#68 Mermaid Dreams

Ok, so I’m not going to sit here and say that the mermaid obsession is an “all Natalie” thing.  It started with her being curious about one she saw in a store, followed by Disney influences, then her halloween costume and when we were in Hawaii, she managed to weasel her way into owning 5 handmade cotton mermaid dolls, which at that point is when I think I took the obsession over.  I loved the mermaids she got in Hawaii, they are beautiful.

Seeing as when we moved to Half Moon Bay I let her Japanese-Cherry-Blossom Nursery theme fade away, I began thinking about what I would change her room into if her & I were to redecorate.  Mermaids seemed like a natural fit, not to mention I like the hard-to-find and more original design themes.

I also love mural painting, tho I do not claim to be professional in any sort.  I painted a lot of murals in the house I lived in in college, and seeing as this new house had a lot of blank white walls, it was only a matter of time before ONE of the walls got marked up by me.  I figured Natalie’s room would be most appropriate this time around, so #68 (Paint a mural on Natalie’s bedroom wall) made the list.

Does anyone find it amusing that Blake’s only request (and criticism) was that she be more anatomically incorrect? I guess I should have known that drawing a half naked woman on Natalie’s wall would illicit inappropriate commentary….

I’m not convinced I like her face.  It might be better off if I draw her with eyes closed.  But I like that I can add to this mural over time, if I wanted.  This took about a week, with an hour or so dedicated to it each evening.  I also bedazzled her with stick on jewels, for fun.  Natalie loves it so I am satisfied…. for now…. 🙂


#96- Welcome Home!

Without going in to my feelings about the war, or any combat abroad that our government sends our soldiers to do…. I will say that the news of any soldier making it home safely is something that always thrilled me.  I’d see news reports on TV and can’t help but get a little teary-eyed.

Some things I wish I were more passionate about.  Like supporting our troops.  I mean, I wish I took the time to participate in letter writing or sending packages and welcoming home soldiers when they arrive in SF or Sac. So, #96 on my list came to be when I saw a news report of a more recent homecoming. Last week, I read that San Mateo was welcoming home Soldiers since the Vietnam War, and this year was the 40th anniversary of this tradition, with a parade and all for the 101st Airborne Division. These troops just got home from Afghanistan, some going back in the Fall.

Natalie & I went to work painting some posters and I even went as far as to set my alarm (something I haven’t done in quite some time).  We parked ourselves down on Ellsworth Avenue in San Mateo this morning at 10:30 am and though I was still sleepy, it was invigorating and touching to see these soldiers march in a parade the city organized just for them.  We held our signs, cheered, clapped and lots of photographers thought Natalie’s poster was good enough to be a subject.

The Welcome Home Parade was a success, and it was great that the riffraff parade entries were kept at a minimum- I’d say probably 75% of the floats/cars/entries were all Veterans/Military related.


#23- My longest lasting friends

Minus siblings and cousins, if you asked me who my longest, most endearing friends are it would be Gina & Jessica. I met Gina in Kindergarten because we started the same Daisy Scout Troop together, and shortly after I was introduced to Jessica, who was her BFF from an even earlier time period.  The three of us attended Sunday School together, went to church camp together, and basically did the whole birthday party-slumber party- weekend playdate circuit for years. I wish I had better pictures, but the 80’s were a dark time for me…. meaning, no one knew how to work a flash on the camera and thankfully so as my mother thought a mullet on her 6 year old girl was perfectly acceptable.

Circa 1995, before teen angst set in…

Now, Gina has a family the size of a small country so over more recent years that has consumed most of her adult life and I don’t get jealous much.  I know we’re forever friends and she’ll do my hair if I call her receptionist and make an appointment.  Jess, on the other hand, is somewhat a nomad in my opinion and tracking her down has always been a yearly adventure for me (hence being my #23).  In High School, she lived down in L.A.  In early college she was back up here and we spent several weekends getting in to trouble together.  Then after that she moved back down South and while we chatted often, I saw her only once in this time period- and I was 7 months pregnant on a road trip to SD.

Quite clearly, I was the most innocent of the bunch….circa 2003



That was the last time I saw her until this past weekend. And here I am again, pregnant.  Jess, we’ve got to stop meeting like this. At least this time around she is living in Vacaville.

Me & my fat face, and Jess, minus her face.

We made the mistake of planning on Brunch on a day that was also Mother’s Day.  Mistake because, ummmm…. it is LITERALLY the day that everybody and their MOTHER are out at restaurants.

Regardless, it was a very nice visit. It’s always nice catching up with Jessica because she’s one of those true friends who can and will say anything, and doesn’t care if you do the same.  I think that as much as we tend to think all our girlfriends are those kind of girlfriends, that’s probably not the case.

I love you Jess, please don’t kill me for posting this photo…. I know we both look pretty awful 😉

#44- One thing I didn’t do….

#44 on my list was to enter my rubber ducky in the Huntington Beach Duck-A-Thon.

It really served no purpose on my list, and seeing as Obamacare is now mandated by the Supreme Court (Is that legal?) it might be a tradition that all together fades away in its purpose.  This is because the Fundraiser benefits AltaMed’s Huntington Beach Community Clinic, serving poor and uninsured.

I put it on my list because, I was quite obviously searching for something interesting and cheap and in California that seemed fun enough.  I guess technically, I could have still “purchased” a Duck to enter since I didn’t HAVE to be there in order for my duck to win.  But that wasn’t what I had in mind when I put it on my list.  I envisioned attending the large community event and watching the Duckies get dumped into the ocean off the pier anyway. Apparently, whose ever ducky is the first to make it back to shore wins the grand prize, and it’s quite a site to see so many Duckies floating in the water.  Like a sea of yellow or something.

But then Tori had a baby shower, Sophia celebrated her first birthday, Shannon was graduating from Sac State and I had a evening concert to tend to with a girlfriend.  All on the same day of this Duck-A-Thon.  So, really I knew where my priorities are…..  you’re welcome.

#90- Spectating the AMGEN

As I began writing this, I realized I had no idea what AMGEN stood for, if it needed to be in all caps or what.  I assumed it was American something. I also assumed it was a crucial part of the name of the race.  All of which, I Discovered, was incorrect. So here’s some trivia for you:

Amgen, is the sponsoring company of the Tour of California (or, as we fancy people like to call it, “Tour de California”). It’s a biotech company in Thousand Oaks and the name ACTUALLY stands for Applied Molecular Genetics. So, it’s AMGen. But, like the Raiders, it doesn’t matter if it’s LA or Oakland, it’s just the Raiders…. right? Same with Tour de California. These past years it’s AMGen sponsoring, who knows… maybe next year it will be the Gatorade Tour de California.

Moving on. A few years ago I called up my mother, who happened to be hanging out in Davis at the very moment the Tour was doing a few loops through downtown.  Those of you who know my mother know how easily excited she gets so while on the phone she began gushing about how very fun and cool and spectacular the whole thing was.  Quick to dismiss her as I typically am, I later was on the phone with Blake who ALSO happened to be there cause his Paramedic work made him hang out for the day in Davis and he said it was cool as well. So of course, I became jealous.

Now, I’m not sure if cycling around California is a recent phenomenon, like running through mud is, but having lived for the past several years in Folsom and fighting cyclists for parts of the running trail or back roads and then having moved to the Coast to find I’m fighting for the EXACT SAME THING on our own back country road everyday, it made me think that maybe there is something to this cycling stuff. So, I put #90 on my list.

I learned that this would be a relatively easy task at hand- Shortly after putting it on my list I found out that the Tour would be passing right through Half Moon Bay on Highway One.  PERFECT!  When I got to my chosen viewing point, there was a certain buzz in the air. Turned out to be a small airplane pulling an advertisement banner.  People were all gathered up on street corners, a few elementary classes were out with their signs and bells, and cops on motorcycles were passing by in clusters every few seconds.  Anticipation!

I thought this comparable to a marathon… there’d be the front runners, the middle pack and some stragglers.  Ehhhhhhhhhhh……. no.  There was a front pack of about …6? Cyclists who were 2 minutes ahead of everyone else.  And Everyone else, while amazing to see, came to pass by in a total of 8 seconds. Followed by all their Team cars, a few cops and ambulances.

And that was it.  I probably waited for close to an hour to see about 3 minutes of excitement.

But I was warned that this would likely be the case.  Actually watching the news the night before I realized maybe I was doing this wrong-  The Tour Started in Santa Rosa, where there was an entire festival and the Cyclists did several loops around THAT town before heading off to start the Race.  That’s probably where I should have been if I wanted to get in on all the excitement.  But, that’s ok.  I’m really not a big enough fan (yet) to make that kind of effort. But maybe if I’m lucky HMB will host the start one of these years….

#62- the GRE

I took the GRE today.  Definitely a few years late, and an official regret that I didn’t take it sooner.  Because it turns out, everything you need to know to pass the GRE, get high scores and be considered for a Doctorate program-  you learn your junior year of high school.  I managed to avoid taking it to get in to my Master’s program, but if I am serious about applying for a Doctorate program (which I am) then I had to take it now. Hence it being #62 on my list.

Since getting into the room where the GRE is administered has tighter security than a Secret Service Hotel Room in Colombia, I don’t have any pictures of the task at hand- but of course plenty of negative commentary.

The first being, I truly felt a little old fashioned when I sat down in front of a computer screen and immediately longed for the days of my number 2 pencil and scantron form.  I worried that I might click the wrong box (at any given moment you can click on 12 different links, half of them being the option to end the test or kill yourself now), exit the entire program, void an answer, jump ahead too soon, and what if I want to go back and change an answer later? Or come back to a question I was hesitant on? Part of my strategy for any test was to look for clues for the right answer somewhere else in the booklet.  Now that can’t happen.

Second, the GRE it seems, is not a test of memorization recall so much as it seems to be a test of mental endurance.  Sure, I might be able to figure out the answer to something, but after three hours of sitting in a chair, with my eyes burning from staring at a screen and having a fetus attached to my abdomen thinking now is a good time to elbow me in the ribs, I don’t want to figure out the answer anymore.  I began weighing the probability of choosing correct answers rather than really breaking it down into manageable parts to find the correct answer.

Third, ….why?  why?? why Mr. Garrett must I learn the linear curve of 2x ²-(3x*52)= y-1 and figure out where (or IF!) the line crosses the axis???  “Because Ms. Minnema, there will come a day in your adulthood where you will find yourself taking a GRE in hopes to pursue your dreams and this question will be on the test, and will likely make or break you.”  My math teacher haunted me for half this test, I could hear his voice.  Similar to the same way I can still hear my running coach yelling at me as plug away at a marathon.

I am indifferent to test taking. I never study and the one time I actually did, for the National Counselor’s Exam, memorization of 500 flashcards with all relevant and irrelevant facts did not come to help me on a single question.  So, I did do a little review and practice test taking but I think it’s all baloney regardless.  I’m really banking on the idea that any forward-thinking, liberal professor reviewing my plea to get in to their program will feel the same way.

#71- Opening Day at the HMB Farmer’s Market!

Farmer’s Markets are lots of fun in my opinion.  I recently heard somewhere that the Davis Farmer’s Market is ranked number one in the country, which doesn’t surprise me.  Davis was my first exposure to a farmer’s market, many many many years ago.  I even coordinated a weekend field trip with my preschoolers to this Market, as I knew it would be an amazing time.

Half Moon Bay has a Farmer’s Market as well, and for various reasons I never got around to shopping it last year when we moved to the Coastside.  I felt so busy trying to keep up with everything else on the weekends that there was rarely a Saturday morning I had free to check it out.  Which is why it made #71 on my list. I marked on my calendar it’s opening day- May 5th and scheduled to even meet up with my friend Jamie there, as she would be in town visiting.

I’m really glad we went!  Really bummed I forgot my camera (hence iphone photos) but super excited to find Markegard Family Grass Fed products there.  After reading the Omnivore’s Dilemma, I had been meaning to do more research into finding local, sustainable, grass fed cows/ pigs/ chickens/ etc. and this family is it!  Only 10 minutes away from us, I feel like I hit the jackpot!

We’ll be back for sure, there is lots to do in addition to the food and it’s right in the center of town.  Makes for a perfect start to a weekend, strolling the farmer’s market before heading to the local coffee shop or beach for a sunny day.