Friday, October 31, 2008

speaking of orange

Happy Halloween! Christian came up with my costume around 12:45am last night. World Jump Rope Champion. I knew these race medals would come in handy today.

Christian is dressing up as a non-showering-pajama-wearing telecommuter. Lucky.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

orange or black?

I can't decide!! Do I want the orange or the black? The orange is vibrant, but the black is beautiful. Oh gosh. This is hard. Puts the upcoming elections to shame.

Monday, October 27, 2008

lunchtime thoughts

1. Fun times--no pictures yet--too lazy. Last weekend we enjoyed Charlie's birthday party on Saturday and the Nike Women's Half Marathon in the city on Sunday. Been too lazy to upload the pictures. Sorry! I promise I will soon. This past weekend I enjoyed hanging out with Ashley--shopping, running, making ice cream, making tomatillo salsa, staying up way too late. Going to San Francisco in hopes of getting some Kooks concert tickets. They were sold out. We weren't surprised. Hanging out with Amy, Ivan, and Diego instead. Primary presentation on Sunday--our class did great, so we pretty much just let them color and roll around on the floor during our class time. They deserved it. Then there were the pumpkin cookies made with yams instead of pumpkins. Yummy. And spending time with Christian. Good weekend, indeed.

2. I'm not as busy as I thought. Remember how I thought my life was ending when I took the job teaching English at night? Amazingly, I haven't felt that way at all. I still spend time with Christian, I am just as productive at my full-time job, and I somehow still get out running a couple of times a week with my girls. Unfortunately, I haven't seen much of my non-running friends. I need to work on that.

3. My CSA vegetables season will end in a month. I am very sad about that. Even though I don't always end up using all my vegetables, I still love them. On Saturday, Ashley and I (ok, really just Ashley) made salsa with my CSA tomatillos and Hungarian Wax Peppers. Yummy. And last night we had pasta with sauteed CSA sweet peppers and parsley, then topped it with fresh CSA tomatoes and fresh basil from my balcony garden. Christian cooked some meat to go with it, which we topped with chopped fresh chiles de arbol (my work custodian gave me that plant) from my balcony garden. Spicy! I'm a wimp, so I had to follow my meal with a glass of milk.

4. My community. I have had a huge urge to be part of my community lately. Everone who lives around us seems so nice. And yet we don't know any of them. Weekends in the park by our house are amazing. Families everywhere. But we're never there. Last night we took a walk around the neighborhood, cutting through the park. The community center was showing a movie outside on a big screen and everyone was there with their kids in Halloween costumes. People had chairs and blankets set up. They were passing out hot chocolate. I wanted to stay so badly, but we hadn't had dinner yet, so Christian wanted to go home. I recommended we just buy elotes, mangos, or tostadas from the vendor for dinner, but we realized we didn't have any money on us. So we went back to our apartment to make dinner and once again left the community in the park. It makes me sad. Still trying to figure out why we didn't just grab some blankets and money and head back out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

opera music

I'm not an opera fanatic, but there are a few songs I am absolutely in love with. And tonight I am setting up my laptop in my room so that I can fall asleep listening to "Mir is der Ehre widerfahren" from Der Rosenkavalier. It is beautiful and calming. It's a love song, but other than that I have no idea what it's about. No matter, though. It is beautiful.

And since Christian is off playing soccer, I can fall asleep to music. Which means I have to get in bed right away before he gets home.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I love reading the things that Kaylynn overhears, so I thought I'd share one as well.

I was in Marshalls yesterday. It was hopping. As I was waiting in the unusually long check-out line, the lady behind me said very matter-of-fact-ly, "Well, you sure don't see a recession here, do you? This place is packed!"

Discount store abnormally packed = no recession?

I think she needs to rethink her logic.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

birthday gifts

Since you're all so curious about my birthday gifts, here they are! These were the highlights of my birthday!

First--The gloves that fell from my sun visor. I love them. So soft, so cute. Why the heck is it still warm outside?

Second--My ESL students threw me a birthday party! Did I mention I love them? One of them found out my birthday was on Tuesday and he and his wife orchestrated the whole thing. A sheet cake (with my name on it!), soda, tuna salad. Awesome. (Sorry about the blurry phone pictures.)

Third--"Vegetable Throne" was the first hint Christian gave me. The only thing I could think of was that maybe Christian had put a gift out on the patio table, since that's where I have my vegetable plants. Turns out he got me new "vegetable thrones"--flower stands! I have been wanting them for soooo long. He freed up my patio table and completely rearranged my plants--down to such detail that my vegetable plants drain into the pots below. He's so smart.

Third--"Rung Chair" was the second hint. I totally nailed this one. Rung? Ladder rung. But chair? Ooh! My little Ugly Doll Bat sits on the ladder rungs all year long. Orange Bat! The other week we were out and about and I saw the orange bat. I told Christian I needed it to go with our black bat, but I forgot about it. And when I got home--sure enough! He got me the orange bat! I love it.

Fourth--Richard came home with another beta fish for me! Complete with 80's rocks. I'm pretty sure I had a pair of Body Glove biker shorts that would have matched those rocks perfectly. Sweet.

I love birthdays.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

bizz johnson half marathon

I know this race wasn't planned for my birthday, but it sure made for a great one. We drove up to Susanville late on Friday and got up early for the race. It was my dream race for sure. Mountains, trail, absolutely beautiful.

The runners!

Pre-race huddle. It was 26-degrees and so cold!

Look who I ran into! John Olson from Hollister!

The entire race was gorgeous.

Granted, I wasn't exactly ready for a downhill race, and certainly wasn't prepared for how sore I would be. But I had so much fun taking pictures and chatting with the girls and enjoying the scenery. We had a lovely lunch afterward and the girls celebrated with cupcakes for me and Whitney's son, Joel! They are so sweet! Thank you, ladies!

Christian knows how much I love the mountains, so he was okay with us spending the rest of the day working our way from Susanville down highway 89. I fell in love with the little town of Quincy and with all the meadows and farmland tucked into the mountains.

Then we crashed Ian and Kitty's date night with Tyler and Ashley. Thanks for letting us crash the party! I even got a yummy mountain of chocolate from it.

Followed by a lazy Sunday at Ian and Kitty's house. Thanks, guys! We had a blast!

The rest of the weekend pictures are on our smugmug.

Happy Birthday Molly!

For those of you who may not know, today is Molly's birthday.

Molly, I have infiltrated your blog to say happy birthday and give you clues about your other gifts. It's is too late to tell you about your 1st because you already found it. The others are waiting at home so now you will have to wait all day in anticipation, oh the suspense!

The clues are "Vegetable Throne" and "Rung Chair"

Love you babe, have a great birthday.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

lunch time

Lunch time = Blog time. Making it quick.

1. Happy Birthday, Paula!! Today is my mother-in-law's birthday! I can't wait to show her that I'm actually knitting. Paula--when are we having a knitting party? Paula is making me the cutest little baby sweater (no--I'm not pregnant--she just started making me one when I oooh'd and ahhhh'd over one she had made for someone else). Isn't she great? A very Happy Birthday to Paula, indeed!

2. I repent. Josh C's birthday is not tomorrow. It's on the 21st. But at least I didn't miss it! (If you know me, you know I'm not likely to remember your birthday...something about Hollister water and a bad memory.)

3. Dianna is all done with braces! Look at that beautiful smile!!

4. I finally have my new running shoes! Happy Birthday to me, again? No, I earned $85 a while back going to a market research group, and put it immediately toward my $85 shoes. Perfect! Photo shoot with Christian again. For some reason he didn't like the fact that I was eating my shoes. Just can't seem to figure out why.

5. Today is Thursday. The word Thursday reminds me of Autumn time. Words are special to me, and they make all kinds of connections in my brain that I can't explain. So Thursday is Autumn. And I love Autumn. So I love Thursdays.

6. Kaylynn just sent us the forecast for our race on Saturday. And they say that it's normally about 10 degrees colder where the races starts 13 miles up the trail. Snow flurries in the forecast for the night before. We're going to freeze. And I am so excited.

7. Last night I burnt my fingers. On piquillo peppers. I didn't think they were that hot, so I just cleaned out the seeds with my fingers. By the time I went to sleep, I felt like I had mildly burnt my thumb. And this morning, I had to keep all my fingers away from anything warm or they felt burnt. Live and learn, right? But I did end up with a yummy cheesy piquillo pepper spread to eat on crackers today. Anyone want any seeds for planting next year?

Aaaaand back to work!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

birthday treat for me

First, a special shout out to my fellow October birthdays! Today is Maren's birthday (friend!) and tomorrow is Paula's birthday (mother-in-law!) and Corrin's birthday (cousin!), the next day is Meghan's birthday (friend!) and Josh C's birthday (bro-in-law!). Hurray for October birthdays!

And since we're on the topic of birthdays and I have no shame celebrating my birthday for an entire week (or month--right, Josh H?), I'll share with all of you where I'm going for my birthday this weekend:

Going on a nice little run with Lindsey, Rebecca, Kaylynn, and Whitney down this gorgeous trail. Autumn colors, running, mountains, friends. Could there be a better birthday?

You better believe I'm taking my camera in my geek belt. I don't care how slow I run--I'm taking lots of pictures!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

i'm obviously a bad teacher

When Richard first came to live with us, he was a horrible speller. He'll admit it. Every time he would write anything on MySpace or Facebook (that's what takes up all his time at home), he would ask us how to spell EVERYTHING! After about, oh, one week, we decided he needed to learn to spell. (Granted, Christian wasn't much help, but he's getting better, too.) I, on the other hand, am quite the stickler when it comes to spelling things correctly. So this was my quest. No matter how hopeless, no matter how far...

So every time Richard would ask us how to spell something, we would respond, "How do you think it is spelled?" and make him sound it out and spell it over and over until he got it right. It's a wonder he even talks to us still. That kid has a lot of patience. Needless to say, he has gotten much better at spelling. Or looking things up online so he doesn't have to bother with our annoying spelling lessons.

But tonight Richard and I took about 10 steps backward. Here was our hilarious conversation:

R: Hmmm. That's a weird word. Plural. How do you spell plural?
M: What do you think?
R: I have no idea.
M: Type what you think it is and then read it out loud.
R: P-L-E-A-R. Plear. Hmmm. Nope. That's not it.
M: Nope. Try again.
R: P... Puluar. I don't know.
M: Ok, how many syllables does it have?
R: Two
M: Ok, what's the first syllable? Sound out the first syllable.
R: Puh-luh
M: That's the first syllable?
R: No. Um.
M: Clap it out while saying each syllable. (clap, clap)
R: (clap) Puh (clap) luh
(both of us laughing pretty hard by now)
M: Puh luh? That's already two syllables! No, say the word. Say the whole word.
R: Puhlual
M: What?
R: Puhlua
M: What? Say the word you're trying to spell.
R: Puhla. I can't say it! You know, it means more than one!
R: Yeah, that. Plural.

He got it eventually. But Richard and I were cracking up that he went from not being able to spell the word to not even being able to say the word. I guess I'm not exactly the best teacher if my student is moving backward, huh?

Monday, October 6, 2008

happy early birthday to me

New purses from China Town. New project: knitting. New pretty green coat. I told Christian he was the photographer and this is what we ended up with.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Ok, another picture tag. Got it from Jenna's blog. I thought hers was funny, so I decided just to see what the "4th picture in my 4th photo file" was. The picture made me so happy that I just had to follow suit and post it!

This is our awesome niece, Camden. We LOVE hanging out with Camden, and it has been way too long. Here we were blowing bubbles back when they still lived in Mountain View. We miss you!

Tag to anyone else who wants it. :)

spain at midnight

It's funny that when I wrote the title of this post, my outlook on the post changed dramatically. I was going to write about how here I was wide awake at midnight watching my recorded (yep--DVR) episode of Spain: On the Road Again, thinking that was late... until I wrote "Spain at Midnight." Life in Spain is booming at midnight, so it suddenly doesn't sound like such a big deal anymore that I'm wide awake at midnight.

After walking around like a zombie today (although we did go down to Ashley and Jose's new house and poke around for a while--measuring walls, discovering wood under the layering of carpet, linoleum, and particle board), I got back in bed around 5pm. I know I have complained a lot about my cold, but I really don't think I have ever had a cold with such non-stop sinus pressure. I'm now on day 4 and getting a little sick of it (no pun intended). Took Sudafed Decongestant and it didn't do squat. Sheesh.

So now I'm up at midnight watching my Spain show and being more than a little bummed that Christian is off hanging out with our friends. Sorry, Lenessa. I just couldn't do it.

They're showing the process of making stinky cheese, and I want some soooo bad. I love stinky cheese. Not to mention they are constantly playing music meshed with the Spanish flamenco clapping. I say "meshed" because it's with Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again." I would have to say that my absolute favorite thing about flamenco is the clapping. If you've never paid attention to the rhythmic clapping, I highly recommend it.

The best garlic is from Cuenca? What about Gilroy? Ha! I think we might have to have a taste test.

Love hearing them say "hombre" as an expression. Totally forgot about that. Love Gwyneth's Spanish.

Ok. Show's over. Bored again. Not tired. Head is going to explode. Or implode. Not sure which one. I'll just keep dreaming about Spain. I could really use one of those salty salads that the family's housekeeper/nanny in Seville used to make for us. No, I don't remember her name. She was crazy. But only because the family was crazy. I'll bet she would have been fine away from the crazy family. But she made a mean salty, oily, vinegary salad. Mmmmmmmm....

Saturday, October 4, 2008

conference weekend

For those of you who may not know, twice a year, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints holds a General Conference for all its members around the world. We have the opportunity to listen to church leaders speak about spiritual topics. This weekend is conference weekend, and we are watching Conference on the internet: Sessions are held at 10am and 2pm Mountain Time (9 and 1 Pacific Time) on Saturday and Sunday.

The conference talks from this morning's session really were great. I made breakfast while we listened to the talks. I really think I pay attention much better when my hands are busy doing something mindless. Like the Stake Conference (a large meeting with the members from a certain geographical area) back in high school when Ashley and I spent the entire time tearing the program paper into shapes--trees, people, animals, etc. To this day I remember that I had never paid attention as well as I did that day. In one of today's conference talks, they talked about how we shouldn't do things that distract us from the messages in Sacrament Meeting (a meeting for members from the same city who meet together weekly), like talking, reading, etc. But interestingly enough, doing mindless things with my hands helps me pay attention even better.

I loved the messages this morning about missionary work, faith, and hope. How we may never realize all the people who will be touched in the future by your seemingly small efforts to share the Gospel. How having faith is a decision you consciously make. How you may not know everything, but you know enough to know that Heavenly Father loves you and knows you and will give you strength, and sometimes that's all you need. How you should never forget the things you hope for and have hope in.

On a totally different note, I'm glad I have conference to listen to today, because otherwise I would be completely miserable. I feel like my cold has gotten worse instead of better. I was supposed to go run a 10-miler with Whitney at 7am this morning, but when I woke up on my own at 5:40am, I started wondering if that was such a good idea. My head hurt. My throat hurt. My ear hurt. My sinuses hurt. I just didn't feel good at all. And we've had this conversation many times--at what point do you suck it up and keep training, and at what point do you listen to your body and rest. It may seem like an easy decision to you non-runners, but there's sometimes a fine line between being a wimp and being smart. And I wasn't sure if I was just being a wimp and would feel fine after I was up and moving for the day. I knew I could pull off a 10-miler, but I didn't know if I should. I was just going to go back to sleep until my alarm went off and then get ready for my run, but I decided to said a little prayer instead, because I kept getting this feeling that "sucking it up and running" wasn't the best idea. So I lay there wide awake for a couple minutes before I heard a very low, constant rumble. I jumped out of bed and looked out the window and it was pouring rain. Looked like a pretty clear answer to me. I canceled my run and went back to sleep. And it was absolutely the right decision. I feel like crap. My head feels like it's going to explode. If I had cranked out 10 miles this morning, I can pretty much guarantee I would only feel worse right now, and I don't really want to know what "worse" feels like.

I know this sounds like a pretty small thing, but I'm really not one to ditch out on a run last-minute. If we plan it, I'll show up. So I would have gone, and I would have stressed my body. I'm pretty sure the rain cleared shortly thereafter and all the other girls probably did their long runs this morning. But I know that my simple prayer was answered in a very clear way. Sometimes even for seemingly insignificant things we don't know what's best for us, but we can get simple answers. Today I needed the rest, and all it took was a little prayer to push me past my running pride and stay home.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

bad idea

So let me just tell you. If you have a cold, and you are already losing your voice, I really don't recommend doing the following:

1. Talking to your ESL program director for 30 minutes, then...
2. Teaching English for 2 hours, then...
3. Chatting on the phone with your sister-in-law's friend for 30 minutes on your way home about the logistics of running a half marathon, then...
4. Talking for another 50 minutes straight while on a late-night run with a friend.

My throat totally hurts and I sound like a man. I asked Christian if it was sexy and he said, "Shut up--Get away from me!" I take that as a no.

So I'm drinking a concoction of water, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, basil, and honey. Hey--I figure if they're all listed as helping a sore throat, then I might as well mix them all together, right? Christian says it smells nasty--too much vinegar. I say it tastes better than nasty airborne. Although I will admit there's too much vinegar. Ew.

But my throat feels better. Maybe because this is the longest I've gone without talking since 6:00pm today. Oops.

PS--Christian is watching Family Guy and I'm actually laughing. I can't stand when I laugh at programs that I can't stand!