Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Off to St. Louis, MO!

So I'm boarding a plan this morning headed for St. Louis, MO! I'll be attending the National Career Development Association conference until Friday, and then David is flying out to join me and we'll be spending July 4th weekend with his brother down in Branson. We plan to take a ride up the Arch, and I might even go to a Giants/Cardinals game at Busch stadium while I'm there. I'm excited to see a new part of the country and "professionally develop" myself. : )

Monday, June 29, 2009

Shopping for baby Zoey

So I was shopping at Kohl's last weekend, and I finally broke down and bought my first set of baby clothes for Zoey! They had a great sale going on, so I bought her one set that she can wear early on after she's born, and another outfit for when she's 6-9 months that she can wear next summer. Even though I am getting bags of clothes from Leah and a couple of friends, I couldn't resist buying a few cute things for my little daughter! It is so much fun shopping for her - I have a feeling she's going to be one spoiled little girl!

SF Pride 2009

As we do every year, we headed out to the SF Pride celebration yesterday in Civic Center. It was a gorgeous, sunny day spent catching up with old friends, people watching, dancing to some great music, and celebrating equality! : )

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Hello Kitty Castle - Really?!

While I do love Hello Kitty, this is WAY over the top. Check out this Sanrio, Hello Kitty inspired castle in Taiwan. Supposedly guards protect the castle grounds with shimmery Hello Kitty AK-47's!? Wow...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Are you contributing your share?

I subscribe to an interesting Work/Life Balance newsletter, and I particularly enjoyed today's post about the give and take of personal relationships. Sometimes I feel like I give so much to my friendships and relationships, but don't always receive back the amount of attention, care, concern, time, and gratitude that I wish I could. Yes we are all busy and distracted by our personal lives and responsibilities, but some people are so focused on only talking and thinking about themselves and their own needs, that they end up neglecting those around them. So this article resonated with me, reminded me that I still need to GIVE more than I take, and I wanted to share it with all of you. It's a big long, but well worth the read. Enjoy! : )

Reach Out and Touch Someone
Personal relationships are an exchange; a trade. Each person is trading value received for value given. Are you contributing your share?
(Reading time 180 seconds)

One of the joys of personal relationships is that the more you are able to give to the relationship, the more you usually receive in return. There are two essential ways to contribute more to any relationship:

1. Be more Interested IN the other person.
2. Be more Interesting TO the other person.

Let’s talk first about #1: Being more interested IN the other person. Just as you want to share the things that are important to you with your friends and family - others want to do the same with you. And when something little or big makes us happy we want to talk about it. We hope our friends and family want to hear about it and be happy with our joy. Their doing so is essential to us considering them a friend.

As a result, one of the biggest values the other person wants from your relationship…is to know, by your words and actions, that you care about what is important to them - what interests them, motivates them and makes them happy.

When a relationship is good, and certainly when it is great, each person regularly feels and expresses interest, support and a joy for the things that bring the other person happiness. Being tuned-in to those things is central to what caring for someone means. It is also at the heart of how deep love reflects itself.

This is an important lesson I continue to learn.

My wife has always loved to garden. I on the other hand have never liked digging in the dirt and as a result paid little attention to her hobby. About three years ago the deer population near our home grew to the point that not a vegetable or flower could be grown, as the plant would be eaten to a nub before it could develop. For two years my wife stopped gardening. She missed it. This past spring she asked me if I would help her solve the problem. I agreed to install a small solar panel to power an electric fence around a portion of our yard in the hopes of keeping the deer out.

In doing so I took interest and got engaged in her hobby. Fortunately the deer were kept at bay and she has had a wonderful crop: tomatoes, squash, green beans, eggplant, herbs and flowers. I think even she had forgotten how much enjoyment and relaxation her gardening brought her. It clearly makes her happy.

And whether I am picking vegetables with her or just asking about the day’s harvest her renewed pleasure does give me great joy. I am still not digging in the dirt, but I am getting lots of personal satisfaction, smiles as well as delicious fresh vegetables from showing an interest in her gardening passion. My small investment of interest in her hobby continues to pay me back many times over.

But showing deep interest in someone doesn’t require you to put up solar panels or directly share the other person’s hobbies. Just by regularly asking about their interests you let that person know you care about what motivates and is important to them.

I was reminded of this as I viewed the many tributes to Tony Snow and Tim Russert after their deaths within weeks of each other. They were both popular national commentators who seemed very happy in their own lives and able to spread that happiness to others. Whatever they thought of Tony’s or Tim’s political views, individuals of all political stripes talked of how much they valued the relationship with each of them. The common theme was that these men had a keen awareness of the lives and interests of those they knew – from the doorman to the president. And they conveyed that interest. They asked about you, your life, your loved ones – and they really listened for your answer.

So how can you and I do the same and consistently contribute more value to our important relationships? Just let the other person KNOW through your words, observations and attitude that you care about their ambitions, goals, everyday joys and well being.

But you have to tell them. Caring deeply for someone’s happiness delivers little value unless expressed in words and actions. Your silence will not inform them. You might think, “We’ve been friends long enough” or “together long enough”…“that they should know I care.” Not really.

We all have our insecurities. Having the regular reinforcement of a positive tone and interested questions from someone you care for, means much more to the other person than you realize.

So today or tonight pick out someone you care for. When you see them, turn away from the TV or the emails you are answering and intentionally ask about their day, their work, their new car or their “garden” and listen with sincere curiosity.

This usually doesn’t take long. But short or long it shows you care and in most cases they will be pleased or relieved or happy in telling you. Be pleased, relieved or happy with them. When you do this you will be reinforcing their knowledge and confidence that you really care for them.

In the relationship exchange you will be offering more in trade. By making a small regular effort with your words, observations and attitude you will strengthen and deepen your value to the other person. This investment in them will almost always provide you with a very generous return - a more committed friend, respectful business associate or loving personal partnership.

Start today. Reach out and touch someone with meaningful focus and interested questions. Pay full attention when they talk. Add more to your life, by being more interested IN others.

And in an upcoming newsletter, we’ll explore some easy tips on being more interesting TO others.


Jim Bird

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tim Burton remakes Lewis Carrol's "Alice in Wonderland"!

Just discovered that coming next March 2010, Tim Burton's in-progress remake of "Alice in Wonderland" will hit theaters, starring my secret boyfriend Johnny Depp! : ) Looks quite intriguing, mysterious, dark and very "Burton-like". I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My accompanist....

Aimee loves it when I practice my guitar, and I think she would join in with me if she had a little kitty instrument of her own. : )

Monday, June 22, 2009

The new cat throne...

Last weekend we scored an awesome Ikea storage ottoman off of Craigslist for just $25! And once we got it home, what was the very first thing the cats did? Sniff it like crazy, and then begin the battle for control of the ottoman throne! Even though 3 cats could very comfortably sleep on the "throne" with plenty of room to spare, there is NO WAY our cats are going to share (except for our sisters Molly & Aimee). If one cat is sitting on the ottoman, elegantly bathing and lounging with a powerful, snotty look in their eye, the battles ensue just about every time another cat tries to jump up to join them. No way! Paws begin to bat and fly, followed by grows and hisses - it is too funny! So far Molly & Aimee seem to have taken control.... : )

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Family makes me happy : )

Saturday we made the trek down to Hollister, CA for my cousin Kim's wedding reception. Kim and her husband Eric got married in Maui last month, and decided to hold a casual Luau-style reception back here to celebrate with family and friends. We ate lots of yummy Hawaiian food, caught up with many of my relatives (my dad's side of the family is getting large - approx 50 people!), had cake, and enjoyed the sunshine.
I forgot to take pics, but I did get one good shot of my parents and I. I love my family!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Three Amigos....

Aimee, Misty, and Petey the Gnome. : )

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Learning to play the guitar!

Yep, that's right - I've just started a 6-week guitar class at Alameda Music School and feeling so excited about this new creative challenge I'm embarking upon! I've always wanted to learn how to play, and I actually ended up buying a guitar about 4 years ago as a Christmas gift for myself - a basic but quality classic Fender, a nice starter guitar. At that time I thought I would just teach myself to play, but that didn't pan out as I got frustrated with the do-it-yourself DVD and lost motivation. So lonely and dusty my guitar has sat under my bed in its case for many years....until this past Tuesday that is. I enrolled in this class not only because I'm craving a new creative outlet in my life, but I have a dream of being able to play guitar and sing to my children some day....and now that I'm pregnant I figure now's the time to learn!

My first class was quite fun, although it's made up of mostly teenagers, one of the boy's mothers, and myself. Should be interesting! We received a good intro to the mechanics of holding and playing our guitars, the numbering and lettering of the string, frets, and playing fingers, and even started learning some basic chords. We all received a lesson book that includes a cheat sheet for tuning, a couple pages with all the chords we'll be learning, a lesson overview for each week, and a number of fun songs we'll get to learn durging the class. And our first song is.....Yellow Submarine by the Beatles! I know my mom will love that one. : )

So I spent about 30 minutes practicing tonight and I've made such great progress already! By far the most challenging part for me is smoothly transitioning between chords without a pause or causing the strings to buzz. But considering this is my first week, I'm happy with what I've learned so far. Now I just have to be a good student and practice everyday. Wish me luck! Hopefully by the time our little Zoey is born I'll be able to play her some lullabies and fun, entertaining childrens songs. That's my motivation! : )

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Zoey Ruth

So our doctor informed us that 85% certainty is about the highest rate they can give for sex determination from an ultrasound, so we should feel confident that she's actually a "she". So since we know we're having a girl, we have decided to name her Zoey Ruth! David and I both love the name Zoey, which is of Greek origin and means "life", and both of our grandmothers are named Ruth so we felt that would be a nice way to honor them. : )

Little Zoey is quite the active girl already - tumbling and kicking around in my belly on a regular basis now. It is amazing to me how much I already love her, and she's just a small little fetus in my belly! I can't wait to be Zoey's mom. : )

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's a Girl! (Well....most likely...)

So the verdict is......Pink! Based on our appt today, we're 85% sure we're having a little girl! But our silly baby had its legs crossed almost the whole ultrasound, lol. But fortunately the tech got one good "money shot, so he was pretty sure. And everything looks healthy and normal - we're so excited! : )

Today is the day!!

In about 8 hours we'll know if we're having a BOY for a GIRL!!! I can't wait...I hope the work day goes by quickly! My ultrasound appt. is at 3:30pm, and I'll definitely make a post later this evening once we know!

PINK....or BLUE?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Giants Sweep the A's! : )

We had a wonderful sunny day today out at the Giants/A's game with our friends. We tailgated, ate a delicious ballpark hot dog, got some SF summer sunshine, and saw an inside-the-park home run! And also got a dose of baby cuteness thanks to little Jake! : )

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Annual Alameda Sand Castle Contest!

On Saturday we took a walk down to Alameda Beach/Crab Cove to check out the creative entries in the Annual Alameda Sand Castle Contest - so cool! I was pretty impressed with some of the interesting sculptures and creations, and it was fun to be out-and-about enjoying the warm summer weekend with our fellow Alamedans. I think my favorites were the hippo, the dolphin, and the snake. Fun afternoon!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Decorating the baby's nursery

Now that we've rearranged our furniture and cleared out our 2nd bedroom, we can now start to plan for the baby's nursery. And one of the most enjoyable parts of this process is choosing the theme, the colors scheme, the decor and furniture, etc. Even though we get to find out the sex of our baby on Tuesday, I prefer to avoid a straight pink or blue theme, and go with something more gender neutral, i.e. yellows and greens.

While browsing through some of the baby magazines and catalogs I've received in the mail, I fell in LOVE with this rain forest inspired nursery theme and bedding set called "Papagayo" from the company Lambs & Ivy. I've always loved monkeys and frogs, and this set is just so cute that I immediately knew it was the one. We plan to purchase it from Ebay sometime next month once we get the crib all setup and ready. Exciting stuff! I can just imagine my little one waking up and gazing at the little animals around her/his crib and in the mobile, cooing in wonder and curiosity. : )

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Dentist.... : (

I have an appointment at the dentist this morning, and I am NOT happy. Normally I don't mind going in for my routine cleaning appointments, but this trip is to replace two old fillings that I've had for over 11 years, and to also take care of a small cavity that's developing between two of my teeth. What makes this frustrating is that I take VERY good care of my teeth - I brush twice daily and floss every morning and have done so for years. But my dentist says that even with the best preventitive care, some people are just more susceptible to developing cavities.....great.

I had a similar procedure done on the the left half of my mouth back in March, and it was literally a traumatizing experience. I started to feel the drill half way into the process, and they had to give me another shot to numb the area, which caused me to lack feeling in the entire side of my face for over 4 hours. I was there for 2 full hours, and finally when it was done I came home and balled my eyes out - luckily David was home to console me. In retrospect I was actually pregnant at the time but didn't know it yet, which probably contributed to my emotionality that day. But still, it was NOT fun and that experience has made me terrified of having to go back today.

So please send me your pain free, positive well wishes please! Hopefully it's a quick and painless experience this time, and I can move on and be done with the dentist for quite awhile!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bird attacks in Downtown San Francisco!

I saw this segment on the KTVU news this morning and it totally made me laugh. Supposedly there is a crazy, territorial blackbird residing in Downtown San Francisco that's been dive-bombing people on the sidewalk! They assume the bird is protecting a nearby nest, and is obviously quite skeptical of the unsuspecting pedestrians passing by. Watch out for crazy birds! : )

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Tonight I made a new, delicious recipe that I found from the Hungry Girl website - a healthy version of Chicken Cordon Bleu, along with green beans and scalloped potatoes. It was quite tasty, and our tummies were very happy! Given how easy and delicious it was, this recipe will definitely be added into the "rotation." : )

Monday, June 8, 2009

Comparing baby to fruits and veggies?! is one of my favorite pregnancy information sites, and I peruse it regularly for advice, guidance, FAQ's, and the message boards. The other day I found this humorous slide show, called Poppy Seed to Pumpkin, that compares the size of the baby each week to that of a relevant size fruit or vegetable - quite amusing! According to their estimates, this week my baby is about the size of a large heirloom tomato....interesting. : )

Sunday, June 7, 2009

19 Weeks!

Happy Sunday - thought I'd provide a pregnancy update for y'all this morning. It feels like my belly is growing by the day at this point, and I've been feeling the baby move around so much! It is such an awesome feeling - like a squirmy little fish flopping around in my belly and flicking itself against the wall of my uterus. I still can't believe that next week I'll hit the half-way mark - wow time sure flies! It's been 3 months already since I got the positive pregnancy test, and I'm 19 weeks along today. Now we're just trying to wait patiently for our big ultrasound on Tue June 16th when we get to find out the sex of our baby. Stay tuned! : )

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Too cute for words!

A friend of mine posted this pic on Facebook and it just about melted my heart!! This little kitten reminds me of my little Aimee - look at that spotted pot belly....adorable! : )