Category Archives: family

Big Money, Big Money!

I had a dream last night that I won over $501 at a casino.  So of course, while attending my niece’s regional cheer competition I was just certain I’d win the 50/50 raffle.

Yeah well, I didn’t.

What’s the point of dreaming of winning big then?!  Talk about disappointing.  Well, at least her team won and they’re off to the San Diego state-level championships in November.

Flickr Rocks (and other random thoughts)

A while back, one of my Sonoma photos was chosen for use in the Schmap guide.  Today I got an email that yet another one of my photos was up for consideration for the San Diego guide.  It was one of my Hotel del interior photos.  Pretty cool if I do say so myself considering I don’t edit my photos and they’re taken with my little ‘ol Canon (which I do hope will be upgraded this Christmas or for our upcoming trips since the lens cover doesn’t open more than half the time).

And speaking of Flickr, does anyone know how to remove “friends”?  I tend to keep nearly all of my photos public, but I’ve accidently added some “new contacts” as “friends” from time to time.  And well, I’m not sure how comfortable I am knowing that personal photos and updates are sent out to “friends” on a weekly

On a  non-Flickr related note, the new KT Tunstall is quite good.  The hubby has had it for quite some time now, but he finally released it from his clutches and added it to the insane, ever growing pile of CDs.  Seriously, I have no idea what to do with those stacks since they just keep growing and growing.  It’s not like we can trade them in.  Though I could probably trade in a few to update my DVD library some.  Oh well, I must work on that some more and come up with something.  I’m open to suggestions though.

It’s official, both our Albuquerque and our San Fran/Healdsburg trips are completely booked. I think I’m more excited to go back to Albuquerque than wine country (maybe because our wine stash is also a bit out of control).  Fall in NM is an amazing time, especially if it’s chili roasting time.  Sadly, it won’t be roasting time, but you better believe that I’ll be filling up on more than my share of green chili!!

A Thought About Thoughts

I found this in a friend’s journal a while back and had been holding onto to it knowing that when the time was right, it would touch me.

“It isn’t the things that are happening to us that cause us to suffer, it’s what we say to ourselves about the things that are happening. That’s where the suffering comes from.”

Now I don’t, by any means consider myself to be suffering or even to woe is me, have suffered. Looking back, even through the stumbles, the challenges and the losses, I’d never say I’ve suffered. I don’t have any regrets. I figure that life is what you make of it. As far as I know, I might not be the person that I am if I hadn’t experienced all that I have; the ups and the downs, the highs and the lows. But strangely, this weekend at book club (The Usual Rules by Joyce Maynard) this message reached out to me on some level.

I lost my mom when I was young. I’m sure it was a very painful experience. In fact it must’ve been painful enough that I’ve blocked out 6 or so years of my childhood (3 years old through to 3rd grade). But I can also honestly say that I really didn’t miss my mother all that much. I mean, I’m sure that I did miss her, just in ways that I didn’t realize at the time. But really, it’s hard to miss something that you never had, you know? I really don’t believe in a heaven or a hell, I strongly believe that my mother has always been a part of my life and was and is always with me.

I honestly believe that I am the strong, nurturing, caring, confident person that I am because of my loss. I’m sure, that while I may not remember my early teachers, I can remember the impact that my teachers had on me during those years and they’re influence is one of the reasons that I went into teaching. I’m also fairly certain that I went into the mental health field because I wanted to be able to help people to help themselves. I don’t want anyone to ever think that they can’t overcome anything that life throws at them. There’s just no need to suffer when you can create whatever life you want.

So instead of focusing on the challenges and stumbling blocks that life throws your way, take a moment to see the opportunity. There is power, much power in both your thoughts and beliefs. So think it, believe it and be it. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather think myself in a happy, joy & love-filled place than think myself in a place of pain and suffering. Choose wisely and don’t be afraid to help yourself (or to ask for help) in creating the life that you want for yourself.

Wow, this went to a totally different place than I had originally planned to go. Guess I had something on my mind afterall. There just might be an edit waiting to happen in here so don’t be surprised.

Thou Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Home Remodel

Yes, the southern California housing market is still insane. So yes, we’re still renting. I don’t mind renting. Really. But I do mind that for the past two weeks, either our upstairs neighbor (landlord) or our next door neighbor have woken us up at the crack of dawn nearly every day to have something on their house done.

In the past year, our landlords have tiled the kitchen, remodeled the kitchen cabinets, sink and appliances, repainted the entire apartment, tore down and rebuilt their stairs (now that was some scary shit to wake up to considering the wall was where our heads were!), and are now putting in hardwood flooring. I get it, it’s their property and they can do whatever they want.

But it sucks to know that they’ve got some new awesome stove and we’ve got some used piece-o-crap that doesn’t even heat up correctly. Or that they’ve got new flooring while we’ve got this ancient tile that can’t even get clean any more. Then to have him basically say that once we move out, he’ll upgrade this and remodel that. Well, that just kind of sucks because let’s be honest, we don’t plan to move anytime soon. We love our neighborhood and we actually love our landlords and our apartment. We’re very grateful that we found such great place. I’m sure our time will come. In fact, I’m certain.

Now if we could only get our neighbors to realize the sound ordinance says nothing can start until after 8:00AM. Not that the extra hour would do all that much for us since we tend to not even go to bed before 2:00AM (and why we don’t complain considering we choose to live this schedule). But man, a little silence in the morning sure would be appreciated.

Diamonds are this Girl’s Best Friend

Back when we got engaged, I suggested that we not go out and spend a small fortune on an engagement ring. Instead, we’d use my great grandmother’s, vintage ring. Turns out it was approximately 100 years old, with a flawless, light yellow, miner’s cut diamond, in a yellow gold setting (the cut is what told us the age of the ring).

Well, thing is, I really don’t like yellow gold and only wear it from time to time – and I never got around to sizing it since I first gained possession when I was about 13 or so. So I wound up having them remove the diamond and putting it in a plain, solitaire setting. I wore it every day until we got married. Then I wore my wedding ring. I thought I’d wear the two together, but since my great grandmother’s ring was so yellow, you couldn’t wear them together. So basically, I wore one or the other (or nothing) depending on my mood.

Talk about regrets, though. I’ve thought about this ring nearly every day. I felt HORRIBLE knowing that I ruined not only a family heirloom, but an antique just because I don’t wear yellow gold. So I decided a few weeks ago to drop the two rings off at our favorite jeweler’s and see what they could do. I was terrified that the Robbins Brothers’ gang ruined the setting since it looked like the stone was just ripped out. Well, we finally got around to picking it up today. Let me just say…it looks awesome! You can’t even tell the the stone was ever removed.

I am just so happy and grateful to have this ring back (and sized perfectly). Really, I’m thrilled. It looks good as new and so pretty. I’ve always loved the vintage, deco-look in wedding/engagement rings. Now I know I’ll be wearing it a lot more. Peace of mind for $20! What more could you ask for?

Of course, I can’t find my favorite yellow gold necklace, so I think I’ll just have to buy a new one. But hello, it’s not like we purchased an engagement ring to begin with, right? Just think of all the money we saved back then. And our favorite jeweler is having a sale next week!

Now what do I do with my old solitaire setting? Can you say emerald?!? *wink*

Thursday Thirteen – Things that Make Me Smile

Thirteen Things that Make Me Smile

1. My husband doing his goofy, white-boy dance
2. My pupster smiling when he’s tummy up getting love
3. When our cat tries to snuggle with our dog
4. Reading praise for my website
5. Phone calls and emails from old friends
6. Reading a good book
7. Good chocolate
8. Finding a bargain
9. The first sip of a well-made margarita
10. Taking a great picture
11. A beautiful LA day after a rain
12. Tulips
13. Fitting into a smaller size

For These Things I Am Grateful…

I just thought that I’d take a moment and focus on some of the many, many things that I am so happy and grateful for…

* we’ll start with the obvious, yet very important…my health, wealth, happiness, joy, work, love, home, family, friends, husband and boys!

* my upcoming haircut, brow wax and pedicure!!

* my current batch of chick-lit – I’m so loving reading the breezy stuff!

* the fact that we’re off on a vacation full of good friends, good food and good wine in just over a week!

* that I’m going on that vacation 20 or so pounds lighter than when we went last year – and it shows!

* my clean car – I should show my gratitude and appreciation for it now since it might rain tomorrow!

* that while today may have been a tad chilly and overcast, the weather as a whole has been just lovely and perfect for our evening walks!

* and so, so much more!

Edited to add: the reason I even started this was to express my gratitude for our new toilet!!! No more wondering if it’s going to flush. No more non-stop running through the night. Ah…the joys of a new toilet!

Once Again The Hollywood Hills are Ablaze

Griffith Park is on fire. Again. Sadly, this little “accidental arson” has caused quite a bit of damage. Over 800 acres were damaged. Over three hundred residents had to be evacuated. Both the zoo and the newly upgraded, Griffith Park Observatory were at risk. Luckily, now, it’s listed as 50% contained. Thankfully, nearby friends are okay. But really, this is some scary stuff.

We went out late last night to take some pictures. It was amazing to see how close the fire came to us. Even now, over 24-hours later, I can smell the fire likes it’s in my backyard (which is interesting considering yesterday I couldn’t smell the fire at all). Yet when you walk outside, there’s no smoke plume and no ash.

This is a picture standing on our street corner (basically) aiming towards the zoo…

This is a photo that shows how close to the freeway the fires reached…

Notice how much of the actual hill is on fire – only that one patch of vegetation remains…

Memories of an Ex

I’m not one to give much thought to What Might Have Beens. I’ve never Googled any exes. Heck, I don’t even Google myself or my husband. Though he loves to Google his family and our two boys – have you any idea just how many Griffin dogs or Charlie cats there are out there?

Today, for some reason, out of the blue, my ex popped into my head and I can’t seem to shake him. Once I got home, I thought I’d give that ol’ friend, Google a whirl. Thing is, my ex has a fairly common name, so I wasn’t able to find anything. Not even a crumb. But I still can’t seem to shake him.

I know full well that we’d never have lasted. Not even counting the fact that he was a few years younger (not a big deal, I know), we were just two different kinds of people and in two different places in our lives. He was a hard worker, but he wasn’t college educated and didn’t really see the point. While I don’t think that college is for everyone (my hubby has no college education and is doing quite well surrounded by MBAs), it was still a huge part of who I was at the time. So much so that I went on to get my Masters.

Back when we were dating, I was just finishing up my teaching degree, hoping and praying to get a teaching job. My focus was entirely on getting that job. His focus was entirely on finding someone to settle down with and take care of. Me, I was in that I-don’t-need-anyone, I’m-an-independent-woman phase. I was ready to finally get started being an adult and living the life. Interestingly enough though, we were head over heels, blissfully enamored.

Or so I thought.

One of his co-workers broke up with her husband or boyfriend or baby daddy, or whatever and starting focusing all her attention on my guy. I knew this because he told me. She was an older woman (older than him, older than me) with a young child. He, as I stated earlier, just wanted to settle down and take care of someone. She, it turned out, was just that someone. He dumped me.

He went head on into a relationship with her and never bothered with me again. Well, until she broke up with him about 3 months or so later, that is. Then he came back to me. We went out to dinner and I said that we could try to be friends, but I just didn’t trust him. A week or two later, she wanted him back and back her went. This time, I walked away. For good. Until today.

T that time, I really wasn’t able to look to someone else as my hero or my savior. I just didn’t need that in my life. I didn’t need someone to “complete me.” I can see now how that might be annoying when you’re in a relationship. There’s needs to be some emotional give and take. I can honestly thank him for allowing our relationship to teach me that.

But I do wonder what made me think of him. Was it a song on the radio? Reflecting back over the last couple of weeks, I have heard a LOT of songs that could remind me of him – if I was in that frame of mind. Is it our long ago psychic connection? Is he thinking about me? Is he wondering what might have been?

I’ve got to tell you, I may have had a rough patch of life here or there, but I really, really like my life. I really like the person I’ve turned into. And I really like the friends that I consider my “family.” I really don’t have any thoughts of him, good, bad or ugly, but I do wish him well wherever he may be.

Good Karma Baby!

I’m working on making a couple of deposits to my Good Karma Bank! Well, truth be told, I’ve been doing a lot of work lately towards mellowing out – I seem to be able to yell at traffic and lousy drives like a trucker, but I’m getting better, I assure you 😉 But I’ve really been going out of my way to do some random acts of kindness and doing what I can do to help others.

And now, my main focus is on my sister-in-law’s (hereby known as SIL) upcoming baby shower this weekend. My new SIL is a lovely Indonesian woman with no family here in the US and very few friends or co-workers. So I’ve taken upon myself to plan her shower (I did her bridal shower as well) with my other SILs. It’s becoming a little frustrating in that 1) none of her friends are actually RSVPing, 2) my other co-hosting SILs aren’t returning my emails and 3) she’s missing quite a few key, modern, baby-raising, conveniences.

So instead of dwelling on all of that, I’m just moving forward and shopping up a storm! Lucky for me (well, for my pregger SIL really), a good friend of mine handed down some adorable baby clothes already. So at least we know the baby will have some of the basics, like onsies and blankets covered.

But man, I’ve been spending money left and right! I picked up three outfits last week on sale and now today I picked up two more cute t-shirt onsies to go with the overalls that my friend passed along. On top of that, I picked up a vibrating, bouncy chair, a boppy (with a too cool, reversible cover) and the head-thingie for the car seat – all things that she didn’t register for. Oh yeah, I’ve also picked up a cutie patootie pair of sneakers during the Old Navy sale (and a few things for myself – it’s why I was there to begin with!). Hopefully, she’ll like everything.

Now I just need to figure out what food-stuff I should make as well. I think, since it will be a small group that we’re just doing a sandwich tray with side salads, fruit and veggies. And let’s not forget the mango cake from the Asian bakery. Any other ideas?

And speaking of shopping, since I leave for SXSWi in a week, I’ve also been doing some shopping for myself. Maybe I’ll post some of my fun finds a little later in the week. For now, I have some bookkeeping entries to do since we’d like to have that done and handed off to a real bookkeeper before I leave for SXSWi.