Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sad Excuse for a Garden

So at the beginning of the summer I wrote about how Shana and I had this wonderful idea to get plants and put them in pots and pretend that we had a garden in LA. Well this idea has not blossomed into the vegetables we were hoping for. Over a month later the plants still look remarkably similar with only a few inches to show for all the hard work. Ok so maybe I forgot to water them a few times. Oops. But this weekend I decided that I would show pity on my plants and give them a nice good watering and see if that would help to increase their vitality. So the plants took a fieldtrip to the bathtub. After letting them soak for several hours I think they were more moist, but I have yet to see wonderful results from my work. We shall see how it goes. The green pepper plant does have a pepper on it (but the plant came with a pepper on it) and the pepper is turning red but not growing. I guess my mom's green thumb didn't fully pass on to me. But some day I'm going to get this garden thing right. It may have to wait until it can actually be in the ground though.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cinema's Dark Night

This weekend was the annual LA 1st/SM 3 film festival. This year's theme was based on a Batman theme and turned out quite well if I must say so myself. I had the privilege of helping with some of the decorations which was quite a lot of fun. Wednesday night Heather called me sounding quite distraught and looking for people to help make 150 feet of cityscape. So I walked on over to Michelle's house where they were working on a massive roll of cityscape. So for several hours Michelle, Heather, Alpha, Ryan, Curtis, Ben and I worked on the wonderful cityscape that was seen through out the building on Saturday night.

A very dark picture of the cityscape masterpiece.

Then Friday night I went to the church and helped put up the cityscape. This is a much more involved job than I thought it would be considering that it had three layers. But we triumphed after many hours of toiling and the cityscape looked great. By midnight on Friday night it was about the only thing that was up, but it looked really good.
Posing by the beloved cityscape

Shana and I entering on the red carpet

Saturday came and we got all dressed up and headed off to the film festival. I am slightly disappointed in our ward because no one from it contributed any films. But as I didn't either I guess I can't be too harsh. Maybe I should start on one now and it may be ready for the next year. Shana got to be in a string trio that sounded amazing as we entered the building on the red carpet.

Shana is in the middle (I know it's a little dark)

Then there were waiters and mingling for a few minutes before the movies started. I was impressed by many of the movies. I must say that two of my favorites were a silent movie about Mr. Smith selling his soul to the devil which was really well done and another one about Danger Dancer which had great choreography and transitions. All in all it was a very creative night. And to top it all off we had such stars as Batman, Riddler, the Joker, and other characters from Batman to join us.

Shana and I with the Riddler

Shana and I with the Joker
And we even got a picture with Batman himself and his motorcycle

I even had fun getting all dressed up. And those of you really knowing me know that doesn't happen all that often (the dressing up or having fun with it). But it was great to see everyone all dressed up and having fun. So good job to all those that participated. It was definitely a Dark Night to remember.

Shana, Greg and I

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The End of an Era

King Jeremy is sitting in his high chair with his balloons just waiting for the cake to be lit.

Oh what a happy baby. May being 1 isn't such a bad thing after all.

This past weekend was a perfect weekend. My little cousin Jeremy had his 1st birthday party, I got to get together with two of my favorite cousins, and my car got washed for the first time in over a year.

Saturday morning after the usual Saturday morning exercise I headed down to Irvine for my cousin's birthday party. I must say he is one of the cutest little 1 year olds I know (he may possibly be the only 1 year old I know though). A good representation from both sides of the family were present to help Jeremy celebrate one year of life. Jeremy had fun showing me his new airplane toy that played music and you could ride on it. Very cool. But the afternoon mostly consisted of eating, talking, pictures, eating, talking and more pictures. I had fun just catching up with Catherine who I don't see enough of and talking with the rest of the family which I see more often, but not often enough. Then it was time for Jeremy to blow out the candles. I think he was amazed by the fact that his cake had fire on it and certainly didn't know what to do about it. Thank goodness his brother Timothy was right there willing to help him out with the candle blowing out. After that we all enjoyed cake and then watched Jeremy "open" his presents while Timothy really did it. One year olds just really don't get the whole opening presents thing. He was more interested in eating the containers that the toys came in and sitting in the box his trucks came in. It reminds me of my sister Susan who used to play in a little box all day when she was little. It was her favorite place to be. Ahh so many years ago.

After the eating and talking and many pictures were over Catherine, Melanie and I decided to make our way to the beach to enjoy some good cousin time together before the two of them head off to school at the end of the summer. Newport Beach was packed. We drove around for a good 20 minutes looking for somewhere to park. Just as we were going to try our luck at another beach we happened upon a parking spot. It was 4:00 by the time we got to the beach so we put our time in the meter and headed out to the sand. It wasn't really that warm and none of us ventured into the water, but good talks were had among all. How I love getting together with my cousins. We are so much alike and it's just fun to talk about our lives. At 6:00 we decided that we'd had enough of the beach as it was no longer really warm and our meter was about to run out.

After dropping Melanie and I off Catherine went home and Melanie and I proceeded to her house where we came up with the brilliant idea of washing out cars. I guess her mom has been giving her a hard time about the state of her car and we finally decided to do something about it. As for my red beauty, it has been over a year since she had any washing besides the windows. I know most of you think that isn't possible, but I promise your car doesn't fall apart if you don't wash it. A year may have been a little bit long, but hey you do what you have to do. So upon arrival at Melanie's house we parked our cars on the front lawn (to allow the lawn to take advantage of the water from our car wash) and got to work washing our beautiful cars.
Let's just say both of them were rather filthy. Most of you know what my car looked like before and here's a picture of how shiny and beautiful it looks now.

My favorite comment was when my aunt said "I didn't know your car had a shiny finish." I guess I might need to wash it more often. Oops. But the days of dirt from Utah, Nevada, and California are gone. Now I guess it will only get California dirt for a while. It was a wonderful bonding experience with Melanie and we greatly enjoyed it.

After the car washing experience Barbara took us to Pepe's, a wonderful Mexican food place, for dinner. It was lots of fun just eating and talking. After dinner I decided I better spend some time with Grandma and Grandpa and headed to their house. I finished watching the Dodger's lose with Grandpa and talked with Grandma as well before hitting the hay.

Sunday morning was breakfast with Grandma and Grandpa before they left for church and then I spent the morning doing some really good scripture studying and just had time to myself which was great. That's something I don't get enough of. Then I went off to church with Melanie. She was supposed to sing in Sacrament Meeting but woke up with a sore throat so couldn't do that. But it was fun to go to church with her and Geoff anyway. After church we went back to their house and then Barbara made a wonderful dinner which we all thoroughly enjoyed. It was much better than anything I would have made for myself that day. I have been sorely lacking in cooking adventures lately. Somehow I just haven't taken the time. I don't know if it's the heat or that the kitchen is always rather unorganized, but cooking has evaded me for the time. I think it's time to start back though. After a wonderful dinner I reluctantly ended the weekend by coming back to LA. It's always hard to come back after spending time away. I guess I'm just not meant to live in LA.

Aaron showing us his beautiful teeth

Grandpa, Melanie and Catherine

Brad checking out Jeremy's new tractor while Mario aka Reese watches

Laurel's masterpiece cake. Jeremy got to eat the whole teddy bear piece.

Reese showing off his Mario hat.

4th of July

Melanie and I wielding our power (we were the only ones with lighters)

After finding out that my aunt and uncle were no longer going to make the trek to Oregon to see my family over the 4th of July because my cousin had a baseball game I decided to spend the day at their house. We always do 4th of July at their house because they live in the right part of Santa Ana where you are allowed to do fireworks. So my family having several pyros in it loves to get together and burn things to our heart's content. I went down to Brad and Carol's house about noon. I ate a leisurely lunch with Carol which was blessed to contain a bowl full of fresh raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. It can't get much better than that. The rest of the afternoon consisted of talking, relaxing and then getting food ready for the BBQ. The rest of the family started to come over about 6:00. All the Southern California family was there except Bob's family. The BBQ was amazing, everything a BBQ should be and more. We had fresh squeezed lemonade slushy (made from lemon's picked off the tree that afternoon), grilled zucchini (picked from Carol's garden), hamburgers, hot dogs, steak, watermelon, chips, corn on the cob, crackers, carrots, strawberries, and I'm sure much more. It was a stuffing experience as everything was so good. And then when I was stuffed I had to go back and eat more watermelon. It's my favorite food of summer. After dinner and kids were anxious for the fireworks to begin even though it was no where near dark. We fended them off for a while and then gave in and started to inventory the mass of fireworks we had collected from various members of the family. We had a pretty good haul. The kids started off by doing sparklers for a while. Melanie, Mike and I were in charge of putting together the show. As is typical I was the behind the scenes person and Mike and Melanie were the ones actually setting things up (with help from several of the not quite old enough to plan, but old enough to light the fire cousins). I must say we put on a great show.
A sample of the firework show

I think everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. After the fireworks we partook in the greatness of Barbara's homemade strawberry ice cream. Heaven in a bowl. It is a 4th of July tradition. After the festivities were over and partially cleaned up Melanie, Mike and I decided to go and see Hancock. I enjoyed it but I wasn't overwhelmingly impressed by it. It was fun and weird with a kind of twisted plot. So I'd say I wouldn't jump to go see it if you haven't but it's not a bad movie. After our adventures of the day I stayed at my grandparent's house since I didn't want to drive back to LA at that time of night on the 4th of July. It was a holiday to remember, 4th of July always is.
(Sadly I forgot my camera and had to steal these pictures from my cousin's facebook profile. Hopefully she will put more up and I can steal them as well.)

Heidi's Birthday

For Heidi's birthday a group of us went to C&O Trattoria for a feast of wonderful Italian food. It was a bit of a disaster trying to get a head count and making sure that the reservation was for the right number of people. People bailed at the last minute and we were frantically calling people so that the food didn't go to waste and so the rest of us didn't have to pay for the food that went to waste. (Turns out we brought home all the "wasted" food which fed us for a week). But it was a fun filled night with great food and an Italian atmosphere. We ate outside which was wonderful. The weather was great and it was actually hot there with the heat lamps turned on. We very discretely turned some of them off so we wouldn't roast to death. The food started out with wonderful garlic bread balls filled with olive oil and garlic to my hearts content. I could have just eaten those all night. But the rest of the food was just as good. One of my favorite moments was when they started playing music on the overhead speaker and passed out lyrics so that we could all sing along. Great times. Another dinner time favorite was when Karen asked the waiter if any real Italian's worked there, like people who were born in Italy. Our waiter told us he didn't think so and then one of the other waiters came over and proceeded to put us in our place because he was a real Italian even if he wasn't born in Italy. But my absolute favorite moment was when we got the check and Heidi's check said she paid $6.04 with a tip of $53.96. That's my girl, the big spender.
Darby and Jonathan replaying Lady and the Tramp for our entertainment.