Happy Birthday to me

September 29, 2009

Last week was my 29th birthday.  Or, as I kept telling my friends, "The first of many 29th birthdays to come."

There wasn't a big to-do because, frankly, I just wanted to hang out at a nice restaurant with my friends.  I had a delicious Italian meal, topped off with Tiramisu for dessert.  I was actually too stuffed to eat more than a bite of the Tiramisu, so it was boxed up and we sent it home with our roommate to put in the fridge, since we were going out to the bar and she was going straight home.  The next morning when I was looking for the Tiramisu (anyone who says it's not a breakfast food is just LYING -- there's totally, like, coffee in it.) I discovered that it was not in our refrigerator.  So I came to the logical conclusion that somewhere between Buca Di Beppo and our house, the Tiramisu met some Horrible Tragic Accident, and my roommate just had to put it out of its misery, a.k.a. eat it.  (I haven't asked her, but I'm sure she'd agree to that theory).

In other news, Chris and I bought a new couch for our living room.  We were debating between two different styles, one which Chris really liked and one which I really liked.

Chris said, "I'll make you a deal.  If you get the couch you want, then I can get the new TV that I want."


Yeah, that's pretty much a win-win situation for me.  I get the couch I want and a new TV.  Happy Birthday to me!

Diet Fail

September 21, 2009

While browsing at the local bookstore, I came across this:

Flat! Belly! Diet! Journal!
Refreshing, warm, sugary, yummy coffee with whipped cream and chocolate syrup and about a gazillion calories...

It's the equivalent of hanging a picture of a very delicious-looking cake at the Weight Watchers meeting.


Say What?!

September 16, 2009

Every so often, I overhear people say things that are unintentionally funny. Here's a collection of great quotes from the last few months:

“Aren’t they looking for you at the school?”
-A customer, speaking to her young-looking waiter at the Olive Garden

“You need to get rid of that Twilight Princess, yo. You’re playing ‘T’ for ‘Teen’ man.”
-Relationship advice from one guy to another at the Home Depot

“I wanted to get off on the right foot… I just had to decide which foot!”
-A new acquaintance, on what type of first impression he wanted to make at a party

"You can open up that can of worms and you can’t put it back in the box.”
-On why it wouldn’t be a good idea to broach a certain topic, from a co-worker who obviously isn’t too familiar with his parables

“I consider myself a fairly smart people...”
-One of my friends, who shall remain nameless because I want us to stay friends

“I don’t want my company to send me to Canada, because they shouldn’t need me to travel overseas.”
-Another one of my friends. Also nameless

“The moon is closer than Florida because you can see the moon, and you can’t see Florida.”
-Yes, someone actually said this. And no, it was not one of my friends (which is a good thing because that kind of stupidity on a regular basis would make my brain hurt).

“This thing changes like my underwear!”
-One of my bosses, frustrated by the pace and timing of a project.

(As a side note, I should mention that my friends really are smart people. Even smart people say dumb things sometimes.)

Loud Crashing Noise

September 15, 2009

On Friday the house shook. It was around 5:30 (5:48, to be exact) and suddenly I heard a loud crashing and/or rattling coming from upstairs. At first, I thought maybe a piece of furniture had fallen over. You know, because furniture randomly does that. But it was a better thought than the alternative – an intruder! The dog barked and turned in circles a couple of times before deciding there was no threat.

I was not so convinced. I went upstairs, hesitantly searching the bedroom. No one in the closet, the bathroom, under the bed. Okay, coast clear in my bedroom. So I shrugged it off and forgot about it, to the point where I didn’t remember to even tell Chris about my momentary panic.

Listening to the radio Monday morning, I finally put two and two together. That “crash” was the sonic boom from the Space Shuttle Atlantis as it passed into the atmosphere over the California coast. Atlantis landed just a short ways north at Edwards Air Force base.

San Diego in the Summertime

September 08, 2009

Chris and I spent the Labor Day weekend in San Diego.  Well, Chris went fishing on Saturday and then I met up with him for the rest of the weekend.

I will start out with one thought:  Big Truck + Southern California = NOT FUN.  Try squeezing *your* 25-foot long F-350 around a U-shaped turn designed for a mini cooper, and see if you agree.  (It only took me about 15 minutes and a 20-point turn, by the wa y)

Chris caught some fishes on  his trip, about 7 of them to be exact.  (We need to start researching recipes for tuna!)  And then, to add a sense of irony to the weekend, we spent Sunday visting Sea World, where sea life is, predictably, not killed by sport fishermen.

We saw Sea Turtles:


Non-Edible Fishes (well, you could eat them but SeaWorld kind of frowns on that in their park):


Sea Lions:

Sea Lion



AND... as a very special treat... a baby dolphin that had just been born the day before. It was less than 24 hours old.

Baby Dolphin

We saw Shamu, penguins, sharks, sting rays, and a lot of other sea life, etc etc.  We got to feed the sting rays and touch the pet-store variety sharks, which was fun.

SeaWorld also has a Clydesdale exhibit, which we were puzzled about for a while (umm, horses do not live in water, last I checked...) until we learned that SeaWorld is owned by Budweiser. Then it all made sense.

While in San Diego we also spent time at the beach, and managed to capture a beautiful sunset:

San Diego 0742

I could totally live there.  Well, that is, if I had a smaller car.


September 04, 2009

When I was in college, I paid for tuition by waiting tables.  One of the restaurants I worked at was a fancy steakhouse.  (This was mildly ironic, since I don't eat steak.)  Anyway, as my Employee of the Month prize - they based this on the number of sales you had in a month - I won a free bottle of red wine.

This wine was the 2002 J. Lohr Vineyards "Wildflower" ValdiguiƩ.

(Oh my god.  I just realized that was SIX YEARS ago.)

So, anyway, six years ago I took that wine to a dinner party at my cousin's house.  I had just graduated college, was in the process of packing up all my belongings to move to L.A., and my tiny car was so full with my stuff that I couldn't see out any of the windows except the front and the driver's side.  Which of course meant it was an excellent time to take a little freeway trip over to San Francisco.  The whole drive I kept waiting for the police to pull me over for having all my windows blacked out with sweaters and cooking pots.

I made it safely, and we all sat around my cousin's kitchen table admiring the wine and wondering what kind it was.  Red, obviously.  But we couldn't figure out what type of red.  It didn't say "Cabernet" or "Merlot" on it, so we were pretty much at a loss.  We drank it anyway... and it was delicious.

After I drove the hour and a half back to Davis, I went asking the Internet Gods for answers.  I had never heard of the ValdiguiĆ© grape before, but now I had my very own special wine that I could bring to the wine parties of all my Napa friends and Viticulture majors and not look nearly as ridiculous as the time I brought the screw-top bottle of Muscat.  (Want to make wine snobs laugh at you?  Bring a cheap bottle of dessert wine to their little party).

The wine is rather difficult to find, your typical grocery store or liquor store won't carry it.  You usually have to go to someplace that specifically sells wines.

Which is why I was jumping for joy at my local Albertson's today.

They not only have my wine, but they have it on sale.  For $8.99. 

According to J. Lohr's website, ValdiguiĆ© "is a vibrant, red-purple in color with bright aromas of boysenberry, Bing cherry, raspberry and banana. The fruit complexion on the palate is equally bright, dominated by boysenberry and raspberry." What this means to us humans: it's surprisingly light and fruity-tasting for a red wine.  Think Pinot Noir meets Merlot, with just a bit of sweetness.  Yum.

Is That a Rooster, or...?

September 03, 2009

Los Angeles is suffering from a crisis. No, it’s not state’s largest fire since 1897, with a smoke cloud seen all the way from Vegas to Denver (seriously). It’s not the post-Michael-Jackson music industry, the increasing prevalence of gang activity, or the dead bodies and trash floating out in to the Pacific Ocean from the Los Angeles River. Nor is it the fact that taxpayers received IOU’s, the animal shelters are overcrowded, and Renee Zellweger was in a car crash. (read: minor fender bender with no injuries. Renee spotted for the first time since accident! The headlines screamed the next day, like it was a surprise she managed to drag herself out of bed after that “harrowing” experience.)

No, no, the crisis is: Roosters. More specifically, multiple roosters.

Apparently, having more than one rooster is a threat to public safety. Not to mention all that annoying crowing at the early dawn hours!

Okay, I see two main flaws in this logic.

1) If it’s early enough, and I’m sleeping, a dozen roosters are not going to wake me up. Unless you live in a tent, or your neighbor has some sort of rooster factory, are you really going to “wake up” because of the roosters? Heck, I lived in a 38-foot trailer and our neighbors had roosters, turkeys, horses, dogs and a DONKEY and it did not wake me up in the morning.

And, 2) If the noises from two roosters are going to wake you up, then probably one rooster will do the trick as well.

Of course, as with anything in L.A. movie stars (the rooster kind) are exempt. So don't worry, everyone, there will be a Charlotte's Web: the Sequel.

The main criticism of this new law is, of course, enforcement. But apparently the empty echoing of the city’s coffers is a big incentive, and the city has been traipsing the town citing people for zoning laws that they haven’t enforced, like ever, so it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine they will fine you until the cows come home (or the roosters leave).

Here’s the take home: in L.A., you need a permit for everything. If you do not have a permit, assume you need one and, at some point some city inspector will come by and you will be fined.

(Sidebar: Per Title 10, Chapter 28, Section 60 of the City Code, you do NOT need a permit or license for having a pet Marmoset monkey. Also, Squirrels. Just FYI. You know, in case you were thinking about getting a pet monkey.)

The Station Fire

September 02, 2009

In the immortal words of Bad Religion, "Los Angeles is Burning."

Many, many thanks to all the firefighters, pilots, volunteers, and others working to extinguish the flames and keep us safe.

The local Valley Fair

September 01, 2009

This past weekend, Chris and I went to the fair. Fairs are good for a lot of things, namely:

Fair Food, Spending lots of money to win large, chintzy stuffed animals, Fair Food, People watching (e.g. the lady with the pink hair that quite honestly could’ve been mistaken for cotton candy), Barnyard animals, Brightly-colored spinny rides, and (did I mention?) Fair food.

Chris and I also played three rounds of bingo for lucrative $10 prizes (we didn’t win), and contemplated the skee-ball game, except it took tickets instead of cash. Which sounded like too much work, walking all the way over to the ticket booth. And then, I forced Chris to dress in a long, black, woolen coat in 105 degree heat so that we could take one of those “old-timey” photos in which I was a card-carrying saloon girl who loves the Jack Daniels and Chris was a cowboy just in from the “range” with his hat and coat and plastic rifle.

Really, though, the best part of the fair is the one part we didn’t really indulge in. The food. We just weren’t very hungry. But I do have something to say about the fair food.
I am all for variety. And I am all for experimenting and developing new sorts of fair foods (hello, deep fried Twinkies). But some things are just not fair food.

Examples of good, wholesome fair food:
*Cotton Candy
*Funnel Cakes
*Corn Dogs
*BBQ meat of mysterious origin
*Deep Fried Twinkies, and their cousin, the Deep Fried Snickers Bar
*Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
*Popcorn, Kettle Korn, Corn on the Cob

Stuff that is NOT fair food:
*Thai Iced Teas

That is not to say that I don’t find food such as tacos and falafel very tasty. And most days, I would pay good money for a Thai Iced Tea. (Mmm, tasty orange-colored tea and cream deliciousness…it’s fifth on my list of favorite foods, right after pizza, guacamole, hummus, and chocolate chip cookies.)

But that doesn’t mean they belong at the fair.

Oh, and also I held a baby chick and it fell asleep in my hands and it was the cutest thing ever and then on my way out I told the prize-winning turkey that he should enjoy it while he could because he was probably going to have some bad luck in November.