Friday, December 29, 2006

Highs and Lows of 2006


This year went flying by.

I have been working on my high/low list for 2006 and this is what it looks like as of this moment. I have tried to put them in chronological order, they are not in order by how HIGH they were or how LOW they were. I may add to this, but for now, it is pretty much set. I encourage everyone to make a list like this or a list of accomplishments so you can see all that you have done in the past year, it is fun!



HIGHS
  • Went to Vietnam with Mom and Dad
  • Visited my Vietnamese Mother
  • Adopted Bay-Lee
  • Started a consistent Yoga Practice
  • Got over my fear of horses through hypnotherapy
  • Started taking riding lessons
  • Beach House summer gathering
  • Spending time with Emily in San Francisco
  • Spending time with Mom in San Francisco
  • Returned a dog tag (brought back from Vietnam) to its original owner
  • Read a lot of great books
  • Took some cool art classes
  • Learned the art of mehndi
  • Took a solo trip to Malta
  • Cappuccino in Malta
  • Visited Sicily
  • Saw my Grandfathers old house in Malta
  • Found family in Malta
  • Malta renewed my faith in God
  • Malta in general
  • Started dancing again (ballet)
  • Thanksgiving Beach House
  • Angela is pregnant!
  • Became a member of the Maltese American Social Club of San Francisco

LOWS

  • My best friend Marley died but he is now in kitty heaven
  • Slipped into a deep depression and didn't know if I would be happy again
  • Got thrown off a horse during my second riding lesson
  • I was way too gluttonous

Resolutions Anyone?


Do you all make New Years resolutions?

I always do, and most of the time I break them.

This year, maybe I will make some New Years goals, the sounds better to me for some reason.


Here are just some of mine, hey, there are some things a girl has to keep to herself:
  • Drink more water
  • Try to work 8 hours a day (I have been cutting them short lately with long lunches)
  • Drink more champagne
  • Recycle more than I already do
  • Do something creative every single day
  • Update my Blog more often

These just scratch the surface and are pretty easy, so I think I will be OK keeping up with them. I have some others that are a little more challenging but I don't want to post them because if I don't keep to them, I will be the only one that knows. HA!


Cupcake Crime!

It being the end of the year, I decide to live it up a little and get myself a cupcake for dessert after lunch.

Well, I get to the office and unload my car and as I start to walk away the spaceship looking plastic container in which my cupcake is nestled starts to take off and before I know it, it crashed to the ground. Like butter on bread, you know it landed frosting side down, poor little sprinkles got mashed into the concrete by the lump of sugary goodness on top.

I decided as soon as it fell it was a message from God telling me I shouldn't have the cupcake anyway, thanks God for covering my ass in times of weakness.

Here is a photo from the scene of the crime.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy Holidays

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.
I had a nice and mellow weekend to celebrate Christmas.
Saturday night (Dec. 23) Tim and I did our traditional outing to see the San Francisco Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker. It was wonderful. I got to see two of my favorite dancers dance in the same evening, which doesn't happen sometimes in a full length ballet. It was marvelous. I always get the chills when I see incredible talent right in front of me on stage. I brought my binoculars and felt like it was just me and the dancers in my own little world. It was an amazing night. After the ballet we went to Mel's Diner to get something to eat. All dressed up at a 50's diner is always fun! We went home with dreams of sugarplums dancing in our heads and our bellies full of food.
Christmas Eve, Tim and I went to see Rocky Balboa with his cousin Katie and her husband Mark at the new theatre downtown and then we went to lunch and hung out at our place until about 9:00 PM. We just sat around and talked, the guys played video games and Katie and I sat on the couch chatting it up. She is pregnant so there is a lot of exciting things going on with them. The rest of the evening was Tim and I sneaking around to fill stockings so we could try and surprise each other in the morning.
Christmas, Tim got up and made coffee, etc. I slept in until about 10:00 AM. I called my Mom and Dad and spoke to them for a while and then called friends that I hadn't spoken to on Christmas Eve to wish them a Merry Christmas as well. We ate a pannetone with coffee for breakfast and opened our gifts. We had a lot of stuff to open this year, it was fun, we felt like children. The rest of the day, we snacked, watched TV and hung out and then realized we didn't have any food planned for dinner so I had to make something out of nothing, which, I should mention, I am pretty good at.

Tuesday, back to work, ugh, not fun at all.

Wednesday, took the day off, bad allergies that wiped me out. My jaw is really sore for some reason, I think I slept on it weird or something. The power went out in our house for a couple hours due to the storm winds whipping through the city so I went to Target to make a return and came home and made a Holiday Binder to refer to for next year. Can you say, "DORK?"
Anyway, I am working on finishing up my highs and lows of 2006 list. I have yet to decide if I am going to publish it or not. I know, another dorky thing I am doing. I have to be able to look back and know that I accomplished something. I don't want to waste any time on this planet, there is too much to do in so very little time.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mom's Kitchen















This photo reminds me of me of baking with my Mom at Christmas time. I don't know how she did it, but I remember she made SO many different kinds of cookies. They were kept in the basement on top of the chest freezer each kind in a tin or tupperware container of their own. My brother and I would to ask how many we could have and then would go down with a napkin and come up with our favorites. Honestly, I don't know how she did it.

Mom, what was your motivation? I need a little of that.

These are the cookies I remember:
  • Merry Christmas Cookies (cut out and decorated)
  • Thumbprint cookies
  • Gingerbread Boys
  • Russian Tea Cakes
  • Springerle
  • Peanut Butter Cookies with a chocolate star
  • Fudge with walnuts
  • White fudge with cherries and nuts
  • Truffles rolled in cocoa powder

I cant remember anymore, but that is a LOT.

On top of the cookies and candy, she made chex mix and strung popcorn and cranberries for the tree PLUS her and my Dad made a gingerbread house and us kids would decorate it.

She is Super Woman!

Katie's World

First I would like to give a shout out to my sister Emily, yesterday was her 22nd Birthday. Happy Birthday Em, I love you and miss you so much. You make me laugh and always know the right thing to say when I need your help, feedback, etc. I hope you had a wonderful day and everyone spoiled you rotten. Hope your finals went by smoothly and you are enjoying your time off before school starts again. You are one step closer to graduation!
I love you!

Wow, I can’t believe that Christmas is this coming weekend! I need to get my shit together and send out some packages. I didn’t even do my cards yet! I am not sure what is wrong with me; I was planning on making the cards and cut things out, but didn’t finish them. I haven’t been very busy, I guess just lazy, like always. My ballet class ended last week so now I have one additional open evening a week until class starts again twice a week in January. I am waiting for confirmation from the school though.

I have been thinking back on the year 2006 and may put together my Top 10 Highs and Lows of the year. I don’t know if I have 10 Highs or Lows though, so it may be just 5 of each. I have a couple weeks still and have not yet decided if I am going to post it. I may embarrass myself too much, but what the heck, right?

Tonight Tim and I are going to make Chex Mix and fudge to send to the Somera’s and Lemke’s for the holidays. It should be fun; there will be some laughing in our kitchen tonight for sure. Once the music starts playing and we start mixing it up, there is no telling what will happen next. Either Wednesday or Thursday I am going to see Grease on the big screen at the Castro theatre. It is sing-a-long Grease so if anyone wants to come with me, let me know. Otherwise, I will be singing “grease is the word” by myself, which will still be fun. I can’t wait to hand jive!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Setting the night on FIRE!


















Well, it was a night to remember at the Maltese Club last night. Most all the women were in red including yours truly in red pants and matching red jewelry from my Grandma's jewelry box. Dinner was prime rib (which I didn't eat), pasta and a twice baked potato and what is a Maltese dinner without bread and wine?
I sat with Rose, here on the left, looking fabulous as always. She is the sweetest lady ever and what a fire cracker! She is totally fun and can eat anyone at the club under the table. She clears her plate all the time and asks for more - a woman after my own heart.


After dinner, we had the gift exchange. I was feeling like I didn't have quite enough so I went our before arriving at the club and bought some note cards to add to my french snowflake soaps that were in a really nice box. I put them together in a gift bag and added them to the pile of gifts. There were 40 of us, I was number 39 and Rose was 40, how funny! When I approached to get my gift there was only 2 things left a gift and an envelope (gift card). I let the little girl, Gracie, help me pick so I took the gift. It was a handbag, nice, I like handbags. Rose goes up and takes the last thing and it is a Trader Joe's gift card, CRAP, I should have taken that one! Anyway, it was fun, but the excitement was just about to ignite.



















Rose came over to check out the purse that I got and when we unwrapped it from the tissue paper the paper landed on one of the votive candles that were set on the table. The corner of the paper started to flame and the next thing I knew, the entire piece of tissue was a blaze! As the ladies tried to slap the flames out with their hands, I realized I was just sitting there watching it burn wondering if the plastic table cloth was going to catch. I literally was staring at it like Cindy Brady in the episode where she is on TV and cant stop staring at the red light on the television camera. It was so weird. As the women were starting to get concerned about the blaze, Marlene, who was behind me grabbed a cup of water and threw it on the tissue and with the hiss of a steam engine, it was out, but the excitement was not over. Once the flames were extinguished, large pieces of tissue that had turned into ash, the size of quarters but as delicate as butterfly wings came raining down on us as we looked at the sad burned tissue paper on the table as it rested in a pool of water. All dressed in red and jewels the ladies who were trying to snuff out the flames looked at their black soot covered hands and tried to gather themselves. I have never seen a fire put out with such panache and grace in my life. It was amazing! There is nothing like being the new person and lighting the table on fire let me tell you. EVERYONE there knows who I am now! One of the younger members claimed I did it just for attention and the others said maybe I was too hot for the club. We laughed and the incident was forgotten.

The rest of the night was nice. We sat and talked about next year and who the chairperson was going to be for the Women's Committee. No one volunteered so the President, John Stellini appointed a woman named Nimfa (spelling) and guess who is her second in command? ME! Yeah, it will be fun. I love the ladies of the club and they all told me that they are happy to have me as one of the people in charge, they are looking for a change and think someone like me could help out with that. I am looking forward to it.
Anyway, that was my night.

Today I am only at work until about 1:15 PM as I have to go and get a filling replaced. Ugh, do you all know that I am totally scared of the dentist? Well, I am, and I don't want to go, but need to get it over with.

Stay Tuned.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

GIANT Update

Again, it has been a while and time has FLOWN by.
Phew!

OK, so last week was a little of a blur. Monday was fine, you know work, all the bosses were here, etc. On my way to work on Tuesday I suddenly realized that I was supposed to have jury duty the entire week. You just basically call in and the computer tells you if you have to show up. I call the city and they tell me, my group hasn’t been called yet and to keep calling the rest of the week. So, I have to go and tell my boss that I messed up my schedule and forgot I may have to go into jury duty. He was cool about it, I mean, really, what can you do…nothing. So, sure enough, I call on Tuesday evening and I have to report on Wednesday morning at 8:30 AM. I was supposed to get my biopsy results at 8:30 and now I have to report to jury duty. I called the doctor and they said just to call them when I can come in. I get to jury duty on Tuesday morning and wait in the room with all of the other unlucky people. Just as I fall asleep, they start calling names, it is now about 10:45 AM. My name is called and we all go up to one of the court rooms. The judge introduces herself and gives us a run down of the case, and starts listing names for the jury box. Then I hear my name, crap! I get to the box and then when 24 people are in place, we have to all answer some questions that are being passed around on a laminated sheet of paper. Name, neighborhood you live in, how long you have been a resident of San Francisco, education, occupation, if you live with any other adults what is their occupation and have you ever had jury duty before and when. After all of that, the attorney’s ask questions that may pertain to the case, does anyone have anything against the police, etc. bad experiences with the police, good experiences with the police. Does anyone not have a drivers license, anyone been incarcerated for driving under the influence, etc. They weed out the outspoken and I remain seated. Great, I have been picked to be on the jury of a traffic case that should last no more than 3 days. First of all, I don’t get paid from my job for it and they don’t give you an opportunity to tell them any of that. Well, I am in, I mind as well enjoy it. So at 11:45 AM they tell us we can go and come back tomorrow (Thursday) at 9:30 AM and the trial will begin. At this point, I am excited to be in the civic center and have the afternoon off. I make my way over to the adult immunization clinic to see if I need any shots for India. Oh, I forgot to mention that, yes, I am going to India at the end of February. I walk into the clinic without an appointment and just my luck, they can take me. So I get a polio booster and a flu shot, nice. I love watching the fluid from the syringe go into my body for some reason, I know, weird. When that is done, I walk over to the main library to use the internet because I don’t have my oral surgeon’s phone number and maybe he can see me this afternoon now that it is open. I get his number and call and sure enough, they can take me at 2:00 PM. I walk from civic center downtown, nice size walk and a little hilly so when I get there, I am sweaty and gross. I need to clean up, my doctor is very nice looking and I don’t want to look like I just “fell off the turnip truck” as my Mom would say. As a matter of fact, my doctor is HOT. I blush when he is looking in my mouth. Ha ha! How much do I love drooling and bleeding all over my doctor…so embarrassing. Anyway, he comes and gets me and first tells me that he is not going to put me in an exam chair, he needs to talk to me in this little private room on the side. He offers me water; I ask if I am going to need it. I mean, what on earth is he going to tell me? So, he then tells me that the biopsy came back stating that the thing he removed was a piece of bone which is very rare. He then admits his love for me and takes me right there on the table, oh, I mean, he then admits that he was a little scared that it was going to be bad news and was relieved when he got the results. So, I was happy and walked out, checked out the kittens in the Macy’s window from the SPCA and got myself a cookie and cappuccino at Neiman Marcus, sat and read my book for a while. I made my way back to Macy’s where Tim picked me up. Before he got to me I called Angela since she had tried me while I was in the store. We spoke for a while and she told me her sister has skin cancer. It rocked me. I felt sick all night. It was a weird day. I mean, I find out I don’t have cancer, but then find out someone very, very close to me has a sister who has cancer. I bring up a photo from my internal brain camera of dinner with her sister years ago, I remember her face and what she wore. I remember that she was cracking me up all night. I know she will get through this, I just feel awful though. Geeze, I would rather it have been me who had to go through that and not a 28 year old beautiful girl. Ugh, things happen for reasons we will never know. She is in my prayers and I know she is going to be fine. Tim and I go out for dinner at Max’s, I pick at my food. We go home; I have a good cry in the bath tub alone and go to bed. I sleep like a baby.

Thursday, I get to the court room and wait for everyone to get there. Why in the world can’t people be on time? You know, the two people that were late were in the Army, if they had been in the Marines they would have been on time! Ha ha, just kidding, well, kind of. So, they start the case and the entire thing in a nutshell without all of my personal input was, there was a man driving with a suspended license and he did not believe that it was suspended. The cop came in and someone from the DMV came in and it was obvious that the man had been notified. The twist was, you knew when he took the stand that he wasn’t right in the head, however, we couldn’t take that into consideration since it was not mentioned in the courtroom and was not on record. He was found guilty. The trial lasted a day and I was back to work the next day. Oh, one additional thing, I did have a nice lunch at Max’s (yes, I ate there again). I had a big salad and a glass of wine and sat next to a very vivacious 70 year old who was on her way to the symphony. She told me retirement is great and we got to talking and she knows one of my neighbors and was also familiar with the newsletter my aunt use to print when she was out here in the early 70’s. She was a librarian and was really active in the women’s movement. Super cool lady!

Friday, I went back to work and tried to catch up. It takes forever. Friday night I went to see my dear friend Sara’s calendar on display at San Francisco Center for the Book. It was an entire calendar show, it was fabulous and Tim and I did some Christmas shopping.

Saturday, I ran errands and then it was Apache time! We had to ride inside because it was pouring rain outside and thundering. The horses in the stable were acting very strange that night due to the weather, one kept knocking his foot against the side of his stall. Apache did really well. Learning the mechanics of a horse is not easy. Learning his idiosyncrasies is the hardest thing in the world. He bolted once, I just held on. I love him so much. We shared an apple after my ride. I would take a bite and then put it in my hand and he would eat it while I took a bite for myself. I love to spoil him. I walked him back to his stall in the rain and he slipped on one foot, it freaked me out, but I calmed when I realized he really didn’t even notice he slipped. When we got to his stall, I went in with him and took off his halter and kissed him on the nose and told him he was very good and I loved him. I shut the door and hung over the gate for a while and talked to him while we ate carrots.

Sunday, we put up our Christmas tree and cleaned house a bit so we could make room for the holiday d├ęcor. I usually change out my dishes and everything but didn’t do that this time. It was too much. Maybe next year. Our tree is plain and simple just like I like it. Bay-Lee is having fun trying to figure out why we have a tree in the house which is cute. He keeps trying to get on the table with the little tree but he can’t fit up there anymore.

Monday late afternoon after an offsite meeting in the city with AG (my boss). I went to SF MOMA to check out the Phil Collins video art installation (not Phil Collins from down under, the other one from the UK, the artist). He put up ads in Istanbul for a Smith’s Karaoke night and he filmed it. It is hilarious. It is like a train wreck, I got totally sucked in. It is worth checking out and good from some laughs. I also went to check out the Keifer exhibit, it was almost too dark for me, if that is it all possible. Lack of color and made me feel empty, blank and dark. It is called Heaven and Earth. It is interesting to read about his work though. My favorite besides the Phil Collins thing was the Alexander Girard exhibit, he used to design for Herman Miller, so things were very modern and colorful. It was a really nice way to finish off the day.

Now it is Wednesday. Tonight is the Women’s Committee Christmas Dinner and Gift Exchange at the Maltese American Social Club. Phew, that was a lot to get out. It should be fun. I am taking my camera, I hope to get some good shots.

I will be better about writing more often. Sorry to all my blog fans of which I am sure there are thousands, NOT!

Love you all!
The Maltese Kat

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Pain in the jaw...

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mine was fabulous up on the Sonoma Coast. I didn't want to come back into the big bad city but really had no other choice. It was nice to hang with friends and cook together.
Monday back at work everyone was asking about everyone else's Thanksgiving, etc. It is fun to hear how other people celebrate the holidays.
Tuesday, I went to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I had just been there in May and thought I had a corn chip caught in my gum in the back of my mouth so he looked at it and said he thought I had gotten it all out and it looked clean and should close up. Well, when he got in there this time, it didn't close up, it got bigger! There was a hole in my gum between my two back teeth with something sharp inside (I could feel it with my tongue). The hygienist cleaned my teeth and then took me to the oral surgeon on the floor above them. The oral surgeon looked at it, took some photos and x-rays and then told me he would have to cut it out, whatever it was. It was moving a little when he poked it with is poker tool, but was stuck to my jaw bone on one side. He told me he needed to do a biopsy. I told him to knock me out and go for it if he had time. Gosh, I was hoping he had time, the element of surprise is ALWAYS better for me when it comes to this stuff. I didn't want to have to come back and have it done. I would be sick until then because I am so scared of the dentist. Thank God, he had time. He numbed me with Novocain and then got the scapul and cut my gum between my two back teeth. He pulled a bit with the forceps/tweezers and then showed me this rock that was growing on my jaw bone. It was the size of a tic-tac with sharp edges and hard as a stone. He made sure he had everything by taking a file and rubbing it against my bone and then packed me with gauze and told me to come back in a week for the pathology report. I got excused from work for two days but only took the one. I was traumatized, went home and slept and took a lot of Advil. Yesterday I was still sore, but not enough to stay home. Today, I feel almost back to normal. The mouth heals pretty fast. I am just waiting for the hole to close up.
Life is an adventure isn't it? You never know what is going to get thrown in your path. I love it. I think we have better coping skills when things hit us by surprise, it forces you to be in the moment and go with the flow - at least it does for me. If I would have had to make an appointment for the biopsy later in the week, I would have been so nervous about getting in the chair, it would have been awful. I dont like the dentist, although I am starting to come around because mine is so nice and hot too!
My one regret is that the entire time I had my camera in my purse and I didn't get one photo to document the ordeal. Well, maybe next time.

Keep on flossing!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving


Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving.

I am excited about this year. Tim and I are renting a house with 2 other couples and their dogs and are going to spend Wednesday - Saturday together. The house is up north on the Sonoma coast and I hope the weather is good. If not, we have plenty to do indoors.

I am looking forward to getting out of the city and spending time with my friends.

We have quite a spread planned for the big day and I think it is going to be fun to be in the kitchen with everyone drinking, singing and dancing. I hope the three girls don't get on the three guys nerves! We are pretty loud.

Anyway, happy trails and enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Remember all of the things you have to be thankful for.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Positive - Negative

Why is it more and more often I run into people that are more pessimistic and negative than optimistic and positive? Why is the glass half empty for some folks? Is it that hard for people to be positive? I have my bouts of depression and I know during those times it is hard to be happy, but at the least I can stay positive and know that it is going to get better. I don’t know, I think maybe I am a little too Pollyanna sometimes. I think that being negative and pessimistic causes disease and sickness – maybe I am the only one that thinks that way, not sure. Just some random thoughts knocking around in the brain of mine.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Only Tuesday...

I keep thinking it is Wednesday today – buzz kill when I noticed it is only Tuesday.
I have a busy week this week and I am excited!
I attended the Maltese American Social Club meeting on Sunday for the dedication of a Santa Maria statue that was made in Malta. It was really nice. The president introduced to most everyone there, it was hilarious, I was the youngest there by probably 20-30 years. I love it, I love having friends of all ages. I am going there tonight to attend the Women’s Committee meeting and dinner. We are having a meal and then packing boxes for soldiers that are related to club members serving in Iraq. It should be fun. I think we are ending by 8:00 PM though because the ladies told me they like to watch “Dancing with the Stars”. I am in the process of becoming an official member which is pretty exciting.
Well, I gotta make this one short. I gotta go get my Jeep from the shop. There was a recall on a part so I had to get it replaced. I am on BART today and want to beat the crowd.
Wish me luck!
Ciao!

A Couple Changes

There have been a couple changes made to my blog, thanks to beta blogger.
So, if you notice things are a little diffrerent, that is why.
I have added a sound bite to my profile, which is kind of neat. There is a way that it can actually record your own voice, I have yet to try that.
Some of the headings of my links changed a bit. I need to take some time and work on this a little and get used to it.
Hope you are having a nice day!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Maltese Cross


A couple people have asked me the meaning of the Maltese Cross, so I decided I would post an explanation.

The Maltese Cross symbolizes the eight beatitudes of Christ's Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5.3-10).
Blessed are:
the poor in spirit,
they who mourn,
they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
the meek,
the peacemakers,
they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
the pure in heart,
the merciful
as well as 8 chivalric virtues shown above and the 8 languages of the Knights.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bay-Lee's Page

New addition to the world of my blog, you can link up to Bay-Lee's catster page by scrolling down and looking on the right for the link with his photo. Click on it and you will enter catster, it is addicting for anyone who loves kitties!
Have fun!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Weekend Recap

Hope you all had a nice relaxing weekend and found the time to relax and do the things you enjoy. It is important to treat or indulge ourselves and I think too often we forget that.

Saturday, I stayed in my pajamas until about 1:30 PM and watched the E channel (so trashy but I love it) and went through all of the catalogs and magazines I got while on vacation. I can’t believe the amount of catalogs companies send out before the holiday season. It is insane. Instead of keeping the entire catalog when I find something interesting I have resorted to tearing out the page since the phone and web address is on the bottom of most every page in catalogs now-a-days. If I don’t end up doing anything with the page by the end of the month, I will recycle it. It seems as much as I try, I always have a pile of catalogs next to my couch and I am trying to get rid of that and just keep the pages in a folder in my magazine bin. I hope it works, who knows though I have trouble sticking to things especially things I come up with for myself.

I rode Apache on Saturday and the ride was a total 180 from last week, which was nice. I didn’t feel defeated and it lifted the cowgirl up inside of me after she was knocked down last week. Apache needs someone to work with him more than once a week but until that happens, I am that person. It is kind of nice though because we are bonding and I am learning his little quirks and he is learning mine at the same time. He did get spooked by something in the middle of the lesson which in turn scared me a little but then I had to settle him and tell him it was OK and to keep walking. He calmed down and kept walking like I told him. It was weird though, all of the sudden his neck came way up and his eyes were bugged out and he started backing up and once I started talking to him, he was fine. I am learning from him how to be assertive and speak up and be the boss – it is a good lesson in leadership for sure. We can learn so much from horses. When I was done riding Apache there was a girl there waiting to ride him when I was done. I felt like I wanted to protect him and watch her ride him since she claimed she could get him to move faster than the molasses I am used to. So, I went and took a seat on the fence and watched her kick and kick and kick and finally got him trotting, which was cool. I could tell he was not happy though and he was tired. Right when I was about to leave, the ride was over and the girl asked if I was going to help groom him before she put him back in his stable. Well, this is m favorite thing, so I said yes, and I ended up doing all the work because she was too busy walking around and sticking her nose in everyone else’s business. She said she would scrape his feet and shoes and did one and then walked away – gosh, some people, I swear. I was happy to have him to myself though. When I was walking him back to his stall she followed me and said, “I hope I never have to ride Apache again.” I told her she shouldn’t talk like that in front of him because he knows what she is saying. She just giggled and asked me if I had any carrots that she could give to her favorite horse. I told her she should give some to Apache since she just rode him but that went over her head, she didn’t get it at all why she should reward him. I handed her some baby carrots and went to spend time with Apache alone and “chat” with him. After I kissed him and told him I loved him I went home. I hope I don’t have to deal with a distraction like that girl next week.

Sunday, senior citizen day for Tim and I. We went to breakfast, went to Cost Plus, Target and the bookstore and puttered around. It was nice. When we came home we watched a great movie called World’s Fastest Indian staring Sir Anthony Hopkins. It is a great story about determination and making your own dreams come true – we loved it. Check it out, http://www.worldsfastestindian.com/

Monday is now here and the week is starting over, I am motivated for a Monday, which is nice. A change from the usual dread that comes over me when I enter my office on Monday’s. I am trying to be as positive as I can, do my job and save money for my next adventure. I need to keep in the present moment here at work in order to keep the stress down, but at the same time have something in the future to look forward to, to keep me going. What ever works right?
Stay tuned.
Ciao!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Back to the Old School

Well, ballet class started last night! I know some of you know that ballet used to be a part of my life a long time ago. Anyway, I decided, it is great exercise and I used to love it, so why not try it again. So, I started a 6 week class last night and I love it. There are only 3 people in the class so there is a lot of individual attention which is great. All of us in the class are in our 30's and all used to dance back in the day, so it is nice because the instructor doesn't have to explain each and every thing, we just jumped right in. Not to sound like a snob, but it was the first ballet class I have ever taken and not had a pianist in person in the room. We used CD's for the music which was cool. It was fun! I worked up a sweat and tried not to be to hard on myself for things I can no longer do that used to come so easy. It was fun to get out all my funky dance clothes, I love looking like a reject from the cast of Fame!

Tomorrow I ride Apache. I hope it goes better than last week. He was so slow last week, I now have to hold a crop (whip) and slap his ass when he doesn't move, I don't like that, but I also don't like having to keep kicking at him. It hurts my legs and my heart. I would be happy just riding him around in slow circles, but that is not what I signed up for. My instructor was getting frustrated last week as well as me. I think part of it was me not riding for 2 weeks. When I approached Apache I knew there was going to be a problem because he put his butt in my face when he saw me and wouldn't turn around until I opened my plastic bag of apples. Then he started kissing on my neck and nibbling at my vest. I hope tomorrow is a good day in the riding arena or I am going to be one bummed out gal.

Nothing else planned for the weekend. Just taking it easy. I need to clean house, do laundry and all the other fun stuff that gets piled up for the weekend. I was trying to get my chores done during the week but it seems my body wanted to sleep more than work around the house so I gave in.

Anyway, ya'll have a nice weekend ya hear?
I am still basking in the buzz of my Malta trip.

Love you all!
Ciao!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Sleepy Head

Is anyone else as tired as I am after work these days?
Seriously, I have been sleeping so much, it is insane, like between 10 and 12 hours a night.
Maybe because it is getting dark earlier, not sure, but geeze, I am having a tough time getting up in the morning and have been falling asleep by 8:00 PM. Not tonight though, America's Next Top Model is on!
Well, I am on my way out.
I know, I haven't written in a couple days, but promise to tomorrow.
Ciao!

PS - Still searching for the perfect cappuccino - Bucci's in Emeryville is the closest so far.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sahha Malta, Merhba America...

I am back in the , got back on Tuesday evening and am still trying to get back into my life here. I really got a jump start on some things I want to change about my life here while I was over in Malta. Every night since I have been back I have woken up thinking I am still there and then realize I am not, so sad.
Anyway, I wasn't to update you on the my last night in Malta. I had dinner with the family I didn't even know I had. I met 3 of my second cousins and their parents, who I guess are my Mom's cousin and her husband. Noel (one of my cousins - I will drop the "second" part, because it is too much) and his Dad, I will call him my Uncle, Frank came to get me and a hotel around the corner from my apartment. They pulled up and must have just known it was me, Frank jumped out of the car (the most exuberant 78 year old ever) and said, "Are you Katie?" when I said yes, he clapped his hands and jumped up once and said "Ha! I knew it!". He got in the back seat and I got in the front, Noel kissed each of my cheeks and was so happy the entire drive to meet me. We got to Frank and Mary's house in Naxxar and Mary and my other cousin Marlene met us at the door and greeted me with kisses and hugs. They have a pretty small family without very many visitors from the relatives in Australia and us from the U.S.A. They told me that they never thought anyone from America would ever come to visit because my Grandfather died so long ago and they though the culture must have been lost, etc. I told them different. I told them I have always known I was part Maltese but wanted to go there to learn about it, and hoped to find family. I shared photos of all of you and my family with them and then Frank said he had a surprise for me. I went with him to his office and he had his photo album open to a page and it had my Mom and Aunt Margie's graduation photos in it along with wedding photos of my Mom and Margie and notes about the family mentioning me and my brother. I told them about Emily and made sure they had all the names correct, etc. in order to keep everything updated. Frank showed me photos of my entire family from WAY back in the day in Malta. It was incredible to see photos of my Grandpa and photos of his sisters, etc. He said he had another surprise, it was in the stairway where there were some photos, it was a photo of my Great Grandmother Emilia. The funny thing is, I had a photo copy of the photo that I traveled with and used that to find family and there was the original hanging on the wall. Of course, they had to take my photo next to it, so funny! I had a wonderful time. My cousins there and I decided that we would keep in contact and I would come and visit again next year. We both have small families so we think it is important that we stay in touch, etc. Since we were out of communication for so long.
I want all of you to know that none of this would d have been possible without me meeting Joe Calleja on the internet. He was the one person that answered my mass email about finding family in Malta and he said he would help me and he did! God bless Joe and Carmen and their family.
Anyway, the flight home was awesome, smooth and mellow. Malta to London was quick (3 hours) and I had about 4 hours to wait in London. I recommend anyone traveling to Europe to travel via London, the airport was incredible. It is like the best mall in the world, Chanel, Gucci, Armani, Paul Smith, etc. I was in heaven. I spent some money there that I had left from my vacation. I got a bagel there for lunch and walked around shopping with a sesame seed between my two front teeth too, classy huh? I didn't notice the seed until I was on the plane. London to San Francisco I had the row to myself, awesome! I had my bag on the seat next to me and watched movies, worked on my journal and drank tons of water since I didn't have anyone to ask to move in order for me to use the toilet. It was incredible!
Tim came to pick me up and there were tears! He would kill me if he knew I wrote that, but it was very, very sweet. He missed me. I came home to fresh sheets, clean towels and a tidy apartment, my favorite way to come home.
Wednesday, I had the day off. I went an appointment I had at 8:00 AM and had the rest of the day open. I went to get a cappuccino at Peet's and drop some pastries and coffee off at Tim's office for the department he works in. I slowly brought the steaming cup up towards my nose and knew I was in for a disappointment, and I was. I tasted the bitter coffee that was so good when I was in Malta and literally almost started crying right there in Peet's Coffee. I thought maybe it was because I was not sitting facing the sea, but that wasn't it. It wasn't good at all. I drank it any way, I needed the buzz, but it was a sad buzz. I visited Tim and work and delivered the treats and went to Target. In the afternoon I went to the beach and slept for a couple hours and read. Vacation is over is such a sad thought. I am trying to grip on to the things I learned about myself on my trip and carry them through my life here and pray that I can return to Malta next year and see my family and all of the places that made me feel like I was at home there on that limestone rock in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
My dreams take me back there at night and that will have to hold me until my next journey.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Whaaaa!

One more day would be nice! The weather has been perfect the last three days and I need more time on the beach, I came all the way here and have no tan to show for it, but have had the time of my life.
Saturday, I went sailing with Father Ray's friends, Anthony (Tony) came to pick me up and I wasn't sure what to expect when we got to the yacht yard, but the boat was incredible. It was a 50' sail boat. There were 3 others there to help sail, Mario, Daniel and Jonathan. Then Marsa and her husband Patrick showed up with a big ole pot of something and bags of food. James and Denise and their 2 kids, Christina and Matthew (6 weeks old). We took off from the harbor in Valletta and sailed to Saint Pauls islands and dropped anchor to swim, eat and chill. The Maltese know how to do it up, first they passed out wine, white to start. Then they opened nuts and chips. Then Marsa started cooking in the kitchen (yes, there was a kitchen on the boat and 4 bedrooms with bathrooms!). She made pasta aubergine (eggplant), it was INCREDIBLE. I helped shred cheese in between trying to get my balance, which was hilarious after a couple glasses of wine. The guys all swam, the ladies were not hot enough, it was cool out there, I had a sweater on the entire time. We ate dinner and then there was a cheese course with crackers, bread and two kinds of hard cheese that I have not heard of in the states. After the guys cleaned up (yes, they cleaned up!) we had coffee, cake and cookies. It was never ending. We were on the water from 1:45 PM - 8:45 PM, we came into Valletta harbor after dark and it was breath taking! I had so much fun. When we were done, everyone left. I helped Tony and Mario clean up a bit and then we all took off, Tony drove me back home. Sailing was incredible, the wind was really good and we went 7.4 knots at one point, I guess that is pretty good for sailing. The boat at times would tip and it would feel like you were going to get wet for sure, but then it would rock back to the other side when they switched the sail. It was amazing, I would love to learn how to sail. Being on the water was great and I didn't get sick, I did take my Dramamine though!
Yesterday, got up at 4:45 AM for my ride at 5:30 PM to the port to go to Sicily. I slept the entire time on the boat. The day was so packed, it was insane. A little too much if you ask me. There were so many people and the bus, ugh, need I say more. Next time I think I will take the boat over and stay a couple days to make it worth it. We did go to Mt Etna which was active, so that was cool. We could see it really well after dark.
Today, I got up, went shopping to spend the last of my Maltese money and laid on the beach for the afternoon. It is now 4:57 PM and I need to get back to my place so I can take a shower before the long lost family members come and pick me up for the evening. I called the guy I am renting from to confirm my ride to the airport tomorrow at 5:45 AM - ugh, I seriously thought about changing my flight to Wednesday, but also wanted that one day between coming home and going back to work.
Anyway, love you all! I just ate my final lemon sorbato! BOO HOO! Next year, I am coming for 2 whole weeks, maybe 2 1/2! And, alone again - ha ha! It was the best trip ever, no one else's agenda, just me and my shadow and Flowey (my stuffed buffalo).
Ciao Bye!
Please pray for a safe journey home for me tomorrow!
XOXO-
Katie

Saturday, October 21, 2006

More from the Homeland

I called Father Ray last night and he is so sweet! He has two things set up for me and I am so excited. Today, his friends Anthony and some other dudes and dudettes I hope are picking me up to go sailing on Father Ray's boat! I was so excited last night I was listening to my iPod jumping around like Liv Tyler in "Stealing Beauty" when she is in her Tuscan bedroom! Unfortuatly, Father Ray has 4 funerals today and is very busy this weekend, but that didnt keep him from making plans for me and letting his friends take me out on his boat. Geeze, I hope I dont puke - Wendy you freaked me out about getting sea sick, actually you, Tim and Andrew. I have never gotten sick before on a boat, but this is the Sea, a little different than rivers in Vietnam and Lakes in Michigan - please pray for me that I dont make fish food over the side of the boat today. I have my alarm on my watch set for 12:30 PM to take my Dramamine one hour before departure. He said that they would bring me back to my apartment tonight around 7 PM or so if that is OK with me. OK with me? I practically peed myself in the phone booth when he told me about it. I get a personal tour of the islands on the boat belonging to a relative of mine who is a man of the cloth? God is here all over the place, I love it!
The second thing he set up for me is his Mother (Mary Rose) and his Father (Frank) are going to pick me up on Monday evening at 6:30 PM and take me out for my last night, I have no idea really what the plan is but I am game. Also, Frank is really into making family tree's and he is making me one. He had it complete up to my Grandfather Carmelo, but then it stopped until I came here! I know, I am gushing, sorry! I am bummed that my trip is coming to an end, but I have fun plans the last three days. Today sailing, tomorrow Sicily (I just went and got my Euros so I can spend some money) and Monday, more shopping at Marks and Spencer and evening with my long lost family and then my ride comes at 5:45 AM on Tuesday to take me to the airport. I will be back here for sure! I may even have to cash out all of my savings and stock options and move here for all I know. It would be easier for me to get residency than some others who have no family here. Tim would love it too! He could work securtiy at the Cafe where Carmen's friend Sherry works, she saw his photo and asked me if he wanted a job here!
Well, I better get the rest of my pre-Sicily errands run (snacks for the early morning boat ride, more sunscreen, etc.) and then I will have to be getting on to the Preluna Hotel where my ride (Anthony) is coming to pick me up. I dont even know this person, but since my 3rd cousin or whoever he is, is a Priest and he set it up, I am sure it will be AWESOME! I hope we get to fish, I want to catch a Lampuka - the National fish of Malta. Oh my gosh, I wonder if they are going to let me jump off the side of the boat into the sea? It is clear and SUNNY today too, about 85 degrees for once.
I could go on, but I wont, plus I onlu have 2 minutes left on the computer before my time is up!
Love you all!
Ciao!

PS - Wendy, you get your cookie and your Luzzu when I get back!

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Eagle has Landed - we have contact!

I met family today!
I met Father Ray Toledo today and we are related! He got his Mom and Dad on the phone and there was a lot of 'Carmelo Calleja, America, Katherine, Katerina, Katie his Grand Daughter, she is here! Carmelo, his daughter Emilia, her daughter' followed by a lot of squealing, hala hala hala la la noise, etc. I wish I understood the language - what a pity. Anyway, my Great Grandfather Giuseppe had a brother who died young (about 40) and Father Ray's mother is his daughter. I know it is confusing, who ever can tell me what kind of cousins we are, etc. or if Ray's Mom is my Mom's cousin, etc. I will give you a cookie. I am confused and so excited at this point and cant believe I have actually met someone I am related to. Father Ray is a very busy Priest, I am supposed to call him tonight at 10:00 PM to see if we can get together with his parents on his boat tomorrow night or Monday. That would be really nice. I am so glad I brought photos, etc. Everyone who has seen the photos think my Dad is Maltese too, they are very interested in his background - I tell them he is Mafia from Sicily and I cant talk about him, just kidding!
I just had a driver take me back to Grandpa's house so I could get a close up of the sign on the house and see if the church was open, but it was not, another pity, it is supposed to be beautiful.
Yesterday, I found out that Marks and Spencer carries cool jeans that actually fit me, dangerous. I bought one pair but am dreaming of another. I have also seen some really nice shoes but haven't bought any.
Mom, I have been trying to get the lace you wanted, but what they have here is not that nice - I don't like it, it looks like it was done on a machine and has colored flowers embroidered on it. Perhaps I will go back to Valletta on Monday and look some more.

Wendy, if my memory about your European adventure last summer serves me right, you loved chocolate chip gelato - am I correct? I couldn't remember what flavor you said, but think it was that one. I saw some being made yesterday, they piled the white heavenly creamy part into the silver freezer container and while they piled it in, they would take chocolate and make stripes all over it and it would freeze. I must have been foaming at the mouth because the young man assembling it gave me a taste and it about knocked me down. Damn it was good.

Angela, thanks for your comments you are so sweet! I am glad you are keeping up with me.

Wendy, one more thing, seriously, I read more than half of 'The Book of Bright Ideas' last night. I love it and couldn't put it down! Thanks for the great read. I am sure to finish it tonight. I love not having a TV but cant help but wonder who got voted off ANTM last night. HA ha!

Well, this gal needs to eat. It is 2:40 PM and I have walked about 5 miles today on nothing but a date roll and water. It is HOT and I am needing to refuel and get to the beach to take a nappy before it rains, again. The weather has been HOT but not sunny. Alright though, I am in heaven.

I have just inhaled so much cigarette smoke sitting here, I need to clear out my lungs outside as well.

PS - The computer I am using has sticky keys (unsettling) so I hope I haven't made too many mistakes on this posting.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Gozo no Go!

Didn't take my trip to Gozo today. The water has been rough and more importantly, Joe wanted to meet me this afternoon and take me to my Grandfather's village. I called the company to cancel and they refunded me, so nice. Joe found the address and knocked on the door in B'kara. A woman answered and Joe told her my story and she took us to a neighbors house of someone who knew my Grandfather's sisters Maria and Giuseppena. We knocked on the door there and a really old man answered and Joe spoke to him, soon after, his wife came around the corner and spoke with us. Again, they thought I spoke Maltese until Joe told them I didnt. They knew my Great Aunts and said that Maria sold the house about 10 years ago and checked herself into assisted living because she had a bad heart. She died soon after that as well as her sister. The man who bought the house is no longer there and it is empty, so sad. The number of the house has changed due to growth, etc. it used to be 8 St. Helens Square and is now 11 St. Helens Square. I took photos and the funny thing is the house still says Casa de Guiseppe in the cement (he was my Great Grandfather). I may have to buy the house, ha ha ha! A girl has to have a dream right?
You know that part in the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's" where Holly says something to the effect that she won't do certain things (name the cat, etc.) until she finds "a place where me and things go together, I dont know where it is, but I can tell you what it's like...it's like Tiffany's. I'm craaaazy about Tiffany's." I may have totally butchered that, however, my point being that ever since I was a kid I felt like I needed to find that place. So, I moved and came back home. Moved again, came back home. Moved again and stayed, but still feel like me and things don't go together. In Malta, me and things go together. Like Carrie Bradshaw and shoes, like Sonny and Cher, like Peanut Butter and Jelly, you get the point. I love it here. I feel so alive. I exercise every day and have been eating the best food ever. Ugh, cough, cough, I just got a mouth full of cologne from the man who walked behind me - phew! Better than B.O. which is also big here!
I found an internet place close to where I am staying so that is cool. It is about 7:30 PM here and dark already. It is pretty safe, the only scary part on my walk back to my place is my street is poorly lit so I walk super fast. To be honest I am more scared of the cockroaches and rats running over my feet than anything. Last night was the first night it didn't rain so I am hoping that the harbor ferries will be running tomorrow. I really want to get out on the water. In the morning tomorrow I am first going to meet a priest who is related to my Grandfather and his sisters in some way. His mother was very close with them from what one of the women in B'kara told me. At 10:00 AM I am taking a tour of ancient tombs, caves, etc. it should be really cool. I am going to try and reschedule my Gozo trip for next Monday if I can, not sure though. Sicily on Sunday though which I am really looking forward to.
Well, I am off to find someone to eat dinner with me. More than likely it will be my shadow or a stray cat or like the other day, the owner of the restaurant which was nice.
Love you all!
Ciao Ciao!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Ahhhhh MALTA!

I am in freakin Malta and I am in LOVE. With the island that is.
Sorry I have not updated sooner. The internet is not as easy to find here as it was in Vietnam. I am having a wonderful time. I learned very quickly that the National Bird of Malta is not the falcon, it is the mosquito and many have welcomed me to the country (thanks guys, especially for biting me on my palm, that one feels really good). The National Animal is the giant cockroach and one walked over my foot and up my leg the other day while I was talking to a woman in her shop. I just shook it off, she is the one who freaked out. There are many horses here pulling the old school carts around. There are a ton of cats just chillin and everyone here goes out at night and walks the promande with their dog(s). 80's and 90's music is very popular as well as designer knock offs and fake lables, it is great! Church is very important to the people here, sometimes the church even over rides the government. It is about 1:15 PM on Tuesday the 17th. Everything is closed for lunch and siesta but not the one and only internet cafe I came all the way to Valletta by bus for. I actually had some other official business to take care of here with my friend Joe Calleja and his wife Carmen (who I just LOVE). No, we are not related, but he is very nice and is showing me around and trying to help me find family (to no avail at this point though). Joe had to go and do some things so Carmen and I went shopping and to a cafe and she just left me to go and collect her Grand Daughter from school. I am going to hang out here in Valletta for the afternoon while it is nice outside. It has been storming each night and yesterday all of the ferries were closed due to the water conditions. I have been all over the island already too - I have seen fresco paintings from the 16th century and also have gone to where the apostle Paul was shipwrecked and the grotto that he stayed in when he brought Christianity to Malta. I have never seen things so old in my life. I also have gone to the Mosta Dome where a bomb went through the roof during WWII and never detonated - it was a miracle. I even saw the bomb. People here look like me and some come to me and try to speak Maltese to me too, I have to stop them and tell them English only, sorry. They ask if I am Maltese and I say yes, and then they try to teach me Maltese. The last two tours I have been on, I am the youngest and the only single traveler so I get to sit in the front next to the driver - so fun! The driving here is insane though so it can get a little scary.
I have bee walking every night with the people from Sliema where I am staying to Paceville (pacha-ville) for my evening stroll - about 2 miles or so - I feel great, it is humid as all get out and there is mold everywhere, but no allergies. Not even after my dinner of bread, cheese, olives and beer last night - YUMM! I am in heaven for sure.
I love you all and will write more when I can (if I can find another internet cafe.)

PS - Angela, can you please call Tim and let him know my blog address, and let him know that I am safe and having fun, etc.? I would really appreciate it. I have already called my Mom twice and forgot to ask her to do it because I have been preoccupied with her and asking a lot of family questions, etc. If he wants a more detailed update, tell him to call my Mom and Dad.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tuesday before Malta

HOLY CRAP!
I am so excited to embark on my adventure this week.
I do have a lot of things to do though. I have to do a load of laundry after work and try to get back to Target because I forgot to pick up one thing this past weekend, ugh! I also have to go to the bank to get some cash. I hope to get all that done today after work so tomorrow I just have to work and pack.
Anyway, I know my posts haven't been very exciting or enlightening lately and I apologize. There is a lot going on in my head and I haven't been able to express it all.
I hope to be able to update my blog from Malta so you all know what is going on in my world. Anyway, I may post again later today, but if not, I will post tomorrow.
Stay tuned...


2 Days until Malta!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Monday before Malta

Not too much to report from the weekend. I have been trying to get motivated to start packing for my trip. I went riding on Saturday and told Apache I would not see him for a couple weeks. I hope someone rides him so he doesn't forget all of the work we have done so far. I will miss him, I love him and love being around him. Generally I procrastinate when it comes to packing and do my best work the night before, so that is what I will probably end up doing - after I watch America's Next Top Model of course.
I booked my day trip to Sicily at the end of last week and will be going there on the 22nd, towards the end of my trip. I am still waiting to hear about a couple other day trips I have planned, but I can figure that out when I get there if I need to. I am getting excited, nervous and anxious all at the same time so my tummy has been a little weird. It is so funny, I focus in so much on the flying part before I leave, but once I am on the plane, I am fine and it is then when I get really excited about the trip. Anyway, back to the grind.
Stay Tuned...

3 Days until Malta!

Friday, October 06, 2006

As Promised...

Here is a photo of the sweetest boy in the world.
Apache!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Gum Anyone?

I know, this is silly, but had to share it with you. Most of you know, I am a gum chewer, I love my gum and I wanted to let you all know about a new one I just tried.

Someone, who will remain unmentioned (I don’t want you to be flooded with requests for this product) gave me a pack of “Cat Butt Gum”. I think it is hilarious. The front of the package is funny. It was hard to photograph, but the white bubble says, “8 pieces of kiss my ass attitude”. The back of the package is the best, it reads (typed verbatim):

7 helpful occasions to chew this gum

1. When you suddenly need to change your mood.
2. When somebody yell at you and you don’t want to listen.
3. If you are lack of attitude.
4. When you need to refuse.
5. When you want to be picky.
6. When you want to be selfish.
7. When you definitely want to say “kiss my ass!”

*chew more than one if you need extra attitude.
Made in Canada

I decided to chew 2 because like a cat, I am curious and I can always use some extra attitude. Actually the gum has a nice peppermint flavor, but it doesn’t last long. Also, I wish they had made it sugar-free.

I would like to thank our neighbors to the North for coming up with this product. It made me laugh and kept my jaws busy for a while.

9 Days until Malta!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday, Monday

I will say it again, I need one more day. I had a packed weekend and loved every minute of it. The highlight was that I got to visit with and ride Apache. When I went to get him from his stall, he recognized me and gave me a little kiss on my neck. He was so dirty, it took a while to get him clean and saddled up. When we got out into the arena he was testing me so I had to work really hard to get him to do what I wanted him to do. I don't think anyone rode him all week. My legs are sore, but it was worth it. I saw some wild turkeys during my lesson; they were beautiful except for that yucky red rubbery skin hanging down around their face and beak. There were about 5 of them running around the ranch. I took some photos of Apache, just need to download them on to my computer from my camera. The one thing I didn't do this weekend was chores! I didn't do my laundry so I have to do it during the week, which is OK; I like not having to "work" on the weekends, I will leave that for during the week.

This week I am going to try and book some day trips for when I am in Malta. I am trying to firm everything up, I have been pretty laid back about this trip, and I am surprised at myself. I usually try to get every little detail taken care of way ahead of time, but this time is different. It could be because I will be on my own; I can wing it more that way I guess.

I am hoping to return to yoga this week. I still have a slight cough and congestion, but I think I have to give it a go before I go crazy.

10 Days until Malta!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Here Comes the Weekend!

Yippie-Ki-Yea!
It's almost the weekend and I am so excited. I have a lot of things planned this weekend, but they are all fun, so that's good.

Tonight, I am going to work on my house a little bit. I have some rearranging and organizing to do in my bedroom so it will be a mellow night. I am also working on a birthday present for one of my friends and I need to finish that tonight too.

Tomorrow, I have hypnotherapy in the morning, which I love! It gives me time to look inward and I always walk out of there refreshed and ready for the day. For those of you who imagine hypnotherapy the old fashioned way, where you are under the control of the therapist, you are mistaken. This is more like a guided meditation so you do a lot of the work yourself and make decisions while under hypnosis that are best for you and make you feel comfortable, so you are conscious the entire time. It is really cool.

I get to ride Apache tomorrow afternoon! I hope to take some photos of him so I can post them for all of you to see. He is so beautiful and I can't wait to see his face tomorrow. I can't wait to walk him, groom him and "talk" with him. We understand each other, I can't explain it. I enjoy my time on the ground with him as much as I enjoy my time in the saddle.

Tomorrow night, I am attending a spice theme birthday party. There will be some good food and some good people there for sure. I am looking forward to that.

Sunday, laundry in the morning and then dinner at Betelnut with Tim and Jadin. It should be nice. We are going to meet up and walk around first. She is a ballet dancer and there is a dance store over there that we are going to check out before dinner (sorry Tim).

All in all, I am excited and hoping to have a great weekend. I am still sick, went to the Doc yesterday and she said just take it easy and keep doing what I am doing and get enough rest at night and stop activities if I am tired. I have not done yoga in 3 weeks and am going nuts, but I can't breathe so I can't imagine taking a class yet. Perhaps next week, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

13 Days until Malta!

Mascara Mayhem















Longing for luscious lashes? Craving curl? Salivating to lift and separate? I am! I cleaned out my little make-up box the other day and found not a couple different mascaras, but six different kinds! So, before you go out and spend money on more mascara I thought I would review my findings on what I tested out. At the end I will give you my top pick for perfect lashes.

Reviewed from left to right in the photo.

L’Oreal Panoramic Curl – sounds great, right? I wanted the “wide eyed look” that was promised in the ad. The product contains olive wax, which is cool, I like olives. The applicator is nice, has a slight curve but left clumps that I had to comb out. I didn’t get the lift I expected. Well, I should rephrase, I got the lift once I put it on but it didn’t last. I thought I was trying out the wonder bra of mascaras but felt deflated after wearing it for an hour.

Max Factor Stretch and Separate (waterproof) – if I had to comb my lashes after applying it, then it didn’t really separate did it?

Maybelline New York Lash Stylist (waterproof) – this was rated the best mascara in a couple of magazines this summer so I had to try it. I like the comb applicator, I thought there was no way it would clump, but it did. I tried to wipe some mascara off of the comb thinking maybe it was clumping because there was too much on there, but no dice. I think the teeth of the comb need to be a little longer and then they may have the golden ticket.

Cover Girl LashExact – Who ever invented this new brush is a genius. Have you seen it? It is not your normal mascara applicator and it works great. No lift or curl, but separates well and stays on all day without flaking.

Maybelline New York Volume Express Turbo (waterproof) – YIKES, after putting this on, I looked like one of the burn outs that used to smoke behind the bowling alley when I was in junior high school. If you long to look like spider woman, use this mascara, it will make daddy longlegs run for the hills when he sees the tarantulas you are carrying around south of your eye brows.

Lancome Hypnose Mascara (waterproof) – Nice applicator and sexy bottle, they are both kind of hour glass shaped. Really smooth application, not too many clumps, nice lift. This mascara was way too expensive for what it is. The waterproof formula burned my eyes all day and took a lot of work to remove (I even used cold cream). Some day when I have a lot of money to spare, I may bust out and try the non-waterproof version. But that is only if they discontinue my favorite mascara.

My Favorite out of all of these is…

Cover Girl LashExact!
Queen Latifa says, “the clump stops here” in the commercial and I was sold. You know…she was RIGHT! I love this mascara. I wore the non-waterproof version on a really bad allergy day and you know, with sneezing and watery eyes, I didn’t even have anything flaking off or running down my face. That made my mascara decision very easy and this soon became my favorite. It comes off really easy at the end of the day with makeup remover or just soap and water.

For lashes that look you stole them from Sophia Loren, I use a lash curler first and then apply the Cover Girl LashExact mascara. Beware; people may want to take your picture.



**DISCLAIMER** - I am not responsible for your lashes if this does not work for you. Afterall, we were all born with different features, etc. This is just what works for me. Yes, I have lots of lashes, but they are clear on the ends and you can't see them without a little help from the cosmetic companies. If you don't have great lashes, take a risk and glue some on, they are fun!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Trying to Make a Come Back

Geeze, my life hasn’t been very interesting since I got sick and I am still fighting a cough, plugged ears and now my nose is all stuffed up again. Come on, this crap needs to get out of my system now…it is bringing me down in SO many ways.

I went out last night for Indian food (my favorite http://www.spicy-bite.com/ ) and had the spiciest dish I have ever had. I was hoping that the spice would burn out my illness. When I woke up this morning though, I felt like I was getting sick all over again though. Perhaps it is drawing all the stuff out, I don’t know.

Anyway, I do have news in the world of horses! I found a new instructor a couple weeks ago and have had two lessons with her and love it. I am at a really nice place now compared to where I was before – I didn’t know that until I started at my new place. My instructor, Carol, is really professional, consistent and takes everything super slow, which all work for me. I have been riding a horse named Apache, and you know, I am in love. He is so sweet. His personality is kind of like Snickers (who I miss) but even sweeter. He likes to “kiss” my arms and neck by puckering his lips and nipping at me with them. He is a dark buckskin color and is so silky soft; he has a black mane and tail. The cutest things about him is his mane in the front, it doesn’t lay down like the rest of it, it looks like a little afro, like Buckwheat! I will get some photos of him soon. My lesson experiences have been so great. When I show up at the stable I have to go and get him myself, put the halter on and walk him to the barn and groom him, saddle him up and get to the arena for my lesson. When the lesson is over, I get to spend more quality time with him out of the saddle which I think is the best part of the lesson. I take the saddle and bridle off, give him carrots and apples. Wipe him off where dirt may have collected (around the saddle area and girth) and groom him again. I then walk him back to his stall give him more treats, make sure he has hay for the night, tell him I love him and wish him a good night and sweet dreams. I may be able to sponsor him soon which means I could go and ride him anytime, which would be awesome! I would love to just go and visit him after a stressful day at work. I can’t wait to see him this weekend. I have already had dreams about him too!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Autumn is here!

Today is the first day of Autumn, my favorite season! I couldn't pick a better day to embarrass myself completely by sharing this poem with you. Please keep in mind, THIS IS NOT NEW - I found this the other day while looking though my journal from 7th Grade (I know, scary, I need to throw it away). I was sick and bored and found reading them entertaining.
Anyway, here it is.

Autumn Is Here

Summer time has come and gone and fall is on its way
All of the fresh green grass is about to turn to hay

The baby birds have flown the nest and left their parents alone
All of the bears are getting ready to settle into their winter home

The air is crisp and the colors are bright
Time to put on an extra blanket at night

The days grow shorter and night falls quickly
Fog and rain will come and then snow will cover us thickly

Spending more time in doors with family
Means more time to fight with Andy and Emily

-Katie Lemke, 9/87

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Down for the count

Sorry no recent updates. I have been sick for a week now and missed 5 days of work! I have never been out for that long. It has been horrible. I still have a ferocious cough that would knock any unprepared waif over and probably send migrating birds off their paths. Both of my ears are also plugged and have now started clicking each time I swallow – can anyone else hear that? It is so annoying. I hope it gets better with the quickness; I have a life to jump back into. I am tired of being at home all the time. I want to go to yoga, walk around without wheezing and sing at the top of my lungs in my car without coughing.

One cool, mellow thing I did do the other night was learn how to apply henna tattoos. I learned the history, the recipe to mix it and application tips, etc. Both of my hands are done and I love it. I actually can’t wait until it wears off so I can create a new one on my left hand. I am hoping to practice and get pretty efficient and then help out the woman that taught me as she is looking for a couple new henna artists to help her with events, etc. It would be a fun way to earn some extra pocket money.

That is about it from me.
Stay tuned…

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Return of the Dog Tag

I know a lot of you are interested in how the return of the dog tag went since my post on September 7th so I thought I would post an update.
It went fantastic. On Sunday, September 10th the tag was returned. Gary (the Veteran) was very happy to get his dog tag back. We met him down in San Jose for lunch and he told us stories of his Vietnam experiences and shared with my Mom a little about the area where he was stationed, since he was in the same place where Steve was stationed. He arrived 5 days after Steve was killed so he never did get to meet him. I took photos of the area and what it looks like now so he could check it out and I think that made him happy. I thought it would be nice for him to see that it is peaceful and lush green now. He wants to return to that area at some point and see it for himself and I think that is just wonderful.
When I asked him how he lost his tag, he just said that it was one of those things like he may have left it in a pair of pants, a boot, etc. and had to leave without it. After talking to Jess at TOP it sounds like a lot of tags were lost that way and new tags were made for the soldiers when they were back in the rear.
All in all, it was a great experience and I feel so honored and blessed to be able to have been a part of it. I got an email from the Veteran (Gary) today and he was still beaming, I could see it in his email. It is amazing what the return of something like that can do for a person.

For the 4 years that I have been involved with TOP Vietnam Veterans I have learned that life is full of little miracles and that dreams DO come true. My life has changed for the better because of TOP.

Pumpkin Dumplin’ Cookies

I am calling these dumplins’ because they are more cake like than cookie like and I thought it was a cute name.

Ingredients:

2 Cups Brown Sugar (packed)
2 tsp Vanilla
2 Cups canned Pumpkin
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg r
½ tsp Ginger
¼ tsp Ground Cloves
2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 Cups Whole Wheat flour
1 Cup Chopped Nuts

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Beat brown sugar, pumpkin, oil and vanilla together until smooth.
Sift together dry ingredients.
Stir into the pumpkin mixture until smooth.
Add nuts and stir.
Drop by spoonfuls on parchment covered baking sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Makes 5-6 dozen

Alternative additions:
* 1 Cup Dried Cranberries, Raisins or Currents
* 1 Tbls Orange zest
* Frost cookies with vegan cream cheese frosting made with sweetened vegan cream cheese.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A little side tracked

This week is going to be a little crazy so I am not sure if I will be able to keep up with the posts, sorry. Life has kind of taken over the last couple weeks and I can’t believe it is already September 4th!

Tomorrow, Tim’s brother Solomon is coming to visit us for a couple days. Tim’s cousin is getting married Tuesday, so we are all going to the wedding reception together in the evening. It should be a blast; I am excited to get a little dressed up for a change and have some fun with Tim and his brother and the Somera clan. Solomon leaves on Wednesday night, just a quick visit because…

My Mom arrives Thursday night for the weekend! I am looking forward to hanging out with her PLUS I have Friday off, phew! We are planning to take a drive up north and go antiquing, check out some museums and have a nice dinner one night in the city. Sunday we have pretty big plans to return a dog tag to a Vietnam Veteran who was separated from his tag while stationed over there. The tag is part of the TOP Vietnam Veterans personal effects program where we try to locate veterans or family members that match with names in dog tags, etc. that we find over in Vietnam and return the items to the vet or the family. This is my first return mission and I am so honored to be able to do it. The ironic thing is the veteran was stationed in the same location as my Mom’s first husband however this man did not know him as he was stationed there right after Steve was killed. It will be an interesting day for sure. I have no expectations and am just going to let it unfold in front of me. I have the tag and a little something to say prepared, the rest is up to the universe to create for us. Mom departs on Monday morning and back to work for me and back to a somewhat normal schedule until I leave for Malta in a month.

I will write what I can this week but there may be a gap in posts.
Stay tuned…

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

Go and see it ASAP!
Wendy and I saw it on Tueday after work and laughed our asses off through the entire movie.
I highly recommmed it and give it an around the world and back snap with both hands!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Musical Memories

I heard a piece of music this weekend on the local classical station (KDFC) that took me back to third grade. We had a music teacher, Mrs. Fish (no joke) and she made us put our heads down on our desks and listen to a piece of music and then the next time she played it we had to draw what we thought that music was about. She played it over and over for the next two music classes and we completed our works of art. My drawing (in crayon of course) was a witch and a skeleton and leaves blowing around them from a big tree in the background, there was also a full moon in the right hand corner of the picture, the background was dark blue. I always remembered the music and what I drew but hadn’t heard the music again until last Saturday, 24 years later and it all came rushing back. The music is called Danse Macabre Op. 40 (Camille Saint-Saens). The funny thing is, I never knew it was the dance of death and I drew something sort of like that which I think it sort of weird.

I think it is so wonderful how music can instantly take you back somewhere that otherwise you may have forgotten about. Music is very emotional, timeless and beautiful that way. It touches our souls and brings things back into our consciousness without invitation most of the time.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Weekend...

The weekend is here! Time for rest and play. Actually, I have quite a few things planned this weekend. Today, I went to Tiburon for lunch with Heather and walked around a bit. Our plan was to go to Muir Woods and have lunch and hike a bit until we saw all the signs telling us that the parking lot was full. So we went to lunch insted in Tiburon. It was beautiful outside, not a cloud in sight.
Anyway, tomorrow, laundry, yoga and then brunch with Kristine and Sara at Cafe Gratitude followed by cleaning house a little. Before I know it, the weekend will be over and I will be back at work again.
Well, nothing but a quick update from here!
Love you all!
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Aint No Sunshine When She's Gone...

Emily left last night. My long weekend is over and I am back in the real world, ugh. We had a wonderful weekend though.

Friday we got massages and walked around downtown. Our horseback riding got cancelled (so sad) due to the ranch having 27 kids there for summer camp - yikes! While downtown we saw some New Orleans style jazz music and had lunch. We went out for Vietnamese food that night with Tim and drank Vietnamese beer.

Saturday we went out to brunch (strawberry pancakes, yummy) and headed down the coast to Half Moon Bay. It was foggy on and off throughout the day, enough sun to get some color on our skin though. Em and I slept for a while on the beach and Tim woke us up at 6:00 PM because it was getting cold and foggy. We went to Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. and ate out on the patio (beer battered artichoke hearts...soooo good) and had some cocktails. There was some live music by a local band called The Cowlicks, it was alternative country and really fun music. We headed back to the city and went to bed shortly after arriving home.

Sunday, Angela drove in from Sacramento and we went to Haight Street to walk, shop and eat lunch. We went to a Mediterranean place where we sat on the floor and ate a delicious mix of grape leaves, olives, pita, falafel and hummus. It was a nice mellow day. Angela left around 5:00 PM and Tim went out and got burritos for Em and I while we stayed home and made hemp seed organic brownies - they were awesome.

Monday, woke up late because Bay-Lee was being cuddly and I didn't want to get up because it is rare that he is like that. Anyway, when I got up, Emily was up already so we got dressed and drove up the coast to Point Reyes Station for lunch and little retail therapy. I found some cool stuff for my house and we had lunch at a place called Rosie's Cowboy Cookhouse. We shared Fried Green Tomatoes that were to die for. They had a really light cornmeal crust on them and were topped with corn salsa. We spent an hour or two walking around and taking photos on the coast until we had to head back to the city. We arrived at home and I got out a second suitcase for Em (for all her new stuff) and packed her up. When Tim came home we went to Moki's for the last dinner and enjoyed some sushi, followed by a vegan ice cream sundae at Maggie Mudd's. We dropped Em off at the airport afterwards. So sad to see her leave but all good things must come to an end.

It was a wonderful long weekend spent with my favorite person, my sister. I can't wait until the next time we can spend time together. I feel whole when I am with her. She makes me laugh like none other and I can be myself with no judgments PLUS she calls me on all of my shit all of the time. No one can do that like a sister, they know you better than anyone. It can hurt at times, but deep inside you know she is right. I do the same for her, I am the reality check.



Well, back to my regular schedule this week, yoga tomorrow, Thursday and Friday to make up for missing class over the last week. Now it is time to focus on my Malta trip coming up very soon!
Stay tuned...

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