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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Table manners

Here's a great story at about a family on mother's day who had their restaurant reservations stolen (the nerve!) and the terrible treatment they received by the manager. The only shame in this story is that they did not publish the name of the restaurant.

Oh, the humanity!

Today I have a giant pimple on my chin. Well, I shouldn't say today, it's been there for days, my hormones out of whack. It just looks particularly, well, overwhelming today.

My daughter's friend came over today. She is staring at me and says, her voice trembling with fear, "What is that on your face?"

"A pimple."


"A what?"

"A pimple. It's something that happens to your skin around the time you turn 13."


Quiet voice, "I never want to be 13."

Thanks, kid.

I love L.A.

Oh my goodness, do I ever owe you a big update! Wow, time flies when you are busy. Work busy, yes, and then I went out of town for the weekend to see my folks. I went into Los Angeles which is something I hardly ever do, mostly, I think, because I can’t stand the traffic and the 405 is enough to make me want to pull my hair out. Or just try the imaginary brake while my Dad is driving.

On Saturday I face the memorial day weekend traffic and gas prices (I swear I don’t even look at the pump anymore, I just swipe my card, close my eyes, and pray) and drove up to Orange County. We went to Anaheim’s The Block at Orange to see The Da Vinci Code Now, as anyone who regularly reads my blog knows, I am a huge Dan Brown fan. Religious flack aside, I really enjoy his novels (no, they are not all religious based novels). I’m a fan of puzzles and all of his books are page-turners. I have lost a lot of sleep reading his books!

Anyway, I was disappointed when I first heard Tom Hanks was cast as Robert Langdon. Have no fear, Tom Hanks was AMAZING. He was just fantastic as a Harvard Symbology Professor. In fact, the whole cast was terrific, the story was riveting, and the theatre was packed despite playing every hour all day long. The 2 hour 29 minute run time was needed to pack in as many details from the book as possible. I did notice a few minor changes from the book, but overall I enjoyed seeing this book come to life.

I went to the Getty Museum on Sunday, which was fantastic! I had never been before, although I have driven past on the 405 a few times. They were concluding a special Degas exhibit (ends June 11th), and the place was absolutely teeming with tourists. The crowds eventually really got to me, but what a bargain this place is- $7 to park your car, and no tickets needed- a real deal for big families. They even have parking for electric vehicles where you can charge your car while you browse! The gardens are beautiful, the views awe-inspiring.

While flash-photography is not permitted inside the museum, I saw two different people use their flash on their camera, only one was scolded by a guard. The guards were everywhere, given the crowds, and I got scolded myself for leaning over a plastic case, not even realizing I was touching it.

Next time, I would like to go see the Getty Villa, reservations are required in advance.

From there, we trekked over to Santa Monica where I got to see my parents’ first apartment (back from 1967), and the hospital where my mom used to work (which is considerably larger than it was back then!) We headed over to the Santa Monica pier, where we sloshed around trying not to bump into other tourists, and got to see the wild and the weird of Los Angeles. Not only did I see the exhibit of crosses in memoriam to the soldiers who died in Iraq, but I also got to see real hookers. Wow, what a mix of craziness in LA, for sure.

We also walked the third street promenade, but my feet were just too tired to go on. I slept well that night!
Of course, I forgot my camera on my adventures through Los Angeles. So sorry. A beautiful day, beautiful sunset, all memories for me to treasure.

Now that I am back in San Diego, I did get to go to the Old Globe to see The Violet Hour last night with my girlfriend. We had a great time, and while I really enjoyed the show, there were several seats empty after intermission (including the folks next to me, who I guess either really hated it or were offended by the “N” word). This is the 3rd production I have seen at the Old Globe, so now we’re considering subscribing to their full season.

Yes, some of the reviewers did not like this show. Yes, the show is more talking than showing, but that’s part of its appeal. You have to really listen and pay attention to get the full grasp of what it is about, and I must say I was thrilled I did not read any reviews before going to see it. Then everything was a total surprise! Which, coincidentally, is kind of what the play ended up being about. If you want to read a review of the New York version with Robert Sean Leonard (of Dead Poet’s Society fame), go here:

Up next at the Old Globe is the summer Shakespeare Festival at their outdoor theatre, along with The Sisters Rosensweig . Matthew Broderick is coming to the Old Globe in the next season. He is the lead in “The Starry Messenger”, which should be a sell-out so get your tickets early if you are interested.

*Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Quote of the day

When I drop off my daughter at school, she often climbs in the front seat and we chat for a few minutes before she goes inside, or we sing along to "Radio Disney".

But today, she said to me,

"Mom, we have to stop, I don't want anyone to see me or else I'm going to be embarassed."


Thursday, May 18, 2006

I know I'm too old

Everyone has been blogging about American Idol, siding with McPhee or with Taylor Soul Patrol. With all of the flaring of emotions, I am not one to sit on the sidelines and not pipe up.

Especially since I used to teach statistics for freshmen at the state college.

And I used to use American Idol as my model for why volunteer phone-in polls do not work, scientifically. This was a perfect example for my class, textbook, as it were.

Why is it now, after AI being in it's 5th season, that people are finally starting to complain (loudly) about the phone-in system for voting??

There are people in the blogosphere who are saying there is no way the Kat-Taylor-Elliot vote could have been so close (in the 10th of a percent close).

I totally believe it.

So while you might be like me, and sit there and hit re-dial for hours on end, basically the fans are max-ing out the phone banks and it will come down to being this close next week also.

But for the record?

Taylor is my man, and he has been ever since I saw his audition. I have rooted for him every step of the way. They should pay me for my instinct :-)

I also got my tickets for the AI concert. I know, totally, like, how old am I? But hey, I'm taking my daughter. She's so excited, it's adorable. But we have to wait 3 months.

I promise I will post a full concert review. After attending my last concert several years ago (after discovering I was just way too old and way too poor to keep going to big name concerts), I just decided this was a perfect first-concert for a kid.

And all this from someone who never watched AI until this season.

(Oh, and hey Kat fans- my daughter is voting for Kat, and I am voting for Taylor)

Photo credit:

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Kona got a boo-boo

This weekend I was on the phone with my sister when I noticed blood on my kitchen floor.

Maybe most people would freak out. Normally, I would freak out. But you see, when we have a new puppy in the house, I figure anything is possible. It wasn't a lot of blood, just a couple of drops. I figured she lost a tooth, or she cut herself, or the dogs were just playing too hard together. They both were running around and happy, so I didn't give it a second thought.

Until I was on the couch falling asleep. You know that terrific moment after a long day when you can drift off to sleep? You don't have anything else you need to do right then other than relax? Yeah, that's when Kona jumped on my lap.

And had an actively bleeding toenail.

After much fussing, we determined the bleeding had been going for a long time and would not stop, plus it was finally grossing me out.

We took Kona to the emergency vet, where I braced myself for the worst. Even after they said it was a minor wound, I was preparing for the worst- a long night, a huge bill, and thanking goodness for the pet insurance policy we just took out on the pets a few weeks ago. Even when they said they had 3 major emergencies come in, I was prepared to be in their for the long haul.

Amazingly, an hour and a half later and only $84, Kona was ready to go home. His little doggy bandage made him limp, but by the time the bandage came off, he was much better. The nail is significantly short (it's barely there, it nipped the quick of the nail), but otherwise doing well.

And the puppy? This morning I woke up to find she had escaped from her confinement (where she is kept in the kitchen when she is not being supervised) and had gotten into the cat litter and there was a combination of cat poop and dog poop all over the house.

I still did not freak out. Amazing.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Happy Belated Mother's Day!

My husband got me something I've always wanted! One of those delicious giant cookies from Mrs. Field's. They sit in their display window beckoning, I always thought it would be so cool to get one. I even cried when he gave it to me.

We had a nice Mother's Day, my daughter gave me a card that was just so cute. Her teacher typed up a letter to be placed inside the card. Well, take a look!

Also this weekend our Girl Scout troop went on their adventure as their reward for a successful cookie season. This year the girls decided they wanted to do the Dolphin Interaction Program at Sea World San Diego. I at first was shocked by the price ($150 per person, adults and children same price), but after seeing the experience I can't wait to go do it myself someday! It was really incredible and definitely something the kids will always remember.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Maki Zushi

This weekend the supplies I ordered for sushi-making finally arrived. I swear within a half hour of us opening the package, we were on our way out the door to the Japanese Market.

I realize I don't speak or read any Japanese (although I wish I did), so I was admittedly a little nervous going into the store. I was very grateful for some of the english labels (not everything had labels) and some of the items were at least recognizable for me. (My concern over the labels comes from the fact I am severely allergic to shellfish and any oils from shellfish- I have to be so careful what I eat sometimes, especially when it comes to sushi).

It was also a Saturday afternoon so the place was packed, which made me feel awkward lingering over products when other people were trying to get to them.

I have to say this was a very fun field trip. It was so neat seeing all of the cool products, they had japanese music on, and a television showing Japanese programming. They had a big movie section, and a nice selection of sushi-grade fish. I picked up some beautiful tuna (which was $30 for a pound) and some salmon. I thought I would keep my first sushi experience simple, and plus I am not even sure making shellfish rolls for my friends would be a good idea or a bad idea. Also, I saw the a population so diverse in the store like I have never seen in San Diego, which I appreciated.

Everyone I spoke to in the store seemed very nice and friendly, even accomodating when I had to speak to them in English. It made me want to learn some basic Japanese so next time I can speak to them in their own language and not feel like such a dork.

I did pick up 12 pounds of sushi rice, so I'm set for a while. Next time I would like to pick up some Shiitake mushrooms and make a nice vegetable roll. I also should have picked up some japanese cucumber, but didn't think of it. When I go back, I need to bring in the japanese terms for some of the food I was looking for but couldn't find.

At home, I had been soaking the sushi rice I already had in stock. I don't have a rice cooker and managed to do a decent job making the rice on my stovetop. A good rice cooker will cost over $100 most of the time, and I wasn't sure I was ready to invest in one. Next time I need to remember to add some Sake to the rice. I did remember the "dashi kombu", which is dried seaweed. My teacher instructed us to add a 3-inch square of dashi kombu to the 4 cups of uncooked rice, but the absence of sake was noticeable in the final product.

I made "Tekka Maki", which is a tuna roll, and I also made Philadelphia Rolls, which are my daughter's favorite. Lessons learned from this experience: cut the tuna slices in half, put less wasabi inside the rolls, and add less cream cheese to the Philadelphia Roll, which was also missing something- was it cucumber? I had a great time making the sushi, which remarkably came together quite nicely. I only spent about $15 on the fish, and look how much it made! We got 2 meals out of all of this sushi. While you are making the sushi, it is key to have a bowl of vinegar water so you can dampen your hands and dampen your knife as you slice the rolls.

Here are the photos... it was delicious!

Tekka Maki

Philadelphia Roll

Shawn enjoying his bounty

Thursday, May 04, 2006

From my little gardener

"Happy early mother's day, mama!" - Rachel, age 7 1/2

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Only I could catch a cold in May

Yes, dear readers, I have been under the weather this week. It's just my punishment for thinking the other day, "Yay, we made it through the cold season!" and I swear the very next day my daughter woke up going, "Cough, cough, COUGH." Argh!

But in all of my husband's cuteness, I woke up one morning to see this note: