Monday, June 29, 2009

A Case of the Sundays

Michael went out of town last Wednesday morning to go to a college football reunion in Tahlequah, Oklahoma (capital of the Cherokee Nation - always have to throw that in there:) ) I'm hoping that he'll make his own blog post about his time there because he had some great stories. In summation, however, he did a lot of golfing, swimming at the lake, eating, and catching up with old friends. He said it was a great time!

I, meanwhile, tried not to pout that he was off having so much fun without me, and instead took the opportunity to spread out as possible while sleeping. Thursday night I was able to have dinner with a friend from out of town, Amy and her mom. I'll be in Amy's wedding in Seattle in less than a month, so we had a lot to catch up on. We ate at the tres chic AZ88 restaurant.

I was also able to spend a lot of time with family this weekend, as everyone was in town. We all had dinner together on Friday night, and I saw JP and Shannon again on Saturday night when I went over to babysit Kai. We had a thrilling night of coloring the Wiggles, reading a book about cars, and singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" several times. Seriously, I love that kid.

On Saturday I went with my friend, Marisa, to watch My Sister's Keeper. It was a good movie, or at least the parts were that I was able to watch in between my bouts of uncontrollable sobbing. My advice: wear waterproof mascara and bring tissues. Better yet, just make it a rental so you can weep unabashadly in the privacy of your home.

I came down with a pretty bad case of the Sundays (my own early version of the Mondays). I was SO excited for Michael to get home, but it was a little bittersweet because I'm going out of town tomorrow (Tuesday). I think this is the reason that I'm in a bit of a funk about my upcoming work trip. I haven't done a conference in a few months and I'm not exactly thrilled about being away from Michael again. Oh well, we'll just get through the week before he joins me in San Diego to celebrate the 4th.

So, in order to rally and get my mood back up, I'll end today's blog with some pictures from one of my favorite pick-me-up websites,

Hmm.. yes, quite
seemore Lolcats and funny pictures

cute pictures of puppies with captions
see more dog and puppy pictures

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Father's Day Weekend Part Two...

Sunday was a much more laid-back experience. Before going up to my parents' house in Fountain Hills, I wanted to make a Bananas Foster cake for my dad because it's his favorite dessert. Unfortunately, I accidentally burned my hand pretty badly on the hot pan in the beginning and still had a lot of steps to do. Michael was sweet to offer to come in and do the rest of the preparing, but I have to admit that it was like a scene off a sitcom. I'm trying to instruct him on how to do something, the communication being just a bit off, me saying, "No, no, like this," but not being able to. But all's well that ends well. Check out our delicious cake that we served with ice cream:
We got to relax around the house for most of the day. The girls chatted, the guys watched golf on TV and we all went out and enjoyed the pool.

After that, we did something that I absolutely love. Something that I will irrevocably associate with summer: we went to a free concert in the park. They have these only during the summer for several weeks, and we haven't gone to one in a very long time. We set up our chairs and blankets, brought some KFC, uncorked some wine and sat back to enjoy the night. Once the sun went down fully it was the perfect weather. The music was good and the environment is even better.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Weekend Part One...

This past weekend was so fun and action-packed that I've decided to split it up into two separate blog posts. There are just so many great pictures that I can't just cram them into one.

On Friday night, I picked my parents up from the airport. It was so great to see them after being apart for so long. We met Michael, JP, Shannon and Kai at one of our favorite restaurants, Maria Maria.

On Saturday morning, Dad, JP, Michael and I drove out to the Superstition Mountain golf course. I really can't say enough about how beautiful this place was. The clubhouse was like a Tuscan mansion, ornately decorated and with beautiful views of the mountains.

We had our good shots and our bad, and it was such a gorgeous day (hot, but there was a breeze) and an amazing course.

That night, we got together with our friends for the monthly Game Night outing. For the first time, we to Game Night on location at the lovely AMF Lanes to go bowling. We had the girls set up on one lane and the guys set up on another.

After we were done, of course we wanted a group shot. So we set up the self-timer and got positioned. The fact that Michael was behind everyone else and making a serious face isn't big news - this is pretty much typical Michael behavior. But somehow his face got hit with a beam of green light at just the right time, giving him a strange glow. Seriously, he looks like he was digitally added into this picture. This was my favorite of the night:

After bowling, we went out for a drink at a local bar called Bungalow.

So even though we were exhausted by then end of the day (Michael's day had started with a 5:30 am jog), we enjoyed every minute of it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

I almost cheated on my story yesterday.

For those of you that might not know, I enjoy creative writing as a hobby. Ever since I was in high school, I've enjoyed playing with plot lines and creating characters. (I recently went back and read some of the stuff I wrote back then. Wow, I have even more respect for those authors that publish when they are 17 years stuff from back then was BAAAADDD.)

Well, I've been getting back into it lately. Specifically, there is one story that I started in high school, set aside for some of my college years, and picked up again. I'm proud to say that I have about 130 pages of text written, with about 45 pages of future scenes written out. I hope that this doesn't seem boastful; really, one of the reasons I'm blogging about this is that, hopefully, by committing and telling the blogging community about my "novel," I will pressure myself into finally finishing the thing. My dream is to get it published one day. Unfortunately, (since I started it in high school) I'm probably going to go through and rewrite most of the stuff that I wrote in the beginning, so it's a long road ahead of me. After which will come the editing phase, where I will likely adopt a hermit-esque demeanor. Which will be followed by the ever-infamous quest to publication.

Every November is National Novel Writing Month (affectionately known as NaNo WriMo). It is a challenge to anyone and everyone to sit down and write 50,000 words from Nov. 1 to 31. It's followed by NaNo Ed(itting)Mo in March. Since I only just learned about this challenge last November, I haven't ever tried it. I don't think I could, anyway, because that's just not how I operate. Plus, because work really picks up then, I don't think I have quite enough free time in either of those months. Anyhow, I read about a funny concept when I was looking into NaNo EdMo. Someone in the challenge was encouraging others not to "cheat" on their stories. She said it's so easy to become bogged down with your story when you're done writing. It takes a lot of work to go back, rewrite, edit, etc., and that many authors are tempted to cheat on their stories when a new, attractive and exciting idea floats through their head. (Picture an intriguing plot twist dressed in a mini skirt). So your old story starts to lose your interest and eventually falls by the wayside. This woman encouraged all writers to stick by their "old" stories, commit to editing, and see them through to fruition!

Well, yesterday morning I encountered an urge to cheat on my story. I don't know if it was some random inspiration, something I heard on the radio, or some lingering effect of a dream the night before, but a story drifted into my mind and I couldn't ignore it.

But I've made the decision! I'm not going to cheat on my story! I quickly outlined the new idea and then set it aside. Maybe I'll check back on it after I'm done writing my current one. After all, if it really is a good idea, it'll still be good in a year or so.

I'm committed. Hopefully I'll be able to find some free time this week to sit down and get out a few more pages...maybe after watching my weekly Bachelorette episodes

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Make it a, that is.

Work has been pretty slow for me lately, so I'm always very excited once the weekend rolls around. I wish I had more to blog about throughout the week...maybe I'll start working on that.

Michael and I went on a date Friday night. I cooked dinner for the two of us, then we went out to see "The Hangover." We both thought it was pretty funny. A little crude? Yes. Obviously made by the people that made "Old School"? Yes. But funny, nonetheless? Absolutely.

I did something quite unusual and saw TWO movies this weekend. I went to see "Up" this afternoon with two of my friends, Jaye and Marisa. That movie was so good! Sure, it was a Pixar, so seemingly for kids, but it had really adult messages in it. I honestly teared up like seven times. It was really fun because I haven't seen a movie in 3-D in years. We had to wear these funny glasses, but they weren't the cheap paper blue-and-red glasses of old. Actually, here's a low-quality camera phone picture of us with our glasses on:

Michael saw his little brother again today. First they went to a pet store because little Michael really likes to see the puppies.

Then they went to a public pool to hang out for the rest of the day. Here is little Michael on the slide:

And on the diving board, which big Michael convinced him to attempt for the first time ever:

I'm really looking forward to this upcoming weekend. My parents are coming back into town and we'll get to spend some quality time together - just in time for Father's Day.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Summer Sun, Something's Begun...

This weekend was full of spending time with friends and relaxation.

After going for an early-morning run, Michael spent Saturday at the zoo with his Little Brother, Michael. Little Michael was full of energy, wanting to see every single exhibit (I can't blame him!) and absolutely needing to spend every cent of the five dollars his mom gave him for the day. Big Michael had a great time with him, but was in need of a siesta after his day of activity. None was to be had, however, because we had planned on meeting some of his coworkers and friends at Dave & Buster's. We had a few drinks, ate a few appetizers and got cards with points on them to play the games. Fortunately, Michael's company has a deal with Dave & Buster's, so it was all free for us! So I played skeeball to my heart's content while Michael seethed in the corner over the woman who hogged the Airplane Pilot Simulator game. Not to worry, he finally got onto the game and kicked its butt!

Michael and I parted ways that evening. He went with his friends to the ASU baseball game while I met my friends for dinner at the Yardhouse. It was a really good time.

We spent Sunday up at my parents' house in Fountain Hills. Even though my parents are in Vancouver for the week, we decided to take advantage of their awesome backyard to do some sunbathing. We met JP, Shannon and Kai up there.

I love this one of Kai hugging Pierre, who is being such a good dog:

I also started scrapbooking this weekend. Wow, I'd really forgotten all the effort and materials it takes to scrapbook. My original plan was to start with the honeymoon, but my pictures hadn't arrived in the mail yet. So since I had the wedding pictures, I made a few pages. Here are two of my faves:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Favorite Honeymoon Pictures

Yesterday I went through a lot of our honeymoon pictures because I had a coupon to to get 50 free prints. I figured this was a great opportunity to start on my honeymoon scrapbook that I've been meaning to do since the wedding. (Once I get warmed up on this scrapbook I might have the courage to tackle the wedding-and-days-leading-up scrapbook).

I really loved going through and selecting which pictures to include. Since I don't have much to blog about on the past few days, I decided to just show you some of my favorite pictures from our honeymoon.

This is Michael and me in our robes, and you can sort of see our gorgeous view of the ocean from our room:

Swimming in the huge pool:

On the sunset dinner cruise. We got soaked standing on the front of the catamaran, had some Mai Tais, ate some good cookin'.

This was one of my favorite beaches. The water was too unruly to swim in, but the waves crashing on the lava rocks was so beautiful! Plus, this was the beach where South Pacific was filmed:

Michael being hardcore as he takes his 4-wheeler down a steep grade:

On the night of our luau in the gardens of our hotel:

We had so many great memories, but one of my favorites was on the last night of the trip. We were walking around the garden courtyard in the hotel and we came across a party/show of Hawai'ian musicians and dancers. The music was pretty lively, so we found it strangely funny that the entire audience was just sitting there watching them with bored expressions. So Michael and I started dancing wildly about, 40 feet behind the musicians, in clear view of the show-watchers. We caught a few of the audience eyeing us and laughing. Then, giggling madly ourselves, we ran off. Later, when it was darker out (and we'd regained our composure), we came back when they were doing a really lovely rendition of "Beautiful Kaua'i," a slow song that we'd heard several times on the trip. Michael asked me to dance. So I danced with my best friend in a tropical garden under the stars, quite alone. It was so amazing! I love him so much!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Another Weekend, Another Game Night

One thing that I look forward to every month is Game Night, when a whole bunch of our friends get together and play games. The couple that hosts provides the drinks (usually beer and wine, plus a signature cocktail - our Mint Juleps didn't go over so well), while all attending couples bring some appetizers, finger-foods or dessert. We started out just as girls-only get togethers, but found that we never actually played any games, we just sat around and chatted the hours away. But ever since we included the men in our lives, the gaming started and hasn't stopped!

The funny thing about this weekend's game night is that everybody brought dessert. No one brought dessert to the last one, so I guess we all decided to take it upon ourselves to remedy the problem, so we ended up with a bountiful buffet of brownies, cookies, cobblers, cakes and various flavored sweet breads. Needless to say, we were all on the verge of sugar-induced comas by the end of the night. Here's a picture of the brownies and lemon-walnut bread that we contributed:

We started off the night with a game of Apples to Apples, which is a game I have mixed feeling about as it relies on other people selecting your contributed card as the 'best.' It was a fun game, but in the final round I decided to sneek an extra card just to be funny. Here is a picture of my friends shaming me for 'cheating.' I didn't think it was cheating because it was all in good fun, and d'Averill didn't select my card anyway.

After that we brought out RockBand, which is a video game where you play instruments along to some great songs. This always leads to some funny moments, and here is one of my favorites of Michael jamming out on drums:

Later, Michael did guitar as I sang vocals to Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."

And here's a group shot. Unfortunately it was taken after our friends Lyndsey and Tim left.

From left to right we have Mike, Ashly, Derek, Jaye, Jeff, Marisa and d'Averill.

On a side note, I'd just like to report that Michael's first outing with his "little brother" went really well this Saturday. Little Michael seems like a really funny kid, having Big Michael take him all over town, including to the library and to a public pool to go swimming. My personal favorite story was when a bee was flying at Little Michael and he batted it away into the water, shouting (with a deadpan expression) "Sucka!" I can't wait to hear about more of their outings.