I hope everyone's having a very Happy Halloween. We're huddled in our darkened house, porch light off, trying to discourage those little candy whores from knocking on our door. It's working so far.
Here's the Friday Five:
1. What was your first Halloween costume?
My first costume was a little clown costume. It was a family tradition, passed down from my brother and my cousins.
2. What was your best costume and why?
Right before I got married, Kevin and I went to a costume contest as a pregnant bride (me) and a beat-up groom with a broken arm and black eye. It was really funny and we won first prize.
3. Did you ever play a trick on someone who didn't give you a treat?
No, I could never bring myself to be mean.
4. Do you have any Halloween traditions? (ie: Family pumpkin carving, special dinner before trick or treating, etc.)
Not really. When we were little we'd carve pumpkins and Mom would toast the seeds for later--yum!
5. Share your favorite scary story...real or legend!
Nobody does Scary like Stephen King, and I think his scariest story was It. Unfortunately, due to Amazon's horrible new search system, I can't link to it, but you know what I'm talking about. The Stand was really scary too.
No, not Christmas. Not Halloween. Not even fall.
It's time to put on the winter down comforter. The rest of the year we use the lightweight summer down comforter (at least I do. Kevin gets too hot under it), but when it gets cold, it's time to break out the big daddy.
This also means that it's Dog In Bed time. The winter comforter's appearance is Scout's cue to spend all of her days and nights snuggling underneath it. Actually "snuggling" isn't the proper word. "Stretching out" would be a better term for this behavior. Yes, regardless of whether or not there are humans in the bed, you can find Scout at the bottom, stretching out in all kinds of ways, taking up a surprisingly enormous amount of room. When a human dares to invade her territory with, say, their feet, she simply puts her paws (with the pointy claws) up against the offending body part, and streeeeeetches, pushing you away. If you try to bodily move her, she gets very huffy and occasionally will show a little teeth.
It's very cute to have Scout in the bed, but not in the middle of the night when she's snoring and twitching in her dreams, her claws digging into your calves. We had hoped the cave bed would have solved this problem, as it's also nice, cozy, and warm, but Scout insists on exercising her inalienable right to sleep under the covers. Spoiled dog.
I scored pretty well! 83.5--that's a B!
Our landlord Jose is acting mysteriously about the watering system again. See if this makes sense. There are two problems. Problem #1 the back lawn is getting too much water and is boggy. Problem #2 the back plants are dessicated and dying. Currently the water is turned up to "9" where it has been for some time now. Jose came over and turned it down to 5. Okay, that solves problem #1. Well, now Jose wants to split the watering system to set the lawn to 5 and set the plants back to 9. And this is supposed to do what? 9 wasn't enough to sustain the plants for the last year + that we've lived here, why is setting it to 9 going to help? Perhaps he should check the drip system to make sure it's not broken or clogged. Nah, it's gotta be a setting problem. We'll just crank that baby back up to 9 and solve that problem. Yeah.
In the meantime, the daycare neighbors seem to have acquired some kind of bongo drum or overturned bucket or something on which drumming can take place. They've been playing it all day. I mean all day.
Book Five in Stephen King's Dark Tower Series! Coming out on November 4th!
And of course I need copies of books 1-4 to refresh my memory.
NO I can't wait until Christmas!
Okay, that's what the library is for.
But I simply MUST have volume 5.
Well it's not looking good in Southern California. My parents are on the coast and are out of the danger zone, but I talked to my friend Wendy (who lives in Denver) who talked to her mom who lives in the town next to my parents who said that there was smoke and ash in the air. Of course, I could call my own parents to find out the same information, but that's not nearly as fun.
We got an email from our friends DeeDee and Jason who were evacuated from their home yesterday. Fortunately the fire turned and they're back at home with no damage. They've got some pictures up here.
Unfortunately it looks like the fires in Big Bear/Lake Arrowhead (mountain resorts) may be nearing Kevin's grandparent's cabin. The cabin is one of Scout's favorite places so we hope that it won't be destroyed.
It's a good thing the fires aren't here. It would never burn through the bog that is our backyard.
I'm shocked. Simply shocked.
Thanks to everyone who has asked, but no, we're nowhere near the many fires in California. Our friends are in one of the towns said to have been evacuated and we hope they're okay. It sounds really awful down there.
Poor Scout. The clocks, which have been changed, say 4:00 but her tummy says 5:00--dinner time. What's with the delay, Mom???
We have a resolution (we think) of the gardener problem. The new gardener and Jose (the landlord) came and inspected the dead and dying plants and reached some sort of agreement. We will pay him the same amount we're paying the current gardener per month, and Jose will talk to the current gardener about not coming back anymore. It went surprisingly smoothly, thanks to Anne (Jose's wife, and the rational one).
Now we need to figure out the watering system. Yes, the one that dumps over 200 gallons a day on our lawn and dead and dying plants creating a part bog/part arid desert landscape. Jose called last night and said he was coming over to inspect it, but lo and behold, it was dark! What are you going to look at in the dark? So he shows up today instead. Sure, it's a great time! Thanks for asking! He borrowed my flashlight and did a thorough inspection of the watering system and then gave me an extended explanation, which I mostly tuned out, and ended with the news that he turned the system down to only water half as much. Hey, great! Then he asked "which turns on first, the drip system or the sprinklers?" As if I would know! I said "how would I determine that?" and he mumbled a little and talked about coming back. Then he walked outside and got all excited because the front sprinklers are on which apparently solved some mystery so he's coming back in 3 minutes to check on the back. Well, he came back and it's still inconclusive so he has to come back again. Whatever.
In the meantime, we're finally preparing for Armageddon. Not too long ago I said to Kevin "we should get some bottled water and a no-power radio in case of a nuclear strike." Kevin said "Okay, but how about in case of an earthquake?" Whatever. Anyway, instead of buying bottled water, Kevin decided to go to REI and get those giant 7 gallon containers and fill them up from the tap. I said "but the tap water tastes all chlorine-y when it sits around" and Kevin said "if there's an earthquake, are we really going to care?" I guess not. Then there was the debate about where to put them. Kevin wants them to go into the garage, in case an earthquake levels the house. I want them to go in the basement in case there's radioactive fallout outside blocking our path to the garage. We'll see.
Wow, I'm so popular! I got my first comment spam. It's like email spam but they leave it in your comment section instead of your inbox. I deleted it, of course, but hey, it means that my blog is getting out there!
It's hot here today. What's with this unseasonable weather? We slept in and headed to the dog park with Scout. There were only 2 other dogs there, so Scout completely ignored them, as usual, and just walked around sniffing. You'd think that in such a big, nice enclosed park Scout would relish her freedom and spend her time running and frolicking, but no. She just sniffs. When she laid down on the grass we knew it was time to go home. I think it was a bit hot for her. After we got back she got her traditional post-dog-park bath. She was a little stinky but she's like a rose now!
Shelby's Life & Whatnot has moved to http://www.happybeagle.com/shelbysblog/ . Please update your bookmarks!
Shelby's Life & Whatnot has moved to http://www.happybeagle.com/shelbysblog/ . Please update your bookmarks!
Last weekend we enjoyed a wonderful trip to the Sonoma wine country with my parents and their friends Tom and Carol. Normally a third couple, Deb and Martyn, join my folks and Tom and Carol, but this year Deb and Martyn are in Hawaii so we got to come along instead. Hooray! Here's a rundown on what we did.
Click below for the rest of the story...
My parents drove up in their minivan and met up with us on Friday evening. Saturday we picked up Carol and Tom from the Oakland airport and started our wine oddyssey. The goal for the trip was to visit some new and unknown wineries, as well as a few old favorites. Many of our tastings were by appointment only where we got to talk directly to the winemakers, do barrel tastings, and learn all kinds of things about winemaking.
Our first stop was an appointment with Hanzell . We drove up to the top of their rolling hills vineyards and were treated to winetasting on a porch overlooking the vast estate. The view could not be beat. We also got a tour of their brand-new cave, built in respose to TCA contamination in their current facility. TCA is a fungus that makes the wine taste and smell "corked" (smells like wet cardboard, or, well, fungus). The wine was pretty good but nothing to do backflips over.
The next wineries are not in the order that we visited them. Wine makes the memory a little unreliable. Anyway, we went toArrowood. I stayed in the car to nap, and boy was that a mistake. The winemaker's wife Alis sat with our group at length and talked about all kinds of wine stuff.
Also on Saturday was Imagery. Their emphasis was on original art of their labels. We bought a cool poster (on sale, too!). Unfortunately the guy at the wine bar was pretty snooty. The wine didn't make an impression on me, so it must not have been great.
We ate a picnic lunch at B. R. Cohn. B. R. Cohn used to be a band manager before he went into wine, and managed the Doobie Brothers and another band whose name I can't remember. He had all of their gold albums decorating his tasting room, however.
Saturday night we dined at Syrah in Santa Rosa. It was quite good, and I split a very nice Fromage a' Trois (three cheeses) for dessert.
Sunday morning we were up again for our first hit of the day, Kosta Browne winery. This was an appointment tasting at a new winery (new to us, and only a few years old). Wow! They had great wines. Their specialty is Pinot Noir, my favorite, and it was very good. We got to see where they have started digging their cave and do some barrel tastings. Mike and Dan spent a lot of time with us talking about their philosophy and techniques of winemaking. It's so wonderful to meet people who are truly passionate about good wine. If you come across a Kosta Browne on a wine list at a fine restaurant, you can't go wrong with that choice. They also set us up for dinner at Willi's Wine Bar, where Dan created the wine list.
I pretty much used up my wine limit at Kosta Browne so I took it easy the rest of the day. I slept through Roshambo, which turned out to be a good idea this time. As Kevin said, "Somebody needs to pay more attention to their wine and less attention to being cutting-edge cool."
We lunched (another picnic) at Mill Creek Winery, where the mill wheel was very cute but the wine failed to make an impression on me. Perhaps because I may not have tasted any there. Kosta Browne nearly wiped me out.
We hit the very posh Ferrari-Carano winery. No relation to the car, Ferrari-Carano was very impressive. Their building screamed "We have money!" and their cellar was the coolest thing I've seen in a long time. The wine wasn't bad either, especially in the underground reserve room. They had several letters on the wall from the White House announcing the times F-C wine was served there. I was impressed.
I'll take this moment to interject a comment about wineries in general. Some wineries have elaborate manor houses, some have just a bar in a small tasting room. Some taste right from their barrel room--in a giant converted barn or an industrial park warehouse. While the elaborate tasting rooms are impressive, it's my opinion that the best wine is found in the hole-in-the-wall, hard to reach places where it's just you and the winemakers who take time from crush or punching down to crack open a few bottles for you. Sure, big wineries make good, dependable wines, but the best wines, I've found, are from the small, hand crafted, wineries. The type it takes an appointment to taste. The ones at the end of the dirt roads with wild turkeys crossing the road in front of you. If you're taking a wine trip, be sure to hit some of those small wineries you've never heard of. The winemakers are thrilled to have you and love to talk shop, and love to teach you everything you want to know about fine winemaking. Okay, back to the wineries.
One delightful visit of the day was to Kenwood. Our wine pourer was as jovial and gracious as they come, and he did a great trick pouring just enough wine in the glass and then rolling the glass to you. The wine was quite good. Kenwood also makes wine from the Jack London vineyards and those wines have a cool wolf on the label. Kevin and I bought wolf t-shirts here.
We also visited Selby winery, chosen because the name is one letter off from Shelby. Their tasting room was quite small and tucked away in a residential neighborhood, giving it a homey feel. They also had a letter from the White House saying they served Selby wine. Very cool.
Dinner Sunday was at Willi's Wine Bar, set up for us by Dan Kosta. Willi's (which sounds like a country western hokey place) is actually named for the famous Willi's Wine Bar in Paris. The menu was a little tricky and it took us a round or so to get used to it. Basically the meal was made of very small plates, appetizer size, of your chosen food. Each plate was enough for 2 small portions. We ordered about 12 different plates, sharing between couples and with each other. My favorite dish was the cambozola macaroni and cheese. Yeah, yeah, laugh at me for eating mac and cheese at a restaurant. But I tell you, this stuff was good. Even better than Kraft's Velveeta and Shells, which says a lot. Besides, Kevin ordered it.
Monday morning we started much like Sunday morning, with an appointment at an out of the way winery, Siduri. The winemaker, Adam Lee, gave us an awesome tasting--opening up 9 bottles of wine and sampling 3 barrels. My dad and Adam go way back--Dad's been a fan of his work since before he started Siduri. Siduri is one of those located in an industrial warehouse, but don't be fooled, this is some incredible wine!
We then headed over to a special appointment at St. Francis. We'd actually been to St. Francis once and tasted from their regular wine bar, but Monday we had a great tasting with 4 hors d'oeuvres paired with wine. The wine/food pairings were really good with the wine and the food complimenting each other quite nicely. St. Francis is a bigger winery but their wine is very good. We also happened to be looking out the window to see a man on one knee proposing to his girlfriend in the vineyard. How sweet!
We had a lunch appointment with Doug and Lee Nalle over at Nalle winery. This was one of the most enjoyable visits we had. Dad has been buying Nalle for a while now, and Doug and Lee (and their yellow lab, Solo) were very gracious hosts. We had a leisurely lunch, tasting and talking and enjoying the company. Nalle has the best winery website I've ever seen. It's hilarious. You really have to check out their zin labels. Doug and Lee are the most down-to-earth people I've ever met in the wine industry.
As if we couldn't get enough appointments, we headed over to Chateau Felice for our private tasting there. The area was beautiful, with rolling hills of vineyards, a small lake, a beautiful house, and the requisite big-barn-for-winemaking. Unfortunately it was quite hot (the car's thermometer read 102 degrees) which put a slight damper on our outdoor tasting. Their chilled whites were great but it was a little to hot to enjoy their reds.
We wrapped up the day by visting the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center. It's more than a winery, it's a Wine Center! They had a giant tasting room with an immaculate manicured garden (which I pretty much skipped as gardens aren't really my thing). The rest of the group enjoyed their tasting but I was wined out so I missed it.
Exhausted yet? We were! And there was one, possibly two that I left out here because they were so great neither Kevin nor I remember them. Hmmmm.
Shelby's Life & Whatnot has moved to http://www.happybeagle.com/shelbysblog/ . Please update your bookmarks!
Well it looks like we've successfully managed to survive the move here. Sorry for the non-posting lately, my computer refused to recognize the new address. Be sure to change your address books to my new email: shelby[AT]happybeagle.com. Head over to HappyBeagle.com to see our new banner and links to the old site!
We've made the move to happybeagle.com! Please update your bookmarks to http://www.happybeagle.com/shelbysblog (you should be here already, so you can just make a new bookmark with this address).
We're still ironing out a few kinks so if things look kind of strange, stick with me.
Also my old shelbyswedding email is not working anymore (it was supposed to forward automatically but for some reason that's not happening). My new email is shelby[AT]happybeagle.com (replace the "AT" with an @ sign). Update your address books and send me an email while you're at it :).
What happened to my blog? We're moving all of the files over to Happybeagle now. The site (and my email) may be down for up to 48 hours.
ShelbysWedding.com is moving! It's been nearly 2 years (how the time flies!) since Shelby's Wedding so we felt it was time to move to a different domain. Our new domain will be HappyBeagle.com. The move will happen sometime this week, and my blog/site may be down for 24 hours or so. Don't worry, you will be automatically redirected from shelbyswedding to happybeagle, and I'll let you know when to update your bookmarks.
I've been debated about whether to blog this or not, but I think it's okay. We've had a death in our circle of friends. Irene, the wife of one of Kevin's old co-workers, passed away suddenly, a day after she had her wisdom teeth removed. She was only 34. This hits very close to home given the number of procedures, major and minor, I've had lately. If you would, please remember Irene's husband Steve in your thoughts and prayers.
due to another trip! We accompanied my parents on their annual Sonoma wine tasting trip. It was an exhausting 3 days of sipping wine (in my case, very small sips) from wineries big and small, old and new, familiar and unknown. We had a wonderful time and yes, I'll blog about it as soon as I remember some of the wineries we hit. And there will be pictures.
We've got houseguests galore tonight with my folks coming into town and our good friend Wendy on her way back from a retreat. We'll be eating a scrumptious dinner at La Fondue, not to be confused with La Fonda which is an aerobics place. Hahahahahahahahaha I'm so funny! What's that? Okay, okay, I'll just get to the questions. Without further adieu, the Friday Five:
1. Name five things in your refrigerator.
A. Milk (nonfat, unfortunately)
B. Fizzy water (left over from book club)
C. Assorted fancy cheeses (left over from book club)
D. Juice Squeeze fizzy juice (left over from book club)
E. Mayo (used to make artichoke dip for book club)
2. Name five things in your freezer.
A. Salmon (compliments of Kevin's grandparents)
B. Frosty Paws (doggie ice cream)
D. Artichoke hearts (see E. above)
E. A candle holder with a burnt down candle in it (if you're having trouble getting candle remains out of a holder, pop it in the freezer and it will come right out. Usually. Today's household hint.)
3. Name five things under your kitchen sink.
A. A hand towel
B. Rubber gloves
C. Windex (or a generic version thereof)
D. Dog shampoo
E. Trash bags
4. Name five things around your computer.
A. Envelopes, assorted sizes
B. Grad school information, assorted schools
C. Return address labels (Snoopy themed)
D. Several different types of stationery
E. Stapler (not a red Swingline, though. Sorry Milton)
5. Name five things in your medicine cabinet.
Well, we have a medicine cabinet and a medicine drawer, but since the drawer is filled with heart medicines, that's no fun, so I'll address the cabinet.
A. Advil, generic
B. Extra-Strength Tylenol, generic
C. Benedryl (in a bottle), Costco brand
D. One lonely little foil wrapped tablet of Midol
E. Benedryl (in a box), Walgreens brand
Remember the new gardener we apparently need? Well, one is coming by tonight.
I get a call from Anne, our landlord's wife and the only one in the family capable of taking any action of any sort. "Jose says there's something wrong with the irrigation system and the plants are dying." Yes, as we've been telling him for six months now, that is true. "I've spoken with another gardener..." blah blah blah..."And we're going to come by at 7:00 tonight." Why yes, that's a great time for us. Thanks for asking! "He won't be doing any work, he'll just be looking." I'm not sure what she thinks he's going to be able to SEE at 7 pm but I don't think it will be much.
Can the plants be saved? Tune in next week to find out!
Update: Kevin says (in the comments, but it's too good to stay in the comments):
-- The garden will need some kind of crash-rejuvenation program to make up for our shocking legacy of neglect. And we'll be expected to pay for it.
-- They'll want the gardener to come once a week. He'll be more expensive for the current gardener. And we'll be expected to pay for it.
You also forgot to mention that once upon a time, we were told to leave the gardening up to the gardener, since he supposedly knew what to do, and we were instructed not to touch the controller for the watering system, since it was *perfectly* adjusted. (And how much water does our water bill say we use on a daily basis? *250 gallons!* While the flower beds may be doing a good imitation of an arid, waterless high-desert climate, I'm afraid to step on certain areas of the back lawn, lest I be sucked into the swamp and never seen again.)
I had to drop my German class. It just became very clear that the class was too advanced for me. I felt I could squeak through on the written work, but the oral comprehension was just killing me. And most of the class was oral comprehension. I barely, if ever, understood what she was saying, and my stress levels were going through the roof. The class is made up of a variety of students from many different levels, most of whom already speak German or have been taking the advanced class for like 3 years. It also didn't help that the German teacher I had last year is the easier of the two. I also noticed that the two people I identified as being at my level have also dropped out of the class. It was awkward telling the teacher, but I really feel much better now that I've done this. I'll be devoting the extra time to my writing as my applications are looming closer. Kevin has been wonderfully supportive. So now if anyone wants to call on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon, I'm free!
As you may have read in my posts below, we had the pleasure of attending the wedding of Jason Brown and Erica Palmer. Click on this link to read my text review of the wedding. Well now we have pictures! You can find all of our pictures from Arizona here. Don't miss them!
And here's a cute picture of me and Kevin from the wedding:
Well we're still recovering from our horrible root beer encounter. In the meantime, poor Scout has had a tough day as well. She started the day with a full body massage (read: bath), then took a trip in the car (which she hates) to Petsmart (which she likes) to get her nails trimmed (which she hates). I'd cut them myself, but she hates to have her paws handled and when you get the clippers nearby she starts howling her "You're pulling off my paw" yelp. It's much easier to pay someone to do it.
After the nail trim we got 3 important items--a bag of Old Mother Hubbard assorted dog treats, a package of rolled rawhide sticks, and Greenies. Greenies are a breath odor control product that contain a secret ingredient that makes dogs go absolutely crazy for them. I think they're filled with cocaine or something. Anyway, she got one tonight as a reward for being such a brave dog with all of today's treatments.
And speaking of nail trimming, I had to cut my own nails today. This practice makes my mother simultaneously cringe and seethe in jealousy. I have great fingernails. They grow quickly and are strong, and for the most part they grow evenly in a nice shape. My problem? They get too long. They rarely break, so I have to cut them. My mother, OTOH, has had artificial nails for as long as I can remember and spends a lot of energy keeping them up. Now here's the other thing. I really don't care about my nails. I never paint them because the paint peels off in a day or 2 (one of my students who was a manicurist said that means my nails are really healthy and strip the polish off naturally). I'm not a girly girl, so I would be perfectly happy with short nails all the time, as long as they all looked the same. I also hate nail files. I cannot tolerate the grinding and scraping. It reminds me of getting my teeth drilled with no novocaine while someone scrapes their nails across a chalkboard. It makes me shiver and cringe just thinking about it. So no files for me. I actually take the cutters and go after my nails as best as I can. I think they look quite nice, thank you. Ah, my maintenance free nails. Lucky, I guess! (actually my dad's nails are the same way)
Kevin made a huge mistake tonight.
See, we're Root Beer drinkers. I can't drink Coke or Pepsi as I can't tolerate the caffeine, and we don't have our usual six-pack around anymore because of the heart problem, so we've moved to root beer. Both Kevin and I really enjoy the flavor of root beer, so we like to try different root beers other than the mass-marketed ones.
So Kevin's at Whole Foods getting dinner and some cheese and stuff for book club (which we're hosting on Monday), and he picks up a root beer we've never had before: Journey Shenandoah Sassafras Root Beer.
Wow. It was bad. I mean really bad. It started out okay, with a not-quite-root-beer taste, but not bad either. Then the vodka hit you. Or what tasted like vodka. Even though the box claimed the soda was "alcohol free" (and how often do you see that warning on a root beer unless said item tastes like it is?), I remain unconvinced. It was like a bad concoction that someone mixed up from whatever was laying around the frat house from last night's party. Yikes. I gave it a fair try. I really did. But it was like Sugar Meets the Green Nyquil.
So Kevin heads over to the Root Beer guy's website. This is some guy who's tried a whole bunch of root beer and rated it on his website. And where do we find Journey's? The second from the bottom of the list, with a grade of F+. According to Spike (the root beer guy), he would have given Journey an F, but then he, "discovered I could put out small fires with it."
The aftertaste is with me still. Eating the rest of dinner didn't help. I finally had to open a bottle of wine to counter the flavor.
And if you really want to know what it tastes like, lemme know. I've got two more bottles I can send you.
I love my dog dearly. She is truly my baby and lacks for no attention in our family.
Lately she's been very loving and cuddly. Sometimes she can get a little standoffish but overall she's a very affectionate dog. Ever since we got back from Arizona she's been all over us soliciting pats and scratches.
One thing she loves to do is to go outside and lay on the driveway, soaking up the sun. When she scratched at the door to go outside today, I decided to go with her. She nudged me, then flopped down in my lap so I could pet her. I scratched and rubbed her tummy, scratched behind her ears--all her favorite places. We both basked in the warmth of the sun, and it was truly a celebration of our human/animal bond.
Then she got up and walked behind the garage, where she found a fresh patch of cat pee, and promptly rolled in it.
My dog is gross.
Again! Boy, where do these weeks go? This week's Friday Five have to do with sports. Didn't I already answer questions about sports? Oh well, I'll keep it short:
1. Do you watch sports? If so, which ones?
Since we have no TV reception or cable I don't really watch sports. When I'm visiting my parents, though, my dad often has sports on and then I watch. I enjoy football and basketball. I find baseball very tedious and difficult to watch on TV although I enjoy the games (when I go every decade or so). I also like hockey in person but hate it on TV. I can never follow the puck.
2. What/who are your favorite sports teams and/or favorite athletes?
My favorite sports teams would be Purdue, and the Sparks (WNBA). My favorite athlete is Ukari Figgs who graduated from Purdue and used to play on the Sparks (she now plays for Houston, whom I can't stand).
3. Are there any sports you hate?
Any sport I don't understand--cricket, for example. Also wrestling.
4. Have you ever been to a sports event?
Too many to count.
5. Do/did you play any sports (in school or other)? How long did you play?
I played T-ball, baseball, softball, and soccer for about 5 years. I enjoyed it but was never really any good.
Ding-Dong goes the doorbell this morning. At our doorstep was a rather odiferous, barefoot woman saying "My kitty went into your back yard, can I look for her?" Um, okay I guess. She goes out for a few minutes, comes back (sans cat), and says "My grandson ran into your fence and knocked a hole in it, heh heh." News to us. "You know, he's 16 and really wants to get his driver's license" I'll bet he does. "He'll have to wait until he's a better driver though" I should certainly hope so. So, do you intend to fix the hole in the fence or just keep coming by when you think your cat is in our yard? Well this had us a little worried, as any cat-sized hole is a perfect Scout-sized hole, so Kevin decided to stop by the hardware store and get some chicken wire. Maybe it will keep the cats out! Unfortunately, when he went to install it, on our side it's buried behind rose bushes, and on their side, apparently they have "fixed" it by pilling a bunch of trash and crap against it. Well, as long as Scout doesn't get out, that's all I care about.
And as for our landlord's beloved dying plants? The ones he swore he was going to get us a new gardener for? Well, no word yet--two weeks and counting. I'm sure he'll be quite upset about the hole in his fence as well, but won't do anything about it, as usual.
The weather was beautiful, if hot. It was in the mid 90s all 3 days we were there. Somehow that's unbearable in San Jose but I didn't mind it too much in AZ. I guess the desert atmosphere places the heat in an environmental context, so my brain doesn't protest too much.
Thursday night we met up with my brother, sister in law, and parents and went out to eat at The Cheesecake Factory. I know, I know, it's one of those chain restaurants. But darn it if it isn't good! Despite their 15 page menu (in which, unfortunately, every other page is local advertisements--annoying!) the food is really pretty good. They have this awesome fire-roasted artichoke that I love. See, I have this thing about appetizers. I love them. I could make a whole meal out of them, and often do. Particularly buffalo wings. But grilled artichokes, when I can find them, are the best. Cheesecake Factory's come grilled in a balsamic vinaigrette and a garlic dipping sauce. Mmmmmmm. Other family members ordered salads that turned out to be twice the size of your head. My dad had an orange chicken he really liked. Overall, I recommend the Cheesecake Factory, if you ignore the ads in their menu (which I think is tacky).
Friday morning the boys (sans Kevin) went golfing while the girls (plus Kevin) headed to the Stress Less Step day spa. Ahhhhh, what better way to spend a lazy vacation morning? I had an hour long Swedish massage that left me feeling nice, mushy, and relaxed. Then I had the Asian body scrub. Wow, that was fantastic! First I went into the steam room, then they loofah you off to exfoliate the dead skin, then they rub you all over with a body scrub cream. You take a shower at that point, then they lather body milk all over you. My skin has never felt so soft! I literally glowed after this treatment. It was wonderful.
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After a tough day at the spa, it was time for a nap! We stayed at the Scottsdale Links Resort. Our room was quite nice--a full one bedroom apartment with dining room, living room, and kitchen complete with oven, fridge, and diswasher. It even had a washer and dryer. My parents got an even better deal with a two bedroom apartment. We later learned that in addition to working as a hotel, these are also time shares. The drawback? Uncomfortable beds and Kleenex sized bathroom towels. The thin, scratchy kind of Kleenex they used to have at school.
Friday evening we headed down to the parent's room for a little happy hour with a good family friend, artist Heidi Rosner. Heidi is an engineer by training and worked with my father for several years at TRW before moving to Arizona to pursue her art. Her watercolors are beautiful--visit her site and check it out!
For dinner we headed to the Fox Sports Grill which is your basic sports bar with a nice restaurant attached. Of course I had to order an appetizer (calamari, to share) and had a caesar salad for dinner. Our waiter, Jason, was very friendly and chatty. It was a nice dinner.
Saturday morning my parents and brother headed out with us to Taliesin West. Taliesin (pronounced "tally-essen") West was architect Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home in Arizona. He came each October through May before returning to his summer home, Taliesin, in Wisconsin. Taliesin West was a beautiful example of Wright's architecture and how well he incorporated the natural surroundings and scenery. It's still a working architectural college (25 students max) with an interesting college curriculum. If you're in the Phoenix area, don't miss Taliesin West.
Saturday evening was the wedding, and Sunday we went home, so that sums up our little Arizona adventure!
It's that old word association game. You say a word and I say the first thing that comes to mind. Let's all play Unconscious Mutterings!
Allowance:: 20 dollars
Homework:: Hausaufgabe (the German word for homework)
Milton:: Office Space (a great movie)
Shampoo:: Head and Shoulders (er, having a little dry scalp problem this week)
Z:: Dewart (We have a family friend named Lindsey Dewart who goes by "Z." I just got an email from her saying that her rheumatoid arthritis is finally responding to medicine--yay!)
When we go to Hamburg, I'll have a place to leave Kevin while I go off and shop. It's call "Maennergarten" and is a daycare for adult males while their SOs get their shopping done.
Too bad I don't like shopping either.
I participated in my democratic electoral process and have the little sticker to prove it.
In the end, after much contemplation, I voted for the man I felt would make the best governor, without regard to party affiliation, popularity, or likelihood of winning. I hope everyone else voted that way too, though I doubt it.
Tired of long lines, expensive seats, and airline webpages that don't work like they're supposed to? Check out SkyHigh Airlines, a satirical website brought to you by the folks at Alaska Airlines. It's hilarious!
I missed Friday because I was in Arizona. See my post below.
Anyway, here's this week's Friday Five:
1. What vehicle do you drive?
A 2000 Mazda Miata
2. How long have you had it?
Since June 2000. It was my birthday present to myself.
3. What is the coolest feature on your vehicle?
The convertible roof, definitely.
4. What is the most annoying thing about your vehicle?
Well due to the size, Kevin doesn't fit into it very well. His head scrapes the top when it's up, and his forehead is about 2 inches over the windshield when it's down.
Okay, that's it! Short but sweet.
Ha! I snuck away while you weren't looking! I've been in Scottsdale, AZ at the Palmer-Brown Wedding. We were guests of the groom, Jason Brown, a very close family friend of mine. Jason's dad and my dad worked together for over 30 years and have been friends as long. I grew up with Jason and his sister Holly and consider them family.
The wedding was fantastic. Erica, the bride, was absolutely gorgeous in an elegant lace covered gown. She's a wonderful person, too, and I'm so glad to see her and Jason together. The ceremony was held outside against a backdrop of the Arizona mountains and desert and was just beautiful. Yes, I cried :). It was about 90 degrees out, despite the wedding being held at 5 pm, but the heat wasn't unbearable as it had been for a few days prior. Of course, that's no consolation to the groomsmen in their tuxes! But actually, the boys cheated--they had ice packs in their inner pockets--a pretty creative solution, I'd say!
After the ceremony we had hors d'oeuvres on the lawn, where they had the coolest thing I've ever seen at a wedding: a martini luge. (just so you know, it only remained the coolest thing I've ever seen for a few hours, until dessert when they had something even cooler) The martini luge was an ice sculpture with a sloped top and two "tracks" carved in. You held your glass at the bottom of the slope while the bartender poured the drink mixings into the top, to have it travel down the ice and into the glass. I'm not a martini drinker, but I was very impressed.
After hors d'oeuvres (which included these divine mini-crabcakes and coconut encrusted baby lobster tails, among others), we headed up to an interior courtyard for dinner and dancing. The whole courtyard was lit with tiny white lights and candles--so romantic! Dinner was delicious (a green salad with fresh berries and a light vinigarette, chorizo-stuffed chicken, salmon, mashed potatoes). We were serenaded by an excellent band, the Groove Merchants. After dinner it was time to get down--Play that Funky Music, White Boy!
And then came the coolest thing ever--even cooler than the martini luge: the chocolate fountain. Yes, it was just like it sounds--a fountain of cascading melted fondue chocolate with marshmallows, fruit, cookies, and other things to dip. All I have to say is Wow. And where can I get me one of these? It was awesome.
At this point the batteries in our camera crapped out :(. But Kevin's uploading the pictures we do have right now. So as soon as he makes a page for them, I'll point you to it!
Following was all of the typical wedding events--the dances, the bouquet toss (in which I will never again have to take part of), the garter toss. We danced the night away and had a great time. Overall it was definitely one of the best weddings we've attended.