Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Why They're Called Peanut

We had our second-trimester ultrasound yesterday! We're having a boy! Here's the ultrasound picture, just to share:
This is the baby's profile. That first bump is the nose, I assume it's followed by lips. It was a lot easier to tell yesterday when he was moving around.

And here's our first-trimester ultrasound.
As I recall, he was actually on his side, but turned his face for this one. It was funny because he was in perfect position for the picture the whole time, but when it came time to take pictures, he rolled over. "Done!" So getting his little profile took a bit of prodding.

Imagine, only another 15-20 weeks until we get to see him on the outside!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

White Christmas

Being in Wisconsin, you'd think that a white Christmas is a no-brainer, right? Well, on Christmas day Aaron sprung on me the following idea: that a truly white Christmas means that it actually snows on Christmas day. Now, I'm not sure whether I agree with this. After all, the only other time I've experienced anything remotely close to a white Christmas was in 1984: I was 10, living in Ridgecrest, CA, and it snowed on December 22nd or so. Snow in Ridgecrest is extremely rare, occurring every 4 years or so, and even then it usually shows up in February. Then it melts by 10 a.m.

That year we'd built a snowman in the front yard and not all of it had melted by Christmas. So for years I counted that as my (tongue-in-cheek, of course) white Christmas. I'll let you decide, based on the pictures below. After all, it snowed on Christmas Eve!

Here we are, touring one of the lighted parks near our home:
You can see our building in the background of this picture. Every time we come home we look to see if the kitties are hanging out in the windows. :)
And here's a sweet scene we saw on Christmas Eve. You can't really tell here, but if you click on the pic you can see that the guy had written "Will You Marry Me?" in the snow in red letters. I hope she said yes, but it was really funny because they were walking a dog, and he kept leading her back to the snow to admire his handiwork. It was all gone in a few hours -- the snow filled it in!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cute Kitties

I have way too many cute pictures of my cats to post here -- I don't want this to become a cute cat blog! But I had to share these photos:

This is Taco, fascinated by the snow falling. Sometimes he tries to catch the flakes. Oh, that darn window always gets in the way!

Taco has always been a "window cat;" in San Diego he loved to sit by the window and watch the birds, or hang out on the balcony and watch (or attack) the birds. Our new apartment doesn't have a balcony and we were really worried he'd be too bored. But we haven't had much of a problem, and the snow helps! I wonder if he'll still be interested in spring?

No real story to accompany this one, I just love that our kitties are hanging out in their matching beds. Plus the look on Taco's face is priceless.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I hate it when you can only communicate with someone via email. Here's what happens:

Me: Hey, I'm really interested in doing this thing. You're in charge of assigning people, so let me know what I can do.

Her: Great! I think there's something coming up real soon. I'll check with the others people, but we may be good to go.

*silence for 1 week*

Me: Just wanted to check in, is that assignment available?

Her: I thought you were assigned.

Me: Um, no. At least, no one told me.


Me: Hey there! Am I assigned?

Her: Hey, I'm attaching this document that will help you with your assignment.

Me: Thanks, that will be helpful. Once I actually have an assignment. Can you let me know when I'll be assigned?


Me: sigh

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Autumn Leaves

Autumn is my favorite season. It's a fairly short season in Wisconsin, but certainly beautiful. I managed to convince Aaron to put down his work for a few hours and check out the colors with me.

I think the orange leaves are my favorite.Aaron really got into the season after we hiked a bit -- here he is making leaf angels! It won't be long before he gets a chance to do this in snow!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Downtown

Just a little bit of Halloween spirit from our apartment. :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Flashback: 5th Anniversary

We celebrated our anniversary in August this year even though the big date was June 28th. Why? Well, in preparation for moving, we basically had no time to celebrate such a big event. Of our final 8 weekends in San Diego, we were out of town visiting family for 6 or 7 of them. On our actual anniversary, Aaron was with his parents and brother, visiting his one surviving grandmother -- in fact, his sole surviving grandparent -- up in Washington state.

Of course, it was all worth it. And we got to go someplace new for our anniversary this year. I booked us a nice at a B&B in Door County, Wisconsin.
You say you've never heard of Door County? We hadn't either, but it's known as the Cap Cod of the Midwest. If you look at the state of Wisconsin, notice that it's shaped like a catcher's mit. Door County is the thumb. And it's beautiful. I can see why it's so popular for summer homes (and such expensive ones!).
The most important feature of the B&B was our isolated room with a whirlpool tub. The second most important feature was that they allowed pets in our room. We wanted to bring the cats because we'd only had Pickle for about 3 weeks at that point. And we have more fun when we're not worrying about them. We'd rather take pictures of them like this:
Here is a very contented Taco lounging over the fireplace.
Now, I haven't been to Cape Cod since I was ... 11? And I don't remember if they have all of the fun and bizarre sights that Door County does. Working dairies? A farm museum? Awesome pies and soft serve ice cream? Goats on the sod roof of a restaurant?
You read that right. Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay pastures goats on their sod roof from May to October. Apparently it started as a joke on Al's wedding day about 35 years ago, but it caused such a commotion and a rise in customers that Al kept them up! As you can see from this picture, the line for the restaurant is around the building.
In all, it was a wonderful anniversary. Thank you, Aaron, for making it so, and for making the past 5 years the happiest of my life! Let's go for 75 more!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kitten Teeth!

Our kitten, Pickle, is about 4 months old and our vet told us that he's teething. At his last visit she noticed that he'd already lost two teeth. My friend Nikki found one of her kitten's teeth and she said that kittens usually just swallow their teeth so you usually never see one. So I was not prepared when I found this on my desk chair last night:

It was so big I thought he'd lost one of his claws! I put it on ol' Abe there for reference.

Don't worry, Pickle is fine. He doesn't seem to want a frozen toy or washcloth to chew on, and is still tearing around the house, chasing his favorite toys (which includes our other cat, Taco).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Flashback: Cross-country trip

Now that I'm unemployed I have no excuse to neglect this blog, so I thought I'd fatten it up a little by going down memory lane. Specifically, our cross-country move.
We left San Diego the Monday after the 4th of July, feeling like we'd made it out by the skin of our teeth. The previous two months were primarily spent on family visits and reunions, which was great, but really put us behind in terms of packing. Honestly, I think we'd still be there if it weren't for a group of friends who helped us move boxes, and one particular friend who packed our kitchen. You all know who you are, and Aaron and I are indebted to you for the rest of our lives.However, after much chaos and cleaning, we were ready to hit the road. Here's Taco, planning our route. It didn't do much good because this was his attitude for most of the trip:
Can't you just hear the fury? We did let him out of the car in Nebraska and he climbed all over us, staring out of the windows before deciding it was best to just get back in his cage and go to sleep.
I have extremely fond memories of traveling cross-country with my family when I was 10 and 11, and I've wanted to recreate that trip for a long time now: a leisurely drive scouting out the unusual and uniquely American, collecting stories about small towns and rest stops. Never in this scenario did I imagine gas at $4 a gallon, a shrieking cat in the backseat, or only having about a week to move and get set up because my job was waiting for me. So we avoided most of the sightseeing. However, we saw some incredible scenery from the car. Here I am at Devil's Canyon in Utah.I love desert scenery -- especially from an air-conditioned car.
Nebraska was probably the most eventful part of the trip. We saw a brush fire on the highway median, goats being milked at a rest stop, and part of the Oregon Trail. It was weird to read about pioneers seeking their fortune by heading west when we were doing the same thing, but heading east!
Oh, and if you are trying to work on a laptop while driving through the midwest, be sure to plan your route through Iowa. They have free wireless at nearly every rest stop!
Just when we thought we'd never get there, we made it to Wisconsin. It was too late to move in to our new apartment, but we managed to stay in a motel in our new home state. Here's a picture of our reflections and Taco.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Art of Being Unemployed

Well, I received a surprise phone call last week from my boss's boss. A really nice guy, he went on at length about the great job I've been doing even though I've been working remotely, but how the company needs to do some reorganizing and so ... I've been laid off!
My friends are all being very sweet and sympathetic, but I have to say that I'm not that disappointed. I prefer steady paychecks, but I will receive a bit of severance. And while I love working from home, never being in the office had its drawbacks, as did trying to live in two time zones at once.
My family, however, are pretty excited for me. They know I'm working on my third (unpublished) novel and that this is my chance focus on that and live the writer's life, a lifelong dream of mine. Even if I remain unpublished, at least I'll have had this time.
So when you're wondering what I'm doing, here's a sample. Me at my desk with Pickle, who is a very helpful office-mate.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bronz Fonz

When I sent out the email saying that we'd officially moved to Milwaukee, one of my cousins responded to say that they love Milwaukee, and "Say hi to Laverne and Shirley for us!" Well, a few days later we got our chance. The casts of Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley (with the exceptions of Ron Howard and Scott Baio) came to Milwaukee to witness the unveiling of the Bronze Fonz:This is one of those odd and quirky things I love about Milwaukee. We now have a life-size statue of Henry Winkler as Arthur Fonzarelli on the Riverwalk. The crowd was too large to get a better picture than this, but we will try to get a better picture after the tourists have gone, but but before the pigeons have had their way with the statue.

Brewers vs. the Padres

Thursday was our first night at our new local ballpark. Aaron and I used to go to Petco several times a season -- we'd get standing-room-only tickets ($5 each) and then wander around the park during the game, taking in the view from different angles.
This time I suprised him with good seats (more than $5)! We were so close to the players that we could have caught a foul ball! I purposefully bought tickets for a nice that the Brewers were playing the Padres. Now, we're strictly hometown-team fans, but we were pretty happy when the Padres won. Aaron said, "After all, they've been a part of our hearts and minds for 8 years, we can't just expect that to go away." That's for sure. But we were still plenty happy when the Brewers won on Friday and Saturday. We'll see if they win today's game and take the series.
Link For some reason, all that sitting left us exhausted. I think you can tell how tired we felt in this picture. Next time we'll get cheap seats and wander around the standing-room areas like we used to.
I also finally got to witness the famous Sausage Races. There's nothing much to it -- people dress up in sausage outfits and race. It's not like watching the San Diego Chicken, but it's still pretty cool. Here you can see the Hot Dog is in the lead, with the Italian and Polish sausages behind. Unfortunately, Chorizo and Bratwurst are way back.
The Hot Dog won that night -- you can see he's got pretty good stats!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Homesick 2

Wisconsin is different from California in these ways:
  1. When you're the Californian, people tell you how rude most Californians are, but that you're different. I think these people all had some horrible vacation in L.A.
  2. People ask if you've lived through a real winter before and when you haven't (like us), they seem filled with a secret glee. Then they feel bad and tell you that it's not really that bad.
  3. There are more bugs.
  4. At every restaurant there's one black fly that buzzes around Aaron (I tell him it's because he's so sweet).
  5. You can't buy alcohol at a grocery store after 9 p.m.
  6. The "Happy Cows are from California" commercials are still shown, but they only mention California milk, not cheese -- don't mess with Wisconsonites and their cheese (justifiably -- it's awesome).
  7. You can find cheese curds just about everywhere (yum).
  8. Fruit grows everywhere! I can take a walk along the lake and find chokecherries and berry bushes! And I don't mean the citrus trees you often find in people's yards in California -- these grow wild! It reminds me of the wild blackberry bushes that grow anywhere and everywhere in the Pacific Northwest.
  9. There's no ocean, but Lake Michigan is really cool. But I keep getting my directions mixed up because the water is East of us instead of West.
  10. Tailgating is worse here -- and I don't mean the kind where you party in the parking lot before (or during) a sporting event. I mean the cars-acting-like-gravy-train horses kind of tailgating. Don't get me wrong, I know that Californians are aggressive drivers. I've done my share of the "You're going too slow" kind of tailgating. But in Wisconsin, it's like people take comfort from being 3 feet behind you. There are even signs on the freeways reminding people not to do it. You would think that drivers would be more cautious in a place with so much snow and ice, but no. Before we got our Wisconsin license plates I thought it might be that mild harassment that Californians sometimes get when traveling out of state -- a la Oregon's "Keep Moving, Stranger" program (see William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways for more information). But it has not changed since we got our WI plates.

We Are Officially Wisconsonites!

We went to the DMV today and got our new license plates and driver licenses! The whole thing cost us just over $200, which was a bit of a surprise. And we do have to take our car for an "emissions inspection," which is just like a smog check except that it's free.
Before we left San Diego, I made a list of things we had to do when we got here to make me feel at home. We've done them all now (new bank, library cards, dance classes, that sort of thing) except register to vote. Luckily, in Wisconsin you can register the day before the election (even the day of in some situations), but I like to do these things farther in advance.
Anyway, we'll get our new driver licenses in the mail in about a week or so. It'll be nice to not have to flash my CA id and to switch out our license plates. I can't say for certain whether people have been treating us differently on the road than if we had Wisconsin plates on our car, but I will certainly feel less conspicuous.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Homesick 1

We haven't been homesick since we got here because we've been so busy. There's just too much to do and learn about Milwaukee. However, right now I have the biggest craving for mahi-mahi tacos and the chips and salsa at En Fuego. Some friends introduced us to it years ago, and we started taking visitors there, then going for a walk on the beach after dinner, and then driving home along Torrey Pines beach. The service isn't always consistent, but the food is always good. If they're serving the tomatilla-broth posada as their soup of the day, have a cup for me!

UPDATE: As a surprise last night, Aaron came home and said he was taking me out for Mexican food. We found a delicious Oaxacan restauran named Cempazuchi. It was delicious. I was really craving some chips and salsa and they served us two kinds: one roasted tomato and the other was mole-based! Both were awesome, but the roasted tomato one really satiated my craving.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Life, New Blog

I once had a blog that I turned to in a time of great frustration. It is no more, lost somewhere in the transfer of blogspot to google. But I don't mind so much. That blog was modeled after a blog I no longer read because the source of that frustration is gone, gone! So here is my new blog, in which I will try to complain a little less (which would be a great accomplishment for me) and find a little more joy in life (another great accomplishment)!

The biggest news is that Aaron and I recently moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is a great city and we really love it here. We celebrated by adopting a kitten, Pickle to accompany our San Diego cat, Taco. They already get along really well:

I'll update more soon, I just wanted to have my inaugural post!