Sunday, December 31, 2006

Wedding Bells

They rang at 7:00pm to announce the beginning of Billy and Regan's wedding on Saturday evening. Can you tell that our friends like to dance? *See more pics here*

(No official "TCU" picture was taken, so Jon and I decided to do it ourselves...)

*Thanks MJ and Allison for letting me borrow some pictures you took!*

Christmas Vacation

Here are some pictures of our Christmas:
Jon was excited to receive handsoap!

I learned how to knit from my mom.

The Brown/Erickson clan

To view more pictures, go here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

L.A. Traffic

I've never been so blasé about being in traffic before we moved to this area. Because I anticipate a travel time of at least an hour to go anywhere during a weekday, I know that I have allowed plenty of time to be in stop-and-go traffic without the fear tardiness.

I've gotten very familiar with the morning radio talk shows (sadly, none compares to Kidd Kraddick back in DFW), and I know all of the top 40 songs (because they get played relentlessly on several stations).

I've gotten great at cutting across four lanes of traffic to get to my exit without raising a barrage of honking and hand gestures. (I told Jon that whenever we drive elsewhere, I'm probably going to be one of those "crazy, aggressive" drivers, since you have to possess a degree of those qualities to drive in L.A.)

And, now that I have a new handsfree earbud for my cell phone, I enjoy the time to "catch up" on my calls (or touch base with Jon, since we seem to have totally differing schedules recently). One of Jon's favorite games when he knows I have the earbud attached to my lobe (and consequently can't pull the receiver away) is to make loud "beep"-ing noises. Ah, married life. :)

Saturday, December 09, 2006


Jon and I were wrapping up our cookie making tonight, when I heard a familiar, if long ago heard, noise. I threw open our door, ran to the edge of the balcony, and thrust my arm out to expose it to the falling water. Rain! We haven't seen real rain since we moved to California in July. Granted, there is no associated thunder and lightening like I love, but it was refreshing nonetheless.
I ran back in and decided to document this event on the blog... :)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


As an ammendment to my previous post about winning in cards, I do have to admit that when Jon met me for lunch recently, he won every single hand of Speed that we played. But I'm just a sore loser and didn't want to mention that earlier. :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sing it, Jamie!

While watching the American Music Awards recently, there were two parts that really struck me. The first is what Kirk Franklin said during his acceptance speech (my husband mentions it here), and the second is Jamie Foxx’s performance of his song “Wish U Were Here”.

Perhaps it was because I had no expectations for Jamie Foxx’s music (since he’s primarily known as an actor)… But when he started singing, I realized the song was specifically about his deceased grandmother. I remembered hearing about how she raised him and made him learn how to play the piano. I could really see the emotion behind his lyrics. When he took off his sunglasses near the end of the song and faced the audience, I got a little choked up…

Crazy, huh? It was just a really well done performance by Jamie Foxx – he deserved his win of Favorite Male Soul/R&B Artist.

For a little more about his relationship with his grandmother, here is an excerpt from his 2005 Academy Awards acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Leading Role (for his performance in the movie Ray):

… This is probably going to be the toughest part of this speech. My daughter shares my grandmother's name, "Marie." My grandmother's name is Estelle Marie Talley. She's not here tonight. And this is going to be the toughest part. But she was my first acting teacher. She told me to stand up straight. Put your shoulders back. Act like you got some sense. We would go places. And I would wild out. And she would say, "Act like you've been somewhere." And then when I would act the fool, she would beat me. She would whup me. And she could get an Oscar for the way she whupped me because she was great at it. And after she whupped me, she would talk to me and tell me why she whupped me. She said I want you to be a southern gentleman. She still talks to me now. Only now, she talks to me, in my dreams. And I can't wait to go to sleep tonight because we got a lot to talk about. I love you."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Cards and Cocoa

Jonathan had the great idea for us to walk to Starbucks tonight (thank you gift card givers!) to get some fresh air. [Let me just say that it's nice to finally feel a new "season" in California. It's been chillier here lately!]

I highly recommend the Starbucks' Peppermint Hot Chocolate and, while sipping it there, a game of Casino or Speed. I enjoyed them all - especially WINNING! :)

Ring, Ring... Hello?

"We are not contributing to the mass materialism day otherwise known as 'Black Friday'," my husband said on Tuesday of Thanksgiving weekend [though he might have worded it differently].

When Friday arrived, we had plans to avoid the stores. I volunteered from 8-5 with the L.A. Zoo orangutans while Jon did homework. That evening, however, I reread an earlier email from Verizon Wireless for "2 free RAZRs" with a 2-year renewal... Additionally, if you renewed no later than that Friday evening, you could receive free bluetooth headsets with both cell phones. Hmm... Jon's phone broke in half back in June, and mine had been chugging along for almost 2 1/2 years...

We gave in to the Black Friday deal, and we're now proud owners of brand new Motorola RAZR cell phones. They've been a source of entertainment for the past 24 hours, as we play ringtones and take pictures and videos of each other and Earl. Merry *Early* Christmas to us!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Jazzy No More

Well, after less than a week in our new aquarium, Jazzy bit the dust. Good thing PetsMart has a 14 day guarantee!
We actually took the dead goldfish in a bag to the store, where they gave us a new fish. (They also asked for a sample of our water, but we insisted it was fine because our second fish was great.) SO, our newcomer is named Dart because he was spasticly swimming around the bag as we carried him home (we wanted a LIVELY one!). (We also picked him because he was easy to distinguish from Earl, whereas Jazzy was too similar looking.) He and Earl are getting along well. They chase each other back and forth when they get excited about food, and they tend to stick together wherever the other one goes in the tank.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


While Jon's artistic rendition was originally accurate of our Walmart fish bowl, we had "issues" with cleanliness and filtering of it... So they got an upgrade! Pictured is Earl (such a camera hog) and Jazzy (timid in the corner).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Jazzy & Earl...

...our two new goldfish! (They really exist - This is Jon's artistic rendition!)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Cali's Night Out

Cali the Hermit Crab had an eventful evening yesterday. He/she (who really knows?) was brought out of the cage by our neighbors who had come over to carve pumpkins (see pics here). It takes awhile for Cali to become comfortable enough to emerge from his shell and walk around the room, but once he does, he's rather quick. One of our neighbors, Chris, seemed to find favor with Cali when he hummed a low tone at his shell - Cali peeked out and began walking on Chris' hands. Overall, it was the most active we've seen Cali since the day I first brought him home.

Before lunch this morning, I was perched at our computer when I heard a "click" noise similar to a hermit crab shell hitting the side of the aquarium cage. I looked over to see if Cali was being active again today. Upon looking inside the cage, however, Cali was no where to be found...

I frantically started digging through the sand in the tank, slowly remembering that one of our neighbors said in leaving last night, "remember the crab is still out." Ah! I couldn't recall putting him back!

When Jon came home, he found me crawling around the living room with a flashlight. We scoured the apartment to no avail... Jon hugged me as I began getting exasperated and hard on myself at the thought of a crab loose in the apartment without water or food.

I returned to the bedroom to re-check some dark corners. Upon lifting up a black folder in the far back corner next to my dresser, I saw a little creature retreat quickly into its green shell. Cali! I was so relieved. I stuck him right into his shallow water dish, and he started drinking and cleaning himself immediately. He'd travelled quite a distance over the course of the night!

Since then, he's been busying himself around his cage - in the water, eating, climbing, digging. I even made him a paper hut, so he could better hide himself in a shadowed spot. Cali has a new lease on life! (Hopefully it won't lead to the detriment of the last crab we had with a "new lease"...)

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Eventful Saturday

This afternoon into this evening, Jon and I had a Grete-craved [note me eating a delicious breadstick] meal at Fazoli's (30 minutes into our trip to Temecula is the nearest one), then joined Ryan at the c28 events at the Temecula Mall.

It was neat to see the environment he'll be working in once he and Kim move to Florida, and the band Thousand Foot Krutch was particularly interesting to see perform. While you couldn't really hear what the main singer was saying during the songs (the CDs make up for that), what he shared in between songs was a very relevant message to people in a sub-culture I don't always "get".

We topped off the day with a stop at Ben & Jerry's, then drove an hour and a half back to Pasadena.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I know I haven't been alone among Fuller spouses who are job-searching to find walls/no-responses everywhere you apply in this area. It's been unbelievable how hard it is to find a job in L.A. that pays what we need for the cost of living here.

And now, finally, I have good news about my search - I HAVE A JOB!!

After an uncomfortable morning interview at Jon's school (I just couldn't "connect" with the two people interviewing me), it was reassuring when I got a phone call from an autism therapy clinic wanting to schedule a time to meet with me for the administrative position at their new Arcadia office.

Wednesday morning, I left Pasadena to head to Culver City (where the therapy center has their main office) at 9am for my 10am appointment. Traffic was so horrible that I didn't get there until 10:25! Thankfully, I called at 9:30 to warn them and apologize that I'd already spent a half hour in traffic (the entire drive was only "supposed" to take 30 minutes, according to Google maps). They were understanding, and actually, when I arrived, the delay had worked out better for the man interviewing me. The interview felt comfortable, and in the back of my mind I had this peace, "I think they'll hire me". That feeling was confirmed this morning with a phone call from him. They want me to start next week!

Beauty is in the Genes...

My husband showed me a recent Men's Health article that detailed an intriguing study. Even though more baby boys are born than girls (51% to 49%), new research claims that "beautiful parents are more likely to have girls as their firstborn children." Some celebrity evidence they point to are Brad and Angelina, Tom and Katie, and Ryan and Reese. They surveyed 2,972 "real" parents, and couples who were rated as "very attractive" had girls as their firstborn 56% of the time.

While the statistics are interesting, the explanation for "why" that's given is a bit of a stretch, in my opinion. A researcher claims that this reflects a theory that "parents' genes 'know' what's best", and if parents have traits that are better for girls (i.e. fine features), they're more likely to have daughters because those features will help the daughters find mates. On the flip side, the researchers say the same works for sons: "Tall, strong, or aggressive parents are all more likely to have boys."

Hmm... thoughts?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's Bananas!

Last Saturday, Jon and I took some friends to Chinatown and the Grove areas. Will, Maria, and Melinda were in the back seat. Maria had been hungry before we'd left, so she'd brought some snacks, which included bananas. She gave one banana to Will, and I noticed that she put hers on the ledge behind the backseat to eat later. We had a great time exploring the two L.A. spots with new people, and we came back to our apartments very tired from the afternoon...

On Sunday, I jumped in my car to volunteer at the zoo (hence the Jane Goodall encounter), and when I left the zoo for the day to get in my car, a strong banana fragrance waifed out the door. I looked at the back ledge to see Maria's banana had been baking in the back window all day. I removed it and stored it in our freezer to make banana bread with later. But, all this week, the smell has persisted everytime I get in my car! Did the banana leak on my upholstry?

This morning, Jon and I were washing the Taurus with the hose behind our apartment when I noticed something... Another banana was on the ledge! Will must've stuck his back there, and the head rest of the back seat had hidden it from my view. I grabbed it and put it in the freezer with the other very ripe banana, and the smell left my car upon its removal. The week-long mystery of the banana smell was solved!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Funny ad

A humorous picture my cousin forwarded to me:

More Jane...

Following Sunday's fun times was Monday, when I (again) pulled some last-minute strings at USC to see the lecture Jane was doing there. She ended this with a book signing, so I have "official" proof that I met her.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Great Day at the Zoo!!

Today I came in contact with a woman who I have admired from afar for years. I've read her books, learned about her life story and research, and appreciated all that she's doing for international conservation and education (with an emphasis on chimpanzees)...

I got to see Jane Goodall!

I am currently volunteering at the Zoo in Los Angeles, and when I heard Jane was coming to the zoo for a conference (Chimpanzoo), I knew I had to pull some strings and get myself there. I went into the animal care office this morning at 6:45am and latched onto some ape keepers, who were all very involved in the conference activities. Not only did I get a free breakfast, I also got to see Jane Goodall a few feet from me, speaking in front of the chimp exhibit. (She did her signature chimp calls, too, for whoever is familiar with her.) Ah! It was too cool. She looks and acts exactly like you'd expect - gentle, patient, happy, and very passionate about her causes.

(Robert Wagner was also at the breakfast, if you are familiar with the actor. The first thing that comes to mind is his role as the Dr. Evil-cronie with the eye patch. I borrowed an extra chair from his little table, then after sitting back with the keepers realized that I recognized him. Ha)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

"Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian."
-- Dennis Wholey

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Run Gorilla Run!

A real race for a real cause... Check out this video (it's a little long, but watch it to humor me, the former gorilla keeper):

New Disney Movie

I understand rides at amusement parks modeled after movies. But movies based on rides? Disney seems to think it works for them (The Country Bears, Pirates of the Caribbean), and they're setting out to do the same conversion again. Does anyone remember riding "Jungle Cruise" - the one where animatronic animals, like hippos and crocodiles, randomly emerge from the water and trees to surprise the "cruise" guests? I'm looking forward to seeing how Disney creates an actual plot line based on this.

Jack Bauer: Superman?

In our (very involved) watching of the first 2 seasons of 24, we have noticed something about Jack Bauer... He is invincible.
In the second season alone, he gets stabbed in the leg, smacked around, tortured, shot at, falls in a plane crash, his lungs collapse, his heart temporarily stops... AND YET he continues to run around shooting scores of bad guys without taking any bullets himself and has the clarity of mind to out-decipher every other good character on the show. Even when he gets physically injured, the obvious signs (hobbling, holding the injured part) only last about 30 minutes for the episode, then he's back to being Super-Jack.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


According to annual FBI statistics, the large city with the highest total crime rate this year was Dallas, with about one crime reported for every 12 people. Los Angeles, the nation’s second largest city, ranked third safest, with about one crime for every 26 people.

Guess we moved to the right city! (My apologies to those reading this who live in Dallas.)

Killer Hermit Crab

Those of you who read my husband's blog know about our hermit crabs. Right before we moved, I picked out two new crabs - Tex and Cali - named in honor of the state we were leaving and the one we were moving to. Last week I realized I hadn't seen either of them in awhile... I know they like to bury themselves, but the food and water bowl hadn't changed levels, so I was a tad concerned. I picked up the water bowl, saw one out of its shell, and quickly decided to wait a couple days in case it was shedding its exoskeleton. A few days later, I was more suspicious and lifted the water bowl again...

I was horrified to see the same hermit crab was out of its shell, missing several limbs and starting to mold. Blech! The empty shell belonged to Cali, so I assumed it was her that died... until I looked into Tex's shell and saw a much smaller crab alive inside. Cali killed Tex and stole his shell!!

Jon pointed out the irony of the sticker I'd had on the cage for the past several years... Ha ha!

So now our question is... what does this signify about our living situation? I guess Texas is no longer a place we'll live?
Some friends who we told this story to over the weekend suggested getting 49 other hermit crabs, name them after the other states, and see where we're "destined" to live by who survives!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Blue Eyes

A recent msn article discussed a survey done determining people's eye color preferences. Apparently, young people with blue eyes are generally seen as being more flirtatious, sexy and kind. When the young people being surveyed were asked if they would change the color of their eyes if they could, only one in ten blue-eyed people wanted to - significantly less than people with other eye colors.

Jon's first day of class!

It has finally arrived! The main reason we moved to California - for Jon to attend Fuller - began this morning at 8am. It was suggested that I take a picture of him on his first day of school (trust me - it wasn't his idea!), and of course I made him pose for me. :)

Dinner for Eight

Last night the Eloes, Reeds, and Raymers visited us in Pasadena. The Eloes are considering a position for which the Reeds flew them to the headquarters in the L.A. area, so of course we wanted to see them all.
We walked them through the Fuller campus and dined at the California Pizza Kitchen. Mmm...

It's easily evident when you have close friends - when you get together after having been apart for a long time, it feels like you never missed a beat. Natural. :)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Parking citation

Ergh, our first one happened this morning... Every first and third Monday the city does street cleaning in front of our apartment (because we're exempt from overnight parking, so it's the only time the city can clean our streets). So every car has to be off our street starting at 8am those days. Well, unemployed as we are, we weren't together enough to remember this until 8:15am. Unfortunately, by that time, the officer had already been down the row of remaining cars... ours included. :(

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Erin's visit

Some of the touristy highlights of Erin's visit were our two star sightings. While waiting in LAX for Erin's flight to arrive, Jon pointed out Greg Behrendt (author of "He's Just Not That Into You" and now a TV talk show host) at one of the luggage carousels.

Later in the weekend, we were driving through a Beverly Hills neighborhood when a silver BMW convertible pulled up and parked on the opposite side of the narrow street. We looked at the driver, then at each other... "That's Matthew Perry!" He was apparently meeting with someone who came down the sidewalk to greet him. (He was super tan with a bit of a gut and poofy hair, which made him seem very normal and out of context.)

We also looked at the newest print in front of Grauman's we had seen Kevin Costner make on the news a few days earlier. And Erin found her boyfriend's prints there as well. :)

Even though our beach visit was cut short for a free movie screening, Erin enjoyed our favorite spot - Manhattan Beach.

Right before we put her back on the plane to DFW (which ended up being very delayed), we had Erin sample some In-N-Out (the fries, of course).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Baby's Daddy

Well, this morning I received an email from a friend (in good humor, of course) tipping me off that perhaps the TomKitten is really Chris Klein's baby. I can't deny a few similarities in appearances, but let's figure out the timeline:

Chris and Katie broke up in early 2005. Weeks later, Tom and Katie made their first public appearance together on April 29th. May 23rd was Tom's historic couch abusing on Oprah. June 17th is when they became engaged in Paris. And on October 6th, they announced they were expecting. April 18, 2006 documents the birth of Suri, though she never made a public appearance until September 2006.

SO, for there to be any truth to this rumor, she would've had to be at at least 7 months pregnant by the time she and Tom announced they were expecting. With an April 2006 birth, Katie would've been pregnant for more than a year for Suri to be Chris Klein's baby. (Feel free to correct my hypothetical math.) Though the typical human gestation period is around 266 days, Katie's would've been greater than that of a llama's (330 days), but less than that of an elephant's (640 days).

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

the "TomKitten"

Anyone who knows me knows that I follow the "celebrity gossip". So it is no surprise that I had my curiosities about why Suri Cruise had yet to be seen... deformities? disabilities? Upon seeing the Vanity Fair pictures yesterday, however, I changed my mind. Suri doesn't have any obvious birth defects, but she is very unique looking. Though both Tom and Katie have dark brown hair and hazel eyes, Suri appears the have jet black hair and bright blue eyes. While eye and hair colors can change over time, Jon and I joked that there's really a large cover-up by which the baby was really a blue-eyed redhead, and they dyed her hair black.

(And is it just me, or does Katie's neck look unusually long in this photo?)

Friday, September 01, 2006

24 in our mailbox

Jonathan and I used our free Blockbuster rewards monthly rental coupon to start watching the heralded 24 television series. We rented Disc 1, Episodes 1 through 4... and watched all four in one evening! They are seriously addictive, as we were warned, and everytime one ended we were like, "No way! They can't stop it like that! Do the next one." It was a little sad to end at only the fourth episode until our next free monthly rental coupon came...

Today, in our mailbox, the next two discs of the series appeared. We found two Netflix envelopes, and, knowing we weren't a part of that program, we just thought they were some kind of advertisement. Upstairs, Jon opened them and smiled. These were no random discs... they were the exact ones we wanted to see. :)

We seem to have a pretty awesome mystery movie renter. Thank you for our two discs!!!

Erin made my day!

She booked a last-minute flight deal to visit us NEXT WEEK! Very unexpected, and very exciting! (Especially since we aren't yet within the throes of school and work...) Yay for a familiar face. :)

Grete the Tutor

Well, I found a part-time evening job as a tutor. I'll be teaching math, science, and possibly a little English and Spanish in a 1-on-1 setting to middle- and high-schoolers. The hours are really flexible, so it should work well with whatever fulltime job I find. I seem to be in the "waiting" period of job-searching... lots of places have my resume, but are still waiting for more resumes to accrue and/or are in no rush to complete interviews quickly. I've had a few seemingly hopeful interviews, but so far nothing is really working out yet… *sigh* Patience isn't my best virtue. :)

On the Job Front

Still no jobs to report, though it hasn't been for lack of looking. I feel like I've sent my resume hundreds of places - it's hard to find places that pay enough and aren't totally boring positions. Know of anything I should try?

I finished going through the hoops to be an animal keeper volunteer at the Zoo in Los Angeles, but I've had to pull a few strings just to get that moving. The Zoo is run by the City, who requires tons of paperwork, fingerprinting downtown, background checking, a paystub to verify my previous work experience, proof of a TB test, references, and a three hour orientation just to be a volunteer! I was able to bypass the interview part (which they initially said wouldn't be scheduled until December or January) because I've been in contact with a current keeper and several other inter-zoo referrals to convince the volunteer guy I was experienced enough. At least all these formalities have a good payoff - I get to stay around animals! :)

Beach bums

So far, we’ve decided that Manhattan Beach is our favorite. It has that touristy-beach feel without being overcrowded or trashy. Up the hill from the beach are lots of little shops and restaurants, and at the beach are lots of surfers and body-boarders. Plus, the parking was only $2.50 for 4 1/2 hours – definitely the cheapest we’ve found!
One thing to consider when there, though… wear sunscreen all over your body – not just on the places you don’t want to get darker. That may come as “no kidding, dummy” knowledge to most of you… but today my sunburn is in the gross-peeling-itchy stage.

Our best TV taping thus far...

Jon and I went to a taping of Twenty Good Years (which is a sitcom with John Lithgow and Jeffrey Tambor that has not yet aired). It was very neat to see the TV-taping process… it was basically like watching the show live with some retakes and mess-ups periodically. The “crowd motivator” (that’s what I’ll choose to call them for lack of the correct title) guy was WAY better than the one at the Craig Ferguson show. In fact, afterwards, Jon and I went up to him to let him know how funny and engaging he was… We told him we’d been to a few tapings – the Late Late Show, etc. – and he has been by far the best audience host we’ve seen. He was like, “funny you should say that… I used to work at the Late Late Show. You guys just made my day.”