Sunday, March 28, 2010

Less Wonderful Week

This week certainly does a good job of trying to balance the wonderfulness of last week.

Still, my family is mostly healthy and happy so no complaining! Gavin left for London Friday leaving me with a weekend frighteningly devoid of tasks. After dropping Gavin off, I met up with Jen for some much needed decompressing. Had an awesome dinner and evening.

Saturday Ladera held an Easter Celebration. My intent was to ride my bike over there and take some pictures. Several people pointed out that in general, taking photographs of other people's children is creepy. Also, I realized the park wasn't the one near my house, but on the other side of Ladera, about 2.5 miles away. Go ahead, laugh at me, but 2.5 miles is a lot for me, especially in Ladera, there's so many hills! Plus there is the matter of getting home afterwards. Despite all of that I was up in time and ended up giving in a shot. I was quite proud of myself for making it all the way (no need to count the number of stops I made...) I only crashed once and it was entirely my bikes fault (chain fell off). In order to avoid being a creeper, I took very few photos at the event, I did stop for one of my bike on the way home.
Which reminds me, my bike needs a name. Especially now that we've gone through so much together. Suggestions?

The night before Gavin left, we had a lovely dinner at home date night. We made these amazing potatoes. Basically you make the potato's, cut them in half and scrap out the inside. Mix it with cottage cheese, milk, butter, seasoning and cheese. Put it back in the skin and bake it. I was a bit skeptical, especially because Gavin hates cottage cheese, but it came out delicious! You can check out the recipe yourself if you want.

I added some basil to my garden today. I am quite sad to say that my indoor started kit failed. It wasn't it's fault. It was growing fine. The real problem is that Lucky decided he likes to eat fresh herbs growing peacefully in the window. There is exactly one little parsley plant left... I'm about to abandon the entire project. My AeroGarden and dirt garden are both doing quite well, however.

I don't notice because I see it everyday, but it's grown quite impressively since I planted it! A expect this time next month I might start getting some tomatoes!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wonderful Week!

What a whirlwind of a week it has been! Last weekend, Gavin and I went home for our first 'official' wedding event. It was amazing and I was honored and overwhelmed to have such a clear reminder of all of the love and friends we have in our lives. I was also thrilled to meet baby Emily for the first time! Emily took her very first trip to come to our shower! I'll be posting more and pictures on facebook sometime this week. Thank you so much to everyone!

It's a good thing I didn't attach much importance to my Bracket, because there is no good news in that arena!

The summary for all non sports fans is that all the red= bad. Oh well... no win for the turtles this year!

I have a gift for my California friends, a change of season!

This is nearly the same picture taken at Christmas and over the weekend. One of the few draw backs of living in California (smog, housing costs, taxes, and State budgets aside) is missing out on seasonal change. I seem to be especially affected by this when I think about how much fun I had trying to shoot snow in Chicago and our beautiful spring here. Lucky for me, modern travel makes it possible to continue to do both without the hassle of living someplace where shoveling snow and wearing scarfs for non fashion reasons is a reality.

In other photo news, I've also got a pretty good lead on a cure for my 'auto' dependence with my camera. More on that after I have more time to investigate!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sporting Events.

In general, I am not all that into sporting events. Lately, I've been trying to understand sports in general. One method, is to get a jersey for the team I'm cheering for. Not only does this give me something to wear, but can also greatly improve the odds that I cheer at the right time.

I have also participated in several pools. I'm the fish. They get me to play to increase the amount of money that actual fans will win. I generally prefer to choose my teams based on which mascot would will in an Arena fight, although I make exceptions for particularly cute mascots, such as the little turtles I chose to win March Madness.

So far, I've already lost two of my teams, but I didn't have any of them moving on, so we'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Last night Gavin and I decided to celebrate spring break = no ceramics class (if you can call trying to think of something to mask our disappointment celebrating...) by heading over to Disneyland for the evening. Actually, the main reason for the trip was to check out a Champagne bottled only for Disneyland that we are considering for the wedding. This aspect of the trip was somewhat disappointing. The wine was fine, although nothing particularly special in my opinion, and the service was quite poor. Everyone has off days, even Disneyland.

As we haven't made it over recently, we headed to California Adventure. California Adventure is home to one of Gavin's favorite rides ever, ToyStory Midway Mania.

The line was a bit long, and since we forgot to reset our watches, it was the only ride we were able to squeeze in, but we were also able to see them filling, and presumable testing the new fountain show "World of Color". The entire thing looks like it will be amazing. I took quite a few pictures of the various things you could see through the construction screens, but by far my favorite is this one of the new Ferris wheel:

It was formerly the sun wheel, but I greatly prefer it in it's current configuration. I am now quite excited for the new show.

I've noticed that what type of pictures I see around me, and what I like to photograph is greatly impacted by my mood. The bright vibrant colors against the darkening sky fit perfectly yesterday. I am currently quite frustrated because I can see the pictures I want, but can't necessarily get the camera to show it to me. I know what settings should achieve what I'm looking for, but haven't mastered them yet. Sadly, I still frequently end up shooting on auto. Hopefully with practice, this will improve. I've started reviewing my auto photos to understand the settings used that achieve the results I'm looking for. It's a slow process as out of 100 auto shots, maybe 3 or 4 actually do what I fully intended. But currently, it's actually much faster for me to shoot 100 auto shots because setting manipulation is still quite slow for me and switching between settings often means I missed resetting something, completely ruining the next set of shots. All of this mostly serves to remind me how lucky I am to be learning on a digital camera where the 97 other shots only cost me frustration, not $.

An unexpected perk of photography has been looking at things around me differently. I won't say artistically, because I don't think I've made quite that much success. The book Basic Photography, as recommended by a friend of mine, has helped as has just slowing down and paying attention. I joking told Gavin the other day that I might even develop an architectural style if I keep it up!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Better perspective

Have a much better perspective now, just took some carefully crafted time with some awesome people. I know I have great friends because just a quick meal, call or message can really make me feel a ton better about everything. Thanks friends!

I'm trying to make time to be active as well. I think I mentioned I bought a bike recently. I greatly improved the awesomeness of my bike by adding a basket

My Bike

Gavin and I have been exploring our neighborhood one short ride at a time. Riding a bike is not so easy as I remember. Particularly the changing gears part of the experience. Gavin also took me for a lovely dinner at the Cellar in Fullerton. I think I'm in love with lobster bisque.

Last night Sara and Chris introduced us to some awesome friends of theirs for some wine and cooking. I did very little of the cooking, although I was solely responsible for the fondue and of the Stormy Night Martinis. All of the food was delicious and it was a fun night.

Hectic week ahead, but excited to head back to Chicago next weekend!

Friday, March 12, 2010


I was pretty freaking sure that I'd never be a bridzilla. I could never imagine myself screaming at the florist that I wanted fushia and these were purple, or demanding the catering company refold all of the napkins because they weren't how I'd pictured them, or any of the other bridezilla-y things I've seen on crazy wedding movies or commercials for reality TV wedding shows. I just didn't think it could possibly happen.

I haven't screamed at anyone about napkins folds or flower shades, but I fear I am currently at risk for going all bridezilla on the world.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on preventing this from happening. Or if not, how about an alterations referral so I can make room for my tail in my wedding dress.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Haunted all over Again.

Disneyland is probably my favorite place in the world (besides at home cuddling with Gavin and the pets, of course!) I love the music, the scenes, the families having fun, pretty much everything. (Ok, I don't love the lines). I had a kinda rough day (complete with an antibiotic shot, do you know how they administer those?) Gavin has tournaments on Tuesdays, so I could think of no better place to spend my solo afternoon than Disneyland.

I intended to spend the afternoon taking awesomely artful pictures with my new camera. Sadly, after fighting with the aperture for half an hour, I pretty much gave up and decided to just wander around for a while. It's not surprise I ended up at the Haunted Mansion.

The haunted mansion is my favorite Disneyland Ride of all time. I've gone on it pretty much every time I've gone to Disneyland (not a small number of times). While it's been quite some time since the ride was actually frightening to me, I enjoy it for nostalgic reasons and the creative genius that went into the original design (I do not endorse the Halloween version, for the record).

Amazingly, there was no line for the haunted mansion. (Lines for other rides were short as well (20-40 mins)) I took a quick picture of the front before hurrying up for the ride.

I try not to visit Disneyland on the busiest day or times, still it's been a long time since I've walked directly up to the ride. When I got to the front, I saw no attendant and walked into the lobby. A few minutes later, the attendant showed up(not sure where he was) and directed me back to the patio. A few minutes later he ushers me back into the lobby, alone as no one else has yet shown up for the ride. this is both a bit scary, and awesomely cool. A few minutes later a couple shows up and the 'ride' starts. In the elevator, I've never heard it so silent (major props to all of the cast members for being in perfect character, by the way). As I approach my 'doom' buggy, the cast member doesn't even speak, but just stares at me for a while and then directs me into a car. Awesomely Creepy. Apparently the couple walks slower than me as I didn't see them in any of the cars directly near mine. I'm suddenly aware that, at least so far as I can see, I am completely alone.

The most frightening element, in my opinion, is the hat rack/desk table at the end of the ballroom scene. It's apparently not particularly popular as a 10 minute google search yielded no pictures of the item in question. I find it eerie because it has always seemed so out of place to me and so.... normal? Anyway, just as I turn towards it, the ride stops (not uncommon, but the timing was incredible). I sat staring at an object uniquely frightening to me (most people I mention it to can't even remember it from the ride) for several minutes alone on my favorite Disneyland ride of all time. No children laughing, no coughing, nothing. Amazing.

All I can really say is Bravo, Haunted Mansion, for somehow managing to spook me yet again!