Wednesday, March 20, 2013

July 2012

Note: to save time, in this post I've linked to several articles I've written for TheTalkingBox. 

Jonathan and I spent a week in Southern California. We drove to Los Angeles on a Monday and hung out with a HS friend. The next morning we went to a taping of The Price is Right (which will air June 25th after two delays from the original schedule), which was a lot of fun! I'd totally recommend it! You can read about the experience in full here.

After The Price is Right, we went to a taping of The Tonight Show, which wasn't as exciting as it could have been. I'd skip it next time. For the full experience, read here. I'll share the picture we bought, though! (It looks better in real life!)
After that, we drove to San Marcos, a cute little city, for the night. On Wednesday, it was onward to San Diego! We've both been numerous times before, but this was our second trip together. We were there for the specific purpose of attending Comic-Con, which I wrote about extensively for TheTalkingBox, and links to each article can be found here. Here's a photo of each of us, though, taken near the Batmobiles. We're wearing Gandalf hats. JB is sporting a Def-Con shirt (a hacking thing) and I'm wearing a Packrat shirt (an online game). My Danica Patrick nametag is a joke from The Neighbors television show.

Also in July, we finally got a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in our area, about 15 minutes away. We went a few days after it opened and a few more times in the following weeks, introducing various friends to the delicious chicken they have.

We really enjoyed watching the Olympics and even altered our daily lives to be able to watch many events live, which was really exciting.

We went to Psycho Donuts with our friends, Jim and Diana, which is a great little shoppe. We went to the Campbell location, although there's also one in San Jose. Here's a picture of my s'mores donut. 

We also went to the Gilroy Garlic Festival, which is overpriced for what it is, but really pretty neat. You can get just about anything with garlic, including garlic ice cream, garlic popcorn, garlic crab fries, and just about anything else you can think of! There are fair rides and a lot of children's activities, plus some musicians and other entertainment acts. I really liked the variety of crafts vendors, and we picked up a couple of gifts for people, including a really neat bread knife for Jonathan's mother. We'd go again, but we'd probably seek out some discount coupons or something that gave more money off than just buying online!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

June 2012

With our ten-year high school reunion on the horizon, I went to Florida the week before so that I'd have time to get some last-minute details accomplished, as well as meet up with my summer camp friends for a three-day weekend. I'm sorry to say that I only took one photo all weekend, and it was of my friend's new baby, so no great images to share.

The reunion was not without its problems, but on the whole it was successful. I was pretty stressed out by the end of the weekend, but luckily everyone close to me tried their best to keep me sane. :)  That said, here's a picture of me with my two best friends from HS, Tori and Jessica.
Also while I was in Florida I was finally able to try one of those places where you learn to paint a picture in just a couple of hours. I struggled quite a bit, but here's my tiger and the instructor's... you can guess who did which!
When I returned to California I started back on my quest to make more friends here. I went to a lovely lunch that was organized on meetup.com (my second with that group), but the group ended up disbanding shortly thereafter. Some of the girls joined another group, which I went to once, but it just wasn't for me. BUT, the important thing was that I had a fabulous lunch at Jubba in San Jose (African food, with an emphasis on Somali cuisine, I believe). I can't wait to eat there again!
We also went to the annual Greek Festival in San Jose, which we went to once in the past. It was still amazing and much better than the one in St. Lucie County, but it doesn't compare to the one we went to in New Orleans in 2006! Here's a picture of some items inside the sanctuary of the church.
Jonathan never ceases to be lucky when it comes to winning things... I was really excited about buying tickets to see the Olympic Gymnastics Trials here in San Jose, but he ended up winning a pair at work so we were able to sit in a skybox to see the first day of the Men's Events. It was unbelievably exciting! Because we were so far away, it was difficult to get good photos, but, trust me, it was really special to be in the audience to cheer on athletes who would compete for our country just a couple of months later!

Monday, March 18, 2013

May 2012

In May we celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary in Yosemite with Jonathan's parents. We saw a bunch of different areas of the park, some repeats from last year (here and here) and some new. Jonathan and his dad both had a good time photographing various sights (we even went out to try some long-exposure night shots!), and below you can see a picture I took of them trying to get great photos of a waterfall!



Another thing we did while his parents were visiting was attend the annual Sunnyvale Downtown Wine & Food Stroll, which we all enjoyed. We also went to a street fair in downtown Campbell, which is an area I don't get to much but always like. We went to Maker Faire for the second time. While it was still fun, I don't think I'll be making an annual thing out of it. And, up in San Francisco, we rode the cable cars and visited the Cable Car Museum (worth a short trip, although they had some terrible editing errors in the displays).

I also did some video game testing. I can't really say much about it because of non-disclosure agreements, but one of the games I played is now available for purchase, so it's kinda cool to see that I might have made a difference somewhere.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

April 2012

I'm going to try to catch up on the past 11 months and get this going again. obviously, I've forgotten a lot of what we've done, but something is better than nothing! 

First, a quick run-down on the last weekend of March (which I forgot about earlier)... Jim and Diana stayed the night at our place on a Friday so that we could all go to Great America the next day - Lockheed had rented it out again for Employee Day. Unfortunately, it rained the ENTIRE day. We originally planned to get there at 10am, but, because of the rain, we went out to breakfast first. The rain only got worse, so we decided to do something else instead. And we hit a ton of failing options. First, we drove to the closest bowling alley from where we ate... only it was going to be FIFTY-SIX DOLLARS for the four of us to bowl ONE GAME. And this wasn't even laser bowling or anything... just plain 11am bowling! We walked right out and across the street to go ice skating instead. Sadly, open-skate didn't start until 2pm, due to lessons that morning. So, we went to the other end of the mall to look at movie times. Except, our friends had to catch a 2pm train back to the city and there weren't any movies starting in time for us to see. So, we walked the mall for a bit... nothing too exciting. We considered playing remote-control cars, but it was like $1/min/person and there was a wait. Jonathan and I kept thinking that the rain would let up and we would head to the park (it's the one only ten minutes from the house), but it never stopped for more than 20-30 minutes, so it would have been a disaster.

Now, on to April! You may or may not know that we have a Major League Soccer team right around the corner - the San Jose Earthquakes. Now, I'd seen a national game before, but I still don't know a lot about soccer. Still, it was fun to go! We got our tickets through a Living Social deal (love those!) and found parking without too much of a problem. (It probably helped that the game was at a local University.) Our seats weren't the best, but they were fine for the casual fan. I actually thought that halftime was really neat - they had some martial arts demonstrations and even a lion dance! 
 
We had our annual Easter dinner, though it was just the two of us for the second year in a row. I made a ham with a cherry glaze. We're not sure what it was, but we both agreed that it was one of the best hams we've had in our lives, so that was fun. I also tried my hand at making mashed potatoes from scratch for the first time... it wasn't THAT much more work, but the result wasn't that much different, either. I was more excited about making green bean casserole (not normal Easter fare, but we both missed having it at Christmas), which I also made from scratch. I liked it a little more than Jonathan, and I definitely learned some tweaks for the future... for instance, I'd halve the cheese, cut the beans (I steamed fresh ones for the recipe rather than use canned), and add mushrooms (I didn't use canned soup, either... I made the sauce with butter, flour, sour cream, etc). I rounded out the meal with fresh rolls and red velvet cookies... the rolls turned out too heavy (they didn't rise too much the second time, so I think that was the problem) and the cookies were a bit dry (or, perhaps, red velvet is just better as cake!). Honestly, I was most proud of the fact that I pulled off a 2pm lunch after getting home from church and taking some Easter pictures, LoL!

We celebrated our 12th anniversary as a couple at our favorite Mediterranean restaurant again, with us both ordering our favorite dishes. Then, we planned to spend the weekend camping at Pinnacles National Monument, about 90 minutes away. Unfortunately, they ended up being full when we arrived at 11am (they have walk-up tent sites), so we just spent a day there instead. It was still pretty neat to explore the Talus Caves (we'll save the Balconies Caves for another day!), see the reservoir, and hike a few trails. The high was around 60, so it wasn't too cold... the low was in the 30s, though, so maybe it was a good thing that they didn't have any sites left! On our way home we stopped for BBQ in Hollister - not the best, and the sauce was a little vinegary for our liking, but give Maverick's a try if you're there!