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    Friday, February 27, 2009

    catching up on February happenings

    Wow, its been a while since I posted. Guess that's what happens when Real Life gets busy (including getting sick for a while).


    So...where to start? Let's see...

    I started out the month with making Dinner for the Hensleys (2/3) after work one night. I had promised I would after the baby was born, and the timing finally worked out. (I got to try out a breaded-Garlic-Parmesan Chicken dish that's was very tasty!) Rhiannon got to help me prep food in the kitchen by holding the measuring cups and spoons, and occasionally stirring. It was so cute! (and helpful =). Then she and I played with floor puzzles (fun! =). And of course I did get some nephew time too - got to hold Rowan for a bit. (Yay! =). After dinner the Meg & I watched Mama Mia!, which neither of us had seen yet, and we were both pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed it. (Of course there were times when we were singing along to the songs. Hard to resist =). And though Rowan fell asleep in my arms during the movie, I had no complaints. (I'm always up for baby-holding/bonding time =)

    A lot of that week was me trying to figure out the logistics for a class I wanted to offer to teach for Costume College 2009. The teacher class forms were due that weekend. I only ended up getting the one class form turned in (for my leather tooling class), but I'm perfectly fine with only offering that one class this year. Means I get to have more time to TAKE classes (yay! - especially since there should be some good ones focused on 18th century this year). And I'm also on the Committee again, but heading up a new dept for me, so there's new stuff to learn and take care of...which takes time.

    On Saturday the 7th, I had a busy but fun day. I ended up babysitting for the Hensleys (watching both Rhiannon and Rowan) for a few hours cause they had to attend a funeral. The babysitting time went fine, and Rhiannon actually was really good considering I was the only adult present when she woke (as Charlie & Maegen had to leave before she woke up). I had brought a new floor puzzle and we had fun working on that one, plus playing with her older puzzles. Later that same day (in the evening), I caught up with Gretchen and we went and saw Inkheart. We both liked that movie. Cute fantasy movie about a guy who could bring characters our of a book just by reading it (only problem, somone had to go into the book to keep the balance). Gretchen & I burst out laughing at a few of the villain's lines. I think I might have to own this movie.


    That Sunday (2/8) was the 2nd Costume College Committee planning meeting (3pm). The meeting went well, and it was packed with attendees. I think we had more assistants show up than usual (yay! the more who come and are involved/'in-the-know', the better). It was a good meeting overall, with only a slight derailment/hitch near the end with someone-who-shall-remain-unnamed going off on a rant for a bit. But the meeting was put back on track soon enough. (Whew!)

    The following week - well, wow. It was packed with emails about event planning and checking the weather forecast. My group had planned on attending the Presidents Day Weekend Civil War Event in Buena Park (at Knotts Berry Farm). However, all the weather reports were saying that a large storm system was headed in with a series of showers. And with the rain in the beginning of the week, and over the weekend (like on 2/7), I didn't want to deal with rain/mud/wet-canvas durin set up, let alone during take-down as most the weather reports said we'd have rain on both Friday afternoon (Set-Up) and Sunday afternoon (Take-Down). After a flurry of emails, the HCA's board finally called a vote to NOT attend the Knotts event (due to rain), and the vote passed. Instead, we decided to hold an Open House workshop on the Saturday (14th), where you could bring your questions, your started costuming/sewing projects, and we'd help you out.

    Saturday dawned chilly but clear - perfect weather for a Civil War reenactment, really, but I was still quite glad I wasn't at the event. (It was down-pouring when we would have been setting up on the Friday). I picked up Elizabeth McCash, my passenger for carpooling up to Simi Valley for the Open House, and we started out for the meeting/Open House after a quick stop for breakfast/coffee.

    And then...disaster. On the 5 Fwy N, while we were in the "passing" lane (far left lane), we had to come to a sudden halt (everyone was already starting to slow just to traffic conditions) when there was an accident up ahead. We managed to stop in time (whew!) , but the person behind me didn't. (Doh!) So, I was rear-ended on the 5 Fwy northbound at about 10:00am...and this time the car accident it wasn't my fault! We managed to make our way (slowly) over to the side of the freeway near the exit where we exchanged information and waited for CHP to arrive.

    I didn't appear to have a ton of damage (bumper damage yes, but the rear hatch didn't appear to have been damaged...although I found out later that my front grill came off from the impact when I discovered it missing), but the car that hit me had a geyser of steam and a ton of water coming from the engine area of the car. (The car that hit me was a Jeep Cherokee). I was the one that insisted we should have a police report written, since you can't go back and have it written up later (afterwards). It's better to have it written up and not need it, then find out you do need it after-the-fact.

    Eventually, the CHP officer got our info, and we were allowed to leave, so Elizabeth & I continued on our way up to Simi Valley. Though the Open House was only sparsely attended (Lana, Elizabeth, myself, and the hosts - Tom & Terri Willson), it was actually very productive. Lana got to teach Terri & Elizabeth about making their own buckram bonnets. (She oversaw Terri as Terri worked on her very first buckram bonnet.) And I had brought a crate full of research related books (mostly on costuming for 19th century), and those came in handy as well. Elizabeth got to go through pictures and figure out a better idea of what kind of outfit (and character) she'd like to create. We all got to work a bit on our characters for Civil War. (A rumor or two will soon be circulating in the "rumor mill" about Miss Violet Johnson ... hehehe ;-).

    By the time Elizabeth & I left, it was getting dark. I dropped her off (after gabbing with her for a bit) and then I ended up grabbing a bite to eat and visiting with the Hensleys while I ate (since they were just down the street). As it was approaching 9pm, and I still had to go to the store to buy some ingredients (including boneless-skinless chicken breasts) for a dinner I was planning on cooking up in LA for Metacon (gaming convention) held at the FIRM. I found the closest Albertsons (had to back-track a bit) and went 9pm at night! Fortunately, the butcher station was still open, so I could get 18 single chicken breasts (on sale for $1.99!). Whew!

    I got home about 10:30pm, and then I had to go to work with prepping the chicken for the next day. (I had to cut it into pieces, and put it in my garlic marinade...which meant crushing/mincing about a head of garlic and separating out the yokes of 18 eggs and mixing/putting the egg yoke-garlic-chicken mixture into zip bags to sit overnight). I think I got to bed around midnight, or a bit afterwards.

    On Sunday afternoon, after lunch with my folks, I drove up to the FIRM in West LA and hung out with my friends while I killed time before prepping dinner. At 5:00pm, I started peeling and slicing potatoes (to boil for mashed potatoes), and got those pots ready to turn on later. I took a bit of a break from dinner prep to teach some people how to play one of my favorite card games, "Tag 6!", but then I had to rush off mid-hand to finish dinner prep! Woops! The target time to serve dinner was 7:30pm, and while it wasn't ready at 7:30pm, I think I managed to serve at like 7:45pm (I think =). Everyone loved it, and I had no leftovers. (Some did manage to get seconds, but I had no leftovers by end of the night). I served my breaded-Parmesan-Garlic Chicken (baked) with mashed potatoes and corn. It was very tasty, if I do say so myself.

    Later on, I got to watch the Exorcist with David (since neither of us had seen it, and he had just started watching the movie). Morgan joined us at some point when he had finished running his game (around midnight I think). Final verdict - not nearly as scary as I thought it was going to be. Of course, I'm seeing this now at 30, instead of when I was that could be a factor.

    Sometime after 9m (I'm guessing here), I made a double batch of brownies, so obviously it took a while to bake. I covered half of the pan with peanut butter chips, since Graydon had requested peanut butter brownies. (I found peanut butter chips, so I figured...why not? I can do part of the pan with the chips). Warm brownies straight from the oven...always yummy! That was definitely a hit with crowd. =)

    After watching the Exorcist, we (David, Morgan & I) started watching Dogma...but we only made it half way through before Morgan and I were both fighting off falling asleep. (Hey, at least I wasn't the only one!) We both crashed at the FIRM (I was in no condition to drive - and the couch is quite comfy =). Fortunately, none of us had work on Monday cause of the holiday (Presidents Day)

    Unfortunately, I woke up with a headache and a bit of a sour stomach. Now, I've had this before, so I didn't think too much of it. I thought that some coffee (caffeine for the headache/waking up) and a muffin (food for the stomach) would help me feel more like myself. Unfortunately, I guessed wrong. The sugar in the coffee and the blueberry muffin hit my sour stomach and ended up making me feel worse....and then my head started throbbing. Ugh! I ended up sticking around at the FIRM most of Monday, lying prone on the couch cause I was too nauseated to move (and my head hurt). Finally, the combination of water, Excedrin, a couple of bites of plain bread, and rest (probably the latter was really what helped), and I could finally move around upright. (Albeit slowly).

    As I was recovering, to pass the time, Graydon & I played Tag 6! (I got to teach him my card game...yay!...and he promptly beat me at it a few times in a! ;-). At some point, David came home and he & I went out to grab some food to eat. We brought it back and finished watching Dogma while we ate...and then I finally left LA to come home.

    (What a long weekend! wow!)

    Unfortunately, I was still sick, so the next 2 days I only did partial days at work and came home early to rest. I was starting to feel better on Thursday, so I went to my Mini-High School Reunion that was being held at Ye Olde Ship (a pub) in Santa Ana. Charlene was in town from NY, so a bunch of us got together for dinner and drinks...and ended up closing the place down. (They closed at 11pm). I was out later than I should have been, for someone just starting to get over being sick, but I was having a good time and didn't want to leave. (A lot of us hadn't seen each other in like 11 years - as we all forgot to organize a 10 year reunion! lol! =). Pictures from the evening fun are online on my flickr account and posted to facebook already. =)

    Next night I SHOULD have stayed home, but I already had plans to drive back up to LA for a planning meeting for Costume College's Gala & Tea. I got to the location around 7pm, and I think we ate around 8pm, but the meeting itself didn't start till like 9pm as we were waiting for 2 people to arrive that never did. (We found out later that emails saying they weren't coming for whatever reason were sent late in the day, so we didn't see them in time).

    The planning meeting that night (2/20) was very productive. We (Elizabeth R., Amy C., Maria R., myself, & the hosts - Shawn & Colleen C.) all had a good time talking over the various ideas and pinned down the theme for the Gala. (Even got a title for it! Yay!) I'm very excited about the ideas/direction for this year's Gala. Can't wait to see it turn out.


    We ended around 11:30pm, and afterwards I drove over to the FIRM (after checking with David to make sure he was around / astill awake) to pick up my forgotten cuttingboard from the weekend before...and I eventually made it home to Irvine around 1:30am. Ouch! Another late night for me... bummer.

    On Saturday 2/21 I had plans to go to my friends the Wilson (Bekah & Andrew) to play games...card games, board games, whatever we felt like playing. The Fun Time started at 1pm and would go to whenever (at least till dinner). First game up: Phase 10! An old favorite of ours. (One we usually end up playing, but none of us have played in while). After a few of us hanging at various phases, we finally ended up with Bekah, Andrew, Michael, and myself on Phase 10, and Gretchen on Phase 9. I believe I managed to lay my cards down to get the phase first, but Gretchen managed to go out and end the game. (While I made Phase 10, I didn't have the lowest points overall. I forget who did, though.). It was a good game! =)

    After dinner (lasagna) and more games...and music (I introduced them all to the fun of Jonathan Coulton music ;-)...we eventually called it a night.

    So, while this wasn't AS LATE of a night as the previous two, it still made the third busy day/late night in a row...and apparently that was just too much for my system, and I relapsed into being sick again. Blah! I hate being sick. (Especially the lack of energy and the all over feeling 'icky'/achy).

    But since I did make sure I took care of myself on Sunday (I rested - except for church, a grocery trip, and laundry), I was doing well enough that this past week was ok. Each day I've been improving and I can say I think I'm almost over being sick. Finally! =)

    Oh, and yesterday was my dentist appointment (check up). Fortunately, everything checked out ok - no cavities. (Yay! =). Good for another 6 months. =)

    And I've found a new (online) game I like...Knighthood. Yeah, it's a Facebook Application =) And it sure is a lot of fun in war mode! ;-)

    Hm....anything else? Oh yeah! I signed up for a Skype Account! So, if anyone else out there has one, email me and I'll give you my contact name. =)

    And then there's the fact that my speakers for my home computer died on me sometime early in February...and I went for a few weeks without sound. That was hard on me. I'm SO used to being able to play music off my computer, or watch/listen to something on, or pop in a dvd on my computer...

    It was just too strange to not have the option of sound from my computer, or not play any of my music from my computer (iTunes) I finally gave in and purchased a new speaker set from on Monday (2/24). I also bought a webcam (on sale) and headset (with mic), so I'm all set now. =) My order actually arrived very quickly, which was awesome. (I did regular shipping too). So by Wednesday night, I was assembling/installing my new speaker system (yay for subwoofers!) and the webcam and testing them both out. They work great! =)

    I still need to get my car in to the autobody shop for the estimate, but I'm hoping to do that tomorrow morning (they are open till noon on Saturdays, apparently).

    And I have 3 invites to join people for parties and stuff (like dancing) tonight...but I think I better turn them all down. Oh well. I'm still not back at feeling 100% (I'm close, but not quite there), so I'm being cautious and I definitely don't want to overdue it. Rest is certainly a key factor in getting completely better.

    So...guess there were a lot of things going on in the month of February. =)

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