Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas in Santa Cruz

We spent christmas in santa cruz.
the weather was great, although a bit cold there. we had great meals and a fun time overall. The drive back was pretty windy, but we made it without any trouble.

sarah received a giraffe shaped tent, which she was very excited about.


gary received a squid shaped whisk, which he was very excited about.


we will need to have more animal shaped things in 2008, they seem to be lots of fun.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

There is more than one cat

I have posted previously about the "garage kitty" (here and here) who kind of lives in our garage. A while ago one of our neighbors let us know some people call her "Tiger" also.

But there are now more than one kitty in the garage. The little cat in the picture below showed up a few weeks ago. All the cats sleep on the blankets people put on their car hoods, as you can see. She is pretty small, we have started calling her "kitten kitty", not an overly creative name, but it works for us. There is also an orange cat who comes and goes, but he is pretty skittish, I have trouble getting a photo of him.

fyi - this is the 100th post we have made on the blog... i don't know if i thought this would last as long as it has. This is similar to a milestone for syndicating a tv show.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

the tree is up!

we got our Christmas tree put up over the weekend. here it is in all its glory. Fancy new LED lights also, we can leave them on all day and use less electricity than normal.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Videos from Sydney

I took some little video clips with my digital camera while i was in Sydney. Here are a couple to choose from.

We went to a little show which had a didgeridoo player. Kind of amazing, they use circular breathing to play pretty much as long as they want.

Lorikeets (parrots) making crazy sounds at night. We came out of a restaurant after dinner and heard this, deafening.

Tabitha and Gabriel know a few songs, with the choreography! Here they are performing on the train as we returned to Wahroonga from Sydney. I am looking forward to showing this to Gabriel's friends in future years.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Gary just returned from visiting his sister, Linda + family in Sydney, Australia.

The trip was lots of fun and a great vacation. I posted a bunch of photos to flickr here. Sydney is an amazing city, full of everything (except peanut M & M's and other american brands). Strange things are very expensive, like books. It also doesn't help that the US dollar exchange rate is at a historic low.

The Opera House and Harbour Bridge. This picture is taken from the Botanical Gardens. The harbour cruises also have amazing views of the city.


Here are Gabe + Tabitha, ready for school in their uniforms & holding the Spider Man puzzle we gave them. 3D puzzles... kinda cool.


I also took a couple video clips, but i gotta edit upload them before I post.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

laundry with bins!

laundry with bins.JPG
Originally uploaded by Minnaert.
We got some new bins & boxes for the laundry area. I guess we are done with all of the messing around in that area now.

we have more storage capacity now that we know what to do with.
- Gary

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Alan's 80th

We celebrated Alan's 80th birthday last weekend at the "Castle" in Ben Lomond. We had a great time, and lots of friends & relatives came to celebrate.

A couple photos from the weekend are below, i put more on flickr.

Sarah, Alan and Kii just before the cake cutting.


The Ben Lomond "Huntley Castle". This place started out as a dream house/castle project by a Scottish immigrant in the 1920s. Its changed ownership several times, with successive owners adding and modifying. Its a little like the Winchester Mystery House, but it fit in very well for the weekend.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Laundry area redone

Here was our big home renovation project we undertook a few weeks ago. I finally got the shelves all installed, so i figured it was time to post it.

Here is what our laundry area started as. Recall that the cabinets above the washer & dryer had fallen a few months ago.


Here we tore everything down to the studs. Everything in the area was half crazy. There were weird bump-outs in the walls, there was missing drywall, all sorts of craziness. Also when the new a/c got installed, they needed to cut a new hole in the ceiling for the air return. The previous owners had redone some stuff and actually covered the air return.

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Here we are drying the joint compound after we mud & taped the drywall.


And the finished product. We got all the drywall complete & repainted. New shelves from the Container Store all installed. I don't know if there is a career out there for home renovations out there, but i think we improved a few things with the area. Some mistakes were made along the way, but it is improved in many ways.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Gary was in Las Vegas for a conference last week. Sarah joined up for the weekend. We caught the Blue Man Group + Penn & Teller shows. I bet on the Rockies to win the World Series. Stoopid Red Sox.

The fountains in front of the Bellagio always draw a crowd.

During the conference, Gary + some co-workers went to the Pinball Hall of Fame. Just what everyone wants to see in Vegas. Here is Gary's coworker Paul playing "Pinball Circus", a very rare game many consider to be the "Holy Grail of pinball games."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Kitty update

You may wonder what has been happening with the famous garage kitty lately.

The garage kitty is just fine, she still enjoys sleeping on the cars in the garage and alternatively ignoring everyone and begging for attention.

When we tried to leave the other day she was napping on the roof of Sarah's car. We eventually talked her into taking a break from her hectic schedule.

construction & ladders

We've been doing a bit of work lately in our laundry room area. When we finally get all done I will post a series on it, before and after shots and everything.

But when we were getting paint from the hardware store down the road the other day, the truck parked next to us had a ladder rack, with ladders on top. I knew people decorated their toolboxes, but I did not know people decorated their ladders. Enjoy.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Rain? in L.A.?

What is this? Rain? In Los Angeles?

L.A. is having the driest year on record, only about 3-4 inches of rain in the past 12 months. Last weekend it rained here, and I have photographic evidence of this. There was panic in the streets.

An interesting story: We were driving to get some lunch the other weekend, and while we were stopped at a light in West Hollywood this disheveled guy was in the crosswalk. Sarah commented, "I think that guy is drunk. Its kinda early to be drinking." Just she finished making this statement, another man walked right in front of the car, barefoot, and eating a leaf. Both of us then said, "Well that guy may be drunk, but he's not as bad off as the guy eating the leaf!"

Only in Hollywood.

- Gary

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Got out of the heat in Washington

We went up to visit Gary's parents in Olympia, Washington over the Labor Day weekend. We avoided the 100+ heat in LA, and had surprisingly great weather in Washington. Sarah was stunned to actually see Mt. Rainier, which she had only heard rumors of previously.

We visited the new Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park. The photos are all of us inside the big Richard Serra sculpture.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

First Anniversary

One year down!
We celebrated our one year anniversary this week. We went to dinner at The Little Door, a french restaurant not too far from us. For our wedding Gary's parents gave us a big (magnum?) bottle of wne, which everyone signed at the reception. The idea is to open it on your first anniversary, which we did.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Burgers in Glendale

Gary works in the "IBM Mobility Office" in Glendale about once a week. The mobility office is really just a floor of cubicles in one of the main office buildings in downtown Glendale. It's primarily meant for sales teams, since they all work from the road or home.

Working there this week the building owner had a summer burger day for all the tenants. $3 burger, chips & a drink from the traveling In & Out Burger truck. Good stuff.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Alan ready for the rain

Alan poncho
Originally uploaded by Minnaert.
When we visited Alan (Sarah's dad) the other weekend, he had mentioned he was going to get a rainjacket. When we visited Yosemite a couple years ago, we got ponchos for our hike to Bridal Veil Falls. Since it does not actually rain in Los Angeles, we had no need for the ponchos and we brought them to Alan.

He graciously modeled one for the camera.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

What is this a picture of?

So what is this a picture of? A rock? A pebble? A precious stone? Nope. It's a piece of Gary's top right rear molar. I felt something on my tooth, and when i picked at it, this piece came off in my hand.

Thankfully it wasn't down to the nerve, so there was no shooting pain, but I need to go get a new crown this week at the dentist. More gold in my mouth, pretty soon my body will be worth a lot.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Last night we went to our friend John & Julian's place to see their new puppies and meet for dinner. Their dog Kara had 5 puppies about 6 weeks ago. The puppies are adorable and also a little noisy. Sarah would not let me take any home. Julian said I could come back for my "puppy fix" any time.

So we set out to their place, in the Mount Washington area, about 10 miles from us. We set out at 6:30, and arrived at 8:30. A parking lot for miles for all routes. grrr. LA traffic at its best.

John with one of the puppies.

Monday, July 30, 2007

brunch special

A restaurant down the street from us has a pretty good brunch special... but WHAT day is that?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Gabe in Heat

gabe in heat.JPG
Originally uploaded by Minnaert.
Two weeks ago the Vesneskis (Gary's sister's family) were back in the Bay Area visiting from Sydney. They were staying in Pleasant Hill, near where they used to live in Concord, CA. We visited them, and walked around Lafayete Reservoir. Gabe got a bit overheated on the walk, and took a break, in the middle of the trail.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gigante & the Giants

Gary has been in San Jose for the past 1.5 weeks. Went to the San Jose Giants game. The Giants are the single A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Great stadium and game experience. Always lots of fun. I went with Arno & his boys Dillon & Graham. The Giants have a new mascot, Gigante, the orange gorilla... a kid favorite.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Life is clearer in HD

It took me forever to finally bite the bullet and to get a new HD tv.

So we got a 32" LCD TV, new DVD player and we upgraded our Dish Network stuff to HD and a Tivo-style DVR. We also got a single Yamaha surround sound speaker thing. Pretty neat, no wires running across the room. Our old stuff was a 19" tv, and old VCR, DVD player and a CD player stereo.

There were just so many options and variables. There are no definitive answers in the home stereo and home theater market. And the only thing the sales people at the electronics stores want to sell are the most overpriced stuff, like $100 cables. We got all our stuff online... such a deal.

In the end, the tv looks great, and the mess of components is cleaned up... somewhat.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Chicken & the Hammer

We make chicken Scaloppine every so often. Very easy to make, not greasy, and you can add whatever sauce or seasoning your heart desires.

Sarah's favorite part though really is not the meal, but the preparation. Using the kitchen hammer is a special prize. Notice the southpaw swing.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fancy cruiser riding for the holiday

We took the cruiser bikes out for a ride on the 4th. We rode down to Beverly Hills and back. We tried to get out before it was too hot, it reached 100+ in many parts of the LA area for the holiday.

Sarah is displaying her fancy riding skills. Don't try this at home, and also don't try to take photos of others on their bikes with your camera phone... kinda dangerous.

Later we went down to Torrance and saw all the Genta family (Sarah's grampy & everyone else). We had a good 4th of July style BBQ. The fun is driving home though in the evening. The freeway is lined with people shooting off elaborate and illegal fireworks in their backyard. An impressive display.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

go dodgers

we went to the Dodgers vs Padres game at Dodger Stadium last night. We had seats way down the right field line. The game went into extra innings, and the Dodgers should have won long before, but the Padres strung a few doubles together and stole that one.

We actually had a bit of fun at the game, lots of Padres fans all around us.
They say "Think Blue"at Dodger games, but the sunset was a great pink color.

Sarah made a friend for the game. Isaac sat next to us and was a lot of fun throughout. He was a big Dodger fan, but his little league team was the Padres, so he was somewhat torn for who to cheer for.

In the bottom of the 9th, all the Dodger fans cheering at the top of their lungs, the little girl next to us was fast asleep.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Hollywood Farmers Market + protest

We went to the Hollywood Farmers market on sunday. It's the best market around, and we try to go most weekends. There are some really good tomatoes, figs and white nectarines we get regularly.

There are a few regular performers; the reggae musician who gets kids to help out with the bongos, the jazz band with the bass player who rarely wears shoes, the blind flamenco guitarist and the asian-american cover song guy who I swear no one can make heads not tales of.

In a nutshell, the Hollywood Farmers market is a good morning, with lots of characters and a celebrity here and there. Well on this sunday there was also an immigration rally. We watched for a few minutes, but they seemed to just be getting all wound up and not going to ever get marching. It almost seemed like there were more police than protesters when we rode our cruiser bikes there. Also most of the roads in Hollywood were closed. It was sort of a mess.


Monday, June 11, 2007

24 hours of adrenalin

We went up to Monterey and Laguna Seca for the annual mountain bike race; the 24 Hours of Adrenalin. Gary has done this for 4 years in a row now, competing on a team of 5 for the last 2 seasons. The first couple years being on 8 person teams. Our team is sponsored by Bad Boys Bail Bonds, and having a biking jersey from a bail bonds company is an added treat.

It is always a lot of fun, especially the last couple years. We get to see old friends and get in some good riding. Sarah has become the seasoned pro volunteering at the scoring table over the years. The course is usually both great and an absolute nightmare. This year was no exception, the course was expanded with more climbing and rutted downhill sections selected by some sort of sadist.

Gary and Lori getting ready for our lap of the course at night. We got the big headlights on and area ready for our 75 to 90 minute ride. It was dark 1/4 into this lap.
24 Hours of Adrenalin 2007 028

And really, what sort of mountain bike race would it be if the mountain biker kids didn't get to chase a clown? Not a sort of race I would want to go to, that's for sure! The bike race has a kids event each year; the 24 minutes of adrenalin. It's always lots of fun seeing the kids race around the campground. This year was no disappointment.

24 Hours of Adrenalin 2007 014

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

San Diego & wild animals

We went to San Diego over Memorial Day weekend. We met up with Gary's cousin Kelly, cousin Chris, Chris's wife Marci, their daughter Emma and twins Liam & Spencer. We met up at the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park. The kids had a great time, and the adults were pretty impressed with the park also.

Chris (holding Spencer) and Kelly (holding Liam).

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Giraffes at the Wild Animal Park. If you want to spend lots of money, you can take a truck ride through the fenced off areas of the park and hand-feed the giraffes.

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Fireworks are Petco Park. Gary, Sarah and Chris caught the game. Great stadium and we had pretty good seats as well.

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I posted additional photos on Flickr

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Amaryllis bloom

Amaryllis bloom
Originally uploaded by Minnaert.
Sarah's aunt Sue wanted us to take a picture of the amaryllis flower we have on our balcony to see if it matched the bulbs they have. Here you go Sue. I think ours is more red than theirs.

We visited everyone in Torrance on our way back from San Diego over the Memorial Day weekend. The amaryllis blooms in Torrance seemed to have more white in them.

Lots of blooms though, the plants on the balcony are doing pretty well overall, they get lots of sun.

Friday, May 25, 2007

New 'puter for Sarah

We have shared a home desktop computer for a long time. Sarah has wanted a laptop for a long time, so she can take it when traveling and just for moving around the place. Circuit City had a pretty good sale on a Compaq, and here it is.

We originally brought home a 17 inch monitor HP laptop, but it was kind of a monster, so we exchanged it for a smaller and cheaper one. This one is pretty nice, Windows Vista and everything.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

gary's knee

My right knee has been hurting lately, especially when i've gone on long bike rides. I went to the doctor the other day to have it checked out. He thinks my femur might have worn a groove or something in my knee cap. Anyway, take a look and tell me what you think.

I'm going to go to physical therapy this week, and if that does very little, i'm gonna check with a orthopedist. I might be going under the knife... or 'scope i guess.

Side view knee xrayBoth Knees Xray

- gary

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Price is Right Crowd

This is the line up outside of the CBS Television City studios on Fairfax Avenue by us. Why are people camping out here at about 2pm on a Sunday? Why... to be on one of the remaining few episodes of The Price is Right with Bob Barker!

People line up a day before. They often have matching t-shirts all ready to go.

- Gary

Friday, April 13, 2007

Easter Eggs

We drove up to Santa Cruz for the Easter weekend. Dianne and her boyfriend Adam decorated eggs with us.

We had an actual contest. We were our own judges, along with Les & Francine. The categories were "best use of color", "ugliest", "Hippiest" among others. Gary won for ugliest.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Watts Towers

WattsTowers_March2007 024
Originally uploaded by Minnaert.
We went to Watts Towers last weekend. Watts remains not the best neighborhood, but the towers are really quite cool. Reminds you a lot of Gaudi's buildings in Barcelona. The towers were built by Simon Rodia over 30 years, starting in 1921. Definitely worth seeing... the tour tries to make him seem more sane than he most likely was.

whomever visits us next is going to get the hard sell to visit them.

- Gary