate sacrifice) and mucho experience points.

Today, however, I am prepared. I have my legal pad out and am ready to make a list to prioritize tasks as they are given to me. I'm not going to allow my day to be picked apart so scatter brained on the fly as things come up. Instead, when new task is given to me I'll write it down and let him know that I'll get to things in their proper order.

Additionally, we just found out this week that the owner wants to reorganize our work space to rent out the "extra room" and generate a profit. So Steve and I have to move across the hallway over by the sales guys some time next week. It will be a small downgrade and not quite as comfortable, but at least we will still be down in the basement where people will leave us alone. Plus, the sales guys are really cool so at least they will make nice office mates. That being said, I am highly motivated to get my desk cleaned off before we have to move. So much to do, I won't have much time to blog or chat the next couple of days but I will update as I get time.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Don and I had no desire to do any shopping yesterday. The stores in LA are crowded enough on a normal day without having to fight the rat race of Black Friday. However, I really wanted to dip in and out of Costco really quick to pick up an artificial Christmas Tree. I figured if I was just going in and out for one thing I could tolerate the chaos. Then Don needed to go to Target because something he was planning to order for his family was no longer available on So we decided to just suck it up and go because otherwise we would just have been sitting around the house all day anyway.

But the whole experience ended up being awesome. We went at 1:00 p.m. and by that time the crowds must have come and gone already. It was actually LESS busy than it would have been on a normal day at both stores. At Target we found the item we were looking for $15.00 cheaper than we expected, and at Costco we ended up browsing and picking up a few more gifts for people in addition to the tree. We splurged a little and bought a really nice pre-lit 7.5 foot tall artificial tree with very life like needles and nice full branches. It was so easy to put together Don and I about laughed. Here are a few pictures of our tree assembly. Today I need to go back to the store and get a tree skirt and some stockings for the fireplace.

Cordy and Seumas Surf the Christmas Tree Box.

The dogs pose in front of the tree.

The finished product.

Close Ups

The Angel

Our other Angel

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. It is a gorgeous foggy morning here. I had a little trouble sleeping in so I'm up a little earlier than I'd like. The dogs are snuggled in bed with Don. I need to go to the grocery store and pick up a couple of things for the Cranberry Jello Salad I'm making today. I think I will walk to the store to get a little exercise. When I get back I plan to spend my Thanksgiving morning drinking tea and curled up on the couch watching Gone with the Wind which I checked out from the library last night. It's so nice to be on vacation. We got invited to Thanksgiving dinner by some of Don's friends in the gaming industry so we won't be alone after all. Plus, it turns out that someone finally stepped up and accepted the invitation to come and stay with us for the Thanksgiving weekend - our three legged friend Max (Jeremy and Katy's Dog.) He gets in today at noon. Cordy and Seumas will be so excited. Tomorrow morning, after I balance my checkbook and see where we're at, I think we might go down to Costco and get a fake Christmas tree and start decorating for the holidays.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Weight Management

My computer has been replaced and I'm up and running again. Instead of replacing my crappy stolen computer with a nice new computer, they replaced my crappy stolen computer with a crappier older ancient dinosaur computer from the garage storage. This morning when it took my "new" computer 10 minutes to boot up and log in - after I sat around for an hour while IT worked on installing my programs - I seriously considered handing in my notice unless they were willing to give me a significant upgrade. There is no way I'm going to spend half my day waiting for the seasons to change while it takes a single document 45 minutes to load on my computer. I was relieved to find out that once I am actually logged in and things have warmed up, everything runs pretty much on par with my old computer. So that is a big relief.

So until late morning, a lot of the last 24 hours have been spent waiting around in stall mode unable to do anything productive. I decided yesterday afternoon to take advantage of the opportunity to schedule a doctor's appointment that I've been meaning to schedule but didn't want to take the time off work. I decided to try a new doctor since the one I got last time was kind of a dud - hooray Kaiser Permanente. This guy was definitely more thorough and took time to really explain things to me but still not going to win any awards based on personality. The problem is that my doctor in Tacoma was perfect. I had never felt so thoroughly cared for and so confident in his diagnosis and treatments, I just know he is going to be impossible to replace. There are a lot of smart doctors out there making a lot of money, but not as many out there who actually really care about their patients and how they are feeling. I know. I was a chaplain once.

Anyway, since then, I have been poked, prodded, stuck, and scraped. I had my blood drawn, got a Tetnis shot, had a skin test, been weighed, measured, evaluated. I have to go back Friday morning for the results of my skin test and have to see a dermatologist for a skin irritation problem I've been having - I'll spare you the icky details. I'll get my blood work back in a few days and find out if I have any horrible diseases and if I'm getting all the vitamins and nutrients I need.

But the really exciting part of the exam was when my doctor told me that he noticed that my weight was "getting close" to what would be considered overweight for my height and that he would like to see me lose a couple of pounds "since excess weight can lead to other factors such as diabetes and heart disease." I said that for the most part I ate pretty healthy food and was very good at exercising. And his response was that that was all very good, now let's just get the " weight under control" too before I get "any older."

And here I thought I was all special about to turn 30 and still getting hit on in the supermarket parking lot. But now all of a sudden, if I don't get my weight "under control" before I turn 30 than there is no turning back! I will be doomed a life of horrible diseases because I weigh all of ... 144 pounds???? I asked the doctor how much weight I would have to lose as I didn't want to be one of those twiggy LA girls. He said that I was not quite at the overweight mark but that he would like to see me down to 141 just to give me a more comfortable "buffer." Ha ha ha! So now I need to trim 3 pounds to promote my life longevity. And just in time for the holidays. Oh well. I have done a pretty good job of managing my weight over the past ten years. I've kept myself pretty constant under 145 and if I start to get over that I trim back and work a little harder. But I guess I will now have to set my "buffer" a little lower. Doctor's orders. I'll show you "buffer." Just give me a few weeks in the gym.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Robbed Again

The hooligans were running rampant in the Valley this weekend. Don's new building got graffitied and mine got robbed again. This time, they did take my computer. So I'm pretty paralyzed for the next day or two until they can get me a new one. I will be trying to steal a few moments from my boss' computer here and there as I am able. But for the most part, you won't be able to catch me live the next few days. They even took my phone. Happy holidays.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wiener Wonderland

Here are a few pics from the Dachshund Meetup today.

If you want to see more, you can check out my webshots album.

There were 15-20 Doxies that showed up all together. Most were smooth hairs but there was one long haired and two wire haired.

Like true dachshunds they were more interested in the people and hunting for scraps than they were the other dogs.

Our training with Cordy and Seumas has really paid off. They were the most well behaved pups at the party, and the cutest I might add.

This senior citizen stole my heart. He was the cutest sweetest gentlest soul I've ever met. If Seumas turns out just like him when he reaches the silver haired age I could not be more pleased.

This pretty girl took time to smile for the camera.

Look again, this guy in the middle is not Cordy but a giant male standard named Mokey and just as sweet as our little girl. If they had not both been fixed already, I would have been tempted to breed them.

The people outlasted all the dogs. By the end of two hours, the homosapeans were all sitting around gabbing while the pups all were begging to be let up to curl up in our laps and go to sleep. Such a hard day!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Killer Shrimp

Dah... duh... dah... duh... da... du... da... du... da... du... da... du... da... du... da... du... da... du... da... du

No, this is not a recent horror movie we watched but a new restaurant that we tried last night. That's right. Not only did I NOT cook last night, but we even went out to a dining establishment and paid other people to cook for us. It was such a nice splurge, something we haven't done in a long time as we have been trying to save money. But even so, despite the gourmet dinner, our pocket book was less than smoking by the time we left the restuarant. Between the four of us (Jeremy and Katy included) we spent an even $100 and that included beverages, a huge dessert split four ways, tax and a tip.

At Killer Shrimp your options are... (a) Killer Shrimp with Bread; (b) Killer Shrimp with Pasta; or (c) Killer Shrimp with Rice. And that is it. If you don't like Killer Shrimp you are screwed. (It says so right on the menu.) I am always impressed, in a culture that values choices and options so much, by a restaurant that can succeed on such a limited selection. You know that if they specialize in one thing and one thing only, that that one thing better be prettty darn magnificently spectacular.

And surely enough it was. The killer shrimp comes out in this giant bowl of the most incredibly developed broth with layers upon layers of flavor - spicy, garlicky, sweetness - with an entire basket of of fresh baguette slices to soak up all that lovely goodness. Kinda looks like the picture here only the broth was not tomato based but instead had this gorgeous golden hugh that swirled around and changed colors when you dipped your bread in it.

My only complaint was that they do not peel and de-vein the shrimp for you. Apparently it preserves the flavor quite a bit more, but I seemed to be the only one at our table who was completely disgusted by having to pull off the tiny little row of legs with my bare fingers before I could peel and eat them. The funny thing is I have seen more dead deer in my life than I know what to do with and they don't bother me a bit, but there's something about those little insect like legs that had me completely creeped out. At least they cut the heads off for us. But I dealt with my phobia and enjoyed the meal nonetheless. It truly was amazing.

And of course, going with the limited selection theme, when it came time for dessert they only had two options: Sweet Potato Pie or Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce. What do you know, that just happens to be the way Don and I like our Chocolate Cake. However, we are pretty tough critics when it comes to cake. We don't like regular flour cakes but this one ended up to be more of a rich ganache and was again, dare I say, perfect. Even the hand whipped cream on the side was delectable. I only wish that it would get colder in California. On the first winter night where it drops below 50 (if that EVER happens here) I want to be back there lapping up that amazing broth and letting it warm my tummy and awaken my senses.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Welcome Weekend

We at the Early Household are very eager to welcome in the weekend here. This week has been a bit draining for both of us. Don is still averaging 12 to 13 hour days at work but he said he is getting closer to the point where he won't need to make those 4:30 a.m. wake up calls anymore as they nail down their morning routines in the new shop.

Work has been a little draining for me this week too. Again, I mostly work by myself but our sister company is not performing very well and stress levels are high in all of the other departments. It just makes for a bit of a toxic environment. Since we (the leasing company) are the only ones that are actually making money out of the two companies instead of losing it, we are obviously in a much more comfortable position, but it also puts a lot of pressure on us to save everyone else's *&^%>, you know?

Plus, when the days get this long for Don, I normally pick up the slack around the house and give him a free ride to rejuvenate when he gets home. Given that I spend the majority of my grueling 7 hour work day blogging and checking the headlines every 5 minutes I figure it is the least I can do to take over the cooking, and cleaning, and laundry when he is out breaking his back to put bread on our table. Don is just lucky that we have a gardener. We seem to have fallen into the routine of traditional household roles except that there is no lawn that needs to be mowed. Man did he get lucky.

O.K. Back to my original train of thought... So I appreciate the sacrifices he is making, particularly in lack of sleep, and the ridiculous fires he is having to put out at work (including one of their delivery trucks that literally caught fire the other day) from other people not doing their jobs properly and the responsibility ending up in his lap (isn't it fun to be a manager), and I am willing to step up and do my part to contribute. Even so, I can usually keep pace with the life of a single... uhh ... wife? ... for about 2 to 3 weeks before I hit the wall myself. And I definitely hit the wall Wednesday night after taking on the major dinner project in the middle of the week. Not that I haven't been completely enjoying our new cooking blog and trying all of these new recipes. But I have given myself leave to take it easy the next couple of days with some light cleaning and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches until I have regained the wind that has been knocked out of me. Regardless, the timing is not bad. We have a short week next week followed by a four day weekend and by the end of that things should be mostly back to normal with Don's working hours and I'll have a full time husband again.

So we are happy that we are headed into the weekend. And though I don't want it to pass too quickly, I can't wait for Sunday afternoon to roll around as we are going to a Dachshund meetup for local dachshund owners to all get our pups together to play. I'm so excited. I promise to take lots of pictures and post them.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dear Santa

It has been a very good year. Don and I have been very happy with our move to California, as have Cordy and Seumas. We found a nice home, a nice church, a nice group of friends, and everyone is healthy and doing well. There truly isn't anything I need this year. But if you feel that I have been extra good and still want to bring me something, here are a few things I would not mind ending up in my stocking...

A new sharp vegetable peeler. Mine is old and dull. Don cursed 6 times last night when he was trying to peel the potatoes for me. I counted. But please don't put him on your naughty list. Other than that he has been a very good boy.

One of those hand held pastry blenders, you know, for mixing pie dough. Then maybe I could do some more baking. I would really like to try to make a Shephards Pie some day but I think it would be better if I made my own crust.

A muffin tin. Don't have one. Now that we don't live with Emily anymore I can't borrow hers.

A large crockpot. The one we have is too small for most things I want to make (like Corned Beef and Cabbage!) and one of its little tripod legs is broken so it wobbles.

I would love some new kitchen towels and wash cloths. All of mine or old and worn out. They don't have to be fancy. Just new and clean.

Some new regular white sweat socks. Again, old and warn out.

A subscription for Cooking Light magazine or any of the Cooking Light annual cookbooks (except for 2003 and 2004 since I already have those) so I can continue to find new inspiration for my cooking blog. Plus I really like Cooking Light magazine since it is organized by month and usually highlights the freshest in seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Nice heavy duty calphalon pots and pans with lids that are oven safe or a dutch oven. Time to wean out some of our old cheap ones, plus, Don melted one of the lids that wasn't supposed to go in the oven.

The Harry Potter DVD's - all five of them, I don't have any and I LOVE THEM. I especially love to watch them around Christmas time.

More exercise pants size medium and not too long please.

The list is not in any particular order of desire, just a few things I have been daydreaming about lately. Thanks Santa!

Cid Kid

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Proud Aunty Cindy

I just got these new pictures of my niece on her play date last night and had to show them off immediately. Amber is the one on the far right - the cutest one of course!

Now I got these pictures from my sister Kristy, not my sister Terri (Amber's Mom) who sent them to Kristy. And I am also told that Kristy got to talk on the phone to Amber (2 1/2 years old) the other night . Where's my phone call?!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Yep, I am officially a Rockstar. This weekend Don and I were introduced to and then promptly purchased the PS2 game Guitar Hero. Man is it fun! How awesome is it that we can play the guitar without actually having to learn how to play the guitar?! You can read all about it in Don's Blog. Anyway, after a full day of rocking out, something unexpected happened to me this morning at 9:00 a.m. in the grocery store parking lot. I was actually hit on by a decently attractive, genuinely nice, non-creep. When does THAT happen? After a brief encounter of him showing me how to get into the Washington Mutual ATM lobby during non-business hours (swipe your debit card on the side of the door) and my thanking him profusely as I may have never figured it out on my own, he started to walk away to his car, had a minor inner struggle and a few seconds later turned back to me. And his pickup line... "I'm sorry, just one more thing, I have to tell you that that sweater really brings out your eyes." He asked me my name, introduced himself, shook my hand and then asked with hopeful eyebrow raised, "Single?" I broke the news to him gently, told him that he made my day anyway and that for what it was worth, if I wasn't already married to the man of my dreams, I would have given him my number. The sweater in reference - my $10 sweatshirt hoodie from target with accidental paint splatters all over it from the Rebuilding Tacoma Project. Considering that I had not yet showered, put any makeup on, or dressed up in the slightest, I'm thinking it could only have been one thing that captivated him... my rockstar glow. I have my first groupie!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Personal Insight

I was rereading some archived posts on a friends blog and came across this introspective exercise. Thought I would share...

life would be simpler if... we had no debt.
i feel most beautiful... when I'm out in public with a group of powerful women.
the quality i like most about myself... is my natural ability to bring out other people's best qualities. Don't ask me how I do this. It just seems to happen.
the quality i like least about myself is... that I don't have any major goals for my personal life right now.
something that no one knows about me is... that I never pray.
something I'm proud of... That I'm still a Democrat even though we make a lot more money now. Go Hillary.
guiltiest pleasure? Snuggling with my dogs in bed.
high road or low road? High
my favorite possession is... my Bible. I think I would die without it.
when i was little, i wanted to be... a boy. Girl's were dumb. Then I became a woman.
what surprises me most about my adult life is... how long it takes to get your career started, buy a house, and be ready for kids. Weren't we supposed to have all this by the time we were 25? I'm shooting for 35 now.
the big decision i'm currently wrestling with is... how to be more generous with my tithing when I am still trying to pay off credit cards, save for a house, and plan for retirement.
my motto is... perfection is a selfish ambition. But a little kindness could change the world.

Anyone else want to give it a try?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Puppy Pics

Here's a little update on what Cordy and Seumas have been up to.

Cordy sunbathing. I didn't realize it until just now, but her stomach has actually gotten tanner since we've moved to California. I can't believe how pink she used to be. Now her tummy is a dark brown. This picture was taken the first month we were here.

I have a toy!

Seumas' first night after his surgery. Poor puppy. Cordy is standing guard to make sure he is all right. She was very gentle with him after the surgery while he was healing.

Wine Country

As I blogged earlier, I lost hundreds of pictures from my corrupt memory card in my camera but finally got around to uploading the few that were not destroyed. Here are a couple from our trip to wine country.

The Wine!

The View from Edna Valley Vineyard in San Luis Bispo.

Our Picnic Lunch on Saturday Afternoon.

Camille, the "Fruit" Loop

Congratulations Curt and Laurel

On Saturday, November 3rd, 2007 we attended the wedding of our dear friend Curt from college and his lovely new wife Laurel. They had a traditional ceremony and a very lovely reception. It is one of those weddings you just love to witness because the two people are so clearly made for each other. We have only met Laurel a few times but you don't need to be around her long to realize what a gracious and pleasant person she is and to see how happy she makes Curt. Congratulations you two! Here are a few pictures from the reception. You can see more in my webshots album.

The First Dance

The flower girls had more fun than anyone at the reception twirling in their dresses on the dance floor.

There was a light reception with drinks and appetizers, followed by the presentation of the bride and groom with dinner and dancing. Everything was very elegant and the food was delicious.

Party Pictures

November SoCal Forecast

This morning was a gorgeous cool foggy dewy morning. I couldn't resist stopping for a latte and an oatmeal currant scone on the way to work. I even had my heater running in my car. Here is the forecast for the rest of the week in case you were wondering. Extended forecast actually says it's supposed to be highs in the sixties next week. Might be time to get the sweater box down from the closet.

Today Tomorrow Wed Thu Fri
AM Clouds
PM Sun
Mostly Sunny Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy Partly Cloudy
High: 72°Low: 50° High: 76°Low: 52° High: 77°Low: 52° High: 72°Low: 51° High: 70°Low: 50°

Want to know what we've been eating?

I haven't been posting much lately because over the weekend Camille and I started a fun new blog together and that's where all of my blogging time has gone lately. We decided it would be fun to start a cooking blog where we share recipes we've tried and the stories that develop in creating them. We decided for this blog to focus solely on new recipes to give us some inspiration to get out there and try new things in the kitchen. We even gave it a flirtatious angle by calling ourselves the Cooking Kama Sutras. (Camille came up with the name. I said I wanted something sexy.) So when you get a chance, click on the link and check us out. And if you want to be part of the fun too, let me know and I'll send you an invitation.