Thursday, May 31, 2007

Oldie but Goodie

Credits: Gina Cabrera Surfer Betty Mega Kit; ScrapGirls lifted photo frame

I made this tonight using a photo from our 2003 vacation to Kauai. It's not my usual graphic style, but I like it. It looks more old-fashioned. AND it's not my usual blue and green colored layout. I think I'm branching out. ;-p

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Busy week goin' on here

I didn't realize this, but my last post was my 100th on this blog! Whoo hoo! I'm having a busy week with work. Month-end stuff, lots-o-big-spreadsheets and pivot-tables happenin'. I like to keep busy at work though, so it's a good thing. Not TOO busy though. Just busy enough so the time flies. I had been running lots, but lately my left shin hurts a little, so I've been taking it easy. I am 9 miles away from running 50 miles in 4 weeks though, and I've only got until Sat. evening to do it. I may push for the miles and then take a break next week... not sure. There are two museum exhibitions in San Diego that I want to see. One is the Dead Sea Scrolls at the SD Natural History Museum. The other isn't really a museum, more an exhibition. It's Bodies The Exhibition at UTC. I don't know if I'll be grossed out or not, but everyone who has seen it says it's beautiful. I was visiting my friend Edward's blog to see pics of his new baby, when I found links to this weather website called Wunderground.com. So I went there and they have weather stations in different zip codes. These weather stations are hardware/software that weather enthusiasts have installed at their homes. Here are two of my "neighbors", Bruce and the Lukens. Alrighty, gotta get ready for work now. See you on the creative side!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Some cool rockstar pics

I finally got around to printing out some of the Northstar Session band promo pics, because Shutterfly offered me 15 free prints. So of course I could not just upload the photos and get them printed, I had to mess with them, crop them, and put some text on them. I can't take credit for these wonderful photos though. My friend Becky Waer took them. (She's also a wonderful freelance writer.)



More Photoshop Foolery Fun

I had to complete some homework for my Make Your Photos Pop class... so why not have some fun at the same time right?


On this one the costumes were real, we found all the pieces at Goodwill & Salvation Army over the course of a few weeks. Everything is real except for the cartoon Scooby of course.


This one I cloned a picture of me from a costume party into the movie theatre photo, which is a generated photo from the internet. Read the movie marquee!

Cinco de Mayo layouts

I'm making a photobook of the Cinco de Mayo fiesta at our next door neighbors Fred & Annie's house. Here are a couple of pages I got started with. It's going to take me a while to get it all together, but it'll be awesome when it's done. I'm getting it printed out as a 8x8 photobook at Shutterfly. :-)

Credits: Pattie Knox template (DesignerDigitals.com); Krista Mettler red paper; Katie Pertier Sunprints green (recolored) paper and Naturally Krafty desert sage paper; Artistic & Times New Roman fonts.


Credits: Scrap Girls Corners Around template; Katie Pertiet Sunprints Ledger orange paper & Sunprints teal paper; Pea Neffer, Action Is, and Scriptina fonts.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

My Name In Lights


I got my name in lights with notcelebrity.co.uk How cool is this huh? I discovered a whole new category of fun: Generators

Friday, May 25, 2007

Why don't I feel relaxed?

It is the Friday before a 3 day weekend and I don't feel relaxed! I still have lots to do for work... then lots on my personal to-do list. Fooey. I've been working at the computer too much, my right arm hurts.

Memorial Weekend To-Do:


  • Run 6 miles on Saturday, stay on training schedule.
  • Sign-up for AFC Half Marathon for real.
  • Finish "Make Your Photos Pop" class homework.
  • Make progress on organizing hobby room.
  • Make a few digital layouts from Cinco de Mayo pics.
  • Catch up on magazines.

Did I ever say I love John Mayer? I can listen to his music all day long. I can listen to his music when I'm working. I can listen to his music when I run. I listen in the car. Perfect for all occasions. If you don't have "Continuum" you should get it. Todd & I independently listened to it and came up with the same favorite song, "Stop This Train". Love the melody, love the lyrics. Then my friend William independently wrote about this song on his blog! And he wasn't even a John Mayer fan from the start. He only recently discovered "Continuum". Anyways, we're going to see John Mayer at Coors in a couple of weeks, I'm excited!

Found a few cool things on the 'net today:



Photoshop Foolery Fun

~from my Make Your Photos Pop class, I learned to Dodge. Look at the difference it makes. The leaves look way better in the second photo huh.





Then I learned the cloning tool. I combined two photos into one and even put a reflection of the cactus into the water.





Then I put the cloning skill to good use, and cloned the sand to take out all the distracting people on the beach. Not totally happy with the result as the sand and sky seems too washed out. I'll have to play with it some more later. Let me tell you, it's hard to remove the background elements around our hairs! Hair is very hard to "fix" well in Photoshop.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Goodbye Veronica

Last night came and went as Veronica Mars quietly exited the tv kingdom. The CW has canceled VM after 3 seasons. Todd and I watched the two hour series finale and bid her goodbye. I'm sad that yet another smartly written show with a strong female lead character has gone away. Just like Buffy. I only watch 3-4 tv shows regularly, and this was one of them. I don't like shows like Lost, where the mythology goes on and on and nothing gets resolved. I can't bother to give them one hour of my time a week, only to have no resolution at year's end. I hate that. Won't do it. I hate reality shows. Todd and I might be the only people in the USA who don't watch American Idol or Dancing With the Stars. The thing about reality shows... who really cares? I guess millions of Americans do. To me it's unscripted dumbed-down tv. I don't like to remind myself how depraved human beings can be, or why Darwinism SHOULD work for those idiots they show on tv. So goodbye Veronica. It never rains in southern California.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

O-H! I-O!

We spent the weekend in Akron, Ohio. We had a surprise party for Todd's dad's not-quite-60 birthday party. He didn't want a party, so we made it a surprise. Our trip there was quite the adventure. On Friday our plane was supposed to leave at 1:59 pm, so we got to the airport about 2 hours before that. At the Delta desk, we were told that our flight had been delayed 45 minutes because the incoming plane had a medical emergency and had to land in mid-flight. Well, our layover in Atlanta was only an hour, so we would not be able to catch the flight from Atlanta to Akron. Then the Delta CS rep said we'd miss the last Delta flight from Atlanta to Akron for Friday, so we'd have to stay overnight in Atlanta and take the first flight out on Saturday. We didn't much like the idea. They weren't paying for the hotel. Plus we'd be bored sitting in a hotel room in Atlanta. So we opted to go home and take a later red-eye flight to Ohio instead. Yuck. No good options! We arrived in Akron on Sat at 9:30 am, bleary-eyed and ragged-tailed. We crashed for a few hours, then it was on to the big party! The surprise birthday party was disguised as the 10th Anniversary Party for Workplace Consultants, the company Todd's mom Sylvia owns with two other partners. So Todd's Dad Tim had no clue. Here's the look on his face an hour into the party when he found out the party was for him.



People went up and told stories of Tim. Todd was up first and told several funny stories of his dad.


The next day, we gave Tim his birthday present, which was tickets to the Cleveland Indians game at Jacobs Field, versus the Cincinnati Reds.



I zoomed up and got a shot of Ken Griffey Jr - post swing.


After the game, we went to see Tim's office at Watson Wyatt in downtown Cleveland. Outside the building, there were these artsy statues playing music. We couldn't resist, so we joined in.


Tim's office in the highrise has awesome views. One of which is the lakefront Cleveland Browns Stadium! I actually took the pic from the window of one of the conference rooms.


During the trip, we spent a lot of time catching up with family. It was good to see Todd's sister Amy. We saw Aunt Charlsie and Uncle Dick, who told stories from their travels. They spent one and a half years volunteering in Kenya and had quite a bunch of interesting stories. We also got good stories from Uncle Gordon and Aunt Muneca. It was fun chatting with Todd's cousin Kathleen and her husband Bob, who came all the way from Phoenix to attend the festivities. Spending time with loved ones is always good, even if we have to fly red-eye to get there!

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Blincoln of Ozz


Is this not the funniest picture you've ever seen???
The baby is Lincoln, my friend Julie's kid. (Or, as we refer to him, Mr. Linc.) Look at the way Mr. Linc. was looking at Ozzy! Priceless! Julie's husband Michael produces videos and stuff, and he's producing the video intro for Ozzfest. Julie and Mr. Linc. went to visit Michael at work today and took this photo. Hilarious! Now I'm going to smile to myself all weekend at this. :-)

Snow N Surf


Credits: template by Pattie Knox; Winter Surf papers by Kellie Mize; brown kraft paper by Katie Pertiet (all avail at Designer Digitals)

I scanned in some more negatives from Feb-2002. We had decided to do what we think you could only do in SoCal, which is to go snowboarding in the morning and then surfing in the afternoon. The round photo is from the morning snowboarding at Mountain High. Then in the afternoon we drove back down and surfed in Carlsbad. Cool and unique experience. Since it was February, the water was very cold and we were SO glad for our wetsuits!

The AAA magazine for Southern California did a story and photo shoot of us. Click here to see it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

lala, lulu, and a music offer from me

Bet you're wondering what I'm talking about eh?

I've joined lala.com. It's a CD trading service. So remember how over a month ago I blogged about how I wanted to organize a bunch of my stuff, including my music collection? I have gone through my CD's and put a pile of "no longer like" CD's together. Then I signed up at lala.com and entered my CD's that I'm willing to trade, along with Todd's CD's. Then someone who wants one of my CD's just puts it in their "Want" list, and I get an email saying that one of my CDs got requested. So then lulu sends me a pack of 5 CD mailers with postage paid and everything, and all I have to do is put the CD in and send it to that person who wanted it. Then, I can get one CD from my own "want" list, but not necessarily from that particular person that got my CD. Get it? It's like community trading. You send one, you get one. So far I've put in 80 CD's that I no longer want, and 4 of them have been requested. I'm just waiting for my lala mailing envelopes to come so I can send them off. This is WAY better than a garage sale I must say.

Then I came upon lulu.com. Lulu is a site where you can self-publish books. So if you have ideas for a photobook or any other type of book, you can write it and self-publish it there. There's no set-up fees and no minimums, so it's really reasonable. The possibilities are endless. You can then sell the book on Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, and at lulu itself. I just think that's so cool. I'm a sometime freelance writer and enjoy fantasizing about publishing my own book about something, sometime. This is one avenue if you don't get signed by a publishing house.

Speaking of music, and speaking of self-publishing... we have a bunch of CDs left over from when Todd was a part of the band The Northstar Session. They recorded and self-produced one full-length CD titled "One Way Ticket", and one EP (5 songs) called "Little Lies".



Since it's sunk cost, I'll make you an offer. I'll send you both CD's for $5. Just email me if you want them. Here's a sample of two songs from One Way Ticket and one song from Little Lies. Todd played all piano & organ, and sang back-up too.







You can also sample more songs from Little Lies here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Vote for Me!


I entered this picture into the Best Friends photo contest at Shutterfly. Caption at Shutterfly says:

"Ay Caramba! We've been friends for 25 years, since junior high. This picture was taken 10 years ago during a visit to San Diego. We saw these sombreros and maracas in an Old Town San Diego store and couldn't resist posing with them. We're now both 37 and still best friends. And we both live in San Diego now! "

Vote for me here! Five stars please!

Microwaving Termites

Yesterday we spent a TON of money getting rid of termites at our house. We hired Hi-Tech Termite Control to come and zap the buggers. They do this by bringing their special microwaves to kill the termites. Termites are 90% water, so they die when microwaved. They also spot treat areas with Termidor injections. They guarantee for two years, so hopefully they're all gone! Joys of homeownership... I guess I finally found something bad about living in San Diego: termites!

Google Thyself

Have you ever wondered what you'd find when you google yourself? Or maybe you've already done so. I googled myself and found a few items of interest. I also discovered that there are tons of other people out there with my same name. Did you know that if you googled "listgirl" you won't find me? It's cuz my blog is "unlisted". I don't list it in Blogger and I don't submit it to search engines. Basically, I don't want any creeps accidentally finding me. This blog is just for me and people I know. Listgirl is unlisted, ironic. ;-p Here are notable things I found when I googled myself:

Want to know what kind of stuff is on the web about yourself? I found this article about how to keep track of yourself on the internet. Pretty cool. I like this Geek To Live column.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Life before digital


Remember life before digital photos? I'm startin' to. My MIL gave me a Canon CanoScan 8600 F for my birthday. She knows how much I love photography, organizing my photos, and scrapbooking. The best thing about this baby? It scans NEGATIVES. Yep. I finally got a chance to test it out today. These surfing pix are from Feb-2002, BD (Before Digital). After I scanned them in, I did some color & exposure corrections. Then I applied some cooling filters to brighten up the color of the water. Then I used the Vivid Color action from ezactions.com. Then I framed them with Lifted Photo templates from Scrap Girls. I think this photo project turned out nicely.


For this B&W conversion I used the demo action at ezactions.com. It not only converts to B&W but also sharpens the contrast. Neato!


I used several of Photoshop Elements built-in filters on this one to get the colors I wanted.

On a separate note, it's officially strawberry season in SoCal. Todd got these from Henry's. They come straight from the strawberry fields in Carlsbad. Just look at them, so red, big, juicy, and sweet!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Remembering Mom


I've been thinking about this Mother's Day for a few weeks now. It is my first Mother's Day without my mom. I miss her lots and remember all she had done for me. I went to Rose Hills Memorial Park to visit her yesterday and to bring her flowers. I made this scrapbook page to remember this Mother's Day. I thought about how I could pay tribute to her today. The best way I could think of, is to post my eulogy speech at her funeral. So here it is.

We are here to remember my mom Grace, and to celebrate her life, all that she had accomplished and what she means to each one of us. She was a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, beloved wife, cherished mother, beloved sister, and a good friend to so many of you. Mom’s name, Grace, really befitted her character. She was the grace of God embodied in a person. She was a gift from God to us.

When I think about my mom, I think of her many good qualities. Her gentleness, her kindness, her generosity, and her total unselfishness. But most of all, I am reminded of God’s love through her. She lived her life with her love of Jesus and God’s love shining through her. Her joy came from the Lord. Phil 4:4-5 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all.” This verse describes how my mom lived her life in Christ. Her gentleness was evident to all who knew her. Even though she was quiet and unassuming, her gentleness, her shy smile, and her loving kindness touched everyone who came in contact with her. Jesus wants us to live our lives so that others can see Him though us. I believe many of us met Jesus because of my mom. My mom, with the Holy Spirit in her, exhibited many of the character qualities that God truly values. According to Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. When I think about these fruits of the Spirit, it is evident that’s how my mom lived her life. She lived according to God’s standards, not human standards.

She loved our family unconditionally. Not only that, she loved others unconditionally. I have never heard her say anything negative or complain about someone else. She always gave everyone the benefit of the doubt, even when they may not have treated her in the best way. She never held grudges against anyone, especially those in the body of Christ. One of my mom’s old friends from the Walnut Creek church came to visit her about a month ago, and she told my mom that she had never seen my mom angry with someone else. She was always concerned for others. Even her last day of life on earth, she was concerned about whether we had a chance to get a bite to eat in the midst of caring for her.

Even though she was gentle and unselfish, she was very strong in her unwavering faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Despite her condition toward the end of her life here on earth, she had faith that God could heal her of her cancer if that was His will and plan for her. While we don’t understand why God’s plan is to bring my mom Home at this time, we can trust in His omniscience that His plan is perfect and the best plan for all of us. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” He loves us and has the best plans for our lives. He is able to do in our lives more than we can ever imagine.

I believe when my mom got to heaven, she heard our Lord say to her, “Well done, my faithful servant, well done!” Those are words of honor that any one of us would love to hear from God. I, along with my family and all of you, will surely miss her very much. But we can all take comfort and rejoice that we will see her again in heaven, where there is no pain and no tears, where we will spend eternity in the presence of each other and with God.



Mom's favorite color was purple/lavender, so here's another version of the layout.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Photos That Pop Lesson 1

I started the Photoshop Elements "Photos That Pop" class and I had some homework due tomorrow. Since I will be busy all day today, I finished the homework last night. Look at the before (1st) and after (2nd) photos. The second one really {pops} more than the first one eh? ;-) Lesson 1 for this week was correcting color & exposure problems. I learned a lot! There are tons of different ways to do this, from the one click "Quick Fix" to multiple layers of adjusting. Very fun! You can see other photos that I fixed in my homework gallery here.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Tough working conditions


Today Todd went to the Fairway Technologies office in La Jolla to work. I tagged along and worked from there, because I had a 5:00 am conference call and I wasn't going into my office anyways. It was clear there! Well, after the "May Gray" burned off. So I walked into their conference room and this was the view! How cool is that? Ocean view office space. I could get used to that! Brett, the CEO of Fairway, is very cool and very nice. He wears shorts and sandals to work, and brings his dog sometimes. Oh, and I wrote and drew on the picture with a Wacom tablet that Todd's friend Jessica gave me. She has a newer and bigger one, so she gave this one to me. (She's so nice!) We had lunch at Aloha Sushi & Hawaiian Grille on Fay Street, within walking distance from the Fairway office. Our lunch was kinda small, so later on in the afternoon Todd and I walked to Porkyland and had a carnitas taco. Then we walked down to the Living Room and shared a piece of chocolate cake. Yum! I felt a little piggish but I'll burn it off by running tomorrow.

After we came home, I got the two CD's I ordered in the mail.




Sheryl Crow's "Wildflower", and Scissor Sisters' "Ta-Dah". Both of these will be great listen-to-in-the-car CD's and I'm looking forward to listening to them.

The first track on "Ta-Dah" is "I Don't Feel Like Dancing", but tell me if you feel like dancing or not when you hear the song!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

One Thing Leads to Another

I guess they don't call it the world wide web for nuthin'. When I try to find something on the internet, I always find a bunch of other interesting things. One thing leads to another, and before I know it, I've got tons of links saved in my Yahoo Bookmarks. If you haven't found Yahoo Bookmarks, I highly recommend it. It's like the "Favorites" folders in Internet Explorer, except way better because it's portable. You can just sign in to Yahoo from any computer and all your bookmarks are there. I love it and can't save enough stuff to it. Another great tool is the Google Reader. You need a free google or gmail account to use it, but that's easy enough to get. You subscribe to the RSS feeds from websites and other people's blogs, and then you can see when there's new stuff there, all from one place, the Google Reader! I love it because I can see at a glance all the people I cyber-stalk, whether they've updated their blogs or not! :-p Interesting things I found recently:
  • I subscribe to the Budget Travel magazine blog. Today I found this article regarding the upcoming season of "5 Takes" on the Travel Channel. I've seen the "5 Takes: Pacific Rim" episodes before, so I think the "5 Takes: Latin America" will be interesting as well.
  • Veronica Mars is being "revamped" and it's looking more and more like it'll be picked up for the fall season! Read about it here. Clap, clap, so excited!
  • One of the creative women that I follow, Tara Whitney, started her own photography business. I looked at the photos she's taken at her website, and I am in love. I want her to take pictures of me and Todd. I'm going to save up some money for this, because it's not cheap. But just look at her photos! She lives in SoCal, so she does do photo shoots in San Diego County. So excited!
  • Tara Whitney's photos just *POP*, the colors are so vibrant. So I googled "photos that pop" and found a Photoshop Elements class called "Make Your Photos Pop!" I enrolled right away, it is a 6 week online class with homework. So look for "before" and "after" photos from me soon! I found a website of someone who took the class, and just look at what she's done with her photos!
  • The Burrito Chronicles at signonsandiego.com. There's only 2 entries there so far, and I've been to El Zarape MANY MANY times. So I'm going to Santana's for my next burrito!
  • Andy the barista from Cafe de Fred (our next door neighbor). Todd and I chatted with him for a long time at the Cinco de Mayo party on Sat. Turns out he's a foodie (see his reviews/posts at Chowhound), a photographer (see his Flickr albums), a bookworm (see his books at Library Thing), a classical guitar player who is good friends with the Romeros, legendary first family of flemenco guitar from Spain who live right here in Del Mar. He even got to go to the event when the Grammy's honored the Romeros! So interesting! It's not everyday you meet someone interesting like that. Ok, I didn't cyber-stalk him, he gave me his card with his Flickr name on it, and I clicked on the links from there, okay?!
  • 43things.com - a website where people make list of 43 things they want to do/achieve, and they connect with other people who want to do the same things. It's like list-making taken a few steps further!

Alright, that's all for now. Time to go run 3 miles. This list should keep you busy for a while! :-)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

So efficient

I was eating my lunch at my desk at work, when my coworker Mark came by to see me about his May revenue outlook. He saw my lunch and said, "you're so efficient even in your culinary needs". It cracked me up. He explained by saying, "you have your lunch in your little lunch box, and you have your pickles in your little ziplock bag". I never thought of it as being efficient. How else would I pack my lunch? Are finance people automatically assumed to be "efficient"? Or is it because of my no-nonsenseness at work? Either way, I thought it was funny. Did you ever notice that the packed lunch has kinda gone by the wayside? Is it because people no longer cook at home, so they don't have leftovers to pack a lunch? Or is it because people think they're "too good" for packed lunches and they have to keep up the appearance of wealth by eating out all the time? Is packing your own lunch like a "big dork" kinda thing? Don't they know that you GET rich (and thinner) by packing your own lunches???

Monday, May 07, 2007

TV Theme Song Nostalgia

I was reading my friend Jay's blog today. Entertainment Weekly magazine had come out with "The Sci-Fi 25" list, it's their "Geektastic List of the Best Movies & TV" in Sci-Fi. So Jay came up with his own list here. Jay is not the owner of Flippin Channels for nothing! So then I asked him what about Quantum Leap and Voyagers? They weren't on his list. So that led me to find the theme song of Quantum Leap on the internet, because I remember liking it when I used to watch that show. Once I found that at a TV theme song website and watched the opening credits, I was mesmerized. I got the "TV theme song" nostalgia. So I went and found a bunch of TV theme songs and opening credits that I used to love. My list of favorite TV theme songs (not comprehensive and not in any order):

Bright Sunshiny Day

The Santa Ana winds are here. That means the sky is the bluest it can be, and there are no clouds. It is so clear that I can see the ocean from the end of my street. I can also feel the dryness on my skin and in my throat. Gotta drink more water these days! I heard the winds coming in the middle of the night Saturday. Yesterday and today it's been very warm and dry. It's the warmest this year yet. When I see blue skies like this, it reminds me of the day we moved here. It was the middle of December and we had just escaped some cold weather in Ohio. We got off the airplane at Lindbergh Field, with our cats in tow. We were driving out of the rental car place when we turned on the radio and the first song we ever heard in San Diego was "Bright Sunshiny Day" by Jimmy Cliff. We took it as a sign of things to come. :-) We still talk about it sometimes and this song will always have a special place in our hearts. Click on the pink "play" button above to listen to it.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Very Caffeinated & Feliz Cinco de Mayo


Yesterday was Cinco de Mayo. Our next door neighbors Fred and Annie had a big Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, including a huge buffet spread! We had been looking forward to it for over a month, ever since we got the invitation. Now, to know Fred is to know his coffee. He's a huge coffee nut (or is it bean??) and has parlayed his love of coffee into a second career of sorts. He roasts his own beans from raw coffee beans. His bean grinder is carefully chosen and calibrated for the perfectly sized grind. He vacuum-seals his roasted beans and gives us bags of them. They are so delicious. Ever since I've had Fred's coffee, I've been ruined. I no longer enjoy Starbucks or any other "corporate" coffee. I don't even enjoy the locally owned mom & pop coffee houses anymore. Fred's is fresh. Fred's is quality. Fred has professional coffee/espresso equipment. Fred goes to professional coffee conventions. He gives us his coffee for free, but they're so good that he sells them to his co-workers and ships them to people far & wide. Fred has BUILT a coffee bar and turned their living room into a bona-fide CAFE. Seriously, walking into Fred & Annie's living room, you'd think you accidentally stumbled upon the friendly neighborhood coffee house.


I was totally amazed. Fred put out like 10 different kinds of coffee, plus his friend Andy manned the expresso machine. Andy is a computer programmer by trade, but he's the best barista in San Diego. We chatted with him about coffee, and he said besides his own coffee, he only finds ONE place in all of San Diego worthy: Yvonne the coffee cart lady in front of Kaiser Permanente building on Clairemont Mesa street off of I-805. Seriously!



The fiesta was bigger than I'd ever imagined. Senora Annie said she started making the decorations in March! She made gorgeous paper flowers as table decorations. She made signs explaining the origin of Cinco de Mayo. She made decorative signs for every delicious dish she made. This party took some doing!




And the food! I could not believe how many dishes she put out. There was the fresh tortillas, the quiche, the tater casserole, the eggs & corned beef hash, the salsas, carnitas, chili con carne, FRESH homemade churros, fresh homemade chips, nacho cheese sauce, jicama salad, lumpia, etc.! On top of that, the dessert table was HUGE! That was a meal in and of itself! Poor Annie actually had to re-cook some of her food when their refrigerator broke a couple of days before the party!




After three cups of Senor Fred's coffee, I was deliriously caffeinated and very chatty. We chatted with our next-door neighbors on the other side, Felix and Cris. We chatted with Fred & Annie's other next-door neighbor Margaret. Turns out Margaret was a San Diego police reserve officer for a long time! She promised us she'd email us all the petty crime happenings in the neighborhood. I love that we're friends with both of next-door neighbors! And guess what? They're both original owners of the houses. Twenty years ago they camped out overnight so that they could be in line to purchase the brand-new houses. They knew Bob and Georgia, who were the original owners of our house, who also showed up at the party! Fred & Annie have been such great neighbors. During the months when my mom was ill and we had to go visit her for a few days every week, they would get our mail and packages for us. Annie always pulls our empty garbage containers from the street back to the side of our house before we get home from work on Garbage Mondays. We couldn't ask for better neighbors. She calls us "The Kids Next Door", because we're the youngest couple in our block of surrounding houses. Everyone else are empty-nesters. We really love it here and are blessed! I promised Annie that I'd make her a scrapbook with all the pics that I took from their very caffeinated Cinco de Mayo Fiesta. :-)

Goal!

Four weeks ago I had set the goal at my Nike + iPod online account to burn 3500 calories in four weeks by running with my Nike + iPod. These calories burned would be only from running, not from the extra walks at lunch, weight training, or aerobics interval class. So yesterday, which was the LAST day of the challenge, I ran 6.01 miles at Miramar Lake and came in with 3,614 calories burned in four weeks. Goal! I ran a total of 41.44 miles during that time. After 3 weeks I was behind the straight-line pace, so I had to run over 15 miles last week to catch up and achieve the goal. Now I've set a new goal to run 50 miles in the next 4 weeks. Yesterday's run was so awesome! I ran 6 miles and I could have ran at least another mile. I felt so good and so energetic. I've decided that the BEST time to run is actually in the evenings. The sun wasn't directly on me and it was cooler, so I was able to just go and go and go. Plus Miramar Lake was totally not crowded during dinner time. Of course, I could have been so energetic because of the THREE cups of coffee I had earlier in the day! But that's another story for another posting. Hee hee. iPod Playlist for the run (set on shuffle):
  1. Tristan Prettyman - "The Story" - 2:56
  2. The Fray - "All At Once" - 3:48
  3. Jack Johnson - "It's All Understoood" - 5:29
  4. Shania Twain - "If You Wanna Touch Her, Ask!" - 4:13
  5. Switchfoot - "You Already Take Me There" - 2:42
  6. Jack Johnson - "Belle" - 1:43
  7. Elton John - "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" - 5:38
  8. Switchfoot - "Playing for Keeps" - 3:43
  9. Barenaked Ladies - "Adrift" - 3:35
  10. Elton John - "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" - 4:44
  11. Sheryl Crow - "Lucky Kid" - 4:04
  12. Elton John - "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word" - 3:53
  13. U2 - "Crumbs from Your Table" - 5:03
  14. John Mayer - "Great Indoors" - 3:36
  15. John Mayer - "Why Georgia Why" - 4:29

That's the risk you take when you put the iPod on shuffle! Sometimes I "rediscover" cool songs I don't remember I have. Other times I'm running and if ANOTHER SLOW Elton John song comes up, I just wanna wring his neck!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

California - Find Yourself Here

Remember a month ago I posted about my organizing projects? I'm happy to report that I've made some progress! I took "before" pictures, so hopefully later this month I'll take some "after" pictures and you can see for yourself. I've been trying to get rid of old magazines, but it's so hard. I subscribe to many and can't read them all, so I keep thinking that one day I'll have time to read them at my leisure, but life is not quite so leisurely all the time. Anyways, one of my favorite magazines that I've subscribed to for years is Budget Travel. It is an awesome magazine for ordinary (note: not rich) people who like to travel. It tells ya how to get the best deals, where to stay and eat for a good price when you get there, etc. I have back issues dating back to like 2002, so I really needed to get rid of some of them. So I spent some time yesterday evening finding my favorite articles at their website and then ditching the magazine. In one of the issues, I saw some very pretty ads for California. Ads for California you say? What's that? Well, apparently the tourism board here has had this slogan for a few years, and they put out print and TV ads to attract visitors to our great state. The slogan is, "California. Find yourself here."


I love this ad because the details and the slogan are on the surfboard, then in the background there's the Coronado Beach and the famous landmark Hotel del Coronado. For those of you who don't know, we have an "island" offshore called Coronado, even though it's really an isthmus. It is beautiful there: small town charm mixed with incredible views of the ocean on one side and the San Diego skyline on the other side. You can get there via the Coronado Bay Bridge from San Diego, or take the ferry boats.

Anyways, finding this ad reminds me of why I live here again and made me all happy. So I started doing the math in my head and realized that San Diego is the longest I've ever lived in ANY city! I've lived here 7.5 years!

Tainan, Taiwan: 3 years
Taipei, Taiwan: 6 years
Berkeley, CA: 3 years
Walnut Creek, CA: 6 years
Columbus, OH: 5 years
Dayton, OH: 6.5 years
San Diego, CA: 7.5 years!

Whoo hoo! I'm a San Diegan! And what's more, California is my home state. I've lived here 16.5 years versus 11.5 in Ohio, and 9 years in Taiwan.

So, to celebrate those facts, here's a link to my great state: www.visitcalifornia.com. I like the description of San Diego here, even though it's not true that it's 85 degrees year-round! But it IS true that people visit here and end up moving here all the time! Here's a link to the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Here's the cool "Find Yourself Here" commercial:



Ignore the "skate and annoy" part.

Here's a cute video tour of our three major cities:

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