yunikoneko: (Default)
2017-03-08 11:42 pm

Little Things

I kind of miss living in the apartment in Lompoc.

I don't miss the actual apartment living aspect of it- that being the neighbors, and the gardener always blowing leaves back into the patio every Monday after I've put so much effort into sweeping it out, and having to do laundry in a communal laundry room that requires quarters. I don't miss any of that.

But I do miss having everything be within a 10-20 minute walk. And I miss living in a smaller space. Like... Now that I'm focused on skill hobbies, I look around my office and wonder why I have so much stuff. It was kind of nice, not having so much stuff. But then I think of the process of getting rid of my stuff and start feeling overwhelmed.

With Ben gone for work until next week, the house seems too big.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2017-03-08 09:34 pm
Entry tags:

Cello

My cello arrived on January 24, I think... at least, according to Facebook. I didn't actually get it to stay in tune until the following week. I've been feeling it out for at least an hour every day for the past month, but I don't think I really learned much besides posture (which I still struggle with) and proper bow holding until my etudes arrived last week. I'm using Cello Playing for Music Lovers: A self-teaching method, Schroeder's Foundation Studies, and The Art of Cello Playing.

I am pretty sure I'm holding the bow correctly except that sometimes I tense up and wind up using pressure instead of weight, as evidenced by the somewhat painful callus developing on the thumb of my bowing hand. I try to be aware of it and relax my hand, since most literature and other sources on the subject say playing should be fairly pain-free.

I've mostly been using the Foundation Studies to practice and am pleased that I've at least mostly correctly interpreted the first three movements. This is the fourth movement:



I played the first half correctly, but once I hit the open G, I started misreading the music. Which is unfortunate, but I guess I'd breezed through it a little too easily... sans vibrato, that is. I just watched a few tutorials and I think that's the next thing I'll work on, besides correcting the notes.

I don't know why I didn't check out youtube sooner. Knowing what the music is supposed to sound like helps so much.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2017-02-18 10:53 pm

2017: Week Six and Seven

Last week was spent trying to get caught up on work, get the art studio portion of my office in order, clean the garage, and get the guest room prepared, because we expected my parents and sister to visit for the weekend/my mom's birthday.

Here is a photo of our slightly-more-finished-than-when-Sheryl-used-it guest room:



I ordered a Mystic Kids Vanetta as a gift for my mom, since she expressed a bit of interest in BJDs when I came down for the convention, last year. I actually wanted to get her an Angell-Studio RongRong, but, in addition to not being sure whether she'd arrive on time, she was just a little out of my budget, especially since I wasn't sure how my mom was going to react. Frankly, I'm still not sure how to interpret my mom's reaction. I think she just wants a grandbaby. She said that she liked the doll and even named her (Apple) right then, but I think, in addition to making her doubt my ever reproducing, it also made her sad about how busy she is at work.

So. I did a bunch of cleaning and reorganizing the house last week only for my Dad to text me telling me that because mom is stressed out at work, she didn't want to travel to see us. Which.. fine. Mom told me not to come down because there was supposed to be a storm and she didn't want to have to worry about me driving in bad weather. I told her "OK," but still wound up driving to Torrance and hitching a ride with Sheryl for the last two hours.

We got there around lunch time so my folks took us to the newly refurbished East-West buffet. The last time I went, Ben and I were still living in Mira Mesa and the place had a layout that made me think that in a former life it had once been a Hometown Buffet. Anyway, even though I'm kind of leery of all you can eat sushi, I ate a lot.





Pro-tip: Only eat the desserts of Asian origin at the Asian buffet. Flan and creme brulee do not taste right, but mochi and sesame covered dough balls with red-bean filling are legit.

Here's a photo of my Mom eating cotton candy and rocking a Hello Kitty purse on her 62nd birthday. #goals



My parents suggested we go to Barona for dinner, but Sheryl and I were so full from lunch that we were happy with a little bit of soup they had in the fridge. We both were ready for bed by nine, but my mom wanted to play, so Dad took her to Barona, anyway.

It was the first time we both slept in our childhood bedroom at the same time since a decade. Well, nine years and some change, and probably the last time we'll do it in a very long while since she's moving to AZ.

Sunday, Sheryl and I went to Universal Studios.



Sheryl used her educator's discount to get me a year pass thingy. All of July and the first half of August is blacked out, but I wouldn't want to go, then, anyway. I hadn't been to Universal Hollywood since I lived at home, so a lot was different. I found myself comparing it favorably to Universal Osaka, being that it was only a 20 minute wait to ride the roller coaster in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I think WWHP was bigger in Osaka, though. Spread out a little more.

I think we spent a whopping four hours at the park- 40 minutes of which was the round trip to and from the cars. It was enough to squeeze in lunch at The Three Broomsticks, a little bit of shopping, and a ride on Flight of the Hippogriff. At first I was surprised that Sheryl would go on it with me, because she tends to get motion sick easily. But it turned out to be probably the shortest and tamest roller coaster I'd ever been on.

Anyway.. Food at the Three Broomsticks was pretty good, especially the sticky toffee pudding (which, btw, is my favorite and unfortunately discontinued flavor of Haagen Dazs ice cream).



Around 4, we both headed our separate ways. Sheryl gave me her AC unit since she's moving to AZ where it's hot AF so the AC is usually already built in. Amazingly, our new home does not have AC built in, so it's nice to have a stand-by to keep in the bedroom in case of a particularly hot summer. Hard to imagine that weather, though, seeing as we've been having so much rain poor Science hasn't seen the park since we moved here.

I started getting sleepy on my drive, so I stopped at my favorite mid-point stop and took a 30 minute nap before getting back on the road. It was a good thing, too, because I needed all of my alertness to drive through the last leg through the "mountain pass" (in quotes b/c it's really just big hills, but to me it seems mountainous) in the darkness. It's a narrow, winding, two-lane road. It is really pretty and fun driving through in the morning/daylight, but kind of terrifying at night.

Ben had wound up working all weekend because the launch date in Vandy kept being pushed forward, so he wasn't even home when I got home. Science was good enough not to have had an accident inside the house, so yay for that.

Tuesday was apparently Valentine's day. I hadn't really spent a lot of time thinking about it, and I guess neither did Ben, though he did ask me, before I left for SD, what I wanted to do about it. We wound up going to the little sushi place again, which, unlike our first experience, was super busy!



We ordered the Shogun Boat, which was the most expensive party boat they had, but the bill wound up being really reasonable since they do it by how many people are in your party. Not pictured was the cali roll and plate of assorted sushi they brought later.



At the end of the meal, they served some green tea biscuits. I can't help but giggle every time I see the Sanritsu brand cookies. I wonder if the waitresses think it's funny, too.

Even though we didn't have anything planned, I did go out and get Ben a six pack of the hecho en Mexico real sugar Coca Cola, a Chuao bacon chocolate bar (that he had been certain we could not get without driving 30 minutes to the nearest World Market), and fixings for his favorite flower pot dessert. Well, in this case, it was a dirt cup with gummy worms, since the store seemed to be all out of flower-shaped lollipops. Pooh.



Thursday, I took Science for her follow up appointment. The doctor said she's completely clear, which I pretty much expected since she hasn't had any accidents and seems to be peeing okay. They still want to put her on a prescription diet, which we probably won't do unless the stones reoccur.

Friday, Ben came home early because the data center flooded (which happens pretty much every time it rains). We were supposed to have D&D that night, but other Sheryl and Bryan canceled, and apparently Claire got a new job that she was stuck at until 9 that night, so we just wound up canceling the whole thing.

Katie and Bob were supposed to visit, today, but Katie is not feeling well, and the weather has been bad, so I'd be worried about their whole drive up, so I told her to stay home and just come up when the weather is better. I keep seeing things about a category 5 storm. I dunno. I have a friend up north posting about keeping emergency rations and I'm like... for real? Well.

Today was a lazy day. After breakfast, we watched the first new episode of Seven Deadly Sins (which seemed weirdly like a filler episode), then I did my cello practice while Ben played DDR. Afterwards, we went to Red Robin and they completely messed up my order, but I was already halfway through my burger when I realized my meat patty was not meat. I got the Banzai burger, and all the teriyaki and pineapple makes it hard to tell because the patty isn't front and center. They did eventually serve my onion rings, at least. I feel bad for the vegetarian who got my real meat burger.

We got home from lunch around two, and I promptly fell asleep on the couch and didn't wake up again until 5:30. Then we watched an episode of Occultic Nine, and part of Neon Demon. We got about halfway through Neon Demon before I googled the ending and asked Ben to turn it off because the tension was not worth the eventual ending- at least, not to me. Ben confessed it was recommended by Red Letter Media, which I usually jive with. And I could even understand where the recommendation was coming from, but... I don't know. What I saw was beautifully shot, but I could not get myself to care about any of the characters.

Afterwards, we tried to watch Cuddly Puppies on Netflix as a palate cleanser, but it started with the miracle of birth, which was a little bit too graphic to watch while having dinner. So we switched over to an old episode of Futurama.

Then I texted Claire to see if she and Lawrence wanted to come over for pizza and to watch the FP tomorrow night and chatted with Katie for a little bit.

I can't believe we're so into February. I am backlogged and I have a new contract. Trying to get my act together.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2017-02-04 05:53 am

2017: Week Five

(backdated)

On Monday, the blinds installer finally came. So we got blinds. They are pretty nice except for the fact that all of the pull knobs have Hunter Douglas advertising on them.



Can't complain too much, though, as getting them through a third party made it significantly cheaper than going through the design center. However, the company neglected to inform the one lone installer dude that we have a two-story French window, so he had to come back on Tuesday with help. The help he brought looked like a 15-year-old kid, tbh. I kind of wished I watched the install, but I thought that might come off as creepy, so I browsed the internet, instead.

Wednesday, I had my dental follow up. I'm pretty sure that, even though I plan to continue visiting my new dentist (or rather, Dental Family, since it seems like I get a different doctor every time), I am unlikely to recommend them. The place has the air of a car dealership where everyone is on commission. They handed me a customer survey to fill out while I was waiting for the dentist, so I complained about the ridic wait of my first visit and the fact that no one called to remind me of my last two follow-ups. Then after they check my teeth, the QA chick who was one of three people who reviewed my review, came to discuss it with me. I was like... my old dentist had three chairs. And I generally would know who I was seeing on the day of my appointment. You have a very big and very nice facility and I appreciate the work you've done on my teeth. (Internally: But for the love of G_d you are so impersonal, and the fact that you have an additional person in charge of trying to make it seem more personal just exacerbates the superficiality of it. Also, I kind of feel like I've joined a cult I can't escape.)

I don't like the air of the center, but I did like the lady who originally cleaned my teeth. I could do without the hard sell, though.

Thursday, I put together a new rolling craft shelf, mostly for storing paper. My office is still not respectable looking.

Friday, I drove 20 minutes out of town to get a haircut. I will admit that, while I picked the salon mostly based on Yelp reviews, I also chose it because the name (LVL) seemed slightly nerdy to me and I was hoping to meet another Ingrid. I lead by telling the stylist that my hair is very fine and flat, so I can't buzz the back and the Ginnifer Goodwin/Mary-Margaret cut that I like looks like pre-trailer-trash Justin Bieber when my hair is dry and has no product in it. This new stylist listened, so I will be returning for future haircuts. Margie is no Ingrid, but after chatting, I think that her 15-year-old kid and I would have been friends if we'd been in high school together. We both agreed that it is a positive thing that he's embracing his geekiness early and has managed to find a group he fits in with.



Saturday... I recorded in the morning and I forgot to set a 10am alarm so I wound up sleeping in until noon. Then I helped Ben get a housewarming gift for Brian and Sheryl (co-worker, not my sister), but begged off attending because I wasn't in the headspace to socialize. I wound up reorganizing the garage.

I'm also getting into a groove practicing the cello: 30 minutes in the morning and 30 in the evening, with the first half of each session dedicated to bowing and scales, and the last half dedicated to mucking about playing songs. I can squeak through a basic rendition of Take to the Sky and a modified version of the Doll-and-the-Kicks cover of Tik-Tok. So much for considering it the "primary voice." Ah, well, maybe once I'm more adept.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2017-01-28 09:06 pm

2017: Week Four

Highlights include:

I have a new music crush. That is to say, I was listening to Kelly McKernan's Spotify and heard "Gun" by Emiliana Torrini. The track is very spare and echoey- starting out with some repetitive bass for tension and her soft and breathy vocals, gradually layered with some atmospheric guitar and soft drums, but still very stark. The lyrical content and concept piqued my interest, so I had to go back and listen again. Her voice has a cute Icelandic lilt and a slightly Bjork-esque timbre that I really like, but it's not experimental and accessible in a way that I don't need to be in a particular head space to listen to it. Ben calls her "Bjork-lite," but I don't know if that's really accurate. I have listened to the albums "Tookah" and "Me and Armini" on repeat. Working my way backwards through her catalog.

Ben and I tried a new sushi place. Sunday night, I was not in the mood to cook and I mentioned it had been a while since we'd had sushi. We looked at a number of places and settled on Atari-Ya because it was the closest one to our house that didn't look too sketchy.



The place actually looked legit, which I liked. We were the only patrons, though, which made me a little suspicious until I realized that it was Sunday night and there were playoffs. Since it was cold and rainy out, I wound up ordering tempura udon and sharing a rainbow roll with Ben. Both were really good. Even though there were a couple of restaurants further away that had slightly more appetizing Yelp photos, I have a feeling it's the place we're likely going to frequent.

Many visits to the Home Depot. I decided that I wanted a pegboard. Unfortunately, in the middle of shopping for said pegboard, I got a call from Ben saying the curio cabinet was going to get delivered, so I did not quite grab enough things. Also, the cheap plastic shelving I bought to try and make up for the lack of shelving was shattered on one side, so I went to exchange it.

I got my first ever pair of rain boots. I ordered them off Amazon, because there are holes in the soles of my fake uggs and even if there weren't they get soaked through easily. The rain boots have a cute flower print on them, but only on the rubbery part so it's kind of weird and unflattering 'cause my feet are not dainty. I don't care though, because any rain boots I'd get would be kind of unflattering. Of course, the oddly plentiful rain we've been getting that has been preventing me from going to the dog park seems to have let up, so I don't know when I'll get to use them, next.

I had a lunch date with Claire. It turned out to be a whole afternoon, really, since we didn't get back to Santa Maria until 5. We went to Bacon and Brine in Solvang. They changed their menu, so I could not order the sandwich I got before. I ordered the roast beet and arugula salad because I thought a sandwich would be too heavy and I planned to order their salted caramel bacon doughnut, but the salad was oddly salty, which did not pair well with the bitter arugula. They brought me a second one because I really couldn't handle it.. it was the first time I ever sent food back. And it was still a little salty because they salt the beets, but less salty than the original salad. I only finished a little bit of it, but they took it off the check, so it was fine. Plus the doughnut more than made up for it. The bacon was amazing. At least Claire's sandwich was fine. I think there was salt in the arugula because her side salad was weirdly salty, too. Anyway, we looked at all the cute tiny stuff in the stores, and then had ice cream and lost track of time talking about D&D, since she and Lawrence would be joining us for their very first campaign and I wanted to make sure she had an enjoyable and not terribly confusing experience.



This black raspberry ice cream was awesome, btw.

We finally started a new D&D Campaign. I miss Bob as DM, but Ben did a good job- arguably better than his first time DMing. Ben's co-worker, Sheryl, and her boyfriend Brian, who apparently hail from Raleigh, NC, originally, joined us, in addition to Claire and Lawrence. I'm just a little sad that we had to reschedule to Friday night instead of Saturday afternoon, because we didn't get to play as long as Ben and I would have liked and the next opportunity we'll have to play will probably be in March.



D&D would not be complete without cheesy poofs, so I bought one of these tubs.

My Christmas cello replacement arrived.



It is frickin' amazing. It's a Cecilio 4/4 student cello, and it's purple. I have named her Aubergine, not just because of the color, but after the Night Dodo in Cat Valente's Fairyland series. I think it's appropriate. Anyway, I can't remember if I mentioned it, but Ben got me a cello for Christmas. Unfortunately, it arrived damaged because they tried to ship it with the bridge installed, so the part between the f-holes was smashed up. So, it was sad, but I was kind of glad we had to return it because I found out that Cecilio makes purple ones.

She arrived on Tuesday, so I applied the finger tape and set up the bridge, but the pegs kept slipping, so I ordered some peg drops, which should be arriving next Monday or Tuesday. Wednesday, I tried tuning her again and had better luck keeping her in tune, so I messed around for maybe half an hour to try and get a feel for it. The only feel I got was a cramp in my bowing hand, so I gave her (and Ben's ears) a break. The next time I picked her up, I'd watched a couple of youtube videos on the proper way to sit and hold a bow. I'm guessing that I must be getting it right at least a little bit, since this time around my bowing hand didn't cramp up at all. Instead, I just felt a little fatigue from posture and movements I wasn't used to making.

Today, I screwed around just bowing in the morning. I picked her up again after dinner and practiced some scales I improvised based on a chart I found on the internet. I also ordered a copy of Cello Playing for Music Lovers: A Self-Teaching Method. Of course the reviews of the book varied, but I'm hoping it will be useful. I've kind of glazed over music theory and learning how to read music in the past, just going straight for playing songs by ear or by looking up chords in GTab. Pretty sure learning this instrument will be different, seeing that I will be focused on the instrument as the primary means of making music, as opposed to thinking of it more as accompaniment for myself.

It's kind of weird, starting a new instrument. I mean, I play guitar and ukulele, and I'm not great at either; just good enough to accompany my voice. I hit a wall with the guitar. I got a little further past that wall with the uke, probably because it was smaller and had fewer strings so fingering is easier. The cello... man. I will have to build some muscle memory. Bowing is awkward and challenging. Holding down the A-string is awkward and challenging. Holding down the A string and bowing it is really awkward and challenging. C G and D are kind of OK. I worry if it will be a lost cause because I'd love to be able to use it in some pieces eventually, but it's hard to imagine getting to the point where bowing is intuitive. It's only been three days, though.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2017-01-21 10:27 pm

2017: Week Three

(Backdated for organizational purposes)

Highlights include:

Crown installation! The two root canals I had at the end of last year/beginning of this year were capped permanently. I miss my old dentist. Dr. P- is okay, but Dr. A- had really good attention to detail. She'd never let me leave her office with carbon on my teeth from evening out my bite. Also, where the temps felt too rough and fake, the crowns feel too smooth and fake. I am hoping that with more chewing they will even out.


Recording studio is fully unpacked. I bought a "real" desk to use in it from Target. It's still an mdf top, but the finish is nice, and it's on a steel frame. Plus it was on sale for $60 and SO MUCH BETTER than the shitty $30 desk from Amazon. It's attractive, has more surface area and the shelves are not awkwardly positioned. I was originally just going to install a shelf and add a sliding keyboard tray to it, but I like this solution better. I think I will still probably look into installing a sliding keyboard tray later.

I have too much stuff! Though the recording studio is unpacked and almost fully decorated, too, my office is not. I have too much stuff and not enough furniture, so currently a lot of my overflow is sitting in boxes on the bed of the guest room.

We bought a curio! We'd been to Weatherby's looking for a bed frame and headboard... and decidedly the majority of the furniture was too stuffy and old-fashioned for our taste... except for this amazing curio cabinet that reminded me vaguely of the entrance to Nakano Broadway, on the way to Mandarake. It's arched at the top and though the frame is painted wood (black, not orange), it's got a mirrored back and the shelves are glass. And we mused over it the first time we saw it, because it was the only piece of furniture in the whole store that we liked. So I'm not entirely sure why we thought we should go back there to look for a potential desk for Ben, when we'd have better luck at an office supply store. But we saw the curio, still standing there in the corner. And we wound up buying it on the spot. Which is kind of a big deal because it's the most expensive piece of furniture we own besides our glorious cal-king mattress. Seriously, we have a bigger budget for gadgets than furniture. But we had to have it. They covered the tax and shipping since we paid in full, but I feel like that's a thing that pretty much all furniture stores do. Still nice, considering the hefty price tag.

We tried a new steakhouse. It's the second local steakhouse (third if you count Roadhouse, but that's a chain) that we've eaten at. And I have to say, I'm starting to burn out on "Santa Maria" style grilled food. I mean, it's good, and arguably better than Outback, but sometimes I just want a cheap fake Aussie steak. Or, really, I just want the old options. Like, if Ben was in the mood for steak but I wasn't, I could always get the seared ahi salad. And I miss the bloomin' onion petals. It wasn't the necessarily the best, but they had their moments, it was well-priced, and I generally knew what I was gonna get.

And that was week three.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2017-01-07 10:55 am

2017: Week One

(I'm backdating this post for organizational purposes)

On New Year's Eve, Ben and I went to dinner at Sides Hardware and Shoes. It was a 30 minute drive out of town, but it was a scenic drive out into the country, and I'm apparently not over taking long drives through pastoral landscapes, yet. I'll admit that I picked out the restaurant partly because they kept the name of the original establishment, which was reminiscent of Luke's diner in Gilmore Girls. Also partly because they were one of the few places that had available seating two days before NYE on OpenTable. Anyway, Sides was actually kind of upscale. Not that you couldn't go in wearing jeans, but they bother printing out the name of their chef, sou chef, and pastry chef on their super fancy menus. I think it was probably about as upscale as a rustic establishment named after a hardware store can get, and they had a special aged rib-eye that could ostensibly serve two that cost $175. We did not order the rib-eye. I had the lamb and Ben had mac and cheese. I thought Ben was maybe not taking full advantage of our celebrating the end of 2016, especially when his meal came out served in the same size mug in which Panera serves hot cocoa, but it turned out to be really rich and filling bacon mac and cheese, with a crispy/toasty crumble on top. My lamb was pretty perfect, too, served on a bed of green beans and goat cheese gnocchi in some kind of slightly sweet savory sauce. Their pre-dinner rolls came with the most amazing honey miso butter, too.

Claire and Lawrence came over for the countdown after. We introduced them to Looping Louie, which is always fun because people tend to underestimate the amusement adults can get out of a kids' game, even sober. Then we played some Jackbox. When it was 20 minutes to countdown, Ben surfed around for an adequate countdown show on-line, as when we invited Claire and Lawrence over "to watch the ball drop," we neglected to recall that we do not actually have cable and therefore lack access to live television. On that note, we wound up watching Canada's New Year's Eve countdown, and so were ignorant of the Mariah Carey fiasco until the next morning.

Ben had received both his TV mount and my workstation mount sometime the week before, but my studio got set up first, so he mounted the television, later. I feel that it's important to note that he's a nerd about his digital media.. being that, he must consume it in the most ideal and comfortable manner possible. And I am a nerd about home decor, so I pay attention to things like focal points in rooms. We have a real gas fireplace. Ever since (middle-class) people stopped shutting their televisions away in cabinets, they have been at odds with fireplaces as focal points to rooms. In our first house, we mounted our TV over the fireplace. It worked only because our fireplace was smaller and electric, and the mount tilted forward just enough to be comfortable watching. But you still had to tilt your head back a little. In our second place, the niche over the mantle was not large enough for our massive television set, so we put it on the adjacent wall and instead put knickknacks on the mantle. In our new house, the fireplace is larger and the TV would have to go uncomfortably high for watching. We could have put it on the adjacent wall, but Ben forewent his office in favor of having a guest room, so his computer would live downstairs, against that wall, and I was not interested in having two large screens there. It was an alright solution when we were apartment-dwellers, but if Ben was going to have his office space in the living room, I wanted it to feel more like a study.

Anyway, most of our San Diego nerd friends advise to screw the fireplace and cover it if possible. Which I get. We never used the fireplace in our second home, partly because we never got around to hiring a sweep, and partly because it never got cold enough to matter. But I don't like that idea and find it rather tacky unless the fireplace can be removed altogether. Of course, we're not going to remove something that's considered a value add for potential future buyers. So instead, we went ahead and bought a mount that cost more than we spent on Andy's birthday flat screen. This over-the-fireplace mount swings down relatively easily to optimum viewing level, and even has a handle that changes color if you have the fireplace going while watching TV and the fire is too hot. So, that is the major thing Ben installed this week.

I don't know why I can wax poetic about our over-the-fireplace tv mount install but have a hard time recalling much else from last week. Mostly, I waited around for acoustic foam and other household odds and ends that Amazon promised to deliver on Thursday but actually delivered in drips and drabs over the weekend. I don't blame them- new house, address still does not appear on Google Maps. But still, we have managed to receive Christmas packages and gift baskets on time. I watched the first Sherlock of the new season and was a little disappointed. The pacing seemed off and the only bits I really liked were the maybe 5 or so minutes of the Watsons being family-like and following Sherlock on his case. I also started watching Jessica Jones, after finishing re-watching the B- in Apt 23. I like Krysten Ritter. I learned the difficult way to get to Trader Joe's. I dragged all three of the bookshelves I didn't sell upstairs all by myself and started unpacking my studio only to realize that the 3 or so other bookshelves that were in my old art studio closet that I gave away before moving actually served a purpose and I will need to replace them.

I thought about writing an LJ entry for the start of the year, and I'm pretty sure I started, but I got distracted and it never happened. So I guess I'll address my last year's "resolutions" and this year's here.

Last year's goals: Give up soda, low carb it, record every day of 2016, clear out old projects, stop buying things, let it go. How I did: pretty OK on most of this stuff until about the time we had to haul ass out of our house and move for Ben's new job. Last three months were kind of downhill.

This year's goals: No soda at home, cook more often at home, low carb it, manage blood glucose, record every week of 2016, actually do the stuff on my "be better" calendar, maintain one-in-one-out wrt material possessions, let it go (that's both "don't sweat the small stuff" and "let go of old projects").

Oh, right, I made a "be better" calendar, basically a chore and work-out schedule. I mean, most of the things on my "to do" list eventually get done, but I'm a terrible procrastinator and I'm trying not to be. I tried using alarms on my phone, but I started ignoring them. I am not exactly sure why the calendar will be any better, but there must be a reason as I spent a couple of hours filling it out, adjusting the notifications, and color coding it.

We got rid of a bunch of things for the move, and yet I'm still unpacking things I'm looking at and going "Why did this come with me? Will I really get back into this?" I think I ought to pare down to just my doll-related hobbies, but I am having a tough time getting rid of paper. Especially since I also use it for miniatures.

I've been writing this post for two days trying to make it somewhat coherent, but I guess that's not going to happen.

Fin.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2016-08-10 04:47 am
Entry tags:

Oh, just another day in California.



Monday afternoon, I began what's supposed to be roughly a 40 minute drive to Temecula to visit Katie so that we could have dinner and catch up a little after her road trip. In the distance, I see what I assume are clouds, until traffic begins to slow and it turns out that the oddly shaped clouds are actually plumes of smoke from a brush fire on the southbound side of the I-15. The splash of red in the picture is not actually fire, but brightly colored retardant being dumped from a small plane.

Before you get on me for taking photos on my cell phone while I should have been focused driving in a kind of scary situation, the majority of the action involved in taking and sending this picture and the accompanying text message was accomplished through voice command, and I kept my eyes scanning the road. Technology is neat. The future is now. Which could explain why the World of Tomorrow exhibit that was at Disneyland the last time Ben and I went was kind of disappointing... because it didn't seem so much like the future as some rich guy's house in the present.

Anyway, Katie wound up arriving after me, anyway, because the lady who was supposed to give her the keys to her classroom was let off early.



We had dinner at the Lazy Dog. There was a beautiful husky and a sweet German shepherd in the patio and I wanted to hug them both but I didn't. We ate inside. Since it was happy hour, we ordered a pitcher of raspberry moscato sangria. I managed not to trip all over myself when we finished it. We walked the buzz off around the mall.

Fortunately, by the time I had to head home, the fire was contained enough that they left two southbound lanes open, but Waze directed me to a side street that magically routed me around all the fire traffic and I was back in town earlier than anticipated, so I picked up some donuts from Peterson's on the way home. Turned out that Bob and Ben, who get off work around the same time, wound up having dinner together, too, though Bob logged on to Waze half-way through my drive, so I did not see him.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2016-08-05 01:33 pm

Airplanes and Art

Yesterday morning, I dropped Ben off at the airport. He's in Florida right now for his interview. I'll be picking him up later tonight.

While he's been gone, I went and framed the art prints we got at Comic Con. I think it might be the quickest we've ever been about getting anything framed, but I only hung one of them because I didn't know where this one should go.



I mean, if it were just me, I'd want to decorate the whole freaking house around this print. It has all the candy colors I like, and a cute girl.

I'm feeling overwhelmed by my belongings, again... probably because if Ben is offered this new job, we'll have to move, again. I don't really want to buy a house again... at least, not if we're only going to live in it for 2-3 years. Ben thinks that if we move up north, we ought to just buy some land and do the tiny house thing. While part of me would totally be down for that, I do not actually want to live somewhere that far away from friends and family where I could not host guests. I know it's possible, but my temperament isn't really suited to living somewhere with minimal walls with a person other than Ben. And by the time you start considering two or three modules, you might as well just go for a house-sized house.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2016-08-01 01:03 pm

Comic Con Breakdown

For the first time in a few years, Ben and I managed to get passes for preview night. Of course, his co-worker Alvin said that there was a drawing for the Star Trek red carpet premiere on the marina starting at 11 that Wednesday, so of course we had go early.

We went to the Original Pancake House for breakfast, where I ordered the Swedish pancakes because I love lingonberries... also, they're fun to roll up. It was nice, because it was a Wednesday, so we managed to get a table fairly quickly. Though, by the time we left, it had started to get packed.

We went straight to the marina, and I was shocked that I could not for the life of me find my Unico umbrella from Zambicandy. It had been sitting in the bottom of my purse for the past two weeks exactly in anticipation for this occasion, since it is not a very good rain umbrella. It's not a parasol, either, but it would do in a pinch. If I could find it. It's now been more than a week since the end of Comic Con and I have no idea where it is. :(

Anyway, we stood in line under the heat of the sun with no shade and no sunscreen for two hours. So naturally Ben was burnt as a lobster and I more or less like slightly burnt toast on my neck and arms. My face wouldn't start peeling until Friday.

There was a little old black couple just in front of us in line who were just the cutest: a man in full Starfleet uniform and his wife. They were so friendly and sprightly! Anyway, a group of folks came up to him before the drawing started and straight up gave him a ticket for the showing, but they stayed in line because they still would need to try to draw tickets for his wife.

A little later on, after the drawing had begun but just before they started winding us around the final stretch, the man was stopped again by none other Michael Giacchino, the composer of the music for Star Trek Beyond. Michael gave them yet more tickets! But they still went to see if they could draw tickets for their kids. Which they did, because the line lady let him peek in the bag! It couldn't have happened to nicer people, though.

Plus, Paramount hired an ice cream truck to give away free ice cream to the people who were standing in line for Star Trek. So we got consolation ice cream.

From 2016


From 2016


The double cone that Ben got was a feat of engineering, I tell you.

Preview night started with me making a beeline for Mattel and then abandoning my attempts to get into the line after about 5 minutes of pacing back and forth in the general area. In the end, I wound up able to get the exclusives I wanted because there was practically no line the following days. The things they ran out of surprised me, though.

In terms of fun freebies, I got a little Mega bloks Enterprise, which is my favorite free toy thing I've gotten since my Jake the Dog keychain a couple of years ago. We bought an art print of Patrick Stewart and a wolf from the painter of light, himself, Brandon Bird, and I got the new Camilla d'Errico coloring book, which is gorgeous even though it's double-sided. I was really looking forward to trying my copics on it, but there's too much bleed and too much pretty on both sides to just go for it. I wound up buying a second copy off Amazon (it's $6.76 right now, off of $15.99), since she signed the copy I bought at Comic Con.

After the floor closed, Ben and I went to the Super7 store for their special screening of the new He-Man (Skeletor? I mean, it was Skeletor-centric) episode and sale. Alas, the whole thing was sort of disappointing. The highlight of it all was that we wound up standing behind the designer of the new She-Ra doll, who actually was carrying the doll around with him and taking pictures. For some reason, that felt really validating, lol.

Ben wound up buying a shirt and some M.U.S.C.L.E. figures... which I really don't get, but after standing in line for an hour to uncover the mysteries of this Super7 event, we had to get something. He figures maybe he'll use them for D&D minis. Maybe.

Thursday was pretty chill. We met up with Bobby and Alvin for Geek and Sundry (even though we're still a little bitter toward Felicia Day about the whole near-death Fulfillment Room pin debacle) and the Nerdist, because both Ben and I nurse a huge crush on Chris Hardwick. (I joke that it's one of the reasons I married him, but the truth is that I didn't know about it until after we'd already tied the knot.) The Nerdist Panel was really good, and they had some great things to say about maintaining your public on-line presence and how to not feed the trolls. I'm only sad that I didn't make it into the Sherlock Panel on Sunday to see CH moderate that.

Afterwards, we grabbed some Stuffed! burgers at the funfair across the street (Oh gawd, the Bang! with the fried onions and blue cheese is just decadent... I got it twice last year), then headed back to the car to debut Ben's costume.

From 2016


He got stopped for an interview with Screen Junkies,

From 2016


and Funny or Die. By the way, if you're going to dress up as a Pinball Wizard, you better know the song.

From 2016


We met fellow video game veterans, Guile

From 2016


and Wario and Waluigi.

From 2016


Apparently, in addition to ancient earth sports, Sisko has an appreciation for ancient earth entertainment technology, as well.

From 2016


From 2016


Suffice it to say, Ben's costume was out of this world.

I didn't debut my costume until Friday because I didn't want to have to deal with wielding my warhammer and trying to steer Ben out of the way of knocking down small children.

We first attempted to line up for the Rick and Morty panel, but abandoned that plan because we were both sunburnt and not willing to endure standing outside in the blazing sun. So we went back on the floor where I met none other than my buddy, King:

From 2016


It was pretty exciting for both of us but it was the last time I'd see another 7DS cosplayer all weekend. I didn't keep track of how many people stopped to ask for a picture, but it was a lot. Which makes me feel a little uncomfortable if I think about it too much, because the first year I dressed up for Comic Con, I found exactly one search result for my costume, accompanied by a negative caption, which had put me off going all out on my own cosplay for years. This year, people were really positive, though, and it seemed like there were maybe only one or two people who asked for a picture because I had an impressive hammer rather than because they knew and liked the show.

I think the most funny and delightful thing was that a number of Harley Quinns would come up to me and compliment my hammer.

From 2016


The girl here was dressed as Apple from Turbokid. I was appalled that Ben didn't recognize her at all, since Apple and Turbokid had been one of the options we were considering before he settled on his Pinball Wizard idea.

From 2016


And finally, She-Ra. I've probably mentioned it before, but when I was four and some change and my mom was pregnant with my sister, I told her that if the baby was a boy, he should be named He-Man and if it was a girl, she should be named She-Ra. And they wound up naming her Sheryl. Coincidence?

We wound up bailing around 4 and eating an early dinner at the Boiling Crab.

From 2016


And, yes, I did go in my costume (minus the hammer). The wait staff was pretty excited to talk about it.

From 2016


Saturday, Ben and I opted to do the outdoor stuff, since we RSVP'd to Adult Swim on the Green. In the future, we really ought to do that stuff on a weekday, because it's open to the general public, and people tend to have Saturday off.

The Green was still closed when we got there, so we went through the South Park photo experience.

From 2016


After I posted the above photo on Facebook, Andy responded a bit later with a photo of him doing the same thing.

From 2016


From 2016


From 2016


From 2016


This is perhaps the least flattering photo of me taken, ever, but I'm still amused by it.

Afterwards, we headed out to The Green. It was the first time I've ever been inside the Meatwad tent, and frankly, I'd do it again. I thought that they were going to premiere a show or something, but it turned out to be a really fun and trippy film. Like riding a VR shuttle into stunning visuals, but without getting bounced around.

We didn't try for any free shirts or carnival games, though, it was so packed.

From 2016


Just outside The Green, I met Ash and Pikachu! There were lots of Pokemon Go players. Amazingly, the movements of the players didn't really impact foot traffic in the convention hall, even though we did witness a couple of parents dragging their kids away from trying to catch something.

From 2016


I was a little disappointed that One Punch Man was there hawking One Punch Punch, but hey, free Punch! Also, I wound up seeing at least two other One Puch Man (One Punch Men?) who were Just Cosplayers, later that weekend.

From 2016


Best free thing I got that day.

From 2016


Sunday, we went to my doll panel, which happened to be in the same room as the NASA/JPL panel and the vintage videogames panel that Ben wanted to see.

The bjd panel was much of the same... pretty much an excuse for people to meet and show off their dolls. No one really paid much attention to Molly... I guess no big fans of 7DS there, but I did mostly hang back to guard Ben's costume while he went off to get pizza.

We stayed through the NASA/JPL panel, which was interesting, though I'd have to say that thermal engineer Shonte Tucker was probably the most engaging person in the group. Well, and the last guy who had to arrest someone's grandma for trespassing on the launchpad out in Cape Canaveral. He was interesting, too, but his anecdotes ate into a lot of the Q&A.

As soon as the room started to empty, I helped Ben into his costume. Just before the game panel started, internet celebrity Pat Contri had the room give Ben a round of applause, which was really neat. After the panel, he tweeted this photo of Ben. Ben asked if James (Angry Video Game Nerd) would take a picture, but Pat said that James wasn't really into the Tiger Handhelds. After he left, I commented that maybe James could just berate Ben (as he does to terrible games on his YouTube channel).

Then, on our way out, a blogger for NPR took Ben's photo and asked him a few questions. Also, someone else who stopped him for photos totally recognized him from his Roger Wilco costume.

On the way out, we ran into a bunch of people we knew. Hooper, Jac, and their kids, and also Nicole (the wife of one of Ben's old high school buddies). We were supposed to dine with Kim and Jac, but everywhere close to the center was slammed and everyone was tired. So instead, Ben and I went to El Indio and met with Roberto and his mom. It was nice of them to come all the way out, since El Indio is out of the way of Comic Con. We had a very pleasant dinner and caught up a bit.

Soooo... pretty chill this year. I got my MH exclusive, and I also got the Saga figures, which I didn't know I needed to have. I love Saga! It's soooo good. I wish the set included a baby Hazel, though.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2016-08-01 12:09 pm

Sherlock Tea

July 13th, Katie and went to Shakespeare's Corner Shoppe and attended their Sherlock-themed tea.

But first, I went for a much overdue trip to the carwash. I really ought to go more often because Science is my co-pilot and there was a lot of fur. Anyway, while waiting for my car, I met this distinguished creature:

From 2016


Her name is Jasmine and she is 5 years old. She was super friendly. Pugs are so ridiculous!!

Afterwards, I made the drive downtown to Shakespeare's. I've been to the pub, but I had no idea their sister establishment also had a tea room.

From 2016


From 2016


From 2016


From 2016



The tower of goodies sitting before Katie was actually mine, because she had a gluten-free order, so everything got served to her, personally.

From 2016


From 2016


Ended the tea with trivia and a lemon syllabub. I did pretty terribly; the hostess said "Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would be rolling in his grave." On the other hand, the girl whose paper I corrected got the most answers correct and won a free themed tea experience. The next two are Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter, but seeing that their themed teas only happen on Wednesdays, it's unlikely that Katie would be able to accompany me to either because school will be back in session, and that's no fun. :P

I kind of wish we'd bring regular tea time back, until I remember that I'd have to make all those tiny sandwiches and sweet biscuits myself. Every once in a while seems fun, though.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2016-07-09 04:14 am

die nachbarn haben nichts gerraft

July 4

After spending the day largely working on Comic Con stuff, we went to my in-laws for barbecue and fireworks. The neighbors were off doing their own thing, so the other guests were Andy's roommates, Christa, and Jon Smith's brother/half-brother? Ray Jay. Then we drove out to the trail and watched three separate fireworks shows from the hill.

From 2016


One of said shows was directly blocked by this magnificent palm tree. Science did pretty well with the fireworks, but they were also a pretty good distance.

I'd like to watch from the park next year, but based on what I remember from last year, I'd want to go with a group or something.

July 7

My in-laws finally went on their hot air balloon ride. Finally. We pooled our money last October for Dez's birthday. She tried to cash in on the ride in April, but the winds were too high. Then the Doerners said they wanted to join them, but were traveling for a while.

From 2016


So, this isn't my picture, but there they are. They invited us over to see pictures from their ballooning ride, this weekend. I'm kind of lukewarm about going. I'm happy they went, and would love to see their pictures... on Facebook. Danne doesn't really curate his pictures, otherwise.

I mean, I know that our Japan slideshow took roughly an hour to get through if you were listening to us narrate it in person, but that's why I also cut it into a music video.

July 8

Alas, I didn't finish my Diane dress, or even start on the bracer. But at least the bodice front and skirt are assembled, if not attached to each other. I have to gather the skirt, first, which is not my favorite thing to do because I have to do it by hand. I mean, I have a ruffler, and it even works fantastically with my machine! But I don't know what setting I could use to ensure the waist would end up the correct length after ruffling. It's really more useful for curtains or would be useful for not pre-cut embellishments.

From 2016


King, however, is all ready to go.

Gamey Stuff

I've been sucked so far into CocoPpa that I made it its own tumblog. So from this point on I will likely continue my capping and ranting over there. I feel like I need to cap it because one day they might shut down their servers, like Japan Life, and I will want to know where all my time went.

I've also downloaded the other two apps in the Runaway Games family- the Flutter: Starlight folks. So I now have Flutter (original) and Splash (their undersea collecting game). I'm a lot more casual playing Flutter than I am Starlight... I think I just like the night mood better. I mean, they're all pretty casual time-based games and are relaxed enough that I don't feel any kind of urgency to buy in-game currency even for time limited events (though the last moth in the Yanada set has annoyingly slippery wisps). But I tend to check on my moths and underwater buddies more often than the butterflies.

Unlike most of the people I know, I'm not playing Pokemon Go. I was at first amused by the many PSAs that appeared on my tumblr dash, but, good lord, the car accidents. :( Ben said that saw a "best of" thread (probably on Something Awful) that included a photograph of someone catching a pokemon in the path of an on-coming train.

I just never really got into Pokemon. My sister was the one into Pokemon, also Tamagotchi. I think I was more into the Sims... but I kind of stopped after 3 and quit the mobile game shortly after I got into Japan Life the first time.

Song of the Deep looks really cute. It's been a while since I've played that style of game.
yunikoneko: (let's be friends!)
2016-07-01 12:07 am

Tau Day and Comic Con Costume Progress

June 28

I completely forgot it was Tau (2π) Day, even though I'd made a note of it in my calendar because it was also the day I took Science in for her heartworm exam. She made it all the way into the waiting room before she got remotely suspicious. While I was waiting for her to come back, the other two lab techs were talking about how Mademoiselle Pizzaz was the next appointment. I had wholly assumed Mme. P was a cat, but it turned out to be a tiny yorkie. Science was very interested, Mme. Pizzaz was not.

From 2016


When Ben came home, we celebrated Tau Day by going out to Claim Jumper and having two pies: a mud pie, and a cheese pie. Both were delicious, both were unfinishable in one sitting, both of them wound up coming home with us, and the mud pie managed not to melt.

From 2016


The mud pie was really big.

June 29

I don't have a pic of the day for this date. I had my follow-up with Dr. S to discuss how the contacts were feeling and I told him that contact-lens-out-o-clock happened around 5-6 hours, which is relatively short but pretty normal for me. He took a look see said they were sitting well on the eye, so I went ahead and ordered a year's supply.

Afterwards, I went to Daiso, just because it was still early enough not to get stuck in traffic on the way back. I bought a new earbud cord management doodad because I managed to lose mine on a hike with Science. The new one seems like it'd be more secure, and is in the shape of a biscuit, which I enjoy. I also got a back scratcher because I'd neglected to pick one up both times I went to the fair, a new organizer for my purse, and a set of carving tools that might be useful for future costume projects. I really enjoy that store.

Today, June 30

I put the last coat of Plastidip and first coat of paint on my warhammer, today:

From 2016


Unlike my husband, I put down a piece of cardboard for the overspray. He argues that it will grow out in two weeks, which is probably mostly true. Anyway, between coats, I played CCP and chatted with my new club. I enjoy not feeling like the oldest person in chat. In fact, I'm not the oldest person in chat! The subleader is the leader's mom, and the leader is also in her 30s. And at least one other member has tweenaged kids. I hope our chat didn't alienate our younger members.

Anyway, this is Ben's costume progress:

From 2016


He got his oversized vinyl sticker in, today, and now has to cut it.

Tomorrow...

I need to adult. I have a bunch of recycling and I should get my car washed, but I probably shouldn't do the car wash tomorrow because it's sharing the garage with costume debris and will probably just get dirty, again.

I also need to buy piping for my costume and get it cut out, because I've still got King's to work on, too. On the bright side, the cutting and sewing should go much faster because I've been learning how to cut faster and sew with minimal pins.

I'm a little bit worried that it's been over a week and my most recent book hasn't been approved, yet. I wonder if she's trying to figure out the kindest way to tell me my accents suck or what.

Observations on health, cut for potential tmiRead more... )

Lastly, I turned in my last audiobook significantly before deadline. I haven't heard back from the author and now I'm concerned that she hates my accents and just doesn't know how to tell me. I just want to move on to a new project. :'(
yunikoneko: (Default)
2016-06-27 05:43 pm
Entry tags:

Company Party

Ben's work hosts a yearly holiday party that I usually find very uncomfortable because it's a black-tie event and I know very few of his co-workers. I've muddled through these events with the understanding that dressing up and having awkward social interactions with strangers are the price I'd have to pay for this particular fancy dinner. (The live music and dancing have been fun, too.) However, this year they decided to forego it in favor of throwing a big 30th anniversary party.

What registered when I glanced briefly at the Save the Date postcard was that there would be no holiday party, but instead a party on a boat. I'm not sure why I assumed it was a Hornblower dinner cruise type thing, given the scale of the previous holiday parties and how expensive and difficult it might be to organize such a thing if you had to add in getting everyone boarded by a certain o'clock. It turned out that they had actually reserved the USS Midway. The Midway is an aircraft carrier-turned-maritime museum, permanently moored at the harbor.

Neither of us was particularly excited about the prospect of driving downtown for a dinner party last Saturday, especially since, as Comic Con approaches, much of Ben's free time needs to be dedicated to working on his costume. Ultimately, I said we'd already RSVP'd, and it's free, so we should just go. I'm glad we did, because it turned out to be much more entertaining than the annual holiday party.



We went directly to the top deck, where there were food/bar stations, cocktail tables, and a live band playing amidst the aircraft. You could get your picture taken inside the cockpit, but we skipped it in favor of visiting the many food stations. I have a lot of pictures of food because Katie, who was on her sixth day of recovering from elective surgery, was bored out of her mind, so I spent the first part of the night texting her pictures between making plates.



There were three different kinds of hors d'oeuvres being walked around, but I only managed to snag two of them. I missed the mini quesadillas, but I managed to get a number of little bacon, fig, and goat cheese crostini (not pictured), and this delicious cocktail of shrimp in a green poblano chile sauce. Ben was not a fan of the sauce, but I could have eaten it all night if they did not also have....



Sushi rolls! The choices were cucumber, Cali, Philly, and Spicy Tuna. And I had all of them except for the cucumber roll, because I like to live life.



I saw some people walking around with skewers and was surprised to find out that it was both salmon and Korean bbq. They served it with a tangerine sauce over a bed of couscous. My mouth is watering just remembering it.



I skipped the cuppa salad shakers, but I took a picture because it was clever.



After we finished off the skewers and couscous, we headed below decks where the flight simulators were going. We had planned on looking for more food or dessert, but the line for the sim was pretty long so I said we ought to just queue up and let our stomachs settle before we eat so much food that we couldn't participate.

While we were waiting in line, his Ben's co-worker, Kyle, walked up to greet us. I don't think Ben directly works with Kyle, but Kyle participates in the lunchtime D&D game Ben DMs. The funny thing was, Kyle and his girlfriend totally sat with us at the first company holiday party I attended two years ago. I don't think Ben or Kyle realized it until Kyle said that he recognized me. I remember them as the friendly and cheerfully tipsy couple that made that particular party tolerable, but I completely forget the girl's name. I'm glad they're still together, though. Anyway, the wait was maybe 30 minutes or so. You could hear some people cheering or screaming inside the vehicles.

The only thing I regret is not screaming "Witness me!" as I pulled the plane into a sweet backward loop before crashing it and letting Ben take over steering.

They had a practice console before you went in, but it's tough to get the hang of it in only three minutes, especially since you have to share that time with whoever is riding with you. The graphics weren't super great and it was kind of hard to get an idea of how much to throttle because the plane's reaction time seemed slow. I mean, it's probably close to how it actually feels to pilot that kind of vehicle, but that's something you'd have to learn. And, unlike Ben, I actually was paying attention to the instrumentation.

Even though we ate before flying recklessly, neither of us horked. So after we got out, we headed to the closest dessert station.



We both started out with peach cobbler a la mode, which was delicious but not particularly attractive to look at, then moved on to the stack-your-plate-full-of-mini-pastries. Ben got one of almost everything, whereas I chose this cherry hazelnut velvet square and raspberry twinkle bonbon. Both were tasty, but also so rich and sweet that I wanted to drink a lot of water and eat a vegetable afterwards. I got my water, but we wound up eating whiskey soaked donut holes (also a la mode, served in a martini glass... idk why I didn't get a picture of that!). Then Ben got a horchata milkshake, which I thought was definitely too sweet, but was his favorite thing there.



On the far side of the deck was a braised beef station. It was so tender and delicious. ;_; Ben had a bite of mine but opted for the chicken parmigiana and pasta, instead.



After second-dinner, we wound up back at the French pastry table for second-dessert (third-dessert?). Raspberry cheescake and a lemon cone with fresh berries for me. This was a perfect ender, as it wasn't nearly as sweet as the velvet square and raspberry twinkle, and the tartness of the fresh berries helped cut the sweetness, too.



We missed the keynote speech, but managed to catch the celebratory fireworks.

From ViaSat 30th Anniversary Party


The party was scheduled to go on until midnight. The lower deck was half empty by the time we decided to go home, but the upper deck was still rocking. We left at a reasonable 9:30, but Ben decided to go to one of his many regularly-scheduled D&D games after he dropped me off and didn't get back home 'til about 1:30.

It occurs to me that I must have visited the Midway before, because I distinctly remember the part of the floor that is glass where, if you look down, you can see a mannequin of a maintenance worker many, many floors below, working on the engine. The rest of the ship just didn't particularly strike me as memorable, probably because I have stronger memories of visiting my dad aboard the ships that he served on. The smell is the same, though- the tang of salty air and metal.

All in all, a pretty fun night.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2016-06-24 09:38 pm

Finally, a post with photos!

June 9. Ben and I went to the county fair. I've tended to take fewer and fewer photos as the years progress. Even though this year's theme was Steampunk/Alice in Wonderland, I pretty much took it easy and just focused on eating deep fried food, with maybe just a little bit of sheep and rabbit petting.

In the agricultural facility, they had a bug bar:

From 2016


We did not partake, but I did text this photo to Sheryl, who immediately asked if I would buy her a box of chocolate covered grasshoppers so she could give them to Mr. Belding.

Then, while Ben and I were eating some overpriced and rather disappointing polish sausages by one of the smaller fair stages, a band started playing some jazzy music and Suzanne Somers, of all people, came out and started singing. Even though she wasn't my cup of tea, she was pretty good and played off the crowd well.

From 2016


Honestly, I've stopped paying attention to the performers they line up for the fair since Weird Al stopped touring it a couple of years ago. The headliners tend to be American Idol veterans, or cover bands, or Carly Rae Jepsen. I guess I might care if I still listened to top 40? When I was a teenager, there was a performer I had to see every year.

So... we ate a lot of fried cheese curds, enjoyed the art and photography exhibits, and managed not to buy anything.

June 15

Netflix suggested that since I watched Mansfield Park, I might enjoy Jurassic Park.

From 2016


I actually do enjoy both movies, but completely unrelatedly.

June 16

Katie drove down and we went to Lolita's before heading off to the beach. Usually, we go to Coronado, but that's now waaay south of both of us, so we went to Moonlight State Beach. It had been recommended to me by a Trader Joe's cashier. I'd complimented her on her sea glass necklace, and she commented that she had made it herself from a piece she had found on the beach. I asked which beach, since I've never been lucky enough to find sea glass, and she extolled the virtues of Moonlight State Beach and its free parking.

Alas, summer break was in full swing, so the free parking lot was full. We wound up parking on the street a couple blocks from the entrance to the beach. Access was by a multi-story staircase built against a cliff face, which is something that TJ Cashier neglected to mention.

From 2016


Anyway, the beach trip was going really great until Katie got stung on the foot by a bee in the ocean. You read that correctly. We had packed up my mat and were wading about ankle deep along the shoreline looking for sea-glass (which we never found) when all of a sudden Katie is limping. I hear her say "stung" and "what do I do?" And of course the first thought that comes to mind is that she's been stung by a jellyfish and oh god we walked down five flights of stairs to get here and I will have to pee on her foot because I doubt that the insurance coverage she gets from her school will cover her getting airlifted out of here.

Fortunately, it was a bee and not a jellyfish and she doesn't have a bee allergy, so she was able to limp back up the stairs and to her car without further incident.

June 17

I visited the fair again, this time with my parents. I managed to spend more time at the fair with them and actually feel less tired at the end of it, but it's likely because they paid for premium parking, spent most of their time shopping, and stopped to sit and chill more often.

I bought a thing, too- a grater plate that came with a complimentary brush and garlic peeler. I was really just looking for the peeler, but the grater plate was both pretty and top-rack dishwasher safe, which is more than I can say for our box grater. I really like cute things with utility. Last Christmas, Katie and Bob gave me measuring spoons that look like arrows. They remind me of the arrow mixing spoon that was in my beverage at the Eorzea Cafe in Japan. I still have my utilitarian spoons because they are narrow and fit into spice jars, but I like having a back-up spoon in case I haven't done the dishes recently. One set of back-up mixing spoons is reasonable.

I hope my mom uses her grater plate. Sometimes I think she just buys things because they're cute. Which I used to do... but it gets to be too much.

Anyway, my parents bought stuff, and then we ate a Mexican funnel cake (which is basically a giant knot of churro that I find superior to non-Mexican funnel cake), and then we looked at flowers.

I need to know where I can get me some Starry Night Petunias:

From 2016


Tho I'd probably just kill them. Or the heat will. My violet, lilies, and fuchsia are dead or near it. They looked good for about two weeks. I should really stick to succulents.

June 18

I'd gotten my dad a kalimba for Father's Day (it just makes really happy sounds and I want to give everyone a kalimba), but it's pretty plain-looking by itself, so I decided to transfer a photo onto it using acrylic gel medium and our handy dandy laser printer.

From 2016


I used the same technique to decorate a printer's tray for my FIL, though I forgot to take a picture of it.

It's easy, if a little time-consuming, but now I have a jar of acrylic gel medium and all I want to do is transfer pictures onto wood. I don't know what for, though.

June 19

I never actually got to give my dad the kalimba, since he planned to spend Father's Day playing table tennis and our trip to the fair was his impromptu celebration. We did go to the lake with Ben's family plus Christa. And we played the obligatory card game, which I've grown to tolerate better since Christa is such a cheerfully good sport about everything.

From 2016


And, of course, Science went bolting after a dog at the neighboring picnic table, giving me a gnarly rope burn on one of my legs. Which sucks because rope burns from retractable leashes really suck in general, but I'd also been looking forward to having my legs match my arms. See, I brown really easily, but I wear leggings most of the time, so when summer comes around, I dislike baring my legs because I'm all pale down there and burned toast above the waist. I figured one more trip outside with an umbrella would do it, but now there's a millimeter deep gash where my tan's been torn off. :P

June 23

Had an appointment with my optometrist, today. I really like my optometrist. One of his receptionists, Bev, is a total kindred spirit. Last year, when I got my new glasses, we were geeking out together because we were both going to Japan, apparently at the same time, with plans to see the Robot Cabaret and visit Studio Ghibli. I mean, a lot of people could plan a Japanese vacation that might include those things, but we were leaving on the same day.

Anyway, Dr. S asked if I'd had contacts before, and I told him that I pretty much get them for occasions: Graduation, weddings, Comic Con. He seemed genuinely excited about my costume, too, as he was familiar with Seven Deadly Sins, which I thought was funny. But a lot of people have Netflix, and it's been trending.

Costume is going pretty slowly, still. I haven't worked on the dress in a while, but I finally finished assembling Gideon.

From 2016


I put a coat of plastidip on it today, and was annoyed to find that some of my seams started splitting because I neglected to score the edges when I hot glued them together. I think it's salvageable, though... I just can't leave Gideon in the car.

I think, because of the fixes I need to do, I'm going to wind up also coating it in a couple of layers of Mod Podge before sanding it back down to a smoother finish. Also, I tried spraying a scrap piece of dip-coated foam in the chestnut-colored hammered metal spray, and I think it's going to be too dark. I'm probably going to wind up doing the dark coat and a coat of brass for depth, but I'll have to do some more tests.

A while back, Molly got her "King" wig and eyes. I only recently got around to putting them in because Molly is made of abs plastic and so her head is different. I'm not a fan of changing out her eyes.

From 2016


The hair is a touch too dark, but I'm sure with the outfit it will get the point across.

June 24

Today, my leaf bag from Talismana Designs arrived! I meant to get it as hiking bag, since I don't want to take my purse with me on hikes but a backpack is overkill for my phone and diabetes testing supplies. But I think it might become my primary bag. Which makes me a little sad, because I love the Twin Stars bag I made last December.

From 2016


But I really love the leaf bag, too! I wanted one of her leaf utility belts, but I knew they were a smidge too small for my phone and testing supplies, and I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with how they fit around my waist.

Bonus Picture

From 2016


Mom bought Science artisan dog cookies from the fair. Science loved them.

Gamey stuff

From 2016


Well, I've been sucked into CCP. I wound up leaving my old club in the middle of an event for a top 100 War Club. We're ranked 15, now, but my membership is probably only temporary because I doubt I can maintain an under 400 rank for every event. On the bright side, this present group consists of mostly college kids and older, so even though I suspect I'm the oldest one in club, I'm not made to feel like it in chat.

Anyway, I recently sent the above cap of my game to Katie, joking that we'd found Benedict Cumberbatch (see Cumberbatch Otter Meme).

I also downloaded Flutter: Starlight, a moth breeding/collecting game. I kind of wish I'd found it before I found CCP. I mean, I could delete CCP, but I'm invested, now. At least through this event. :P

From 2016


Anyway, F:S has a similar feel to the frog-breeding/collecting game. It's a little more interactive than Neko Atsume, but consequently more of a time-suck, too. The sound the little caterpillars make when you wake them up to feed them kind of reminds me of the hatching baby raptor scene from Jurassic Park. Also, I'm tickled by the O-face the bumblebee makes when he's pollinating flowers. It's just cute and ridiculous. I'm a sucker for cute and ridiculous. :P
yunikoneko: (Default)
2016-06-10 04:19 am

Earthquake!

I had just gotten up to edit the last chapter I recorded for the project I'm working on when my rig started rattling. The dog went running down the hall, and Ben got up, too, to see what the fuss was about. Fortunately, no aftershocks. Ben went back to bed and I continued recording. I didn't quite finish the chapter I was reading because I got stuck on the male character with an Indian accent. He had a bit of a monologue, and my accent kept slipping. It's not great in the first place and I'm trying really hard not to let him sound like Apu. But it's difficult.

Yesterday, Ben and I went to the Del Mar Fair. Er, the San Diego County Fair. It was Alice and Steampunk-themed, this year, which was fun. I never actually got past sculpting the head for the felted Alice doll I wanted to enter by the time the entry deadline swung around, but if I'd finished, I bet I would have placed. There weren't a lot of entries in the needle felting division, or at least not a lot of sculptural entries. Something to think about, next time. :P

Now, it's time to focus on finishing costumes for Comic Con. Anime Expo is coming up next month, but I'm a little skeptical as to whether we'd both finish in time for that.

I made a tissue toile of the bodice to try and figure out if I will need to add a couple inches to the waist, but while Fifi is a pretty good representation of my upper torso, her belly isn't padded to accurately reflect my own, and this dress isn't an empire cut. I think that, even in a non-stretchy fabric, I might be able to squeeze into the dress without modification... but I probably should make a muslin toile and try it on myself before I bite the bullet. I suspect I'm going to have to buy more of the orange broadcloth, anyway.

Ugh, it's 4:51a, already. I'm going to bed.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2016-06-05 07:42 pm

Strange Instruments

I recently ordered a kalimba and a jaw harp off of Amazon. The jaw harp is for Ben. His D&D character is a bard who visually is a cross between Batman and Guts from Berserk. His magical implement is a jaw harp. And because I'm all for having unusual musical instruments, I ordered one. By our next session, he might be able to play three notes on it, so he can LARP a little before he casts a spell.

The kalimba is for me. I've wanted one for a while and figured that since Ben was getting a new toy instrument, I should get one, too. It was a $10 leaf-shaped one. It's super cute, but it's not tuned to anything but itself, and trying to tune it using standard 8-note kalimba tuning proved fruitless. It makes pretty sounds, but I couldn't use it for accompaniment.

SOOO... I wound up ordering a slightly more expensive proper kalimba, with 10-keys, and tuned to C-major. I also ordered one for my dad for father's day. I think he'd get a kick out of it. These new ones are arriving tomorrow.

Today, while Ben ran his D&D campaign, I went shopping for my Comic Con costume. I haven't really dressed for con since Chao/Katy the Kitty Witch's human form a few years ago. I used to be preoccupied with doing something new and/or rare, but have since changed my attitude about it. So this year, I'm going as Diane from Seven Deadly Sins, since it will allow me to cosplay with my dolls. I'd bought a cheap orange sheath dress that I was going to sew some darts in to give it some shape, but then I found an almost perfect pattern for a fitted dress. Almost perfect except the skirt is too long and there's no collar, but I don't think it'll be too hard to fix. (Famous last words...)

Debating whether I should also make Gideon, since we'll have a hard enough time fitting Ben's costume into my hatch. :P I've already ordered new eyes and a short wig for Molly, who will be dressed as King... even though I was strongly tempted to buy the Angell Studio Bake that's in stock at Fabric Friends and Dolls to play the part. At the moment, Molly doesn't need a sib, though, and a sewing machine extension table would be a better use of the funds.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2016-05-25 02:16 pm

Floof

I don't know what is the deal with my phone and/or my computer re-dating my pictures, so I think I may try doing the one-a-day format, because I'm not sure when I actually took the pictures I have on file for the past week. :P

From 2016


On Sunday the 15th, we had some big intruders that scared off the little birbs but were not scared off by Science's barking and running at them. I was concerned that since I named one of my "Robins" JT, I had consigned him to certain death, but he was back with a bunch of new sparrow friends and a new ladybirb a few days later:

From 2016


I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it, but the family of birbs (Barb, Dick, and their brood) that were nesting in the eaves over our front porch abandoned their nest. We were concerned, after days of silence, that we would find baby birb corpses because Barb seemed to get worried easily every time we opened the door, so maybe they abandoned ship. But Ben took the nest down and it was just twigs and fluff, so we're assuming that they flew away without us noticing.

Anyway, it looks like Tim and his un-named mate have moved in. I hope they get used to us. I notice when I come out of the house, they don't fly as far away as Barb and Dick did.

On Tuesday, I walked Science to the farmer's market. She still gets a little tuggy when there's a lot of unfamiliar noise, but she seemed to do better than when there was a big street fair going on. I wanted to buy some flowers, but I didn't think they'd survive the heat and Science having to fertilize every other lawn on the way back home. Instead, I had to settle for a picture of this sandwich board in front of Vinz. I don't think they always have it out, or else it's new:

From 2016


On Sunday the 22nd, Ben and I visited both of our extended families. Sue, who I've met maybe twice but was kind of just assumed to know, was visiting from Seattle, so Ben's great aunt Joann had a little house party. Doug, Vanessa's dad, had brought little Joshie with him, and holy cow did the kid grow like a weed! I almost didn't recognize him. He's such a sweet kid, and based on how I remember him as a toddler, I was not expecting him to be as gentle and shy as he was. I mean, it didn't take long to coax him out of the shyness, but he's so quiet!

We stayed until Ben's parents and brother arrived, then we went to my grandparents' apartment to celebrate my grandmother's 84th. To my surprise, my sister was there, and seemed to be the only one at the party, even though Ben and I were an hour late. I don't think anyone was expecting her.

From 2016


My auntie Edith's husband, Dani, was kind enough to include some low-carb turkey salad in cucumber cups in the spread. I think he heard me talking about how I was struggling to control my blood sugar, the last time I was there. It was very thoughtful of him! Even though I still wound up eating the rice cake. Which is such a bad idea, as I'm still trying to bring my blood sugar down from it, days later. In the future, I will just have to decline. :(

Monday, I worked on my D&D character's backstory. Bob started a new campaign that he's hosting at our house. Since Melanie and Jersey are moving, and Russ is hard to schedule, we've started playing with Andy and Christa. Ben rolled a new character, but I'm playing my wizard from the previous game, with a few tweaks.

I kind of got Iphigenia from Glinda the Good Witch: she's a wizard who dresses pretty much exclusively in pink, only she bubbles around using magic to do her bidding because being raised in a farming village run by halflings has given her an obsession with tidiness and precision. She lives in a vardo that she can shrink magically into a purse that she's lived in since she was five years old because none of the other buildings in town were tall enough for her to fit into.

From 2016


Also, she has twelve siblings, the natural children of her adoptive halfling parents, Bilby and Rosamond. All of her sisters are named after mushrooms.

From 2016


Katie may take Lepiota to play, since it's not certain that she would be able to make every game, what with her working on her masters. And it would be easy enough to roll her in and out of play, since Lepiota ran away from home to seek her fortune and wouldn't necessarily be tagging along with me the whole time.

From 2016


Yesterday, I took Science to the dog beach. It was her first time. Of course, she's terrified of the water, both because it's water and because she's sensitive to the noise. She liked chasing the other dogs, but she made a point to stay at least 20 feet away from where the sand started getting wet. I managed to coax her to the edge, briefly, but she bolted when the tide came in, and hid under a bench for a good twenty minutes until new dogs started coming in. In addition to the guy in the above photo, she played with a young husky, an aussie puppy, and a young border collie. And I browned my legs a bit, so it wasn't a total loss. :P

Also, I've been horribly sucked into CocoPPa Play.

From 2016


Japan Life shut down either late last year or early this year and I haven't really had any games on my phone except Sailor Moon Drops. I've already reached the last stage they have available until the next update, so I've just been replaying levels to get the treasure chests I missed or to max out the stars. So my curiosity got the better of me when CocoPPa advertised on my Facebook.

You guys, this game is seriously the worst. It totally appeals to my love of gachapon and big-eyed dolls and, yes, Twin Stars. It involves literally no skill but manages to be a huge time suck. Plus, I don't think I've encountered another player over the age of 25, though, which is kind of embarrassing. The oldest player I've met who'd admit as much was 22.

Also, I don't know where these high level teenagers with premium content are coming from, because gacha events are freaking expensive. In real money. I'll admit, after three days of staring at the shop in Sanrio Town, I caved in and bought p-coins because I had to have the Twin Stars set. It'd probably be better to just delete the app if I have the itch to buy more p-coins. I've come across at least one high level profile advertising that they were selling their account for $700. Psht, I could buy a real BJD for that! I don't know that anyone would buy it. I think of the money I've spent on it (certainly not $700!) as something I used to curate my personal style... so it would be weird to buy someone else's account.

Anyway, I started a club so I could see/participate in the mermaid event and left it open for people who also wanted to see the event but weren't looking for a competitive or particularly social club. All of my members are non-English speakers, it looks like, so that makes sense. Chat lit up the other day, though- a French boy who liked the club because he had a hard time finding others in his demographic, too. Haha. So now I feel kind of like the den mother, and I cheer all of my members.

What else? Oh, I'm listening to Kate Mulgrew read The Fireman, and I'm enjoying it. Joe Hill has his old man's ability to whip up fully fleshed characters very succinctly, but also has his own uniquely whimsical flair for unpacking the darker side of human nature. Maybe it's more similar to Stephen King than I'm recalling, and it's only that Joe makes more references to things that I relate to. Either way, I'm enjoying it as much as one enjoys that kind of reading, but I'm going to need a palate cleanser. Something that's not so much of an emotional roller-coaster. Maybe Jane Austen, LOL.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2016-05-14 08:51 am

Two weeks behind.. :P

May 1

It was my Dad's 60th birthday. He'd asked, at Ben's party the night before, to be left alone since Sheryl was supposed to drive back to LA and he just wanted to go to the club to play table tennis. I feel a little bad I didn't insist, but I also felt overstimulated from the day before. I wished him a happy birthday, then sent him a link to a "First of May" (Bee Gees) music video, which he promptly used to create a dorky facebook video of him lip synching. ;P

May 2

From 2016


Drew this picture of him and put it on his wall. Mom wrote, "Where's the hair?" (He used to have a rather luxurious mane when they were younger.)

We joke that my sister has it. It's definitely Sheryl and not me because I have rather thin, very straight hair, while hers is very thick and textured.

May 4

From 2016


I received my enamel pin from Sugarbones. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but I found it amusing.

May 7

In preparation for Mother's Day, we visited Lowes for a flower basket and See's Candy. The See's in our neighborhood is not in a mall, but it's very own stand-alone building. It's extra weird because it's not even near our cute downtown area where you'd expect one to be, but out in a less memorable part of town. I was actually a little concerned that maybe it was no longer a See's Candy, even though we drive past it often enough, because there are a number of old empty showrooms in the area. But, it was, in fact, hopping.

May 8

From 2016



It's Mother's Day! We began the morning by having brunch with Ben's folks at the Union Tap and Kitchen out in Encinitas. The above photo is not of the Union, but a drive-by as we left Encinitas.

From 2016


Afterwards, we went to Ben's folks' and played a card game that consequently made us an hour late to my folks'. Which isn't as terrible as it sounds, since my folks don't really do sit down dinners and were pretty much just hanging out and chatting around the buffet they'd set up. My blood sugar spiked to 300 that day. I miss Filipino food, but it's probably for the best that I don't eat it often. :P

The rest of last week....

I had a follow-up with my new Endo, who says it seems like I've been doing better based on my logs and the weight loss I've had since my last appointment. So I had more blood work done and will have blood work due again in three months. In the meantime, I will have to get a thyroid ultrasound just in case. Provided that comes back clear, she'll increase my Trulicity.

I'm also supposed to quit my birth control pills temporarily/use an alternate form of birth control, as she says the pill I'm on may potentially be raising my blood pressure and levels of some hormone that I've already forgotten the name of. I'm inclined to agree at least about the blood pressure, since my blood pressure has dropped into the normal range instead of the slightly elevated range it's usually in since I've quit. I'll have to schedule an appointment with an OB to discuss long term alternatives, but in the meantime Ben has been (half?) joking that maybe we'll just put a baby in there... and the thought doesn't entirely send me into a fit of anxiety, so.

No real baby discussion until my glandular issues are resolved, though.

Anyway, I like my new endo. In addition to being both kind and thorough, she's a total endocrinology nerd. Which sounds like an obvious thing to say about an endocrinologist, but I mean she has a charmingly awkward sense of humor about it that shows she's both knowledgeable and passionate. My optometrist is kind of the same way. I really like it (and kind of envy it) because you can tell it's more than a job to them.

It is totally worth the drive into the neighboring zip code for an appointment... pretty much how I felt about Diane and Dr. T.

Tomorrow, Bob is coming down to host D&D for Ben, me, Andy, and Christa. I wish Katie was joining, but she's doing both teaching and Masters stuff, so that's pretty much her life until graduation.
yunikoneko: (Default)
2016-05-02 03:18 pm
Entry tags:

Birthdays

April 19

Tried experimenting with watercolors. I've had the same box of Prang watercolors since I was a freshman in high school, so basically for about 20 years, now.

From 2016


Maybe if I'd used it up already, I'd be a better painter. ;P

April 23

Made this card for my little cousin J, who shares a birthday with my husband on the 27th.
From 2016


Anyway, I don't think I've seen him smile for a picture since he was maybe 8. He's a happy kid, he just doesn't like to smile for pictures. I tried giving cartoon J a big goofy anime smile, but then the picture didn't resemble him at all. :P

Also, I asked Ben to run out and pick up some food for Science. And he came back with this:

From 2016
.

Apparently, the church on the corner was having a rummage sale. He bought it for a whopping $5 and managed to shove the whole thing into my two-door Yaris hatchback. When I posted it on Facebook, Katie commented "Send him out for Windex, next, and see what happens!" Which my mom found so hilarious that she brought it up three times since then. Anyway, he reasoned that since it's $5, if he can't figure out what to do with it, we can just break it down. But the whole thing is so bizarre... and it's not really taking up too much space- it's in the corner by the DDR machine in the garage.

April 24

Had lunch at The Boiling Crab with extended family to celebrate J's birthday. I'd never been there before. Apparently, you order seafood/sausage/etc. by the pound. They bring it out in bags and the table is basically your plate. This was the only meal I had all day and I was still kind of full the next day. My auntie even sent us home with a pound of shrimp and sausage.

From 2016


These are Ben's hands after the experience. If there is any eating establishment besides Phil's BBQ that could benefit from a hand-washing station, it is this place.

Anyway, would definitely eat there again, though I probably want to wait a while if only to let them forget that my parents/aunts/uncles blatantly disregarded their "no outside food" signs, brought in cakes, and lit one of those crazy sparkling singing flower candles. Don't really want to be associated with being a rule-breaker/fire hazard bringer. I can't believe they did that.

But it was still very thoughtful of them to get a cake for Ben, too.

From 2016


Here's J and his cake. His expression is a little more extreme than usual, hehe. I didn't really get a good one of Ben because he was sitting next to me.

April 25

More watercolor experimentation.

From 2016


April 26

We decided to make Ben's birthday party Star Trek TNG-themed. I found this cup at the dollar store and wondered if I could pass it off as a horga'hn. I was planning on displaying it next to "The Fruits of Risa" party platter, but wound up passing on it, since I don't know that anyone but us and maybe Bob would have understood the reference.

From 2016


Also, I got my hair cut.

From 2016


I hadn't gotten it cut since December and it was long enough that I could put it in a little ponytail, which kind of bugged me. I really, really do like having it short.

April 27

It's Ben's (and J's) birthday! He didn't take the day off work since he planned for taking Friday off to prepare for his party the next day. But he did take off a little early so we could go have dinner at Intertwined.

From 2016


The last time we were there was for NYE. They had a special menu which included lamb chops and tiramisu... and it was crazy good. Alas, said lamb chops and tiramisu were not on the menu. But they still had a killer chocolate lava cake.

April 28-29

I don't have any pics for these days, but on the 28th I assembled Paper Picard for Pin the Combadge on Captain Picard. And the 29th, Ben did so much yardwork that we did not have enough green bins. And we have three overflow bins.

April 30

Party time!

From 2016


After breakfast, I baked a bunch of cupcakes and put up balloons and the last of our blue streamers. I'd gotten LED marbled balloons because they sort of reminded me of Jupiter in the photos. Alas, the real balloons were not quite as advertised, but still pretty cool.

From 2016


Unfortunately, the only ones who saw them glowing were me, Ben, Katie, and Bob, since most of the party happened during daylight hours. But, the LEDs were good for more than 24 hours rather than the 15 on the package.

From 2016


Ben picked up a block of dry ice for the "bloodwine" which was really Katie's mom's alcoholic punch. We still had a good chunk of it left after the party, so Ben and Andy tried exploding a rubber glove with it (failed because the glove kept untying). Then Ben threw a big chunk of it in the tank of the toilet. A few minutes later, he announced that he never wanted to pee in a toilet not filled with dry ice. /smh

From 2016


Almost everyone played Pin the Combadge on Picard, although we had forgotten about "hot/cold" rules and when to stop giving hints, so Bob had to redo his turn after feeling up the captain. Amazingly, he was beat out by Nicole, who did not have to feel up the captain, but I felt a little bad because she got motion-sick in the playing.

And now that the balloons have stopped glowing, I should probably take them down. :P