Wednesday, August 31, 2011

365: Rescue supplies

Given today's events we were clearly in need of some rescue supplies. I stopped at Lowe's and got some heavy duty rope and a heavy duty hook. Next time a dog decides to fall down the canyon, we will be (better) prepared for search and rescue.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

365: Melts my heart

365: Melts my heart

Ever since the great poison oak explosion the dogs haven't been able to get on the couches in the house. It has made them very, very sad. We've been talking about buying some new dog beds for the dogs since the house is mostly hardwood floors. I saw a little dog bed couch at Costco today and thought I'd try one out and see how they liked it. Ange and I were taking bets to see who would take it over. We couldn't decide between Caramel and Stone. While Ange was in the shower and I was working Carmie made her move. When I went in to talk to Ange I saw her all snuggled up in her new bed. I love this dog so much it just makes me melt. She is the cutest and the sweetest. I'm glad she loves her new bed!

Monday, August 29, 2011

365: Memories

365: Memories

Ange and I went to the post office today and lookie what was waiting for us in our box from one Otto Nagengast! It brought back a stream of terrifying memories for me and peals of laughter for Ange. I still get the willies just looking at scorpions! Shout out to all my 2011 Gambians!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

365: My shadow

365: My shadow

Carmie is my shadow. Pretty much anywhere I go she's right behind me. Her new favorite spot is underneath the kitchen table next to or on top of my feet.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

365: How do I love thee

365: How do I love thee

After a month and a half separation, tv has finally returned to the Bledsoe-Briggs household. If you need me I'll be watching Animal Planet on the couch until my eyes bleed.

Friday, August 26, 2011

365: Handsome haircut boy

365: Handsome haircut boy

Sam got his hairs did today. The groomers said he was SO good and SO sweet. He likes haircuts! Takes after his Momma A!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

365: And then Gloria Steinem faints

My mom is the bee's knees. She made me three new tote bags for schlepping my stuff back and forth to campus! She's the best. And my gifts helped inspire a great "how to" post which you will find below. Enjoy!

How to get free cool stuff

By Lindsay Briggs

One of my friends asked how I was able to score some awesome new bags. I told her it was not by coincidence that I received these bags. There was a sneaky system in place that helped me to acquire them. She wanted to know more and not one to keep good information to myself I was happy to oblige. So here's my system on getting free cool stuff. Note: it helps if you've been working the following steps since your childhood....but in general here are some pointers for beginners:

1. Lose all sense of shame. The steps below cannot be accomplished if you try and hold onto your dignity and try and be all "girl power-y." An "I am a strong woman and I can do it myself!" attitude does not get you free things. It makes you have to do things yourself, and that is much less fun and requires much more work.

2. Be incredibly uncrafty. If you can first demonstrate how uncrafty you are through a series of tragic crafts gone wrong you will build your credibility.

3. Increase your dramatics level by about 8 million. When your crafts go tragically wrong wailing and flailing about generally help cement in people's mind your uncraftiness and when you propose wanting to try something new their Pavlovian reaction will be triggered and all they will only remember you flopping around like a hysterical fish.

4. Try and be as cute and charming as possible at all times. This makes people show pity on your when #3 is occurring instead of thinking you are a heinous wombat. They'll remember all the times that they loved and adored you when life was not being tragic and unkind and they'll want to help you return to that state.

5. Surround yourself with good people. If you only know shitbags then they don't care about your uncraftiness and your tragic wailing and will probably just kick you in your shin and not give you free cool stuff.

6. Let your wants and desires be know. Loudly and repetitively if possible. Remember the charming bit from above. Your goal is to be low on the obnoxious scale and high on the sad and pitiful scale. It's a delicate balance but can be mastered with time. Ange thought I was being ridiculous posting so many tote bag links on my page and wailing about how I didn't have any tote bags for poor old me. BUT LO AND BEHOLD, one week later three bags appeared in my mailbox. Lindsay for the win!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

365: Crocs

365: Crocs

Remember that time I asked Ange if I could get a new tote bag for school and she said no because we didn't have any extra money to just be shopping and shopping? Whoops. I bought these before she said that. And so I thought I'd wait to tell her until later. And then I forgot that I even bought them. And then we checked out post office box yesterday and I thought they were something else so I gleefully and ignorantly ripped into them while Ange was sitting right there. Whoops again. Luckily she loves me and also luckily I am a bargain shopper so I got them for $15 plus free shipping when they retail for $34.95. So she wasn't too mad.

But I love these shoes. They are totally Crocs, but you SO cannot tell. They almost look like a "nice" pair of sandals even though they are still a rubber shoe. I wore them all day today and even stood for 4 hours in them and my feet don't even hurt. So all in all, my whoops was totally a win. Love when that happens.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

365: Welcome home

365: Welcome home

There's nothing like coming home to dogs who've been waiting for you to come home all day. Unconditional love for the win!

Monday, August 22, 2011

365: I'm official!

365: I'm official!

First official day of school and I already have my business cards. And I finally get to use the card holder that my boss from Girls Inc. got me as a going away gift in 2008! Looks lovely on my desk.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

365: Summer is over

365: Summer is over

Ange and I went to dinner with some friends to celebrate the end of summer and cheers to the year ahead. Bread. Soup. Pasta. Two Wallaby Darns. Yeah, it was that kind of dinner.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

365: Happiness

365: Happiness

Ange and I are ecstatic to be here in California, but that doesn't mean there are things that made us sad about leaving. The saddest part of me moving was leaving behind my family and friends, but most especially my sister Leslie. Ever since I've been back from Nigeria I have seen Leslie almost every single day. We were workout buddies as well as just all-around best friends. One of my biggest worries about moving is that I wouldn't be as close to her as I have been for most of my adult life. Neither one of us are big phone conversationalists, and she is not as involved with her texting and Facebooking as I am, so I was afraid that we wouldn't talk and chat as much once we moved, and that would be the decline of the extremely close relationship we have developed over the past few years. Luckily, she seems to be keeping up on her texts and internets more than usual and we've had several lengthy conversations every couple of weeks where we can do a more in-depth "catch up." I hope this continues because I really love my sister and I miss her so much!

Friday, August 19, 2011

365: The calm between the storms

365: The calm between the storms

I was crazy busy with new faculty orientation this week and I know next week will be cray-cray with classes starting so I decided to make it a slow morning. My babe made a nice brunch and some yummy coffee and we eased gently into the day.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

365: Love this place

Kill me first-edited

Today our department chair presented us with a list of the courses currently offered by our department and asked us to rate each class according to our preferences and experience. These were our choices. I've never been so happy with a new job in my life. These are my peeps and I love them already.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

365: Story of My Life

365: Story of My Life

Not once since I have arrived on campus has any technology-reliant action item worked when I tried it. I think I've spent more time talking to people in ITSS than anywhere else on campus. Technology remains my nemesis! I love technology, but it clearly does not love me.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

365: Pepsi Campus

365: Pepsi Campus

I noticed a startling trend my first few times on campus. I could only find Pepsi products. And not even good Pepsi products. The only diet options are Diet Pepsi (which might as well be dog pee) and Diet Crush. I confirmed this evening that Chico State maintains a contract with Pepsi only. Ugh. Pepsi products are always inferior to nearly all other products (see: Mug root beer) so Crush is not my favorite, but given that I have no other choices I will have to make do. Good thing I got a fridge for my office. That's where I'll stash the good drinks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

365: Freebie!


I walked into work today and one of our secretaries offered me a free mini-fridge for my office! Sweet! Way to score something good on my first official day!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sycamore Pool: Bidwell Park

Ange and I are both covered in very itchy, very uncomfortable poison oak. I woke up last Monday and my eyeballs were nearly swollen shut. It was not good to say the least. After a trip to (not so) Prompt Care I am on some high dose steroids and antihistamines and am starting to finally feel better. Ange is suffering through and is on the better side of things as well.

In our quest to find relief we decided to check out one of the local "swimming pools" in town. It's a tricky thing because the sun and heat and sweating makes it feel worse, but cold water makes it feel better. Luckily Sycamore Pool in Bidwell Park let us find relief with a perfect combination of factors. 

I must say, Sycamore Pool is pretty bad ass as far as pools go. It is actually a portion of Big Chico Creek that has been blocked by a dam and has a large concrete area that creates a pool-like atmosphere. It is of course filled with creek water instead of chlorinated water and it doesn't have heaters or filters or anything fancy, but because it is blocked at two ends it is cleaner and less treacherous than you would expect a creek to be. It is also GIANT. Much bigger than most community pools. It goes from a fairly shallow children's end to a fairly deep end before it returns back to the creek. 

The pool has to be cleaned weekly due to the build up of silt and gravel from the creek and the Friends of Bidwell page has a really great description of the process. We went on a Wednesday (the pool is cleaned on Thursdays) and it was definitely slick and a little icky feeling on the bottom of the pool. After going in and wallowing around in the algae and silt I opted to put my Tevas on and go back in. Much better. The best part is that it is in the middle of a park so there were lots of shady areas both away from the pool and in the pool (where trees were close to the edge of the pool) so we could stay out of the sun. And the water in Big Chico Creek even in the middle of summer is quite frigid so it felt wonderful on our itchy skins!  Oh, and like pretty much everything else in Chico that is awesome, the pool is FREE! Sweet!

Here are some pictures from the pool:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


My Department Chair lives on a really cool little "island" along Big Chico Creek and she invited us to go "tubing" with her last week. Now, in Indiana the only tubing we really do is being dragged behind a high power boat but here in California they've perfected the ultimate living "lazy river" style of tubing. Much more relaxing and less likely to give you whiplash. Not to say that it is 100% could definitely crash into lots of water hazards, but overall, but more relaxing and enjoyable.

We went on one run from Mary's house to the covered bridge, which took about 30-40 minutes. She was a great teacher and gave us a lot of good tips. We had such a great time and loved it so much that we went down the run a second time and this time Mary drove down to the bridge before we got there  so she could snap some pictures of us on our tubes.

Here's me paddling like mad to stay away from the big rocks. The first time I got sucked in, but luckily the rapids and current aren't too big so I just bounced off them with my feet. The second time I got close, but my arms kept me far enough away that I just floated by.

Most of the time you just get to chill and float. Occasionally you have to do a "starfish" move to get your butt up and away from some of the bigger rocks in shallow water. 

And here's Ange floating along. This was after she hit a "snag" and got dumped out of her tube. She recovered nicely.

More floating leisurely...but about to pull a starfish move. No butt bruises for me!

Ange waving for the camera!

Two happy tubers coming out of the water with our tubes!

Piling into the back of their truck with the tubes for the short drive back to the house. We will definitely be taking part in this activity again! It was super fun!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Date Night!

 Yesterday we were invited out to dinner by one of my new colleagues (Thanks Rick!) so Ange and I decided to turn it into a full-fledged date night! 

We started out the evening at a lovely local Italian place called Panighetti's Eatery. The food was delicious, the conversation was great and we very much enjoyed ourselves. 

After that we decided to head over to Bidwell Park and check out the Chico Community Observatory! I'm telling you, Chico is AWESOME! There is so much to do here and most of it is FREE. We just can't get over it. 

We got to the park a little early so we pulled into one of the many, many parking lots to watch the sunset. It was of course amazing, and it's shocking how fast the sun sets around here. We could literally see the sun move behind the mountains in mere minutes. 

We also so a lot of crazbos going out for bike rides. Besides the topography, it was getting dark! It's a giant park and has very rough trails. We could not figure out how this seemed like a fun and successful recipe. In addition, someone got bit by a rattlesnake on the disc golf course earlier in the day so that further cemented into our minds that these people were taking the Crazytown Express to danger. Suit yourself peeps. 

We finally decided that it was dark enough to go over and start enjoying the stars! And boy oh boy did we. 

As soon as we got there the volunteer astronomer lady had already set up one of the big telescopes to look at Saturn. Ange and I could not believe it was actually Saturn! No joke it looked like a stencil. I google image searched it and seriously this is what it looked like:

So we took turns looking through the ginormous telescope and having our minds blown that we were actually looking at Saturn.

There's always some time for supermodel poses. Smart and sexy!

And just at the point where we were being overwhelmed by screaming children with non-disciplining parents we went outside to check out the smaller telescopes that were pointed at the moon. Also very cool!

After the moon viewing we decided to brave the screaming masses again so we could look at some different colored stars and an exploding nebula.

After that we went outside and sat in the planetarium viewing area and just enjoyed the cool night air and chatted for a while. All in all, it was a perfect evening!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Swimming Holes!

The other day Ange and I took a drive through Bidwell Park and we noticed that there were several swimming holes located in the park. We had just been talking about how we'd love to go swimming so like a good researcher (or maybe a cautious chicken :)) we decided to do a little research on these swimming holes and then possibly check them out. Sadly the Bidwell Park website was pretty useless when it came to information about the swimming holes other than general "be careful" advice. Luckily I stumbled upon this cool blog post that gave a lot of detailed information about each swimming hole and after reading up on them we were ready to tackle some swimming!

We set out for Bear Hole to check out the place. We had our suits and Teva sandals as we had read that it was best to have shoes on to navigate the rocks. We ended up creeping on some girls walking down the path in front of us and they ended up leading us to probably the furthest end of Bear Hole which was just fine with us. There was a very tall concrete wall in between the natural rock walls that people appeared to like jumping off of into the water below. It was probably about a 20 foot drop (I'm terrible at eyeballing measurements) into the water below. 

Here is a picture from the top:

It is a big drop but what makes it even worse is that there are giant rocks everywhere! You have to have pretty good aim or you could jump right onto a giant boulder and break your legs in 87 places. We did not opt to jump off of this wall. BUT! I did get some crazy teenage boy to do it for me so I could video it. He was a little excited to get going so it wasn't as long as I would have liked, but you get the idea:

There were some "steps" that led down to the water. I use quotation marks because they really used to be steps but over time they have broken down a bit. The first few steps are pretty good and then they kind of morph into a rocky slide until you get to the bottom. Luckily I've reached a stage in my life where I don't care if I look like a idiot so I crab walked down the last half of the steps. Going back up was much easier!

Ange was thoroughly enjoying being a little mermaid in the water and I took a chance to snap a few pics of her swimming like a fish!

After about an hour and a half we decided to walk back towards the other end of the Bear Hole and see what other spots were available. There was a big section in the middle that was swamped by a lot of teenagers so we skipped that part. It is really a gorgeous area so we stopped to take some pictures of us enjoying our new surroundings!

We got to the other end of the Bear Hole where we discovered an area that had a low rock that you could jump off of into a decent size area with fewer rocks. The only problem was that you had to cross over a little area that had a really strong water flow. I used my long legs and muscles to create a human bridge to help Ange get across so she could check it out.

Once she got over she was excited and ready to leap off the rock into the cold water!

Overall it was an excellent day! We are so glad to be here and can't wait to explore more of Chico and the surrounding area. We really feel like we are in paradise! (And not the town, though it is close!)