Monday, December 28, 2009

And I Will Consider You Gone

If you hadn't guessed from my description of all the gifts I got for Christmas, my family shows its love with stuff. We're not super shallow or anything, we just aren't all lovey dovey, smoochie boochie, either, so it's a tangible manifestation of our love for each other. I dunno, it works for me. Don't get me wrong, I tell my family I love them all the time and they tell me so, too, but it's nice to be using my Christmas presents back in Australia and be reminded of the giver and how much they care about me.

Today was my last day at work and it was a pretty busy one for me. I had to get everything in order so that the regular person could jump back in to doing my work seamlessly. It was sad to say good bye to everyone. It was a fun place to work and I will miss all the people I got to know there. I plan on sending them a post card from Aus and on contacting them again next year to see if they need any holiday help. Pacific Cookie Company was a great place to work and the Pearsons were great people to work for. I think my waistline will thank me for not working there, but other than that I'm going to miss it!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

This is Nae in the process of cutting down our Christmas tree a few weeks back.

So far mine has been very, very merry!

The gnocchi last night turned out just ok, but I'll post pictures and the process in the coming days anyway to see if you guys can top my effort.

I know Christmas is about love, and family and all that good stuff, but I got awesome presents, too, including a new digital camera! So, see, it's a present to you guys in a way, as well, because now maybe this site will actually get some nice pics rather than shaky, blurry, and dark pictures from my camera phone. I also got clothes and books and jewelry, and a girls' day with Mom and Nae to do Zumba and get pedicures and out to a family dinner, a new purse made by Stylez at ReJENerate (check the link at the top of my page), a Zhu Zhu (you know, one of those little movable hamsters that were supposed to be all the rage for little kids this year? Dad got us each one and it is totally freaking out the cat as they run around and make cheeping noises) and a ticket to Brand New from Boyfriend which I was nearly crying over because I am so excited to finally see them after being rained out during the great Newcastle flood the last time they were in Australia. (Elsja, they are playing in March in Sydney. Get a ticket if it's not sold out already!)

Now, I'm being super classy and drinking Malibu with some tangerine juice from Trader Joe's and sitting in the sun and reading. (And yes, I know Malibu is little kid's alcohol and is not sophisticated like wine, but I can drink it super cold and it tastes good mixed with stuff so whatever.) It's probably in the high 60s here today and gorgeous out.

Hope you all have had or are having a wonderful day with your family and loved ones. I really couldn't have asked for a better day today.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

There's a Baby, Yes, There's a Baby About to be Born

This picture really has nothing to do with this post (Boyfriend took it on our trip to Yosemite the first year he was here) but it's a great shot and looks wintery and it's Christmas, damnit, so it kind of works, right?

Unless we've missed the text with the birth announcement, Soccer Player and the Hairdresser are still awaiting the birth of their baby. I'm hoping now that the Hairdresser has gone over her due date, she won't have to go camping with the newborn on Boxing Day (or as soon as it's born if it's after that day), as was previously planned. All of our friends who have had babies so far have tried to tell her that camping with a brand new baby is not where you want to be when you've just gotten out of the hospital and are trying to figure out how to be a mom still, but the Hairdresser is a trooper and up til now has said she is going. I can't wait to hear what they've had and what they've named it and I can't wait to buy it a "Welcome to the World" outfit here to bring back with me. I wonder if she's in labor, as I write this, and is having a Christmas baby? That'd be pretty neat, but probably not the most fun Christmas the Hairdresser would ever have! Anyway, I'm sending my love and my prayers down to you guys. I hope that it is a quick and painless delivery and recovery and Boyfriend and I can't wait to meet the new little guy or girl when we are back.

In other news, Mom and Dad both got sick last week and are still getting knocked around by it. We're pretty sure that Mom has come down with the Swine, while Dad's cold or flu seems to be different. They had a not so successful, but very stressful, trip down to Orange County last weekend to see my grandparents. If you read the last post (Runaway Train) about the situation, the update is nothing has changed and it has actually gotten a lot worse. Not only is my Grandpa on a quick downhill slope, to the point where my Mom thinks we'll be having a funeral before I go back in February, but now my Grandma is falling apart, too. She's gotten in two accidents in two different cars, side swiping a total of 5 cars, in two consecutive Wednesday nights! My Mom is understandably upset by what is going on, but on both trips she's taken to see them my grandparents have ignored the help she's offered so there's not much for her to do. The light at the end of the tunnel is that my Mom has found an assisted living place in Stockton that has apartments on site that allow the tennants to keep a small animal. My Grandma's brothers all live in Stockton and we've been saying for a few years now that she and my Grandpa should move of up there so they have more people to hang out with so once he passes away we think Grandma should take her dog and move to this facility. It's a good option because she is still capable of living mostly on her own for now and she can still keep her dog, but if and when she declines, she can then move in to the main part of the facility that offers more round-the-clock care. I think she really misses her brothers and this way she can see them more often, too.

Happy Holidays, right?

Other than that, our little 5some of me, Boyfriend, Mom, Dad, and Nae are looking forward to spending Christmas together. I've had all my Christmas shopping done for a few days now and only have a few things left to wrap. Boyfriend is stressed because lots of his online ordered presents haven't arrived yet. Nae is at work now (Trader Joe's) and has a taco eating contest with her coworkers and then she's coming over to make Christmas cookies and spend the night. Boyfriend and I said way back in October that we'd like to try and make gnocchi for Christmas Eve dinner so we'll get that under way this afternoon and hopefully take some good pictures for you guys and I'll post up the recipes. Nae's in charge of the food tomorrow and she's making some kind of roast beast, yorkshire pudding, homemade ice cream, and other stuff so I probably won't fit in to any of my new Christmas clothes after the 24 hours of eating I'm about to undertake! The weather here is bright and sunny and the air is crisp so I think we'll probably get up and do presents tomorrow morning and then go for a family walk and then just hang out for the rest of the day. I like having a mellow Christmas like that.

What about you? Is all your shopping and wrapping done? Are you having a mellow or a stressful Christmas Eve/Day?

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! Hope you get everything you've asked for and more!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows

Sorry if you've stopped by hoping for a new post this week. I've been swamped at work so by the time I get home and make dinner for everyone, I'm pretty much ready to lay on my bed and talk to Boyfriend for a bit before passing out. Nevertheless, I'm really liking it. Sure, a lot of the stuff I do is repetitive, but the people I work with are really great and make being there enjoyable. It's funny all the random connections I've found out I have to people in my office, considering that I'm not even from this area and know one other person besides my family here!

I'm stoked because I've been asked to come in for the Monday after Christmas to help sort out all the delivery mishaps that happen Christmas Eve that we won't be in to deal with. A) It means a little bit more money and B) It means I get to hang out with everyone for one more day. I think that I will ask the family to keep me in mind for office help next Christmas Season, if they'll have me, because I have always enjoyed working for family businesses....there's and at Jack's.

Everyone has really flattered me at the office over the past few days, too, because I have been bringing in treats and they said the cupcakes I brought in yesterday were so good that I should think about going in to business with them. Which is funny because before Boyfriend got here Mom, Dad, and I were discussing that I should start a bake stand since Australia has a shitty selection of baked goods and I really enjoy baking. So I think I'm going to start trying to sell my baked goods on the weekends and on days when I don't get substitute teaching work and see how that goes (but I might wait until after the hottest days of summer are over before I start so that my frosting actually stays on the cupcakes rather than melting in to a puddle next to the cupcakes)!

Anyway, it's a dream, an adventure, and something to look forward to so we'll see how it pans out. Boyfriend seems a little sketchy on the idea because he's got his fingers crossed that I'll fall in to a full time job, or at least get a lot more substitute work, this year and can actually start pulling my weight with the bills. Which is completely understandable. He isn't my sugar daddy, as much as I joke that he is, and I would like for us to have equal roles in the money making. But having this as a side project and as a way to make at least a few bucks on days when I don't get called in to a school can't hurt, can it? He's willing to let me have a shot at it for now and that's all I can ask of him. When I am Australia's answer to Paula Deen (or who's a hotter TV show chef, isn't there someone cute named Giada or something?), he'll be glad that he gave me some support on this business venture!

Tomorrow Nae, Boyfriend and I are shopping it up at the Gilroy Outlet Mall. We still need to find some things for our Mom and there are also Hurley, Volcom, Quiksilver, and Billabong stores there that Boyfriend will probably want to stop in to and stock up on clothes for the year from. We'll probably also make ourselves sick on Animal Style Burgers (or Grilled Cheeses) and Fries at some point in the day because right next to the mall is the only In-N-Out anywhere close to where we live. It should make for an exhausting day! Sunday, I might go in and help at the office if they need me, for a couple of hours and if not, I think I will sleep in, take a nap, wash my work clothes, and finish up my DeFacto Spouse Visa paperwork (by the way-if anyone has any tips, tricks, or words of advice on the Visa paperwork, I'd be glad to hear it) and then it is the final, big push until Christmas at work. I get Christmas Eve off and I think Boyfriend and I are going to attempt to make homemade gnocchi that night.

So I guess, really, when I sit down and think/write about it, things aren't as quiet as I thought they've been around here!

Hope you aren't too cold/too hot (depending on your Hemisphere) where ever you're reading this from and that you have a fun and relaxing weekend ahead of you...

P.S. I'm sure it's not too late to buy your favorite blogger (that's me) something amazing from her Amazon wish list or to send her a big, fat check for keeping you mildly amused over the course of most of the last year. Just a suggestion! ;D

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Songs of Innocence

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer. I work at Home Depot and I told Sarah how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had. Then I found one more in the back room, and several people were fighting over who would get it. Sarah's picture does NOT show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Home Depot. From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.


Mrs. Smith

Don’t know if you guys have seen this picture or not before, but it made me laugh so hard when I came across it. I think I read somewhere that it was originally shown on the Conan O’Brien show so it’s not real, but I wish it was, and I hope that I get some seriously awesome drawings like it over my years as a teacher! This is totally the type of thing that will get me out of bed in the morning 20 years in to it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Oh, Cookie, Cookie, Cookie Starts with C

Image via

Blogging from my lunch break again. I'm back on the diet, or at least back on the no cookie diet, which is really, really hard when I sit here and smell them baking all day! Our cookies are good, and I mean really good. They've got this fat kid's seal of approval on them.

I just thought I'd let you guys know that some of our gift items are on sale and there is also a coupon code floating around for $5 off an order right now so there are some great deals to be had. Cookies are a great item for anyone on your list you're having trouble shopping for because who doesn't like cookies!? We've got 13 different flavors of cookies to choose from (I'm a chocolate girl so I like the chocolate chip, chocolate chip peanut butter, and dark chocolate cranberry-an awesome fall/winter flavor-the best, but I wouldn't turn down any of these cookies if they were offered to me).

I know, I know, I bet you are thinking this is starting to sound like an ad for Pacific Cookie Company, but I'm not getting paid extra to write about it and no one here asked me to do it. I just really like the cookies, it's close to Christmas, and there are some hard people on my list to shop for, like I'm sure there are on yours, who would probably enjoy some cookies, and some of the stuff is on sale so I thought, "Why not fill you guys in?"

Working here has also made me realize that my parents probably don't love me enough because they've never sent me a cookie basket to wish me luck on my finals, like I've seen lots of parents order for their kids here!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Walking In a Winter Wonderland

Winter has definitely come to Santa Cruz. It was a pretty chilly morning as we trekked out to pick out our Christmas tree. Our faces were stinging as we walked from tree to tree looking for just the perfect one. The tree we ended up picking out has a really nice shape and is about 7 foot, but I think we could've gone even bigger. The Harbor Boat Light Parade was just alright this year. There didn't seem to be as many boats and the parties on the boats weren't as wild compared to what we saw last year. I did see a guy from a band I used to follow, though, so that was kind of cool.

Early Monday morning, a storm came through the area and the temperatures maxed out in the 40s all day yesterday. When I got home at 6:15 last night it was nearly freezing. This morning when I got up, it looked like it had snowed! There was a thick frost covering the ground and water at the end of our road had frozen over. As I left for work at about 8:25 this morning, it was still only 35 degrees and I was Southern California/NSW blood is not used to these types of temps yet.
The ground under our lemon trees is covered in dark wood chips...that's all frost!

It's really nice in the office right now because our windows look out over the mountains and the tallest peak has snow on it. Not a bad view to have while we work away.

Anyway, I'm quickly eating lunch at my desk right now so I'd better get this up and then get back to work. Hope you're having a great day, where ever you're at, and I hope you've gotten a start on your holiday shopping because I sure haven't and I'm starting to panic!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Let Me Entertain You

The girls at work weItalicre laughing today about how I handle calling in to the FedEx call center. I started my day fairly jovial, but challenged the call center people when I needed to (i.e. "My sister works at Trader Joe's so I know they aren't closed at 4pm on a Wednesday night so why didn't my package get delivered?") and progressed to being a little less jovial through out the day (i.e. "That's Bash St. as in I'll bash your head in" which I swear I said in a laughing way and a "Why did you put me on hold to enter information about my file when you haven't even asked me what I'm calling about and therefore have nothing to enter?" which was said in a not so joking manner). Everyone was giving me the side eye like I was crazy or laughing as they listened in to my calls and were also impressed that I found out that I was talking to people in call centers in El Salvador, Chihuahua Mexico, and Chicago, as they said they had never talked to anyone from FedEx outside the States before. At least I'm making their day and mine more entertaining. If I have to sit for a few hours a day on the phone with FedEx I may as well amuse myself while I do it!

On an unrelated note: I really feel like I'm living in the country here. On my drive home tonight I heard this on the traffic report- "Watch for a deer darting in and out of traffic near the Porter Street exit"!!

On another unrelated note, but to catch you all up with what's been going on over the past few days- Boyfriend arrived safe and sound yesterday and is still pretty exhausted from his big journey. He and Dad "treasure hunted" today and came back with about 2 dollars worth of coins and they also went to Costco so he had a true typical day around here.

It was great to finally have him here and to just be hanging out again. Me, Mom, and Dad took him out to dinner at a Mexican food place around here and Boyfriend was already practicing his Spanish that was provided on a placemat. When we got home, Nae was waiting to welcome him back, too, so I think he had a really nice first night back with all of us.

This weekend we are going up the mountain to cut down our Christmas tree and go to the boat parade at Santa Cruz should all be really fun and festive!