Monday, July 30, 2007

More Art , Photos and Family Moments

I guess I was kind of prolific with my scrapping last week, or at least I was feeling really inspired, but I cranked out two pages that actually have really bright colors. :) I'm really pleased with how they turned out this time, although I still haven't heard any comment from Elissa about the page I did of her photos! Brat!

So here they are...

"Attack Kitty"
and "A Day's Work"
For details and credits on the former click here and the latter click here.

More Guests at the Hotel Ellingsen

My parents had ever more guests over to their house this past weekend, as our friends Terje and Liv left last week and freed up the guest room. Just kidding! Actually, it was the annual gathering at their house after everyone got together to see the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna. They'll usually go to see the show on a Thursday night, and come back to the house Friday night, if not for the weekend. Although I didn't go on Thursday, I met up with everyone after work on Friday. We had a really great time - our old friends Roger and Keiko were in town from Phoenix, and my uncle and his girlfriend fiancee Donna came over, plus my cousin Alex (Karl's son) and it's almost always a good time when we mix those people together! :) Eirik and his awesome girlfriend Roseann even stopped by for a while and brought her best friend too. They're so sweet!

So we all managed to cram in the house for the night, pets included. ;-) I didn't mind sleeping on my parent's floor...too much. At least I had a mattress!

Here's some photo highlights - of course we took tons of the pets! I'll get my hands on the ones we took of people soon.

Alex looking charming:

The kitten, in what is fast becoming one of his favorite retreats (and yes, he really is only just over 4 months old...he's going to be a monster!):

Ted E. getting some love from Keiko while we were watching a movie:
The poor pup was feeling so left out, since much of the attention was on these two wrestlers going at it half the time:
I don't know about you guys, but they both look pretty guilty to me! :)

On Saturday we took Roger and Keiko wine tasting at the Joseph Filippi winery out in Rancho Cucamonga, which was so fun. Their wine is delicious, and their champagne is my absolute favorite, so I was excited to actually get to see the winery. Then once we got back to the OC we went for some delicious sushi, taking Alex with us. What is it about sushi that makes you stuff yourself til you want to die, but leaves you hungry just a few hours later?? Whatever the cause is, it doesn't really matter because the food was sooo good.

As for Chris, he finally had a day off yesterday after doing 12 shows in 12 days, so we actually had a chance to really talk. That was nice. :) Today he's in Milwaukee, and tomorrow they'll be in Cincinatti, and it's another 5 days until he gets to rest again. The poor guy is going to need at least 6 months before he does another tour of any kind!!

That about does it for me here, off to get some real work done...


Quote of the moment: "Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer." ~ Twain

Friday, July 20, 2007

Good Reads, Top 10, and More

The summer is just flying by - I can't believe it's almost August already! But that's good, because I'm much more of a spring and fall girl, anyways. Although I did finally buy a pair of shorts from Old Navy, Nancy would be proud of me. :)

10 Things

Jessica Sprague did this on her blog again, and I think it's time that I did another list of 10 things that are good/amusing/happening in my life right now!

1. ~ Actually found out about this site through Jessica too, and since I am such a bookworm I just had to join! There are several of you that I know read at least as much as me (:cough:NikkiMindyMomNancy:cough:), so join up and add me as a friend! I always like to hear reviews from "real" people. Here's the link to my profile:
click here.

2. (Nearly) 4 weeks down, 5 more to go ~ Chris has been gone for just under four weeks now, and it's really starting to get old - for both of us! I wis
h he was back already. Right now he's in the middle of a 12-shows-in-12-days stretch, and exhausted already. If it's even possible, I think he's going to come back skinnier. For those of you that know him, that would mean a walking skeleton. ;-)

3. My new Back to Basics conditioner ~ I got the Vanilla Plum Fortifying type (at Costco, of all places, meaning I nearly break my toe every morning because half the time the ginormous Costco-sized bottle slips out of my hand) and it makes my hair sooo nice and smooth and smells like cotton candy - muy delicioso!! And I've actually noticed that fewer hairs get pulled out when I comb through after showering. :)

4. My parents ~ Because they're just freaking awesome, period. And I'm feeling extra grateful that I live so close because they can puppysit for me, like they did last Thursday night to Friday night, since I had my work's "Day at the Races" event on Friday and wouldn't be getting home until late. Plus, they still let me do laundry whenever (like the loser and cheap bastard that I am), and have been putting up with me and the puppy quite often since Chris has been gone, as it's a comfy place I can hang out where they feed me for free and Jacopo can run around 'til he can't stand up anymore. :D So cheers to them!

5. My new cordless keyboard and mouse that are
currently in transit to me ~ Hurry up, goshdarnit! Don't get me wrong, I'm seriously in love with my Mac, but even the Mighty Mouse can be found to be seriously lacking. It's one of the few areas that PCs have way more options and choices than Macs do, and I miss having a mouse that forms well to my hand and has easy forward and back buttons right where the thumb rests (and they're not just for web browsing either! Those buttons help when you're trying to find where you saved a file). The difference is especially drastic when I use a nice set all day at work and then come home to do scrapbooking or something. With all the time that I spend on my home computer, the mouse and keyboard had better work well and against the encroaching carpal tunnel I feel!
**Update: I got the set today, and I LOVE it!! I don't know why I bothered with anything else. Especially since when I was a PC girl I always changed to some kind of Logitech product from the stock keyboard & mouse, so why not with a Mac? Anyhoo, they're all installed and working perfectly, and I especially like having a "cleaner" desk with fewer cords running around. :)

6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ~ I'm not even going to bothe
r linking to it, because you shouldd already have a copy. And if you don't, run to Barnes & Noble now. Don't walk. I pretty much got nothing done this weekend (besides hang out with the girls Saturday night) because I had to finish it.

7. This new photo of me and Jacopo~
I love it so much, I'm almost hesitant to try and scrap it, because I want the page to be perfect! I'm sure inspiration will come to me soon...I hope!

Jacopo finally healing ~ We've been dealing with skin issues he has pretty much since we got him, and I finally got fed up with the vet that we were going to originally (not seeing the same person twice, not really addressing our concerns, overcharging, etc.) that two weeks ago I decided to start taking him to the vet my family has gone for many years in Placentia. They had always treated my parents' menagerie well, and they were nice and small, and I felt I would get a fair deal there. I couldn't have made a better choice! Not only did she (yup, the vet is this woman that probably should have been a model) truly address my concerns about various skin problems he was having, but they charged me just over half of what the same thing cost at the other place and the new pill and ointment she prescribed actually worked. And right away too! Its so amazing, I had been using this other ointment from the old place for weeks and didn't see anywhere near that kind of result. So, long story short, that weight is off my mind and I'm sooo happy. And you can tell he's happy too! :)

9. My
best friend Nikki ~ We hung out last Wednesday (like we've been doing pretty much every week since Chris left, and now I don't think I can make it through the week without at least one night of hanging with her!) after work, and I just have to give her huge props for being willing to go with me to the pet store to get more of Jacopo's food, and then suggesting we go to the Lazy Dog cafe (small local chain of restaurants that welcome dogs - on their patios, of course) instead of our fave sushi place, which really worked out since we already had Jacopo in the car with us. It just made my day that she totally understood how much guilt I felt leaving him alone even more than he had already had been that day, even though I was perfectly willing to leave him for an hour or so for dinner. And the restaurant turned out to be pretty good, and the service was great, although they didn't have any signs up as to how you were supposed to get seated if you had a dog and couldn't go inside. Might be helpful in the future. ;-)

Dreyer's Slow Churned Light Ice Cream Bars ~ Need I say more? And they were on special at Albertson' was fate! :)


Other than that, just hanging out and getting through the week. Nancy came over the Friday before last to catch up and have her first official lesson in digital scrapbooking - another convert! Hopefu
lly I helped her some...I can get so indecisive (which is really not like me) when I'm putting together a layout, mostly because I have so many options! Between all the different layouts I've seen, and tricks I've learned, and products I have, if I don't know exactly what I want to do it can be a tedious process sometimes. But we persevered, and together made this page:Cute, huh? I really liked how it turned out. For credits and more info you can go here.

Friday I'll be hanging out at my family's house, hopefully my uncle and his girlfriend will come over as well as our old family friends, the Brinkmans, since they're all going to the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna the night before. They're all so much fun! :)


Quote of the moment: "If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that's his problem. Love and peace are eternal." ~ John Lennon

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Foreigners, Books, Obedience and More

Where does the time go?? Even though my life has felt a bit quieter than usual lately, I still never have enough time in the day to do everything that I want to. Maybe it's because I always want to get a million things done, but that's besides the point (Chris). :) At any rate, lots of stuff going on, I think it's just because when I get home it's only me and the puppy that it feels quiet.

Photo Favorites

Some of my current favorites from Flickr:
1. Heart of Satan - What it looks like when fireworks explode inside of a storm cloud over a river, 2. Girly staff, 3. Sleepy afternoon....., 4. Little Island, 5. more scenery, 6. 20070704_Norway_Day2_2209_Bergen, 7. 20070704_Norway_Day2_2027_NorwayinaNutshell, 8. no parking, 9. Day 180, 10. Anyone got any chips, 11. Happiness, 12. IMG_7338, 13. Hus på Gjendebu, 14. Dan as Art, 15. Pool Pals, 16. Nice Tongues, 17. 00099, 18. night at the Gent's channels/ Noche enlos canales de Gante, 19. Untitled, 20. Quick call the bambulance I'm havin a cute attack, 21. Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770 - 1844), 22. dunstanburgh castle, 23. Fira, 24. Separation Anxiety, 25. storm today

I love seeing what other people are doing, and being inspired by it. And sometimes it's just good for a laugh or a smile - like when I saw the one of the puppy biting the hand that holds him. :)

Visitors From A Foreign Land

Last Saturday my parent's old friends Terje (pronounced Terry) and Liv (pronounced Leev) flew in from Norway. My dad met Terje way back when he was working for Mobil in Norway, and they've kept in touch ever since. Here's a photo of them (on the right side of the table) with us when we were in Norway last summer. They came down from outside Bergen to hang out with us in Stavanger. :)(I just love that you can see the fjord in the background of that photo!) They're such a cool couple, we always love seeing them. And I love milking them for information, since they travel all over constantly and are multi-lingual. :) Plus, it doesn't hurt that they always come fully stocked with all the Norwegian goodies that they know we love and miss. Liv also brought me some super-cute leather bracelets from Spain that are hand painted, so pretty! And yes, Nikki, they brought more Stratos. Saturday night we just had a casual dinner and let them go to bed early to try and beat the jet lag, and Sunday we took them down to Huntington Beach's Main Street to get some California sun, and then back home for a really yummy BBQ. Monday night I met up with them after work to watch Lars' summer league soccer game (since he finally had a night game that I could make it to!), and then we headed to the Whole Enchilada for dinner. I'm pretty sure I gained about 5 pounds this past weekend. :)

New Scrap Pages

I did this one mainly for my mom, as she wanted a cute page to share with everyone at the family reunion that she's (along with my dad and youngest brother) going to next month. Luckily between her camera and my camera we had taken a crapload of photos the last time we went! You can see credits for the layout here.

I also did this one last week, and I based it off of a layout that Jessica Sprague did for one of her Photoshop Friday tutorials (which I read religiously). You can view the original here.

This damn kitten is just so photogenic...too bad he and Jacopo can't help but play rough with each other whenever we go to my parents' house! As always, you can click the image to view larger, and go here for credits.

Obedience, Please!

Last night Jacopo and I went to our first obedience training class together, and he did so well! He's not the A+ student yet, but he's definitely not the delinquent of the group either. We'll definitely be practicing this week, even if the first class was just about training them to walk at heel, sit on command, and generally obey. :) He's a pretty obedient dog to begin with, but sometimes only when I have a treat in hand. And definitely not when there's distractions, so we'll be working on that too. I totally had a "proud mama" episode when class was over. And he was so tuckered out by the time we got home, he was ready for bed even if I wasn't! Too cute. :)

Feeding the Addiction

Last night Nikki and I headed out to see the new Harry Potter movie. Wooo! Just have to say don't believe the stupid critics, it's most definitely the best film version by far! I think they did a much better job of pacing this time, and fitting in as much as they could of an 800-page novel. Plus the filming is just gorgeous. But I'll leave it at that and try not to give too much away! Now my book #7 needs to hurry up and get here! :)

There's A (Slight) Chance I Might Be Going to Hell: A Novel of Sewer Pipes, Pageant Queens, and Big Trouble

That would be the title of the most recent book I finished, by Laurie Notaro. Such a great read! I'm definitely going to have to start collecting her other novels. It was a bit over-saturated with metaphors, but I was constantly laughing out loud. The woman has mastered the hysterically funny metaphor, I have to admit. Take this paragraph, for example:
A couple of decades later, Maye sat in Cynthia's living room calling up her "Mikado" memories as three of her neighbors - who were too old to be simply grandmothers without a multitude of "great"s being placed before that title, let alone schoolgirls - pranced and flounced with what marginal dexterity their Edwardian period limbs could permit without simply snapping off like dead twigs and fluttering to the ground.
Hysterical, que no? I really had a good belly-laugh the first time I read that! Next book that I've already gotten about 100 pages into is The Electric Michelangelo, by Sarah Hall. It's turning out to be a good choice, too, and I can see why it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize! And the author hasn't even hit 30 years old yet! And for those of you that I know like reading historical fiction too, this one is extremely well researched. It's not about historical events, but she does a great job of accurately crafting the world around the main character.

Anyhoo, that should about do it! Time to finally go sit and relax.


Quote of the moment: "The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own." ~Benjamin Disraeli