Sunday, December 30, 2012

I got engaged!!!!!!!!!!!


Dec. 27th Thursday – After spending the night at Angela’s, we took Keenan to San Diego. The plan was to go around Balboa and if we had time; to go and see the Midway and surrounding area. We got a lot of cool pictures around Balboa park; seeing all the architectural features and the fountains. Dad and Keenan decided to go to the Japanese gardens since Keenan had a membership there. We went in and took pictures of the plants and bamboo. There was this really neat koi pond with a waterfall, but a huge group was nearby having a tour. We went on around them and took pictures of these little trees, waiting for the crowd to go away. When they finally left, we all headed back and began to take pictures. The lighting was beautiful! It looked quite magical. 

Keenan then decided to hand his camera to Matt and get our picture together in front of the waterfall and koi pond. Little did I know that it was his cue to my family that he was going to propose. We posed for a picture and then Keenan began to tell me how much he loved me and how wonderful it would be to spend the rest of our lives together. He then kneeled and asked me to marry him as he held out a white box with the most beautiful ring I have ever seen. I was crying with happiness and joy as I fell on my knees and hugged him and said yes after calling him a stinker for surprising me. My whole family caught it all on cameras or an iPhone right there. It was amazing! 

After exiting the Japanese gardens, we went over to see the Midway and surrounding area. The giant statue of the sailor kissing the nurse wasn’t there for some odd reason. I wanted to see if the one in San Diego was larger than the one in Sarasota FL, but I couldn’t tell because it wasn’t there. Oh well. We then went to Buster’s for dinner. I had clam chowder in a sourdough bowl with a Caesar salad, it was quite good! Their ahi poke was amazing. It was one of the best days in my life. I love my fiance. 

Dec. 22-26, 2012


Dec. 22nd Saturday – We went to the Selby Botanical Gardens this afternoon, it was very nice! We visited the greenhouse there which was jam packed with plants, orchids and all sorts of plants. The Japanese garden was pretty neat too. We then saw some Banyan trees (my first time). Those are the weirdest trees I’ve seen in a very long time! They have roots that come down from the branches. Super weird. We had a snack of cookies and coffee/tea at the shop down there and explored the house on the grounds. It was all decorated for Christmas and quite eclectic. We then went to the Marina Jack which is basically a bay filled with boats and had City Island Park nearby. We walked around and saw a famous statue of a WW2 navy sailor kissing a nurse and the brass sign that Keenan designed. That was pretty cool seeing his sign in such a prominent area. We then walked around the dock looking at the city skyline, ocean waves with nearby rocks and the banyan trees. Dinner was at Panera bread – their food is amazing. We wrapped up the evening by enjoying some pictures we took earlier this week and watching “The Nativity Story” which is an annual tradition in Keenan’s family. It was a good day!

Dec. 23rd Sunday – Today is “Christmas Adam” according to Ashley Goetsch, lol. (Because tomorrow is Christmas Eve ;-) We went to church that morning, that church is so friendly and nice. That afternoon, the Portileaxs came over. They’re age-long friends with Keenan and his parents. We mainly talked about Star Wars and everything surrounding it. That was fun. We went to church that evening where I got to meet some more people and fellowship with those I already knew. It was a good evening,

Dec. 24th Monday – Today is Christmas Eve! How did it get here so fast? It somehow doesn’t feel like it right now, but I’m sure it will when we start opening presents. Mark, Keenan and I ran to the store and got some presents for Wynn and looked at guns and knives at this other store. That was fun. One of Keenan’s clients, Steve and Maryann stopped by and visited. He has a business teaching driving lessons, and his website was built by Keenan. They were really sweet. Mark and Keenan took Lydia and Ashley to the airport so they can spend Christmas with their dad James in Baltimore. Meanwhile, Wynn and I cleaned out shells and made cranberry delight. Once they got back, we went to the candlelit service at Keenan’s church and sang a lot of Christmas carols. It was quite lovely. We had turkey burgers for dinner that night and then opened presents! Everyone liked what they received – I got Wynn Christmas music and scented hand sanitizers, Mark got a Sudoku book and Keenan got a Seattle Space Needle Lego set and a book “How to win friends and influence people” which he had been wanting to read for a while now. It was a successful night. J

Dec. 25th Tuesday – We had breakfast at the house once Robyn, Kamu and Granddaddy all slowed up. Everyone enjoyed the cranberry delight I made, and the conversation was lively. After the breakfast, Keenan and I packed during the afternoon and got mostly everything all set to go. We had a pleasant walk around the neighborhood with Wynn and saw how bright the stars were. Keenan got out his telescope and we did some stargazing. We examined the moon, Jupiter and three of its moons, the Orion Nebula and Serious (my favorite star located beneath Orion) and then went inside. It was a delightful day.

Dec. 26th Wednesday – Keenan got a call from Southwest and learned that our Tampa flight to Houston was delayed long enough to miss the connecting flight (which was the last one to LAX from Houston)…..so we got a new flight that went through Kansas City. We got that flight and found out when we were landing that we would have to run to make the connecting flight. Fortunately, they held the plane for us. I do NOT want to do that again. We got to see some snow from the night sky; that was pretty cool. On the second flight, since we were practically the last ones boarding, there were no two open seats together so Keenan and I had to sit apart from each other. I sat between an elderly couple and Keenan was behind me a couple of aisles. He gave me his ipad so I got to watch Princess Bride. He is so sweet! We landed safely at LAX and my family got us Tulsa for dinner.

Friday, December 21, 2012

12/21/12


Dec. 21st Friday – We did a lot today, but it certainly wasn’t the end of the world! First off, we shopped at Venice at this cute little store called Sea Pleasures and Treasures. It had a lot of variety of shells and Florida memorabilia. I got a lot of nice souvenirs! After walking around Venice, we had a delicious lunch at Checker’s which is basically a combination of Sonic and InNOut. It was amazing! I want to eat their food again. Next, we then visited Kamu’s new house. She and her husband Jim Wood now live in a nice home surrounded with lots of wood, giving it a rustic feel. We spent some time with her and admiring her new rooms and how she had decorated for Christmas. It was a good bonding time and a chance to see more of Keenan's side of the family.

Afterwards, we visited North Jetty Beach on Casey Key. They had a red flag warning about the waves as it was very windy and cold. The tide was out and there were literally *thousands* of shells on the beach. I have NEVER seen so many shells in my entire life! After cramming as many shells into various pockets as possible, we visited Tim’s sign shop. Their Boston terrier dogs were SO excited to see us. I finally met Bobo and Mini, they were so cute. Wynn had brought some plastic cartons for them to play with and they had the best time with it! They love to completely flatten and chew the living daylights out of those plastic cartons. It was nice to meet Tim and his wife Janis. We had a great time there.

We then dashed off back home to change and get ready for our Sunday school class’ game night at the church. Mark Jellema, Brittany and Drew Jackson, Andy and Jeremiah (Keenan’s best friends) and two other church people all came. We had pizza and a played few weird games. It was great to finally meet Keenan’s childhood friends. Keenan and I wrapped up the evening by playing some Minecraft.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dec.17-20


Dec. 17th Monday – It was a pretty light day; we ran some errands around Sarasota. I got to set foot in Publix! It’s pretty much like any other grocery store. I baked some mint chocolate chip cookies and Keenan baked these amazing brownies (of a sort) that had graham crackers, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and coconut. It was pretty rich, but so yummy! I guess all the baking made us sleepy as most of us took a nap before dinner. After a quiet dinner of leftover chili, our guests began to arrive. Ruth Quimba, Donna and Stan (Wynn’s friends), Pastor Jackson and his wife Martha and Cinnamon and Vinton came. The girls had very interesting conversation topics, including Florida bugs, homeschooling, etc. My family kept me up late texting all kind of silly things. I think they miss me.

Dec. 18th Tuesday – We woke up early and began our trip to the Bok Tower Gardens located in Lake Wales about 2 hours away. After grabbing my first mocha frappichino from Starbucks, we drove on a beautiful highway surrounded by many green trees and shrubberies. We arrived at Lake Wales and saw this neat old train sitting there neglected on the tracks. The train had a bright red quaint caboose, a passenger train and an old disintegrating locomotive. Keenan and I took a lot of pictures around the train, and the tracks. Wynn convinced us to check out this little tourist trap that had a lot of dolls, dollhouses and other memorabilia from Lake Wales and its history. It had a very nice N scale train setup in the back of the museum, even though it was very warm in the building. Apparently, the city helped export oranges, and during the depression, the craftsmen were able to find work by designing the ornate ironwork for the nearby Bok tower. After grabbing a quick lunch at McDonald’s, we drove through the town again, admiring the little quaint old town.

Once we arrived at the Bok tower gardens, I knew it was going to be awesome! The trees were beautiful, and the squirrels have quite the character out here! The tower was huge, and looked pink from a distance. It seriously did look like Isengard with the balconies so high near the top. It had a moat surrounding it with the biggest fish swimming near the surface, hoping for people to feed them. The bell tower began to play Christmas carols as we admired the beauty of the tower and its surrounding area. Keenan and I got a lot of nice shots. After the songs ended and the mosquitoes started showing up, we moved on to the house. Every room was decorated for Christmas and was outstanding. The living room/music room was one of my favorites. I loved all the lights that permeated the place. After enjoying the outdoor gardens some more, we headed to Chili’s for dinner. I got these delicious chicken bacon ranch quesadillas. It was a very fun delightful day,

Dec. 19th Wednesday – I *majorly* slept in; it felt so good after that long day on Tuesday. I got to play Minecraft for the first time, it’s a very addicting game (so much so, I can understand why its called “Mine crack”) We went to church in the evening and brought one of Wynn’s friends, Nancy, with us.

Dec. 20th Thursday – Keenan, Mark and I played Minecraft again during the morning and early afternoon. Wynn went to teach at the Christian school at the church while we played the computer game. Mark and Keenan left briefly to go grab sub sandwiches from Publix, Keenan got me a turkey club. After Wynn got back, we all went to Siesta Key Beach, where the sand is super soft, white and with the consistency of flour. It was absolutely stunningly spectacular! We ate our subs there on the picnic table and walked around on the soft white beach. The sunset was spectacular with its bright vivid pinks reflecting on the sea. There was long grass nearby the shore along with some blooming little sunflowers. The Mexican gulf was a light sea green color, quite unlike the Pacific which I’m used to. I got my feet wet after the sun started to go down; the water was still pretty cool, but not bathwater warm. We collected some shells as we walked along and took a lot of pictures. After we rinsed our feet and dried off, we checked out a few touristy shops nearby in Siesta village. On the way home, we grabbed some mint chip ice cream and double chocolate chip ice cream. Keenan and I ate our ice cream while watching the first half of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (movie one, part one). It was a perfect day. We even have a light lightning storm tonight!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Busy Sunday (16th)


Dec. 16th Sunday – Today being Sunday, we went to church at Liberty Baptist in Sarasota. We arrived in time for Sunday school and I got to meet a lot of people, including the famous Mark Jellma (Keenan’s SS teacher, a deacon and his good friend), Eric and his wife, Cinnamon Celise (she works with the sound system) and in the evening service, I got to meet Bill and Tiphany Chatzistamatis and their cute little girl Kara. The preaching there was great, Dr Gary Jackson preached about the “Incarnation of the Christ of Christmas” and after the service, he asked for people to share some praises/prayer requests. Wynn (Keenan’s mom) raised her hand and was saying a praise how Keenan was home, and how I was able to come along from California. The pastor then asked “Are we just calling her a girlfriend?” Well, since there isn’t a stage between girlfriend and fiancĂ©e, its still girlfriend to the best of my knowledge. That was pretty funny, especially as half the church turned around to look at me, haha.

In the afternoon, Keenan’s two cousins Lydia and Ashley came over. A little bit later, their grandparents Jerre and Jim (aka Kamu and Granddaddy) arrived as well. We all ate Wynn’s delicious chili and broccoli slaw as well as my homemade jello and other snack foods. The jello turned out well, for which I am glad. After that, we all exchanged gifts. A lot of them were beautifully wrapped! I got Lydia a horse calendar and Ashley a Star Wars Lego set. She loves her Legos. Keenan and I got Kamu and Granddaddy a gift card to Panera, so they’ll have fun with that. After everyone left, Keenan and I walked around and enjoyed a lovely sunset by the pond in their subdivision. At the church service, I got to hang out in the back corner where the sound booth is located with Cinnamon and Keenan. That was fun. Hope that doesn’t make me a backslider! ;-) I got to see a few more people and fellowship a bit before we went home. We watched a lot of silly videos after having breakfast for dinner.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dec. 14th and 15th


Dec. 14th Friday – So far it looks like it’ll be a day to relax and take it easy. We had a fantastic brunch with pumpkin pancakes and all sorts of trimmings. This afternoon, Keenan, Wynn and I did a little shopping and got a few Christmas presents at Target and the mall. While on the way to the mall, we saw a Sand Hill crane and his mate. It was pretty cool, especially since those are an endangered bird, and rare to see. Afterwards, we went to the mall and looked around for a bit. Wynn treated us to hot chocolates at Starbucks. On the way back, we did some “light shopping” – where we look at the lit up Christmas decorated homes.

Dec. 15th Saturday – We had a relaxing morning. The guys played Minecraft again this morning…I’m considering installing it on my laptop so I can join them. It looks like a fun creative game. In the afternoon, Keenan, Wynn and I went out and ran some errands, such as this neat little bookstore, Target to grab some last minute presents, and Publix. It was funny how they reacted to the difference in the Best Food mayo/Hellmann’s mayo. In California, it’s Best Food. In Florida, it’s Hellmann’s. That was funny to point out.

A little history from Wikipedia revealed why:
 In 1905, Richard Hellmann from VetschauGermany, opened a delicatessen on Columbus Avenue in New York City, where he used his wife's recipe to sell the first ready-made mayonnaise. It became so popular that he began selling it in bulk to other stores. In 1912 he built a factory for producing Mrs. Hellmann's mayonnaise. It was mass marketed and called Hellmann's Blue Ribbon Mayonnaise. It was so successful; Hellmann closed his delicatessen by 1917 to devote full time to his mayonnaise business.

While Hellmann's Mayonnaise thrived on the U.S. East Coast, the California company Best Foods introduced their own mayonnaise. Best Foods Mayonnaise became popular on the West Coast.

In 1932, Best Foods bought the Hellmann's brand. By then both mayonnaises had such commanding market shares in their respective halves of the country that the company decided that both brands and recipes be preserved.

 To this day:
  • Best Foods Mayonnaise is sold west of the Rocky Mountains, specifically, in or west of MontanaWyomingColorado, and New Mexico.
  • Hellmann's is sold east of the Rockies, specifically, in or east of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Prior to 1960, Hellmann's and Best Foods were advertised both in the same advertisements. The ads pointed out that it is known as Hellmann's in the East, and Best Foods in the West.

So at Target, I had the brilliant idea to check the Christmas section to find the new “ugly ornament of the year.” It’s a new family tradition on my side of the family. Target gets these random ugly ornaments (usually covered in glitter) and its some animal, usually dressed up. This year, it’s a surfing penguin. I texted Mom to make sure they didn't buy it already, and they had bought that same one the day before. Great minds think alike!

We had Chick-fil-A for lunch which was timely and delicious. The sunset tonight was really pretty, the light made a beautiful orange gradient against the clouds. This evening, we had a low key dinner using some sourdough we got at Panera today. Wynn and I started preparing food for a family Christmas party tomorrow with Keenan’s cousins and grandparents. I made my Nana’s jello, but with a few tweaks here and there. Hoping it goes well tomorrow!

Friday, December 14, 2012

First few days


Dec. 12th – After a loud bumpy bus ride, Keenan and I arrived at LAX to fly via Southwest Airlines to Tampa, Florida. We had a connecting flight in Houston – my first time in Texas! Jose Guaita stayed with us during all our flights – he’s a freshman from Keenan’s church. I remember him visiting WCBC for college days my sophomore year. The flight was fun! I was a bit nervous, but takeoff was so much fun! After we leveled out, the flight attendants were very helpful and were handing out drinks and snacks. The bathroom on the airline reminds me of a bathroom on an RV – very small and tight. I had a great view by the window seat – we sat over the right wing of the plane. When we landed in Houston, Keenan got us our lunch (in Texas, it was about 5pm) at Subway.

The second flight was from Houston to Florida after the sun had gone down. Houston is amazing when lit up at night! It was incredible. When we approached Tampa, it was foggy and I couldn't see the runway until a few seconds before we landed. o.0 Wynn, Mark and the Guaitas greeted us at the airport with a giant welcome home sign. It was a little damp and humid, but warm when we arrived. It was dark when we got to Florida, so I really couldn't see how green it was, but there were a lot of different lights. Some of their traffic lights have a blue light underneath so cops can see which light is red from another angle to catch people who run red lights. Thought that was a little different. I’m staying in Keenan’s room. It’s a little weird to sleep in a room with so many pictures of me!

***

Dec. 13th – After a short time of sleep, I really felt the jet lag that next morning. After eating a quick breakfast, Keenan and I joined his mom and went to their church in Sarasota. Liberty Baptist is a beautiful church that looks very similar to my own. Wynn, Keenan’s mom, teaches art at the Christian school there. I got a grand tour of the church and school, got to see (and play) a baby grand piano, a beautiful auditorium and see the school. The kids are super cute, especially as they greeted “Mr. Keenan” as he came back from college. After Wynn’s classes were done, we went to Chick-fil-A for lunch. Civilized country! ;-D

Once we arrived back at the house, we rested for the remainder of the afternoon. That evening, Wynn took me to her Sunday school class party, where another ladies Sunday school group met up as well. There were a LOT of new faces and names, but it was so much fun. I’m glad I went. It was funny as some ladies were teasing me that I had come all the way from California *just* to come to their party! It was truly a Baptist fellowship as there was plenty of food to go around. After everyone had something to eat, a small pail was passed around with one question that everyone had to draw and answer. A lot of the ladies were hoping to get one that asked about their grandchildren (or great grandchildren!). Mine asked how many states I lived in, and where. That was super easy, being the California girl visiting. It was a fun evening.