Wednesday, August 19, 2015

So What's Up?

Wow, where has summer gone?!!! The kiddos are starting school next Monday. That means that this is Chris's last week of work at DTI. Cheryl will be cutting back her hours at work too. Oh, speaking of Cheryl... look! She made the Rausch page!

Let's see, what else is happening... A big kitty moved into Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. That is where I do my runs during the week. BUMMER!

We are still getting up insanely early to get in a long run on the weekend with the running group. Wake-up time was 3:30am last Saturday to get out there in time to beat the heat.

And these two are still SO CUTE!

I went to a training class with a triathlon group... YEP, SWIMMING, ME! I actually learned something. By the end of class, I could actually swim across the pool and halfway back freestyle. That's me with the blue towel. I wasn't staying in any longer than I had to, haha!

Jim just got back from a week long camping trip. He's been busy this week working of the items on my "Honey Do List." So far he: repotted the plumeria, changed the toilet seats, picked up paint for the bedroom, and is in process of replacing the smoke alarm (which he says is more complicated than it seems).

Oh, and I had a bit of excitement at work today! I can't even find a souvenir key chain with my name on it, and look what a coworker gave me today.

I hope that you all are having a great week!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Music of the Night

Jim got tickets for the whole family to see Phantom of the Opera at the OC Performing Arts Center.

I thought that "Broadway Musicals" were set in stone... music, score, choreography... but this Phantom of the Opera had a different ending. The old ending was more action packed, but I liked this ending. Anyway, I will say no more since I don't want to leave spoilers on the www.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

PTI Release Week Inspiration

I'm a BIG follower of the PTI release week. They have a super talented design team, and I LOVE looking at their creations. This month PTI is giving us a chance to play along by using one of the DT creations as inspiration.

I fell in love with this creation by Nicole Heady:

I adore the colors and the design, so my card is as direct a lift as I could manage:

Thanks for stopping by.
I hope you have a great day!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

An Evening of Messy Fun!

Thursday night a local artist named, Jacki Long, came to Mission Viejo to teach a portrait collage class. I couldn't resist! I love the cabana art that she created for the community center...

(*picture from

... and the Mission Viejo Library card:

(*picture from )

I met Jacki, seven very nice ladies, and one sweet dog at a night of art and fun:

(*picture from )

I know it looks like I'm by myself, but there were others there. They must have been picking out paint or digging through the huge tub of paper at the time the photo was taken, haha!

Here is my collaged girl. The background is painted, the face is a combination of butcher paper, sewing patterns and yellow tissue paper. The hair is torn tissue and napkins, and I used acrylic paint to finish the face.

If you want to see more art from the night, visit Jacki Long's blog.

I hope that everyone is having a great weekend!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Blessed 4th of July

I had last Friday off, so Jim and I decided to go camping. Since it was too late to get a reservation anywhere, Jim left on Tuesday after the plumber left (we had a leak soaking the carpet in the hall). He found a really nice spot over in Wrightwood.

He picked me up Thursday night and we had a great time hiking the Pacific Coast Trail.

Our campground was right at the top of the Mountain High Ski Resort:

We had a nice evening... A little wine, roasted Starbursts and a gorgeous sunset.

And everything went well until about 2:30am... Jim started having stomach pains. We left for the hospital at about 4am. The Garmin said that closest hospital was an hour away. There had to be one closer! So we stopped at the fire station to ask directions. They were really nice and took Jim vitals, pronounced him stable and gave us the address of a hospital 30 minutes away in Victorville. After Jim was admitted I called the kids to see if they could come get Jena. It was going to be 100F in Victorville, so she couldn't stay in the car. Chris said that he would come; driving 2 hours to Victorville to pickup Jena. Then he took her home AND gave her a bath. Meanwhile, Jim was diagnosed to have a 6mm kidney stone... a BIG one! They were talking about admitting him and possibly surgery. After finding out we were members of Kaiser, they called Kaiser who wanted Jim transferred to one of their hospitals... so they transferred him to IRVINE! Oh, look! Jim's first SELFIE. :oD

When Jim left in an ambulance, 7 hours later... I took the truck back up the mountain to break camp and bring the trailer home. Cheryl and Armand offered to drive up and help me. The road was really rough, so it would have been hard for them to get up to the camp in a car. I told them that I had it covered. When I got back to camp, the family in the site next to us had heard us leave that morning. They came over and asked how Jim was. When I said that I was leaving, they all pitched in and helped me break camp. The dad guided me as I backed the truck up and hooked the trailer to the truck. I did check that the hitch was locked (you'll find out why that was important later). After giving the family a roll of toilet paper (of which they were VERY grateful since all the toilets were out) and waving good-bye, I headed back down the mountain. I drove more than a quarter of a mile before the trailer came unhitched from the truck... on a dirt road... in the middle of nowhere...

My first thought was pick it back up and put it on... nope way too heavy. Second thought, get the car jack... I couldn't find it. I figured that it must be under the camping box, which is too heavy for me to move even if it was empty. So I settled for lowering the stabilizers and trying to lift the trailer up with those. As I was in the process of cranking the stabilizers down, another truck came by. The guy saw what was going on and said, "Wow, that's a bummer... Do you want help?" YES, PLEASE!!! He had something called a "Farm Jack" in the back of his truck. I didn't know what that was, but it worked to jack up the trailer. Then I backed up the truck and he reattached it. He made sure that it wouldn't come off.

The rest of the drive was uneventful, but slow... it takes a long time to get anywhere at 55mph. There was no traffic, thankfully, and I got home around 430pm. No one was home, so I unloaded the trailer. Just as I finished, Chris drove up with Jim... the Kaiser hospital sent him home! During the ambulance ride, the kidney stone had made its way to the bladder. They gave him some meds and sent him on his way.

So all's well that ends well. The post in front of the trailer will need some repair, but Jim is fine. Chris really came through by getting up early to pick-up Jena, cleaning her up, and then going to pick-up Jim. Cheryl and Armand were so sweet to offer to drive all the way up to Wrightwood to help me. I have such a GREAT family! And I'm so thankful for the kindness of strangers... the family with two teenage boys in the campsite next to us, and a man driving by on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. So, even though I can't say it was a HAPPY 4th of July... was definitely a BLESSED one!

I hope that everyone had a safe and wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Malibu Creek State Park

I haven't posted anything for a while, so how about some running pictures... Here we are at Malibu Creek State Park last weekend, also known as BullDog.

It was supposed to get up in the 90F's that day, so we wanted to get an early start. A 6:30am start at BullDog means that we get up at 3:30am. It was really nice there in the early morning:

They filmed MASH there, and there are still some movie props left in the park:

So on this run there's Steve... a veteran ultra marathoner. He's run several 50 mile and 100 mile races; and he's giving Cheryl pointers for her first 50 mile race.

And Cheryl has a new friend, named Armand. Aren't they cute as can be :oD

And why do they call this BullDog? Well, supposedly this rock is supposed to look like a bulldog. I don't see it, do you?

Cheryl and Armand, as they say, are eating hills for breakfast!

Have a GREAT 4th of July, everyone!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Floating Islands

My friend, Mary, asked more about the floating islands. It was a fascinating place... definitely one of the highlights of the trip!

We arrived at the islands to be greeted by the Uros family living there. First stepping on the island I couldn’t believe how much you sunk into it and that it actually moves when people walk around.

It's hard to see the map, but one side of the lake is Peru and the other side of the lake is Bolivia. The Uros live on the Peruvian side of the lake.

The lake is full of reeds.

When there is a storm, the reeds get uprooted and float off. The Uros get in their boats and cut the floating reeds up into manageable sizes and drag them back. Here is a mini example of what an uprooted reed block looks like:

They tie all the reed blocks together and anchor them to the bottom of the lake.

Then they cover the island with cut reeds, criss-crossing them to make a thick base:

Then they bring in their houses...

And this is the whole happy family, living on the new island...

The people here also eat the reeds and make their houses out of reeds:

Here is what it looks like inside a typical house:

The entire family... in this case three people, all sleep in the same bed. And yes! That is a TV in the corner! Using money from tourism, they were able to buy a solar generator. Their favorite shows are soap operas :oD

They get insulted if you try to offer them money. Instead, they sell handicrafts to the tourists. Here is an example of their crafts:

The islands don't last forever, they need to add more reeds to the top of the island every 15 days. And they need to make a new island every 30 years or so.

They make their boats out of reeds too...

Here is us riding on the top level of the boat with a view of the island behind us. It's pretty rocky up there, haha!

A little more about the Uros... They dress like this every day:

The women wear pom-poms at the end of their braids. The color and size of the pom-poms indicate whether the woman is married, single, married but looking, or single but living with someone. So there is never any confusion:

Here is another island where we ended our reed boat ride. This island is more populated than the one we just left:

And you think that it looks like a beautiful day? Well, beautiful maybe... but COLD!!! 37F when we left the hotel this morning! There was still frost on the island when we arrived. The Uros are a tough people. They don't have heat and they don't even wear shoes.

Well, that's about it for the Uros and the floating islands. This along with the Amazon and Machu Picchu was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.