Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

Just another sunny, 67 degree Christmas day here in California! After Wilson ran up the hill and picked up mom this morning we got started with our Christmas festivities so that we could get mom back to bed at a decent time.

And the Tour de Force gift....
A special Starbuck's tumbler that allows me a free grande espresso drink EVERY DAY in January. Don't think I'm not cashing in on that action!

We didn't make any special Christmas meals, though we did do a seafood Christmas Eve dinner full of scallops and shrimp. Instead we made Wilson take us to Ginger's for Chinese dinner.
We weren't the only family with that idea - the place was rockin'! The paper had printed repeated lists of the few restaurants open on Christmas, so they were one of the few gigs in town.

After filling our bellies with MSG, we headed back home for our on-going Scrabble rivalry.
Much to everyone's surprise, especially myself, I finally won a game (out of 3)! I mean, I only won because I used all my tiles first and after the other losers had to deduct the tiles on their racks I barely had the highest score, but I'll take it! It's hard to win when Wilson brings home all of her big city, made-up college words.

Now we're settled in on the couch, ignoring each other with our respective electronics - just like any other American family!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Blast from the past

Had a completely surprising and random phone call from my uncle today (mom's brother) talking about old family photos he had and wanting to know if I was interested in some digital copies of ones that I was in. How could I turn that offer down? Here's a few that he forwarded me today for grins and giggles;
My Aunt Dona, Uncle Bill, and Grandma in the back row, my Dad, cousin Reuben, and Mom holding me in the front row at my Grandma's house in Stirling City.
Me helping my Grandma cook.
My cousin Reuben and I (he's 2 yrs older than me).
Me sporting a sweet bohemian dress.

Realizing early on that a future in art was not in my cards.
In the kitchen and barefoot....
Mesmerized by all the sweet, sweet candy.

Some of the photos I already had, but some were new to me. He's going to keep going through his archives and hopefully find some more gems for me to share!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Trimming the tree

After Thanksgiving we drug our tree out of the closet to add a little festivity to the place. While in Germany I did pick up a new ornament for the tree that says Merry Christmas in German.

Now we just need some presents! Today we stopped at Big Lots and picked up some new outdoor lights - blue icicles for the outside of the courtyard fence. Who was excited to get to untangle them out of the box?!?
We didn't have any snow last night like was threatened. I even checked during my regularly scheduled 2 a.m. potty break, but P-town got all theirs and then some. I talked to some co-workers this morning who were out running the plows. Suckers, that what they get for living in town!

We already went out and ran our errands today so we have the rest of the day to relax, except for me - I have to finish the November reports for church tomorrow. Ugh. Thankfully, somebody else in church has volunteered to take my treasury job from me starting in January. Yay! Because if not, Chris was going to drive the laptop and printer to the church and throw it in the front yard come January 1st. Seriously. It's been sucking up all my weekends for 3 long years, enough is enough.

Looking forward to 2014, no more treasurer work for the church, Bunko has come to an end after 13 years, and the bookkeeping I do for my missionary friends will be over by June. If I give up singing too I'll really be footloose and fancy free....and probably bored out of my mind. We'll have to take up a couple's activity like karaoke or MMA fighting!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

gl├╝ckliche Danksagung!

Or Happy Thanksgiving to those of you have haven't spent the last week in Germany! We got home late Tuesday/early Wednesday from our 24 hour trip home from Paris. We were exhausted and slept most of Wednesday, finally able to function like normal humans today - just in time for Thanksgiving. Thankfully, we'd already bought our food before we left so there was nothing we needed from the store (other than some breakfast food) when we got back. So, around 11:30 am I got started with our pre-cooked ham, finishing the sides (green bean casserole, mashed sweet potatoes, and rolls) around 2:00 pm for a late lunch meal.
To wash it all down we cracked our bottle of sweet Riesling that we brought back with us from Bernkastel, Germany. I'm glad it was an easy meal to prepare since the boy came down with a cold yesterday and I didn't want him anywhere near the food prep today. And good thing it was tasty because we'll be eating it all weekend!

Make sure to click over to Chris' blog to see our vacation pictures. We downloaded the photos to his computer so he could edit them, so he also got to upload them. Lucky him!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Food truck party

In Chico there are a group of food trucks that get together in one location once a month for a food and live music extravaganza. This month it was tonight at the Elk's Lodge down the street on East Ave. They started at 4:30 pm, right as the sun was starting to go down. We got there at about 4:45 pm and immediately ran into some friends that we ended up sitting with. After surveying our food truck choices, the boy hopped in line at a taco truck and I headed off to the Filipino food truck.

I had the most fabulous adobo meat over rice and another dish of shredded chicken and spinach in coconut milk over rice. Soooo good (and gluten free)!
Chris went back for seconds at the Korean food truck and got spicy pork tacos while I went to the gluten free bakery booth and bought a weekend's worth of pumpkin bars.
It got dark and cold pretty fast so we tried to stay warm by bouncing our feet to the beat of the band that was playing classic rock. We finally called it a night at 6:30 pm, at which point I could no longer feel my toes. Just another late night for a pair of old fuddy duddies!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Spooky Senorita

Between retirements and resignations, there's fewer and fewer of us at work who dress up for Halloween. But us last four hardcore Halloween die-hards still donned our silly costumes yesterday.
Our missing cowgirl didn't make it in time for the photo shoot!
I wore my pollera dress so I'd be ready in case any passing Carnivals broke out! Even our Thursday morning donuts from Krispy Kreme were in the spirit.
I got home right after work and had about a half an hour reprieve before trick-or-treaters starting showing up. I didn't feel that we had as many as in years past, but they were all very polite.

Now that we're down to less than 2 weeks until our trip, I stopped off at my bank today and pre-ordered some Euros. I didn't know you could do that, but a co-worker told me about it. I cashed in $1000 for 697 Euros that will be delivered to the bank by next Wednesday. What a "fantastic" exchange rate!?! Tomorrow I'll stop by Verizon and find out about international service for my phone. I really want to have the mapping and texting capabilities overseas. Then it's time to start making packing lists. It's going to be here before we know it!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Birthday Brews & Brats

This evening was the super secret Orland Rotary's Burgers, Brats, and Brew Fest. It's an event that they hold every year, but nobody ever hears about it until after it's over. I think their only advertising is a banner over the main street of Orland. Seriously. But this year we managed to score some tickets, for the Canadian's birthday, from a Title Co. in town and invited a work friend to meet us there.

So, you know it's a classy event when your beer tasting glass is a Mason jar. At least I got a real wine glass (which I smuggled home in my purse). We got there about 15 minutes after they opened and there were literally only about 10 people there so we had all the drinks and food to ourselves! And boy was there some good stuff!

I made friends with the gentleman pouring white wines, who knew I liked sweet whites, so kept coming over to our table and refilling me with other wines he'd thought I'd enjoy like an "authentic white" which was a blend of Riesling and Moscato, an Asti Moscato, and a sweet Chardonnay. There were some seriously delicious beef sliders from Farwood Bar & Grill, a fancy restaurant in Orland, that were topped with French fried onions. OMG so good. And outside they had brats, cut into coins with mustard dipping sauces, carnitas tacos, and some other little burger I didn't try. And there was cheese. Lots and lots of cheese. Apparently there's a few creameries in the area and they make some pretty fantastic cheese. The biggest surprise, enjoyed by all three at our table? Stella Artois Cidre. A cider by an Eastern European (Prague) beer manufacturer. It was so good. Tart and crisp like a cider should be, but not quite as sweet as most of the American ciders. We all got numerous samples of it. If nothing else, it was worth going to just to learn about a new drink for our arsenal!

Tattoos, tattoos, and more tattoos!

After a two week ink allergy test I was ready for my tattoo eyeliner and I had my appt scheduled for Friday at 4:45 pm. After the Canadian dropped me off, I met Colleen at her in-home studio where she had me lay down so that she could apply a topical anesthetic that needed to sit for 30 minutes. After my eyelids were sufficiently numb, she got out the power tools and got to work. Thankfully, my eyelids were closed for the entire process and the numbing cream worked perfectly. I was absolutely thrilled with the finished result, though she did warn me it was darker than the final product would be after it healed.
The "before" has my own applied eyeliner, the "after" is all tattoo. Now I've got to keep Vaseline on my eyelids for the next week while it heals. Colleen said that my eyes would be swollen and sore in the morning, but they actually feel better today, no pain whatsoever.
The hardest part is keeping my fingers away from my eyes. The first thing I did this morning when I woke up was lay my pointer fingers on my eyes as if I was going to rub them, and then as soon as I felt the Vaseline I realized my mistake. But other than that, I've been good. I have to use Q-Tips to apply the Vaseline so that the tattoo isn't rubbed off. Thankfully I can still wear my glasses so you don't notice my super greasy eyes. I'm looking forward to shaving that whole minute off my morning makeup routine!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Birthday extravaganza

I had a wonderful birthday this year, joyously celebrated at work with balloons, gifts, and lunch.

For dinner we went to Leon Bistro downtown for a fancy pants evening.
Incredible calamari steak and mashed yams - everything was perfection.

Then, to top off my evening, even Google wanted to say 'happy birthday';
At the end of the day I ended up with some beautiful jewelry, candles, lotions, and perfume. All the things I love!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gifts for Gavin

This afternoon was my friend Susan's baby shower for her third little boy, Gavin. It was up in P-town at the church we both grew up in so I got to see some old, familiar faces. Each of the guest tables were decorated in children's literature themes.

After a few games and some finger food snacks, we got down to gift opening business.

She got lots of good essentials to ship with her back to PNG (like diapers and wipes) when they leave next month. They're only going back for 6 months, so anything that can wait for them to come back, like the chair swing she got, will stay here. Since they've been back to deliver the baby, Susan's found out that her dad has terminal brain cancer, so they're only going back to PNG to finish some of their obligations and get their household packed to send everything back to the states which they figure will be about 6 months.
Then I'll see a little bit more of this crazy face on a regular basis!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Going out and having fun

Last night we had a dinner and movie date with my co-worker Josh and his wife Lenette at Japanese Blossoms followed by a showing of Rush (F1 movie).
Delicious dinner and a surprisingly wonderful ginger beer mojito. We finished just in time to high-tail it to our 7:35 movie showing of Rush which turned out to be a really good movie.
Snacking on some pre-movie licorice.

Today we had plans to be in P-town for Blues & Brews, a fundraiser for student music programs, because we had volunteered to pour beer from 12:30-5:00 pm.
There were two trailers of taps, ours had an IPA, blonde ale, amber ale, Belgian with apple cider, and a wheat beer. I was the money girl and Chris was my bartender. We had some initial problems with over carbonation, but it all got sorted out. Compared to the other workers and the majority of the customers, we were frickin' beer experts! When you actually know a thing or two about beer, you realize how little everyone knows. For our contribution we both got free event shirts. After our shift we met up with some work friends at the park and enjoyed some live music.

We stayed until about 6:30 pm before we started getting too cold and tired. On our way home we stopped at Target so I could get a few more gift items for a baby shower I'm going to tomorrow and then stopped at the newly remodeled Wendy's for a little evening snack.
Spicy chicken nuggets and iced coffee - yum!

Tomorrow I'm heading back up the hill for baby Gavin's shower (Susan's newest little boy) at First Baptist Church. I'd asked her what she really needed and she said pacifiers and bottles since you can't buy bottles in Papua New Guinea without a doctor's prescription because the mom's will use them for things they shouldn't. So black market bottles it is!