Thursday, November 5, 2009

Letter from Home

I got the best letter in the mail today! My brother, Andrew sent me this letter with a great hand drawn winter scene on the bottom. It makes me so eager to be home again! Only 50 days to go....the count down has begun. 

I can't wait to be home for Christmas - it has been a couple of years since I was home on Christmas day, so this year is going to be wonderful.

Thanks for the letter, Andrew - it is up on our fridge now beneath our Durango magnet. Love you so much. 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Homes of Hope Trip

Homes of Hope 2009 from Lorissa Medrano on Vimeo.
Vince and I went on a trip to Ensenada with our church to build a home for the Talavera family. This is the 42 home that our church has built over the years! It was amazing to see how fast a home can be built when a group of people works together. All in all it took us 2 days.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monday at the Zoo

Last week Vince and I spent our day off at the San Diego Zoo, and the next day my legs were incredibly tired from all the walking....up hill, down hill, up hill, down hill. The zoo, though, was a lot of fun. We saw some incredible animals, watched a bird show, saw hippos kissing, took a guided zoo tour, rode the overhead gondolas and walked through the zoo's new Elephant Odyssey exhibit.

Among the cutest animals we saw that day were definitely the hippos (my camera died before we got to them) and then these guys - the koalas and the panda bears, both of which were napping! The San Diego Zoo just had a new baby boy panda born this summer, he isn't out in the panda habitat yet until he grows a little more, I can't wait to go back and see him - who doesn't love a baby panda?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Homes of Hope

Jesus brought us to Ensenada early Friday morning.... no, really, Jesus brought us on his bus.

Once we arrived we unpacked at the YWAM compound and found our rooms - we girls got a great view of the ocean from our bedroom window.

Our church brought down 21 people, ranging from 8 years old to....well, we'll just say grandparent age! Men, women, youth and children all of us with the objective to build a home for a family in Ensenada. Some of us were mechanically inclined, several were construction experts, but most of us were amateurs, or worse!

Then, it was off to the job sight where we met the family that we would be building a home for. They were wonderful, I fell in love with the girls and their cousins by the end of the weekend!

Unfortunately, the first day I did not take many pictures of the construction process because I was busy with a hammer most of the day. I was able to help build the framing, put up the siding and install the drywall - oh, and did I mention I got to operate the gun/hammer that shot nails into the cement foundation? It was pretty fun, I had to install at .22 cartridge and then BANG shoot it off into the foundation... Hopefully I will get some pictures of the house going up from Dick Johnson who was our official photographer for the trip.

The second day, 5 of us from the team put on a toned down version of a VBS on the side of the road next to the job sight. We had crafts, face painting, games, food, puppet shows and best of all, a pinata!

We weren't sure how many kids would show up, but within minutes of setting up we had dozens and dozens of children racing over to us. Final count was upwards of 50 kids!

By the end of the second day, we had a completed house. This is the 42nd home that our church has had the opportunity to build with Homes of Hope in Ensenada - the first for Vince and I, and we can't wait to go back again.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Back from Mexico

2 days later, one house built, 50 children fed and played with - and we are back home in San Diego. We had an amazing trip down in Ensendada. The first day I helped frame the house, put on the siding and the drywall and the second day I played with all the neighborhood children while the rest of the team finished the roof and the finishing touches. I was amazed at how fast a team of people can accomplish an entire house when we are all working together. It was a blessing to be able to partner with our Father as he provided for his children! 

Now, I'm off to bed, hopefully to sleep off whatever little bug I picked up while we were gone (nothing serious - just a bad cold/sour throat/cough thing). Tomorrow I'll see about loading all my photos and writing a new blog posting to show you all - I got tons of fun pictures with all the beautiful and hilarious children, oh, and pictures of the house! See you all tomorrow then. Goodnight. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

Off to Mexico for the weekend. We are building a house with our church - this will be our 42nd house! I'll update you all first thing next week - hopefully with some pictures if the family and their new home.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Girls... and Joel

Living in California I don't get to see my family as much as I would like - so I was very excited when my little sisters, Anna and April, let me know that they were going to be in the LA area for a girls conference.

So, friday morning I drove up from San Diego to meet them at Huntington Beach.

From the beach we headed over to a shopping mall to meet up with Joel and Emily for an afternoon of goofing off... we ate, we laughed, we ate some more and even rode a carousel... if only we all lived a bit closer!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Starbucks Instant Coffee?

Vince and I stopped by a Starbucks tonight (I'm still trying to find some good local coffee roasters in San Diego - because really, Starbucks is not my cup of tea - please excuse a bad pun.... or not a pun because it's coffee and not tea, hmm) anyways, as I was ordering I notice a giant display for a new Starbucks product, Via, the instant coffee packet. Now, let me stop right here to say that no genuine, self-loving coffee shop would ever imagine to sell instant coffee. Yet, as I was ordering and marveling over this new addition, a loyal employee handed me four sample packets of Via and began the scripted praise of this break-through coffee innovation that tastes just as good as the real deal. Again, let me stop right here, this employee said that in taste tests she and the other baristas couldn't tell the difference between Via, the instant coffee, and the fresh brewed coffee that is the Starbucks staple. What exactly should we conclude from this statement? That either, the employees are so coffee illiterate that they cannot tell the difference between instant and brewed coffee, or Starbucks brewed coffee is of such poor quality that even a powdered-just-add-water version can easily compare in a tastes tests. Neither option bodes well for Starbucks, so can I humbly offer to this corporation that they cease and desist selling this product or at the very least, stop advertising it as an equal alternative to their genuine coffee?

I suppose I should at least try the Via packets I was given by this coffee-expert of an employee, and if by some miracle they really are as good as brewed coffee - I will be forced to come back to eat my words. If not, I will continue my search for a genuine local coffee shop with renewed fervor.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Green Thumb Update: becoming increasingly more chartreuse

I thought it would be appropriate to update you all on my recent blog post on my adventures into the horticultural world. Although things were looking promising the first few weeks and even months, recent events have transpired to undermine my green thumb, and have rendered it a yellowish chartreuse.

San Diego has been hit over the past several weeks with a heat spell that has thrown us into the triple digits on multiple occasions. Needless to say, even my sun loving outdoor plants have had a hard time with this barrage of sunshine and incessant heat, my beautiful black-eyed susan was the first casualty - I have cut her back and hope that maybe she will perk up again one day. The others have all withstood fairly well, and some have even grown, so - maybe loosing one is not so bad?

On to the indoor plants, I had two lovely orchids which I purchased in July and were doing quite well until they very suddenly croaked about a week or two ago. What was I thinking trying to raise orchids in an un-air-conditioned home?

The big hit in all of this, however, has been my windowsill cactus garden, you remember - the ones I started from seed. They just so happen to love a hot house and all this San Diego sunshine. I've got over a dozen miniature cacti growing, and they are finally into the stage where they look like the real deal, little spikes and all.

The success in this department, and disappointments in others, led me to delve further into the world of succulents. I took some clippings from some of my outdoor plants (some form of a succulent but I'm not sure it's actual name) and have potted them as an addition to the windowsill garden. They seem to be very hardy little fellows and have quickly sprouted roots. I think my next purchases will definitely be more succulents - for they seem quite suited to my particular color of green thumb!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Warnings for Bloggers from E.B. White

It has been unusually hot in San Diego this past week, and with the excuse of avoiding the heat of my home, I ventured to a local bookstore to "enjoy the air-conditioning." Needless to say, it only took ten or so minutes before I had found a book that needed to come home with me. For some time I had been searching for a compilation of essays by E.B. White, the author of the beloved children's books Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan. Besides these works in children's literature, White has been heralded as one of the premier essayists of the twentieth-century.

As I was reading, I was struck with some of the similarities between the essayist of White's time and our modern day 'bloggers.' Now, I am not saying that many (or any for that matter) bloggers are of the same literary level as Woolf, Owell or White - but some similarities do seem to appear.

The excerpts bellow are all from White's own forward to his collection of essays Essays by E.B. White, published by HarperPerennial, 1992. When reading, it is not a far stretch to replace the 'essayist' with the 'blogger.'

The essayist is a self-liberated man, sustained by the childish belief that everything he thinks about, everything that happens to him, is of general interest. He is a fellow who thoroughly enjoys his work, just as people who take bird walks enjoy theirs. Each new excursion of the essayist, each new "attempt," differs form the last and takes him into new country. This delights him. Only a person who is congenitally self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write essays.

I think some people find the essay the last resort of the egoist, a much too self-conscious and self-serving form for their taste; they feel that it is presumptuous of a writer to assume that his little excursions or his small observations will interest the reader. There is some justice in their complaint. I have always been aware that I am by nature self-absorbed and egoistical; to write of myself to the extent I have done indicates a too great attention to my own life, not enough to the lives of others.

Too, true. A blogger must first believe that someone, anyone, even a stranger, is interested in their day-to-day happenings and random thoughts. If you are not self-centered enough to believe that someone is out in cyberspace waiting and even excited to read your musings, you wouldn't have a blog in the first place!

Read on, however, for a warning to all you over-eager bloggers.

I tend still to fall back on the essay form (or lack of form) when an idea strikes me, but I am not fooled about the place of the essay in the twentieth-century American letters - it stands a short distance down the line. The essayist, unlike the novelist, the poet, and the playwright, must be content in his self-imposed role of second-class citizen. A writer who has his sights trained on the Nobel Prize or other earthly triumphs had best write a novel, a poem, or a play, and leave the essayist to ramble about, content with living a free life and enjoying the satisfactions of a somewhat undisciplined existence.

Ah, the pin that will pop our narcissistic bubble - our words are quickly forgotten, our thoughts read and disposed, each entry lasting only long enough to be checked off of someone's google reader list.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Home Improvements?

I tried my hand at being a.... handy man, hmmm a little redundant. I came home from work and was in the mood to spruce up the house. You ever feel like that? Some days I'm exhausted and just want to sit still for a while, other days I feel like I need to accomplish something, anything.

Item one: trim the trees and bushes, I even got rid of all the little suckers that were growing off of the trees. Afterwards I was crawling with tiny spiders and fluorescent green bugs - the price you pay!

Item two: fertilize and water the plants in and outside - I'll have you know that all the plants are still alive, yes one indoor and one outdoor plant are on their way to being compost.... but if you look and the overall statistics I'm doing pretty good with the green thumb.

Item three: take care of the slow-draining right side of the kitchen sink, or at least try. I felt like a reel plumber afterwards. I removed the p-trap (I've even got the plumber lingo down), cleaned it out, bleached it (ok, maybe overkill, but I don't like germs and the thing really stank), and safely put it back where it came from. Unfortunately the story does not have a happy ending, apparently the p-trap was not the only problem in the plumbing, because the sink is still draining just as slow as it did yesterday - at least I can say I tried.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Coronado Island on Our Beach Cruisers

Since we moved to San Diego, I decided that Vince and I needed to pick up a hobby that we could do together when we aren't working - some kind of joint activity that wouldn't break the bank if we did it on a regular basis. We went out on a date night and I brought up the subject - and we almost immediately came up with the idea to get bikes to ride around all the many beautiful spots in San Diego.

So, a couple of weeks ago we started shopping around and found two of the cutest beach cruisers down in Pacific Beach, and brought them home with us a week or so ago. I am beginning to compile a list of all the fun places I want to go explore on our new bikes - all the many wonderful beaches, cute little towns, Balboa Park. I love seeing new sites and what better way to enjoy them then riding around on a bicycle in 72 degree San Diego?

My little blue bike!
Next plan - leather colored seat and hand grips, and a wicker basket on the front!

Vince's retro bike - isn't it adorable? I love it and so does he.

Our maiden voyage was this Monday, we strapped the bikes to the back of our little car and drove across the bridge to Coronado Island (technically not an island... since it is slightly attached to the mainland by the Silver Strand, oh well). We spent the day riding around the quaint little town, along a bike path that runs along the beach over half the island, we got to see ocean, beautiful homes, an amazing view of downtown San Diego across the water, lovely coves filled with sail boats and yachts and all of it with a nice breeze and sunshine. I have to say that it was a most beautiful day and one that I will definitely want to repeat soon! Next time I think we will park in downtown San Diego and take our bikes across on the ferry, it is supposed to be a lovely boat ride.

Can't wait to see where we head this Monday! But until then, I'm gonna continue enjoying our evening rides after dinner around our new neighborhood.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I've Got a Green Thumb!

I just wanted to take a moment to announce I have discovered I possess a green thumb! Yes, I know that many of you doubted this fact, as did I. But, recent events have lead me to believe that perhaps I can keep plants alive more than a few days. I have listed the evidence below.

Here is my favorite - a beautiful purple orchid, that has stayed alive for six weeks - 3 of which I was out of town for - I'm not sure if this is a proof of my gardening capabilities or that plants live longer when I leave them alone....I'll leave you to decide.

Proof #2: A second orchid, this one admittedly is having a rougher time than orchid #1 - but alive nonetheless.

My window garden, newly purchased - and still waiting to be taken out of the pots and planted in the window box. The flowers do wonders to cheer up the front of our house - they make me smile every time I come home!

I finally found some lavender plants - you could not imagine how hard it was to find them. I searched several different stores, many of which I had seen plants in only days earlier. Success at last - and now I get to enjoy the beautiful aroma of lavender wafting through my bedroom window!

This is not exactly proof of a green thumb on my part, it is just a cute watering can I purchased at the hight of my gardening-frenzy. Isn't it adorable? It makes watering so much more enjoyable!

And finally, the beginnings of a cactus garden. Every California home needs its own cactus - and I am faithfully cultivating mine. I've planted a couple of seeds per teeny-tiny pot, and placed them in a greenhouse/incubator on my kitchen windowsill. And today, what did I see, but a couple of green little shoots emerging from the soil - It is an exciting day indeed!