Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Rolling with births

Since that’s my theme this week, I wanted to continue on by showing you the video I made of the birth I photographed in June!! I’m really excited to share it. I absolutely loved shooting this birth and am hungry for my next one..only problem is, I’m out of pregnant friends!

I hadn’t intended to do a video, but after I finished editing, I couldn’t not make it into a video. I’m so glad I did because I love it, but more, the new parents absolutely love it. I think of all the things I’ve dabbled in over the past couple years, births are it for me. I can see a growing passion to photograph births.

So please, enjoy.

Farmer birth from Emily Grapes on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

At 3:02 this morning

in 1981, fireworks were going off. Reporters were lined up around the block. Radios and TV's broadcasted the news….that just hours earlier, Charles and Diana were married.

Oh yeah, and I was born.

I’m pretty sure my birthday will always have the royal wedding mixed in. Especially since my mom really wanted to watch the wedding and prayed I wouldn’t come until after.

Like a good daughter, I listened to you and obeyed.

32. What an odd number.

When Wendy commented to me that she’ll be 32 in August, my first thought was, she’s old. {sorry Wendy} ..but then I realized that that’s my age! I’m 32. How can that be? I feel like I can’t be a 32 year old. I’m not mature enough. So many things about me don’t feel 32.

I can’t explain it, only, I know people who are older than me totally and completely understand what I’m saying, because they feel it too..and for longer. Something I couldn’t comprehend in my 20’s.

Just last night I laughed out loud over someone admitting to peeing in a pool..on Instagram. And shocked awake a friend who wanted to stay up till 12 with an inappropriate “prison story”.

You think of how a 32 year old should act. You think by this age, they generally are settled down, with a kid or two, full of responsibilities and then you look at me and its laughable. In mostly the good way.

I get to spend my birthday with my mom, who’s going to make me these for my birthday dinner and I can’t wait. She’s a pretty special woman, and I’m looking forward to an evening of crazy celebration with her.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

31 things I’m thankful for …well almost

Last day. This is the very last day I will ever be 31. Can I say it goes by fast? That the years fly by and I hardly know what age I am and often have to stop and think? And a lot of the times, I have to think of how old my siblings are and subtract backwards to figure out my age.

Its true. We’re all 2 years apart. (this is the year of the “evens”)

I’ve wished this month away, which is rare because this is “my” month. I normally love, enjoy and bask in the month of July, but this year, it has been a very tough one for me. One I’ve wished would zoom through so I can get into August because that would mean time is actually moving along and not at a complete standstill as its felt. I swear I’ve endured 2 months worth of time in this one, not even finished, month, its felt that long for me.

I’ll admit, my 30’s have not been anything like what I thought they’d be. So so different and the constant adjustments that have been made and still being made are always throwing me for a loop and keeping me on my toes where half the time I feel like I’m just getting back up only to fall back down again.

One thing I’ve found as I go through the years is its so tiring focusing on the negative. And being constantly negative. Pointing this out. That out. This is wrong. That is wrong. It’s a work in progress, but focusing on the positive, even if its miniscule and spinning a crappy moment or thought around to good, has been my goal the past year and more so the past few months.

Instead of focusing on the fact the chicken juices leaked all over the fridge and I have to spend time cleaning it; I do it quickly and focus on the fact my fridge is now squeaky clean and darn, I never would have cleaned it if it hadn’t been for the chicken.

So, even though this month has been a rough one for me, there have been so many great things going on. Things I still don’t see yet, things God is doing that I know will blow my mind when they happen, things that will have everything come together for His good.

I’m getting nudges to make changes. Nudges that are going to put me way out of my pride and comfort zone. That are both humbling and relieving. They frustrate me and have me feeling lost at times, but all I do (as best I can) is focus on Him nudging me. Because I know He doesn’t steer me wrong. ever.

I have such generous friends and family in my life and they’re a huge part of why I’m thankful for my last day at 31.

1. My parents. The things they’re so willing to do for me, and offer me, and extend to me. 1,000 thanks will never be enough.
2. Casey who sent me the perfect birthday gift of Dunkin coffee and a mug.
3. My friend who took me out to lunch yesterday for my birthday and made me feel special.
4. The unconditional love and support from G-man.
5. $3 flower arrangements from Trader Joe’s.
6. The ability to have real, honest conversations with this girl and this girl...and never to forget this girl.
7. Knowing I have friends so eager to see me, and offer to help make the trip happen. that’s all you, Myrtle.8. G-man sending me unexpected encouraging texts at just the right moment, when it would seem otherwise impossible.
9. The support of friends on Saturday and the fun that came of it.
10. New recipes even if they don’t turn out like the pictures.
11. God blessing me with the ever growing talent and passion of photography.
12. Making others cry…in a good way.
13. Bible studies with friends
14. My sister’s kind heart
15. My new schedule each day
16. Working out consistently
17. You. For all of you few who’ve stuck around with me and my blog these days.
18. Finding out I have perfect color vision. Eyes aren’t quite failing me like I thought

..and you know what? I’m gonna stop there. Not because I can’t think of 31 things, because I could just ramble off the most random of stuff, but because some things are meant to stay quiet behind the screen.
just woke up but enjoying my Dunkin’.
On this last day, I will eat lots of cookies and prepare myself for staying up until 3:02am to ring in the new year.
that or set my alarm for 3:02…we’ll see what happens.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Can you relate?

I wonder if sometimes only I find things funny, but regardless, I have to share this quite funny video with you.

I know I can relate to this and I feel any woman in a relationship can as well. We’re funny, there’s no denying it.
(and yes, I realize this is a joke about women).

Its always good to laugh at ourselves every once in awhile. Loosens us up a bit, I think.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chicken Satay

I think it was out of my health insurance booklet they sent a month ago, that I saw this recipe inside. I promptly tore it out and threw the booklet away. Stuff’s not important any way.. I kid.

It looked easy and delicious, so I was eager to make it. Only thing was, while G-man was here, I learned he didn’t like satay. My first thought was, how in the world does he know what satay is?? But being the world traveler, he knows, and doesn’t like it, so I had to put this off until he left to make it just for me.

Friends, its good stuff. What’s more, its easy. I’ll say out the gate, I use boneless skinless chicken thighs and PREFER them over chicken breasts. Why? Because they’re cheaper…they’re actually the same in the way of ‘healthy’…and they have so much more flavor! I swear, no matter how long I cook a thigh, they never come out dry…ever! Thighs get such a bad rap for no reason.

The small catch to them is the excess fat that needs to be cut off. That can be time consuming, but if you don’t mind doing it, it will pay off with every bite you take.

For the recipe, its all about the marinade. What you’ll need:
Combining all of the above ingredients and after cubing the chicken, throw them all together in a bowl (and cover) or a ziploc to marinade for at least 2 hours, if not overnight.

It calls to grill them when you’re ready, but I don’t have a grill, so to the pan they go for me.

After all is said and done, eat them alone or put them on a bed of rice with a side of broccoli. Or salad. Or whatever your heart desires.


I only did the skewers for you. I took those bad boys off and immediately chowed down after this photo since I didn’t grill them. If you’re grilling them, definitely skewer them! You kinda have to.

Chicken Satay:
Prep time: 2 hours 10 minutes (due to marinade)
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yields: 6 servings

1 TBSP creamy peanut butter
1/4 C low sodium soy sauce (definitely make sure you get low sodium, otherwise it’ll be a SALTY dish)
1/4 C lemon or lime juice
1-1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 TBSP curry powder
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3 8oz boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed
lime slices (optional)

1. In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter through the hot pepper sauce. Place the chicken breasts in the marinade and refrigerate. Let the chicken marinate at least 2 hours, overnight is best.

2. Preheat a grill to high heat (or a stove top on med-high heat)

3. Weave the chicken onto skewers, then grill for 5 minutes per side. (or no skewers and put in a pan for 5 minutes each. Or longer to get nice crunch on the outside from the marinade)

4. Serve with lime slices (optional)

How much easier can that be? Mix it, chop it, throw it all together and go sit down for a few hours, because you have nothing else to do, right? Then 10 min into cooking, you’re done!

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Monday, July 22, 2013

I saw a geisha

Happy 2nd day of the week, everyone! I thought I’d avoid the “M” word, in case you didn’t want to hear it.

In an effort to finish the last of my Japan trip in June, I’ve decided to put it all together today. I’ll have you know, I spent over 30 minutes looking up the location of this temple but to no avail. I searched the map, and looked all around for something to catch my eye, and nothing. Finally after giving up and beginning to write, I thought I’d give it one last chance and just like that, on my first search, I found it.

If only my brain would have thought of the ‘first search’ words 30 minutes earlier.


The oldest temple in Tokyo. We went to visit this the day after we arrived, which wasn’t the best idea. We were beyond jetlagged and barely able to move around, let alone walk blocks and blocks of Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo streets. It was still light out when we arrived, but barely and the crowds were very sparse. After we went to eat ramen, we walked back to the temple for one last glance and made our long way back to the lodge.

Toward the end of my trip, we went to Tokyo to do a little exploring. I left all my clothes and most importantly, my shoes in my bag at the hotel where I’d be taking the shuttle from, thinking I’d survive in my flip flops and a maxi dress and that was not the case.

The heat and humidity (a combo I am not used to) was far from tolerable and my feet were swelling, and my dress felt clingy and suffocating and all around I was getting crabby.

After checking into a different hotel (than the shuttle one), we relaxed for just long enough to stare out the window of our room and went back out to explore some more.em47

You have two ways to walk (in certain areas). One are the streets. They can be long and winding, especially if you have to go around tracks or big stations. The other way is underground. A lot of people take the underground paths. They’re very confusing, obviously to those who don’t understand the directions or JR lines or well, language, so it’s easy to get turned around very easily in them, but it helps keep you cool. And one way or another, you will find where you need to go.

We eventually made our way to the Imperial Palace Gardens and I was in full “I’m too hot for this” mode. Not to mention starving. It had been hours since food or water. We managed to walk and walk some more through the gardens and outside the grounds and {for me} it was lackluster. Perhaps during cherry blossom season it would be more interesting but in June, it was downright boring.

As we were walking around, we saw a geisha. They’re actually all over the place. I’m not sure what they do or why they’re fully dressed, but young and old are dressed up in complete geisha garb including hair and makeup. I’m sure they’re accustomed to the heat, but I can’t imagine being in that thick fabric in the heat. But none the less, they are quite beautiful.

We finally made our way to eat, which instantly made me a happy person again, and we made our long trek back to the hotel only to order room service 3 hours later. sushi only fills a person up for so long before they need an American cheeseburger and chocolate cake.
The next morning, we took the train to the other side of Tokyo to eat brunch that trumps any other brunches we’ve ever had. Champagne, crepes, coffee, caviar, and anything else you can imagine were ever flowing at this brunch. We, to put it eloquently, gorged ourselves for 60 minutes straight. After the first plate I was full, but that didn’t stop me from going back for 3 more plates to try other foods.

Weight was gained that day, but it was a good ending to my trip. After spending time together at the airport, I made my way to my gate and took the long journey home. It was such a neat experience, and I can’t wait until the next adventure.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

7 year old pasta

Friday is finally here. This week went by a little slow, am I right?

I did a new{ish} thing to me {lately any way}, and have been working out the moment I wake up. I’ve done it all 5 days this week and its both a relief and a killer. I’m still half asleep as I do my ab video. If I were smart, I wouldn’t have the first thing I do once I wake up, be an exercise that lets me lie on the ground. I do almost the whole dvd with my eyes closed, they’re just not ready to be opened.

But I’ll be honest, its so nice having it out of the way for the entire day. No worrying or stressing when I’ll get around to working out. Its done! And that’s probably the one of two reasons I do it. Here’s hoping I stick to it for longer than a week. (just keeping it real).

I wanted to update and clarify about the demise of the job I went after. I called my retirement company and they actually said I would be able to take that job and keep my retirement and health insurance (hooray), however…they must approve the position and that would take up to 60 days from the day they hire me. I’m pretty sure no employer ever would be ok with waiting for their new employee to start after an additional 60 days, so I called and took my name off their list. The guy I spoke with said it was the right thing.

That’s all there is to it.

I’ve been doing a lot of different recipes lately. Those outside the pinterest kind. In books even! I figure I have a ton of cookbooks on my counter, I might as well make good use of one of them. I’m so glad I did because I’ve had some delicious dinners.

There’s one that I made that I’ll be making again and {will attempt} to document so all the world can make it…or just my Mom, since she asked.

I’ve refrained from sharing all the food pictures on Instagram, but that’s not to say I haven’t taken at least 3 pictures of my dinner every night. Just in case I break down and post it. So for all those who get sick of seeing them in your feed, you’re welcome.

I’ll leave you with a photo that was well before {my} iPhone days, before Instagram and certainly before blogging.
were there even smart phones then?

Two things strike me with this.
1. Social media is in no way to blame for people feeling they need to share what they ate for dinner.
2. That after 7 years, I still have this picture.

I distinctly remember being very proud of myself for making this pasta, and sent it off to my mom to show her. (I’m a visual person, therefore everyone else has to be too).

Have a happy and safe weekend everyone.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Adult sized tantrums

Have you seen one in person?

Yesterday, I saw a grown woman actually stomping her feet huffing and puffing with huge sighs…in public, and then not hold the door open for me. harumph!

Kidding…it was her friend who didn’t.

We all still have them. I have mine behind closed doors and in emails to friends. we’re still friends, right? Hard to say when I whine incessantly, it puts a true test to the friendship. I know its probably a shocker that I whine sometimes, on occasion, when the mood strikes..often, but alas its true.

Some of the reasons I’ve been whining (I’m going to make excuses now) is because I think my new laptop screen’s calibration is off. If you’re not familiar with calibration, its all about showing the correct colors of things, like photos especially. And when you’re playing with photos, you’d like to know what you’re seeing is accurate.

And then my major most recent denial (and biggest excuse), I think my eyesight has tweaked just slightly. I’m not going to say they’ve decreased in sight, but I’ve noticed they get tired, and blurry and find myself squinting on frequent rare occasions. I was told (7 years ago) that I wouldn’t need glasses till my 40’s…

I’m still holding onto that…

So add those two things together, and it’s a bit of a recipe for disaster and frustration. What I think may be good, or decent or even tolerable isn’t exactly shared by others (which is okay), so when I do something a little different and flip my lens around to attempt what’s called “macro” of a pink rose, my blurry near perfect eyesight, isn’t sure if what I’m seeing is “neat” or just a jumbled up mess of pink.

So I’ll let you decide.
- Does it make you scratch your head and think, ‘huh??’
- Is it interesting?
- Or is it ‘meh’?


I promise I will not have a tantrum on you regardless of your answer.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Squishy baby alert

How can anyone stay in a funk when they get around babies? They just can’t, I tell you. They just can’t. In the afternoon, I went over to my friend’s who’s birth I photographed…that I promise will show soon, to take some shots of her now 4 week old for announcements. Better late than never, I say.

We had a lot of fun, though challenging. It. was. challenging. She didn’t care to sleep and when she would fall asleep, she would come awake and laugh at us for attempting to do anything in the 60 seconds she was out. Ok so she didn’t laugh on the outside, but we felt on the inside she was.

Here’s just a little sneak iPhone style.
I’m a little obsessed with these in black and white, but I’ll mix it up at the end with one in color…just for 4 (1)em13em16em15

*I promise I have 5 fingers on my left hand. It looks quite claw like.

Babies. They’re just so darn cute.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Start in the middle

Hi friends..

Did you know its my birthday month? We’re already in the middle of the month and this is the first time I’m mentioning it.. this is in stark contrast to last year where I informed you daily and well before July even happened. But this year feels different. More reserved. More quiet. More up in the air.

I took a hit with the position I’ve been vying for these past 2 months over the weekend, and I didn’t think I wanted to talk about it, and I kind of still don’t, but the gist of it is, they have the same retirement company I do, and if I want this job, I have to forfeit my disability retirement and full coverage health insurance to do so.

And I just can’t. I can’t do that. So over the next couple days, maybe even today, I’ll inform them to remove my name from their list. Out of roughly 50 who tested, I made it down to the top 7, so I’m quite sad about this. I knew I had the job. But I’ve worked hard on keeping my eyes on Jesus knowing there’s something more. I didn’t feel the push and confirmation to quit my job only to meet a brick wall. So I’ve begun climbing it and know I’ll make it over and have everything work out and for His glory.

I’ve found myself a little more emotional than normal. Lots going on in my life, beyond the struggles of finding another job, there’s been so much more that leaves me on the brink a lot. I found what I think is my new tradition to help. I turn on “solo piano” on Pandora and play it over my Bose speaker to softly fill up my room. Nothing else on but the music. I can see me in the winter sipping something warm with my fireplace and blanket, completely relaxed as the music plays. It’s so soothing. But it seems even the music can bring tears to my eyes, so I can’t seem to escape it all together.

Today I get to see the little baby I photographed coming into this world 4 weeks ago. This will be the first time seeing her since her birth, so I know it’ll be a special moment for me.

Thank you to those who were praying for me this weekend, and who still are and for comforting me as you did. You all are incredibly special to me.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

I went back for seconds

Happy Friday! I can’t believe its Friday already.

Given that my car was stuck on the coast for repair, I had to go back to get it. I think it planned for it to break down over there. Just so I could return and enjoy myself. I must say, before anything more that God is unbelievably good. The total cost of the repairs were $5,000 and I only paid $18.31. I wouldn’t have paid anything had it not broke down on an empty tank. So all I had to pay for was the $18 in gas they put in.


I feel so blessed. He even said, 'I don’t know how much you paid for that extended warranty, but it definitely paid off right here.’ Oh how right he was. In the past 2 months, its needed $7,000 total worth of repairs and it was all covered under warranty.

I didn’t want to make the trip alone, so I called out to my dear friend to make a day trip with me. This was no small feat as she has 4 kids, but she got the clear to go, and off we went. We picked up my car, and headed to Natural Café in San Luis Obispo for lunch. If you’re ever in the area, on Higuera is this café. Its so good! hippy-ish, but the food is delicious and fresh!

em115I had to take her to Bali’s frozen yogurt, where we loaded up on the treats and sat in the little pavilion, people watching. Completely relaxing, with a slight breeze and cool temps. Eventually, we made our way to Pismo Beach to walk around and enjoy the sea air. It was chillier there, as it always is, but we sat down on a bench and watched the ocean and time pass. No rush. No agenda. Just us and the beach and a breeze.

She caught me in the act {of shooting}.
It’s a tradition for just about everyone who loves clam chowder, that they have to stop at Splash Café in Pismo. If you ever go, you must get yourself in that line and order you some clam chowder! Its delicious. Hands down the best clam chowder around….just don’t look up the calories, and enjoy it for what it is. And of course, get the loaf of bread with it. Might as well, right?
We finally had to call it a day and made our long way back home. It was a great girls road trip. Spontaneous and free. 2 things we are not normally. But its always good to be what you’re not, even for just a day.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. Until next week!

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The love of beaches

I went to the beach for the 4th of July, and as I was driving in, the first thing I saw off in the distance was the heavy layer of fog creeping over the hills from the coast. They’re like fingers slowly crawling over the lush hills of Avila Beach and its always the tell tale sign of a 10 degree drop the moment you reach it.

I went from 108 degrees to 67 in a matter of 2 hours. It was heavenly. I didn’t mind the fog and the chill it brought, though I wondered how the fireworks would work out later that night. I made it to my {now} friend’s house for the bbq and it was a lot of fun meeting everyone for the first time. The food was amazing and they didn’t disappoint in their promise of giving me 20 avocados from their massive 30 year old avocado tree.

I’m tempted to drive down there to jump their fence just to get more, there’s so many of them.

After dark, we made our way to the beach where the fireworks would get set off, and the marine layer was heavy. As it grew darker, we enjoyed the people’s fireworks around us, until the show began, only we couldn’t see it. The fireworks were shot straight into the fog, and only the clouds would change color at the bottom. That was our only indication it went off.

Everyone around us were disappointed. Half the beach cleared within the first 10 minutes, but we stayed and continued to enjoy the evening with the fireworks getting set off around us. Finally, we made our way as well among the throngs of people, and after eating watermelon cake, I left to Morro Bay for the evening.

Regardless of the fog, it was still a memorable day for me. I’m glad I took the chance, and made the trip there. It gave me the chance to make new friends and to see old ones, and that, I’ll never pass up.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fresh Prince style..

Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down, and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there I’ll tell you how I got stuck in a town called….

San Luis Obispo.

It died at the end, didn’t it? Friends, Friday.. my life got a little flipped upside down. After having a great time the night before (recap later), and spending the entire day with my Uncle and later with some sweet friends, I made my way from Morro Bay to San Luis Obispo when all of a sudden my car felt like it was dying.

I was low on gas, but I’ve had this car for 5 years, I know how long I can drive on E, and I had a long way to go. Naturally, I was in the fast lane, so I quickly got over, prepared to get on the shoulder, when it lurched and started accelerating again. Now I was confused.

This is a fantastic car. A Toyota Highlander. A car that has zero problems EVER.

I’ve owned my far share of lemons in my day.
- 74 Chevy Malibu where I had to carry around a jug of water because the radiator would leak, and would have to fill it almost daily.
- 86 Ford Mustang that had the clutch drop out at a stop light, and the exhaust pipe fall out of the muffler where I could hear it dragging and would have to pull over and slip it back in constantly.
- 98 Grand Cherokee Laredo that on the 91st day of owning it, I discovered the A/C in fact did not work like the dealer claimed. 91st, only because it was the day after the warranty expired. Owning that jeep for 10 years was the worst 10 years ever. Nothing but the worst problems with that car and I will ward off ANYONE who ever says they want to buy a Grand Cherokee. Worst. make. ever.

But my highlander.. G-man bought it for himself 5 years ago. I loved it so much, that I sold my brand new car that I hadn’t even had for 9 months, just so I could buy it from him. I’ve loved it ever since. It’s a custom interior for people who backed out of the deal after it was made. Fully loaded but with cloth seats…almost unheard of. Lexus built, Tundra engine…people, this car is the best! Anyone who’s in it agrees.

So when Friday occurred, it made no sense to me. I made it into the dealership in town, only to be turned away because they were too busy. And this is where I will tell you that persistence pays off. I was told to come back Monday, even though he knew I lived 2 hours away. After I asked what I was supposed to do for the entire weekend, he said “drive it” with no sympathy toward knowing that it most likely would completely die on me when I did.

I got angry.

I got in my car to think about what I should do and I knew it was all under warranty and started wondering if they covered a rental car. I marched back in and asked the same guy about a rental car. He scoffed saying Toyota wouldn’t pay for it without having the car looked at it and that wouldn’t happen until Monday. So I called the warranty company who said to tell him to give me a rental and told me the exact words to use on the guy.

Once I went in for the third time, with my heels dug in, he got the manager and we worked out the rental car so I could drive home while my car stayed there for the weekend. I was informed by the rental company that I was in a “warranty battle” w/the rental and I told him that I had no doubt I would win and Toyota would pay for it. He laughed, but I was dead serious.

Saturday, they called to say they test drove it and had no problems with it. Not the news you want to hear. They called again to say they filed a claim with headquarters due to the rare problem it was having and I had to wait until Monday to hear again.

Finally Monday afternoon, the same guy called to say they’re completely baffled at what’s wrong. After all their testing, they found not one thing visibly wrong with the car. No lights, no warnings, nothing loose and no leaks. AND they said that headquarters stated that this generation Highlander has zero reports of ANYTHING wrong with the transmission. So throughout the entire country, I am the very first person to EVER have a problem with their Highlander’s transmission.

I feel like I should sit on that…. and also receive some sort of medal. I mean really!

So, after driving it more, the mechanics had the same problem I had, and headquarters ordered them to replace the entire transmission, fully covered under warranty.

Praise God! and thank you G-man for buying the extended warranty all those years ago…

I’m highly suspicious of this though. Hanford Toyota (and I will call them out) messed with my transmission in May and I fully believe that they are responsible for this. That this was not a Toyota issue, but a Hanford dealership issue, and I think they absolutely are to blame.

But I digress..

I won the warranty battle with the rental. They’ll pay for the 5 days I’ve had it and if it wasn’t for the persistence I gave, I’d hate to think how much money I would be out of right now. My PSA for today is fight! When you know you need help and have the right to something, don’t let them bully you away just because “they can”. Stand your ground.

remember when it got the flat tire in the ghetto? good memories… I can’t wait to have my car back!em68

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Our independence

From a time that seems so long ago.


My first 4th of July in Hawaii. It was magical.

This 4th, I’ll be taking one of those risks I mentioned I don’t normally do, and am going to Pismo Beach where I’ll be spending the day with complete strangers…and all because they asked me to join them.

How’s that for risk?

You ask me through Instagram to join you for a BBQ and fireworks and I can’t find a reason to turn you down…albeit I’ve never met you in real life and we’ve only messaged on the rare occasion back and forth through IG but sure, I have all the confidence in the world that you are normal..your family is normal..and that we will get along beautifully for the entire afternoon and evening, and have an incredible blast the entire time.

And I actually believe it.

So here’s to risks and taking chances so that I don’t have to sit at home wallowing in my aloneness on this festive holiday.

Happy Independence Day, my fellow Americans!

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

You can’t lie to a lie detector

How often do we take risks in our lives?

I ask myself that hardly ever..until recently. The past few months I’ve asked myself a lot of questions. I’ve asked God a lot of questions and the answers I’ve been getting back have pretty much been the same. Trust and do. Do the risky thing like quit my job without another. Trust that He’ll take care of me and provide. Take that trip and trust it’ll work out for His glory in the end.

And I’m seeing that. In a lot of ways.

I have my third interview for the position I want today. Yesterday, I had to take a lie detector test for it. That was stressful. Never done one of those before until then and well, it was interesting. I looked back at my past, before going in and thought over all the things that could be potential problems. In all honestly there was only one thing that I was nervous about coming up. I even reached out to a couple friends voicing my concern, but I wouldn’t know for sure if it would need to come up or if I would be able to keep it quiet.

Turns out it had to come out. And thankfully, I brought it up on my own volition before the polygraph even began, during the ‘interview’ portion. He asked me a series of questions once I finished sharing, asking for more details, and it was tough only because I had forgotten so many of the little things that led to what I had done. But knew what I had done would effect the results of the polygraph had I kept it to myself and not been honest.

True to a ‘lie detector test’, he asked a series of questions before I got hooked up, then repeated the questions two more times while hooked up and it showed that thankfully I was telling the truth on everything, with him wording some of his questions with “other than what we discussed…” so my mind would be clear of that situation. And it worked.

The second round of questioning however had a slightly different outcome. Two questions were asked that I knew the moment I answered them, felt my heart speed up. After the first round was done, I turned and explained them before he had a chance to ask.

have you ever felt ashamed of something you did between 21-29? – no
but it was a yes! Again, falling back on what I had done all those years ago.

have you ever told a serious lie between 21-29? – no
again a yes!

Amazing how it works to reveal what you think you can hide from everyone.

After I explained that I was thinking of the incident, he wrote his notes and reworded the questions with the ‘other than what we discussed’ so my mind could be clear of it and again, it worked.

I see this with my relationship with God. I think I can hide my sins. That just because you can’t see them, that He won’t take note of them Himself, even though He sees them plain as day. That there aren’t going to be repercussions for them. The way it eats away at me. He’s forgiven me, I know this but it doesn’t mean I can continue to sin just for the sake of knowing I’ll always be forgiven them.

The truth will always come out. Whether it happens 2 days from it, 7 years (as in my case) or 30 years. It will always come out. For 7 years I’ve felt ashamed and guilty and talking about it yesterday was tough because I wasn’t sure if it would effect me getting the job, but I know it’s in God’s hands, as its always been. As trite as it is to say, I know He has it all taken care of because I’ve seen it in every single step I’ve taken these past couple months.

7 years ago I took a risk. It was the wrong risk to take. It was a risk that could have cost me my job had they found it out. A risk that let someone keep theirs (for the time being) but would have cost me mine. Its funny to look back and see that I risked my career for someone who didn’t deserve theirs but at the time I thought it was the only way.

Lie detectors will getchya! I know that now firsthand!

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Japan through the iPhone

As I mentioned last week, I hardly had my camera with me at all. I just about had my iPhone the same amount of time. I don’t have an international plan. ..(Verizon is behind the times in a big way), so unless I was around a decent wifi spot, there was no point in having my phone.

Not only that, I never once carried my purse. Cumbersome thing…no wait, correction. I didn’t even bring my purse on the TRIP! I took a clutch but only for “if” we went out in the evening and used it once. All that to say my carmex went with me everywhere…oh and my passport but the man carried that.

But the few times I took my phone, I had fun using it for the odd things I would encounter. For instance!
…now this isn’t necessarily “odd”..more like resourceful and the majority of the restaurants would have all their foods on display to help show what they had for us foreigners…and locals.. as many stopped to look as well.

But with that would come some hilarious misspellings like this “coffee flort” or as we American’s like to call it, float.

Unless I’m in the most desperate of ways, I will never find myself using these…that were in all the public restrooms. I don’t even know how one would aim! let alone which way to face…

These are “pets”. As in, buy me and take me home to your kid to play with…pet. I do.not.understand.

There’s also the “Engrish”. We sought out all the ways they misinterpret English and had some fun being on the hunt. A few giggles were definitely had by these.

We went into a French bakery and there were so many delectable pastries and ice creams all around but I came across this cake and saw that it was in German. Having a German friend, I sent it to her to translate and the first thing she said back was “it doesn’t make any sense.”  It says, “I needed time and baked it.” well, okay then. 

Going into an Indian restaurant (that happened to be very delicious!), they had a big screen tv playing a Japanese game show..that I couldn’t figure out for the life of me and that also had heated toilet seats. And this is where my life changed forever experiencing a heated toilet seat. I didn’t want to get up. It was heavenly. Also, those little white zigzag things are their napkins. Small. hard. and small. Everywhere has those and only those for napkins. It’s a good lesson on being a better cleaner eater…that I still have yet to grasp.

Inside one of their {many} malls was this delightful tea room. G-man thought he was the only man in there, but I reassured him there were others to make him still feel like the man he is. I got what I thought was a hot tea but clearly I don’t understand the concept of the “float” and instead got the iced chai tea float while G-man being the smarter of the two got hot green tea. Both were delicious.

Almost all the manholes had this figure on it in a different way. Whether he was fully dressed, standing, dancing. Made for some enjoyable distracting sidewalk walking as I ignored the evil yellow strips.

When we were in Tokyo, we couldn’t find the sushi place and landed ourselves into this restaurant called Gonpachi. Also known as the “Kill Bill” restaurant since they filmed a major scene inside. This place was great! And busy! The moment we walked in, they greeted us with iced wine and as we got seated, they yell something and the whole staff yell something right back in response. Every single time.
IMG_6177photo (11)

I highly recommend Gonpachi. The servers all have the flag of the language they speak on their nametags and it was incredibly helpful to have an English speaker who was also very sweet and entertaining. Not to mention the food was absolutely delicious!

We walked the streets of Tokyo and I was amazed at the cleanliness and order.

While there, we got to stay in 2 fancy shmancy hotels, where one had an incredible Sunday brunch with everything you could imagine. first time experiencing caviar, to the other leaving complimentary pajamas on the bed (…that didn’t fit at all and were too embarrassing to show pictures of…)

I have all the in-betweens to show but this shows all the little details that made up my trip to Japan. It was fun, comical at times, disturbing, frustrating and relaxing all rolled into one…and I can’t wait to do it again!

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