Monday, October 29, 2007

Another Year Older...

This is definitely the birthday week in our family. Yesterday Alexis, my sister married to Nathan, turned 29! We chatted on the phone and she said that Nathan had gotten her favorite cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory and a 4-hour massage/facial/mani-pedi at a dayspa in Chandler. Nice! Chelsea and I will be heading out to AZ tomorrow to join all of the sobrinhos for Halloweed, which should be a lot more fun than hanging out here with no kids and the last remnants of smoke and ash in the air (which, by the way, have me totally coughing these last few days). Anyway, Happy Birthday Alexis!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Doggie Birthday

Yay! Emma turned 13 today. I can still remember the Christmas morning we got her when she had so much fun playing in all the presents. Seriously the best present ever. Now her face is pretty much all white and she spends most of her time sleeping, like the photo above. Here's to my sweet (and crazy) dog!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Nathan Turns 30!

Yesterday was Nathan's birthday and I forgot to post (although we did leave an amazingly musical rendition of Happy Birthday on his answering machine if I do say so myself). I can't believe it was the big 3-0. Thanks for being such a great brother-in-law, wife to my sister, and dad to my adorable niece and nephew Nathan (as well as bringing that ever-creative engineer perspective to our family). I hope you had a great day and I know that Alexis has an amazing birthday surprise planned for you next weekend.

Utah Happens

Wow, I definitely wish I knew about this site while I was in Utah. For my friends still living in Utah, I would definitely check out . It has amazing events, stores, restaurants, etc. about Utah (mainly in the SLC area). You can thank me for discovering this source later. Miss you all...

Manhole Madness

Imagine spotting one of these little babies in the street on your next jaunt through the neighborhood:

Aren't they amazing? Who knew manhole covers could be so entertaining? The possibilities seem endless...

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Wow. Wow. Wow. I don't know if you have heard about this website, but it is amazing. The Skirt Spot is just that - a spot to buy skirts. There are SO many cute skirts that I had a hard time only choosing a few to spotlight. Here are my picks (the cute orange one just screams "Sarah" to me):

{via Design Mom}


The current stats for the Santiago Fire (I realized that ours really doesn't get any national coverage and I wanted to post an update for any interested):

Acres Burned: Almost 25,000 and still going strong
Containment: 30% (it has been this since Monday, except for this morning when we were up to 50%, which unfortunately didn't last).
Structures Burned: 8 residences damaged and 14 destroyed; 12 outbuildings damaged and 8 destroyed.
Immediate threat to 2,000 structures.
Reward: The reward for information leading to an arrest of the arsonist is now up to $250,000
My impressions: I am looking forward to a day in the not-so-distant future with no more red sunrises, smoke and ash in the air, homes threatened and destroyed, and waiting tensely for the latest update.
btw: Our friends' house is fine so far, but they are still under mandatory evacuation even though they have decided to go back anyway.


I just wanted to post some of my favorite amateur photos of the fires (most of them are Santiago). Things are still really tense with our fire, so I find it cathartic to post these. And no, just because Malibu is fine doesn't mean the other fires in Southern California are under control (don't get me started on the inordinate amount of coverage for the Malibu fire when it is one of the smallest and least destructive fires in the makes me tense). Anyway, here are some photos:

These last two are my favorite. The first was a really low point for us when the firefighters got stuck and had to deploy their shelters as a last resort. Luckily, they were okay (just minor burns). Soon after that, though, they had to completely pull out of Modjeska Canyon and let those homes burn as the conditions were too dangerous. We lost 14 homes that day.

On a happy note, life goes on in Southern California for many people, and we will always find a way to get in a little surfing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fire Update

Well, it's 2:30am, and I'm sitting in my room trying to get more current fire information. I was asleep until a little while ago when we heard from some family friends that they were heading to our house after evacuating their house near Portola Hills. The fire is so unpredictable and resources are stretched so thin...not to mention the horrible smoke and ash in the air. We watched the news all day. Luckily we haven't lost any houses, but it was pretty close up in Foothill Ranch (part of Lake Forest about 2 miles away from here). They are using the high school as an emergency evacuation center (weird - I'm glad I'm not still a student there!). Here are some of the pictures from yesterday (Monday) and earlier this evening:

Oh, just in case you are trying to follow any of our coverage, our fire is being called the Santiago Fire.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Naughty Monkey

At church yesterday, Chelsea and I noticed a girl wearing these shoes, but in brown. We both really liked them, so I tried to find them on the internet. I was only able to find them in gold and silver, which I don't like quite as much. I then checked out the Naughty Monkey shoe line and found some cool but pretty crazy shoes. Here is one pair that I really like:

Here are a couple of the "crazy" ones:

When I saw this shoe line, I totally thought of Erin and how I could totally picture her wearing some of their more colorful heels. Here's to you Erin!

C'mon Baby Light My Fire

Wow. If you haven't heard, Southern California is on fire. Literally. We were all aware of the fires in Malibu and San Diego area, but it definitely got worse. Yesterday evening my parents called from a walk and said that they could see flames from the end of our street. Chelsea and I walked down, and you could actually see flames beneath the orange glow lighting up the sky. It was a while before it was on the news, but it is now being called the Santiago Canyon fire. We found out it was about 5 miles away. Here are updates if you want to see for yourself.
The main problem is that we are currently having our Santa Ana winds, which are incredibly strong (hurricane-force gusts), dry and hot. Not only that, but we had an incredibly dry summer. Last night there were 12 different fires in Southern California, and 7 counties are in a state of emergency. Luckily, although it got very close in Irvine, ours has not burned any homes yet. Tons of people are evacuated, and ours has burned over 8,800 acres. I learned this morning on the news that the Santiago Canyon fire was started by arson in 3 places - what sick person...? At one point last night, they were reporting that all of the fires were 0% controlled because the winds were so strong and erratic. Luckily, they are starting to get some control this morning, but not much. Please keep Southern California in your prayers!

Friday, October 19, 2007


Is anybody paying attention to what is happening/happened in Pakistan? I really hope so. I'm not sure if we can be friends if you aren't aware.


So, after a long afternoon (into evening) that was supposed to only involve some test-drives, my parents ended up buying a 2007 Nissan Murano as my mom's new car. I have to admit, it's pretty stinkin' nice inside. I wonder, though, about those people who go through the car-buying process every couple of years. Who has all of that time to spend at the dealership in that laborious car-buying process? Anyway, this does look nice in the driveway even though I now have to park on the street.

Ilee Letterpress Calendar

I really REALLY want this calendar for my birthday, Christmas, whatever. People have been blogging about it, and it has been selling out like crazy. As of now, there are about 70 left, so I'm hoping someone gets it for me soon...(hint hint).

The Addams M&M's?

I think this Addams Family M&M's commercial is hilarious, and totally funky. When checking out the M&M's website, I found this really cool program where you can create your own M&M, accessories and all. After spending WAY too much time on the site, mine ended up looking like a cross-dressing diva. Oh well. She still was pretty amazing. Create your own M&M's character here.

Africa Recap

So, I'm always thinking about Africa and my time there (even though it was over a year ago). I decided to periodically put some pics up on my blog, particularly since no one ever really saw them. Enjoy.

This was an old train at a museum in Maputo, Mozambique (I think it was in use up until the 70s or something)

I took this pic the first day out in Maputo over a wall. That's a chapa (our normal transportation) which are public taxis. Imagine 15-20 people smashed in there. This is a pretty typical scene. Hard to imagine it's the capital city, eh?

A fishing boat out in the Indian Ocean near sunset waiting for it's use early the next morning.

Two adorable little girls in a preschool we visited in a run-down church on the outskirts of Maputo.

Another little boy at that same school (you can see the school in the background). I love the little beanie, particularly since it was between 70 and 80 degrees outside.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Clumsy (the man)

Although she is commonly referred to as "The Man" in our household, I couldn't help but be amused by this music video of Fergie. I thought it was pretty creative (not to mention a catchy song). Chelsea and I have often talked about how we really don't like her and think she is a man (hence the nickname), we are frustrated that we can't help but like some of her songs for their catchiness (new word). Enjoy.


Okay, so I'm not sure if you ever heard about this, so I though I would spread the word again. Sarah Jessica Parker designed her own clothing line, BITTEN, for the everyday woman. There was a lot of hype about it when it first came out, and I never got the chance to check it out. Wow! You should definitely check out the website. The clothing is totally great, and VERY inexpensive (we're talking an average of $15-$20 for shirt, pants, coats, etc.). I was checking out her line, and I decided to showcase a few of her coats. The thing is, buying a coat can be a very scary process. Spending so much money is worrisome, particularly if you want a cute coat that is stylish and fun. Who knows if you will be able to wear it next year? This is the perfect solution to try out something new. Each of these coats are $19.98! Nope, that's not a typo:

I REALLY want this last one. I've wanted a coat like this for a while but have never been willing to spend a lot on it. Yay for BITTEN!
Okay, so you knew there had to be a catch, though. BITTEN is only available for purchase at Steve & Barry's. I haven't been there yet, but this store is supposed to be great (Chelsea and I have plans to go there even though I currently have no money). No, the clothes aren't available online, so you will have to check out their store locator for a location near you. Unfortunately for those of you in Utah you are out of luck, but the website says they should have a Murray location opening soon!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh So Superior (and cute)

A little while ago, during a visit, I realized how much my soon-to-be 5-year-old niece is learning to manipulate her 2-year-old brother. Not only that, but how funny it can be. This is a conversation I overheard as they were sitting at the table eating their lunch:

Avery: Carter, who do you love better, the Holy Ghost or Madison (a cousin)?
Carter: Madison (in 2-year old syllables - more like M'ason)
Avery: (not missing a beat) Carter, who do you love better, the Holy Ghost or Taylor (another cousin)?
Carter: Taylor

I poked my head around the corner and caught her little secretive smirk in catching her brother. Obviously the Holy Ghost was the right answer and Carter is just too young to understand (not to mention not a fan of the word "ghost").

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Womanstats Amazingness

Earlier this week, the Womanstats Project gave an open presentation on campus in the Kennedy Center for any who were interested to find out more about the project. I got the good news today that they counted about 140 people present. Amazing! If you haven't checked out the website, go to and check it out.

Mommy Me

(sorry about the blurry photo)
So today I got to watch Roe (age 10 months) while her brothers and parents spend the day at Disneyland. Whenever I go anywhere with her, I just pretend I'm her mom when people start to talk to me because it's easier than explaining to strangers. Some observations:

People always start conversations by asking how old she is.
Having a child gives people a reason to make eye contact and smile at you (and to talk).
People love to help you (like the grocery store worker that gave me a cart in the parking lot so I didn't have to carry Roe and my purse inside the store all the way from the parking lot)

Some conversation snippets:

Stranger #1: Is she always this happy and smiling?
Me: No. You should have seen her at home right before we got here.

Stranger #2: How old is she?
Me: Ten months. How old is yours?
Stranger#2: 8 weeks. I have an 18-month old at home as well.
Me: Wow (raised eyebrows expressing my motherlike admiration).
Stranger #2: Yeah. Just wait.
Me: Yeah.

Stranger #3: What big eyes!
Me: Yeah.

As you see, motherhood has made me very verbose. Maybe tomorrow I'll make up some interesting andecdotes to tell people. Although generally an honest person, I'm getting a little thrill out of this small charade. Sheesh. I really need a job.


So, I recently found a new favorite word:


definition: (verb) to throw through or out of a window
example: The rebels stormed the palace and defenestrated the President.

Isn't that an amazing word? I will definitely be working that into conversation. I look forward to someone responding "defene-what?"

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nixon Fashion

As yesterday was, apparently, a government holiday and Dad didn't have to go to work, the three of us (Mom, Dad, and me) decided to go visit the Nixon Presidential Library. It's only about 20 minutes away (in Yorba Linda) and I had never been, so we made the trip. Although there were many interesting things to look through (including a temporary exhibit of post-Iraq invasion photography), I was fascinated by the weddings of Nixon's daughters. Both got married during his presidency, but only one of them (Tricia) wanted a White House wedding. What I really noticed, though, was her dress. Here are a few pics:

I don't know why, but I really like it. Maybe because it isn't the same ol' square neck or strapless dress that I see so often lately. What I really like, though, is the headpiece and the flare that it gives to the whole thing. I couldn't find a good side pic on the internet, but there were some good ones at the library. It is totally a 70s period-piece, but I just love the whole thing. The dress is very feminine without being too big or fussy.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Could You Care Less?

Everybody has pet peeves. Sometimes they seem legitimate to other people, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they are so minor that to even admit them to others is opening oneself up to ridicule. I will admit that, even to myself, some of my pet peeves make me seem petty and cruel. What I need to explain is that these are just minor annoyances, not really full-blown pet-peeves. My latest annoyance has to do with this well-used phrase:

"I could care less."

Do you see the problem? If not, look a little closer. Yup, just put your nose up to the screen and check out that sentence. What does it imply? What it implies, contrary to the general intent of the user, is that the speaker could care less, which means that the speaker does have some care for the topic at hand. What really should be said is, "I couldn't care less." This implies that the speaker cares so little about the topic that there is no way to care even less. Correctly. And though I know this post may make me appear callous and snobby, remember that it is just a little annoyance. I am sorry if this only passes that annoyance on to you, but perhaps, together, we could make a difference.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Day Well Spent

What's a Friday well-spent in my current life? Running around to 4 different stores with my mom trying to find Christmas items to send to my brother in Russia so they'll get there on time. Sound easy? You try finding Christmas items at the beginning of October...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

After Much Consideration...

I have come to determine, after much consideration, that a bachelor's degree in international relations only merits a job as an administrative assistant. Since when did it become necessary for an administrative assistant to have a bachelor's degree? Now that I have come to terms with that, the trick is finding an organization that I would like to work for as an administrative assistant and that will hire me. Nice.