Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saturday, our last full day in the Bay Area for Christmas, we travelled up to The City (San Fran). We spent most of our day hanging out with our good friend, Ruben, looking for shoes and finding music at Amoeba. Jessica (Ruben's g.f.) joined us for dinner at this awesome Thai place in the Castro. Afterwards, we met up with Colin, Mark, Kate, and Jen, at Jen's flat. Here we are getting our pre-bar drinks on:
Hmmmm.... this scene looks familiar. You'll note that there is a Christmas tree this time, though. The stockings were full of dog-treats for Cloe.
Colin and Mark sharing some of their misadventures in SF. I used to be in a band with them, so it was fun to talk about the old days. Good times. I'm going to recruite them for my musical side-project, once I get it up and running.
The girls, after closing out the bar. It actually took about a dozen tries to get this shot. There was a motion-sensor light on Jen's garage that kepting turning off and messing up the lighting.

Mandy, back at my folk's place. That's not a weird headboard on the bed, we put the two single beds that were in the guest room side-by-side. We kept pushing each other off the side of the bed when we tried sharing just one single. It was cold at their house! At least the low 30's. brrrrrrrr.

Christmas Crabs

Dinner at Michele's (pictured: Pete, Michele, and I. not pictured: Mandy): There was plenty of crab, which I haven't had in a very long time until this week Mandy and I spent in the Bay Area with our families. 
The night we were sitting in traffic trying to get up to San Jose, my folks were at a crab cook-out. So we had crab-quesadillas on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Then the day after Christmas we went to Michele's house where she served fresh crab. Delicious!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

McMillan Holiday Party '08

Jeff and Liv opened up their home for a holiday party last Saturday. Much fun was had and there was a plethora of cheese, cheers to Liv for broadening her mind!
Some party-goers. Enjoying the warmth of the in-doors.
Matt and Jana getting festive and funky on the dance floor.
No holiday party is truly complete w/o a yule fire. Thanks duraflame!
The party even continued out into the backyard. Jeff lit a fire in their out-door fire pot. It helped make the cold weather tolerable (ignore the crazies in t-shirts, it was cold!!).

We had a great time! Thanks McMillans!

More Holiday fun

Mandy made us a gigantic wreath. It's out of control ... with holiday cheer!
Here I am for size reference. The beast is about three feet in diameter.
We can't close our screen door, either. It's nice because it smells like pine/winter. But it also allows the screen door to open up and slam shut in the wind at night, constantly waking me up with the fear that we're being invaded by noisy burglers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

C'est finit!

I'm finally finished with my classes!  college is time consuming so i'm taking the Spring off to get back to the rest of my life and might pick it up again when it sounds fun again.  Here's my final project for my floral business class.  We had to do a business plan for a flower shop and also make a diorama of it!  I love dioramas!  Too bad I don't like numbers and accounting as much as dioramas.  It was a good project and nice to have stashed in my back pocket for the day I decide to open a business.  
And here's my final project for my floral design class!  I'm pleased with how it turned out.  We all got to chose the design we would make and the teacher gave me extra points for how creative and hard this is, especially for a beginner!  

I love party season

Our good friends Matt and Jana had a lovely holiday/birthday party last Saturday in Culver City.  The party started at their house and then we all walked down the block to this cool old hotel and partied it up there.  It was fabulous!
The girls:  me, Liv, Erika, and Jana
The crew, looking "spirited".
Those boys don't look happy to be with us, but they were.  

Its Christmas!!!!!!!

After much pre-December begging, Seth finally let me put up the Christmas tree!  I like to keep it up until about March so he's not so eager to put it up early.  Bah humbug!  Here he is adding the finishing touches.

This is my favorite ornament!  It spins around  inside when it heats up.  It has not been spinning though.  (See post below)
Tah-dah!   Yes, that is a pink feather boa.

This is what I call dedication

I might just be the most dedicated worm composter ever.  Well, at least on my block.  Liv found me an old nasty blender to use for "pre-composting" my worm food.  Basically, chopping up all my moldy food in the fridge into worm-friendly sizes.  This was nasty and i don't know how many more times i can do it.  

For those of you unbelievers...

It really IS cold in Long Beach!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

So cold... and 'what's next? Flying cars?!'

At night, it's gotta be at least in the mid-50's here in Long Beach. We resorted to desperate measures and had to break out the portable heater to warm up our tiny, non-isulated, craftsman house. Mandy had a stroke of genius when she suggested that we use the fan to spread the heat around the room. It works so good!

Amazing!

Also, I want to give a shout-out to Netflix and Microsoft/xBox360. We've already watched several movies through XBox Live's Netflix streaming function. Here's an example: Tonight, we were eating dinner, watching something on the TV when a commercial for the new remake of 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' film. I commented how it was weird that I knew what the plot of the film was all about, but I couldn't remember actually ever seeing the film. Mandy told me how much I was missing out and how it was one of her dad's favorite flicks of all time. I ran into the art/craft room where my laptop is, jumped onto Netflix.com, added it to our 'Watch Now' Queue, ran back into the living room, turned on the x360, signed into my Live account and w/in 3 minutes of us coming up with the idea on the couch that we should watch the original 'The Day the Earth Stood Still', there we were, watching it. We truly do live in the future!

Wall Art!

Recently, we were given two incredible wedding gifts. The first one came from our friend Heidi Powers. The second one came from my sister-in-law, Melody, while we were up visiting our family for Thanksgiving. We can't wait to hang them over our couch. We would prefer to hang them with a third piece of art, to keep that aymmetrical composition going. Here they are in their current, non-hanging-on-our-wall state:
They're kinda big, so whatever we decide to hang w/ them better be pretty huge, too.

This is Mandy's wedding bouquet. We had no idea where it went after after the reception. To paraphrase Mandy, "I thought it just got thrown in some dumpster". We're ecstatic that Melody saved it and went above and beyond by having it freeze-dryed so we can creep out our grand-kids some day.

Our Thanksgiving Holiday

For the Thanksgiving holiday, Mandy and I were able to travel up North to the Bay Area w/ Liv, Jeff, and Jan (Yawn). Through Jan's job at Honda, we were able to borrow a sweet Honda Odyssey. Unfortunately, we weren't the only car-load of transplants that had the bright idea to get on the road that Wednesday evening. It took us about 8 1/2 hrs to get up to San Jose. :P

The ride was all worth it, though. Mandy and I were able to spend Thanksgiving day at my parent's house. Mandy's dad, Pete, and Michelle were also able to join us, as were my aunt Chris and Uncle Mike and cousins Megan and Sean, who were enjoying the break from college. Dan and Melody joined us later in the evening. The dinner was awesome and it was great to hear stories from everyone and play a lot of 'Apples To Apples', which is one of my favorite party games.

Friday, Mandy and I did a little shopping in Santa Cruz. We hit the usual spots: shoes, comic books, and music. No 'Black Friday' shinnanigans for us, thanks. That night we drove up to San Francisco w/ Jeff and Liv. This is where we snapped our only photos from the entire trip *sigh*:

Time to get this party started! This is Jen's new apartment in SF. She shares it w/ two female flat-mates and her dog, Chloe. We feasted on a sweet assortment of cheeses, crackers, nuts, and other taste appitizers.
More party good-times.
Mandy and Chloe.
Chloe the Super Dog. Although she looks timid here, a few weeks ago, this pup survived a leap from a third floor window down to the 'ruff' sidewalks of San Francisco while chasing cats around the apartment. The damage? She knocked out two teeth... and that's all!

Saturday, I went disc golfing in Santa Cruz w/ my brother, Dan, and our longtime friends Eric, Kevin, and Roger. It was a blast. I disc-golf about 2-3 times a week w/ co-workers on our lunch breaks, but the tame park-courses of Irvine are pretty sad compared to the disc-golf courses of Santa Cruz. I had a blast! I haven't been disc golfing w/ those guys probably since I moved down to Southern California. It's amazing that even though our lives have all gone so many different directions, we still have some really weird stuff in-common...

Anyway, while I was making par, Mandy was hanging out at her Dad's place in San Jose. We met up that night for Chinese food at Jade Tree, a nice local place where Pete is friends w/ the owner and his family.

Sunday, Mandy and I were able to attend my old church, Mountain Bible, before we had to get  in the van head back down to Long Beach in another 8-hour trek.

I wish we had taken more photos from the trip, to prove how much of a fun time we really did have. Next time we might fly, though. An extra special thanks to Jan, who had to drive the whole way, both ways.

P.S. Patton Oswald is hillarious.