Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Couldn't be Fonder of My Big Home. The Bees are Buzzin' in the Tree to Make Some Honey Just for Me

Okay, guys, here we go. I'm holding my breathe and diving in to a new and adventure-filled apiary hobby.

Yeah, I'm getting honey bees.

The hives and equipment arrived a few days ago: we unpacked them today. We'll order the actual bees this week, although they won't arrive until April or May.

I'm reading books, blogs and websites. I've joined the local beekeeping society and I've sunk quite a bit of money into this new pursuit. I'm very excited.

I'm doing this jointly with Anna. Basically she's the brains behind the operation and I just provide the land. I want the bees to amp up my tree's fruit production. Honey is a nice bonus. Actually, truth be told, I'm not really a fan of honey. I like it for cooking, but I find peanut butter and honey sandwiches to be less than appealing. Drek, on the other hand, is a huge fan of honey, so I guess it will even out.

But the real point of getting bees is the bees. I'm so excited to welcome those girls into their new home!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Did He Say Limo? Wait a Second, I'm His Translator. Hold Up!

Remember how I used to have a big party every month? I miss that. I need to plan more parties for the upcoming months...

Last January I started planning a surprise birthday party for my wonderful Sister-in-law, Anna. I didn't know exactly what we would do, but I did want it to involve formal dresses, a limo, and a surprise.  I told my friend, Jen,  and we both were pretty excited about the idea.  Last month Jen and I nailed down a few more details and then I emailed a few other friends for input. It didn't take long for a great plan to form: We would dress up in formal and semi-formal dresses, rent a limo and drive over to Anna's house where her husband would somehow have gotten her all dressed up in a formal. We would surprise her and kidnap her and eat birthday cake in the limo while we drove to a very fancy restaurant to eat dinner. That was the plan, anyway. 

After I talked to Anna's husband, the plan fell apart pretty quickly; he was leaving on a business trip on her birthday, so he would be unable to get her dressed up and he wouldn't be there to watch the kids while she was kidnapped. 

After a flurry of emails of working out everyone's schedules (no easy feat) we finally decided to just do it without the help of the husband. We allotted thirty extra minutes to a surprise make-over  and thought that was a better idea anyway. 

And so, a week before her birthday, the plans were cemented. The limo was reserved, the reservations for the restaurant was made, and the dresses were picked out. 

Things went quite perfectly. To be honest, I was expecting a few problems. In that regard I was very pleasantly surprised.  The limo showed up exactly on time and to my surprise it wasn't just a limo, but a beautiful white stretch limo. It was way more fancy than I had expected!  We rode it over to Anna's house where we met the guest who had made the birthday cake. Again, I was surprised by the lack of problems: She was on time, the cake was absolutely amazing, (and later I discovered it was delicious) and for ease of eating in a limo, she had made five little individual cakes and put them each on their own little plate with their own fork and carried them all on a tray. It was brilliant! 

It was time for the birthday girl! We rang the doorbell and even got the whole "Surprise; Happy Birthday!" yelling and the surprise reaction on film. We bustled in and did the make-over while Drek finished preparing dinner for the kids and volunteered to stay and watch them while we went out. 

When the birthday girl was ready we went outside and surprised her with the limo. The last guest arrived and we all we got in to the limo and ate the amazing cake. We went to the restaurant and got one of the best waiters I have ever had. After a wonderful dinner he brought Anna a Creme Brulee with a lit candle in it, on the house, with enough spoons for everyone. 

We took pictures in front of the limo and then went back to Anna's house. We arrived exactly on schedule. It was amazing. 

So that party went well. I'm excited to start planning the next one! Happy Birthday, Anna!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Okay, Rule Number One Out Here: Always... No, Never Go Out in a Blizzard

I'm visiting Homeland for a few days. Mei-mei is getting ready to go on her mission and I wanted to be with her when she went to the Temple for the first time.

Saturday night was the big event. I left Ash with her grandparents and drove down the mountain to the Temple. Usually it's about a five minute drive, but I happened to be driving through a snow storm, and sliding down most of the hills, so it took about fifteen minutes.

But I still made it on time. It was wonderful to be there with both my sisters and my parents. Our whole original family, together in the temple! It was very nice.

And then it ended and I had to drive back up  the mountain. The snowstorm had only gotten worse and of course now it was dark and the roads were slush and ice. That drive is probably the most terrifying drive of my life. My tires were spinning about sixty miles and hour, but  I was only going about fifteen miles and hour, if that. But I was going forward, which was good. I was terrified of sliding backwards down those steep hills. And I did mostly stay in my lane, although there were a few times when I was driving in the middle of the road.

Finally I was only one turn away. I turned from a semi-busy road onto an all-white road. I could see my in-laws house four houses away. I turned, and just kept turning. The road was sheer ice. I gently glided into the curb, then put the car into reverse to try again. Alas, I was stuck. Just then the snow plow drove by, clearing the road. If only he had driven by one minute earlier.

So I called my wonderful mother-in-law, who sent out the boys, and girls, and the girl's dates. They got me unstuck and in front of the house, and then my mother-in-law pulled some pretty impressive NASCAR stunts to get the car into the driveway.

A few minutes later we were drinking hot chocolate and eating popcorn. It ended well, but I am so ready to get back to driving  Astro on the warm roads of Sunland.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

That's a Post Holer. You Dig holes. For Posts

In fixing up our yard, we've planted twelve trees in nine months; Last week we planted a Macadamia tree to add to the collection of new trees on our property.

I use the term "we" lightly. I've picked out most of the trees, but I've only dug the hole and planted two.  Drek's the one that's dug most of the holes and done the hard labor. Drek planted this last tree. He did it while I was away from the house. When I got back I looked at the new tree in our yard. I also noticed that he had tended to all twelve of our trees and there was a bag of fertilizer next to one.

"What did you put around all threes?" I asked him.
"That stuff around all the trees. It looks like straw. What is it?"
"It's straw."
"Ah. That makes sense."

I hope this coming year we'll be able to eat a few freshly-picked fruit and macadamia nuts!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Live Every Week Like It's Shark Week

During the break between Christmas and New Years, Drek's family came to visit and we all went to the beach. It was a perfect beach day; the sky was blue, the sun was shining the temperatures hovered around 76, and the beach wasn't crowded at all.

I sat on the beach by the towels while Drek did a little bit of boogie boarding. I was trying to get a good picture of him, and it was then that I noticed something beside him.

I couldn't tell right away what it was. I thought it might be a really big fish. I saw it's long beautiful body swimming right next to Drek with a fin coming above the water for just an instant.

I was so excited, I jumped up with the camera to get a closer shot. In my excitement I tried to describe what I was seeing, In my mind, I thought "Sea animal." the but the word that came our of my mouth was "Shark!"

Here's a little tip for you beach goers: It's not really the best idea to yell "Shark!" on a beach while there are several swimmers, boogieboarders and surfers in the water, and a crowd of people on the sand next to you. Jumping up all of a sudden and frantically snapping pictures with your camera after yelling "Shark!" instead of explaining what you are seeing, isn't really a good idea either. Especially if you are excitedly yelling things like "Right next to Drek! It's like a foot away! It's so close, it's close enough to bite him!"

It was not a shark, but a sea lion. I saw that almost right away, but it took several minutes for everyone else on the beach to realize that. Oops.

Friday, January 13, 2012

That Station Wagon of Yours Doesn't Exactly Look Like a Sailing Ship. It's a Rocket Ship. My Mistake

We got a new car. It's a salvaged car, just like Jasmine was. Actually, it was rebuilt by the same guy that built Jasmine. 

It's a Saturn, it has a sunroof, the console is super fancy and the engine is whisper quiet. The doors open in opposite directions and there are only two seats in the back. For those reasons, this car is my spaceship. I named him Astro: 

Sunday, January 08, 2012

If Anyone Gets Nosy, Just, You Know... Shoot 'em. Shoot 'em? Politely

Today was the first Sunday School class of 2012. I'm not teaching the same class. This time I'm teaching thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen year olds. I have nine kids in my class; five of them were in my class. As far as I can tell, there is no logical explanation for how the Sunday school classes are divided up. Officially, I am teaching the fourteen/fifteen year old Sunday school class, but that's two children, so they added the older class, and three kids from the younger class.

You may think that they took those three random kids out of my old class because my old class was so huge (fourteen teenagers) and no one wants to teach a class that big, but you would be wrong. For reasons I cannot fathom, they took five kids out of my old class and moved them up, and then they combined that class with the younger class, making that class include twenty kids ages eleven to fourteen.

TWENTY. And I thought fourteen was out of control. I am so glad I am not teaching that class.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

You Know, I Was Born in the Wrong Millennium

It's been a week and a day since our car accident on the freeway. The insurance called yesterday to let us know that Jasmine is, officially, totaled. Repairs were estimated at over six thousand dollars. I told them  six thousand dollars worth of repairs was well worth it for that little car, but they said no. They said they would give me a check for a thousand dollars instead.

Sadly, I can't buy a used car for a thousand dollars.

I'm so confused by this...why do we have insurance again? Isn't is so they will pay for things in the case of an accident? Um, hello, I was in an accident, why aren't they paying to fix my car or to get me a new one? What was the point? Instead of paying for insurance every month I could have put it in a savings account. After five years that money would be more than enough to buy me a new used car.  To top it off, they said now that they have offered us the money (but we won't get the check for two to three weeks) they will stop paying for a rental car. So, we need to buy another car like, now.

I've tried to convince Drek that this is the perfect opportunity to ditch the car altogether. We can ride the bus! We can bike! We can just stay home! But since the buses here don't really go a lot of places and biking isn't really feasible with the long distances and the hills, he said no. I tried to sweeten the deal by telling him we'd buy him a motorcycle, so he could still get around. But that still leaves us with no way to get to church on Sundays, so he still said no.

So I've spent all day today trying to get us a car loan. I'm so irritated by the whole thing. I don't want a car, but I have to buy one. I don't have money to buy a car, so I have to borrow the money. And then I'll still have to pay for insurance on that car that I didn't want.

It's days like this when I truly wonder if I wasn't born in the wrong millennium.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Truth Is... I am a Member of a Joint NSA CIA Black Ops Team that is Stationed Here in Burbank. I Have a Level 6 Clearance and My Code Name is Charles Carmichael. I'm a Spy, Buddy

Is there anyone, in the entire United States, that lives somewhere where only mail addressed to them is delivered?  It seems like everywhere I have lived, more mail is delivered addressed to non current residents than mail addressed to actual current residents of the house.

This house is no exception. We get a lot of mail for other people. I've gone through all the standard channels: marking it and putting it back into the mailbox, actually calling the post office, but the mail keeps coming.

Today UPS delivered a package for a Steve Smith to our door. I found it so odd: I can see USPS mail coming to us but a hand-delivered package to our doorstep marked "Time Sensitive Material?" This wasn't someone forgetting to change an address in some database, this was was someone ordering something off the internet and specifically shipping it to my house.

Right under the name was a phone number to reach Steve Smith. I glanced over the package but no where was there a number to call UPS. What was I supposed to do? Leave the package in my mailbox? It wasn't USPS's problem.

I sighed and dialed Steve Smith's number, hoping he would tell me he'd have UPS come back and pick it up. Besides, that way I could ask him why he used my address.

But what would I say? Was the phone number even real? Would he answer? Would his secretary answer? What if his wife answered and he had mistaken my address for his mistress' address and I was about to be caught in the middle of a very messy ordeal?

I decided I would act very business-like and ask for a Mr. Steve Smith. I would inform them that I was in possession of a package and ask the best way to return it to him. That sounded good. I dialed the number.

The phone rang a few times and then a familiar voice picked up the phone. "Hello, my love." It said.

I paused.



"Is this your phone number?"

"This is my google number."

"Oh. Uh... do you know why we just got a package from UPS to a Mr. Steve Smith?"

"Yes. That's a name I use online sometimes for odd websites."

"Oh. Well, you package arrived."

"Great! Thanks!"

", you have an alias and a secret phone number?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"Oh....are you a spy?"

"I can't tell you that."


So, case solved. Now if only I could figure out to stop getting credit card offers for Michael Samor, that would be great.