Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Family Reunion of Sorts

After a smelly flight on Wednesday (seriously, the plane smelled like B.O), I arrived in Salt Lake City to be greeted by my beautiful cousin, her sweet husband and 2 adorable sons. They had a little sign and everything!

The original plan was to attend the DMB concert that night and then spend some quality time together for a few days. Unfortunately for us, the show got postponed. It's understandable, but a bit disappointing. So that left us with plenty of time to just hang out. That night we went out for a yummy dinner - though now I can't remember the name of the place. We ate lots and lots of beef though. Delicious. She and I stayed up way too late just talking and catching up.

On Thursday, I woke up to the pitter-patter of little feet running through the house. When I looked up, her boys were standing outside my door. I waved and they came in and gave me big hugs. What a fun way to start the day! After a little running around town, we stopped in to see her sister with the 9 month belly. She looked so great, and is ready for that baby to come. Most of the afternoon, we drained our brains talking about so much. It was good for me and I got some much appreciated advice. That night, us two gals got to galavant out on our own to go shopping and catch a movie. We were the only 2 people in the theater watching Mamma Mia and it was hilarious. We talked and sang and threw in a few dance moves as if we were watching it in our own living rooms. I think both of us felt young again being together out on the town. Just like old times. Mission accomplished!

On Friday, I started the day playing cars and guns with her boys and then we went shopping again. When you have a girlfriend to shop with, it really fuels that addiction! She took me to her favorite decorating store Rod Works. It is seriously the cutest. And then an outdoor mall in Salt Lake. We grabbed a good lunch too and stopped on the way home to take a few pictures. My cousin is an AMAZING photographer. (A. Chamberlain Photography) She noticed this bright blue building in the city and thought it would be the perfect backdrop. She took a few pictures of me and I thought they turned out really cute! I'm sure I'll be using it for all my profile pics from now on! We rushed to get home and get ready for their family picnic. It was a family reunion of sorts for me. I spent every summer with their family from the time I was 11 until I was 17. Now everyone is grown up with families of their own. So its different, but strangely the same. It was just so good to see everyone.

On Saturday, we had a couple goals - get an updated cousin picture together and be at the airport on time. Done and done. We had to get up early to do it, but we did it! We went to an area where she takes a lot of her portraits and her husband was kind enough to shoot us together. Then we headed off to the airport, the whole way trying to convince her husband that now they need to come to California for a visit. I think we've just about got him. :)

So I headed home on another smelly plane and here I am, back in L.A. The trip completely wore me out and I took a 2 hour nap as soon as I sat down to watch TV. Of course, it was totally worth it.


Monday, August 25, 2008

How To Fit Your Whole Personality Into One Suitcase

It is so much pressure to pack for an extended weekend. Especially when you haven't seen the people you are visiting in so many years. You want to look great, but don't want to overdo it either. You know the look - cute and comfortable, but somehow so very pulled together. Fabulous Casual. So at this moment, I am sitting in the office in my pajamas with half of my wardrobe strewn all over the bedroom. I have arrange several outfits, which are all hanging up in the vanity but how do I choose?

I even searched online for the Perfect Packing List. Hoping there was some magical website that showed exactly what I should take with me. The fact of the matter is, the people I'm visiting couldn't care less what I wear. I could probably show up in a paper bag and we'd figure it out from there. I just hate packing. I don't know what we'll be doing or where we'll be going, so I want to have plenty of "just in case" outfits. However, if I packed everything I wanted to, it would look like I was moving in and not just staying for 3 days. Plus I would not be able to roll that suitcase on my own. So its time to make the decision. Pick the outfits already. Don't go crazy with the shoes. And just be myself.

Youth of the Nation

What a fun weekend we had! My husband's 2nd cousins (and god-sons) were here visiting all the way from Ashland, Wisconsin. They usually come out this way about once a year, but we hardly ever spend more than a couple hours with them. This time they actually stayed at our house for two nights, so that was exciting.

But mind you, these two guys are no ordinary teenagers. They literally live out in the boonies. They don't have access to more than 4 TV channels. They ride their bikes everywhere. They are in a band. They get summer jobs working on farms or for the Fish and Gaming Department. They don't play video games.

So with the lack of superficial entertainment that most of us rely on, they are actually THINKERS. On Saturday night, they wanted to stay in and catch up on things rather than go out on the town. They are hilarious too. So we just had a lot of fun. I'll be honest, it was good to have my brother there as sort of a buffer, though. Since Hubby and I are getting old, we are a little behind on what the kids are into these days and sometimes had no clue what those 3 were talking about. Haha.

But it was really refreshing to hang out with them. You see so much negative influence out there that you wonder if there is hope for the younger generations. Well, I can tell you if there are more kids like this out there - we'll be OK. PHEW!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Playing Hooky

Yesterday, a few of us ditched work to go have some fun at Six Flags Magic Mountain. My husband absolutely hates theme parks, but he was kind enough to make the effort and spend some time with us. My bro and I have Season Passes that come with Free Friend passes, so it was a good, cost-efficient day of fun. We also got funnel cakes with a Buy One, Get One Free coupon. Oh man, those made my day. So tasty!

The lack of crowds was very surprising for a summer day too. Most of the lines were less than a 15 minute wait so we finished up the whole park in about 4 hours. Luckily that was the case, because we were so tired by the end. You really start to realize your age when you don't have the stamina for the things you used to! Plus, the new roller coasters these days are so scary and thrilling that you are exhausted after just a few rounds. The adrenaline rush totally wipes you out. X2, Tatsu and Goliath still get my heart racing. Woo!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Celebrate We Will - Life is Short But Sweet, For Certain...

"It's always easier to leave, than to be left." - Dave Matthews

Last night was pretty heavy. It was the start of my Summer O' DMB Concerts. I'm only going to 3 shows this year but it's something I have been doing since '99 and I always look forward to. As we found our seats, we heard some girls behind us talking about how sad they were. They couldn't believe LeRoi had died. LeRoi Moore is the saxophone player in the band. We looked at each other like, "Oh shut up. Why would they say something like that? It can't be true." But they were going on and on about how they had gotten a text message on the way to the show and it was confirmed on CNN and the band's website. Hubby checked CNN on his phone and sure enough - there it was. LeRoi Moore had died earlier today due to complications stemming from an ATV accident that happened over 2 months ago. As whisperings of his death were starting to spread through the audience, you could feel a change in the room.

The band came out and it was clear that LeRoi wasn't present. They started playing Bartender.

"If I go, before I'm old
Oh brother of mine, please don't forget me if I go.
And if I die, before my time
Oh sweet sister of mine, do not regret me if I die."

I felt a little silly getting emotional, but I couldn't help it. The words hit extra hard tonight. During EVERY song. And this one was especially rough. But that's part of the beauty with a Dave Matthews Band song. The words and music always have the ability to hit your heart in one way or another. They make you think. Its definitely not the first time I've cried at a DMB concert. I always cry when they play me and hubby's song, but that is very rare. And I cried last year when they played a new song called "Sister" because my own sister was going through a hard time and it just fit so well to our lives. After the first song, Dave made the announcement.

We were sort of in shock that they were even still playing. But apparently LeRoi hadn't been with the band all summer because of his injuries, so they had another musician sitting in on the sax. And the band said they just felt like it was where they needed to be. They dedicated the night to him and said they were playing LeRoi's favorite songs. Dave told a story about how they met. It was the quietest I have ever heard the audience at a show. About halfway through the show, they really turned up the heat and played some awesome stuff. It was one of the best and saddest shows I've ever been to.

The husband and I have talked about something like this happening in the past. Like imagine if the band stopped doing the summer tour. Or if something happened to one of them. It would be so hard to let that part of us go. I don't know what the band's intentions are from this point on, but I do hope they will continue on.

Farewell to a very talented musician. The shows won't be the same without him.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Olympic Junkie

Is anybody else losing major sleep over the Olympics? It is seriously on way too late for me! But I get so into it, I can't turn away. This is the first time I've watched the Olympics probably since '96-ish. The past several Olympic Games, I have caught a few events here and there. But I am just loving 2008! From Michael Phelps to Misty May and Carrie Walsh to Nastia Liukin. Its just too exciting. And I am a huge nerd! Go USA!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Artsy Fartsy

Once in awhile I get in these moods where I just NEED to have a creative outlet. Sometimes its photography, sometimes crafts or scrapbooking and sometimes crochet - although, I haven't had that urge in awhile. This week, I felt like painting...

I have painted a few things on canvas in the past, but I'm definitely no pro. Its just a fun thing to do once in awhile. I felt especially like a real artist when I had to run to the store and I had paint on my fingernails and legs. (Don't ask me how I get it EVERYWHERE) But for sure, everyone would know I had been painting. And they'd all assume I was amazing. HAHA! Anyway, here's what I painted the last couple days.

I painted this for our new bathroom

The real Moulin Rouge along with my version

I'm trying to decide if my creative streak is going to last long enough to tackle the Eiffel Tower. Its weird how it just turns off and on like that. But I'm thinking I can make a little Parisian Tribute based on the photos we took there. I don't even know where I'd put them all, but if nothing else, it would be interesting to see if I could do it!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Working Vacation

It has been kind of a LOUD week. We've been getting our floors re-tiled through the hallway, bathrooms and kitchen. They almost completed the whole thing in just 3 days and tomorrow morning they will be back to change a couple faucets and do some final touches. With all the drilling, sawing and banging that we've been listening to, it was nice to have today off to just sleep in and watch some TV! I know, I make it sound like its been hard for us, when these poor contractors have been working their butts off! I'm sure they were even more happy to have a day off. Anyway, the floors look great and I'm really excited for the rest of the changes we're in the process of making too.

Hubby has been on vacation for about a month and has been working so hard on his time off! He's almost finished our guest bathroom - painted the cabinets, changed the mirrors, added some hardware and just those few tweaks have made a world of difference! Next he'll start on the master bath. And we'll get to the kitchen another time - that's a whole different can of worms!

He has a few more weeks off before he starts on Season 4 of Gene Simmons Family Jewels, and honestly its going to be kind of sad when he has to go back to work. I know he'd be terribly bored if he was home ALL the time, but its been fun having him here. Besides that fact that so much has gotten done around the house, he brightens up my work day with his silly jokes and we've had more time and energy for things outside the house too.

I can't believe I forgot to take a "before" picture of our awful 30-year old linoleum, (Stacy Catton is always so good about that in her blog!) but here's a sneak peek at the new tiles in the hallway and kitchen.

We were originally going to replace the old, awful linoleum with some nicer linoleum, but because of some water damage we were unaware of, the contractors recommended we go with tile. And believe it or not, the tile we picked out was CHEAPER than the linoleum we had picked out. Go figure and thank goodness!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

There's Always Next Year!

I always get excited for the Annual Grunion Run. Every summer, these silver fish come up on the beach to lay their eggs. They ride in on one wave and are gone by the next. I used to hunt the little buggers in my hometown of Oxnard all the time. So I do have some fond memories of going to the beach in the middle of the night and chasing through the ocean after these beached fishies. You have to catch them with your hands (any other way is illegal). So we'd catch as many as we could and keep them in a bucket full of water. When the run was over, we'd count them up and throw them all back. I think the most we ever caught was about 45. I don't ever remember eating grunion. We just went for the pure enjoyment of it all.

I am always telling my friends how fun it is and a couple years ago actually got a few of them to go with me, so they could experience the excitement for themselves. We drove all the way out to Oxnard (takes about an hour) and after getting kicked off of one beach by the cops, we found another beach where we could watch this bizarre tradition. We waited and waited. And waited. And not one single grunion showed themselves. Well, there's always next year.

So when our good friend suggested we go Grunion Hunting for his birthday, I was stoked. Everyone would finally get to see what I've been blabbing about. A handful of us got our fishing licenses and the Party of 12 was ready for action. After a great dinner, we made our trek out to Malibu's Point Dume beach to try and catch a glimpse. Doesn't Point Dume sound super scary? Anyway, the weather was awesome. It was a foggy, but probably the warmest beach night ever. Unfortunately, we got there pretty late and completely missed the high tide. No sign of grunion anywhere.

Grunion: 2 Humans: 0

Well, there's always next year...