Sunday, August 26, 2007

Road Trip, Capitola, Shadowbrook Inn, Friends, Awesome Get-Away, the Ocean, Beautiful Weather and of Course, Food...

A friend invited me on a last minute trip to Capitola - a small seaside town south of Santa Cruz. I had been to Santa Cruz many times, but for some reason I'd never been to Capitola - it's definitely a place I'll return to.

The weather was WONDERFUL! We shopped at the quaint shops and had a delightful lunch of fish and chips at the water's edge. OK, I shouldn't have had the chips, but on Weight Watchers you learn to have a treat, but then you know it's time to get back on the wagon - tomorrow's weigh in will tell.

We took a long, brisk walk on the beach in Aptos, a town south of Capitola. We sure got our exercise and I'm glad because we went to the divine Shadowbrook Inn - a most enchanting place to have dinner. You park and then take the cable car down the mountainside to the restaurant. So charming. The redwood accents in the restaurant are sooooo very beautiful - I'm a huge Frank Lloyd Wright fan, so I was mesmerized by the wood and architecture.

We had a light dinner - I HAD to have the Artichoke Heart Soup - yummy! and then the house salad - this was no ordinary salad - select baby spinach tossed in a mango-chutney vinaigrette and garnished with cherry tomatoes, candied pecans and two large flame-broiled Gulf shrimp wrapped with bacon. We HAD to have dessert - I decided on the crepes (I love crepes!) filled with vanilla custard, drizzled with caramel sauce - with whipped cream and a strawberry, of course! OK, so tomorrow won't be a good weigh in...

Our trip was 3 hours each way - we laughed, swapped stories and laughed some more. What a delightful day!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Crafty Chica, Birthday Party Cakes, Friends, Odd Creepy Things, Weight Watchers, PBS Preview Party, Walking, Hip Hop, Kindergarten, Weekend Trip, Concerts...

Let's see, did I forget anything that's happened or going to happen soon? has been interesting, creepy, fun, rewarding and exhilarating...

Our friend Kathy Cano Murillo AKA Crafty Chica is expected in the office today and I can't wait!Her amazing energy is awesome and I'm excited to see her reaction to a new product line we're working on for her. It will be her first peek at what we've been working on for more than a month.

I'm getting down to the wire on centerpieces for a 50th birthday party my high school class is having next month. It's coming up quick and I still need to paint ceramic bisque in the shape of pieces of cake. When you put 7 of them together in a circle they form a cake - too cute! Everyone gets a 'piece of cake' filled with 70's candies as a favor. More pictures as I progress.

Today is my friend Frances' birthday so I have my party dress on and we're getting together at a local restaurant with her husband and our friend Doug. It feels like I haven't seen her in ages - she lives about 45 minutes away - but that's NO excuse!

Odd Things - I had one of the oddest things happen this weekend - one of those where I'm scratching my head still trying to see what the message is or why it happened - perhaps I'll never know! I went for a walk where I live early Saturday morning. I came back the same way I left. On the way back, I noticed a gold box laying on the ground - it was smashed as if someone had run over it. I picked it up and found a 30 year old diary in it authored by what I'm assuming was a farm wife in a small town about an hour south of here - she was an artist - there were wonderful drawings of people, animals, art displays, the studio she wanted to build. My first thought was to take it to the management office where I live. I sat and thumbed through the entries and read the letters inside - in one letter she talked about death and on the reverse she had her to do list. I felt very odd going through someones private thoughts. Then, I had one of those 'is this really happening?' moments - she mentioned going to a nearby town to get some craft supplies. Well, where she got her craft supplies was at Cheryl Ball's store. I work with Cheryl!!! There were several entries about Cheryl and her mom - the woman used to have Cheryl's mom critique her work. I keep asking myself why in this big huge world did I run across the diary and why Cheryl????

My company offers an in-house Weight Watchers program and we got started again a week ago - I'm very motivated - walking every day and going to a hip hop dance exercise class once a week.

Saturday night I went to the preview of a new PBS program. My friend Gloria knows the host of the show (OK, I have talked with Mark at parties and dinner, so I kind of know him!). It was interesting meeting people of diverse backgrounds. The food was awesome - I was impressed with the mini hamburgers in a 1/4 of a pita pocket.

My youngest nephew started Kindergarten yesterday - seems like he was just born yesterday, but in looking back over all the things we've done, we've both grown a lot.

I'm very excited about the upcoming weekend! A friend, her sister and I are going to a town south of Santa Cruz to shop and play! I've never been there, so I'm looking forward to the adventure and to see what kind of crafty things are available.

This last weekend I picked up tickets for a couple upcoming concerts - Big and Rich (they're a new one for me!) and Peter Frampton and the Doobie, it's concert month in September and birthday party month too!

Until next time - keep craftin'


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I faced my fear and gave blood today!!! Thanks to the moral support of my sister-in-law Nicki and the great staff at the blood bank, I survived! I do have to admit they had to get out a couple of ice bags to help me through it.
I have thought about giving blood many times, but my fear always got in the way. My coworker, Patty and I had talked about giving blood a couple of times, but we always decided not to. Giving blood today is in honor of Patty - she has undergone three brain surgeries in the last several months. My fear of giving blood seemed very small in comparison to what she's been through and her situation turned over a leaf for me to face this significant fear. Patty, you are in my heart and in my thoughts as you recuperate from your surgery.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I did it!

So, just as I had predicted, my nephews and I did Sonic for dinner Friday night and then went to the bookstore!

On Saturday, we went to the local zoo with the intention of them having a good time and me facing one of my fears - snakes!

We were greeted at the reptile house with lovely ceramic turtles, snakes, etc. That kind of took the edge off going in for me. I do have to admit that even though there was thick glass between the snakes and me, I still had some uneasiness. Can you tell from my picture? I tried to step back and look at them and take in their beauty - the designs and texture really are beautiful. It was interesting to hear my nephews talk about snakes - the oldest was almost giddy!

I'm not sure what this accomplished, but I did it.

My younger nephew Brandon fed the giraffe - I think he enjoyed it - he asked if he could feed it some more. I had no idea a giraffe's tongue was so long!

To me, the highlight of the day, (besides spending it with my nephews) was going to the stringray exhibit. It was fun to have the stingrays gravitate toward us, running their bodies over our hands so we could feel. Cool!
We had more fun tootling around town - my nephews are 5 and 11 and then there's their Aunt Joan who's, well, older than them, singing at the top of their lungs to Bon Jovi - the 5 year old and I like the same two songs on their new CD - go figure!

Be on the lookout for my post on Wednesday - Nicki, my sister-in-law and I are going to give blood (need to make an appointment tomorrow!). Yikes, am I really going to do this? Yesssireeeee...

Make it a great week!

Ohhhh, I almost forgot! My day didn't end there - my friend and I went to a jazz thingie Saturday night - many restaurants from around town bring food, there's a silent auction and then there's the music, ohhh, and the train! This was the third time I've been to this event - the evening was beautiful - great weather, great food, great company. The event was held at a place that opened when I was in kindergarten - it's called Storyland complete with Mother Hubbard's shoe and a castle! For the last three years we wouldn't miss riding the train around the park - the fun part was that it was dark and we sang railroad songs as we rode around - I know when I'm with Jenny we'll ALWAYS have fun! There was a foreign exchange student from Brazil with us - I'm sure she was wondering about these crazy ladies! Oh, well!


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Busy, busy, busy...

My life has been a whirlwind since I came back from Lauren's last weekend. Let's get caught up...

Let's see, last night - I had the most delightful long dinner with someone I went to high school with. I ran into her shopping last November and it took this long to get together. I lost her phone number and ran across it recently and just picked up the phone and called. Bonnie and I knew each other in high school - there were about 250 people in our graduating class so pretty much everybody knew everybody. We hit it off and chatted for 3 hours! We have a similar history and it was nice to compare notes and see where we've been, what we've done and talk about what we're going to do! She is very insightful, so I need to just kick back tonight and think about some things she said. AND, she's crafty too - she scrapbooks, so she invited me to her rec center where she lives so we can do some projects. She only lives a couple blocks away - why we haven't run in to each other more I don't know!

I am slowly facing my little nephews and I are heading to the zoo this weekend and I'm going into the Reptile House - I hear (not sure about this part!) they will actually let you touch them . On to my second fear - giving blood. My sister-in-law and I are getting together next week - moral support is good! I am very inspired by a co-worker. Patty has now had three brain surgeries in the last few months. We just got word this morning that she has a catheter through her chest applying antibiotics directly to the infection in her brain. My heart goes out to her family.

We are busily creating new products at work - things you'll see in a few months. I can't wait to share them with you - they are VERY exciting.

Not much crafting has been going on in my world, just a lot of sitting in front of the computer.

This weekend will be fun - I haven't spent much time with my nephews lately, so I'll get my fix - they'll spend Friday night with me (here's my guess as to what we'll do...Sonic for dinner and then to the bookstore where Aunt Joan will spend way too much money - I'm not complaining, really, I am more than happy to buy them books!) Saturday is the zoo in the morning before it gets too hot. Then, a trip to take them home and back in town to get ready for an awesome jazz concert at the park - this is the third year I've been to it - different restaurants bring in food, so it's a tasty treat too with auctions, etc - it's a fundraiser, so it's all perfect. Last year, the saxophonist brought my friend and me up to the stage area to dance - yikes! I don't do things like that...but facing those fears again - it was OK.

Oh, yes! I started a Hip Hop exercise class this week - I took a similar class last year and everyone in it could MOVE! This class was different - we were all about the same experience level so I didn't look so bad and I kept telling myself that we were all there for the same reason - to MOVE!

Details next week!