Thursday, December 4, 2008

How Cute is this Baby?

...I know I have to say that, because I'm the mom and all, but seriously, how cute is that little face? I'm convinced Bean has my nose (the Kampmeyer tradition carries on), and Tony's chin (because that is not my chin). My kid is finally cute!!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Shenanigans


Holy cow, its almost Christmas! I came back from my long Thanksgiving weekend and put a countdown on the front board of how many days there are until the start of winter break...according to my sources, there are 13 (school) days. That's nuts!


~'Cause he's an intergalactic superhero~


~Lydia, being goofy~

On a completely different note, Tony and I had a great, albeit REALLY hurried, Thanksgiving. We drove down to his parents' house on Wednesday night, after we figured the traffic would have died down. Tony hung Christmas lights with his dad all day Thursday while his mom cooked delicious yummies, and I did some reading for my class. Dinner was around 4-4:30, with about a dozen guests (including our adorable new nephew). All in all, it was a fantastic day, with great food, and even better company. The only bummer was the fact that we had to turn around and drive back to L.A. on Friday morning so that Tony could work all day. Bleh! Such is the life of working for "the man", I guess. The upside was the all day opportunity I had to work on my final paper for my grad school class. I guarantee all of you, there are NO distractions sitting in someone else's empty office on a holiday weekend. Now all I have to do is finish writing the stupid paper....

Not much else to report. Tony and I will be having our 5th annual holiday party this Saturday that we are both really looking forward to. After that, its Christmas shopping and Charlie Brown specials as far as the eye can see.

To make up for a rather dull post, though, I am including a really cute video of our nephew, James, providing a monologue about...I'm still not sure what. In any case, it was REALLY stinking cute to listen to his schpiel.

video

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Growing Beans and Santa Sightings

Greetings folks. Well, its been a month, and I have yet to post the ever-promised five month belly pics. What's even worse, is that Tony took the six month belly pics last night. Can you believe it?!?! Six months! Its going to be the start to the holidays in a week, and before we (well, mostly I) know it, Bean is going to be here! Yipes!

Speaking of Bean, s/he is doing swimmingly. Kicking up a storm now, and within the last few weeks, I have taken to turning on the TV when I get home from work, and then spending hours watching my belly move, allthewhile ignoring whatever is on the tube. It is the WEIRDEST thing watching your tummy move as if by magic, knowing that in no way are you the one making yourself twitch and jump. Bean has also taken to what I think is stretching as long as possible, and pressing him/herself into my diaphragm when I sit too long in what apparently is an undesirable position (this usually occurs about half way through my CSUN classes on Tuesday nights...I'm the student shifting like a four year old at my desk). Taking a complete breath is almost impossible, and I end up panting--for lack of a better phrase--like a fat kid. Totally hot. Aside from the respitory malfunctions, I am doing great. Still lots of energy (well, compared to the first trimester, and considering I never seem to have a moment to sit and relax...ever), and doing my best to stay up and active. Tony and I started Bean's registries this weekend (what else were we going to do when everything south of us was going up in flames?!?!?). We have starter lists and Babies R Us and Target, for those of you who have been asking, or who might be interested. My growing belly is very reminiscent of Santa Claus, although at my last doctor's appointment I was charted as having gained only 7 lbs, and my doula insists that my limbs are shrinking (maybe I'm imploding...everything is being sucked to my middle...that would be weird...). In any case, if anyone knows of any malls in their area that are a Santa short this year, send them my way! :)


*Lydia~Tony~Baby Max. Seriously, SUCH a cutie!*


*I'm not sleeping, in case you are wondering. How can you not melt at this though? Look how sweet!*


*Baby Max. He looks like his brother, James...only the pirate version. I want to smoosh his face!*

Tony and I are looking forward to the holidays. We will be spending Turkey Day in San Diego this year with his family, which is very exciting, due to the brand spankin' new nephew we have waiting for us down there. I have three weeks after Thanksgiving before Christmas break, and then about six weeks of work before I start my maternity leave. Like I said, time flies when you are baking a Bean!


*Bean-month five. I'm not so much a fan of this phase...mostly, you (well, I) just look thick...and REALLY tired.*


*Bean-month six. Whoa, momma! I'm soooo totally pregnant here!*

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bean, Doing a Headstand

Hi folks! Here's the 5 month sonogram as promised. Not the cutest yet, and I'm pretty sure that I am going to eventually give birth to Skeletor, rather than an actual human that looks like either Tony or myself. Hmmm...maybe Skeletor is a distant cousin of one of ours that I just didn't know about. That would be weird...



I apologize for the wackadoo position for the picture, but my computer refuses to let me rotate the picture. Apparently, Mac seems to know more about picture posting and saving than I do. Whatever.

To talk you through this a bit, Bean is on his/her head, with both hands tucked up next to the left side of his/her face. The two big dark spots are the eyes, and the smaller spot is the nose. Cute, right???

Month five belly pictures are still pending...stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Yogurt and the Traveling Freckle

Once upon a time, there was a pregnant lady named Laura who woke up one day and couldn't keep her brain straight anymore. After some time of getting used to this pregnancy, however, Laura thought that maybe she had the whole pregnancy thing wired...she had told all of her students that she was pregnant, and was even getting used to her growing belly. Enjoying it, even. Then, out of nowhere, a young girl stopped Laura when she was in the office of her high school one morning. Laura carried her lunch bag in one hand, some letters to be mailed in the other, and her burgeoning belly poked out a bit from beneath her top (but not in a tacky, white trashy sort of way...she was at school, after all). "What are you having?", the girl asked, pointing to Laura. Due to her unstraightened brain, Laura had a hard time processing the difficulty of the question. She thought about it for a bit, thinking it was strange that the girl would ask her about her lunch bag (because what else could the girl POSSIBLY be asking her about???). Without another thought, however, Laura confidently replied, "I'm having yogurt". The girl looked at Laura like she was a crazy woman with an unstraightened brain, for obvious reasons.

Ok, enough with story time. On a completely different note, I have a deep and meaningful observation that I wanted to share. I have a freckle. Not just any freckle, mind you. This freckle, for as long as I can remember, has lived in the deepest, darkest depths of my belly button. This freckle was the keeper of my belly button, I suppose, as there is very little else in this world that has had such an up-close and personal relationship with this particular part of my anatomy. Low and behold, however, sometime last week I noticed that Mr. Freckle (I don't know how I know that the freckle is male, but it is) was no longer residing in the depths of my belly button. Over the course of the last couple weeks, Mr. Freckle has been taking a little road trip, and now lives just outside and to the right of his former home...belly button adjacent, if you will. Isn't that weird? Pregnancy is strange. It even makes belly button freckles jump ship and find new homes. Interesting...

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Much Anticipated Belly, as Promised...

Alright...my camera and laptop finally made up and I am now able to post the pics of my ever-expanding belly. Woo hoo! Be warned...I look a little skaggy in some (well, most) of these pictures. They were always just before bedtime. Well, without further ado...



month one...I want to qualify that I had only just started back to the gym at this point!



month two...although I think I looked more pregnant last month!



month three...bean is maybe starting to make a cameo???



month four...there's no denying it! there's a bean in there!

P.S. From the looks of these pictures, I need to buy a new tank top! It looks like I've worn the same clothes for 3 months. Always the fashionista...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Updates!

Just a quick note for those of you who might have been curious. Tony and I went to our (almost) 5 month sonogram appointment on Friday, and everything looks great! It took FOREVER, and the doctor was very thorough making sure that all of the Bean's bits were present and accounted for. After over and hour's worth of scanning, we've got 2 hands (with 10 fingers), 2 feet (with 10 toes), 2 ears, 2 eyes, 1 brain (with all of the relevant parts), and 1 heart (with 4 chambers). Yay! Bean was nestled into my pelvis, and lying on his/her left side, so it took awhile to see everything. Bean also had his/her hands up by his/her head, and the legs were politely crossed for the entire appointment. If Bean turns out to be a girl, I think daddy will be pleased at his daughter's modesty! And if Bean is a boy, then mommy is thrilled to see he is already such a little gentleman! In any case, there was no money shot, which is nice, because then I couldn't be tempted to sneak a peak at the screen.

I will post the latest picture once I scan it. Stay tuned!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lots of Big News!

Ugh! Where does the time go? It was August like 2 days ago and I was letting everyone know about the Bean, and now its already October, I am half way through my pregnancy (holy crap!), and my first term of fall semester. Gheesh! Talk about sleeping on the job!



Hmmm....where to start? Let's start with the raddest news first. Two weeks ago, Mike (Tony's boss), pulled Tony aside and let him know that he was going to be promoted! Tony is now officially the manager of the shipping and receiving department! Yippee! Mike was also promoted, so Tony is taking over some of Mike's old responsibilities (I think...). He'll be trained on the other side of the warehouse business (he was the supervisor for shipping, so now he'll be taking a crash course in receiving). Tony's also training two new hires, both of which will be working Saturdays. Translation? In about a month, month and a half, Tony won't be working on Saturday anymore! Its like Christmas in October! Needless to say, we are SOOO excited about the news. I love that all the hard work Tony puts into his job is so appreciated and that the powers that be take notice of all of it. On another note, his raise is going to make me staying home with the Bean next spring a little easier to manage.

Which brings us to the Bean. Like I said, I am (almost) half way through my pregnancy already. About two weeks ago, I started feeling tiny flutters. Kinda like gas bubbles, kinda like someone is tickling me from inside. For all the mommas out there, you know how weird/amazing the feeling is. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, trust me, its awesome. My belly is quickly expanding, although the scales tell me I've only gained 4 pounds. I was getting away with a hair tie holding my pants together (SUCH a fashion statement), but I'm quickly losing the battle. My best friend, Jana (we'll get to her in a minute!), turned me on to the most amazing invention of all time--the belly band. I can leave all my pants unbuttoned (and unzipped), pull the band on top of the open waistband, and voila! It does my ego a world of good that I can keep wearing my regular pants for a little longer before I have to give in to maternity jeans. Probably about the same time as the flutters did any of my students start noticing that Mrs. J might have been keeping something from them. I walked past one of my freshmen the other day, and Cynthia takes a long, hard look at me (well, my belly) and asks, "Ms. K...are there maybe some congratulations in order??". Not that I was trying to hide it from them, I just felt like it was weird to announce it to them on the first day of school. Aside from my ever expanding belly (which I LOVE, by the way!), I feel great. Lots of energy, sleeping much better than I was during my first trimester, and I am trying to get myself to the gym 2-3 days a week. I have an insatiable sweet tooth lately (I could eat a planet size portion of ice cream!), but I am trying to satisfy my urges by eating lots of fruit instead. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't... Ce la vie.



And my last bit of news, which in my opinion is the BEST news to date (aside from the promotion...nope, its even better than the promotion), is that my best friend, Jana, gave birth to the most BEAUTIFUL baby boy on Tuesday night. She was (almost) two weeks overdue, and after her checkup on Monday, her doctors decided that she should be induced on Wednesday morning. Low and behold, I get the call from her Tuesday morning to tell me that her water broke at 2:30, and that she and Mike were admitted to the hospital at 3:30. Poor thing had a pretty rough labor all Tuesday; spent about 15 hours with a baby in her pelvis and only half way through her progression. She made it to 6 cms by maybe 6 ish that night (it took an hour to get there), where she got stuck again for another couple hours. At 8-8:30, her doctors decided that either her pelvis was too narrow (information that would have been useful hours ago, I expect), Seamonkey's head was too swollen from the contractions, or that he had grown too big during his extra week and a half of baking time, or a combo of all of them. In any case, Jana had a C-section at 9:30, and at just after 10, Ryden Phoenix Onori appeared! He was 8 pounds, 8 ounces, and I think 21 inches long. Dark(ish) hair, almost lavender eyes because they are so blue/grey. He also has the most adorable dimple in his chin. He's perfect (which his pictures can attest to), and Jana and Mike are doing great. I can't BELIEVE that my best friend that I have known since 2nd grade has a baby! Talk about time flying!



I'm sure there is more that I am forgetting, but now that I started talking about Ryden, I am having a hard time focusing. I'll keep everyone posted. I have a sonogram tomorrow, I'll let everyone know the updates soon!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Good Cause

My good friend Andrea is participating in the Heart Walk to support her son, Drew. As many of you already know, Drew was born with a congenital heart defect, and recently finished his latest stint in the hospital for his third open heart surgery. The exciting news is that Drew might be able to complete the entire walk with his family with his new, improved, oxygen-pumping heart.

The Heart Walk participants are looking for supporters to help fund continued research for various heart related diseases. Consider donating, as this is completely a good cause!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Time has Come, the Walrus Said...

...to talk of many things. Of shoes and ships, and sealing wax, and the fact that Tony and I are going to be parents!!! (How was that for subtle?)

That's right, everyone. You heard me correctly. Tony and I have a bun in the oven, due in March...March 6th, to be perfectly precise (for those of you without your calendars nearby, that's my birthday). We are SO excited (but I think every couple is expected to say that), and are trying to adjust to the idea of having a bean running (well, crawling at first) around next spring. Who would have thunk it???

To answer the next barrage of questions, I'm feeling pretty good now. The first four or five weeks (I knew almost right away), I felt great. I was going to the gym five or six days a week, had lots of energy, was sleeping great. A girl couldn't ask for better. Right around the sixth week, though, the dreaded morning sickness (who calls it that, anyway? Morning sickness? Try all day nausea!) kicked in and I was a pretty sorry site. I spent something like a month or so on our couch, feeling sorry for myself (what every self-respecting woman does, I'm sure), and wishing for my own demise. Nothing I ate sat well (although I only actually threw up twice), I was never hungry, and to top it all off, I couldn't sleep to save my life.

...That's all behind me now though. Tony and I have been to two ultrasound appointments, and everything is progressing swimmingly. I feel great now, the bean (the name of our future child...) is growing at what seems an astronomical rate, and we are well on the way to month four. That's about all we have to report for now...as soon as I can figure out how to crop the ultrasound pictures, I will have those posted, along with pictures of my diminishing waist line (is everyone excited now?). Stay tuned for monthly updates, because there is certainly more to come!!!


~a two month old bean...you understand now where s/he earned the nickname!~


~three months old! less beany, now kinda alieny. s/he still has time to human up!~

Some time later...Tony and I are thinking of signing this kid to our future family band (a la Partridge Family). He'd give the bean a run for his/her money!

Monday, August 18, 2008

One More, Super Important, Thing

If you guys have a minute, please please PLEASE check out my friend, Andrea's blog. She is doing a raffle for another little girl who also has heart problems (Andrea's son, Drew, just recently finished an 8 week stint in the hospital for his most recent heart surgery). Anyway, this family that Andrea is fundraising for could REALLY use some help and support. If anything else, please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Thanks, everyone!

The Dawg Days of Summer

This is what dog sitting in Echo Park looks like...jealous much???

Hello faithful readers! I know that I have been noticeably absent the last few months, but since the beginning of summer, my days seem to just slip by. As I sit on the couch (in not my house, Tony and I are dog sitting in Echo Park this week) I'm realizing that I have only two short weeks left before I am heading back to work. Sigh...you blink and before you know it, summer is gone!

I wish I could start updating everyone about the wild adventures that Tony and I had this summer, with trips abound and whatnot, but that was not really the case. In the words of whatever kook came up with the new phrase, Tony and I enjoyed a lazy "staycation" in the lovely SCV. While it sounds oh-so-exotic, it was far less sexy in reality. Probably our highlight in the last few months was 4th of July weekend that we spent with Tony's family in San Diego. It was our nephew, James', 3rd birthday (who is SO CUTE!), so we celebrated with a bbq for the birthday and the 4th at his parents on the 4th, and then ANOTHER bbq at Tony's sister's on the 5th as well (it would be a sin not to take advantage of the beautiful San Diego weather). I also spent some time by our pool working on my Vitamin D/skin cancer intake, keeping up with my TiVo programming, and reading lots of books that weren't assigned to me by a professor of some sort. I LOVE reading books that aren't part of classwork, or need a paper written about them, or anything even close to that vein. My two favorites so far this summer have been Ahab's Wife and The Virgin Suicides. If you're looking for a good read, both of these are HIGHLY recommendable. I'm hoping to get to The Glass Menagerie and/or A Prayer for Owen Meanie before my new CSUN semester begins. I'm also plugging through The Count of Monte Cristo, but its sooooooo not as good as I was hoping it would be.

Tony just celebrated his one year anniversary with Razorgator, and is going strong there. His work anniversary is pretty synonymous with his move back to SCV anniversary (both are within the next week or so). I can't believe its already been a year since he started at Razorgator and moved up here, but then again, I also said I couldn't believe that it had been a year since our wedding. Anyway, he's as busy as ever with work, and is going into his "busy season" again, which means 16 hour days and high stress. It seems that this year is slightly less crazy than last summer was, but I've probably jinxed myself now that I've said that out loud. I can kiss my husband goodbye now for the next two weeks!

Hmmmm....what else? We're still kicking it in Saugus, and laying low in the condo until 1) a miracle happens and the housing market picks up again, 2) a bag of money falls into our lap and we can afford to move with selling our souls to do it, or 3) we can finally work out the logistics with my dad and MAYBE move back into the house where I grew up (this is no small feat...organizing with my dad--however much I love the man--is remarkably similar to herding cats). It works for now, and when Tony and I are supposed to move, we will. For the time being, now is not the time, and we're (mostly) ok with that. On another note, I start CSUN again in a couple weeks (although I couldn't for the life of me tell you what day...) and will be taking a class in Literary Criticism. I've decided that two classes while working full time is INSANE, and that I don't actually have to finish my master's program in some sort of super-human amount of time. Finishing in 2-3 years is fine with me, and whatever career opportunities that will be available post-Literature degree will still be there when the time comes, you know?

See? Like I said, we've had a pretty low-key summer this year. I'm sure there will be more to report once the school year starts up again. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Connections to the Man Upstairs...



I got a call from my sister-in-law, Ellen yesterday afternoon. Apparently my niece, Jessica (Ellen's stepdaughter) had a pretty big scare yesterday. Dacodah-- my new grand-niece, Ellen's grand daughter, Jessica's daughter--stopped breathing twice yesterday. The kind of stopped where her little face was blue, and her body went limp. Scary. Jess was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center, and the doctors ran a gauntlet of tests to see what the deal was. At the end of it, they couldn't find anything really wrong, and Jess and Dacodah went home yesterday evening. So my request is for those of you with connections to the Powers That Be, if you wouldn't mind throwing in an extra prayer or two to make sure that Dacodah is okay, that would be great. Two week old babies shouldn't have to worry about whether or not their breathing apparatus is working correctly. That should be a part of the warranty, you know?

The phone call got me to thinking though. On a completely selfish level, Jess' experience made me concerned about my own future. Tony and I are not all that far away from starting our own family. When I think about having kids, I always think about the good stuff. I remember the moments of absolute sublime sweetness of holding one of my little cousins, or one of my friends' kids and rocking them to sleep, smelling their head, their little hands and feet. My heart melts, my uterus contracts, and I can barely stay inside of my skin thinking about how badly I want to be a mom. What I don't usually think about is all the scary stuff. The things that can keep a girl up a night, drenched in a cold sweat from the fear and horror of something (anything) going incalculably wrong. S&@t happens, and while I'd like to think that I am a 'roll with the punches' kind of gal, I'm usually not. What is more, is that I COULDN'T be if something as terrible as what might have, could have, happened to baby Dacodah. I've been a spectator into my friend, Andrea's life with her son, and she's SO calm and collected most of the time that you would hardly know that Drew has any problems at all. She is the kind of mom I would like to be some day.

I'm not really sure where I am going with this one, to be honest. Just some general musings that have been swirling around upstairs that I needed to expunge. I am thinking that this has turned into my new journal, a sort of virtual catharsis, and so in keeping with tradition, I needed to make my entry for the day. Keep Dacodah in your thoughts, as well as her mommy. While you're at it, send a shout-out for Drew and Andrea as well (he's on day 21 of his hospital stay....its starting to be REALLY not fun anymore). Happy Friday to everyone, and I will talk to you next time around.

Friday, June 6, 2008

My Norma Rae Moment

So its Friday, 8:30 in the morning. I am sitting in my classroom feeling a little bit like poo BECAUSE I am sitting in my classroom while some of my fellow teachers (the good ones) are outside with picket signs and sandwich boards, donning their union red, and informing the general population of Schwarzenegger's latest brain trust moment.

Let me back up a bit. For those of you who aren't in the loop, or don't live in California, or don't give a crap (I tend not to, don't feel too bad...), our Governor has proposed a $4.8 billion (that's right, BILLION) cut to the education budget. This means TONS of teachers are at risk for losing their jobs, our benefits are being threatened, there will be no new books, this list becomes more depressing the longer it gets. Just think 'sucky ad nauseum'. In an effort to protest these potential cuts, LA Unified teachers across the board instituted a one hour job action for this morning. We will sign in one hour late as a way of letting the district and the State know what these cuts would bring about. New strikes, higher teacher turnover (who wants to stay when we hardly get paid decently as it is???), less effective instruction, blah blah blah. Its pretty bleak.

I'm not normally a go-getter social activist. I have plenty of friends who are, and while they are more than inspiring, I never really found my moment were I was inspired to stand up on the table and cry "union!". And quite honestly, I am still not sure that I agree with the action that is going on right now. I'm not sure I see how a one hour walk out, which ultimately puts a few million dollars back in the district's bank account (all the teachers not being paid right now and all...), is going to solve this problem. I do know, however, that I would much rather be walking today than standing in a strike line next year. And like I said, I feel like poo because at the moment of crisis, I was informed that due to my part-time status last semester, my contract would be in jeopardy for walking today (how anti-climactic).

What I do know is that it is going to take MANY voices if there is going to be any resolution to this. I've put my two cents in (here and to the state), even my students are writing letters of protest to Schwarzenegger, and now I am hoping that a few of you might feel inspired as well. Consider taking a moment to either email or post your own letter protesting these detrimental cuts to the education budget. This is not about me, in the end. Its not really about any one of the teachers, quite honestly. This is about what is right for the future of our kids, effective and meaningful education, and lazy/rash decision making at the state level. If anything, thank you for taking a moment to listen to my rant.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

525,600 Minutes...

Ok, I know. Totally cheesy. In my defense, that is my favorite song from one of my favorite musicals, so I figure that I am entitled to a bit of cheese every once in awhile, as long as its Tony-winning.

So what year would I be referencing, you may be asking yourselves???? What could have possibly happened one year ago today (well, yesterday, if we're being precise)? One year ago yesterday, I was eating breakfast with Tony in a Starbucks on the corner of Manchester and Chapman, right near the Ayers Hotel. About an hour from now, one year ago yesterday, I was heading up to Downey with Amy and my good friend Kirsten to have our hair done together. One year ago yesterday, I got married to my best friend.

I can't BELIEVE how quickly this year has gone. All of my fellow smug marrieds have all told me how quickly the first year goes. They were also the ones to tell me that your wedding passes in a blur (I didn't believe them about that either). So much has happened in this past year! Tony and I were reflecting on it, and assessing our first year together. To make a not very interesting conversation for any of you short, we decided that we've got a pretty amazing thing going here, and that we pretty much rocked our first year together.

Tony and I both took a looooong weekend to celebrate our momentous occasion. There were other circumstances involved in our weekend plans, however. Tony's good friend, Brian, got married on Saturday (52 weeks from our day!), and Tony was a groomsman in the wedding. Between bachelor parties and rehearsal dinners, we managed to celebrate our friends kicking off their new life together. After the wedding-ness died down, Tony and I headed back to the Ayers hotel and stayed there on Sunday night. We had champagne delivered to our room, and we went out for a yummy sushi dinner to celebrate our first year of marriage. It was all very nostalgic, and I had more than one moment where I got a little teary eyed thinking about the events from a year before (ie. playing poker in the lobby until all hours, certain of my nearest and dearest breaking into the pool area at 2 a.m. and breaking toes, signing my marriage certificate in the lobby the next morning...). SO MANY memories from that weekend, and so many more that we have shared in this past year.

Thank you all for all of your love and support this past year. Thank you for being a part of our wedding last year as well (although I think I might have already thanked you for that...), and thank you for being the amazing friends and family that you are. Stay tuned for what year two will bring!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Bloggiest Blogger in the Entire Blogosphere!



...I just wanted to say that, as it seems I have really turned a corner when it comes to updating my friends and family. Its a veritable cluster of the carnal knowledge variety!





Anyway, I just HAD to share my Tuesday night with you all. As a part of my birthday, Tony bought us tickets to the Police concert (that's right...the Police). Last night was the show and IT. WAS. AWESOME. Next to U2, probably the best show I have ever seen (and for those of you who know me at all, that's saying A LOT). Every great song, I don't think there was a single one that I didn't get to hear (that's because Sting loves me and didn't want to disappoint his biggest fan).












The best part of this entire event however, was our location. Our original seats were somewhere in the far west valley (seriously, sooooooooo far away). My super rad husband, however, worked his job mojo and managed to score us seats at the last minute maybe, oh I don't know, 20 FRIGGING FEET AWAY FROM THE STAGE!! Sting could have spat on me if he wanted to. I think he did, and I might not ever wash that spot on my hair again. :-)


The 700000000000 pictures and videos that I took on my camera phone ('cause I'm that fancy) are pending. Just have to send them to my computer. Well, that's about all I have to share. Anyone jealous yet? video

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dacodah and Drew...


No, I'm not starting an online dating service. I just wanted to give everyone a quick update on our Memorial Weekend events. First of all, my friend Andrea's son made it through his surgery on Friday. He's doing pretty well. There have been some ups and downs, but from what I can tell, nothing cataclysmically major. He's still in the hospital at Stanford, and is still intubated, so Andrea's fam has a while yet before the big homecoming. For those of you with a relationship with the man upstairs, keep Andrea and her family in your thoughts and prayers, please. For updates, you can take a look at her blog. Andrea has been really good about keeping everyone updated.



In other news, Tony's and my niece delivered a BEAUTIFUL baby girl on Saturday evening (which, coincidentally also happens to be Tony's mom's birthday AND the new mommy, Jessica's, birthday...that's one hell of a birthday gift!). Tony, his parents, and I literally had just pulled up in front of the hospital when Tony's brother, Darryl (the new grandpa), called to say that Jessica had delivered. That's my kind of wait time! Jessica and Dakotah are both doing well, and went home today. I'm still trying to get used to the fact that I am a great aunt before becoming a mom, but I guess stranger things have happened. :)






I hope everyone had a safe and happy Memorial weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Something that isn't About Me...



So a very dear friend of mine has a four year old son. Big deal, right? Not so much. Aside from the fact that Drew is a pretty incredible 4 year old on a regular basis, Drew also happens to have a congenital heart defect. I could try to explain the details, although I would probably just end up confusing you and myself. If your interested in reading up a bit more on Drew you can take a look at Drew's slide show to get his back story.

The reason why I bring this up is that Drew is having his third open heart surgery this Friday. His surgeons are going to finish a repair on his heart so that it will, more or less, pump like a normal heart. His heart won't look like a normal heart, however, and he will need other surgeries as he gets older, so he certainly isn't out of the woods. Andrea and her husband, Dan, are two pretty amazing people. Drew is incredible, as well, considering what he has endured so far in his life. No one deserves to have obstacles like this thrown at them, least of all such a good friend as Andrea, and her incredible son.



All I am asking is that you check out either the American Heart Association website, , or the congenital heart defect site, and consider making a donation to one or both. There are SO MANY families who cannot afford the necessary surgeries for their children, and there is light years of research that still needs to be done to make defects like Drew's not nearly so life threatening (or even better, nonexistent). I know that many of you don't know Drew, or Andrea for that matter, but all of you can understand how serious heart disease and defects are.

Consider donating, please. Whether or not you know Andrea, or Drew isn't necessarily as important as working to find solutions and/or cures to these debilitating health conditions.

A Whole New Level of Ridiculous...


I have to share this story, simply because it is the most RIDICULOUS experience of my entire life (seriously...I can't think of another moment to top this in my entire 30 years of existence).

So...I did a little moving this weekend. I was helping out some family, and extra muscle is always appreciated when it comes to moving. You guys know...you've all been there at some point, right?

Tony took Saturday off work, and headed out to house A at 7 in the morning (where the moving started). I took my time, and enjoyed my morning of freedom, which was my first since my semester started at CSUN. I met up with the rest of the posse at around 11:30-12 at house B (where the moving ended up) to help unload the 30 foot van. Keep that number fresh in your mind, folks. 30 foot van.

Tony and I and about 1/2 dozen others unloaded the van until maybe 3 that afternoon. The first point of note is that 2/3 of the 30 foot van (30 feet, remember?) was items from the movee's garage. Stuff sealed in boxes. Some (many) items that hadn't EVER BEEN OPENED. The group of us unloaded these boxes into a storage shed at the back of the new property and almost filled the space. With unopened, never opened, boxes.

We head back to house A to fill up again with the next load (that's right. 2 loads in a 30 foot van. For the mathematically inept, that's 60 feet of crap). I arrive, and find Stella (the names have been changed to protect the innocent), who is 9 months pregnant, standing in a sweltering 90 degree house wrapping items to pack. The poor woman looks like she is about to explode, or melt. It was hard to tell. What all of you might have missed in this so far, is that Stella is STILL PACKING for the movee. The rest of house A is not packed up yet to be put in the truck. So, we start hustling...what else can we do? We throw stuff into boxes. We ask the movee what items in each room are ready to be thrown out. Because, come on. Who DOESN'T throw out stuff while they are packing/moving? Its inevitable that we all find weird, useless crap stuffed into a drawer, or closet, or under a piece of furniture that has no useful purpose on the planet. And we throw it out, right? Francesca wants nothing thrown. Nothing. Everything is relevant. Everything is important. Everything is necessary. Down to the weird crap we were finding in the aforementioned spaces.

So we pack it. All of it. We pack it until 7:30 that night, when we realize that if we don't get back up to house B, we are going to be unloading in the dark. We hustle back up there (an hour drive), 2 men short, to unload the second vanload of stuff (60 feet). And we unload. We unload everything, in the dark (and its REALLY dark in the mountains), until 10:30 that night. We unload so much that a couple rooms are stacked floor to ceiling, wall to wall, front to back with stuff. Not just any stuff, mind you. The weird crap that has no useful purpose. By 11 we are back home, having a couple beers, eating cold rotisserre chicken, and trying to ignore the GOD AWFUL SMELL that is emminating from our bodies (to be clear, we failed at ignoring the smell). By midnight(ish), we have all crashed...

Cock crows at 6:30 Sunday morning. We are up and some of us are out the door by 7:30, others by 8:30 (I was a part of the 8:30 crew). With stars of idealism in our hearts and souls, we drive back down to house A. We believe that it will only be a matter of throwing the last of the boxes and the bedroom furniture into the van, pack up the movee and her cats, and ride off into the sunset. We were fools. Upon our arrival, we find the rest of the house STILL NOT PACKED (despite the fact that Francesca insists that she was up all night packing). So we pack. And load. And pack some more. We pack and load until 6:30. In 90 heat. Still 2 men (and pregnant Stella) short. We pack 30+ boxes of shoes. We pack 20+ sweaters still in their shipping packaging. We pack broken dishes. We pack 20+ large garbage bags of clothes.

We also argue this day. Argue and cry, actually. Argue, cry, and fume, to be clear. Argue, cry, fume, and scream, if we are really going to be honest. Argue, cry, fume, scream, and find our souls crushed. If you have never had a crushed soul, you should really look into it. Trust me. At 6:30, we are finally packed. Remember the van? The 30 foot fan? It is stuffed. Literally. The kind of stuffed where you have to throw bags of clothes over the wall of stuff, and hope it lands in such a way where it won't knock something else out, or over, or break an invaluable piece of crap. So what does that bring us to now? That's right. 90 feet. 90 freaking feet of stuff packed from a small 2 bedroom house and crammed into a 1 1/2 bedroom house. What should also be noted is that for this final trip, we have also (over)loaded 2 pick-up trucks with more stuff. Another 16(ish) feet of space packed with every item that Francesca has ever owned.

We unpack the van well into the night. We unpack so much that house B will have to be unpacked before Francesca can even begin to unpack. Seriously. There is not a single square inch of space to unload a single box. We unload load 3 until 11:45 that night. That brings our grand total to: Tony at 36(ish) hours, and myself at 31(ish) hours of moving. 106 feet of crap. 6 broken spirits. 5 new bruises (on just myself). 6 personal hygiene violations (seriously, we were FUNKY), 7 missed showers, and a partridge in a pear tree.

The moral of this story? I am not sure there is one. Run for the hills if ever you are asked to move again? Never make a bet with a Sicilian when death is on the line? Remember to lock the garage when your '61 Ferarri California is stored inside and Ferris is looking for a ride? Hmmm...that's a thinker. In any case, its been a pleasure sharing this experience with all of you. I hope your weekends were much more enjoyable than mine. Oh! And Happy Memorial Weekend!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Life in the Trenches

So its May. Its been about a thousand years since I last bothered updating anyone on, well, anything. I don't know how my other blogger friends keep up (Andrea, Genna...this means you!). I have the best of intentions of keeping everyone up to date. But you know what they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Enough with the pity spiral. These last few months have been nothing short of BUSY!!! I might have experienced a moment of temporary insanity thinking that I could pull off two classes and still work full time. Life has consisted off working, reading, writing papers, and if I have time, sometimes I eat and sleep also. Whew! The upshot of all of this is that one of my professors asked me to submit my paper (an eco-critical analysis of TS Eliot's "The Wasteland"...I know, it confused me also) to a couple conferences. His request blindsided me a bit, as the night I had to present my paper to the class, my professor dissected the other two papers completely. I was sure that I didn't have a leg to stand on (I wasn't even finished writing the thing, not to mention I had NO idea what I was talking about. Who writes on "The Wasteland"?!). Anyway, I finish presenting, and my professor proceeds to tell me that he was impressed with my work, and would I consider submitting it to a conference that he heads up? Heck yeah, I would!!! To be honest, this is only partially intended to be self-glorifying. I've worked hard this semester, and its just nice to know that some of the hard work has paid off.

Tony is still plugging way at Razorgator. He's busy as ever, and is neck deep trying to find a couple new hires to relieve some of the work load for everyone. Hiring, apparently, is easier said than done. Many of the interviewees have nothing more than "respiration" as a job skill on their resumes, which makes Tony's job difficult, needless to say. Aside from the nightmarish hiring process, he's still liking his job. I think both of us are starting to feel the strain of his crazy hours, and his lack of weekends (He still works on Saturdays. Bleh.). Its hard to recharge your battery when you only have one day off at a time, and you are working 16-17 hour days. A new hire will hopefully alleviate some of Tony's stress, and he can start to function like a human again.

In the in-between-times, we have had lots of other exciting news to keep us busy. We are going to be an aunt and uncle again, as Tony's sister is expecting in October(ish). In addition, our niece, Jessica, is due any day now, which will effectively turn me into a great-aunt before I am even a mom. How weird is that? A old friend of mine gave birth in February to a beautiful baby girl, AND one of my very dearest friends in the world is also due in September. If there were ever a baby coming out of the proverbial whazoo, this would be it!!

Our families are doing well. Tony's dad had some heart work done earlier in the year (February-March ish). Dad is doing great, and is out riding 20+ miles on his bike again. My sister, Amy is starting the credetialing program at Cal State, Northridge and is intending to start teaching special ed as soon as she can find a job (the job market for teachers right now is a little squeezy, so she might have her hands full). The last bit of news was my 30th birthday, which I celebrated in March. I still can't believe that I am old enough to be 30. Your should need a special permit for that! All in all, its been a great Spring. Hope all of you are safe and well. Take care and I will talk to you soon (ish!)!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

POW-MIA

Alright, alright. I'll be the first to admit that I am not the best blogger out there. I have shirked my duties and haven't keep my nearest and dearest up to speed on what's been going on lately. That said, let's do a little updating...

Tony is doing well. He's busy as always at Razorgator. Its supposed to be their "slow season" right now, which apparently means that the employees work virtually the same hours as they do during their "busy season". Curious.... Actually, Tony has taken a couple mini vacations as of late. He and his good friend, Brian McDole, went to Laughlin the weekend of January 25th to work the races (I'm not sure what kind...) in the desert. They had a blast and were able to catch up on lots of boy bonding. Tony was also supposed to go the Pomona Drag Races the first weekend of February, but was called into work at the last minute (see what I mean about the hours?). We are heading down to SD again at the end of the month so Tony can be fitted for his tux for Brian's wedding and to hang out with his fam. In between all that, Tony also celebrated his 33rd birthday on the 23rd. Happy Birthday!

I'm back to work full time at Verdugo. It was a little touch and go as to what I was going to be teaching this semester. For awhile, it looked like 9th grade. Then, Life Skills (shudder...Life Skills is the punishment for murder in some countries). It even looked like I was going to teach off-season football for a split second (how funny would that have been?!?!). In the end, my extra class turned out to be American Lit, which couldn't be sweeter. I love American Lit, and the classes tend to be much smaller and more mature than 9th or 10th grade (no surprise there...). My other class, the one that I was teaching last semester, is in something of a transition right now. Originally, I was supposed to be teaching Reading Intervention (or something to that effect). Currently, I have no one in my last class, although there are 14 students on my roster. I know...it doesn't make sense to me either. I am also back at school as student. This is officially my fourth week as a CSUN grad student in literature. I'm enjoying both my classes, although I am convinced that one of my profs is an escapee from the cuckoo's nest. Thursdays are a REALLY long day, however, between the 6 hours of work and then 6 hours of class. I remind myself of what I am gaining in all of this...a really big brain and more student loan debt. :) Joking aside, I love being back in school. I have to start sorting through conference opportunities and deciding when and where I will be submitting papers. Yikes!

Well, that about covers January/February. Hope everyone had a lovely Valentines Day, and for those of you who are able, enjoying the BE-A-U-TIFUL 80 degree weather in SoCal. Being a Cali girl definitely has its perks. Until next time, folks...

Friday, January 4, 2008

2007 is in the Can!

Tony's Christmas Decorations! :)


We made it folks! It feels like the holidays passed in a blink, and we are STILL trying to recover from the whirlwind!

Tony and I wanted to start some new Christmas traditions, so we started by hosting Christmas Eve dinner at our house. My mom, grandmother, dad, sister, and her boyfriend all came over for dinner. I finally had an opportunity to use all of the beautiful dishes and other paraphernalia that we received for the wedding. We did the usual pressies and dessert after dinner, and were joined by Tony's brother and wife, Darryl and Ellen. The next morning, we drove down to San Diego to celebrate again with Tony's family. We had dinner there with his parents, sister and her husband, their kids, Tony's grandmother, grandfather and grandfather's wife. Again, we never have enough time in San Diego, but it was certainly fun while it lasted. Tony spent most of time playing puzzles with our 4 year old niece, Lydia. Our nephew, James, is talking more than ever, and spent most of HIS time crawling out of/onto/through various pieces of furniture.


We spent New Years with our good friends, Tim (the best man), and his wife, Nicole. We went to a local bar/restaurant wife my sister and her friends, but made sure we were home in time to ring in the New Year. On New Year's Day we all went to our other good friends', Gavin and Julie, to watch the bowl games (don't ask me which ones...football isn't my thing).

The only downer is the nasty cold/flu that Tony contracted. He was knocked out for a good three days, but is slowly on the mend. I am starting back to work on Monday (goodbye freedom!), and Tony is gearing up for his next six months at Razorgator. All in all, we had a great holiday, and are looking forward to what 2008 will bring!