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Monday, December 22, 2008

House hunting complete

We found a really pretty home to rent in the "Mesa" area. We'll be two blocks from Shoreline Park, a beautiful park overlooking the ocean.

The house is so peaceful feeling, decorated beautifully but comfortably. If I were to pick out a house and decorate it this is close to what I would do. It's light and airy but comforting as well.

It has a few really great features

1) Near the beach. We can ride our bikes (once we get some) and I can run directly from the house.
2) View of the ocean from the upstairs deck
3) Jacuzzi in the back
4) Great garden area
5) Brandon's friend from K-2nd grade lives right around the corner
6) Fully furnished (this may become a burden later on but it's great right now)

I'll post picture once we move in.

Our Holiday House

Brandon and I

It's merry but not bright (no electricity lol)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Adventures in house hunting

Since we've been living in our "in progress" remodeled house I thought I wouldn't be so picky about a rental. Well I was wrong.

As I'm searching for a furnished home that allows children, a dog and a cat I'm forced to admit that I may be a bit of a snob *gasp*. But only just a little bit.

There seems to be something wrong with each house, I feel like Goldilocks. So far I've been contending with houses that are just plain old and haven't been updated. When I sleep (which isn't often), I'm having nightmares about harvest gold tile and gold leafing. If I happen to find the "perfect" house then it's in the wrong location (too near the freeway or train tracks) or doesn't have an adequate fence for the dog. In one case I found the most beautiful guest house, incidentally it was bigger than my normal house. The entire property was fenced, I could just see my Lab up at the main house making himsef at home.

Hopefully we found the perfect rental house but I'm not saying anything about it until the lease is signed...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Next Post will be...

Updating the pictures of items pulled from the rubble as well as fixing the before and after links. Stay tuned

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tea Fire Video

Tea Fire Video

Itemization woes

Oh My Gosh - The itemization process is so meticulous. I never knew I had so much stuff and I'm sure I'm forgetting a good 25%. The insurance adjuster keeps telling me to stop giving him low ball numbers for replacement, but seriously, I'm a bargain shopper and don't know how to pay full price, I actually refuse to pay full price. As we've been replacing absolute essentials I think I'm going to have a heart attack at the prices. Ann Taylor Loft was awesome, they have 30% right now for "Friends & Family" and that was on top of clearance woo - hoo. I was able to get 2 pairs of jeans and 4 shirts. One pair of the jeans and two of the shirt were the exact replicas of the items I bought the day of the fire and left hanging neatly in my closet.

I'm still meeting with insurance guy today, as well as trying to work a little. I have orders that need to be sent in today!

I asked the doctor for a prescription for Ambien and I took one last night. I FINALLY got a good 7+ hours of sleep. I feel so much better this morning.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Santa Barbara Tea Fire

Here is the account of that afternoon and subsequent evacuation

I usually leave work at 3 on Thursday's. I picked up Brandon, bribed him with Ben & Jerry's and went to the mall to buy some clothes. Barry and I had planned a trip to San Francisco for the weekend, we were going to the 49'ers game. I needed something cute and red. I found a great pair of trouser jeans and two adorable red shirts (short and long sleeve since I didn't know what the weather would be like). I got home about 4 and began getting ready for our weekend away (do the laundry, change the sheets, wash the dog). I changed into the nasty "housework/wash the dog" clothes. The faded black shorts and nasty white, sleeveless top with stains and fabric boogers all over it, I was looking pretty (gross). So the dog was washed, the beds had been stripped and re-made (all of them). I had finished the bulk of the laundry, had it folded and mostly put away. At some point I had started spaghetti for dinner. Barry got home between 5:15 and 5:30.

Barry noticed the fire right as it started at 5:45 and we called 911 to report it. I think all I got out was "Fire - Fire". The 911 operator was asking where and all I could think was "Dumbass, I called on my home phone, how many fires are in the area?" I think I managed to mutter "Coyote Road or Sycamore Canyon or Conejo Lane" but it could have all be gibberish at that point. We spent about 20 - 30 minutes notifying neighbors then started to pack. The fire initially was going in the opposite direction (good thing!)

Barry and I worked well during the evacuation. He grabbed the administrative stuff and necessary electronics while I grabbed the personal stuff and animals. While we were packing up I continued to make dinner (who's the dumbass?). I would run to the stove and stir the pot, look out the window and go to the back of the house to continue packing. At some point I made two sandwiches since Barry and Brandon were hungry. Barry had worked the night before and hadn't had any sleep since Tuesday night.

I locked the cat & dog in a bedroom as I packed up the photo albums and most of the photos in a couple of our suitcases, the cardboard boxes kept breaking with the weight. I was able to grab the precious box of Christmas ornaments, the box that has all the kids childhood ornaments that I've been collecting for 20 years, there are even a couple of my childhood ornaments in the box. I haven't looked through it yet so I don't know what I may have missed like the handmade stockings that all matched. Barry got most of the important papers, the video camera and tapes, the chargers and 2 computers. While Barry and I were able to get what was important to us Brandon lost everything. I told him to pack 3 changes of clothes and his video games. I didn't allow him back in his room to take a quick glance and grab a couple of mementos like his Yankee hat or the ticket stubs when we took him to see the Yankee/Angels game on his 10th birthday. I really feel bad about that. My logic at the time was that I locked the animals in his bedroom and didn't want them getting loose in the house or the cat get outside. Nor did I want my son too far from the living room where we could grab him and go at a moments notice. Yes it was necessary but Mommy guilt is still gnawing at me.

The power went out and we left at around 7:00, 1 hour and 15 minutes after we first saw the fire start. More time than most but not nearly enough time to grab a lifetime of memories. As we were leaving the house Barry said the fire had hit our hillside and flashed next to the boat and all over him. The drive out was scary to say the least. Barry led the way and I was driving so far up his butt that I'm surprised I just didn't go up and over him. People were parked all over the narrow, twisty canyon road. They were lolly gagging around, taking pictures, clogging the road and in general being dangerous looky-loos. The fire was way to close for my comfort and the wind was howling something fierce. We encountered traffic near Mission Canyon and spent about 15 minutes bumper to bumper and I just kept looking behind me (the fire never got that far).

During the evacuation Barry and I were on the phone calling friends, neighbors...pretty much anyone that we thought would be affected by the fire. We ended up staying at my daughter's house that night (not that we slept or anything).

We thought we were evacuating for just a couple of days but grabbed the important stuff "just in case". We didn't really think the house would burn down and funny enough we always thought that our house would be the last one standing because of its location and our brush clearing. It was the first to go on the block.

A neighbor stayed behind to protect his un-insured home (and he did). He told me that once the fire hit the boat it was like a blow torch, across the street, directly into my garage. I had parked the Mercedes in the garage and it had a full tank of gas as well as paint and oil stored in the garage. DH grabbed the gas cans out of the garage and hauled those out with us. I thought he was low on gas, it didn't occur to me until later on that he was taking it to help prevent the fire from hitting house.

My poor kitty got the crap scared out of him - literally. My lab was clueless as always and was just excited to be going on a trip.

Here's some pictures.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Post Election...

Well I have to admit that my candidate of choice did not win. Although I must admit that I wasn't thrilled with either of the choices. But the people have spoken...loudly. I made a deal with myself before the election that if my candidate lost I would not be one of those whiny people complaining about the election and the new President-elect.

As a proud American citizen, a veteran of the US Air Force, as a mother and a wife I will support our President. I am hopeful and look to the future optimistically. I am happy to see a young family with children in the White House.

I'm ready to move on from this very long Election process into the future.

May God continue to bless this wonderful country that I live in.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm so bad at blogging.

It's a good thing nobody reads my blog for constant and updated information, they would be sorely disappointed. I am just not a great blogger but I'll keep plugging away anyway.

I'm at the halfway point of my 6 week Red Carpet Ready Program and there have been some great changes. I'll post the results on Sunday. Just for a teaser I've lost at least 7 pounds and 8 inches overall - woo hoo.

I love Valerie and Red Carpet Ready.

Just for fun this is what I've been eating. There have been a few slip ups but it's such an improvement over the way I used to eat.

6:30 - RCR Plat #2
9:00 - 3 egg whites, 1/3 cup oatmeal, low fat maple syrup
12:30 – chicken stirfry, brown rice
4:00 – snack pack mixed nuts with dried cranberries
6:00 – Beef and barley stew with carrots, green beans, corn, tomatoes
8:30 – ¼ cup cottage cheese, 4 strawberries, 1 small 80 cal snickers bar

9:00 egg quesadilla, pepsi
12:00 – Didn’t eat. Went out to lunch and it was a disaster. Ordered an Ahi tuna salad. Took almost an hour to get our food and the tuna we bad, I mean really, really bad. Sent the dish back and didn’t bother to order anything else due to time constraints
2:30 – Leftover 2 oz chicken and brown rice with a tiny amount of vegetables, 10 peanut M&M’s
6:00 - Crashed and burned while making dinner. Had 1 cheese stick and 2 pieces of roast beef lunch meat (from the deli)
7:00 – Spaghetti squash, spinach, ground lean sirloin spaghetti sauce

8:30 – Oatmeal, 1 tsp brown sugar, 2 hard boiled egg whites
12:00 – Chicken stirfry with brown rice and veggies
3:15 - Snack pack of raw nuts and cranberries, 1 pc string cheese, 1 pc lunch meat
7:30 – 2 pieces veggie pizza, 80 cal Snickers

8:45 – Oatmeal, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1 hard boiled egg white and 1 whole
12:15 - Chicken stirfry with brown rice and veggies, 6 whoppers (candy, not Burger King)
3:30 – Yogurt with almonds, 10 m&m’s, 6 whoppers
6:30 – Hamburger wrapped in lettuce with tomatoes. Used 1 tbsp mayo, ketchup
8:00 – 1cup Raisin Bran ¾ cup 1% milk

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Anniversary Present

Holy Cow!!!! You could have knocked me over with a feather when Barry gave me my gift. Barry asked me to come outside so he could give me my anniversary gift. I was thinking it was kettle balls or bicycle accessories. So I'm in the garage looking for something that resembles a gift. Barry is asking me is I see it or not - uh - no! but where's my bike. He tells me he put it away since it was in his way. Ok no bike accessories then.

He asks me to walk down the road a little and maybe I can see it from a different angle (I'm still totally clueless at this point). As we're walking down the road he asks if I can see it yet. "What, did you get me a car" was my smart a$$ reply and he hands me a key to this:

I was stunned, speechless. Unbelievable. It's taken me 11 years to appreciate the romantic side of my husband.

I love you Baby!!!! Thanks for the car, it's a blast!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy 11th Wedding Anniversary Honey!

This post is dedicated to my wonderful husband of 11 years.


Thanks for putting up with me all these years. It would have been so much easier to run away screaming. Thanks for dealing with Ali and Andrew (and continuing to do so). Thanks for making the decision to home school Brandon. At the time I thought it was ridiculous but it really was the best decision for him.

Thanks for dealing with all of my insecurities and self esteem issues. Thanks for always telling me I'm beautiful, even first thing in the morning before I've brushed my teeth. Thanks for your encouragement, there have been so many times I've thought a task impossible but have gotten through it because of your support. Thanks for riding your bike with me the first time I commuted to work. I would have never done it without your presence that day. Thanks for meeting me at the end of the day to give me company on the ride home.

Thanks for working through all the BS that comes up day to day, Lord knows there's a lot of it. Thanks for repairing my car, thanks for taking care of the house maintenance, thanks for re-modeling the house (that's turned into a major pain in the you-know-what but it looks great).

Often times it seems like I don't appreciate all you do for me, I apologize for that. I get so busy and introverted that I don't recognize when I'm taking you for granted or the things you do. Please forgive me and know that I will try much harder to show you my appreciation.

I love you so very much and am committed to making our marriage last ‘til death do us part. There will be times when we’re not getting along that well. There will be times when illnesses get in the way. There will be times that we are low on money. There will be trials. That's part of life and God’s plan. We've made it through some hard times as well as wonderful times. I love you for your perseverence. Thanks for loving me.

Always - Your faithful, loving wife!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I WON!!!!!

I can't believe I won a membership to The Red Carpet Ready Club PLATINUM Coaching Group. How cool is that? All of these beautiful, wonderful women submitted their stories to Val and she picked me. That's better than winning a beauty pageant and the benefits will surely last longer.

I woke up and immediately turned on the computer to see if the winner was listed yet. When I saw my name I started whopping and shouting, running through the house and giving high fives to my family, granted they were all still in bed and thought I'd lost my mind. Barry knew I was doing a video for "something that may have mentioned Jennifer Garner" but really had no idea what. I didn't spend alot of time explaining it to him since the chances of me getting picked were slightly better than winning the lottery. Maybe I need to go buy a couple of tickets :)

Well now that I have won I'm ready to follow through with my commitment to be the Red Carpet Ready poster mom / spokes person / success story for a non-celebrity person.

I'm hoping I'll be back from Vegas when the coaching sessions start but it will be cutting it close. I'm in Vegas for work from the 21st returning on the 24th. I've already told my boss that I absolutely need to go to a grocery store to pick up water and food, now I need to get a fridge in the room and I'm all set. Luckily I'm not a big drinker so that won't be a challenge to overcome. We're all staying at Treasure Island and they have a gym available for $20 a day. Small complaint here; Why do hotels charge guests to use the on-site gyms? I think it STINKS. Like they aren't getting enough money through the casinos grrrrrrr!

Anyway - check out the Red Carpet Ready Club - Platinum and Gold

It’s coming..

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Anxiously awaiting...

The annoucement of the Red Carpet Ready Club scholarship winner. I have been pacing since 5:30 PST (about an hour now). I've put about 3000 paces on my pedometer and I've refreshed th RCR site more times than I can count.

I don't envy the decision that Valerie Water's is making. All of the stories and videos are wonderful, the ladies are sincere and all want to see positive changes to their bodies. No one seemed more deserving than anyone else. We all have our stories, and while some may be similar in age or activity or history, each is uniquely their own.

Good luck RCR hopefuls and Good Luck Val in choosing.

I love Bloggers

I'm having so much fun going through the blogging universe and meeting new people as well as finding old friends.

I love to list my favorite bloggers in my Blog List but that doesn't begin cover it. I would hate to add up all the hours I spend on blogs. Who needs to work right???

I want to send a special thanks to Well Behaved Krissy - I won her Lancome give-a-way. Thanks Krissy!!!! (she's an old BFL Mommy buddy and the best person to swap me across the head when I need it, and trust me there are times I really need it lol)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bicycle commuting and showering at work.

I must admit I'm lucky. Lucky to work for a company that values personal hygiene in a big way. We have a fairly large, singe person locker room right at the office. I have my own locker to store my stuff in (towel, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, etc.), a nice bench to put my clothes on, roomy shower with plenty of hot water and complete privacy.

Showering at work is mentally a challenge, I mean essentially I'm naked at work. That in and of itself is slightly uncomfortable. Everyday I go in to the locker room I lock the door, double check the lock, start to undress then check the lock again. By the time I'm fully undressed I've checked the lock at least 4 times and have moved the dorm size refrigerator in front of the door. (Why is there a dorm size refrigerator in the locker room you ask? Well the locker room also doubles as the breast feeding room for the new mother's of the company. However at this point all the new mother's no longer work so the "boob room" is just a locker room again).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bicycle Commuting - the beginning

I recently won a Fuji Crosstown 2.0 Hybrid Commuter bike from Lipton. It's bright yellow with 2 cute Lipton stickers on it. I will be pulling the Lipton stickers off or replacing them with something else at some point. Of course that requires time which I seem to be lacking.

But I digress - I won this great bike and decided that I should begin to commute to work via bike and bus. (This would be when gas was at it's highest, approx. $4.86/gal). It's a 37 mile round trip overall with about 12 miles on the bike. Now those of you that know me know I don't DO public transportation, especially the BUS. Gross! I seriously have a problem sitting that close to strangers - ever! Especially strangers with questionable hygiene. I make a point of sitting in this one very small seat where no on can sit next to me. I'm a scrunched up against a partition with my panniers and bike helmet in my lap praying for a quick end to the 20 minute bus ride.

My challenges so far have been 1) making it to the bus on time and 2) praying a bike rack will be available on the bus, there's only two per bus and sometimes 4 people waiting. I've taken to getting to the bus 15 minutes early just so I'm first in line. Of course then I have to hope that whoever already has their bikes on the bus will exit at my stop.

This whole "alternative" commute thing is a little harder than it seems.

Next blog - being naked at work i.e. showering in the locker room (which equates to being naked at work, eww)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The little bike that couldn't

It's DH's wish / dream that we exercise together as a family. A walk in the foothills, a bike ride to the beach (and back ugh!), a walk at the park. Nothing extreme, really family time more than anything else. We always start and stop, go in fits and fizzle out.

On Monday we took a walk across the street into Parma Park. This is your typical Southern California, high fire hazard, natural , foothill park. A park with no benches or playgrounds. This one is just for walking or trail running. Lots of poison oak and ticks. That walk went great, good hills for legs.

On Wednesday we (I) tackled the bicycle ride to the beach. Brandon will occasionally use my bike and lower the seat. On this particular morning my seat was lowered and I put it back in place and tightened the bolt (I thought). We get about 4 blocks from the beach, closing in on a very busy intersection where the one and only Hwy 101 meets the road. I hit a bump and my seat goes down a little, I hit another bump and it goes down a little more and a little more. The next thing I know I'm trying to ride my bike with my knees hitting my chin. Obviously this is not going to work. We turned around and began the (long) ride home UP HILL. Mind you the only choice I have is a) walk b) ride with my chin getting beaten up or c) stand up and ride home that way. Well I chose C and I thought I was going to DIE! I did my Turbulence Training program the day before with an emphasis on glutes and hams AND increased my weights. I assumed when I began the bike ride that I would have the option to sit down on the way home and work my quads. Well Obviously I was wrong and yowza did it burn.

But I'm all better now. Still waiting for the great bike I won from Steve's blog. It is a Fuji Crosstown 2.0 (?!?!?! because I know all about bikes...not!). I'm so excited. First off it's not a circa 1990 steel frame Huffy and I WON it. It doesn't get better than that/ Thanks again Steve!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Too busy to begin - UGH!

Ever have one of those days? Well I'm having one of those weeks!

My co-worker is out of town on a family emergency and my boss is leaving for vacation during what has become one of the busiest times for our business. We'll be testing new commercials next week AND my company keeps changing the budgets from day to day . I'm either cutting or adding to our budget. You can imagine what my account executives think of me right now - oy!

So the whole purpose of that was to tell you that I'm so busy I can't start anywhere so being me I turn towards the internet and I found this great blog of a long-time internet acquaintance. We were part of the BFL Mommies community and she has been such an ass kicking inspiration to me. Melissa's post could have been written by me. Granted I'm not pre-diabetic but I worry about my health. My mom struggles daily with really bad health and I DO NOT want to have that kind of life when I'm 60. I want to be strong and healthy!

There are two points Melissa makes that I really want to comment about:

1) The relationship with my mother and my weight: I always felt that my mother was in competition with me. My mother would make comments about my size and weight while I was growing up. These comments came in the form of being too big or too small, never could I be just right or OK the way God made me. I was never an "overweight" person. At 5'9 1/2" my max weight in high school was a muscular 150, not a small person but not large. Four years ago, after 12 weeks of BFL and coming in at a beautiful 145 lbs. I was fit and firm. I had a decent 4-pack and was very comfortable with myself. My mom's comment was that I looked good but a little too thin. I need to stop worrying about my mother's opinion and live for me. What is it about the relationship with one's mother and the way that women views herself and self image. Mother's guard what you say to your daughters, this may be their post one day.

2) because I'm tired of being like the others on the BFL message board who bitch and whine and then stuff their faces - Enough said!

Monday, June 2, 2008


UPDATE!!! Oh my this was YUMMY. Next time I will add more corn and use less lettuce overall, I had a ton left over. Yum, Yum, Yum!

Several years ago I had this incredible grilled shrimp and black bean salad. Over the weekend I had NOTHING at the house except a package of frozen shrimp and some kidney beans. It got me to thinking about the wonderful, beach BBQ where the above mentioned dish was served and how much I wanted to try it again. Fast forward to about 15 minutes ago, me searching the web for a similar recipe and I found this. In order to stay on track with my meal plan I won't be having the tostada part.

I'll report back after I make it on Tuesday night. Bon Appetit

Grilled shrimp, corn and black bean tostada salad

For dressing
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3/4 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons minced, seeded jalapeño chili (preferably red)
1 tablespoon ground cumin

For salad
3 cups chopped seeded tomatoes
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 cup chopped green onions
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup chopped red onion

6 cups shredded iceberg lettuce (about 1 head)
2 ears corn, husked
24 large shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled (tails left intact, deveined)

24 large tortilla chips
Additional chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


Make Dressing:
Place lime juice in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Mix in cilantro, jalapeño, and cumin. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make Salad:
Combine tomatoes, beans, green onions, 3/4 cup cilantro and red onion in large bowl. (Dressing and salad can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Cover dressing and let stand at room temperature. Cover salad and refrigerate.)

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Mix lettuce into salad. Pour 1/4 cup dressing into small bowl. Reserve remainder for salad. Brush corn with dressing from small bowl. Grill corn until beginning to brown, turning often, about 5 minutes. Brush shrimp with dressing from small bowl and grill until opaque in center, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Cut kernels from corn and add to salad. Toss salad with enough dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Top with shrimp. Garnish with tortilla chips and additional cilantro, if desired.