Saturday, December 31, 2011

Catalina Island

My mom and stepfather flew in last week from Sweet Home Alabama to spend the Christmas holidays with us. On the day after Christmas, we took the one hour ferry ride to Catalina island, which is 26 miles off the coast of Long Beach (and just so happens to be a place on my California Bucket List).

Catalina is such a beautiful place. It is beachy and mountainous, and full of wildlife and uber friendly people who all drive golf carts because very few cars are allowed. And in a funny coincidence, I served on a jury a few years back for Tommy Flanagan (from the TV show Sons of Anarchy) who was accused of drunk driving and crashing a golf cart on the island (we acquitted him for the record).

One of the first things we did when we got off the ferry was take a bus tour. The bus tour took us up these really narrow roads that are literally hanging off the side of the mountain. With no guard rails! It was scary and thrilling all at the same time. The views were breathtaking and the ocean was so calm it looked like glass. At the top of the mountain, there is a really quaint airport where we we were let out to take pictures, get snacks, etc.  

When we were riding back down the mountain, our tour guide spotted a little fox that had been run over in the road. Because the fox was still breathing, the tour guide asked everyone if they would mind if he stopped the tour so he could call animal services and get some help for the fox. Everyone on the tour was kind and very concerned about the little fox, so of course we all decided we didn't mind. After about five minutes of waiting, the fox sat up and everyone started cheering, "Come on Little Fox, Come on." The fox manged to completely get up and run back into the forest! It was amazing, a true Christmas miracle (or a day after Christmas miracle). The little fox had a tracking collar on, so animal services was going to come find him and check on him. But he looked like he was going to be okay! It is moments like that you remember most when you are thinking back to the trips you took. Watching that fox trot off was truly uplifting.  

After the tour ended, we grabbed some lunch at a really good restaurant called The Lobster Trap, and played some Miniature Golf. Adam kicked my butt in the game, but I was in the lead for a good long while before I started choking. Next, we shopped a little and before we knew it, it was time to take the ferry back to the main land. But we really enjoyed our day in Catalina, I only wish we could actually live there!

Song of the Day: This Ain't a Love Song by Scouting for Girls

Friday, December 23, 2011

A House Made of Gingerbread

I don't know what typical married couples do on Thursday nights after long days at work. But we as a couple put on our pajamas and built a ginger bread house. And I think it is pretty adorable.

I once built a gingerbread house in college with my friends (in the middle of February), that my we named The Lonely Bush. So I told Adam we had to name our masterpiece, and finally we settled on the name, "Ginger-topia." And just in case you are wondering (and I know you are) that charming little snowman with the odd looking nose is named Leonard. He just looked like a Leonard.

Song of the Day: 1,2,3,4 (I Love You) by The Plain White T's

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bits n' Pieces

Just a round up of a few photos that have been sitting around forever from various happenings that didn't really merit their own post but put them together and walaah! You have a post (Plus, I have nothing better to do since Adam is totally enthralled in some Modern Warfare 3 mayhem on the PS3, why did I get that for him again?).

I just have to ask the question, is anyone else this messy when they bake/cook? Because my kitchen always looks like a disaster after I'm done. I would like to blame the messy kitchen on the fact that the counter space you see in the picture is honestly the only counter space we have. But no it's just me. I get a little crazy in the kitchen. And then some how Adam always ends up cleaning up after me. He is pretty boss like that.  This picture is from Adam's birthday baking preparations. And why yes that is my famous homemade peanut butter frosting.

A few months back my cousin Alicia, her husband, and adorable youngest two kids (Chloe and Joey) made it all the way out to Cali, and I met them at the Rain forest Cafe in Downtown Disney for dinner one night after work. Downtown Disney is a really cool area close to Disneyland, that has a lot of stores and restaurants. Plus they have live music and awesome decorations.  After dinner, we waltzed over to the Build a Bear, and my little cousin Chloe built a pretty rockin' Disney bear.  I have to admit that I was kind of jealous of that little bear with those cute Mickey Mouse ears. I snapped this picture of one of the lights at Downtown Disney because it caught my eye.

A quick and beautiful snapshot of an amazing sunset in Downtown Long Beach at The Pike.

One of our favorite restaurants is The Cheesecake Factory, although we don't go there often because it can be a little on the pricey side. But I have a life mission and that life mission is to try all the different cheesecakes produced by the factory. And so far I've had about ten different kinds. The best definitely being the white chocolate chip macadamia nut cheesecake. This is the pumpkin pecan cheesecake I had over Thanksgiving break, which is to die for and totally amazing!

I already wrote a memorial to my old car. But I have not yet introduced you guys to Felix the Honda Fit. Honestly, we bought Felix out of pure desperation, and we weren't too happy about that at the time (but I wasn't a happy camper in general that day because I had bronchitis, and we had to ride the bus to the dealership and walk a half mile in the cold. So Miserable). But Felix is pretty snazzy, and we have grown to like him a lot. Sure, he doesn't exactly have that new car smell, but at least he doesn't harbor the smell of ten years worth of dropped McDonald's french fries, stinky dogs, and those scented pine trees that hang from the visor. And with Felix we have a driver's side window that will actually roll down again! Oh, the luxury.

On my 21st birthday, my mother, Adam, and myself took a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate. While we were there, we visited the M&M factory/store. Which is the cutest store, and it has all sorts of quirky souvenirs.  So when my mother and I happened across a M&M store last summer in New York City, we had to stop by. I snapped this picture of one of adorable statues hanging on the wall.

Song of the Day: Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? by She & Him

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tree Trimming

I think my very favorite part of Christmas time is decorating the Christmas tree. Or more specifically unpacking all our ornaments. Almost all of our ornaments have special memories attached to them, and some are even older than me! So when I unpack the ornaments, I can't help but get really nostalgic. So I wanted to share just a few of our favorite ornaments.

We got the little San Francisco trolley ornament from our trip to San Francisco earlier this year, and I colored the little bear when I was eight years old (I have this most vivid memory of sitting at a table coloring that ornament with my best friend). I had forgotten all about the Golden Retriever ornament we had bought the year we brought Sarah home. Finding this ornament made me a little sad because we miss her so much, but I'm so glad we have something to remind us of our precious Goldie every year.

The little Green Bay Packer's kid is Adam's ornament. But we both love our Green Bay Packers! My mother got me the little mother/daughter coffee ornament a few Christmases ago, and I just love it because it reminds me of sitting around with my mom drinking coffee. And last but not least, we got the little snow couple ornament for our first Christmas together living in California. The ornament actually says, "First California X-Mas 09 (although the too thick marker and my terminally bad handwriting make it almost illegible)."

Do you have any favorite ornaments?

Song of the Day: Do You Hear What I Hear? by Christopher Cross

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ode to Homer my Honda

My mother brought you home the month I turned 15.  She named you Homer the Honda, a name I really didn't like at first. But when I told her your name should be changed, she threatened to name you "Harvey," instead. As in Paul Harvey.  She did this only because she knew how I hated Paul Harvey's mono-toned daily radio broadcast.  So I digressed, and the name Homer was here to stay.

My mom first tried to teach me to drive you after she picked me up from a friend's sleep over in a cemetery, where there was no living thing I could kill.  Just expensive tombstones and dead people who might choose to haunt me for the rest of my life for disturbing their peaceful slumber. This was a horrendous idea because my mother has never been able to teach me anything without me having a major meltdown (a point proven every time I ever brought home math homework).

You were with me when I failed my first driver's test.  My nerves getting the better of me, causing me to put the car in reverse instead of drive, and making me jump the curb. An automatic failure before even leaving the parking lot. But Hey! A lack of a driver's license didn't keep me from driving you (without my mother's knowledge or permission). And it certainly didn't keep me from wrecking you outside of Hardee's, after dropping off a job application on one of these joyrides (I didn't get that job-apparently car stealing and car wrecking teenagers aren't great prospectives employees).  Having to tell my mom I stole the car and wrecked it was possibly the worst thing I ever had to tell anyone. But for years afterward, anytime I did something wrong and had to tell my mom, I always was able to tell myself, "It won't be as bad as the time you wrecked the car."

You were my constant companion in college. Accompanying me on my many adventures and misadventures. You took me on that clandestine trip with that boy I liked to New Orleans. And you brought me home early the next morning after the boy had dumped me and left me wondering up and down Bourbon Street all alone. You were there to cart my friends and me around that one time we got the notion to buy a pair of water frogs from Wal-mart at 3 a.m (we named them Bonnie & Clyde). And you were there when we would decide there was nothing more we needed than Olive Garden and Krispee Kreme donuts, so we would pile into you and drive two hours to Tuscaloosa. In fact, it was on one these trips that you earned the nickname armadillo extinguisher, as we hit an unsuspecting armadillo in the middle of the night on a dark country road scaring the bejeesus out of everyone.

The day after graduation, I loaded you up with almost everything I owned, and Adam and I drove you cross country to our new home in California.  Along the way, we stopped at the home of the UFOs, Roswell. N.M,  Flagstaff, A.Z., and the Grand Canyon. And on the final leg of the trip, your front tire sprung a flat, and we were helped by the kindest old man who worked with Triple AAA, who gave us the best marriage advice. 

The other day we took you to the shop, and we found it was going to take $2500 dollars in work to keep you running. Being that you were ten years old, it seemed like an awful lot of money to put into you when we weren't sure how long you could continue to run. So we did what we had to do, and we went to the Honda shop and bought Felix the Red Honda Fit. I couldn't bear to tell you we were trading you in for parts because that would be like telling a child there is no Santa Clause.  You know, frown upon.

So I guess the reign of the Homer the Honda is over, let the reign of Felix the Honda Fit last just as long (and be involved in less accidents).
Song of the Day: Christmas Wrappings by The Waitresses