Sunday, October 28, 2007

Clean(er) Skies

As I showed in a previous post, the wildfires around L.A. were doing gross things to the air recently. (So much so that school kids in the county weren't allowed outdoors for lunch or recess during the past week.) Yesterday a VERY light rain fell briefly. Today, the sky is blue again!

Guido and Lumpkin

Jon and I joined some Fuller friends to carve pumpkins yesterday. Jon noted that this is our third time as a married couple to carve pumpkins together - crazy! From the below picture, can you guess who carved each pumpkin? The little one is named "Guido" - he's feisty and angry at the other pumpkin, "Lumpkin", who's rather dense and in his way. :)

[You can view our other recent pictures here.]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

SoCal Fires

It's hard to hear about the devastation the wildfires in our area are causing - the displaced evacuees and the loss of their homes. While we are fortunately living away from the fire areas (I told my mom that the wildfires would have to burn a huge chunk of L.A. before reaching where we are), the effects of the fires surrounding our county are obvious. Primarily we notice the poor air quality that leaves a coat of ash on our vehicles. There's also a difference in the color of the sun - bright orange through the smoke - that was pretty eerie yesterday evening as it was setting. On my camera-phone yesterday (hence the low quality of the pics), I took some shots from the second-story parking area at my workplace.

[The top pic was taken on 10/23/07 at 12:30pm and the bottom pic was taken the same day, at 5:00pm. See how the Santa Ana winds push the smoke in our direction?]

[Again, the top pic was taken on 10/23/07 at 12:30pm, and the bottom was taken the same day at 5:00pm.]

Monday, October 22, 2007

Delaware "House Hunters"

This afternoon Jon and I were watching our DVD full of recorded HGTV and Food Network shows (thanks, Mom & Dad!). Near the end of a rather unexciting episode of "House Hunters", I asked Jon which of the (somewhat tackily-decorated) houses he would choose. His reply: "I think I'd move out of Delaware."

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I witnessed a theft in action today. I had just finished paying for my groceries at Ralph's down the street. I was walking towards the door when I saw a woman stepping quickly through the door detectors - setting them off - and running out to the parking lot.

What first tipped me off to the shoplifter (since it's not usually my first assumption when I hear door alarms go off), is that she didn't stop when it started beeping. Instead, she started sprinting. I then noticed under each of her arms large, clear bottles of liquor. That's when I stopped walking, felt my mouth hang open a little in disbelief and stared at the unfolding scene. She scooted into the passenger door of an old Escort with a driver who looked panicky and hadn't even parked. She saw me staring right at her, and I tried to convey to her through my "convicting" stare that I knew what she was doing.

As they sped off, I pointed them out to a store employee in an orange parking vest who was walking towards the entrance. Distraught by what I told her, she grabbed the manager and pointed at the car as it sped away down the street.

It was too late to do anything about the incident, obviously, but it was odd to witness it take place...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Garage Sale-in'

[Okay, so this post is mainly because I promised to post every day for one week, and it's 10 minutes before midnight on Day 6... In honor of Saturday, it's about yard sales.]

If you ever need baby clothes, go garage-sale-ing. I went to look at the sales with a friend (I was just HELPING her look for baby clothes, mind you), and we found little designer clothes (hey, it’s L.A.) for pocket change. I guess babies grow out of stuff so quickly, the condition of the clothes are usually great (some even had the tags on them still!). I’m just sayin’.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mmm... sugar.

Jon thought it was funny that one night I fixed myself what I called my “amazingly awesome dessert” - so he took a picture of me eating it. [Dessert details: It wasn't an extraordinary concept - just some homemade cookies with cookies and cream ice cream - can't go wrong with cream and cookies!]

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"The Office"

Okay, who’s been watching it? That show is SO funny! I was searching Amazon to get a general idea of how much the past seasons were selling for, and then I clicked over to eBay to place some low-end bids on them. I told Jon that I fully expected NOT to win, since my bids were not much higher than the current ones. As predicted, 10 minutes later, I received an email that I'd been outbid on the combined Seasons 1 & 2. The next day, I'd already forgotten about the eBay bidding, and lo-and-behold I receive an email asking for my payment for Season 3. Oops!

[Anyone who lives in our area is welcome to join us on Thursday evenings at 9pm to watch it. We’ve enjoyed having some friends and neighbors over to our place the past few weeks!]

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Unexpected Ending

As I'd mentioned in yesterday's post, I've been going through the volunteer training program at the Humane Society in Pasadena. In general, the sessions are somewhat informative, and it's apparent the shelter values their volunteers. There was this one 20-minute video, however, that was... interesting.

It was called "Charlie, the Dog Nobody Wanted", and it was obviously made in the 70s or 80s and transferred from film to DVD. The narration was cheesily scripted, and the horrible acting was a little bit of a yawn to sit through. The dog, Charlie, was born, given away as a puppy, kicked out to the curb when the family couldn't afford him anymore, and living on the streets. He started hanging out in a schoolyard because the kids would feed him sandwiches and pet him. [And the kids mysteriously knew his name was "Charlie", which I'm amazed no one in the video-making crew noticed.]

One day he followed a kid home from school, but the child's mother promptly called animal control to pick the dog off her property. In the shelter cage, Charlie watched each day as families selected pets to take home with them. He also saw other dogs being taken through a different door (without families) and never coming back. He was convinced a kind family would adopt him, too. Then [and this is where the movie took a turn that caught me off-guard], the day came when Charlie was taken - back to the euthanasia room. The closing shot is of the vet with the euthanasia needle saying, "Sorry, guy, but nobody wanted you."

Now, I'm well aware of the pet overpopulation and the lack of shelter space to house all the animals that are dropped there. But, I really didn't expect the cheesy movie to kill the dog at the end. I almost laughed out of surprise... For others in the volunteer crowd, however, there were sniffles and tears. I quickly stifled my guffaw after I glanced around me. Then I couldn't decide what struck me as more odd - the cheesy old video actually offing the dog, or the people watching the poorly-acted movie actually so wrapped up in it that they reacted in tears. Hmm...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


[Post Preface: I’m not really volunteering at the L.A. Zoo anymore. It was too hard to devote an entire day of my weekend to the grunt work part of zookeeping… for free. Without the best part of getting to interact with and train the animals.]

One of the exciting opportunities I’ve had for my animal-missing side is in the world of humane society volunteering. I’m actually doing it at two different shelters.

The first is a county shelter with very little funding (as reflected in the facilities) that needed dog-walkers on Sunday morning (and that’s the ONLY time those dogs all get walked during the week). I joined about 10 other volunteers in doing this before my church on Sunday mornings. The majority of the dogs there are pit bulls, Rottweilers, chows, German shepherds, and bulldogs - all the breeds labeled as "aggressive". But I haven't met a dog there who isn't thrilled to happily slobber on and walk around with me!

The other shelter is on the opposite end of the spectrum – private, wealthy, posh, and with hundreds of volunteers. The advantage to this shelter in Pasadena is that they have opportunities for me to volunteer with their dog training programs. Those of you who’ve heard all my primate stories know that I’ve been REALLY missing this type of interaction with animals – it’s challenging and mentally stimulating for me. I haven't finished the shelter's extensive volunteer "training" process yet (by "training" I mean hours of having them give speeches to us about the value of the shelter), but I'm looking forward to getting started there.

So, yay!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Anyone go to this website? It's basically an Internet radio that calls itself a "music discovery service designed to help you enjoy music you already know, and to help you discover new music you'll love." You pick the artists you like, and it streams their songs and those of similar artists you may/may not already know. It’s SO nice to have at work - especially on quiet days. One of our residents introduced us to it, and I hadn’t had an opportunity to play with it until recently. The only music I was confused about was when I’d accidentally spelled Jon Mclaughlin’s name wrong (with an “h” in the first name)… I ended up with a bunch of jazz music that I couldn’t tie to any of the artists in my queue. I was like “where is this coming from?” until I noticed the picture of the incorrect Mclaughlin and knew he was 30 years too old.

Jon McLaughlin
(Check out the video at the above link.)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Grete didn't fall off the face of the Earth!

I have to apologize to anyone who reads (or “read”, depending on whether you still check!) this blog. Life caught up with me over this past two months! And, considering the uncertainty and loneliness we were experiencing exactly a year ago at this time, I think it’s reassuring to see how preoccupied we are now. :)

So, what have I been up to? Nothing super blog-worthy (which I seem to count by if I have pictures of it or not), but I’ve been busy none-the-less. Beginning today, and for the next week, in order to make up for the lack of posts in the past two months, I will post something each day. (This might be stretching my ideas thin, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you with a huge “update” post.)

Here's a pic to remember what we look like...