About
"Everybody sees what you appear to be, but few feel what you are."

Machiavelli,
The Prince

Contents
About Me
New Livejournal
Old Livejournal
My Photos (2007-10)
My Videos
My Bookmarks
Email Me

Current Reading

Lauren's Webpage...home of the "Engineer/Troublemaker"


Sunday, January 31, 2010
Testing my new iPod Touch blog app.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Posted at 8:56 PM, 1 Comments

Friday, January 29, 2010
I know I've been neglecting my webpage (again), but I'm in DC on a business trip (again). I got here on Monday and after a very long week I'm glad to be going home tomorrow morning. The good news is that I will have almost the entire weekend free to spend relaxing with my husband. The bad news is that I have a very busy two weeks of work ahead of me and then, surprise surprise, another trip to DC. I knew the beginning of this year was going to be crazy work-wise. So here's hoping for a quiet weekend at home where I can find some time to write something more substantial. Until then I'm going to hole up in my hotel before I have to leave for the airport ion the morning. It's COLD here (19 deg when I went to work this morning and 25 deg when I left the evening) and I can't wait for the relative warmth of the Los Angeles winter again. So glad I'll be there tomorrow!
Posted at 4:55 PM, 0 Comments

Sunday, January 24, 2010
Christmas Eve 2009
On Christmas Eve Dan and I left Big Bear and got home around noon. Half a dozen boxes had been delivered while we were gone so the front porch was almost impassable when we arrived. The good news was that all of our Christmas presents had arrived in time. Once we unpacked from our trip it was time to finish the final preparations for Christmas. I wrapped the last couple of Dan's presents while watching "Home Alone" and then crammed them under/around the tree. Our Christmas tree this year didn't have a lot of ground clearance so the gifts spilled out all over the floor instead of being contained by the branches and tree skirt. Unfortunately, all of the usual household chores reared their ugly heads as soon as we got home too. Dirty dishes, garbage, and loads of laundry are ever-present, even on Christmas Eve. My biggest mistake of the day was going to the grocery store because apparently everyone else in the area decided that they needed something food-related on Christmas Eve too. I bought the necessary ingredients for the lasagna I was planning to make for Christmas dinner, but that was about it because the store was so crowded. I couldn't wait to get home to our warm and peaceful house. That night Dan and I dined on frozen pizza and watched "Love Actually," one of my favorite Christmas movies. Then we "settled down for a long winter's nap" (i.e., went to bed fully intending to sleep in the next morning.

Christmas Day 2009
On Christmas morning Dan and I slept late as planned. It's a luxury we're taking advantage of while we have the chance (i.e., before we have kids). Once we actually got up it was time to open presents. We turned on the TBS 24-hour marathon of "A Christmas Story" and watched it all the way through twice (and then some) before we were done with the presents. Among other things, Dan got me a Coach purse and an Amazon Kindle book reader that I wanted. It was perfect, even if he did spend too much money. After that, Dan called all of his relatives (this required quite a few phone calls when I was able to reach my entire family in just one) to wish them a Merry Christmas while I made my famous lasagna. We actually had it as a late lunch rather than Christmas dinner since we had plans that night. That evening Dan and I drove down to Seal Beach to attend Jim and Melissa's Christmas get-together. We snacked, chatted, and played some games. Scene It 80's Edition is great fun for those of us who grew up in that decade. At 10:30 PM we went over to the nearby movie theater to watch "Sherlock Holmes" which had just opened that day. Dan and I weren't expecting much from the movie, but was much better than we thought it would be and I'm glad we saw it. (And now that Robert Downey, Jr. has won a Golden Globe for his role I guess this movie was taken more seriously than I originally thought!) It was a good way to end Christmas Day.
Posted at 9:17 PM, 0 Comments

Friday, January 22, 2010
In the past week I've noticed just how many commercials tell us how lucky we are to have our "sunny Southern California weather." While this is true most of the year, it's been pretty miserable for the last six days. Winter is historically our rainy season, and while the past few years have been much drier than usual, this week has been the perfect example of wet winter weather. I finally got caught in the rain leaving work last night (at 9 PM - yuck), and of course I had forgotten my umbrella at home. (This was because I was in a frazzled state of mind after an argument with one of my neighbors, but that's an entirely different story.) I swear the rain started as soon as I opened the door of my building to leave, but I wasn't about to wait for it to subside before leaving. It was already late enough. Fortunately I had a little umbrella in my work bag (an old habit leftover from 23 years of living in Florida where you never leave the house without one). I had bought this umbrella in Sydney, Australia when Dan and I were on our honeymoon and we finally got tired of getting rained on every single day for two weeks. But as soon as I opened the umbrella at work last night it broke into about a dozen pieces. I guess it hadn't fared too well neglected at the bottom of my work bag for the last two and a half years. One of my co-workers was kind enough to share her umbrella with on the long walk out to the parking lot, but it was so windy that between the two of us we could barely hold on to it. What a mess. And this morning on my drive to work the rain was approaching Florida thunderstorm intensity. The rain was coming down so hard that I had to really focus on the lane dividers and the cars around me as I was driving on the freeway. I keep hearing that the weather is going to clear up soon, but so far it hasn't happened. Maybe tomorrow?
Posted at 6:50 PM, 0 Comments

Thursday, January 21, 2010
Dan the championship snowboarder Dan and the giant hot chocolate
Posted at 10:18 PM, 0 Comments

"Severe weather" isn't a phrase that's applicable in Los Angeles very often, despite what the local news programs try to tell us, but the other day was an exception. It had been raining steadily since Sunday, but it escalated into quite a storm on Tuesday morning. In fact, the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Los Angeles and Orange Counties around noon. In case you weren't aware, this is an extremely rare occurrence in Southern California. At Boeing we got plant-wide announcements to stay inside unless absolutely necessary. Of course this prompted several of us to go outside and see what was going on. The rain was really coming down and it was windy, but as a former Florida resident I didn't see what all the fuss was about. It was nothing compared to a typical summer thunderstorm in the South. According to news reports, there was a report of an actual tornado in the Seal Beach area before the warning lapsed at 2 PM, but those of us at the Seal Beach Boeing facility weren't affected. The rain has continued since then, but I've been lucky enough to avoid the worst of the rain on my way in to and out of work this week. We'll see how long that lasts. I know this rain is good for LA, but it makes everyone's daily commute more difficult. Now if only my neighbors would move their car I could drive to work today!
Posted at 7:16 AM, 0 Comments

Monday, January 18, 2010
December 22nd
On my last day of work of 2009, I left at lunchtime because Dan and I were planning to drive up to Big Bear that evening and I had a lot to do before we could leave. First of all, I needed to get the oil changed in my car. And after Jiffy Lube told me that my car's battery was "marginal," I went to Sears and had them install a new one just in case. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck in the snow with a dead battery. So with the first new battery in my car since I bought it four plus years ago, I drove home and packed for the trip. Dan and I left our house around 3 PM and headed east towards the mountains. Traffic wasn't too bad considering Christmas was right around the corner. We stopped in Highland, a small city in the foothills at the beginning of the road into the mountains, to eat at Applebee's because we had a gift certificate (that had been sitting in a drawer in the kitchen for at least a year). It was cold in Highland, which is quite a ways inland but still low in elevation, so I knew it would be much colder in Big Bear. We were forced to stop and put the tire chains on shortly after starting up the winding road into the mountains. There was no doubt the chains were going to be necessary because it was snowing when we stopped and we knew it would only get worse. While poor Dan was struggling with the chains I was simply holding the flashlight so he could see what he was doing, but my hands were so cold I couldn't keep it steady. And I was wearing gloves! After getting the tire chains on it was actually a beautiful drive into Big Bear that night. Snow was falling steadily and everything was covered with fresh white powder. It was quite the winter wonderland, especially for us Southern Californians who don't see snow very often. I had made a room reservation at the Knickerbocker Mansion, which is a little off the beaten path in Big Bear, and I was glad to have my little 4WD SUV in addition to the tire chains to get there. Dan and I stayed in our room that evening and watched "Star Wars" because venturing out into the snow again wasn't too appealing.

December 23rd
Bright and early the next morning we bundled up and, after some heavy duty ice scraping and windshield defrosting, drove over to the Snow Summit ski resort. I passed on snowboarding this trip to avoid any unnecessary stress and frustration. So while Dan carved up the mountain to his heart's content, I sipped hot chocolate, read a book, and watched TV in the Bear Bottom Lodge. As far as I'm concerned, the hot chocolate at Snow Summit is the best I've ever tasted, but the effect of a warm drink in cold weather might be a contributing factor to it's appeal. After Dan was done snowboarding we drove over to have lunch at the Village, which is a couple of blocks of local restaurants and shops. We shared a small pizza at Saucy Mama's Pizzeria that was very tasty, but we didn't fill up because we had a reservation at our favorite restaurant that night. Madlon's isn't just our favorite restaurant in Big Bear - it's one of our favorite restaurants period. We've only been lucky enough to eat there twice, but both times have been phenomenal. We discovered that the owners are a married couple who are both Le Cordon Bleu chefs. So it's a fine dining restaurant in Big Bear City that's moderately priced and has some of the best food Dan and I have ever eaten. I had chicken with cherries and gorgonzola sauce over rice pilaf. I'm not a big fan of gorgonzola cheese, but the sauce was so amazing that I didn't want to leave a single drop on my plate. Needless to say, Dan and I had a great dinner. The rest of the evening consisted of a trip to the grocery store and a viewing of "Empire Strikes Back" on the tiny combination TV/DVD in our hotel room. I'm really dragging out this whole holiday retrospective, aren't I?
Posted at 9:32 PM, 0 Comments

Saturday, January 16, 2010
So last Saturday was my birthday and I turned 31. Last year I started my 30th birthday working the night shift in DC which isn't anyone's idea of fun, but the Gators had just won the National Championship so that was a good present. When my shift was over that morning I immediately got on a plane and flew back to Los Angeles (with a layover in Chicago), so I spent most of my birthday sleep-deprived. This year I was fortunate enough to be at home for my birthday, plus I didn't have to go to work because it was a Saturday! So I got to sleep in and generally be lazy which fits right in my with usual weekend plans. I had to run a couple of errands that morning to prepare for my upcoming business trip (pick up contacts, go to the library, etc.), but then I went home and made a small pan of orange brownies as a pseudo-birthday cake. I really wanted raspberry brownies, but our local grocery store was out of raspberry extract. Next time. (In hindsight the orange brownies didn't really turn out that well. The orange flavor was a bit overpowering and not very tasty.) For dinner Dan took me to the Napa Rose at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel which is one of my favorite restaurants. Dinner was fantastic - exactly was I wanted for my birthday. Then Dan and I went home and watched Mystery Science Theater which is always a good time. Overall it was a great birthday thanks to my wonderful husband. I hope all of my birthdays turn out this well in the future. Thank you Dan!
Posted at 2:58 PM, 0 Comments

Friday, January 15, 2010
Still in DC. Still working nights. Hopefully that explains my lack of posts. But tomorrow is my last shift and I'll be flying home in the evening. Hooray!
Posted at 3:15 AM, 0 Comments

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Still pretty tired. I woke up at 2:45 AM this morning after only four hours of sleep to get ready to go to the airport. I was ready by 3:30 AM, but the airport shuttle was 45 minutes late picking me up. Fortunately I still had plenty of time to get to the airport, check in, go through security (which was strangely empty considering it's LAX), and get to the gate before they started boarding. I slept most of the five-hour flight to DC which helped with my tiredness. I was expecting it to be brutally cold when I got to DC, but it wasn't really that bad because it was mid-afternoon and sunny when I walked out of Dulles. In the evening I took the Metro in to DC with some of my co-workers to have dinner at the landmark Ben's Chili Bowl. We drove 10 miles to the nearest station and then took two Metro lines just to try some of their famous chili dogs. They were really good (even if the chili was a little too spicy for me). By the time we got back to our Metro station of origin it was 9:30 PM and way too cold for us Californians. Like a dummy I had left my gloves in my hotel room so my hands were freezing, but my peacoat and knit hat kept the rest of me pretty warm. Right now it's 29 degrees with a windchill of 19 degrees, according to the Weather Channel. Since I'm scheduled to work the night shift for the rest of the week I really need to go in to work for a couple of hours tonight to get into the swing of things, but I'm fighting fatigue and I have a headache. What I really need is a good workout to get me moving. Maybe I'll try that.
Posted at 9:11 PM, 0 Comments

Monday, January 11, 2010
My birthday at the Napa Rose My birthday at the Napa Rose


So Saturday was my birthday and I turned 31. Dan took me to the Napa Rose restaurant at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel for dinner. It was perfect. More details to follow. More photos here.
Posted at 9:33 PM, 0 Comments

So tired. Woke up at 1:45 AM after only a couple hours of sleep to get to work by 2:30 AM. Worked until 4 PM. Went to aerobics (I wasn't going to miss my last class before going to DC). Drove home where I washed dishes, unloaded the dishwasher, and took out the trash. Now I have to pack as much of my stuff as I can before going to bed, only to wake up again at 3 AM to get ready for the airport shuttle to pick me up. Then I'm off to frozen Washington, DC. Aargh. I'll try to post either a holiday retrospective or a birthday summary later tonight, but I'm not making any promises. I'm really tired.
Posted at 8:19 PM, 0 Comments

Friday, January 08, 2010
Monday, 12/21 and Tuesday, 12/22
Boeing employees were scheduled to work the Monday though Wednesday leading up to Christmas Eve, but most of us were encouraged to take those days off as part of a company-wide money-saving venture. On my program, however, there was way too much work to be done before the holiday shutdown for too many of us to extend our vacations. The previous week I had been too busy helping other folks with their work to get any of my own done, so my last two days in the office for the year were dedicated to checking things off my to do list. It didn't go that well, actually. To make a long story short, I ran into problems with the products I was testing and it turned out that the author was one of the few people who was already gone for the holidays. So I had to have someone else make a few changes for me. And then, when I was testing those changes, I uncovered even more (unrelated) problems. After two days of this I decided to give up for the year. Despite the setbacks, I did get quite a bit of work done in those two days. It was mostly stuff that I'd been putting off for weeks so that was a relief. I always joke that the last day of work before the holidays is the most productive day of the year. It turns out that way for me, at least. But anyway, I left work for the last time in 2009 at noon on Tuesday in order to get ready to drive up to Big Bear with Dan that evening. But that's the beginning of another story which I will write another day. Before I draw this particular holiday retrospective to a close, I would like to mention two other notable events that took place on Monday, 12/21: 1) I went to my last aerobics class and sadly also my last workout of 2009. I've never been good about working out over the holidays. 2) Dan and I checked out of the next level of Foxtrot at Arthur Murray that evening. We've been working on our Bronze III steps for over a year so this was a long time coming for us. It was a relief to finally graduate to Bronze IV. OK, more holiday flashbacks this weekend.
Posted at 11:01 PM, 0 Comments

Thursday, January 07, 2010
I've only been back at work for four days this year and I'm already exhausted. When I found out that my aerobics class was cancelled today I went home early to take a nap. But I didn't get much rest because my brain was thinking about everything I needed to get done. I can tell that it's going to be a busy year.
Posted at 10:10 PM, 0 Comments

Tuesday, January 05, 2010
I've been doing a little research to try and figure out what I was doing the weekend before Christmas, but information is surprisingly scarce. I have a to do list in my notebook for 12/18-12/20, but it's not clear which items I checked off on each day. Also, my Facebook status updates from that time frame are either nonexistent or not very informative. What I do remember is that on Saturday, 12/19 I was very disciplined and went to the gym for one of my last workouts of the year (although I didn't know it at the time). Before the gym I dropped off my mom's Christmas present at the UPS Store. I paid quite a bit to have the package delivered on the 24th (because I waited until the last minute to mail it), but it didn't actually arrive in Tallahassee until the 29th. What a ripoff. I'm going to try and get some of my money back. Anyway, after my workout (where I was able to watch "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" on TCM because I know where the gym's remote control is hidden) I went home to get ready for a Christmas party thrown by one of Dan's co-workers. The host and most of the attendees were aerospace industry employees and I really enjoyed talking to them. These folks have so many great stories to tell. And we got to eat some really delicious chili too! It was a great party. On Sunday, 12/20 I finally got around to writing Christmas cards. I suspect the recipients didn't get the cards until after Christmas, but at least I sent some out this year for a change. I also wrapped most of Dan's Christmas presents so that I wouldn't have to worry about it later in the week. Other than that and the usual weekend chores it was a pretty lazy day. Maybe the last lazy day of the year.
Posted at 8:35 PM, 0 Comments

Sunday, January 03, 2010
Last day of vacation. Work tomorrow. Another holiday retrospective tomorrow too.
Posted at 9:39 PM, 0 Comments

Saturday, January 02, 2010
Monday, 12/14 - Was supposed to work from 6 AM to 6 PM, but escaped early to go to my usual aerobics class at the gym. Went back to work afterwards and then met Dan at Arthur Murray for a dance lesson at 9:15 PM. Got home around 10:30 PM. Yuck.
Tuesday, 12/15 - Got to work at 6 AM. Escaped from work early again to go to the gym, but discovered as soon as I got there that I forgot my workout clothes. Sheesh. Went back to work instead and finished up my 12-hour shift.
Wednesday, 12/16 - Work. Gym. The usual. Then met Dan at the movies at 8 PM for the Rifftrax Christmas Shorts-Stravaganza which was hilarious. It helped me get into the holiday spirit, and as MST 3K fans I'm really glad we got to see it.
Thursday, 12/17 - Stayed home a couple of extra hours to make cornbread and honey butter for a lunch potluck at work. The potluck was delicious and the cornbread and honey butter was a big hit. Made more cornbread for another potluck the next day when I got home.
Friday, 12/18 - After 6 AM spinning class, ate four mouthwatering scones for breakfast at the software group's annual holiday potluck. I look forward to this potluck, especially the scones, every year. Potluck lunch was pretty good too. Went to Arthur Murray for their weekly party and another dance lesson at 8:30 PM. Got home around 10:30 PM and collapsed from exhaustion.
Posted at 5:09 PM, 0 Comments

Friday, January 01, 2010
On the morning of December 13th I went to see "New Moon" with my friend Melissa while our husbands were playing golf. Being a Twilight fan I was really looking forward to the new movie, but I never dreamed of taking Dan to a vampire flick marketed towards teenage girls. I actually went to see "Twilight" by myself in December 2008 when Dan was out of town on a business trip. Definitely the way to go. There's just no reason to subject him to movies that I'm pretty sure he will hate. But anyway, Melissa and I enjoyed "New Moon" and I'm glad I got to see it with another Twilight fan. We're already planning to go see "Eclipse" when it comes out in June. I need to re-read the books by then so I remember what's going on. Dan asked me one time what the draw of vampire movies is. I told him it was the idea of finding someone who would love you for eternity (assuming vampires are immortal in whatever story you're watching). For the record, I'm Team Edward. This is because Bella is Team Edward and I generally root for the heroines, even if they happen to be as helpless as Bella!
Posted at 7:50 PM, 1 Comments

O Christmas Tree 2009

Happy New Year everyone! Last night I was lounging on the couch, enjoying our beautiful Christmas tree for the last time in 2009, when I realized what a horrible blogger I've been recently. I know this is a realization I have every New Year's Eve, but that doesn't mean I don't want to do better. The holidays are always busy so I don't spend much time in front of my computer, and it's a shame because it's the time of year that there's the most to write about. And now that it's just about over I'm going to do my best to pick up the narration where I left off on December 13th. Until then, here are a couple of new sets of photos that I uploaded yesterday as I celebrated the end of 2009.

Christmas 12/23-12/25/09 from our short trip to Big Bear and opening presents on Christmas morning
Las Vegas 12/27-12/29/09 from our brief restaurant tour after Christmas
Posted at 12:47 PM, 0 Comments

Archives
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
Complete Archives

Friends
Kathe Roper
Dave Berman
Allen Mathis
Jon Taylor
Melissa Flynn