Saturday, February 23, 2008


A few brief updates to report on.

I recently kicked up the job search a little more aggressively. Am putting a lot more energy and focus out there and expanding my search to include related fields and a little bit further commutes. I also recently realized that the Red Line is an easy 30 minute commute from North Hollywood straight into downtown so that has opened me up to a lot of opportunities out there in the financial district which also usually involve better pay as well. I have been getting some good responses to my applications. So far I have one interview scheduled for next Tuesday and am hoping to hear back on some others.

I have been recently introduced to the game of poker and I really enjoy it. I don't even know what the version is called that we play -- I think it might be Texas Hold Em. We played tonight for the first time using actual money instead of just pretend chips and I walked away with $33 of the $45 pot! Pretty good beginners' luck!

I had a nice visit with the pastor of our church this week. Told her I was bored out of my mind from being unemployed and needed some volunteer work to do. So she hooked me up with a member of the church who is going through some medical procedures and needs help getting too and from appointments and errands and such. So I met with her today and we had a very nice visit and got a few things done together. I'm going to try to help her out a couple of days a week until I get a job. It's a nice opportunity for me to get out of the house and do something productive and hopefully the good karma will come back my way. She also seems to be a really nice person and I'm looking forward to getting to know her more.

I've started downloading audiobooks onto my Ipod to listen to when I'm out exercising or doing chores around the house and I love it! (Which is another reason I love the idea of commuting by subway - more chances to listen to my Ipod.) Currently I have been going through the book "Into the Wild," true story that was recently made into a major motion picture about a boy who goes into the Alaskan wild to try to live out his dream of living off the land and communing with nature and ends up dying alone. It is an amazing read and I definitely recommend it - part tragic and part inspiring; part wise and part foolish; the kind of essentially human story that everyone has an opinion about. I'm on the final chapter right now. If you've read it or are familiar with the story I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Diet and exercise are going well. Let the blood sugar get a little too low tonight and ended up splurging on Pizza. Still haven't caved to the soda cravings. I've realized that my will power is strong enough to get me through the Lenten discipline but as soon as it's over I'm going back to drinking pop. It just brings me too much pleasure to live without.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stop that Cart!

Even though we have been living here for 7+ months now, every time we have a new "LA experience" it still tickles me. Today, I had one of those in the most unexpected of circumstances. I had a few errands to run this morning which included cashing some checks and doing a bit of grocery shopping. Luckily, my bank, the Trader Joes, and our local produce mart are all in the same parking lot so I could accomplish all of my errands with one stop. However, given the popularity of the shopping center, the parking lot is sometimes a bit of a zoo. I took one trip through the parking lot and seeing no empty spaces decided to circle around the block and park a ways away on street parking. No problem, I can stretch my legs a bit and the exercise isn't going to hurt me. Grocery shopping was a complete success. I stocked up on lots of regular items as well as have a weeks worth of dinners and lunches - 6 bags of groceries -- all for around $100. Gotta love Trader Joes. Well, I started the trek back to my car figuring I would just bring the shopping cart back to the parking lot when I was finished. Well, there I am pushing my cart along and I start getting close to the street and all of a sudden the front wheel jams and I practically fall head long into my basket. So I try to pull the cart back and reposition the wheel but it appears to be stuck. I look down at the wheel to see what it is caught on and nothing. It appears to be locked up for no reason. For the life of me, I can't seem to get the cart to move. Then I look up a few feet in front of me near the parking lot entrance and see a sign that says: "Shoppers Beware: Shopping carts are programmed to lock if you try to remove them from the Parking Lot." Wow! Who knew shopping cart technology could be so sophisticated! Ha ha ha. Well, it was a little bit of a challenge juggling all six of my grocery bags down the street to my car but we made it. And not without a funny story for my blog.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dos Peros

This is why two wiener dogs are better than one.

Happy Tummies

Don and I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see a lot of friends and loved ones in the last two weeks. Starting with our trip to Tacoma. And then as soon as we got back home Ben came for a trip out. And to top it off Don's sister Angie and her lovely boyfriend Mike were in the region on a golfing trip with his parents and went out of their way to make a quick trip out to see us and spend a little time with us before they had to fly back to Boise. They arrived early Friday evening. A little weary from traveling we had a low key evening, a nice dinner and some games at our house. But before they left the next morning we decided to give them a little taste of the good life in LA and drove them out to The Grove to have breakfast at our favorite breakfast place called The Farm. With market/farm fresh quality ingredients with the pictures and descriptions of the food below, you will quickly see why it is our favorite place. Here is what we ordered... Which one would you pick?

CINDY: Stuffed Crepe - Crepe stuffed with Scrambled Egg, Wild Mushrooms, Gruyere Cheese, and topped with a Champaigne Hollandaise Sauce.

DON: Eggs Benedict - Poached Eggs seved over Sauteed Spinach and Honey Roasted Ham on Toasted Farm Brioche with Hollandaise Sauce.

ANGIE: Buttermilk Pancakes - Three Pancakes served with Vermont Maple Syrup & Sweet Butter, Blueberry, Granola, or Banana-Macademia Nut

MIKE: Fried Egg Sandwich - Fried Eggs, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Shallot Aioli & Jack Cheese on a Toasted Croissant

Here we are at the end of our meal with happy tummies.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

2 Miles

One of the reasons I have loved living in California is how inviting our neighborhood is for getting outside and walking the dogs in the lovely sunshine and seeing all the cute California homes. There is a wonderful loop that the dogs like to take through our residential neighborhood and I have been curious for some time about the length of the walk so this morning I finally decided pace it out with my car. What do you know, the loop comes out to be one mile exactly! Well, that couldn't be any more perfect. Since I am a person that likes to see and measure progress, I'm going to print out some kind of table that measures out 100 miles or so so that I can mark them off each time the dogs and I take a loop. I figure I will give myself some kind of reward everytime I get to a certain mark. This afternoon the dogs and I just took TWO LOOPS! Cordy was really not excited when we got back to the house and kept on going for a second time around! Oh well, she needs to get in shape just like Mommy does. I'll let you know when I hit my first 25 mile mark!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I want a Coke sooooooooooooooooooo badly!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Snowball Effect

Contrary to the blog title, no it is definitely not snowing here. In fact, Don and I came back from our cold and rainy trip to Tacoma to three stunningly gorgeous days up to 80 degrees and we are loving it. The dogs and I have had some really nice pleasant walks this week.

No the snowball effect that I'm referring to is the figurative one. I've never been good about watching what I eat, or more I should say I've never really tried to. But it's something I've started lately as I'm sure you've read in my previous blogs. Well, my biggest area of weakness has to be in eating out and we have been doing a lot of it lately due to our traveling. Well, tonight we had a lovely meal out at the Hamburger Hamlet treated by Ben. Thank you Ben! We were quite hungry when we got there so I know a dinner salad would be out of the picture as it would not come close to filling me up. And after all, it is the Hamburger Hamlet and those burgers were sounding really good. Plus, big juicy burgers go really well with high calorie sodas which I had just given up for Lent. So with water to drink, I started noticing going through the menu that you could order a turkey patty in place of beef for any of their gourmet burgers without any additional cost. Now, a turkey burger goes pretty well with water! So I ended up selecting a turkey burger with light goat cheese and pesto, tomato and arugula. The hardest step was now what to do with their sides as I am a huge addict of their mesquite fries. But since I had already made the decision to go healthy on the drink and the main, I didn't want to undo all that good work and cancel it all out with the calories and saturated fats from the fries. So in the end I was good and ordered the side salad instead. I am really excited at the moment about seeing how just committing to one healthy choice can snowball and lead to so many other healthy choices. And most exciting of all, was that by the time we were finished with our meal and ready to go, even though I had cleaned my plate I still felt very light and pleasantly full as opposed to everyone else who was felt heavy and sluggish from their high calorie meals. So I am very proud of myself and feeling empowered. Cheers.

Ashes to Ashes

With the event of Ash Wednesday a week ago, thus begins one of Don's and My favorite church season -- the season of Lent. I had been planning to try and make it to PLU chapel for the service, but Tuesday night I came down with the traveling cold and so spent most of the day resting in my hotel. However, luckily Stevie invited us out to dinner and then we joined him and Jenn along with Matt and Emily at First Lutheran for a nice traditional evening Ash Wednesday worship. It was a wonderful service and it really spoke to Don and I both in a very meaningful way - thank you Holy Spirit. The Pastor was very direct and engaging in his sermon. He didn't try to fancy it up with bells and whistles or fire and brimstone and thus it allowed us time to digest and meditate on the meaning of his very simple truthful heartfelt message.

The reason we love Lent so much is because of the very real way it allows you to focus on your faith and your spiritual life. I've always been deeply and romantically attached to monasticism -- the fasting, the studying, the praying, the self giving service. Perhaps, now ourselves being in the desert, we will find ever new meanings this year in our Lenten Journeys through these 40 days and nights. For our disciplines I have decided to give up soda and Don has given up alcohol. There have already been a few moments where I have realized that, wow, this is not going to be easy, but I guess that's the point of a discipline isn't it? But it is such a refreshing and rewarding experience to get away from excessive indulgences which our culture so very much perpetuates -- all of those meaningless things that get in the way of our true purposes, self-sustaining wholeness, and the recognition of God's divine grace in the world around us.

Also, just the opportunity to worship with close friends again made us aware of just how much we missed having those close spiritual connections and relationships and realized that for all of the good things that we really like about the church we have been going to off and on since we moved down here, that the hospitality is not amazing, and we really don't feel any more connected to the congregation now than we did our first Sunday there. So we may begin to start exploring some other churches in our neighborhood to see if there might be some place that we connect more with.

So there is a little bit of where we are at this Lent. I hope that your own Lenten Journeys are filled with glimpses of God's grace and meaning for your own life.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl

Superbowl Sunday, otherwise known as the least attended church day of the year, actually turned out to be a rather exciting game. Despite not having any specific team to root for, with the numerous exchanges of possessions and leads in the fourth quarter, it definitely kept us on our toes to see who would come out on top. Also, got to see several great friends including Steve S. and Katherine who hosted, Steve W. and Jenn, Steve C., Jesse, Ben, Milton and Laurie, Jenny and Kevin and their adorable boy Patrick, and Kelly and Dave. So it really didn't matter whether the game turned out to be a flop or not, we still would have had a great time. Earlier in the day we also got to catch up with Emily and Michael and see their new turn of the century home and all of the exciting renovations they have planned.

Don's workweek starts tomorrow. I have a few things on my agenda to do this week while he is working including some Tacoma stores I want to visit, some more job hunting and interview prep to do, and a few friends to see who have daytime slots available. I just hope the week doesn't go by too quickly.


We made it to Tacoma safe and sound and are already enjoying our time in the Pacific Northwest catching up with friends. It was an interesting feeling getting off the plane and stepping back out into the Northwest Culture. The sights... the sounds... the way people dress. It was definitely a feeling of relaxation like coming home after a long trip. I'm definitely a product of this culture. It has left it's mark on me in a major way and although our move to California is the best thing that's ever happened to us I still think that this is the place I will return to at some stage in our lives even if it be a couple of decades for now. Of course, we always dream of retiring in Bellingham - the most beautiful city in the world but the place with no jobs :)

We have been enjoying the fresh clean air (thankfully no Tacoma aroma), the lack of traffic congestion, and the awesome selection of fresh seafood and microbrews. Of course the best part though has been seeing friends we miss dearly. When we arrived Friday night, Nathan, Christian, Matt and Jessica all answered the last minute call to meet us at Stanley and Seaforts for a night cap before calling it a day. Yesterday, after driving all over Federal Way to all of the Starbucks trying to track down the elusive Emily, we finally gave up and decided to go and crash on Nathan and Hannah's privacy and gave them a 12:00 p.m. unannounced wakeup call. We visited with them for the afternoon which included lunch at Duke's Chowder House where I had the Northwest Seafood Chowder in a Sourdough Bread Bowl and Don had Snowcap Beer Battered Fish and Chips. It was awesome and probably not the last time we will eat there this week.

Then for the evening Brian and Tiffany invited us over to their place for an evening of games. They are now living with Cameron so we got to see the adorable baby Devlin who is talking now and miraculously continues to get cuter every day. We played with my camera and then she had to go to bed but not before I got her in a cute ladybug costume. Apparently she is very big on the dress up. We also got to meet Cameron's new beau, Dan, who is a fabulous cook and made us an amazing spread of gourmet appetizers including baked brie with caremelized onions, wine and shallot glazed steamed clams, and cajun fried catfish. Wow, we infinitely approve Cameron! As the night wore on our party grew and Michael, Nathan, Hannah and Matt S joined us and all had a great time.

Later this morning Don and I will be headed to a Superbowl gathering where we will get to see even more friends that we haven't seen in a while. We are all about maximizing our time here to see as many people as possible and as often as possible. It's kind of hard for us to make the plans ourselves since we are laid up in a hotel so we are kind of at the whim of others to invite us out and host us. If you find yourself with some free time in the next week give us a call and we will come on over or make a plan to meet somewhere. Group activities are highly encouraged. Starting tomorrow Don will be working days at Revchem through the end of the week but we will be catching dinner every night so if you want to have us over or go out with us let us know what night you will be free. I will have the days free for the most part for anyone who has an irregular work schedule and wants to get together. I know I'm planning on trying to make it to PLU chapel this Wednesday for Ash Wednesday service if anyone is free. Friday night we are going to see Nathan's play along with Matt S. and Emily R. if anyone can make that. It sounds like it's supposed to be really good. Next Saturday afternoon from about 11 to 5 there is going to be a brief period of Epic Arena gaming if anyone wants to roll up a character and join us. So far Saturday evening is free and then we leave Sunday morning the 10th.