Tuesday, July 24, 2012

bike love

when my husband and i were both unemployed, we had a bit of a tradition; we would go to happy hour at don jose's, get a couple of margaritas and then go to the goodwill next door. one night i happened upon this:

a bike with fur on it! i debated whether i should buy her or not and eventually decided i wasn't ready to shell out the 30 bucks.

we got home and she was all i could talk about. i was kicking myself that i hadn't bought her. i could see so much potential! my husband contacted a friend of ours who frequents goodwill (to find good buys and resell) and asked him to please a. try and talk the manager down to 20 bucks and b. please purchase it for us first thing in the morning if it was still there and we'd be by to get it. well, he got there the next morning and she was still there! he even talked them down to 20 bucks! we met him at goodwill and he had to roll this pink furry bike out to the parking lot for us getting made fun of by other patrons in the store. thanks, brian! i owe you one.

we got her home and she was covered in rust, had 2 flat tires and her fur was faded badly, but i loved her already. we found another beach cruiser for my husband on craigslist and over the next few weeks we spent hours wire-brushing, sanding, painting and working on our bikes. i painted her body a beautiful teal and sprayed all her other parts with chrome spray paint.

now i just had the issue of the faded fur. i wanted to use rit dye, but realized rit only works on cotton, not polyester, hhmm. i did some research and found a cos-play girl that suggested using sharpies. i bought 8 sharpies and got to work "coloring" the fur. it was working ok, but the color was too purple, i wanted it to stay bright cotton candy pink. i tried washing some of the color out and re-coloring it with a different color sharpie and it worked, but it took forever and i wasn't sure i'd be able to match all of it to each other. so, nix that idea. i decided to just replace the fur altogether. i checked every fabric store in town and no one sold pink fur, what gives? i swear i remember seeing it in stores before. oh well, that's what ebay's for, right? i found a place and ordered some. i then ripped of all the old fur and went to town cutting and spray-gluing the new fur on. it was worth it, it looked wonderful! now all i needed was a "have you combed your bike today" bumper sticker, hehe.

she now has a new paint job, pink fur, pink chain, pink lock, pink bell and pink and white checkered side mirror. i get compliments on her every time i ride her. she's been a good bike. i'm glad i went back for her. <3 <3 <3

update on bike love... she's been stolen. my heart is sad to think that after all the love i put into her, she's probably going to be stripped down and sold for drug money. she was more than a bike, she was a distraction from our crummy life at the time and a ray of hope for our future. i'll miss you, beautiful!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

tiny little nightmares, aka: cakes pops

they're tiny and round, how hard could they be? turns out, a lot harder than they look. my mother-in-law got me a cake pop book for my birthday, so this weekend for her birthday, i thought i'd whip some up. in the instructions it said to set aside some time to make them, like an hour. hahahahahaha!! an hour, that's cute.

making the cake part is well, cake walk, hehe. you bake a cake, let it cool, crumble it up, (or as my husband says, bake a cake and then destroy it!) add some frosting as a glue and then roll it up into balls. the next part is the nightmare. you melt the little chocolate (or whatever flavor you're using) disks that you see in line at michaels and it's supposed to be easy-peasy to just dip the pops in and voila. not so. the chocolate was always either too runny or too hard. if it's too runny they coat nicely when you dip them in, but then the drip all down the stick, like so:

if it's too hard, it's difficult to spoon it on evenly and then it dries before you can stick in your accessories, ie: chocolate chip eyes and ears for the monkeys i was making. see, they're kinda lumpy bumpy:

for the ones that did dry too fast, i just glued things on them with chocolate later. still cute, but not a monkey:

all in all it took me about 3 hours (not including the cake baking and cooling time) and i only made 18 of them. the recipe was for 48! in the end, about 3 of them came out really nicely.

when i was all through i told my husband i needed to watch a youtube video next time so i can see the process more clearly. he said, "with the words that were coming out of that kitchen, i didn't think you were ever going to make those again!" what can i say? i'm not a quitter.


Friday, July 6, 2012


today i thought i'd just post about being happy. happiness can be so elusive, but once you grasp it, do everything in your power to hold onto it.

for almost 7 years i was stuck in a job that made me feel like i didn't matter. my ideas weren't listened to, my concerns weren't taken seriously and the whole morale of the place was low: backstabbing, gossiping and unneeded, uneven competition fueled by the boss himself. i was in a very bad place. very, very bad. one friday, nine months ago, my husband (he had worked there for about 5 years and wasn't happy either) and i showed up to be told we no longer had jobs there. at the time, it was devastating. in hindsight, i thank the Lord for that day.

since then, we have moved back home to beautiful, sunny california. oregon is beautiful, too, but i've learned i am solar powered. i need sunshine to thrive and grow. i am a delicate flower. (hehe, not really, i'm kind of a tom-boy, honestly.) we are close to our families again and really learning about some of them for the first time. we left california 3 months after we got married, so we didn't really get to know each other's families all that well. we are enjoying spending time with them and we came home to a wonderful new sister-in-law!

in the last nine months, my husband has found a job doing web design and i have had a chance to just breathe and explore myself and what makes me happy. turns out, i like being a housewife, who knew? i like keeping the house in order, geting the laundry done, running errands, planning dinner and making my hubby's lunch every night for him to take the next day. getting these things out of the way during the week gives us that much more quality time together on the weekends, and we're eating so much healthier. i think it's a shame more families can't operate like this. unfortunately, we won't be able to forever. i'm currently on unemployment and looking for a job, but it just hasn't happened yet. it will, i have faith. i think God is just giving me a breather after being so miserable for so long. i've needed it. i've needed the time to see the beauty in the world again. it really is a beautiful place, i had almost forgotten. and sure, you're gonna come across an asshole or two throughout your day, but when you're happy in your core, it doesn't affect you in a big way. as my mom says, "shake it off and step up!"

i've taken up gardening, which it seems i'm pretty good at. i love getting my hands dirty out there, pulling weeds, fertilizing, watering, pruning. and when you get that first piece of fruit or vegetable out of your very own garden, it's like a little miracle. i've often heard people say the food you grow is better than anything you can buy in the store, yep, it's true. it can be a puny little potato, but i swear you can taste the love and hard work in it.

another of my loves is volunteering. when i was in my 20s, i volunteered as a literacy tutor for a girl right out of high school. in the time i tutored her, she got her driver's license and a job! before her tutoring, she couldn't read the applications to fill them out. it was so rewarding. i was so proud of her dedication. she had made it all the way through high school barely able to read and all it took was a little one on one with her. she wasn't lazy or stupid, she just needed someone to believe in her.

in oregon, i was lucky enough to find the audubon society and get involved volunteering in their wildlife care center. talk about rewarding! i love animals. all kinds of animals. and being able to help rehabilitate them or raise them from nestlings or fledglings and send them back out into the wild to thrive and live a full life, there's just nothing better. and i got to work with raptors, big birds of prey: owls, hawks, osprey, we even had a bald eagle in there while i was there! the first thing i did when we moved back to california was to find another wildlife care center to volunteer with. found one! now i get to rehab water birds: pelicans, murres, sea gulls, herons and cute little mammals like possums, squirrels and raccoons. it's amazing. if i won the lottery that's all i would do, volunteer. 5 different places a week. i can't imagine anything better.

today, as you go about your daily routine, try to look at things a little lighter and brighter. it's cliche, but stop and smell the roses, literally. look up in the sky and watch the birds flying by. and if you see a bunch of bird poop on the ground under a tree, that means there's a nest up there. take a minute to listen for the babies and maybe get a peak at one of their cute little beaks poking up waiting for mom to come back with lunch. really try to take into account all the beautiful things around you. trust me, it'll make that guy that cut you off on the freeway seem insignificant.

what makes you happy? leave it in the comments.

i hope you have a wonderful, happy day. you deserve it!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

watch-cat on alert

i've heard people talk about not wanting to plant tomatoes because of the worms they attracted, but i hadn't ever seen one until today.

we have a tiny backyard off the back of our apartment that is fenced in and butts up against the back wall of the carport. since it is so well enclosed, we have our cat box outside and a pet door in the slider so our 2 kitties can go in and out of the backyard at will. today, i heard our giant (25 pounds) grey cat, saturn, (who is really just a big scaredy cat) howling at the top of his lungs.

i went out to see what was up and found this:

i'm not normally afraid of bugs, or much for that matter, but this guy creeped me out a little. probably because i had never seen one before. and that horn is pretty daunting on its own. i didn't know what to do with it and i sure as hell wasn't about to kill it. 1. i almost never kill things. i say "almost never" because i will go buck-nutty wild killing ants if i see them (they give me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about them) and i will kill the occasional spider, if i can't transplant him outside. 2. i was imagining the mess/sound/emotional scar it would leave. it was huge as far as worms go. a good 4 inches long and thick. squishing it was definitely not an option. 3. he reminded me too much of heimlich from "a bug's life." so, i scooped him up in some tupperware and relocated him to the planter out in front of the apartment.

the weird thing was, when i found the hornworm, he wasn't near the tomato plant. that, and there was a spot in the planter box that had been disturbed. we have fenced off half of our yard for a garden so our cats can't get in and like i said, it's pretty secure back there and we're in the middle of a row of apartments and there are backyards on either side of ours, so i'm almost positive another cat would not have been able to get in. 

what i think may have happened was a crow landed, grabbed the worm and then dropped him as he was taking off, maybe because he saw saturn. that's just my theory, i have no idea what the hell happened out there today, but that makes me feel the most comfortable about the situation. anyway, i'm glad we have saturn, he's quite the watch-cat.