This week has been pretty quiet, Bill’s mom came down for a couple of days. She gets her hair cut from our friend Trish, who also cuts my hair and Bill’s hair. It’s been busy at work. I’m working on creating puppy toys for one customer and continuing revisions on Harry Potter products. It’s been frustrating dealing with the upper ranks of the Harry Potter world. They keep creating and changing the rules as we work… which causes us to go back and make time-wasting and senseless revisions. I commend their ambition to get a theme park open within only a couple of years, but they really should have decided what the heck they wanted as far as merchandise BEFORE we spent a couple of months creating it. Something as simple as deciding on a color scheme… When a website was created for us to download licensed art, we went with the PMS colors that had been used in the art. Then, a few weeks later, the finally decided on the licensed PMS colors. So, we had to go back and revise the hundreds of products we’d composed. Then, a month later, they created rules to go along with those colors… and we had to revise… again. It’s been frustrating and very inefficient.

While the Bay Area is experiencing recordtemps, we’re having very mild weather in the 70s and 80s withoccasional overcast skies. It’s been noticably humid and was pretty foggy on Sunday and Monday.Monday evening Bill and I tried out a new restaurant. It’s not actuallynew, it’s been open since the 1960s, but it’s new for us. Jongewaard’s Bake & Broil is in the Bixby Knollsneighborhood of Long Beach. It’s kind of a yuppified, affluent,surburban neighborhood with a long stretch of road that caters well tofamily run businesses and restaurants. It’s one of those neighborhoodswhere the grass seems greener, the buildings seem cleaner, and the sunseems to shine brighter when you’re there. I can’t think of any otherway to describe it. The Bake & Broil was a very comfortablerestaurant with homey southern decor; beadboard wainscoting everywhereand the walls decorated with plates and pitchers from the 1960s. Billand I both had items from the specials board: I had baked spagetti,Bill had the Chicken Fried Steak.

My spagetti was delicious. The pasta was obviously not al dente,but it was cooked in a way that reminded me of school lunches… butnot in a bad way. The meat sauce was delicious with large chunks of tomatoes. Mmmm.

Bill’s chicken fried steak was delicious too. The steak actually tasted like steak instead of some mystery meat.

I also liked that our meals were pretty normal-sized portions, not gigantic. Our dinners came with homemade soup or salad (with homemade crutons), bread and ice cream fordessert… and was just about $20 total for both of us. We’ve learned this restaurant is well knownfor it’s baked items, specifically cakes and pies. We were both toofull to give them a try. But, we’ll definately be back. It’sessentially a diner, with diner food and diner prices, but betterlooking. Definately recommended if you’re ever in the neighborhood.

This afternoon we’ll begin the large task of landscaping our yard. After a few phone calls to local landscaping companies, we’ve learned that it’ll costs us approximately $400 to $500 to hire someone to come in a haul away the top three inches of soil from our front lawn. It’s about 200 square feet… I don’t know how many cubic yards of dirt that is, but it was way more than we wanted to spend. We would rather spend the money on something else.. like tile for the front porch or a new patio or an Xbox360. So, we did some brainstorming and decided on a plan.

We’ve tilled the front yard and raked up as much dead leaves and weeds as we can. Then, this weekend, we’ll build a raised planter box in one corner of our backyard. Then with shovels and a few garbage cans, we’ll haul dirt from the front yard to the back and fill the planter box. We don’t have a wheel barrow, plus it would be a tight squeeze fitting it through the side gate. The garbage cans hold more dirt and are eay to wheel back and forth. Ideally, the raised planter box will be safe from creeping Bermuda grass… and if I keep something growing in it all the time, hopefully the neighbor’s cats won’t use it as a litterbox. I’ll take pictures this weekend to document our progress. Hopefully there will actually be some progress to document.

A few additional pictures from Dad and Logan’s birthday party:


Jackie trying one of Logan’s baby food raviolis. They really taste terrible, but Kristen convinced Jackie that they were delicious. Awesome.


Where’s Alex?

For Logan’s birthday, I created a photobook (from Blurb) of photos from Logan’s birth up to a couple of weeks before his birthday. I know Kristen wanted to make one, but she hadn’t been able to find the time. I figured his birthday was as good a time as any. What I wasn’t prepared for was Kristen’s reaction. She’s not someone who cries in front of people, not even James. But when she saw what it was, she immediately lost it. And then I lost it. And everyone started laughing at the two of us.

James hiding Kristen while she composed herself. It was really funny.

If I can remember, I’ll take a couple of photos of the book. Chris, when you’re in town, I’ll try to get Kristen to bring it over so you can check it out. I was really impressed with the quality. With this company, you have the option to have a dust jacket, and they’re significantly cheaper than the other sites out there.

Sometimes, you just feel like dancing…

Putting toys away.

Trying to take the camera away.

We tried and tried to get a picture of Logan and Dad in their matching tshirts. But these were the best we could get. Dad is trying to get him to give a thumbs up.

Time to sing and blow out the candles.

His aim was a little off.

We sang again for Dad, but Logan was a little miffed that this candle wasn’t for him too. I think Dad had Logan help him out.

Once again, we were playing Rock Band. It’s so much fun!

It took a little while to get a hold of the CF card from Michael’s camera, hence the delay. I also have a bunch of photos from when James, Kristen and Logan drove down to spend the weekend with us. I’ll dress them up a bit and post them later.

Have a great weekend!


About wobetxela

Artist, mom, traveler, hiker, babywearer (for as long as they'll let me) and hobbyist photographer.
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2 Responses to

  1. christao408 says:

    Don’t you hate it when customers keep changing their minds?  A bit frustrating, to say the least.  And a good reason to charge hourly for anything you do for customers.
    The idea of moving the top soil with the garbage cans is pretty ingenious.  Please do include pictures of the progress. 

  2. oldpartner says:

    Good luck with your landscaping project. I’m impressed with your solution – garbage cans for a wheelbarrow. 🙂

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