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April 28, 2010

Slugs with shells, right?

Prior to moving to my current condo complex, my experience with snails was reasonably limited. If I had to give my best estimate, I'd say the number of encounters with naturally-occurring snails in my lifetime did not reach a dozen.

It was rare enough, in fact, that I so very clearly remember one incident:

Several of us were leaving work, and someone noticed a snail. We crouched down and admired its shell, its translucent body, its stocky antennae. We'd barely gotten over our fascination and stood up when another coworker came out of the building.

"Look! A snail!" someone said as Val walked to join us on our way to the parking lot.

"Oo, where?" she asked excitedly, just as her foot came down with a crunch. "OH NO!"

We all gasped in horror. Our unusual little friend had met his end.

Which is in stark contrast to my current snail experience. For some strange, aligning-of-the-cosmos reason, our condo complex is a mecca for snails. It varies by the time of year, of course, but I don't think I've spent a single day where I haven't seen at least several snails.

And quite often, it's like navigating a mine field. Take this morning, for example. Now, given, it rained a little last night, which may or may not have some bearing on the number of snails. But just in the first five minutes of my walk with Chloe, I counted over a hundred snails. And those are just the ones in my direct field of vision along the sidewalk. I stopped counting at a hundred, and continued our walk.

I try very hard not to squish any, which results in spending most of the time walking with my eyes glued to the path in front of me.

And snails are weird! They congregate around fallen (squashed) comrades. Their shiny, gooey trails wiggle and wind in unusual patterns across the sidewalk. And our snails come in all sizes--from teeny-tiny, barely visible little guys to big, mature adult snails.

I wish I knew what it was about this particular location that attracts what seems to be all of California's snail population.

April 27, 2010


Sometimes, I'm too tired to go to bed.

I know, I know. That doesn't make any sense, Kate!

But going to bed is a process. There are pajamas to get into. Face must be washed, teeth brushed, contacts removed. THEN bed. And sometimes, all of that is too much effort.

So I sit here at the computer, desperately wanting nothing more than to snuggle down under my comfy comforter and catch some Z's, and the more tired I am, the more daunting the getting-ready-for-bed task seems. So I sit. And get more tired. And sit, and get more tired.

And sit.

And get more tired.

Okay, I'm going now. Really.

April 18, 2010

The Story of Us

Early April 2009

The phone rings. Elaina. "Do you want a date?" she asked.
"...to what?"
"Just a date. To go on a date," she said. " All my friends have gotten girlfriends except for my friend Steve, and now he's at the point where he's willing to endure more of a commute for a girlfriend. Will you go on a date with him?"
"Um, sure?" I mean, what harm would it do?
"Okay, I'm going to bring him to Paley. If you like him, you guys can go out."

Now, I'd been set up before, and it hadn't worked out well. I tend to be awkward and nervous when I know I'm being set up, and not myself at all. In fact, I'd specifically told my friends that, if they were going to set me up with someone, to not tell me. I'd rather either find out later when he ended up asking me out, or not find out at all. Anyway, I figured I'd now endure one more awkward evening, or not, and it would be fine.

April 14, 2009

Elaina, Danny, Steve and I went to the Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog panel at the Paley Festival. I knew I was supposed to be checking Steve out, but he didn't. He knew something was up, though, because not only did Elaina make Steve dress up, but she made Danny dress up, too.

April 15, 2009

I had two missed calls on my phone from a number I did not recognize. From an area code I did not recognize. And they didn't leave a message. Then I got a call from Elaina. She said Steve had been trying to call me (from his Fresno-area code cell phone), and that she'd told him not to leave a message, but could I please call him back? I did. And we set a date for Friday.

April 17, 2009

I met Steve at Cafe Firenze in Moorpark. We were both early. We had a delicious dinner and fabulous conversation. We played pool after, and made arrangements to get together that Sunday.

[Lots of awesome stuff happened. And I fell in love.]

Winter, 2009

The second set of Steve's friends had just gotten engaged, making almost everyone in the group of friends married or engaged.

Steve: "Do you feel left out that we're not engaged?"
Kate: "No. It'll happen when it's meant to. Besides, I think it's reasonable to have been dating at least a year before we get engaged, don't you?"

April 17, 2010 - Our One-Year Anniversary

We went back to Cafe Firenze, which we hadn't been back to since our first date. We ordered almost exactly the same meal, and we even had much the same conversation by remembering what we'd talked about a year ago.

After dinner, we went to Stargazer Park, which we'd driven by once on an attempt to take the back roads to my house. We strolled through, looked at stars and the crescent moon, and talked about how, a year ago, we never saw ourselves here.

Then Steve tripped. And fell flat out on the ground, getting grass-burn on his arm.

"What did you even trip on?" I asked, looking at the perfectly level grass. When I looked back down at him, he was on one knee, holding a box. Which he couldn't open. He turned it over and around several times before he could reveal the beautiful diamond ring inside. I don't even remember what he said at this point, but I said "Of course I'll marry you!"

And I forgot to put the ring on. And then I remembered, and I haven't stopped grinning since.

I told him to wait a year, and he did. One year to the day.



It's so much sparklier in person! Pictures don't do it justice.

No, we don't know when the wedding will be. No, we don't know where. No, we don't have a wedding party picked out or colors decided on. But we will. Soon. :)

April 14, 2010

My trip in pictures

Last week, I was in Chicago primarily to attend my dad's parents' joint funeral. It happened to also be Easter weekend.

Eggs! And more eggs! Emmie, Steve, Jess and I had a blast coloring eggs Saturday night, and then used them in egg salad, as deviled eggs, and as the table centerpiece during Easter dinner.

Eggs, eggs, and more eggs

...and more eggs!

The cousins spent part of the afternoon playing on the old play structure and tree swing in the backyard. Mom and Dad's neighbors offered up their trampoline, so we took advantage. It's been years since I was last on a trampoline! So much fun!

Jump! Jump!

Cousins Emmie and Phil

Monday was the funeral. Since Grandpa passed away in October of 2008 and Grandma in December of 2009 (after a decade of battling Alzheimer's), I didn't think the burial would be emotional. I was wrong. There was a rifle salute and a solo trumpeter playing Taps, and it was beautiful and sad. We all went to a delicious lunch afterward and shared memories and stories, and I think it was actually a very fitting day.

Rifle Salute

Our "vacationy" stuff came later in the week. Steve, Jess and I went downtown to the Museum of Science and Industry (weather exhibit! chick hatchery! crime lab fingerprinting! coal mining tour! Mindball--competitive relaxation--which I lost!), the Shedd Aquarium (dolphins and sea turtles and baby belugas, oh my!), the Field Museum (dinosaurs! mummies! GIANT BUGS!), and the Oriental Theatre to see Billy Elliot (ohmygosh fantastic). All over the span of two days. We also went to the war museum at Cantigny, climbed on the tanks, and walked through the gardens.


Jess and me downtown

Steve & Me

Steve and me by the creek

Aaaaannnd... that was about it! There was much spending time with family, and too little spending time with friends, but there's always Christmas.