Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: O

O is for outstanding, the kind of grade given in early elementary school, and how I sum up 2012.

It was the kind of year defined by amazing experiences, sharing moments with family and friends, but also living every day life to the fullest. Scott and I ate some amazing meals, worked on our house, learned more about each other, watched friends and family get married, have babies, and celebrate milestone birthdays. While the year was full of highs, there were certainly moments of reflection in loss, specifically the passing of my grandfather.

Yet, I feel very fortunate that the entire year feels like a highlight reel, which is essentially this blog. I started this back in 2007, and while some of those early posts were pretty juvenile in nature as I figured out this public diary business, I'm happy that it's been fairly consistently updated. I started it because I don't like to write in a journal as my handwriting is too sloppy, and it's grown into a way to stay in touch with family and friends from near and far. While it's no Young House Love or Dooce, I'm glad my parents care enough to still read what their nearly 29-year-old daughter puts on the Internet. And offer suggestions :)

On the final day of 2012, it seems appropriate to list favorites. It's organized, there are photos, and a pretty bitchin' top three.

1. The day we jumped out of a plane

2. Hiking to Machu Piccu

3. Meeting Ina Garten

And what's New Year's Eve without a grand finale activity like riding a Segway for the first time?

Cheers to 2013, and all that it has in store!

-Madam Commissioner Erin Haselton

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy birthday, Sandy!

Happy birthday to the best mother-in-law I could ever ask for. Thank you for raising such a wonderful son and family that so many others get to enjoy. You are beloved!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

No title.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.”

—Fred Rogers

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cat's out of the bag

Merry Christmas from the Haseltons!

Photos taken by the talented and very patient Davis Barber!

Yes, it really is that awesome.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dollar Tree Christmas

Our neighbor held a Christmas party last night (note-more parties should occur Monday nights as it makes the day entirely more bearable) and the gift exchange consisted of five individual gifts purchased from the Dollar Tree or $.99 Store, that everyone randomly selected from.

This was pretty dang fun to shop for, though I'll kick myself of not getting photos of my purchases. Anyway, some lucky people walked away with:
  • REO Speedwagon's latest (not greatest) hits album
  • A "previously enjoyed" movie from 2007 starring Neve Campbell, touted as Waitress meets Devil Wears Prada. That sounds generous.
  • A $1 version of Jennifer Lopez' Glow perfume
  • An Angels Baseball garden gnome which I actually re-gifted. Kept the original 2013 kitties calendar for my office.
  • Serena Williams autobiography (which the check out girl asked me to "let her know how it was.") Mmmkay.
My treasures included a cooling sweatband, Vienna sausages, magic football that reveals itself as a towel in water, a stained oven mitt with Arabic words, and Fuze iced tea that I promptly switched for a most coveted Bump It.
Happy Christmas!

Beekman's FTW!

WOOOOOOOOOO! Love the Beekman's! They played fair and ran that race well!

Photo from here.
This is a few days late, but I still smile ear to ear at the image of them running into Gotham Hall. And in their home state and city to boot. Who doesn't love an underdog win? What a grand finale indeed.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Funday

My kind of Sundays are spent making meals that require extra TLC and are new to my recipe book.

Today was no exception with jambalaya for dinner. Lessons learned included being reminded that rice doubles and thus this jambalaya was rather thick. Yet, the flavor was good so I'll definitely do it again.

For dessert I used the apples picked last weekend to make a tart and we ate on lovely new dishes from Ashley :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

I'm with the DJ

My friend Courtney is carving out a name for herself in the DJ world and I am so happy that she's chasing her dream.

It can be hard to see her do her thang however, given that DJs generally work a shift I'll never see based upon my bedtime, work schedule, and proximity to LA. This DJ Dazzler has struck up a deal with a restaurant/club right here in our city and spins Wednesday nights, so there was no better time than Thanksgiving Eve to finally see her. Granted, a 9pm nap was required and some minor fretting about wardrobe, but so worth it. Plus, I experienced going out with my sister for the first time since her 21st and what a trip that is!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Romantic dates with friends

Farm houses, fall foliage, apple picking, donut eating, and long car rides with friends make for a lovely Sunday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dreams do come true!

Like meeting Ina "@&$?!$ Garten!!!!!!!!!!

And now, a pictorial for the history books.
1) My first (faux) glimpse of Ina today. 2-3) True fabulous fashion, they served cranberry bars-recipe in the cookbook, and espresso while we waited. 4) The posse!
1) ZOMG so excited! 2) THERE SHE IS!!!! 3) Speechless, except for gibberish squeal. 4) "Thank you, enjoy the cookbook." Our first conversation!!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veterans Day

No better way to spend Veterans Day than with Harrison who celebrated his honorable discharge with the Marines after eight years of service. Semper Fi!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Day!

I love the buzz, anticipation, loud opinions, and ticker tape of Election Day! Of course things don't always work out how I'd like, but we're lucky as Americans have the right to voice our opinion.

Last night we went to our first election party and stayed out way past my bedtime, but what a rush! I'm so proud and happy for one of our newest city council members, Jennifer Fitzgerald! It was an honor to help her campaign and of course watch her succeed. Holla!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is Halloween!

Best holiday all year!
Clockwise from top left: 
1) Former neighbors Spiderman and Madam Butterfly (Nathaniel and Vivien)
2) Homecoming Queen 2012 and her lair
3) Homecoing Queen 2001's boyfriend
4) Cutest gnome there ever was, Miles
5) Nate aka Mr. Mickey Mouse

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Nerds live here

Our plan started with an entire Winterfell theme, but Scott's direwolf proved to be tougher than expected. So, we have the Stark's words and a Wi-Fi symbol.

Virtual Yard Signs

We are less than two weeks away from the election and this year I've gone very public with some of my votes. I wouldn't stick my neck out publicly (this includes Internet ads people) if I did not wholeheartedly believe in candidates or issues with the utmost conviction.

I'm far more engaged on a local level than I am with the presidential race. I will always vote for the Commander in Chief but my state has that already decided no matter my choice. And, local issues reach me quicker than national mandates.

Turns out, four years into marriage, I've come to the point in my personal politics where I want to put signs in the yard. Also, turns out my husband has declared we are a "no sign in the yard" family. Blerg. Good thing I have this blog that has influence on the interwebs (hah!) and where I am the supreme and only author. I will concede that if we had signs in our yard, they certainly wouldn't blend well with my Halloween decor. I may still hand out buttons with my Reese's.

With that, I give you my very public virtual yard sign ballot. It does not encompass all, I will still vote on everything else, this is just what I am passionately in favor of:

I loved volunteering for this campaign. It was my first time knocking on doors with flyers and holding a Happy Hour meet and greet in a candidates' honor. At the end of the day, even if it does not go how I'd like, she's run a great and clean campaign.
Yep, that's my face. Find it on every website near you in Fullerton. There's also a commercial running on local Time Warner stations.
I just Googled a picture of a Ron Paul yard sign. A guy really does have one in my neighborhood, but that's a cute girl and she supports my write-in vote.
See you at the polls November 6!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Isn't it ironic

100,000 miles and I get a letter for a recall notice on the Civic's 2003 low beam headlights. No big deal...complimentary fix. While you're at it, check the brakes please.

Yeah right, about one million dollars later, and my arm bracket bushings have collapsed and engine mounts are broken, and since everything has been lifted out of the engine, a realignment is recommended of course. Womp womp.

The good news-brakes are fine and the recall fix went well. Truly I can't complain, there have been no major issues beyond the locks, so now the maintenance begins. The timing belt needs replacing, but I'll think about that tomorrow.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


And in just a hair under ten years. She's taken me to college, our wedding, first job, Scott's current job, up and down California, the Grand Canyon, Vegas, and our first house. Not retiring her yet!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Friday Night Lights

We relived the glory days last night at our high school's 50th anniversary homecoming game at good old Glover Stadium.

In honor of the occasion, the current ASB asked all previous homecoming queens and kings back to be part of the halftime show. So, with Scott and Kerri as my dates we went, sat in the VIP section with about 20 other royals, some more recent than others, and watched the show unfold.

As nice as it was to be asked back to stand on the field with fellow alumni, I was ashamed at how under-dressed I was for the occasion. But, my rationale remains--it was a football game and I was not the star of the show. Also, directions were unclear, so I am actually glad I was not one of the women who received a phone call instructing them to wear a formal dress and crown. I may have been one of only two in jeans, but again, it was a football game and not my day to be the star.

Going back to Loara brings back such great memories, especially on that field with the dance team. It's a shame that the team no longer exists, and hasn't for a number of years, but a reminder that times do change. and, that I need to convert the camcorder dance videos to DVD so I can truly have a binge reliving the glory days.
Photo credits to Kerri!
Quite honestly the best part of the night was coincidentally meeting up after the game with Kerri's parents Dave and Kelli, and their/our friends Bill and Kartha, also alums, downtown. Made for a very fun and lively Friday evening, though Rob was definitely missed!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quito-Day 3/Home

Andrew, our guide who picked us up from the Quito airport yesterday and coincidentally, our previous arrival and departure from here. Our pick up time would be 540 am-not bright but very early.

The first call came at 330 am with no words besides a "yep." Naturally I started worrying that he said 540 meaning 450, but distinctly remembered the concierge setting up a coffee service to our room for 530 AND Andrew reminding us we'd need to be at the airport 3 hours before our international flight, so we dozed as best you can following a 330 phone call.

430-a knock at the door-room service. I answer, and then reconfirm our clocks are correct, they are, and by now, resign to getting up and dressed. We've got about 15 hours of travel ahead of us and I'm glad I also took Monday off.

Our flights home were not noteworthy besides both being about an hour late, but with as many as we took, I suppose that's not too bad. We had dinner in Miami at The Counter-a celebratory dinner of burgers to be back in the USA.

It was an amazing trip, and the right length for us to do exactly what we wanted. I'm ridiculously proud at the physical achievement and to see a piece of the world that is so remote that the journey really was a major part of reaching the destination.

In the end, there is no place like home, your own bed, and Target for all of my pharmacy needs.

Galapagos-Days 4-5/Quito Day 2

Day 4
A day of rest, reading, relaxation, multiple naps, refreshment, nursing the lava rock injury, and lobster.

Day 5
We left our hotel at 8 am, bound for an auto, ferry and bus ride to the airport for a day of travel. After as many flights as we've been on this trip (nearing 10) I think we could give the emergency exit spiel.

Our flight landed in Quito at 4pm and we headed to the same hotel we'd stated in previously. After many drinks (Friday, holla!) and dinner in the bar, we retreated for our 540 am call that would take us home.

Galapagos-Day 3

Our tour was set to depart at 8 am, late compared to our recent departures. We set the alarm for 7 to get breakfast in and ready in plenty of time. Oh, but someone at the hotel got it wrong, twice. Even though we confirmed it twice, turns out the pick up time was 650.

As luck would have it I got up early to wash my face and put in my contacts so when the call came at 710 and again at 716 I did my best to stay cool amidst the fire alarm start.

I hate rising in such a manner because I knew I'd forget something as I haphazardly threw out essentials into the backpack.

We set off on a 30 second ride to the dock where we boarded a boat ride from hell. I blame myself for not asking enough questions about the tour and the staff for not divulging enough information.

The boat ride one was was 2.5 hours. If motion sickness is genetic I have my mom to thank, because it was miserable. I was finding the silver lining in missing breakfast as riders lost their own meals, but when the boat stopped in the middle of the Pacific so people could use the loo, that boat rocked like no earthquake I ever want to experience and I lost it. I was sitting away from Scott who does not suffer from such ailments, on the rear of the boat, where the constant wind in my face helped ease some of the pain. I heard another guest and American from our hotel say the tour better be worth the boat ride, as I hung my head between my legs, smelling gasoline and kimchi.

Mercifully when the boat docked, I found a small store and bought Ritz crackers and water to help settle my stomach. We then boarded a bus on what would be a lame trip and worst day of this vacation.

C'est terrible.

Granted the animals we saw were not behind cages, but it still felt like a zoo trip, perhaps due to the rapid pace of the day- 5 hours was to be spent on the boat. We saw wild flamingoes, penguins, sea lions, sharks, rays, and sea turtles. I'm glad I can say I snorkels in the Galapagos with sea turtles and Scott the eagle, manta, and sting rays. Something about their size freaks me out so I climbed back in the boat when they were found.

Penguins...and a blue footed booby.

After snorkeling it was nearly 3 pm, time to head back, and the point in the day I'd been dreading. We took a seat inside the boat this time, and I had hopes of the return journey feeling faster.

Not having spent a ton of time on boats nor knowing how to manage one, I can't accurately describe the scene returning-if the water was rough or the captain a poor driver, or some combo of the two. We pounded the water at each swell, what felt like a crash that shook the crates on board, and so much I have a bruise on my tail bone. But beyond that, at a few points (yes, multiple) I considered taking the walkie and demanding SOS when we ran out of gas three bloody times in the open water. Again, the lurching of the boat combined with the rank scent of gasoline permeating the air had me convinced I'd never have children as my eggs were probably destroyed by the fumes and thinking about giraffe legs of all things.

Again, I lost it...everything. The final engine issue came when we were 20 minutes from land and I truly considered leaving my pack and swimming. The smell was unbearable and I felt so wretched. The cherry on top was when I heard the guide say we'd only be able to use one motor, so it would be more like 45 minutes back to land. Though Scott had not lost his lunch, he did lose his cool. Stranded, on the ocean, in a foreign country, on a boat with an inept captain and your puking wife next to you could undue any man.

At some point in my stupor I heard the second engine kick in and Scott stopped rubbing of my back- we had arrived. We exited the boat onto a taxi ferry which would take us to dock. Scott snapped pictures of the company's name and boat, no doubt to write a great letter later. As the boat met the dock I lept off, dismissing the Spanish warnings to wait until they had tied whatever rope knots needed tying. I would never disrespect someone in a foreign country, but in that moment I needed firm land and fresh air.

Because we were so late in returning we didn't bother looking for our car, but walked the 5 minutes back to the hotel. The shower helped, and subsequent rest, and even light dinner of soup later.

We feel duped for going on the tour, but perhaps are alone in those thoughts. Others may have had a great time and more balanced inner ear, but I would say that would be our do-over day.