Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Muppet Pelt

This week my friend Phil is in town to work in my office building. He used to work here in San Diego with us, but relocated to Chicago in 2005, then relocated to Denver two years after that. We still work at the same company, but he works "virtual" from his house in Denver. He comes to the office in San Diego about a week every 3 months. So today I went out to lunch at Panda Buffet with Phil, Joanne, Yuri, and Sandra. Yuri and Sandra aren't in the photo. A couple of funny stories about Phil. One time I wore the sweater pictured below to work: and Phil said, "You look like you're wearing a muppet pelt." I thought it was funny so I told Todd. From then on, this sweater was dubbed as "muppet pelt sweater". Every time I wear it now, Todd says, "It's muppet pelt!" The other funny story about Phil has to do with Gilligan's Island. Mainly because he took us on a three hour tour of San Diego Bay on a sailboat, and we ended up being gone for nine hours. We started sailing around 2 PM and went from Harbor Island to Coronado Island and docked there to have dinner. After dinner it was dark, but the winds had died down, so we weren't getting enough wind to get back to Harbor Island anytime fast. So Phil used the backup motor on the boat. Pretty soon we hear the motor sputtering, then it stopped. Uh oh. We ran out of gas! So we sailed VERY slowly to the nearest dock, while Phil called his friend who lived by the Embarcadero downtown to bring a can of gas and meet us at the dock. They put in the gas and we motored back to Harbor Island and by then it was nearly 11 PM, and we woke up all the boat's neighbors when we tried to parallel park the boat and almost hit two other boats. Every time I think of this experience I just wanna sing the theme song to Gilligan's Island: Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, A tale of a fateful trip That started from this tropic port Aboard this tiny ship. The mate was a mighty sailing man, The skipper brave and sure. Five passengers set sail that day For a three hour tour, a three hour tour. I made this layout three years ago to tease Phil about it on his birthday. Now keep in mind that I had JUST started digital scrapbooking so I havent' had that much practice yet.
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Smile For A While

Photo today: I had to go to the dentist for my six month cleaning/exam first thing in the morning today at 8:00 AM. Good thing I like my dentist, otherwise there would be no smiling at 8:00 in the morning, before coffee. I owe half my smile to my dentist, the other half to my orthodontist. I actually didn't get braces until I was an adult at 31. My teeth finally got so crooked that they were wearing unevenly, so I decided I needed them in order for my teeth to last. They actually had to pull one of my upper bicuspids to fit my teeth nice and evenly in my mouth! So, for a couple of months, I was a finance manager in a high-tech company, with braces and a big gap in my teeth. And short hair. Because I decided the gaping teeth and braces weren't ugly enough. Don't get me wrong, I think lots of people look great with short hair, I'm just not one of them. So, it comes as no surprise that I can only find one or two photos of myself during that very awkward "teenage" time at 31 years old. Even my mother-in-law was shocked to see me a couple of years later, when I got my braces off, hair grew back, and I'd lost 10 lbs. Ha ha. What can I say, I'm a late bloomer. Todd made Thai Chicken Barley Risotto tonight, and I promptly gobbled it all down, with freshly cleaned teeth.
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Will Do Taxes For FroYo

I spent a few hours doing our 2008 income tax returns today. But I told myself that I can go out for frozen yogurt after three hours of taxes. Remember that me = lab rat? Food incentives work for me? We had salads for lunch, with leftover steak from last night: Around 5:00 PM we headed to Yogurt World. I don't know if the rest of you have these frozen yogurt stores where you live, but they're huge in California. And in order to be authentic, they have to have the Asian tart yogurts. This craze was started by Pinkberry and has spun off many knock-offs, including the cheaper and better (in my opinion) Yogurt World. Todd's: Mine: I added a tiny little bit of sweet taro (the purple stuff) to my original tart flavor. Look who likes froyo? (Look who didn't do taxes and still got froyo? :) Digi Dare #126 is up! This week we are scrapping our quirks! Come join us and get a chance to win $50 (not $40, but $50!) in gift cards to our April sponsors! You'll need to link up your layout in the comments section of this week's Dare at the Dare site by Thursday 4/2 @ 11:59 PM Eastern time. Here's my layout for the Dare: Full credits at the Dare site. On a serious note, I just got an email update from my friend Barbara's husband Mike. He said Barbara is in her last days/hours now and will be going home to the Lord very soon. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2007. She's 33 and they have three young children. She's our sister in Christ and we shared with each other for many years in the same Bible study group. I'm sad, even though I know she's going to be with the Lord in heaven, where there's no pain and suffering. I'm sad because it's yet another passing of someone in which I don't understand God's purpose and intent. Please pray for Barbara's family and they go through this transition.
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Playing Tourist - La Jolla

Until I saw it on the news last night, I didn't realize that so many people came to San Diego for spring break. What?? People come HERE for vacation? I guess many college students are coming here for spring break this year, since some of them are heeding the warning about the violence in Mexico. So Todd and I decided to join in today and play tourist in La Jolla. First I should tell you, for those wondering... we didn't do the 10 mile run today with West Coast Road Runners. My shoulder/upper back injury is more severe this time and I can't move my arm very much before it hurt, so running wasn't an option today. Todd took today off too, because of his calf injury. We hope to be back running next weekend, after a week of rest. So I got a good nine hours of sleep and woke up at 8:45 AM this morning! What a luxury! :) The first order of business was lunch. We walked around the street of La Jolla, looking at restaurant after restaurant. Nothing seemed to hit the spot, until Todd spotted Burger Lounge down the street. Well, we hadn't had Burger Lounge yet this month, so I guess it was about time! We decided to be a little less gluttonous this time and share a burger, salad, and fries. The place was packed! (Note the red velvet cupcakes in the background that we DIDN'T try out...) Walking around La Jolla, we noticed these cows EVERYWHERE, all painted differently. I came home and did some research and found out it's called Cow Parade La Jolla, the world's largest public art event. They have 50 of these art cows spread around in La Jolla from March until June. At their website they have a map of where the cows are placed throughout the city, so that might make a fun event to get together with some friends and attempt to find and take photos of all 50 cows! I know if it were hippos, my friend Peppermint would fly here just to find them all. The day was SO gorgeous that there was no way to take bad photos. Here is Todd with La Jolla Cove in the background, flanked by palm trees. La Valencia Hotel: Walking along the cove, it was gorgeousness everywhere I look. I love that I got some people in the photos so you can get a perspective of the cliffs. There were lots of tourists everywhere, so for once I didn't feel out of place with my camera glued to my hand, LOL. Here are some wild harbor seals. They took residence here and the beach is no longer accessible by people, since these seals are federally protected. These are basically some of my favorite colors- blue, turquoise, and green. Can you spot the seals on the rocks? We walked over to the sea wall and got a closer-up view of the harbor seals: More of them along the rocks: What a perfect view! Humans bite too? A view of Windansea Beach: We witnessed something hilarious. We saw these two at Burger Lounge earlier and they got their food to go. They were leisurely laying out in the sun when this clever seagull decided that he wanted some Burger Lounge too! He tried to take their bag of food the first time and they chased him down and took it back. Then they put it BETWEEN them to deter the seagull from doing it again. The seagull wasn't deterred. He was determined to get a taste of the Burger Lounge goodness, so he kept hovering around the couple and eventually went for the bag between them again! But can you blame the seagull? After all, it was Burger Lounge food! We ended our tour with a self-portrait at Windansea Beach. What a beautiful day in San Diego. I'm glad we got to go out and walk around and relax a little bit. Now I'm going to go and start doing our taxes.
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Friday, March 27, 2009

Patience Is Not My Virtue

I woke up this morning and my right neck, shoulder, and upper back were all stiff and I had limited range of motion. So I decided to go to urgent care and get it checked out. For those outside of the U.S., urgent care is not the same as ER (Emergency Room). Urgent Care is actually for not terribly urgent illnesses/injuries, but if you can't get in to see your regular doctor, you can go to urgent care. In fact, Todd's dad (who is a medical doctor) used to own and run two urgent care centers in Ohio called "Rapid Response". (Oh the stories he has from that, LOL!) So off I went to the Sharp Urgent Care near my house. I signed in and there was only one person in front of me. The doctor came in and checked my shoulder and back and pushed around. I described how I injured myself at Pilates class at the beginning of the month. It felt better after two weeks, but I somehow re-injured myself two days ago, again. He said I have a muscle tear and it's very common for people to feel better and DO too much, and aggravate the injury again. I described my activities and he said I need to rest it more, stretch gently, and take it easy for two weeks. So that's when I piped up tentatively with my question... "Umm... I'm training for a half-marathon... can I run? I'm supposed to run 10 miles tomorrow..." He said, "You can run that long?" At this point I perked up and said, "Yea, I'm running with a training group and I ran 14 miles last Saturday." He said, "That's impressive! But you know you use your shoulders and upper back when you run. You should cut your running in half. So you can go five or six miles tomorrow." Yay! And he said to stretch every hour, because as soon as you don't move the muscles, they stiffen up or lock up. I told him that's probably why it's the most stiff and hurt in the morning. He said yes, try gently stretching under the hot shower in the morning, and rub the area with a muscle cream like Icy Hot or Ben-Gay afterwards. He was very nice and wanted to know if I had any other concerns or questions. He said he's going to be 39 years old next month too, and that keeping active is good, and running is very good exercise. And that I should see some of the other 39 year olds coming to urgent care, LOL. He made me feel better, and I'm so glad I don't have a more serious injury. He did say that recovery takes more time as we get older. I guess I need more patience with my recovery. But as Todd can tell you, patience is not my strength! The doctor sent me on my way with prescription-strength motrin and a muscle relaxant for bedtime so I don't wake up so stiff and hurt. The reason I'm going on and on about my urgent care visit is because I love Sharp Healthcare. It's SO not your stereotypical uncaring doctors and nurses. EVERYONE who works there pays attention to you like you're a real person. They ask questions, they ask if you have questions. They listen! And they do it all with a smile. It is SUCH an incredible difference between them and the OTHER place that we had to keep going to in 2005 when Todd had his Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension (SIH) and he had to see a neurologist. That other hospital system was cold, steril, and treated people horribly. It made Todd's illness even more stressful to me. It's such a contrast at Sharp Healthcare. I love my primary care doctor and the urgent care there. They just make being ill or injured a little less stressful, instead of more stressful. And I'm not alone in liking them... in 2007 Sharp Healthcare won the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award. I had a couple of requests to show how I made the layout yesterday with the photos making up a word.
  1. Open up a new layout in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.
  2. Type your word with a thick/chubby font. In this case I used the font "Impact" at 250 size.
  3. Make sure your font layer is highlighted in the layers palette. Now we need to "rasterize" the font so that we can use it as a clipping mask. "Rasterize" simply means converting the font from a vector graphic to a bitmap graphic. For PS, go to the Layer menu and choose Rasterize, then Type. For PSE, go to Layer menu and choose "Simplify". Photobucket
  4. Open the photo you want to use to "clip" to the word, and drag it to the layer above the word layer. Photobucket
  5. Now we're going to clip the photo to the word. In PS: CTRL+ALT+G. In PSE: CTRL+G. Photobucket
After you clip it, you can move the photo around inside the word until the photo showing is to your liking. Then hit CTRL+E to merge it together. I added a soft drop-shadow to it. That is all there is to clipping a photo to a typed-out word! You can use the same method to clip a piece of digital paper to your word or title. Neato eh? :)
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Spirit Is Willing...

but the flesh is weak. Somehow I re-injured my right upper back and shoulder again last night. I don't even know how it happened. I was just suddenly stiff and moving around hurt. Is this what happens when I turn 39??? I want to continue with my running so much, but if my shoulder doesn't fully heal, I might have to take a break. Is this what happens when older people try to be more active, LOL. Todd is in the same boat. His right calf is stiff and sometimes feels hurt. We are like the walking wounded! Because of my shoulder pain, I took the day off work today. I was going to take either today or tomorrow off anyways, but a hurt shoulder made it today. I spent some time scrapping with my left hand/arm. I met Todd for lunch at Rubios. Todd really loves churros. He loves the churros at Rubios, and also at Costco. Both of them used to be $1 each, but now Rubios has increased their price to $1.25. I had a fish taco and a steak taco: While at Rubios, I found two inspirations. First, I thought this pendant light was cool, and orange, and would look cool in our new kitchen above the peninsula: Secondly, I thought this was good inspiration for a scrap page! So I created this page for the 3/27 Color Match Challenge that I'm hosting at Pixel Gypsy Designs. Full credits here. You can check out the challenge here. Come join in the fun as we do some re-coloring of papers to match our photos! Oh, I got a couple of questions regarding my previous post about Blurb blog books, and the photo resolutions. When the Blurb software "slurps" your blog, it slurps the photos off your blog. So whatever resolution you uploaded them at, that's what they are in the book. My blog photos are mostly 600px x 450px. If you look at my previous post, you will see in the screenshot that some of the bottom thumbnails have a yellow triangle with a red exclamation mark in it. That means for that page layout and size of the photos, the photo resolution isn't good enough to print out. You just need to find your full-res photo on your hard drive and replace it. It doesn't say that for every page because some of the photos are small on some pages and the resolution is actually good enough.
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Here Comes The Sun

doo doo doo doo... Here comes the sun And I say Its alright Little darling Its been a long cold lonely winter Little darling It seems like years since it's been here Here comes the sun Here comes the sun And I say Its alright ~The Beatles Todd called our remodeling contractor today, because it is less than two weeks until demolition day and it seems like we haven't picked out all our materials yet, and I was getting worried. But according to their schedule, we are not behind, so that put our minds at ease for now. For now, LOL. I'm a worrier and a planner, so I'm sure my worries will creep back again in a few more days. You know what will probably bother me a lot when the remodeling is going on? The dust. I can't imagine how we're going to keep clean. :: sigh :: I downloaded Blurb.com's bookmaking software "Booksmart" today and played with it. Mainly I started making a book from my blog. It's very intuitive and I took a screenshot so you can see. After you've "slurped" your blog entries and photos, the blog entry titles are on the left. All you have to do is highlight a blog entry and click on the "Add To Book" button above the entries on the left, and your blog entry becomes a page in the book on the right. The above format is the default, but you can click on various formats in the upper left-hand corner, with varying number of photos and text boxes. The pages you've made appear as thumbnails on the bottom. Overall very easy! I just hope my blog can fit within the 440-page limit at the end of the year... I'd hate to have to separate it into two books. Oh and good news for my international friends... they do ship to Europe and Asia too! Here is the list of countries they currently ship to. I've had a lot of socializing with friends the last couple of weeks. I'm laying low for a while, at least until our remodeling starts. As much as I wish it could be the case, it can't be all fun all the time. I'm the accountant/financial person of our household and I still need to do our 2008 tax returns! (And you thought I was a slug who mooched off my husband's cooking every day, ha ha!) And also pay bills. And pay my dad's bills (with his money, that is.) My mom took care of all bill-paying details when she was alive. After she passed away, I set up all my dad's bills to come electronically so I can help him pay his bills online. He travels quite a bit and I was worried that his bills wouldn't get paid. So these are the kind of "fun" stuff I do! No worries though, I have plenty of fun, and I know that! :)
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Even Blurbier

Photo today: One of the senior VP's at Todd's work is leaving the company to be a CEO somewhere else, so they had a party for him today. Someone made this goodbye cupcake with a flip flop candle on it. Todd brought one home for me and it was yummy! Too bad the guy leaving is the guy who is on the Holiday Bowl committee... that means no more free Holiday Bowl tickets for us every December. :( I've been checking into blog printing services lately, and I knew Blurb.com did it for Blogger blogs before. Then I was told that they discontinued the service and I was bummed out. They've brought it back! Blurb prints Blogger blogs into photo books now, again. They have a free software download called BookSmart, and there's code in there to "slurp" up your blog into their book creation software to make your blog into a book. Only thing is, I don't put full-res photos on my blog, so I'd have to go through and replace all my photos with full-res versions for printing in a book, and that would just be a pain in the butt with THAT many photos. But I'm definitely interested in it for end of the year, either for myself or as a gift for our families. There is a limit of 440 pages though, so I'm not sure if my entire year of blog posts will fit into one book. I'll be downloading the software soon and I'll let you know how it goes. I'm also thinking of making a Blurb book out of my Project 365 weekly layouts. Blurb is definitely on my list of things to try out. If you've had experience with book printing at Blurb.com, please share it in the comments section of this post. I would love to hear about it. Dinner tonight was Szechuan Spicy Noodles with Carrot-Cucumber Relish: Photobucket It's so good! Todd made it once for my dad and Shelly, and my dad couldn't get enough of it! And he's a real Chinese person! (Well, me too, but he's more traditional than me, LOL.)
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Psychology of Eating

Photo today: I had planned to take today off from work, but opted to take a day off later this week instead. So off to work I went, even on this beautiful cloudless day. :p I'm been thinking about my eating habits lately. I know based on my blog it seems that I eat a lot. I do eat more than I used to two years ago. I eat when I'm happy. I eat when I'm slightly sad (but not when I'm REALLY sad or stressed). I eat when I'm socializing with people. In other words, food is just a big part of my social/psychological life. I know I can be thinner if I ate less food. (DUH.) But I would rather exercise for now. In the past when I was in my thinnest and best shape, I cut back and ate smaller portions, and I exercised probably 5-6 days a week, doing aerobics, running, weights, jazz dance, and yoga. I would sometimes even exercise twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. I really WAS in good shape and I ran my fastest 5k at that time (circa 2004-2005). Being thin was a lot of HARD work! I know I'm 10-12 lbs overweight now. Even though I've been running a lot, I've also been hungry and eating a lot, so I haven't lost any weight. Am I happy with myself and the way I look? I think I could stand to lose some fat around my gut area. I have a few pairs of cute jeans that I can't fit into anymore. They're just hanging in my closet mocking me. One of these days I'll be motivated to really try to lose weight. I'm adding weight training slowly back into my weekly routines. I'm convinced that it's not that our metabolism slows down when we get older, but it's a side-effect of losing muscle mass as we get older. So if I build up my muscles a little more, the weight will come off. This has been true in the past when I've lost fat. Isn't it weird how much we women think about our weight?
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Sunday, March 22, 2009

New Friends, Old Friends

This morning I got out of bed and my legs were surprisingly unscathed after the 14 mile run yesterday. The bottom of my feet and my calves are slightly sore, but nothing else really bothered me. The human body really is amazingly made! We met Jennifer and Shawn in front of Community Bible Church at 8:50 AM for the 9:00 AM service. Pastor Barry Minkow has an incredible life story and personal testimony there, so we thought we'd check it out. Besides, Jennifer's friend Ana invited them, and they invited us to "double-date" church with them. :) When Ana's husband took his seat beside her, I was delighted to find out that it was Tony, this guy who works at my company who sits not far from me! What a small world! I've had so many "coincidences" lately regarding meeting people who happen to go to my church. I don't think they're coincidences at all, obviously. I think it's been a huge Godly encouragement and blessing to me and Todd. The rockin' worship music was really good, and the sermon was animated and fun. This afternoon I drove down to Pacific Beach to meet with Sally and Lara for a girls outing. I've known them both since we met in middle school when we were 12 years old! I hang out with Sally a lot, but somehow haven't gotten together regularly with Lara since they moved back from Hawaii. I think of these two long-time friends as yet another way that God blesses me in my life. None of us are from San Diego... we went to middle school and high school in the San Francisco bay area. Yet, somehow we all ended up here. And even though I hadn't seen Lara in two years, we eased back into conversation and there was never any awkwardness. The three of us chatted on about our current lives, what's happening with our other high school friends, and reminisced about the great times we had. It really was awesome and it filled my heart with fondness. Lara's husband took a photo of us in their backyard before we headed off to the beach. Photobucket We found a really lucky parking space right by the beach. Then we walked and chatted on the boardwalk. It was a beautiful day at the beach. Photobucket Photobucket But don't let the bright sun and blue skies fool you. It was incredibly windy and blustery! You don't see us wearing bathing suits, do ya? Photobucket Photobucket Sally & Lara on the boardwalk: Photobucket A lifeguard station. Everytime I see one it reminds me of Baywatch... Photobucket Sally & Lara in front of a light green house: Photobucket After a while we got cold and hungry, so we drove up Garnet and went to dinner at World Curry. Photobucket Oh. My. They had Indian curry, Japanese curry, Thai curry, etc. Each meal came with a totally awesome salad. And I ordered a mango coconut banana lasse (basically an Indian smoothie): Photobucket Sally enjoying the salad: Photobucket So I made everyone wait to eat so I can take photos of the food when it arrived. Sally said, "now we know how Todd feels!" Photobucket Lara was so sweet! She baked us some lemon cookies that were SO delicious. And she put them in this super-cute butterfly bag. Photobucket We parted ways around 8:30 PM and vowed to make our get-togethers a regular thing. So back to last night's girls night out... Joanne picked me up at around 7:00 PM. Sandra had driven down to Joanne's to carpool, and the three of us headed downtown to Buca di Beppo. As luck would have it, we found a parking spot right in front of the restaurant because someone just left. I think I'm the parking good-luck charm. We waited for a while and finally everyone arrived and we ordered food. We sat at the Pope Table: Photobucket We had eggplant parmigiana, lemon chicken with capers, and linguini with clams, squid, and mussels (not pictured). The cake was free because FIVE of us have birthdays in March and we were celebrating all together. Photobucket The waiters singing happy birthday to us: Photobucket It was a really fun night. I sat between Erecca and Sandra and chatted with them quite a bit. I found out Sandra was involved with children's ministry at her church, so I asked her what church. Turns out she goes to my church too, and she's been going for years! Right, not a coincidence! As a small token birthday gift for the other March birthday girls, I made little labels for my homemade soap and packaged them up with a $5 Starbucks gift card and some Dove dark chocolate in little baggies. Photobucket Photobucket I had a really fun two nights of hanging with the girls. But now I'm ready to spend some quality time with Todd. :)
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