Sunday, June 30, 2013

Journals Galore

After racking up $15 over the past three days, for giving Michael back scratches for about an hour each day, we went to the craft store where they were having 40% off your whole purchase of regular priced items for today only. I had been looking at what I thought were Smash journals, and decided on those, except it turns out that the brand is actually called Recollections- my mistake. But I got what I wanted. It's a small binder that comes with 36 colorful scrapbook sheets and I got the one that has camera and cloud designs- my favorite. Every time I see cloud themed papers, I have to get them. It's been a beautiful problem for the past couple of years now.
I have so many journals ~ but the reason questions is.. Do I really have too many? Or not enough! And it's not just main journals (by the way, I absolute love the 70% recycled Greenroom journals because of their thicker paper- they are normally $10 at Target). I have already used two as writing journals and two as albums for my wide Polaroids. But I'll also collect notepads for scratch paper and writing grocery lists. Sometimes I rip up lined paper into smaller pieces and staple them together. Rochelle from work even asked me to make her one last week with blank printer paper. I enjoyed that! None of these below have been written in yet, but I like knowing they are available for my thoughts.
On a side note ~ all these head molds have been starting to creep me out lately, especially at night. Although Sasha never tires of exploring all the nooks and crannies, searching for Ruth's stray cats, even if it means getting spiderwebs all over her face every time. I wish I knew who all of the actors were for these face casts and what movies they were used in. I've only been able to point out Patrick Stewart so far (not pictured). Do you recognize any of them?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cards and Envelopes

On the mantle are some of my birthday cards from earlier this month. L-R: from Ms. Patty, Jordyn, Jessica, Michael and Dawson. I especially love the ones where pictures are drawn. When Mia sent me her graduation announcement in May, she added simple stick figures of us around Los Angeles, of whenever she visits in the future, and it was super cute. Of course this is not including the handful of nice printed cards that I got from my mom for "birthday week"!
Back in February I came across an Etsy page by SheDoodled and her cards are so amazing. I promised her that when I got a job, I would come back to her "shop" and buy one of her cards. At the time she even had one of Dorothy's dress and glittery ruby slippers, but when I checked last week, this Edward Scissorhands one was my favorite. Although I think she will take requests, I love all the detail and how it shows what can be created with just paper and scissors- twice. Once by Elizabeth (the creator) and also by Edward. ☺ I should rewatch that movie. It was far different than what I was expecting. I should start giving more things a first chance!
This "weekend" (my Monday and Tuesday off) were days where I come back to work and give my usual, "It was fine" when asked, but then after thinking further, I realize, "Wait.. No, it was a really good weekend!" Michael convinced me to go hiking for the first time in a month, then we joked about driving to Schlotzsky's for dinner before deciding we really should. And after showers and changing into dry clothes, we got in the car and drove an hour to the city of Brea in Orange County. The girl behind the counter was really nice- she reminded me of Jacquie. One of those people who, within a short conversation, you could easily see yourselves forming a solid friendship. Our sandwiches were good and the girl working held onto the biggest Cinnabon for me, as promised. Before we drove home, we stopped by Sonic because I saw their sign said you can buy a 10-pound bag of their pebble ice for $2.49. And Michael loves pebble ice, almost as much as he loves his little dram cups! He says when we get our own house, he is investing in a pebble ice maker for the freezer.

On Tuesday Michael saw the new Superman movie, Man of Steel. I stayed home but then we went to Chili's for dinner, in Encino. Michael let me run into the craft store and I picked out some thin papers because I wanted to spiff up my cards, by making my own pretty envelopes (see below). I used a simple pattern by carefully ripping apart an old envelope from Jessica and outlining it, then folding it along the necessary areas. If you have a favorite, let me know and I'll send it to you, with a letter! That night we rented Beautiful Creatures. I liked it, although that was also different and less intense than the trailer made it look. It was a sweet love story; the boyfriend was really nice. There should be a saying that goes, "You can't judge a movie by it's trailer!"
I also got my scrapbook items mailed in from Two Peas in a Bucket today. It seemed to take a while, but it was nine days from the time I ordered it.  Still I guess it's worth it since they sell items that I can't get at any of the stores around here. There is one store in Torrance called Scrampers that claims to be the best scrapbook store in Los Angeles county. It's on my mini-roadtrip list, also an hour away. I'll have to see how it compares to Scrappy Boutique in Orlando, before it went out of business at the end of the year. I got that top camera frame at Michael's, out of the two dollar bin. That bottom left area needs to be filled and I definitely need to add some pictures with Ryan before she and Ben come to stay with us for a couple days next month! They will be staying in Venice Beach for the rest of their vacation week.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cutting the Grass

Ladies and Gentleman: What you are about to hear is a shockingly true fact ~ Before today, Michael had never mowed the grass! (Although he did use a weed eater a few months ago.) I bragged about my hours of driving I logged using my dad's riding mower for our bigger yard. "I got excited to mow the grass each weekend because I counted it as driving time, before getting my real driver's license." Today after I ran a bunch of errands around town, mainly buying thin pieces of scrapbook paper, I went with Michael to Home Depot. We picked up the 21 in. 190 cc Walk-Behind Gas Mower.
He was a little nervous at first -see the silly smile above, ha- but he did a good job. I liked that he didn't cut the grass too short, so it still looks thicker and healthy. I think he had fun!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Grass Attack

Here are some wonderfully detailed pictures I took of our yard and such this morning, after getting lost on the way to church. I blame it on my new Christian jams that my BFF, Susan, sent me in the mail yesterday! ;) I took an exit too late, then ended up in the middle of Burbank, without any signs around for the main road that the church sits at. It was a familiar area- that light facing the big Warner Brother's Studios sign with the cartoon super heroes on the building. However, since I didn't have the church address memorized, I was unable to program it in to my GPS and I was only 90% sure how to get back home from there. I'm sure I could have made it, but a GPS lets me know that my assumptions are correct. Next time will be a breeze!
Michael has been looking at lawn mowers recently during his daily trips (yes, plural) to Home Depot. He has been making small purchases lately, such as longer screws, aluminum tape and thin wood sheets for the seven foot baker's rack heat box he started working on last week. He's about done now, but on Friday he put down more grass seeds over the patchy areas closer to the front porch. We are continuing to water the yard for one hour each day.
I often forget how incredible of pictures the Canon T2i can take. Or when we go places, I  usually just take the main lens because "it's good enough" and less of a hassle than to carry around the backpack. Look how intense this detail is on the mushrooms and pinespur (obviously I made up that second term). Dirt and tiny sticks have never looked so beautiful! And a zoom lens is always great for sneaking pictures of your neighbor's stray kittens. I named these two Zip and Leo.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


I always know it's been too long since I updated my blog when the page asks me to sign in again. I have been lazy and watching reruns of "The Office" a lot lately, although last night Michael and I did go on a date to Hook Burger then to see the comedy "This is the End", which Emma Watson was in for about 5 minutes. All of the actors played themselves.

I believe I already explained everything necessary in the Catalina "Birthday Supreme!!" post, so I will just leave you with some of the pictures I took with the $8 Fujifilm underwater camera then got developed at Walgreens five days later. Like I mentioned before, since they don't give you the negatives back anymore, a free CD of your pictures is included, which was nice for me since we don't have a scanner anymore.
About to start our 4 hour escapade!
Frog Rock
NOTE: I did not edit any of these pictures. The camera came with 27 pictures; these are the best of the bunch. And I did not get a picture of the sea lion in time. It just looks like a picture of the water, so I did not include it here. Have a great week!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

To My Father

Dear Daddy,
Thank you for caring for me and motivating me to be a kinder, more responsible young woman.  I love you so much. I have enjoyed developing our relationship over the years and laughing about childish behaviors. I'll always be your little girl. Happy Father's Day!
Love, Rachel
 (Thank you to Mommy for taking these way back in 1987 and to my younger brother, Zachary,
who went through the scrapbooks recently to text me copies of the photos.)


Within the past few weeks, six new kittens have entered this world. I'm sure there are far more born than that, but only six that we know of on our street. Michael and I would always know when they were outside because Sasha would go crazy and lose control of her body, falling all over the couch to get to the front door as quickly as possible. But we wouldn't let her out, especially lately since the grass is still growing.
I had taken pictures of the kittens on Wednesday, mainly one that looked like his eye had been injured. I felt so sad for him. He looked sad and just sat their curled up in a ball. I had found him on the bench, in the driveway and by the sprinkler faucets. I didn't know if the kitty was actually blind in one eye or partially deaf or just didn't care, but on Wednesday he let me pick him up without squirming or meowing. Scoooop!

I named him Cy, short for Cyclopse. I was ecstatic! With Sasha in the bedroom, I brought Cy into the bathroom, then ripped up a turkey slice with a dixie cup "dish" of milk. He wouldn't take either and he felt like a bag of bones when I picked him up. ☹ I made sure to be extra gentle and hold him close. Michael came home shortly after and I got excited to tell him that I caught one of the kittens, especially since I thought that's what we were supposed to do so an employee or volunteer from the animal shelter could come get him.

"You didn't catch the kitten." Michael said, almost laughing.
I laughed back, delighted. "I'm so serious. I really did. The kitten with one eye- he's is in the bathroom right now."
He squinted his eyes, unsure, "No he's not.."

For some reason, as often as Michael gets upset or aggravated about the bigger adult cats that our elderly neighbor "takes care of" and I use that phrase loosely, he has a soft spot for the little kittens. He even wiped the pus from Cy's closed eye with a wet q-tip. And Eureka! His eye began to open halfway. Michael told me that I had to put the kitten back outside, and I'll admit I was beginning to feel a tad sneezy, but he agreed to take some pictures of me holding Cy before I let him go. Precious, right?
I messaged our friend Lacey yesterday morning because when I came home from work, all of the kittens and their aunts and uncles were sitting in our neighbor's driveway. I ran back inside for the camera and was able to get some really nice pictures of the little fur balls. Lacey texted me back and said she would come over to catch the kittens and take them to the vet. I wasn't able to help her since I reminded her that I sleep during the day from working at night and I was especially tired yesterday, but Lacey was able to catch four kittens by herself. She said they seemed to want to be caught, while the others looked healthier and ran away. Hopefully some nice families will adopt them very soon.
I just realized that Ruth's front yard has very lush grass. I hope ours can get like that!
*I did look up that Cyclops is spelled without the "E" on the end, but I like it better with it.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Birthday Supreme!!

My 26th birthday was on Tuesday and it began at 3:50am when I got up to get ready for our trip to Catalina Island. I had my delicious two packets of strawberry and peach oatmeal for breakfast (in the car) and Michael drove us to Long Beach as the sun came up.
I was excited to get a "Happy Birthday" ribbon with our tickets before we boarded the ferry at 6:15am, arriving at the island around 7:30. We walked around and shared breakfast at Joe's. Michael got eggs, bacon and hash browns and I enjoyed his toast with butter and jelly. For real it was the best toast I've ever had. Maybe it had something to do with the grains?
 We followed the shore down past the grand casino and theater building to where the kayak and snorkel booth was. We signed all of our papers and tried on our "shorty" wetsuits that went to our elbows and above the knees, zipping in the front.
 I have to give Michael credit for doing 85% of the paddling, thanks to all the push ups he had been doing the few weeks before. He was very nice and would let me have breaks when my wimpy arms got tired, and that happened quite often. We stopped at Frog Rock and pulled over in the rocks, where I got some cool shells and marble looking pebbles. Michael tried snorkeling (I got back out after the 65 degree water filled my wetsuit- I wasn't expecting that!), but when he didn't see any fish, we continued to another area. During that time Michael pointed out that he saw a sea lion, so we waited for a minute as it came up for another breath. It was so cute and its whiskers were so defined. I just stared in aw for a moment, then Michael commented, "Well, take a picture!" But I'm not sure if it turned out since it went back underwater at that point. We had to kayak past two piers and camp areas to get to the next snorkeling spot. I just watched Michael for a bit, but when he told me there were lots of fish. He held my hand as I got into the water, holding onto the bigger rocks since the floor was slippery and the waves were strong. The cold water rushed into my suit again and I was almost hyperventalating through my snorkel, but eventually my body got used to it enough and my breathing became consistant. There were mostly orange fish, little dark blue fish and brown fish. Michael said he saw a lobster and a shark fish! I didn't see those, but it was funny to see him freak out every time he would turn and swim into a clump of blub plants. We made it back to the starting point within our 4-hour time limit and Michael estimated our travels to be a total of 2.5 miles.
It wasn't until we got back to shore and changed into our regular clothes that we realized that we had been fried to a crisp! Shame on us for not wearing sun tan lotion, even though it was cool and overcast. I got a birthday deal paper with all the free and discounted stuff I could get from certain stores. There was a mexican place with a free meal, but we couldn't find the building, so we went to Steve's Steakhouse for burgers instead. At the end of the meal, the waiter brought me a free birthday ice cream bowl with whipped cream and a pink candle. After lunch Michael and I went to the conservery shop to get some hiking maps. They are normally $6.50, but I got one for free- thanks to the ribbon I proudly displayed on my chest all day. I felt like I was at Disney! Unfortunately the map only had lines, not road names, but after walking around and seeing the different houses all lined up so close and laughing at the different versions of vehicles they made out of golf carts (including a tiny van and a golf cart with a towing hook on the back), we finally found the right road and followed it West. We passed a school, two fire stations, police office, a golf course and baseball field, but stopped to take a left when we saw a side trail. We mosied around that area for about 10 minutes before going back to the road towards the Botanical Gardens and main hiking area.
We got to the gardens, but it wasn't free (not sure why I assumed it would be; it was $7/person). We were tired of walking at that point since it had taken us about 1.5 miles to get there and knew we would have to walk back, plus Michael felt it was better for us to stay out of the sun. We kept putting suntan lotion on our skin every 20 minutes after lunch to ensure we didn't crisp any further. Our legs got it the worst. So we walked back, stopping for a Coke on the way. At 4:30pm, we looked around some gift shops and each found cute do-dads, but didn't buy anything. Maybe a magnet would have been a good idea. But I kept some of the rocks and shells from kayaing as my only souveiners, along with the pictures we took. We shared one last Catalina treat: a funnel cake, before agreeing to switch our tickets to an earlier departure time (to 6pm instead of the reserved 7:30pm). There was a $5 fee per ticket, but we didn't mind. We were ready to get home, see Sasha and go to sleep!
(I took my underwater camera to Walgreens yesterday, so I will get the 27 printed pictures back on Sunday, as well as a free CD of the pictures, making it much easier to blog them. I also picked up my latest books from the library,  My Point.. And I Do Have One by Ellen Degeneres & Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo. I'm still looking forward to reading Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan. I'm currently #8 in line, since they got more copies!)