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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Triceratops Abby

*Update....BIG UPDATE*: This picture of Abby made it to PAGE 2 of the Flickr interestingness pages. The photo has 25 comments, 323 views and 14 people have added it to their favorites page! I found out from a few of the comments people left. So I look at the interestingness page.....and I'm ON THE COVER PAGE FOR YESTERDAY! Wow.....I'm just....wow. The photo changes with each view, but there I was....big as day on the cover page. If you want to see, go to this page and click on the 27th...a box will come up....click on the link and you will go to the interestingness pages for yesterday. Wow :)

Abby was "fixed" yesterday and the vet gave us one of those elizabethan collars for her to wear so she does not pull her stitches out. She has to wear it for 2 weeks. Poor little thing has trouble with her balance and with negotiating spaces...has been running into everything. It might also have something to do with the pain medication she is all strung out on.

Abby got

So this morning Greg called me and this is how the conversation went:

Greg: Abby was trying to get between the louvers to look out the window this morning but couldn't because of the collar.
Me: Poor thing.
Greg: She's like a little triceratops.
Me: That's the dinosaur with the cone thing around it's head?
Greg: Yeah.
Me: How do you know so much stuff about dinosaurs!?
Greg: High school, woman! Did you skip that class or something?
Me: We didn't have dinosaur class at my school....
Greg: Sheesh.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Chocolate Freedom, Please

What do the "Lone Star Cowboy", "The West Wing Burger" and "Chocolate Freedom" have in common? They are all things you can order when dining at the White House!

Below is an article from 101 Cookbooks. I found it fascinating. And now I want to eat at The White House. So I'm adding that to my list of things I want to do before I die. I'd be really excited to see the butter stamped with the Presidential Seal!! What can I say....I'm easily amused/entertained.

---

Written by Wayne Bremser -- On a recent trip to the Washington, D.C. area an old college friend who works at the White House graciously invited me to eat at the White House Mess in the West Wing, which is operated by the U.S. Navy. In honor of the holiday, here's brief look at this unique dining experience.

The relationship between food at the White House and the Navy dates back to 1880, when President Rutherford Birchard Hayes was traveling aboard the Presidential Yacht, Despatch. It is said that during this voyage the President noticed that the food the Navy cooking for him was significantly better than he ate at the White House.

During Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration in 1942 the Navy provided food for the retreat that was then known as "Shangri-La," which was later renamed Camp David. In 1951 Rear Admiral Robert L. Dennison recommended to President Truman that a commission officers mess be created in the White House. Since then the White House Mess has been located on the ground floor of the West Wing.

You are greeted by a young Naval officer in uniform who acts as host. He checks reservations and directs people to their tables. The decor of the lobby and dining hall is traditional and masculine - dark wood, thick leather, cannons blazing in paintings of naval battles by the artist William Phillips.

Down a set of stairs, the dining room is narrow, perhaps three modest-sized tables wide. It's not very big. The White House is of course a very professional environment. People are friendly, but very serious. Men wear jackets and ties and do not remove them during lunch. (The only sign of casualness was in the press room, where reporters and video technicians are camped out indefinitely.)

The menu is traditional American; it includes the White House Signature Steak - Lone Star Cowboy, the West Wing Burger and the National Combo (smoked sausage, grilled onions and peppers on a roll served with a jumbo soft pretzel). There's even PB&J on the menu. The Herb Mustard Shrimp (jumbo shrimp sautéed in a mustard reduction sauce) was popular. Readers might be surprised that a good portion of the menu is "lite" - dishes with lower fat and calories. Choices for vegetarians like myself included a vegetable platter, a fruit salad, a personal pizza and spaghetti marinara. I was amused at the idea of having a veggie burger and fries at the White House.

While we snacked on rolls and butter (stamped with the Presidential Seal), there were not many conversations to overhear, as people spoke quietly, both out of privacy and a general sense of respect that was prevalent in the West Wing. Nobody could be seen using a cell phone, though there were several messages being read and written on Blackberries, which are ubiquitous amongst White House employees.

The service provided by the Navy is efficient and precise. The men serving you are smiling and gracious. The Mess is staffed well enough that even at the larger tables, multiple servers bring out plates, so that every diner's meal hits the table at the same moment. The veggie burger was standard fare (perhaps a Bocca or other similar product), though the roll was clearly freshly made and the waffle-cut fries were tasty.

The highlight of the meal was the dessert of the day, the Chocolate Freedom, which had to be ordered with lunch because it took time to bake. When first served, it seems like a conservative desert - it's a small muffin-shaped cake served with homemade vanilla ice cream and fresh berries. But Chocolate Freedom is actually quite decadent - it's filled with gooey, molten chocolate, which probably keeps the staffers awake for days debating policy and strategy.

Exiting the White House Mess, the Navy tops its impeccable service by handing out little boxes of red, white and blue Presidential M&M's.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dog Days

The heat continues, ugh!


So do any of you ever watch that show called Dog The Bounty Hunter? When it first came out I rolled my eyes at such a lame idea. A bounty hunter named Dog? Come on now....

But I'm going to digress from Dog for a second.

Did any of you ever watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer? I rolled my eyes at that lame idea, too. However, Buffy came to be one of my most favorite shows....ever. To this day I love it and watch the reruns. It sounds like a really lame show....I'm with you on that. But one day I was watching a rerun of Friends and they were showing clips of the upcoming new episode of Buffy during the commercial breaks. I had no idea what the show was about....except that Buffy was a vampire slayer. But how lame is that? A girl named Buffy.....and she's a vampire slayer!? But these clips during the commercial breaks had me intrigued. Seems Buffy was in love with this hot hot hot vampire named Angel. I'll be honest, a lot of my intrigue was due to Angel's hotness. So I watched the episode. And I was hooked from that moment on. And not just because Angel is a honey....tho he did make it really easy to watch.

Okay, so back to Dog. Now Dog is not hot and the show is not one of my all time favorites....that's not where I'm going with this. The point is, not all shows are as stupid as they sound. Or at least as stupid as *I* think they sound. I've watched about 4 or 5 episodes of DtBH and it's strangely fascinating. I saw that quote from a critic.....strangely fascinating. It fits this show. You want to keep watching to see if they catch the bad guy. And you know they are going to catch the bad guy because who is going to air a show where the bad guys get away from a guy named Dog? And there is always the chance there will be mace and bullets flying. And on top of that, you have him and his weird little crew of bounty hunters. They are not run of the mill people by any means. If you have not seen them, the best way to describe them is to picture a seen better days hair band from the 80's. They all dress in head to toe black and have long hair (with the exception of one of them to has short hair), leather pants, cowboy boots with all the silver studs and chains....you get the idea. If this show becomes wildly popular, bounty hunting is going to be the new craze....just like being a CSI became a craze. There will be commercials for a class you can take to get your bounty hunting license on daytime TV between all the soap opera drama. Had there been a class for vampire slaying....I'd have soooo been there. *chuckles*

Anyway, it's no Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but it's interesting. So give Dog The Bounty Hunter a watch next time you are flipping thru the channels. You might find it strangely fascinating.

74613c

Monday, July 24, 2006

115

On Saturday the temperature was 115 degrees from Mission Valley to Santee. Greg had a softball game that afternoon and he said the ground was so hot that the bottom of his feet were burning through his cleats. You'd think they would call the game off due to those conditions, but they didn't.

That morning I went out to Mount Soledad with my parents and my aunt who is visiting. I wanted to get a picture of the 29 foot tall cross just in case they have to take it down because of all the controversy.

Mount Soledad Memorial Cross

The battle to save the 52-year-old cross began in 1989 after a single atheist backed by the American Civil Liberties Union sued the city of San Diego in an effort to remove it. Year after year this is an issue....it never dies because this one man refuses to let it go. In May a judge declared it was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and ordered the city of San Diego to remove the cross within 90 days or face a fine of $5,000 per day for every day beyond the deadline. City officials and supporters of the cross took it to the high court where Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issueed a stay, ordering that the memorial not be desecrated until all legal options are exhausted.....but after 17 years, they are running out of options. So I have a feeling it will be coming down.

Kinda sad....I think most San Diegans see it as a city treasure and not an endorsement of religion...but whatever.

Yesterday we went to see You, Me and Dupree. It was funny :) I love Owen Wilson....he just cracks me up. Then we had sushi for lunch! Yummy! This was all an effort to keep out of the heat. But eventually we had to go home and be hot and uncomfortable again. We've been trying not to run the air conditioner because the state says we are having an energy crisis. If it's hot tonight, we might just have to turn it on so we can sleep. It's so hard to sleep when you are hot.

So that's my weekend report.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

And They're Off...

In honor of opening day at the Del Mar Race Track.

---

A guy was sitting quietly reading his paper when his wife walked up behind him and whacked him on the head with a magazine.

"What was that for?" he asked.

"That was for the piece of paper in your pants pocket with the name Laura Lou written on it," she replied.

"Two weeks ago when I went to the races, Laura Lou was the name of one of the horses I bet on," he explained.

"Oh honey, I'm sorry. I should have known there was a good explanation," she said.

Three days later he was watching a ball game on TV when she walked up and hit him in the head again, this time with the iron skillet, which knocked him out cold.

"What the hell was that for?" he asked when he came to.

"Your horse called!" she replied.

Precious Abby

Abby in soft focus

I love all my cats...even Calvin. But Abby has a special place in my heart. I just love her little personality and I'm pretty sure she loves me, too :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

talk talk slurp talk talk talk talk talk slurp talk talk talk talk slurp talk yip yip yip yip slurp

Now who do you suppose deserves a blog tile like that?

My cube neighbor, that's who.

Yup, I'm in my cube now. Been in here since last Wednesday. I'm getting used to things for the most part, but one thing I cannot get used to is my cube neighbor and all her phone calls. In one day she will make/receive at lease a doezen phone calls. And none of them are business. Now I don't mean to sound like some perfect employee who never makes/receives phone calls, but I don't get anywhere close to what she does. And she is loud. It might be more tolerable if she would try to keep her voice down, but she talks at full volume. Soooo annoying.

Then there is the slurping. That's right....slupring. I'm not sure what it is, but she eats some kind of candy that is big (like ice cube size) and whatever it is really gets the juices flowing. So there is this constant slurping going on. After about an hour she crunches it up and unwraps another one ~ I think it might be a jawbreaker. This alone is going to drive me mad. I'm just hoping once her supply of candy is gone, she will not buy more. If she does, one of two things needs to happen: 1, the bag needs to mysteriously vanish, or 2, she needs to give me one so I can't hear her slurping over my own slurping!

Lord, I promise to be a good girl. Please don't let her buy another bag....

Monday, July 17, 2006

Weekend Report

Greg plays this little game with the cats now and then. He acts like he's a terodactyl (picture a man acting like a large flying dinosaur) and he swoops down and picks up one of the cats and flies away with his pray (cat) to his nest (the bed) where he lands and pretends to gobble up the pray. Well this morning he goes into terodactyl mode, sounds and all, swoops down and scoops up Abby and flies back to his nest. Just as he is about to gobble her up, she bit him on the nose. Oh man, the terodactyl yelped and the pray (Abby) got away quickly and unscathed. So remember, if you are ever attacked by a terodactyl, bite it on it's nose because they don't like that. *laughs* This isn't as weird as it sounds. Really.

Incidentally, did you know that terodactyl is actually spelled pterodactyl? I looked it up to see if I was spelling it right and could not find it! I even looked on a dinosaur site. So I go in and tell Greg about this and he looked at me like..."duh", and says "it's spelled with a P". Hun? Spelled with a P? Whatever. Makes no sense to me.

Ice Cream

It was damn hot in San Diego over the weekend. Damn hot. So we made ice cream. Now the last time I made ice cream it took forever (a Martha Stewart recipe, so that should explain things). This time I was sure to look for a recipe that didn't have 3000 steps. Found this one:

Homemade Banana Ice Cream

3/4 pint milk or cream or a mixture of both (according to taste)
4 oz sugar
3 ripe bananas (to purée)

Purée the bananas and place in a mixing bowl. Pour in the milk/cream and sugar, mixing in well as you do so. Transfer the whole mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

There, can't get much easier that that! And it's GOOD! The only thing I'd say is, it is a tiny bit on the sweet side, so maybe only 3oz of sugar. And if you use cream, watch the mixing time or it can turn into butter....not good. Otherwise it's really yummy and simple!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Overwhelmed

I laughed out loud and might have snorted when I read the first line of this article.

Postal worker caught with thousands of letters

BERLIN (Reuters) - A Berlin postal worker who was caught with more than several thousand undelivered letters in his basement has admitted he was overwhelmed by the job but insisted he planned to deliver them soon.

Police recently found 90 boxes of post stacked in his basement. The postal worker, 36, identified as Thomas H., told Bild newspaper Friday he was only temporarily storing the post at his house and friends would help with delivery.

"There were just too much and I couldn't deliver it all by myself," he told the newspaper. Police said some of the letters found had been postmarked as early as April. The postal worker faces disciplinary action.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Handmade

I make cards. I usually make all the cards I give. I've been thinking it might be a good time to start working my holiday cards so I have them ready and don't have to rush when I realize it's December 1st and have not laid down any red or green ink. However, something has happened. I've lost the spark that fuled my creative card making desires. Sitting down to make a card now is like a job rather than a fun hobby. It does not help that there are tons of cute cards out there to buy....like this one or this one. Why make cards when you can buy such cute ones? And the fact of the matter is, sometimes I wonder if people even care that I made the card. I know my family and a few close friends seem to like them, but I'm not sure if other people really care about little stuff like that. It's a lot of work to make cards, so when people don't notice, it's....well honestly, it's a let down.

At a birthday dinner, I gave a card to a friend (who will remain nameless) and this person didn't really look at the front of it, opened it, found the gift certificate and that was it. The card was of no interest. It sat among the empty plates of food and got wet from beads of sweat rolling off glasses into puddles. Upon leaving, the gift certificate was quickly retrieved but the card was left to be discarded by the busboy. So that person will not get another handmade card. If cards don't ring their bell, so why bother making them one?

Do you suppose the same thing happens to the holiday cards I mail to people? Maybe they are barely noticed and go right into the trash? I mean, there isn't even a gift certificate in those (usually) so there isn't even that to draw interest.

I just wonder if it is worth all the effort I put into making them if people don't care.

God, I sound like little depressed Charile Brown from that Charile Brown Chistmas special....

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sending you back to 1999....

Angel Eyes

Girl, you're looking, fine tonight,
and every guy has got you in his sights.
What you're doing, with a clown like me,
is surely one of life's little, mysteries

So tonight I'll ask the stars above,
"How did I ever win your love?"
What did I do?
What did I say,
to turn your angel eyes my way?

Well, I'm the guy who never learned to dance,
never even got one second glance
Across a crowded room was close enough,
I could look but I could never touch

So tonight I'll ask, the stars above,
"How did I ever win your love?"
What did I do?
What did I say,
to turn your angel eyes my way?

Don't anyone wake me,
if it's just a dream
'Cause she's the best thing,
ever happened to me

All you fellows, you can look all you like,
but this girl you see, she's leavin' here with me tonight

There's just one more thing that I need to know,
if this is love why does it scare me so?
It must be somethin only you can see,
'cause girl I feel it when you look at me

So tonight I'll ask the stars above,
"How did I ever win your love?"
What did I do?
What did I say,
to turn your angel eyes my way...


-The Jeff Healey Band

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

California In The Country

Our flight out was ordinary in my opinion. There was a little “rough air” as they call it during the 4-hour flight, but nothing terrible. I read my book and Greg listened to a few of his geek radio shows that he recorded as an MP3. Kept him semi entertained. He is pretty nervous when it comes to flying….won’t eat, won’t talk, won’t sleep…..just generally hard to deal with. But once we land, his good disposition returns.

We flew into Greater Cincinnati Airport located in….Kentucky. Don’t know. Can’t tell you what the deal is with that. Walked what seemed like 20 miles to baggage claim and then headed to the car rental place. They gave us a Toyota Highlander which was nice and roomy. Funny little note about the car….Greg could not get the hatch back door up to put the luggage in. I was standing there and got to thinking back to the camping trip Laura and I took. She has a 4-Runner and there is this deal with the key you have to do to get the hatch up. So I asked to have a look and…..voila!....hatch open. Hehehe. For once I knew something about a car that he didn’t.

We got to the hotel and Greg’s Mom had called just 10 minutes earlier to see if we had checked in yet….I guess she thought maybe we had slipped in and not bothered to call them….this alone should tell you something about how things went.

Unpacked and met them at Skyline Chili. Greg had to have his Skyline Chili while he was there. It’s not chili the way I think of chili and does not even taste like traditional chili to me….but I’m from California, so what do I know.

I’m going to digress for a minute. Have any of you ever seen that VISA commercial where the guy tries to write a check in some small Podunk town and the old guy with a Midwestern accent looks all funny at him and says “We don’t take no checks from California…”. It just kills me. Anyway, just thought of that.

Next day, Monday, we met at their house and were introduced to Trixie and Vada ….their big ole black labs. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.

Tuesday was the 4th of July. We were supposed to go to Greg’s brothers house, but we got the word that his kids were sick with the flu, so we skipped that. They insisted we come over….but Greg and I got sick last time we were there and didn’t want to get sick this time. This event would prove to be one of the “snags” in our trip, but I’ll get to that in a bit. We didn’t actually see any fireworks….it turned out to be a pretty dull day. However, they did take us to the “neat” (fancy to them) Wal-Mart….which looked like any other Wal-Mart to us.

Wednesday we headed out to a town called Little Nashville. It was a 2-hour drive from Lawrenceburg where they live. Kind of a long drive, but it was either that or a trip to the “neat Home Depot”. They have dozens and dozens of specialty shops there. I got a gift for my Mom since she was watching our cats while we were gone, but that was it. I got a few pictures of the countryside. There is no question it is picturesque there. Just as green and lush as can be with pretty brick homes. The people there really take pride in their yards and keep them well manicured.

Thursday we drove into Cincinnati so Greg could go to the stadium where the Reds play and get one of the new style ball caps they wear. We trucked around downtown for a while and I got a few pictures down there, too. Not a heck of a lot going on that day.

Friday we drove up to see a restored covered bridge and then to a lake. It was nice to see, but the driving around every day was now starting to get old. You can see only so many farms and barns before you have no desire to see anymore.

Friday night was the big dinner. Greg had told his Mom that we didn’t want to spend our days driving around from relative to relative saying hello. We planned a dinner and invited everyone to come see us that night if they wanted to. The turn out was pretty good….I think there were about 20 people there. We got to see his Grandma McDonough, which was special. She’s a sharp little thing and embodies the definition of “grandma”. Everyone noticed the absence of Greg’s brother and his family. Remember I said not going to their house would prove to be a snag later? Well, if we didn’t come to them, they were not coming to us. What? Are we in high school?! It’s stuff like this that makes it hard for me to be polite. I realllllly wanted to say something about it to his Mom & Dad, but I didn’t. What good would it do? So we had a nice time seeing most of his family.

Saturday. Greg was feeling the pressure to see his brother from his Mom & Dad and this would be the last day to do it since we were leaving early the next morning. Actually, the pressure was from his brother, it was just came vicariously thru his parents. And when I say his brother, I really mean his brothers wife. So Greg called his brother and lunch was arranged. Oh joy. They were half hour late to the restaurant. We saw their two kids for the first time….cute kids. Jeff, his brother, is pretty much the same and has not changed much….kind of laid back with a mild attitude. His wife, Leah….well, Leah has not changed much either. It became clear to me that she was the driving force behind not showing up to the dinner the night before. I’d say “poor Jeff”, but he picked her. I’ll leave it at that. We had not planned on doing more than lunch, but somehow we were maneuvered into going to see a lake….which just happened to be where they parked their pontoon, and also just happened to be just a mile and a half from their house. We listened to them talk about their work, their lives….the whole 9 yards. Never stopped and asked us anything about ours. I waited to see if either of them would ask me about my job or what I was up to….never did. It was all about them and showing us all their stuff. Folks, this is called bragging. It’s not cute. We left and went back to our hotel room….needed a break after all that. Then we met his Mom & Dad for dinner and said our goodbyes.

Sunday. Thank goodness for Sunday. We headed out early and got back to San Diego at 11:30am. Home Sweet Home. We were both happy to be back in the city where gas is over $3 a gallon and where there are several bad parts of town rather than just one.

Do any of you remember the end of Back To The Future when Marty is returns from 1955 to 1985 and the movie theater changes from some respectable movie title to being an x-rated theater and the nice clean park bench turns into a sleeping place for a bum? This is what it was like coming home….only it wasn’t 1985. Thank goodness.

Photo Gallery



country charm

Seagrams plant where his parents live
Seagrams plant ~ Lawrenceburg Indiana

Greg with Vada and Trixie
two of Greg's fans

from left to right: Leah, baby Avery on her lap, Logan, Greg, Jeff
IMG_7035