Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gerard the Giraffe

I sent a love package home to my family just to let them all know I love them and miss them so much! What was in the box?
Dad: Ryan got dad some beef jerkey (Oklahoma style!) during his trip home earlier this month. I also got dad a gift card to Ryan's and my favorite burger joint: Five Guys Burgers. Now, you can't beet In'NOut, but these guys are a close second. There is a joint in the Cerritos Promenade, so hopefully dad can catch them for lunch one day. We're sure he'll like it!
Mom: marshmallow peeps (yellow) which are her fave. I saw them at the store and I automatically thought of her. An Aerosmith CD, with her favorite songs (Oh Yeah! Ultimate Hits). How sad...Peeps come out at Easter time. That's when I started assembling this package, but got stuck on the limiting item. which leads me to Ash...
Ashley: a beachy looking necklace I got at a boutique on the drag and Gerard. I made him using a lionbrand yarn pattern I saw in their newsletter a couple months ago. Ash loves giraffes, and though she is a bit old for stuffed animals, he was too cute to pass up. He is about 16 inches tall, and though you cannot see it in the picture, he has a cute little tail too. I didn't even think to snap a photo of his back side. darn.
Bella: Two headbands that I got from an etsy site: lorien, peacock version of this. (not the really decorative feathers, but light green and blue ones).
Ingrid: some headbands from J. Crew (headbands just don't work on my head) and an Ed Hardy shirt...cuz Ingrid's into that.
I hope they all enjoyed their presents! love you guys.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How About a Johnnyfish?

I went over to Ryan's the other night and was delighted to see this:

Johnny in his new water bowl (he was completely submerged right before I took this)
You can see a bit of the grey rockish sort of bowl in June's cage next door - much flatter and open.

Johnny is one of Ryan's adult Brazilian Rainbow Boas. They require a lot of moisture, and privacy (they are very shy snakes). Ryan was reading a blog that this guy (who is a big BRB breeder) keeps, and he shared that using fish bowls as water bowls for the snake is good because the tightness makes them feel very safe. Thus, they will soak more and this will help with their sheds.
Shedding is the only issue Ryan has with these snakes. His baby BRBs shed beautifully, all one-piecers, but they regularly hide under their water bowl where it is super moist. These big guys don't get that luxury, so hopefully this new bowl will help. Both of his adult BRBs are eating pretty regularly - he was worried about them for a while and considered getting rid of them because he didn't want to end up killing them (maybe it was a winter hibernation sort of thing?). It's pretty funny because he will come tell me..."Johnny ate today!" or "June pooped!". Don't mom's say that about their babies? As long as a baby eats, sleeps and poops...it's a good day. Well it's no different - these guys are his babies.
Anyhow, I thought this was too hilarious, and had to share it will you all!

View from the top. He is so cute with his little head poking out checking the scene.

Monday, May 11, 2009


As in bees. As I mentioned before, I spruced up my deck with some new plants. My ones from the fall were looking a bit shabby... and I also saw an ad in a magazine about saving the honeybees. I am not sure how much of the honeybee problem is due to lack of food/ flowers versus people using pesticides that the bees end up carrying back to the colony, which then gets destroyed. Taking a cue, I got "bee-friendly" plants and seeds, and I never use any pesticides. I love seeds because you can watch them grow from start to finish. It really is quite amazing...watching a little green sprout fighting it's way out of the soil to become a mature plant with flowers and fruit. And, they are more friendly on your pocketbook too since a whole packet with seeds enough for 20+ plants is only 2 bucks versus 5 dollars for the individual grown plant.
Anyhow, I learned that honeybees love flowers with lots of pollen like: sunflowers, geraniums, catnip, rosemary, lavender, poppies, honeysuckle, daisies, salvia...the list goes on and on. Also, bees cannot see colors like red or orange ( I guess drawn to these flowers by fragrance) but instead see high wavelenth colors like blue, violet and even UV range, white flowers.
My balcony can only fit so many plants on it and these are the ones I remembered/ store had/ I bought. (careful with the sunflower varieties though....some are pollenless, so the bees end up getting attracted to it and wasting energy looking for food that is even there). I got a few different types of sunflower...one is the mammoth species. This gets about 12 feet tall and has sunflower heads of about 2 feet diameter! crazy. Ok, well here are some pics of my balcony in its current state.

on the stool is a moss rose - a tumbing vine plant
in the first hanging basket are some herbs: catnip, rosemary and lavender
the box: nasturtiums (seeds) which is a vine. I am hoping it will grow over the railing and trail down. Bees and hummingbirds love these colorful, fragrant flowers. They are edible too! There is also a geranium in that box.
in the second hanging basket: sweet potato vine

There is that sweet potato vine again
more geraniums and nasturtiums in the window box
In the square pot: I also got a jasmine vine...I couldn't resist the smell!

a closeup of some of my geraniums

sunflower sprouts! (from 3 seed packets for mammoth, citrus and a variety pack)

They came up so fast, it only took a couple days. Once they get bigger, I will transplant some to the ground underneath my balcony where I can still water them, they will have room and sun to grow, and hopefully drop their seeds to start a sunflower haven down in that green belt!

My first nasturtium sprout. Can you see it? I had three more pop up yesterday!

Ramses likes to help me outside

Yes, his name is officially Ramses. He is like a toddler, always putting things in his mouth and chewing on them...I guess taste is his sense of preference. He loves coming outside with me and exploring around on the deck. I just can't turn my back on him too long....I caught him just before he started chomping on some of my sunflower sprouts!

For now, this little balcony garden will have to suffice. I hope bees and hummingbirds will come regularly once my flowers bloom. I can't wait to have a yard with a real big garden, and if it was big enough, I'd consider keeping bees. homegrown honey and hand-made beezwax candles sound nice. =)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Night Out

Not much new here...it has been a fairly busy week at work and getting things in order before the boss leaves (tomorrow) for Germany. He took the whole group out to The Oasis on Lake Travis to celebrate the successful candidacy exams and seminars this semester (mine included!)
The Oasis is a Tex-Mex restaurant on a hill overlooking the lake and faces west, so the sunsets are amazing. It was hot and sunny yesterday but once the sun went down it was perfect.

The view over the lake at about 7pm. It was 95 degrees.

Can you feel the heat? It's still beautiful and thank God there was a breeze!

The sun is about to go down....they ring a bell when it does!

A cheesy photo of myself just after it did...

Have a wonderful weekend and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What I am listening to right now...

Brandon Heath. And in particular, his song "No Not One".
It's a great song, such promise and hope. A reminder that in the midst of all the stress and worry in life, the love of my Heavenly Father is above all of these things, and the only thing that matters! I also need to be a living example of this love to others and not live selfishly.
It is my favorite song from his album, and my sisters introduced me to him.
I also love this song because it is Bella's ringback tone on her phone...whenever I call her, I hear it. And now, whenever I listen to it, I also think of her and all my wonderful family at home whom I miss SO MUCH!
Enjoy! (posted is a link to the song via youtube so you can listen to it)


No better word than from your lips
No perfect life than what you lived
No greater gift, no not one

No brighter star has ever shined
No better hope for all mankind
No higher mind, no not one

No one has ever known
This kind of love you've shown

There has never been a greater love
Than your son
No. Not one
And there'll never be a name above
No, Not one
With his life you have forgiven us
Hope has come
Hope has come
And there will never be a greater love
No, Not one

No image true or sweeter frame
No simple word can match your name
No greater fame
No not one

No one has ever seen
The depth of your majesty


No greater call
You gave us all a reason to live
No greater love
You gave us all a reason to give
No greater life
You gave us all a reason to shine
No greater love
Forever mine

just a taste of majesty

Monday, May 4, 2009


I was really craving pasta salad this weekend, so I made some yesterday. It was the perfect snack to sit down and relax to after I spent a good part of the afternoon re-vamping my balcony with new plants. I'll post some pictures of it soon...I didn't get around to taking some since my camera died after I snapped a shot of my pasta salad. YUMMY!

Nessa's Pasta Salad
1 can whole baby corn - drained, cut into thirds
1 can olives - drained, cut into halves long ways
1/2 red onion - thin 1" long slivers
1/2 handful cilantro - diced
1 tomato - diced (or package of cherry tomatoes halved)
2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
1c. feta cheese
1/3 pound hard salami cut into small wedges
1 bag tri-colored farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
dressing (I use good seasons dressing packets that you mix with vinegar and oil to make your own dressing....tasty!)

other things I like to add that wasn't in this particular salad I made:
broccolini - cut into small pieces
cucumber - peeled, cut into fourths lengthwise, remove seeds ( i scoop them out with a spoon) then chopped
julienne carrots
bell pepper (any color) - chopped into medium pieces

Cook the pasta until done but still firm. ( I always add some olive oil to the water so they don't stick to each other). Drain and rinse with cold water. While the pasta is cooking, I prepare all the veggies and additions (minus feta and dressing) as noted and keep in a big bowl (so I have room for tossing). Once everything is chopped and in the bowl, add pasta and toss. Then, add feta and dressing to taste. toss. Serve chilled. Delicioso!!

I used to not add meat or cheese to my pasta salad, and while Ryan would eat it, he felt it was lacking. So, I pumped it up a little bit. It is very filling, and there are so many different flavors going on, you can savor every bite! Plus it's really pretty with all the different colors. It's always gone in a snap!