Wednesday, December 29, 2010


For those of you that may still be stopping by here, I'd like to remind you (or let you know for a first time) that I'm no longer posting to this blog.  You can find and follow me at:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm moving!

I wish I could tell you I bought a house and was physically moving.  But I haven't yet.  But I am moving...sites...  So get ready to change your bookmark from here to here.

I've had this domain for about 2 months, then about a month ago I made the move to find a template, host, blah blah blah techy stuff, and I've been working like mad (pending working internet) to get it up and running.

Basically, what's going on is this, I have multiple blogs going on and it's time to combine a couple in a more professional (for photography) and fun (personal) single site.  Content of both sites will be the same, just in one location.  And as I get more and more photo sessions those will go up too.

      *All comments and suggestions are welcome.  The site is not complete, but it works. :)
    **All past blogs have been transferred.  Links may be wonky though.  And pictures may be missing.  I don't know why that happened.
  ***I'm now available for hire.  :)
****A Pinch, A Dash, And A Splash will continue to stay where it is.

Surprise 30th

My best friend Rylen, well, she's a wise one.  And she's a thorough planner.  I mean like, way thorough.  She knows how to cross every t and dot every i.  And boy did she have me fooled.  Here I was, mopping around because I was turning 30 and I didn't want to and my only plan was to spend the evening with my bff at a nice restaurant in Turlock.  And I was cool with that.  Maybe a little bummed that I wouldn't be doing anything with my family or friends, but I was totally ok with chillin' with Neen for the evening while enjoying good food and a fancy drink, or 4. 

But oh no, that's not what she had planned for the evening.  Not at all.  You see, Rylen had sneakily (yes, that's totally a word) been planning a surprise party for me since March.  March people!  That's 2 months!  I must admit, I was suspicious a couple of times, but I didn't want to invest too much daydreaming and wishing to end up being disappointed.  'Cause that's what I do in my noggin, and it's bad news bears when expectations aren't met by reality.

*Please note, I didn't hold my camera once during my party.  What I did hold at all times, filled by Rylen regularly, was a glass of delicious, homemade sangria.

Upon arrival, I admit it, I cried.  Tears welled up in my eyes and they spilled out.  I tried to contain it, but I'm a girl and that just isn't easy.  I love that people came from all over.  Bottom right corner = my college roomie and her hubby, they drove up from Fresno.  And the adorable little one in the bottom left corner, she came all the way from Korea.  My good friends adopted her and had only had her in their possession for a couple weeks.  So yes, it totally counts that she came all the way from Korea.
If you notice, everyone was wearing black and/or white. I wasn't. I didn't get the memo. Kaitlin tried to dress me in a HOT pink cute top, but then the zipper on my nice jeans busted, so I went with plan b.

Gotta love sibling pictures.  And people pictures.  And friends.  Lots and lots of friends.
And bestie pictures.  And more random people pictures.  And nice sibling picture followed by sister picture.  And the bocce ball was christen.
Good times.  Seriously.  Words cannot express my gratitude towards all the planning, scheming, and lying that people went through to pull this off.  YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!

Rylen, pay back is coming your way!  And now I owe you dinner at the Bistro!

To all you peeps that had your cameras present, please send me the link to where you've uploaded them.  :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


We're not keeping track of time right?  No one realizes that Easter was about 2 months ago.  So it's ok that I'm just now going to post about my Easter weekend/Sunday?  Yes it is, thankyouverymuch.

Saturday, per our family tradition, we dyed eggs.  That's right folks, no plastic candy filled eggs in the Montague household.  We only use use the read deal.  So then we can make egg salad after hunting the eggs.  Yep, you heard right again, we still hunt eggs.  At (then) 29 to 22 years of age, we hunt eggs.  I honestly think mom has just as much fun hiding them every year.
Paige and her beau Coleman.  The Easter bush, as we call it because it always is in bloom during the week of Easter.  And my little doghter.
Mom and Dad playing handbells at church.  Dad also played the trombone, but people were blocking him and I couldn't get a good picture.  Back in high school, I played handbells at church too.  Good times!  Oh, and there's me, partaking in the egg salad goodness...  I only really have egg salad sandwiches once a year, so you better believe I take advantage.
And that was Easter.  I didn't get all that many pictures, but what I did get will definitely keep the memories alive.  Egg dying - always a hoot to see what mess my brother will make (like the above picture).  Church - always a good thing for obvious reasons.  Hunting eggs - who doesn't like a friendly game of who can find the most eggs?  And of course spending time with family and loved ones. 

Hope you all had a great Easter too.  2 months ago...

*I'm going in order from my list of stuff I need to catch you up on.  Please bear with me.  I spent a lot of time over the 3 day weekend getting pictures edited and ready to be blogged about.  I'm organized now.  I have a list to prove it.  Maybe I'll go in order according to my list...  Either way, watch out, here come the blogs!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Stacked Thank Yous

Remeber when I said that I have a bunch of thank you cards stock piled? Yea, well, I found a way to use them up.

It's called.  Thank-everyone-for-coming-to-your-birthday-party-with-or-without-a-present.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - Thursday Edition

I'm late.  Again.  So sue me.  I'm busy.  And my internet sucks.  It's not sucking right now.  Kinda.  Speaking of internet, who do y'all use for service?  Do you bundle it with your TV and/or phone?  I need to change who I go through to someone that works.  Help!
  1. What is your favorite piece of furniture in your house? bed... It's so comfy.
  2. If it was raining so hard on a Saturday that you couldn’t leave your house, what would you spend the day doing?
    Yep.  I'd love it.  Sleep in for shizel.  Watch movies.  Putz on the 'net.  Read a book from my stack of books to read.  Bake/make something in the kitchen.  And if I got bored enough I'd clean.  But only if I was super bored.
  3. What was your favorite candy as a child?For some reason I loved Abba Zabbas.  I don't know why.  They were always so heard to chew/gnaw on, but the peanut butter center was so worth it.  Oh, and big chew bubble gum.  I don't remember being a chocoholic when I was younger, but I sure am now!
  4. Did you get an allowance? What was it based on? What did you do with it?Nope.  I did not get an allowance.  Chores were expected to be done and my parents didn't believe in rewarding for something that had to be done.  Plus, I've been working since I was like, 7, so I've been getting a paycheck since then.  Granted, it was only like $5 at the beginning, but still.  That's what happens when your family owns a business.
  5. Do you have a favorite Etsy store?I have a lot of favorite Etsy stores.  I "favorite" a lot of items and sellers.  Sometimes I favorite to come back and order something later.  Sometimes it looks like something I can totally make, so I favorite it to save the idea.
  6. Do you prefer time with family or time with friends?Yes.  Haha.  I prefer time with both, separately or together.  Whatevs.  I like having people around.
  7. Looney Tunes, Tiny Toons, or Animaniacs?Tiny Toons!  I have something for things in miniture, and they were miniture Looney Tunes, just much much cuter.
  8. Best daytime talk show: Oprah, Ellen, The Doctors, Tyra (ha!), Dr. Oz, or Dr. Phil?What's a daytime talk show?  I don't get to watch any of them...darn work...  But if I could watch one of them it would either be Oprah (duh! she's gives out cool stuff!) or Dr. Phil (cause he's straight forward and real).
  9. Would you rather have the power of invisibility or the ability to fly?Fly.  I could get from here to there so much quicker.
  10. Name 1 thing you love about being an adult.Making my own decisions.  I guess.
Your turn!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Want another excuse?

Here I am.  Behind in blogging.  I blame my lack of consistent internet.  And how can one research internet providers when one is using "borrowed" internet?

So here's a run down of what I have to share:
  • Easter - better late than never...?
  • Twins dedication
  • My new blogsite that I've been working on
  • Jordyn's senior pictures
  • My birthday
  • Madera Wine Trail
  • Bocce Ball court
  • I need to update 101 in 1,001...
  • How to capitalize your birthday with retail store (darn right!)
  • My running/roller blading/exercise schedule (so you can help hold me accountable)
And after this weekend:
  • Paige's graduation
  • Tamara's wedding
  • visiting Mark and Melissa and kiddos
Ok.  I think that's it for now.  And I think that's plenty. But it will have to wait until later Friday afternoon.  Because tomorrow straight from work I'm driving to Fresno to stay the night with Mark and Melissa, then Friday Paige graduates, then Saturday is Tamara's wedding. 

I'm tired already.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Look at me!  It's Tuesday!  And I'm doing Ten on Tuesday!  Wowee!

Join the fun!  Visit Cheslea for the questions and more fun answers.
  1. If your name was a verb, what would “to Courtney” mean? (Insert your own name though…)Now that's just a silly question!  And my brain is fried to the point that I can't think of anything creative.  :(
  2. What myth have you always wanted to prove or bust?
  3. If you had the ability to get a message out to the entire world, what would you say?
    Jesus loves YOU!
  4. I know you’ve answered a similar question before, but it’s been awhile. Please name your current top 10 blogs.
    My google reader is FULL!  Like I follow WAY too many blogs.  Seriously.  Pioneer Woman would be #1, there everything else is #2.
  5. Do you have a junk drawer?
    Do I have a junk drawer?  Of course I do.  In fact, I need to clean out the junk drawer, to allow room for more...junk...and stuff.
  6. Bottled water or tap?
    Filtered tap.  If it's gonna be bottled water it has got to be a mountain spring water kind.  None of that filtered in LA crap (like Dasani or Aquafina) blah!  I can't drink that stuff!
  7. As a kid, did you have a favorite Biblical story?
    I can't remember.  I know a lot of the fabric sticky board stories were all about Jesus' life, I liked those.  Still do, just the big kid versions.  I so wish Veggie Tales were around back then.
  8. What is your favorite black and white movie?
    Miracle on 34th Street.  Wasn't that in black & white?  Pretty sure I remember seeing it in black and white...
  9. Aside from your engagement/wedding rings, what is your favorite piece of jewelry that you own? Does it have a story behind it?
    I don't wear a lot of jewelry.  I wear a pair of diamond earrings (from an ex), because duh they're diamonds!  And I wear a white gold diamond ring on my right hand that I bought myself.  That's about it.  Sometimes I'll put on a necklace, but not very often.
  10. What sports/activities do you hope your kids will be involved in? (Answer for both a boy and a girl)
    Whatever they are interested in playing or have an ability in.  I'll definitely encourage her/him to sign up for/try out for sports, but I'm not going to be one of those "sports are life!" kind of parents.  School and homework will always take priority.

Friday, May 14, 2010


  • I have a thing with Thank You cards.  No, I don't buy every pretty pack I see, but every year around Christmas time I buy a new set of 20.  Then I only use about 10.  Then I have 10 left over.  Then at Christmas time I buy a new set of 20.  Only use about 8.  12 left over.  12+10=22.  Do that math over a couple years and I've got a collection of Thank You cards.  Maybe I should just start randomly sending out Thank Yous.  "Thanks for washing my car automatic Chevron car wash".  "Thank you for comment on Facebook friend".  "Thanks for watching my dog all day Mom".
  • I want a pair of boots.  Not like boots with the fur (or apple bottom jeans for that matter), or boots with a heel that zips up to thigh.  I want good, comfy cowboy boots.  Something that doesn't scream "I belong on a farm" though.  I haven't had a pair of boots since my 4-H days.  Red Justin lace ups...  Red because they stood out while showing, flashy to catch the judge's eye.  I tried to wear those things until the cut the circulation off my pinky toes.  RIP red boots...  Now to find a new pair...
  • I need a new camera.  Ok, maybe my need is clouded and fogged up by my want.  But here's my logic (remember, I can talk myself into or out of anything based on logic, I'm a pro-logicologist - yes, I just made that word up):  My current little Nikon D60 is a good little camera, a prosumer camera is what they call it.  But I'm not a prosumer anymore, I'm moving into the pro category.  Plus, it has a few dead pixels which are very obvious in poor lighting conditions.  Plus, the few lenses I have to go with it, well, for some particular Nikon reason, they don't auto focus with my camera body.  Therefore, with my poor contacts needed vision, 7 times out of 10 they are out of focus...fuzzy, and not in the cool artsy way.  I have 2 reasons that are holding me back from upgrading to what I want...the D700...1) Price.  Remember the Riley fiasco in February?  Ya, there went my camera (and saving for a house) money.  2) The days of automatic exposure will be over.  I'll have to manually set ISO, aperature, and/or shutter speed.  Which I need to learn to do anyways, 'cause all the cool kids are doing it.  Ok, so we'll say it's really only 1 1/2 things holding me back.  Maybe I'll just order myself a birthday present sometime this week...
  • Is it sad that I'm more excited about Sex In The City 2 than I am my own birthday?  It's true.  My birthday just never seems to be a big deal.  I could tell you stories, but I won't, I'm trying to move past them.  And I just don't want a birthday this year.  I don't want to turn a year older.  Kaitlin says I'm going throug a midlife crisis.  I agree.  Turning 30 is depressing me!  You have no idea how bad it's depressing me.  But I love me some Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha!  And cosmopolitans!
  • So far today I have:  Found the bottom of my work email (personal email is another story).  Found the bottom of my google reader.  Just in time for it to start filling up again...  But I'm finally feeling a little less overwhelmed.
And since every post is better with a picture...  Yes, I was bored one day.  I was playing with my camera.  And I had faux fruit loops.  If you count them, there are 30.  Because that's how old I am today.  Today I am 30 fruit loops old.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Monterey Day

(Son of a gun.  This was supposed to post like two weeks ago!  Here it is, much later than what it originally should have been.  Oops.)

If you maybe follow my photography blog (soon this one and that one will be combined), then you know that the weekend before Easter I went to Monterey and Carmel to take senior pictures for a friend of the family.  We had a fun time.  But while I was taking Katy's pictures, I was also snapping some of what was going on around me.  Hope you enjoy!

The end.

Ten on Tuesday

Once again, I'm a two days late.  And yep, I'm a dollar short too.  I almost decided to not do TonT this week, because I read one of the questions and it had to do with your wedding.  I haven't had a your wedding, so I was just gonna skip the whole thing.  Then today I actually read the rest of the questions and they weren't all about your wedding like I thought they were.  So here I am.  It's Wednesday Thursday.  (This was Wednesday's note, but today is now Thursday: I'm practically falling asleep at my desk, though not from boredom or nothing to do, I'm just downright exhausted.  1 cup of coffee and a mini bag of popped almost burnt popcorn later I'm good to go...kinda.)
  1. What was your high school superlative (if you didn’t have one- what would it have been)?
    I didn't have one.  And I honestly have no idea what it would have been.  High school buddies, help me out, what would you have voted me as?
  2. What sports did you play in high school?
    Softball freshman year - horrible coach.  Cross Country sophmore year - realized I don't like running.  Track sophomore year - did it because of a boy, bad idea.  So concludes the end of my high school sporting.
  3. What was the best part about your wedding (if you’re not married yet, what are you looking forward to)?
    N/A - I look forward to the opportunity to actually get married.
  4. It’s your last meal– what Appetizer, Soup, Salad, Entree and Dessert would you choose?
    I love food.  It doesn't have to be fancy.  Nothing in particular is coming to mind.  Just feed me, or don't, it's my last meal so it's not like I'm going to starve to death.
  5. What song is your guilty pleasure?
    G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S, yeah.  I honestly change my favorite song as often as I change my underwear.  I like just about all music too.  So, pull a random song out of a hat.
  6. What is your favorite professional sports team, and why do you like them?SF Niners and SF Giants.  Although, I'm not a die-hard-gotta-go-to-as-many-games-as-you-can-in-a-season-wear-jerseys-and-paint-your-face kinda fan.  They're my teams, I root for them.
  7. What is your favorite reality show and why do you like it?Amazing Race all the way!  The Cowboys totally should have won!  I so want to be a contestant on that show.  I love it because of the traveling, and the experiences they get.  And it just looks down-right fun, and challenging.  That's really about the only reality show I watch.  Oh, besides The Hills, 'cause I gotta get my drama from someone else's lives.
  8. How would you classify your home decorating style (modern, classic, french country)?
    Comfy, warm, welcoming.  Not modern, not classic, but also not traditional.  When I buy a house/move I want to go with more of a rustic chic look.  Dunno how I'm gonna pull it off yet though.
  9. Pizza- deep dish or thin crust? White sauce or red sauce? What toppings?
    Chicago deep dish style.  Red sauce.  Sausage for sure, don't know what else, more meat maybe.  Or normal crust, red sauce, canadian bacon and pineapple.  Or normal crust, white sauce with chicken, garlic, bell pepper, artichoke hearts.  Want the recipe for the simplest (and healthy in my opinion) pizza to make and is so yummy?  Go here: Boboli Pizza.
  10. Favorite weekend getaway within a two hour driving radius?
    Monterey/Carmel. 'Nuff said. 3 hour driving radius? The ranch near SLO.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Have you ever had the feeling that you're sinking and sinking fast?  I'm busy at work.  I'm busy, maybe even busier, at home.  I've got big things to come in the near future, but first I have a couple deadlines to meet.  And it doesn't look like time will be freeing up for awhile...  *sigh*

So, I'm here.  Just trying to keep my head above water. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Yep, it's another Wednesday edition.  Although, I keep thinking today is Thursday... *sigh*
  1. Do you prefer markers, crayons, or colored pencils?
    For coloring, crayons.  For writing, markers - extra fine point sharpies - I just don't like how it bleeds through the paper.
  2. As a child, how did your parents celebrate your birthday? (Parties, cake, you pick the dinner, etc.)Mom would make my favorite dinner.  I'd eat off the "you are special" plate.  Parties happened up until I turned, like, 13 or so.  Cake always happens.  Mom still makes my favorite meal (our we go out).  And I'm thinkin' this year deserves a party.  Shoot!  I better get planning! 
  3. How do you feel about leggings?
    I feel like I jiggle too much when I attempt to wear them.  And yes, when wearing leggings, your top must cover your dairyaire.
  4. How do you prefer to follow directions? With a map? Words?
    Maps, verbal, landmarks, based on address, handwritten, etc.  I'm really good with directions.  Honest.
  5. What do you eat for snack?
    Apple, yogurt, granola bar, chocolate, water (ok, so you don't actually eat that), candy, etc.
  6. Have you ever ordered anything from an infomercial or bought any As Seen on TV products?
    Remeber Nads?  The safe at home waxing stuff?  The creator/founder/advertiser was an Austrialian mom?  Ya, I ordered that.  Tried it.  Then returned it.  Now I'm a bit leery about ordering stuff from infomercials.
  7. What’s your favorite thing about summer?
    My favorite thing used to be the break from school.  But that doesn't happen in the real world, unless you're a teacher.  Now...I love the fact that it stays light so late.  BBQing.  Cold, slushy gin & tonics.  All the fruit and veggies in season.  Who am I kidding, I just like the fruit!
  8. Do you have a tattoo? What and where is it?Nope.  I don't like needles.  I almost gone one once.  Maybe I still will.  Maybe for my birthday.  Eek!  Better start mentally prepping!
  9. Are you good at journaling?Ha!  I like to think I am.  But then I start and about 2 1/2 days later I lose interest, or time, or words.  That's why I blog, right?  It's like journaling, but you can add pictures and the whole world can see/read it.
  10. What’s your favorite way to eat a hamburger?
    Well done.  NO mayo, or mustard, maybe ketchup, but BBQ sauce preferred.  Onion, maybe lettuce, NO tomato.  Cheese? Yes, please!  I like my bun toasted and my meat seasoned.  Bacon is a bonus, but pickles stay off.  Ultimate fatty favorite burger:  Bacon Western Cheeseburger from Carl's Jr.  Best burger joint I ever ate at:  Bobcat Bites in Santa Fe, NM.
Now your turn.  Go visit Chelsea at and answer the questions yourself!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

5 Ways to Scare a Guy Away

Apparently I'm good at this one without even reading the article.  1)  Breathe.  2)  Versatile (aka, good at many things).  3)  Independent.  4)  Smart/Educated.  5)  ok, I can't think of a 5th for me.  But let's see what e-harmony has to say about what the 5 ways to scare a guy away are...

There may be 50 ways to leave your guy, and there are almost that many ways to send him running.  So let's focus on the 5 that will having him saying, "Check please!"
  1. Those Three Little Words
    Timing is everything, even while it's clear that men like to hear that you love them.  So, you may be excited to have finally found someone you're compatible with, try to rein in the desire to blurt out that you've totally fallen for him for at least a couple months.  Say it during the first few dates and his mind will process those three words into one...psycho.  He needs time to process what he's feeling about you, and you both need time for infatuation to settle into something more real.
    My trick, wait until he says it first.  Although it's hard to hold your feelings in, there are other ways to show it without saying it.  When he's ready, he'll tell you.
  2. Cracking Knuckles and other Manly Moves
    Even though the days of women casting coy smiles from behind paper fans may be long gone, guys still appreciate a little femininity in his potential love match.  So, while those tricks where you crack open a beer bottle with your teeth and burp the alphabet are impressive, you should think about promoting your gentler qualities in a relationship's early stages.  He's not looking for the return of the Victorian values, but he'd probably like to think he could beat you in a Jager shoot-out or an arm wrestling match.
    Not a problem here.  Sure, I can take shoots with the best of them, but that doesn't mean I do.  Hello, I'm a lady, I have a reputation to keep.
  3. Going Bridal
    Ok, so we know that one day you'd like to get married, but there's an order to these things, and subscribing to the bride and wedding magazines and studying diamond cuts before you've even met a guy is classic carat-before-horse territory.  When he turns up at your place and sees a bookshelf full of dog-eared bridal magazines and your computer's homepage set to The Knot, he's likely to suddenly get very busy at work.  Wanting to get married to a man you love is one thing, trying to fit a mysterious anybody into your wedding-day fantasy is another.
    The stack of magazines I do have, purchased during my college days when I actually thought "my big day" would be soon there after, are hidden in a closet.  :)
  4. Hey Kids, Meet your New Daddy
    In our fractured world men know that the chances of meeting and falling for a single mom are significant.  For many it's an instant no-no, and if that's your situation it's best to be up front.  However, for those men that aren't put off by the first mention of Junior, they'll still be walking into the situation one tentative step at a time, and telling him too early what a great daddy he's going to make your kids will make him break out in a cold sweat.  So while ultimately you're a package deal, and it's important that he knows that, let him get to know you first.  Once you feel that your relationship has had a chance to establish itself, then gently introduce the little one(s).  Just remember, initially he's not going to be as in love with them as you are, so give him a chance to establish a relationship with them too.
    Does this count with a dog?  "New Dude, this is my dog, she's like my daughter.  I just spent way too many zero's on her to keep her healthy and alive.  By the way, if she likes you, you've passed the test."
  5. My Ex was a Psycho/My Ex was the Greatest
    We get it, you have an ex-boyfriend...or five or more.  Guys know this, but there are telltale signs when this could be a problem for us.  First is when you go all glassy-eyed at the mention of his name, worse if the subject comes up after we noticed it tattooed on your wrist.  He may have been a master surgeon with rock-solid abs and a second home in Hawaii, but the new guy would rather not know too much about it if it's all the same with you, as they know we'll never compare.  They also understand that the ex may have tormented you emotionally/slept with your sister/kidnapped your dog, but that just makes the new guy wonder one thing:  why'd you go out with him for so long?  It doesn't speak highly of your selection process, and ergo why you've chosen the new dude.  Everyone has a past, let's just keep it there.
    It's best to just keep mum about exes.  If it ended badly, you don't want to resurface any harsh feelings.  Or visa versa, new guy doesn't want to live in the shadows of ex perfect guy.
Want more information, visit e-harmony's article.

*To my Asian reader who keeps trying to leave a comment - I don't know what your comment says, so I am not publishing it.  If you would like it published, please comment in English.  Otherwise I will continue to assume it is spam.  Thank you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Ok, let's do this!  It's Ten on Tuesday time everybody!  Join in the fun.  Visit Chelsea over at Roots and Rings and play along!
  1. Think back a decade, do you remember what your first cellphone was? Was it as cool as Zack Morris’s phone?
    My first cell was the size of 1/2 a brick.  I got my mom's hand-me-down, it was my freshman year of college.  That phone didn't last long.  I upgraded to the Nokia.  Do you remember the Nokia?  The same phone that everyone had?  The one that you could change the face plate?  Yeah, that one. 
  2. What is the first children’s book you remember being read to you?
    I have no idea.  I was young.  My memory has failed me.
  3. What was your first car? Did you love it or hate it? My first vehicle was my dad's old Chevy Silverado (or was it the Sierra?), it was a truck.  My parents decided that me driving a truck probably wasn't a wise decision...gas guzzler.  So they got me a '88 (I think...) hatchback Civic.  Not my favorite.  1)  no radio.  2)  no A/C.  3)  2 door.  Let's just say, my first quarter at Cal Poly, in the summer while coming home just about every weekend, was a hot summer.  Junior (or was it late sophomore?) year of college mom and dad upgraded me to a '92 4 door accord, with A/C and a cassette player.  Fall after graduating, the civic went to car heaven, therefore my brother got the next in line, being my accord, and I had to be a big girl and buy a car.  Now I drive a Corolla with 4 doors, A/C, and a CD player!  Big time upgrade.
  4. Who was your hero growing up?
    I don't know if I had a hero.  Maybe Barbie.  Or Jem.  Shera?  I have no idea.
  5. Think back to your first kiss. Was it everything you dreamed of?
    Ah, no.
  6. What was your first BAD hairstyle choice? (Extra points for embarrassing photos)
    I'd love to show you pictures.  And maybe somewhere on here I have one.  I don't know what my first BAD haircut was, but I can tell you my WORST haircut.  I thought, sure, I can have short hair, like really short.  Well, this wavey haired broad cannot have really short hair.  Let's just say there aren't many pictures documenting that era of my life.
  7. What was your first realistic dream? (One where you had to think “Oh dang, was that a dream?”)
    Oh my goodness, another think back to forever ago question.  ???  Remember me, I have a bad memory.
  8. What was the first phobia you remember developing?
    Heights.  I'm scared poopless of heights.  Flying, no problem.  Climbing a ladder, problem.
  9. Which character on Sesame Street do you most identify with?
    I don't think I ever really thought about that, nor have I since.
  10. What was the hardest goal you ever accomplished?
    Have yet to accomplish it.  Or at least it being the hardest goal on my "to do goal list".  Mostly because it's somewhat out of my control.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Yea!  It's Ten on Tuesday.  And this week my questions were chosen!  Of course, it doesn't help that I sent Chelsea about 53 questions.  So basically I took care of a month of questions for her.  You're welcome Chelsea.  :)

  1. What two cities should be moved closer together?
    I think that it would be great if two totally diffenent climate cities were closer together, like Denver (mountain) and Kona (beach), or New York (big city) and Tuscany (exotic country).  Anywhere could be moved closer to Hilmar and I'd be a happy camper!
  2. What was the first plane ride you took? When I was in 5th grade my grammy took me to Washington DC to tour the city and the surround area/history.  The plan was that she would take each grandchild on a trip like that when they reached 5th grade.  Sadly, and fortunately, I was the only one that benefited.  But Fresno -> Salt Lake City -> Washington DC and back was my first plane ride.  I love flying!
  3. What continent would you most like to visit? Europe.  The entire continent.  All at once (over a period of many months) or multiple trips.  It doesn't matter to me.  But that is where I'd like to go.  All over Europe.  Someday, maybe that dream will come true.  You know, when I finally invent the tree that grows money.
  4. What’s your favorite place to window-shop?
    Most of my shopping is window shopping.  When it comes to non-necessity items I end up with big time buyers remorse.  So I tend to not buy something right away, but if it's still a want/need some time later then I make the purchase.  I also see things and "oh I have to have it!", then I remember that I live in a 900 some square foot house without a lot of storage.  That especially happens at places like Pottery Barn and Anthropology.  Darn practicality!
  5. What’s the least fun you’ve ever had at a place specifically tailored for fun?Haha.  Can I say Disney World?  Don't shoot me.  I blame it on the person I was with.  I'm sure Disney World is oodles of fun, but I just wasn't feelin' it when I went to Epcot and the Magic Kingdom (Disneyland is better!).  I'm willing to give the giant land of mouse another shot though.
  6. You’re stuck on an island with plenty of food, a companion, and a relatively stress-free lifestyle. What do you say when the rescue ship comes?
    Although stress-free seems like the way to be, I thrive on at least a little stress.  So I'd decompress some, grab a few coconuts and my buddy and board the ship back to the good life.
  7. Which day of the week do you look forward to most?
    Fridays after 4pm.  Computer is shutting down, grab my purse, and run for the door never to look back...  From there my time is mine again.  No more "yes sir" and "I'll get right on it".  At least til Monday...
  8. What’s your favorite place to enjoy the great outdoors?
    My aunt's ranch in Santa Margarita.  It's peaceful.  It's beautiful.  It's like a home away from home.  The ocean is a 20 minute drive.  Further into the rugged hill is a 15 minute drive.  It's the place my mom grew up.  And the place I look forward to someday taking my kids to visit and enjoy.  It's a place that the minute you drive up you instantly relax. 
  9. What’s on your “to do” list this summer?
    Maybe a road trip to the Seattle/British Columbia area.  And work.  Because, unfortunately, money still has to be made so work has to happen. 
  10. Which natural disaster freaks you out the most?
    Definitely tornados and hurricanes.  No thank you to massive forces of air swirling all around me and picking up things as it goes throwing it who knows where.  I'll take my little foot massage earthquakes any day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dating Dilemma

Are you the perfect match - except for one not-so-little thing...?  The issue here is not about trying to find someone perfect - and a good thing, since there's no such person on the face of the earth.  The issue is about you being clear about what shortcomings in a partner you can live with and which you can't.

You're dating someone who is right in so many ways, but wrong in one significant way.  Perhaps it's a personal habit that drives you crazy:  total lack of manners at mealtime or constant interruptions while you're trying to talk.  It could be a character issue that signals trouble:  drinking too much but shrugs it off as "no big deal" or pouting and sulking to get their way.  Whatever it is, you wonder if this "fatal flaw" might kill the relationship.  What should you do?  Well, maybe you should ask yourself these questions...

Is this a learned behavior that can change or a personality trait that probably won't?
Everyone has a bad habit or two that can be beat with willpower, accountability, and encouragement.  But relatively minor irritations are in a different category than ingrained personality traits, which are usually difficult (and sometimes impossible) to change.  Clearly identify which types of issues you're dealing with - one that's possible to modify or one that will likely stay the same.

Does this shortcoming appear on your must-have or can't-stand lists?
If you have carefully identified the ten things you can't live with and the ten things you can't live without, then these lists should serve as a screening process.  And if your partner's flaw shows up, this could be a clear signal that this person isn't right for you.  That may sound cold hearted, but what good are your must-haves and can't-stand lists if nonnegotiable items become negotiable?  What's more, we can only imagin the number of divorces or troubled marriages that involve people who thought, "This one thing really bothers me, but it'll go away."

Is this a fault you are willing to live with?
Making plans for a long-term relationship with someone you assume will change is a recipe for trouble.  Sure, people grow and improve, but you should not base your future happiness on the assumption that your partner will be able to (or want to) change enough to satisfy your wishes.  Of course, you may ultimately decide that you can live with your partner's fault, but in doing so you're making a deliberate, conscious choice.

So are you going to do?  Do you already have your 10 can't-stand and 10 must-have lists?

This information is brought to you by eharmony.

Friday, April 16, 2010

1 Month

In less than one month from today, I'll be embarking on a new...era...of my life.  Or I'll just be entering a new era, a new decade.  And you know what.  At all!  I don't want to be 30.  I'll stay 29 forever thankyouverymuch!

I know that I've done things to be proud of thus far in my life.  But I don't feel...accomplished.  I don't feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be in my life.  I feel kinda lost in limbo.  10 years ago, if you asked me where I'd think I'd be by the time I was 30 this is what I would have told you:  I'd be married.  I'd be a mother.  I'd be a stay at home mom unless I absolutely had to be working.  I'd be involved.  I'd be a friend to all.  I'd have dinner made every night.  I'd have traveled to Europe.  I'd be in love with my soul mate.  I'd have it all, while having nothing at all.

So let's compare that to what's actually happened...  No married, with no prospects in sight.  Not a mother, unless you consider my dog my daughter.  Definitely not a stay at home mom, absolutely have to work to survive.  Not involved.  I feel like I'm a friend to all, but all aren't necessarily a friend in return (maybe another post about that later).  Haha, does a bowl of cereal or going to my parent's count as "dinner made everynight"?  Have yet to go to Europe, but I have my passport ready on standby.  Don't know who my soul mate is to be in love with him, but I am in love with my eternal soul mate (God).  If having it all means having the list above, then I don't have it.  And I'm going to throw this in for good measure, I'm not the 36-24-36 bombshell that I though I'd be either.

See?.  There.  Do you see why I'm not ready to move into the 30's?  I don't want to feel like I'm failing more and more as I get further into life.  And yes, I do realize that some of those things are beyond my control, therefore I can't say I'm failing.  But I feel I have.  And it's a feeling I can't get rid of.

So there.  I'm turning 30.  I'm not excited.  And being as I'm not excited, I haven't jumped on the "I'll plan my own birthday party" bandwagon yet (plus, maybe because I don't want to be the one to plan it, bygolly I want to enjoy it).  But people keep asking.  So maybe this will be my party:  Show up, everyone bring me a bottle of wine, watch me drink it...all, eat cake, leave.

Maybe I'll even share some wine.

Forgive me while I go mope in a corner some more.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Go visit Chelsea's husbands answers for this week!

(I'm an idiot and just realized that I've been titling these for a while 'Ten FOR Tuesday' when it's 'Ten ON Tuesday'.  I'm dumb.  I'm working on it.  Sorry.)
  1. What book, movie or song has made you want to travel to a particular place? (eg. I went to Prince Edward Island because I was such a Anne of Green Gables fan)
    I've had a desire to go to Ireland for a long time now.  Ask my sisters, anytime I see a deal through Travel Zoo I always try to convince them that we have to go.  But they're both poor college students, and I don't want to go alone.  But after reading, then watching, PS I Love You I've convinced that I must go, and I must go soon!  Anyone wanna go with me...?

    Oh, and I want to do the Amazing Race.  Every week when I watch the show I get travel envy.
  2. Aside from your significant other, who would you want to take with you on a dream trip?If I don't have a significant other can I want to take my future significant other on my dream trip?
  3. Where would said dream trip be to?
    Ireland and/or Greece.  Oh, and Italy.  And Australia/New Zealand.
  4. If you were hosting guests or providing tips, what three things would you show visitors to your hometown? (be it where you live now or where you grew up)
    Ahahahahahaha...  I live in a town of 6,000 where our claim to fame are cows and the world's largest single site cheese manufacturing site.  So, I'd so them Hilmar Cheese.  3 times.
  5. If you had a long weekend ahead of you, where do you head – beach, city or country/mountains?Most likely beach, like Monterey or Carmel.  Or the central coast.  Particularly San Luis Obispo or the ranch.
  6. Do you have a passport? If so, did you get it for a particular trip or just to have, in case?
    Yes I do!  I got it to have just in case.  And I did have to use it last year when I went on a cruise to Mexico.  I didn't get a stamp in it though, big time bummer!
  7. Are there any travel souvenirs you collect? If not, is there something else you collect?
    I collect dangly charms (for, like, the original charm bracelet, not the newer version that pinches your skin and pulls your wrist hair) from new places I visit.  My mom got me started with a charm bracelet when I graduated from preschool, it had an apple on it.  Since then my (maternal) grandma contributed getting charms from countries she visited, and I would add to it as well.  That bracelet doesn't really fit anymore; face it, I don't have the wrist or a 4 year old anymore.  I want to start a new bracelet of just places I've been, so I've started getting new charms from states I visit.
  8. If you could name a paint colour, what colour would it be and what would you call it?
    If I could, I'd bottle the exact shade of blue/purple/periwinkle from a hydrangea.  It's my absolute favorite color.  But what would I call it...?  Maybe sometime total unique and original like 'Pretty, Pretty Periwinkle'.
  9. If you were heading away for a weekend citybreak solo, where would you go? (forget about practicality here and flight times, assume you can get to any city in the world for the weekend)New York City.  Because I haven't been there and I want to go.  I don't know internationally if I could choose just a city because I want to see more of a country than just a city/
  10. Is there a song or a smell or something that you strongly associate with a particular holiday/place/time, such that it always takes you back?
    I associate songs or smells with a lot of things.  Hearing a bar of a traditional hymn sung only at church for Christmas or Easter, and, well as far as smells there are too many to list.  Corn dogs take me back to the days when I would go to the fair with my grandparents when they served on the board of directors, then to my 4-H showing days, and then to the few years that I worked at the same fair.  Egg Salad is Easter.  Fresh cut grass is a warm summer day.  etc. etc.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

7 Habits of Highly Effective Singles

The bad news, lots of singles want to know the "secret" to being a successful and popular dating partner.  Of course, there isn't a formula for creating world-class charisma, there isn't a pill that will give you a magnetic personality, and there is no magic wand to make you instantly irresistible.

The good news is that dating success comes from consistently incorporating positive attitudes and actions into your lifestyle.  These are "healthy habits" that ensure you become the most attractive person possible - and boost your chances of finding a fantastic partner!  So let's start with these productive practices...
  1. Keep growing and moving foward.  There is something enticeing about people who have identified their purpose in life, work hard to cultivate their abilities, and have goals they're moving towards.  And when people are passionate about where they are going in life, we want to go with them.
  2. Be proactive, not passive.  Many men and women want love, a relationship, and marriage - but they don't do much to make it happen.  (guilty!)  If you want to find a partner, you've got to be proactive and persistent.  Patience may indeed be a virtue, but when it comes to finding the love of your life, so are guts and gumption.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone and take risks.  Some people have no problem meeting, greeting, and forming new relationships.  Others have a much tougher time pushing themselves "out there" socially.  They/You/Me must summon courage, swallow anxiety, and plunge into social settings.  If you tend to be reserved (guilty!) and restrained, there's no point in trying to remake yourself into an outgoing, life-of-the-party type.  Be who you are, but be prepared to push yourself.
  4. Accentuate your God-given assets.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses that they bring to a potential relationship.  The trick is to maximize your assets and minimize your liabilities.  Look for ways to develop and utilize your talents, and try hard to curtail your shortcomings.  The aim isn't perfection, the aim is to reach your full potential.
  5. Operate from a position of strength and security.  Self-confidence is contagious, and self-assurance is highly attractive.  You'll boost your odds of finding a partner if you become convinced deep down that you have a lot to offer.  Believe the best about yourself and your future.
  6. Become a skilled communicator.  There is an art to communication.  And these days it's largely a forgotten art.  The most average-looking person can be wildly attractive by becoming adept at listening, empathizing, asking questions, and making the other person feel completely understood and accepted.
  7. Remain steadfastly optimistic.  Not only are upbeat, hopeful people more enjoyable to be around, but they also make for far better romantic partners over the long haul.  Dozens of research studies have demonstrated that positive people are likely to achieve more goals, handle stress more wisely, overcome depression more quickly, and manage problems with far greater effectiveness.
So what have you learned?  Maybe that you don't need to rely on luck or an elusive secret.  Or that maybe when you have sound, sensible guidelines to live by you can count on dating success.

Ten for Tuesday (on Wednesday)

See what happens when you take a Monday off?  You don't have time to get fully caught up on Tuesday.  Which means that certain non-work items get postponed.  But it's here today!
  1. If you could travel back in time, would you? What decade would you visit?
    Ahhhh...  I'm gonna have to say no.  Or if I said yes, I won't go far, maybe to a particular point in my life to change things.  Is that cheating?
  2. What was your best Halloween costume? (fun to make? most creative?)
    I remember one year when I was younger my mom made me a spider costume.  It was basically a long sleeve black leotard that had 6 legs (black material tubes stuffed with batting) sewn on it.  The 7th and 8th legs where my arms that the other legs were connected to, so when I moved an arm 3 other arms/legs would follow.  That costume was awesome!  Thanks Mom for being sew (haha, get it?!?) creative!
  3. Do you like your name? If you weren’t called by your name, what would you want to be called?
    Sure.  It wasn't a common name growing  up.  And really it still isn't.  I need more than 2 hands to count how many Jennifers I knew growing up.  Boo to common and popular.  Yea for unique and uncommon.  Courtneys unite!
  4. In the past year, what is the BEST recipe you made. Please share it!Ok, it's been a little longer than a year since I made this recipe, but it's so darn good I have to share it.  Panzanella Salad (adapted from a few different recipes).  It is perfect for a nice summer (or spring, fall, or winter) BBQ.  Enjoy!
  5. Look around – what is the nearest object or picture hanging on the wall?Does a cubicle wall count?  If so, a Dilbert comic, a little calendar, a work phone directory list, and a bunch of other random work related papers.
  6. What was the last movie you saw in a theater? Would you recommend it?
    Post edit, I lied.  I last saw Valentine's Day in the theater.
    According to my list, it seems that When in Rome was the last movie I saw in the theater.  Yes, it was cute, funny chick flick.  :)
  7. Did you go to summer camp? Will you/do you send your kids to camp?
    Yep, I went to church camp a couple summers.  And 4-H camp a couple times.  And church conferences when I got older.  And I've gone to winter camp many times, as a camper and a counselor.  Absolutely I'm going to encourage my kids to go to camp.  Why wouldn't I want them to experience going away and making memories and friends?  And why wouldn't I want a little quiet time at home too? 
  8. What kind of ringtone do you have?
    Depends who calls.  My main ring is a Francesca Batastelli (sp?) song "I'm Letting Go".  If you're my bff calling, I hear Hakuna Matata.  Random I know, but we used to watch Lion King often and loved singing along with that song.
  9. Where is the farthest away from home you have ever been?
    It's a toss up between New York, Orlando, Washington DC, or Hawaii.  I'll be right back, I'm gonna go google map it and see what the distant winner is...  Google had a hard time figuring driving directions from California to Hawaii.  Wonder why...?  But the winner is... New York!
  10. Has anyone ever written a song or a poem for or about you?
    No.  I would love for my future guy to write a song for me when play it on his guitar and sing it to me.  Is that too much to ask for?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Impromptu Day Off

Yesterday, after the doctor's appointment I had in the morning, I decided I was going to take the day off.  I had thought about it a little towards the end of last week, but I actually pulled the trigger yesterday morning.  See, I was 30 minutes from work in a city I hardly ever go to.  So I decided that since I was there I was going to make the most of it.
  • I went to the doctor.  I do not like going to the doctor.
  • I got my car washed, which was much needed.  And then it rained.  I'm totally ok with that, because the inside of the car needed to be cleaned just as much as the outside.
  • I went to Victoria's Secret where I redeemed my free panty coupon and got a new bra.  TMI?  Sorry, it's the truth.
  • I perused H&M looking for cute clothes (which I found and did not buy) and looking for dresses the girls and I could wear to Chris' wedding.  I, ah, bought the twins cute matching outfits.
  • I walked thru Gap.  I was not impressed.
  • I walked thru Sephora where I had to restrain myself from getting anything.
  • I went to Trader Joes.  I bought yummy food stuff.
  • I went to Smart & Final where I needed to get my supplies for Bible Study later in the day.
  • I went home for an...egg salad sandwich!  YUM!  I love Easter!
  • I hung out with the twins and their mama.
  • I went to Save Mart to get a few extra supplies for Bible Study.
  • I did not make it to Weight Watchers because I was running behind.
  • I helped make and serve dinner to the Turlock Rescue Mission as an outreach with my Bible Study gals.  It was great!
  • Home.
  • Movie.
  • Bed
What was great was that I did things at my own pace.  I never go to the mall in the middle of the day on a week day.  It's always after work (rushed!) or on the weekend (crowded!).  So it was nice to leisurely walk around and look.  It was nice to call in "ditch" work for the day.  Man I wish I could do that more often.

Does that mean I got to sleep in?  No.  Does that mean that I went to bed earlier?  No.  But I feel better anyways.  Makes me wonder if I could get away with working 4 10s then having a 3 day weekend...

Hummm...  Gonna have to look into that one...

Friday, April 2, 2010

My Mug

You haven't seen my face in awhile.
(me. not recent. but taken within the last ... 2 months.)

Ha, you haven't really even heard from me in awhile. Sorry about that.

Things have been crazy. And it doesn't fail, everytime I have a good topic to blog about, or something to rant/voice my opinion about, I'm driving. Can't really blog and drive at the same time. I think that falls into the same "illegal" category as texting and driving. And then by the time I get home, I've forgotten. So bear with me. I'll be back. Full fledge I'll be back!

Oh, and stay tuned...I'll be updating my blog.  And my domain name.  And it's gonna be grand!  Now I just need to get it going.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wine Tasting/Murphys Irish Festival Day Trip

Some few weeks ago, I went on a quick little day trip up to Murphys in the Sierra foothills.  You see, they put on a Irish Festival every year.  So we went.  My parents, brother, future SIL, and bro's friend.  Murphys = total Irish pride!  On the way though we stopped at Twisted Oak Winery to do a little tasting.  Good stuff!  Then we proceed to Murphys to walk around downtown and have lunch.  Good times!
Afterwards we stopped at Iron Stone Winery to taste their stuff.  It wasn't that great, but the flowers definitely were!
As so concludes the day trip.  I napped on the way home.  Wine + hilly roads = lull to sleep.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ten for Tuesday

  1. What television character do you identify with?
    ...???...  I don't know.  You tell me.  Those of you that know me, what TV character do I identify with?
  2. Describe your morning routine.
    Snooze button minimum 6 times.  I'm not kidding.  Officially wake up.  Potty, strip down neked to weigh myself, shower.  Contacts in, brush the teeth, take the morning pills.  Feed the dog (she's gotta get her lazy bum outta bed too).  Dress, dry hair while doing make-up.  Yep, I'm talented like that.  Deoderant check.  Shoes on, dog gets antsy to go.  Give dog her morning pills.  Grab lunch from freezer.  Grab banana or breakfast bar.  Dog on leash, walk across the street, good mornings to mom and who ever else is awake.  Shoo dog away from other dog's food bowls, the little piggy!  Run across the street, grab junk, go to work.
  3. How do you do lunch? Bring from home or dine out? Same thing every day or mix it up?
    I keep a stock of non-perishables at my desk for the days I forget to bring something, like today.  But I generally try to keep a week's worth of frozen healthy meals in the freezer at work.  Hardly ever do I go out to eat.
  4. What is one moment that, although seemingly trivial at the time, changed your life?
    This takes too much thinking right now.  I just can't go that far into the recesses of my brain.  Sorry.
  5. Name your top three beauty products.
    Bare Essentials eye shadows.  Mary Kay tinted moisturizer foundation.  Bionic hair straightener.
  6. What do you do when you’re alone in the car?
    Turn the music up and set my phone to play road slots while I'm driving.
  7. What is the ideal city for you to live in? If you can, take this survey (<-- link) and tell us the results. Do you agree with them?
    Walla Walla, WA; Bremerton, WA; Murray, KY; Moab, UT; Milwaukie, OR; Berea, KY.  Hummm...  Ok, I didn't think I would be dispositioned to reside in those locations.  I've never been to Kentucky, but maybe I should go visit if it's an ideal place for me to live.  Ideally though, I love Colorado and where I currently reside. 
  8. Are you waiting for something?
    Yes, I'm always waiting for something.  Waiting for something boils down to waiting for God to do His thing.  1) I'm waiting for Mr. Right.  2) I'm waiting on my winning lotto ticket.  3) Waiting for the funds to get a new camera body.  4) Waiting on my big "photography break-thru".  But I'm content with where I am in waiting because I know that God has it all under control.
  9. What was the last shocking news you heard?
    Bad news bears, but a good friend of my brother was arrested by the FBI for child p0rn0graphy (0 used instead of o to reduce spammers).  That definitely came as a shocker!
  10. What are three things you wouldn’t do for a million dollars?
    Deny my God.  Kill. Or give up ice cream.  I'm sure there is something more serious than giving up ice cream, but that's what came to mind.  :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Uh oh...

I just realized I didn't give the February birthday a shout out...

Happy Birthday Kait!
Yeah, she's dead sexy!

March Birthday Shout Outs!

March is a month of birthdays for me.  So since the month is almost over I thought I better honor those close to me with a birthday shout out. 

Happy Birthday Bro!
My brother turned...26...  And he's getting married in October.  I'm so proud of him.

Happy Birthday BFF!
My bestie and I are now, for the next 2 months, the same age.  She's a proud mama of 2.

Happy Birthday Mommy!
I'm not going to share how young my mom is now.  Because she still makes me dinner.  Love ya Mom!
Do I owe anyone else a shout out?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ten for Tuesday

  1. When you were a senior in high school, what career did you think you’d choose? Did you? Why or why not?
    In high school, I didn't have a "career" in mind.  I wanted to do something businessy, which I can't say I have...yet... And I knew it would be temporary, 'cause I wanted to be a mommy, which I haven't...yet...
  2. What one thing about the “real world” did you find most surprising once you were on your own?
    401k, life insurance, health insurance, all that mumbo jumbo.  I still don't get it all, I understand the basics, but not enough to make me dangerous.  Oh, and once I joined 'the real world' the car that I was driving, owned by my parents, was passed down to the next sibling... So guess who had to be a big girl and purchase her own car, as well as pay for gas and insurance and repairs and maitenance and oil changes and pine tree car fresheners...  Also, saving money is much harder when you're in 'the real world'.  When you have few to no expenses, besides trips to the mall and movies, it's easy to save.  Not so much any more.
  3. Name 3 things you think your closest friends DON’T like about you.
    Um, can't say they've ever told me, so I don't know.  I'm gonna guess that 1) I'm not good at keeping touch, 2) I have a large chest, so they're a little jealous (ok, they've kinda said that or poked fun at it), and 3) ... ... I'm drawing a blank here.
  4. In order to sleep, do you need background noise or absolute quiet?
    Depends how tired I am.  Generally silence, but I can tolerate minor, subtle noises.
  5. Why do you choose to reside in your current city? Yes, you have a choice.
    Yes, I've thought about this before too.  Often.  I live here because of family and friends.  And the fact that I have a great job is a bonus to stay put.  And face it, I live in California.  And not busy city LA or Bay Area.  I live in quiet flat Central Valley, where I'm 2 hours from mountains, snow, San Fracisco, the beach, Monterey, and wine countries (yes, I said countries because there are many areas in my state besides Napa). 
  6. Are you close to your parents?
    Yes.  In fact, I'm so close that all I have to do to see them is walk across the street.  It's great, I walk my dog across and she hangs out there all day while I'm at work.  And my dad just drives his little lawn mower across and mows my lawn (his landlord duty).  I'm close to my whole family.  And today is my mom's birthday.  Give her a shout out in the comments.
  7. What is your favorite fiction book? Poem? Blog?
    Book - Just about every book I read is a favorite, even if only for a short period of time before I read the next book.  So, right now, it's The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks.  Yes, I just finished reading it this past weekend.
    Poem - Ummmm...  Can't say I have one.
    Blog - I love the Pioneer Woman's blog.  It's so real.  She's funny too!  And watch out, her love story about how she met, fell in love with, and was in a relationship with her husband was purchased by Sony Pictures.  A movie is in the works!
  8. Do you enjoy cooking or is it a chore?
    I enjoy cooking.  I do not enjoy cooking for one.  I like to take my time cooking, and not feel rushed.  But I do enjoy cooking and experimenting in the kitchen.
  9. Be honest. What one thing would (the majority of) your blog readers be shocked to find out about you?
    I'm really not that exciting.  I'm a bore.  I'm a home-body.  And I don't live a glamorous life.  I'm sorry to disappoint you...
  10. If you were given your own national holiday, what would you require people to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the Day of You? Would there be a parade? Greeting cards?
    No parade, I don't want that much attention on me.  No greeting cards, heaven knows we don't need another commercial holiday.  Too many holidays are already centered around dinner.  So my holiday would be a little backwards.  How about breakfast for dinner.  For morning breakfast the normal would be regular stuff: toast, cereal, etc.  Lunch would be whatever.  But for dinner, you have to go all out with breakfast foods.  French toast or pancakes or waffles with eggs and sausage and a fruit salad and fresh squeezed juice.  Or mimosas, which ever you fancy.  Everyone would get the day off from work for sure.  But I think that banks and dry cleaners and the such should have to be open.  So then normal people that work 8-5 and can never get to the places that close by 5 have a chance to get their errands done.  And school would still be in session so mom and dad get a break to get stuff done without having to worry about the kids.  But teachers already get a lot of holidays and breaks (summer, christmas, spring), so they have to work.  Sorry to all you teachers and bankers out there, don't hate me. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Up on the photo blog...


(one of these days I'll be combining these 2 blogs into one, just thought I'd warn you)

Oh, and here's a picture of my healthy Riley.  So glad she's home and healing beautifully!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ten for Tuesday

I promise, this week I'll get caught up on blogging...on all blogs.  I promise.  If by Saturday you haven't heard much from me, start sending me hate comments.
  1. Quick! Zombies are coming!! What do you do?
    Two words... Zombieland's rules (click rules for Zombieland rules).  And I'd call my friend George, he loves zombies and is going to by my bestest buddy when they come.
  2. Whew, that was a close one. …I think your phone is ringing. Oh, it’s your best friend! She thinks she’s been bitten by a zombie. What advice do you give her?
    Well, at that point, she's a goner.  So I'd tell her I love her and it was nice knowing her.  Then I'd run for my life.  Unless she wasn't really bitten.  Then I'd tell her to call me back in 24 hours, if she does she's safe.
  3. You realize it’s time to leave your current location because it’s clearly not safe anymore. Are you going to move at night or day? Defend your reasoning.
    If it's not safe, then it's not safe at either time of the day.  So I'd hit the road Jack, like ASAP.
  4. During your relocation, you come across a weapon superstore. My, that’s convenient. What kind of weaponry do you choose?
    Any and all.  I'll stock up my arsenal with guns, pipes, swords, baseball bats, TNT, etc.
  5. As you leave, an old lady on the side of the street begs you to help her. Do you? Why or why not?Eeeeee..tough one.  Has she been bitten and not 'changed' yet?  Were we close neighbors?  Did she bake me cookies?  Or should I trust no one?
  6. Good choice, you’re clearly a good person to have around in a zombie apocalypse. Oh hey, there’s a wifi signal here! You can’t stay long but this is your chance to gather some intel on the current situation. What’s the first website you check?The International Zombie Location Registry...  duh!  Just kidding, I don't know if there is such a thing.  I'd google the location that I'm headed to and see what pops up.
  7. SHH! What was that noise?!
    What noise?!?  You heard a noise?!?  Noises spook me!  Better getting going again.  Can't risk being found.
  8. I think it’s time to get out of here. I hope you have a plan. Where are you going now?
    I think I'll head somewhere remote, like Montana.  I'll find me a big ol' cabin/mansion in the middle of nowhere.
  9. Wait a minute, that looks like a bite mark on your arm… You may be infected too! Will you tell other people?
    What other people?  I haven't seen a soul for weeks. 
  10. How does this story end?Happily ever after.  Or not.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ten for Tuesday

...the Saturday edition (only because I wasn't home or near free internet on Tuesday).
  1. Of your current hobbies, which would you choose to spend more time, money, and effort on? Why?
    Photography.  If I had more money I could take workshops, and buy the new camera body that I want, and a few lenses.  If I had the time I could actually get out there and take pictures and practices to turn this hobby into more of a profession.
  2. List the two other hobbies/habitual activies (not chores) besides the one listed above that you regularly do now and didn’t choose in question one.
    Reading my Bible and reading in general.  Does shopping count as a hobby/habitual activity?
  3. Why are you spending time on the above two hobbies/habitual activies at all if you really wanted to spend your time on the first one you chose?  …or to put it another way, what are these two hobbies/habitual activities fullfilling that the first one doesn’t if you don’t want to put all your effort into the first hobby?
    Well, reading the Bible should be pretty obvious.  It's necessary and needed to continue to walk the Jesus and to learn more about the character of God.  And well, it's kinda hard to take pictures outside at night, so I'll read inside instead.  Plus it helps put me to sleep at night.
  4. Ready John 3:16 in the bible… In what way does this passage affect you?  What are your feelings towards these words, positively or negatively?
    Feelings towards that verse are definitely positive.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life."  God loved/s, God gave, and He continues to give.  That verse sums everything up.
  5. M&M’s: nuts, no nuts, or peanut butter?
    Peanut butter.  All chocolate is better with peanut butter.
  6. Putting away the feeling of pride being a bad thing; what secretly/openly are you proud about yourself?
    Ummmm... I'm inventive.  Like MacGyver.  Give me a rubber band and a paper clip and I'll make a weapon of mass destruction.
  7. Given one room in the house to do with what you want, not changing the actual size of the room and with all the money you would need, what would you do, and be specific?  (this can range from bouncy floor,walls & ceilings; to hard wood floor with wood paneling and purple ceiling with a chair; to nothing)
    I'd have to say the kitchen.  I'd change the counters to a granite, upgrade the stove/oven to a high quality brand like Wolf, and stock it full of the best equipment and supplies out there.  Or I'd redo the living room and make it totally pottery barn-esque.
  8. What’s the next movie you’re going to see?  Not what you’d LIKE to GO see, but the next movie you realistically are going to watch.
    I don't know.  I haven't seen Dear John yet, and I'd like to see it but don't know if I'll make it to see it.  For sure I know I'll go see Sex and the City 2, but that's not out until May.
  9. Use the keyboard only and make your best smiley/funny/cool face –> like this! 8^)
    :)  That's as creative as it gets.
  10. What makes you cry? What makes you pray? What makes you laugh?
    Cry?  Just about anything can make me cry, I'm an emotional wreck like that.  Pray?  Everything drops me to my knees:  adoration, praise, requests from the heart.  Laugh?  I love laughing, so a good joke or just anything funny in general will get me.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Riley - The Miracle Dog

Pre-post note, the title was changed from this "You are healed!  {thump on the forehead}".
I'm not a fan of those tele-evangelist shows on TBN, but I thought what they do fit the title...  Title changed due to the extended edition of Riley's last 2 weeks.

As most of you read last Thursday, my poor pup was really sick and I was really worried.  All I can say is this, God is GOOD!  Like, really, really good!  So here's what happened...

I posted this.  Riley was not acting normal.  She was acting very 'punk'.  I tend to not worry a lot, almost to a fault.  But I was worried.

Made an appointment to get her into the vet.  Kaitlin took her to the appointment, since I have work.  The vet said that she was very dehydrated and needed to be hooked up to an IV to rehydrate.  I explained, over the phone, what I suspect happened (getting into the trash) and we went from there.  Riley stayed at the vet all day Friday.  When I picked her up this is what I found out:  Riley most likely has pancreatitis, she also has a small piece of wire in her intestines.  The plan was that I'd bring her back in the morning and she'd resume IV treatment, have another x-ray, as well as possibly have a barium series done.  There was also the possibility that she'd need to have exploratory surgery.  So, I took her home, and a few friends also came over and hung out.  Despite having an anti-vomiting medication, she still continuted to regurgitate throughout the night.

Back to the vet we go.  Due to the fact that she continued to up-chuck water and bile all night the vet was very concerned.  And because of this, it was very possible that she wouldn't be able to keep the barium down.  The wire also barely moved.  So, in the vet's best clinical advice, she suggested that they go in for exploratory surgery and see what's going on.  And they did.  And they found that her pancreas was very inflamed, like really badly, like the worse they had ever seen.  And because of the condition of the pancreas, the bowel right next to it was in really bad shape.  So they removed the wire (a twisty tie) and closed her up.  I then had 3 options:  1) keep doing what we're doing and pray for the best, 2) take her to a local 24 hour emergency vet where they have her seizure meds in IV form, or 3) take her to a 24 hour emergency vet clinic where they have everything she would need as well as all the equipment needed.  Even though #3 was the most costly, it was also the most recommended choice for her condition.  So I picked her up, and with a friend we drove to Dublin (about 1.5 hours away).  With my permission, they took a blood sample to test and got her going on pain meds right away.  Poor thing was hurting, you could tell.  After some time, the vet explained everything under the sun to me regarding her condition, as well as every possible scenario that could happen because of her condition.  I told them that they were to do whatever needed to be done.  So I signed a form to give them my first born, give them a hefty deposit, said goodbye to my girl, and drove home.  I was told that no news is good news, that they'll check in with me morning and night, and to call if I had any questions or needed an update.

I. was. a mess.  A mess I tell you.  I realized when I got home that I was already mourning her, like she was already gone.  And that wasn't fair of me to not give her a fighting chance.  So I flipped my attitude around. 

Morning report was good!  No vomiting (which was great!) since 5pm Saturday.  Her heart rate and blood pressure were good too.  The vet wanted to run another full blood panel to check all her levels.  Do it!  (Honestly, at this point, what's another $130...?)  Evening report was again good.  All her levels were back into normal range.  She was doing much better and quicker than they expected.  That's my girl!  Dr. Ramos was going to consult with the evening vet to get her opinion on giving Riley water, and seeing if she keeps it down.

I got a call from the night vet first thing in the morning.  She told me that they gave Ri a little bit of food, and if all goes well she should be able to go home the next day.  YEAH!  So, one more day at the vet (not included in the original estimate), but she'll be home.  Then, later, I got a call from the office around  5:30pm and they said that she's been released and is free to go home!  Praise the Lord!  So I went home and ate dinner real quick; then Kaitlin and I drove the 1 1/2 hours to pick up my girl!

added to included the extended edition...
Riley was doing great!  Taking it easy, resting, eating, gaining her energy back, etc.  Kaitlin would check on her in the afternoon and hang out for a bit before I got home from work.

Went through the morning routine.  Food, meds, turn the TV on low before heading off to work.  Today was the one day Kaitlin didn't check on Riley.  And when I got home from work she wasn't home.  Nor was she at my parent's house.  Turns out I found a broken board in the back yard.  And I panicked.  Like, freaked out, grabbed my phone, called my parents, and started walking.  Sometime between 8:30am and 5:30pm Riley got loose.  She busted through a fence board where there was a slight hole going under it.  I walked the normal walk route.  I walked all over.  I asked everyone I saw outside if they had seen a small white dog.  I then drove all over.  I drove until it got dark.  Everyone else in the family walk, drove, rode a bike around too.  All to no avail.  I got home and immediately starting making signs to hang all over town.  Again, it was a sleepless night.

Luckily my boss was very understanding.  In fact, he told me to go drive around once an hour.  And around noon he told me to get done what had to get done and to go.  I checked local animal shelters.  Called local vets.  Posted more signs.  Cried.  And prayed.  I himmed and hawwed about still going to Vegas the next day.  I just didn't know what else to do.  Mom and Dad came over and said that they both agree that I should still go.  I've done everything I could and sitting around moping all weekend won't do me any good.  At least in Vegas I'll be distracted while at the convention.  So I packed.  Then slept another sleepless night.

Finished packing.  Stopped and visited my adorable nieces.  Then headed to Fresno to visit Paige and Melissa before flying out.  It was great seeing the Gleason Family.  Amazing how much those kids have grown since I last saw them in July.  My flight left at 8:30pm and landed around 9:30.  After getting checked in at the MGM I walked to see where the convention center was taking place then hung out in my room.  Yea, I'm a baller like that.

Work up to the phone at 6:30am.  It was Kaitlin in hysterics.  My first thought was not a good one.  But then she started screaming that Riley was back.  She was home.  Thanks to my Mom for suggesting that I leave the gate propped open, then just in case Riley would have access to get back into the house (doggy door).  And that's exactly what happened.  She was home.  She was dirty.  And she brought a few hitching friends with her (nothing a little flea dip won't kill).  Praise God!  What an answer to prayer!  And then I slept soundlessly.

Everything looked good.  She didn't seem to be hurt, her scar wasn't infected, and she was happy to be home.  This past Tuesday she went to the vet, where the vet was very happy with her recovery from pancreatitis and being loose.  She's down a few pounds, which she needed to lose anyways.  I'm able to start incorporating normal dog food back into her diet.  And I'm happy.

Oh, and she's on house arrest.

So that is the story of Riley the Miracle Dog.  That's what everyone around town is calling her.  The dog that nearly died, then ran away, then almost 72 hours later found her way home.