Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Day 2008

We had Christmas morning breakfast with my dad's siblings in Hilmar, it was a bit smaller than last year, only 40 people or so.  One brother and his whole family weren't able to join us this year (and they were missed!).  After breakfast we drove up to the Walsh cabin for fondue dinner.  Yum!

  Linda and Ed had the place completely decorated, and the whole area was covered in at least 2 feet of snow which always makes it feel more like Christmas.  

Tanner and Belle came with us, and as usual, Belle loved playing in the snow and Tanner loved sleeping by the fire.  

We weren't able to stay as long as last year, but we're looking forward to the next trip up :)

Christmas Eve 2008

Christmas snuck up on us this year.  We were both so engrossed in our jobs that we were a little surprised when December rolled around.  We spent Christmas Eve with my family at my sister's house.  Her kids are growing up so quickly!  They're beautiful and fun~ the little guy is crawling now and he's so proud of himself (as he should be!)

Big sister received a great doctor's kit, and she wasted no time inspecting it.  

My grandparents joined us and we all had a nice visit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


As you know, we have a darling cat, Dotti (who's convinced she's a dog).  She's great.  She lives harmoniously with the dogs, playing with them, sleeping with them, and even walking with them.  Yes walking.  She recently developed a habit of following us on our walks around the neighborhood.  It didn't bother me so much when we were just taking short walks to get the dogs out of the yard, and she really never crossed a major street to follow us- until Saturday.  I took off for a long walk with the dogs, as I tend to do on the weekends, and it took about three block for me to realize Dotti was following us.  For those of you familiar with Turlock, she crossed Colorado and followed us along the perimeter of the high school, crossed Canal (in the crosswalk, I might add, while cars waited for her), and walked all the way to Berkeley Avenue.  At that point, another walker passed us, and she darted away.  I completed the walk and returned home about an hour later; I was disappointed that Dotti wasn't there, but she wasn't flat in the street either, so I didn't think about it much.  I did think about it hours later when I brought the dogs in for the night and she was nowhere to be found.  I was in tears, having convinced myself that someone stopped to "save" this cat from the busy street, and Dotti, being the friendliest cat ever, went along willingly.  I cried even harder as Belle walked around the house, looking in all of Dotti's hiding spots, over and over again until we had to make her sit in another room.  She missed Dotti too!!!  Oh, how I cried.  I was a bad cat mommy- this was the third cat in a year to leave our home... As Travis will tell you, I was still incredibly upset the next morning when she was still not around.  We packed up for Santa Cruz and left, as planned, and I left out more than enough food and water, but was sure she was gone from us forever.
But no!  As we pulled into the driveway this afternoon, three days from the last time we saw her, Dotti was waiting for us!!!!  I picked her up and carried her around for at least half an hour. When I put her down, she ran after the dogs and has not left their side since.  Our little family is back together again!  

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Growing up, I slept heavily.  I would sleep hard and wake up ready to go. According to my mom, I didn't wake up super early or super late, I just woke up when I was ready.
When I reached high school, I still slept heavily, and would sleep in on the weekends, until 8am or 9am, but compared to a couple of my close friends, I was an early riser.  If I stayed the night at a friend's house and we went to sleep around 1am, I would wake up around 8am and wait for my friend to wake up.  I would eventually get tired of waiting, and I would go home and do my own thing.
When I reached college, I stayed up late studying, like everyone else, and worked late some nights, so my average bedtime was around 1am, sometimes 2am if I went out with friends.  I would still sleep hard and wake up early, 9 at the latest.  
When we moved to Hawaii, I don't remember a remarkable change.  The whole island shut down around 11pm, so we all went to bed fairly early (although I do remember Kenji always calling us the old couple because we would leave parties around 11).  Still woke up early.
Then, grad school.  I stopped sleeping well- truthfully, I stopped sleeping.  Even if I went to bed early, I wouldn't fall asleep.  I would stay awake for HOURS- I'm talking 4 or 5 hours, trying to relax and fall asleep.  I would eventually move to the couch or the spare room and fall asleep around 3am, waking at 6 or 7 to go to work, then school.  Naturally, I attributed that sleep pattern the the stress of being in school.  I figured I would return to my old sleep pattern once school was over.
Didn't happen.
After defending my thesis, I slept hard for about three months.  I was soooo tired. I'm talking about the kind of tired where you drag yourself to bed at 8pm because sitting up to watch tv takes too much energy.  Even if I went to bed at 8, I'd wake up at 9 or even 10 on the weekends.  I figured I was just catching up on all the sleep I'd missed the three previous years.
Over the last year, my sleep pattern slowly changed again.  I went back to being a normal person, going to bed around 10pm and waking around 6, rested.  Sleeping in until 8am on the weekends, just because I could.  
But, I think the pendulum has swung too far the other way.  
I'm not sleeping again. 
The only difference is when I'm sleeping.  I fall asleep easily enough, but now I can't STAY asleep.  
For the last two weeks, I've been waking up somewhere between 3:45am and 4:30am.  I just lay there.  I'm still tired and I still want to sleep, but I can't fall back asleep.  What gives?  When I do fall asleep, it's usually minutes before Travis' alarm goes off at 5:35am.  Sometimes I can drift back into dreamland for another 45 minutes or so until my alarm goes off, sometimes I can't.  
I am NOT ready to admit that I'm an insomniac, so I beg of you have any advice on how I can fall back asleep?
Currently, I practice my deep breathing techniques from yoga and sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't.  What else can I do?  Any and all suggestions would be helpful.  If I don't change this soon, the bags under my eyes are going to take over my cheeks!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thank goodness~

Three more days until vacation
Three more days until vacation
Three more days until vacation...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

2008 Christmas Photo

I sat down to put the tree skirt around the base of our tree and Tanner decided he wanted to be a lap dog.  He climbed right up and made himself at home, which made the Dotti jealous.  She ran over and jumped in my lap as well, which caught Belle's attention.  SHE ran over and tried to play with Dotti, which made Travis laugh.  Travis laughing made me laugh, which made Tanner try to lick me.  It was awesome.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Froggy Fog

It is so foggy out, I can't see the football stadium that's at the end of our street- it's only 5 houses away!  PLEASE travel to and from work safely, today.  Please put on your headlights and lower your speed.  I'll be traveling to work on the freeway, which will be a difficult, but Travis travels to work on country roads and it's extremely scary for me to think about.  When you're surrounded by pasture, visibility lowers to a car length or two.  To prevent driving Travis crazy with my cautionary words, I'll bestow them on all of you out there~ DRIVE CAREFULLY and MINDFULLY, your life (and my husband's life) depends on it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Do you realize it's only 18 days until Christmas?  How can that be?!  It was just Halloween, no, it was just Labor Day!  What on earth is happening?  Is the speeding up of time a byproduct of getting older?  I have no issue with approaching 30, but I DO have a problem with life passing me by.  Where does the time go?  I think Travis and I do a fine job of slowing down, taking little trips, and admiring the scenery of life, but holy cow, life is still passing me by quickly.  It's not that I have a list of things that I must do before a set deadline, I just want to be able to enjoy every day, appreciate the little things, and spend time with all my friends and family.  How does one fit all that in every day, every week, even every month?  Sheesh.  Any suggestions for me?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Even more Mendo

While in Mendocino, Travis and I went to our new favorite winery, Esterlina.  It was fantastic!  If you see this wine in the store, take my word for it, it is enjoyable.  It is the first time I've enjoyed EVERY type of wine from the same vineyard.

More Mendo

On our second day in Mendocino was spent just like our first date in Santa Cruz ten years ago...getting lost on a mini hike.  It was great.  We found a slug that reminded us of the Banana Slugs in SC, but not quiet as yellow.  The red and orange circle is a mushroom~ one of many growing wild on the coast.  Travis spent a couple of moments drooling over the great surf and hidden diving pools.  I was  amazing at the blue-tint of the water- not dark like Hawaii, but not grey like Santa Cruz.  Travis, being the smartest man alive, explained that the water in SC is grey because the city is built on a ledge of sandstone, as compared to Mendocino, which is built on granite.  Apparently, sandstone particles suspend in the water longer than granite particles because they are lighter in density.  This clouds the water; granite particles sink quickly, leaving the water a brilliant color of blue.  Amazing!  It's like being married to my own geologist :)  Whatever the reason, the water color is gorgeous.


Travis and I just returned from a long weekend getaway to Mendocino.  We had such a relaxing trip.  We arrived as the sun was setting over Van Damm State Park, so my pictures are a little hazy and don't do the view justice, but I still had to share them.  We took a short hike into Van Damm, and I was reminded how beautiful natural ferns are.