Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Last weekend we spent time with our cousins at the pumpkin patch.

Here are the girls with their little cousin Emma. Some lady stepped into the picture at the last moment and I got an unfortunate shot of her rear end. Oh well.

...and this ladies and gentlemen, is our little preemie nephew Zach at 5 1/2 months. He's a happy little breastfed baby, can ya tell!?

They Like Us! They Really, Really Like Us!

We finally found a house to rent. Hooray!

We can start moving in this coming Monday. Hooray!

We'll be living right across the street from our Bishop. Hooray!

I'll be close enough to walk to work. Hooray!

We can even walk to church, the historic downtown area and the community pool. Hooray!

Now I have to really get serious about moving and packing and cleaning and all that that entails. Boo. Ugh. and Boo!

I'm feeling very overwhelmed at the thought of it, but am so thankful that we finally found someone who would allow pets and rent to us. Yay. Boo. Yay.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh, the Politics (and I'm not talking about the election)

At my restaurant job, they decided to train me as a fill-in hostess. Saturday night was the first night that I was on my own.

Our restaurant is run a bit differently from others (from my understanding). Our waitresses don't have sections of tables that are theirs, rather the tables are assigned as customers are seated, and it's the hostess' job to make sure the tables and amount of customers are as evenly distributed as possible so that the waitresses make as close to the same amount of tips as possible.

This is where the politics enter. I've seen the waitresses throw fits because they didn't get what they perceived as an even amount of customers. The hostess training me told me that no other restaurant would put up with this, but at ours we do. Go figure.

At any rate, Saturday was thankfully slow for my maiden voyage hostessing. The tables and sitting times were working out perfectly. One waitress was going to get 3 more customers than the other, but that's as good as I could make it. I was feeling fairly confident (and competent, for that matter).

Well, when it came time to add up the tips, one of the waitresses got $114, the other about $65, for reasons that were out of my control. I could immediately smell trouble. My only hope was that the waitress with the big bucks would just keep it to herself.

Guess what? She didn't. Miss Got-Bucks comes up, picks up her tickets and declares, "Holy Cow! Oh wow! I had a better night than I thought! Woo look at this!" Then the other waitress, gets all sullen and starts going over her tickets with a fine tooth comb, and complaining, "Well, it didn't even pay me to show up tonight." (Although $65 is nothing to sneeze at in my opinion, considering that the hostess doesn't even GET any tips!)

I tried to explain that I did my best to keep it even, but it fell on deaf ears. I'm a terrible hostess because I didn't force the customers to tip her exactly the same as the other waitress. Grrrrrrr.

I'm sure that suggesting that they pool their tips and then divvy them up equally wouldn't go over too well. It would take all the competition out of it, and make the hostess' job way too easy and less stressful. Or maybe they could just be good sports, and not gloat, or fight over customers and tips. Yeah, that's not going to happen either. Oh well.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

21 Years Ago Today...

My little boy was born. Of course he's not so little anymore, but he'll always be MY little boy.

Cam was a great little kid. Everyone made such a fuss about how difficult it was to raise a boy and how rambunctious and hard to control boys were. Well, that wasn't my experience at all. Cam was an extremely mellow child. When he was 2 my mom and I would take him and go antique shopping. We would kind of see the store owners cringe when they saw Cam come in with us, but he was always very content just looking at things. If something caught his eye he would be content just to look at it for the longest time and absorb every little detail of it.
I would often get comments from people who would be surprised at my son's mellow behavior. Of course I would chalk it up to my superior parenting skills, but I now realize that it was just his personality and had nothing to do with me at all (energetic child Sis came along and gave me that reality check!)

Cam always loved vehicles and trains of all kinds. He had to have a car in each hand when we left to go somewhere and he called them "go-go's". His dad taught him all about trains when he was very young and it wasn't unusual to go by the train yard and hear him in the back seat naming all the cars he saw, "hopper car, auto rack, tank car", etc. He also knew the difference between a diesel and steam locomotive.

Cam has an eye for details. When he was little he would draw vehicles and wouldn't be satisfied until he had drawn every reflector and lug nut on them. He is now majoring in computer animation in college and I think his eye for detail is now paying off for him. He's done some amazing projects and sculptures.

Cam is an excellent big brother. He's always set a good example for all his little sisters. I think honesty and patience are two of his strong suits.

Anyway, he's just an all around great kid (can I still call him a kid now that he's in his 20's?), and I'm an extremely lucky mom to have him for a son. Happy Birthday Cam!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Trip to the City

Cam turns 21 on Wednesday, so we made a trip to San Francisco Sunday to spend the day with him.

We started out early---tried to leave by 8am, but at least the girls and I were loaded to go in the car at 8:20 (Sis and I even both showered and did full hair and make-up). And there we sat...because anytime Mike goes with us, we always end up waiting for him. I'm not sure what last minute things he always finds to do, but he's putting his manly gender to shame when he has 4 girls that are ready to go before he is!

It was a beautiful day in the bay area. Sunny and warm. And let me tell ya, we were ready for warm after we got snow (yes, snow!) on Friday (it didn't stick, but still!).

I got Cam some luggage because he and his girlfriend Cassie are going to Disneyland on Thursday and he had nothing but a black plastic garbage bag to pack his belongings in, and that would be a nightmare to check in and out at the airport (ok, so he actually has a small duffel bag, but the garbage bag sounded more dramatic).

I hid little goodies in all the compartments of his luggage. Such college guy staples as mac and cheese, Cheezit, Skittles and the like.

We then headed for Golden Gate Park and walked around Stow Lake. It was really pretty. Fleet Week was going on at the wharf and we were treated to a show by the Blue Angels. Very cool...and loud.

Lots of photo ops and cute turtles and geese abound at Stow Lake.

Even after our very filling lunch at Chipotle (my first time there...honestly those burritos are the size of a small vehicle, but SO good!), everyone was pushing to have Cam's birthday pie. (He requested my famous puddin' pie-an Oreo cookie crust filled with chocolate and vanilla pudding- instead of cake.) We headed to the beach for pie eating. It was good, but windy!

Lots of playing in the waves ensued along with more photo ops.

We parted ways at around 6pm. We were actually on the freeway at 6:00--We made it across the Bay Bridge at 7:20pm. It took us that long to go maybe all of 5 miles. I thought I was going to lose my mind. I'll give the girls credit though, they never complained. Nat entertained herself by writing stories about potatoes and someone named Mr. B who had to go pee. Sis and Shel entertained themselves by taking (hundreds) of photos of themselves,

(yeah, there's lots more just like that, but you get the idea...) and Mike gave me a running commentary on all the interesting things found on the side of the road. He resisted getting out and picking up very handy items like bungee cords, gloves and towels. That showed real restraint. We even saw an old rat walking along the roadside. Fun times.

It was definitely hardest on me, the driver. I was beginning to get a little road rage.

I guess in addition to all the extra people in town for fleet week, there was also traffic from people attending the 49ers and Raiders' football games. So much for the less traffic on Sunday theory.

We were pooped when we got home, but it was a fun trip. We love spending time with Cam and Cass, and we had some serious family bonding time crammed into my car for hours on end (inching along...aaarggg!).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Art of Photography, Dance, and Friendship

So as I said in my previous post, we had a real, honest-to-goodness photographer come out and take photos of us getting ready for our dance performance.

I was so impressed by the detail that her eye caught, versus what we normal humans see. She has a true talent.

I asked her if she wouldn't mind photographing me in my cabaret costume before I put on my more tribal style costume for the performance.

I love how she caught the movement.

This photographer has a special place in my heart, as she is my ex-sister-in-law. (Although I really hate putting "ex" in front of anyone's title). I prefer to call her my kids' aunt.

We haven't spoken for 13 or so years, I guess. We had just recently (over the past year) gotten back in touch by reading each other's blogs. I am thankful that we are now friends again. I am really flattered that she was interested enough in our troupe and in bellydance to come photograph us. Thanks, Karen!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pictures from our Dance Performance

Our troupe danced at a local festival this weekend. Here are some photos. We also had a professional photographer come and take pictures of us getting ready and rehearsing. Can't wait to see those, but for now these will do:

Paid Exercise--Woo!

So at my print shop job, we have about a billion 2-color decals we're printing. (A billion was my rough estimate, but I was actually informed it's only 800, well 2-colors so that means 1600 impressions. Sure seems like a billion, give-or-take.)

These decals are 4'x6' sheets and we print them on our biggest press which we call "Bob" (for reasons unknown to me). My job the other day was to grab one end of the decal out of the press, while another "highly skilled production assistant" grabbed the other end. We then took the decal towards the back of the shop, around another press and placed it on the conveyor that takes it through the big UV heater-thingy that cures the ink. The other schmuck, I mean worker, then walked back to Bob, while I skirted around the big heater thingy and caught the decal on the way out, stacked it, and then made the rest of my circuit back to where I started.

47 steps total each time. We did it 367 times that day. That's over 17,000 steps. Whew! I kind of felt it too! It is said that we should each walk 10,000 steps a day, so I definitely achieved my quota that day!

The boss came out to check on our progress, and I told him I wanted to be paid by the mile instead of the hour that day. He said he couldn't do that, but he wouldn't charge me for the exercise class. Funny guy, that boss.

We did another 100 or so yesterday and finished all the blue ink (I know that doesn't add up to 800, but some other "highly skilled production assistants" had their turn on another day). So it looks like I'll still be getting plenty of exercise in the coming week. Woo-hoo!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hair and Hairy Hamsters

I cut Nat and Shel's hair a couple nights ago. Just a trim on Shelby's, but took quite a bit off of Nat's. Now they look even more alike.

I was proud of Nat today. She has been working with her hamster every day and today it paid off. She was finally able to hold him.

We've had Otis for about 3 weeks and he's been a bit shy and has been a biter. I'll give Nat credit though, she's been able to coax him out into his ball, then transfer him into a little open fence type cage where she pets him. She has slowly worked with him, all on her own accord.

Way to go, Nat! Maybe she'll follow in Cesar Millan's footsteps and become the Hamster Whisperer!