Sunday, April 29, 2012

Some Weekend Photos

Asparagus has been so good this year.  This easy roasting recipe – olive oil and sprinkled salt, 425 degrees, 10 min – makes them crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.  

stuff 008I have a confession to make…after making these as my dinner the other night, they didn’t even make it to a plate.  I stood over the counter and ate every last one using my fingers. So yummy!

The annual Trivia Night – our theme this year was LMFAO

Pulling together my outfit. 

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It’s too bad they’re so shy!

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We looked this good AND came in 2nd place – that is a first!

Rigby’s playmate Emma moved a few miles away last month. The two girls love to play, so we’ve missed her this month.  Emma’s Dad brought her over yesterday while he worked on getting his house ready to rent.  She spent the day with Rigby.

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They had so much fun!

The backyard is looking nice again as things have started to bloom.stuff 078

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stuff 103 Playdate over, time for a break.

stuff 101 While out running some errands on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, I was inspired by these gorgeous Gerberas and some potted basil. 

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Between the playdate and 5 mile walk, Miss Thang was pooped and put herself to bed.  Please notice the tongue.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Porn Club, I Mean, Book Club

For about 9 years, my friends and I have been part of a book club.  We have read some wonderful, quality books.  One of the best parts of book club is I’ve read books that I’d never have chosen, and really enjoyed them.  This month’s book would not have been one I would have read on my own.  When 50 Shades of Grey by EL James was announced in March I had not heard too much about it. 

166266021By the time I finished the book, just about every morning and afternoon talk show had done a story on it.  50 Shades has become a “Mommy Porn” sensation.  Women from all walks of life are touting it as the spark they’ve needed in the bedroom.  I won’t go too much into the content of the book because there are summaries and reviews all over the internet, but what I will say is the quality of writing leaves much to be desired (no pun intended) and it is sooooooo DIRTY – S&M kind of dirty!

In the past, we have read some racy books for book club – Wifey a few years ago and Tommy’s Tale last year are the memorable ones.  If those two books were racy, this 50 Shades is basically porn. 

Three members of my book club are dear friends of mine.  We’re very comfortable talking about pretty much anything on a regular basis.  The other four members of the group are good work friends, but I wouldn’t say I’m an open book with them.  I’m no prude, but the impending book club meeting was certain to be of a personal nature.  I wasn’t so sure how comfortable I was sharing, or possibly over-sharing, and maybe offending.  Then the invite/reminder email arrived from our host-with-the-most…
Jacob -  I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm feeling fifty shades of horny after reading this!  So let's get together and talk about that, among other things.  Just when you think we've talked about everything there is to possibly talk about in our book club, we come across fifty shades of unchartered territory!  Due to the nature of this distinguished piece of literature, the venue has been changed.  I would be fifty shades of horrified to be discussing these things with my in-laws and my son in the house.  I could send them away, but only for so long---certainly not long enough for us to really satisfy our needs.  Alex has graciously volunteered her home to be the Red Room of Pain, seeing as Rick only stands to get richer with this topic being discussed under his roof. So...your homework assignment is to bring your favorite S&M toy to share with the group.  Anyone who does not complete this assignment will be spanked.  HARD. See you at Thursday at 6:00! 

And then the following email exchange ensued
Mick -
BRING my favorite toy? BRING? Really?! 
And who is doing the spanking? 
Me - Ummmm I don't want Mick to bring his toy anymore!  :)
Alex - Unused!!!!!!!
Kristy - I guess  I will have to make a stop at the hardware store to pick up my supplies for the evening.  See you then.
Betty – Maybe I don’t NEED a favorite toy. :)
Tad - I have my attorney working on the Non Disclosure Agreement that I expect you all to sign upon my arrival.
Me – Ha ha ha!  Good one Tad
Tad -  I know it was your keyboard making a typo.  You intended to call me SIR.
Me - Oh dear!  Does that mean I’m getting spanked for that too!?!?!  ;) 
Jacob - YES.  Everyone is getting spanked, and I am doing the spanking because I get off on your pain.....I'm a bit perplexed though.  You know how I often like to read the dirty parts of our books out loud?  I don't think we have enough time for me to read the WHOLE BOOK out loud.  And we thought Tommy's Tale was dirty.  And we thought WIFEY was dirty!
Alex -  For those that need items I have extras!

And the evening went from there.  I must say it was quite an eye opening and informative evening.  We always have fun, but this book is so over-the-top, book club was a riot! 

Is 50 Shades of Grey on your reading list?

* Names have been (slightly) changed to protect the innocent (or the guilty).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


During the remaining two weeks of my spring break, some utility work started on my street, right out front of the house next door to me and across the street.  I believe it was the phone company, but with the phone company selling cable TV, and the cable TV company selling phone service, I can not be certain.

The first morning they were there, I was wakened by the “Dat! Dat! Dat! Dat!” sounds of a jackhammer.  I irritably got out of bed and headed out for a walk, since I was up.  I walked past the utility workers, digging up a rectangular hole, about 2 feet by 4 feet, on both sides of the street.  They spent the day out front, and when I took the dog out for an evening walk, the holes were asphalted over. 

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   Excuse the blurry photo!

I figured the work was finished.  That was until I was wakened again the next morning by the “Dat! Dat! Dat! Dat!” of the jackhammer.  The work continued that morning into afternoon, and at the end of the day, the holes were asphalted over once more.

The jackhammer alarm clock continued to go off about 8:00 each morning during the remainder of my break.  At the end of each day, the holes were covered, only to be noisily dug up the next day.  Each afternoon, the covered hole had a cone sitting on it like in the picture. 

It seems strange how many hours (about an hour each morning and an hour each afternoon) they spent digging up the hole and covering it each day.  I’m sure, fearing someone falling or throwing something in the hole, made it necessary to cover it, but how odd to cover it with asphalt.  There are only about 12 houses that use the street as access.  We probably could have gone two weeks without falling inside.  In this economy, I guess it’s good that these guys had work for possibly more days than needed,  but I think by the third or fourth day of work, I’d be awfully tired of digging up that hole each morning.

The workers were the same each day.  An additional contractor was seen sporadically over the two week period.  On some of the days, walking the dog coincided with the work being done.  There was a second truck and third man on the scene a few of those days.  The third man looked to be a supervisor.  There are a lot of jokes out there about how many people it takes to do utility and/or roadwork, as in many cases there are very few people doing the actual work while the rest are standing around and watching it.  I had to laugh at what I saw.  For awhile, the supervisor stood by and watched the work, every so often looking inside the holes.  The rest of his time supervising was spent sitting inside his truck, texting on his phone.  Where can I sign up!

I thought the work had been completed, but on last night’s walk, a couple of the neighbors were lamenting their frustrations with the work not yet completed.  I chuckled while listening to them, as I walked by the asphalt covered hole. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

What a Cool Kid!

A creative kid and filmmaker who just happened upon this little genius.  The short film went viral a week or so ago – brilliant!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday 9 Time!

Here’s this week’s Sat 9.

1. If someone, that you trusted, told you that your lover was cheating, would you believe them or not? If I trusted them and they had no reason to lie about it, yes.  Why wouldn’t I?

2. What is something that you are disappointed about right now? I’m disappointed that I’m not still on vacation, and that it was 100 degrees yesterday. 

3. Jonathan Frid, who was the original Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows from 1967-1971, passed away in Canada at the age of 87. Who is your favorite vampire? I don’t have a favorite vampire, in fact I don’t think I can even name a vampire.

4. Should there be age limits on social networking sites such as facebook?  Yes!  Luckily my 2nd graders don’t seem too interested yet, but the drama FB has caused with our 5th and 6th graders makes me think they are just too young to handle it.  Actually, I think I’m even too young to handle it!

5. Tell us about your pets. Do you have one that you wish would run away? Rigby is my +/- 2 year old Queensland Heeler.  I rescued her about 4 months after my Queensland of 15 years died.  I didn’t think I could love another dog as much as I did Koho, but this new one is so cool.  She’s a crazy puppy, but a pretty good dog and super funny.  I do not wish that she would run away, but there are times she drives me crazy.  Rigby steals shoes from the closet and tissues from the trash.  She doesn’t care if she runs around in the wet grass and drags mud into the house.  And because she is a herding dog, those instincts just can’t be helped.  On walks, she tries to herd squirrels, other dogs, cars and trucks, and playing children.  At home, she tries to herd me around the backyard.

6. Do you ever have a hard time with morals? I don’t know what that means.  Do I have a hard time being moral?  I don’t think so! I’m pretty keen on doing the right thing.  On the other hand, my morals may be less rigid than others.  When personal rights are stomped on under the guise of “morals”, then I have a hard time with them.

7. Did you make 'a plan' the first time you made love or did it just happen?  I must say that the term “making love” is just so silly and makes me giggle a little bit, but to answer - it just happened.  I’m a planner, but for that…not having a plan is usually more fun. 

8. Do you agree that fame is lousy or would you love to give it a try? Why? There are certain things about fame that sound very appealing, but the bad out weighs the good.  I don’t even like my picture taken.

9. Do you believe in forever, as in 'love forever'? Sure, I guess so.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Bit Out of Sorts

I’ve been contemplating a post about what’s been going on at work, but I have to be very careful how it’s composed.  Work and all it’s shenanigans have been on my mind a lot (especially now that spring break is over), and I’d like to get my thoughts down and somewhat organized.  At the same time, with the amount of drama that has gone on, it seems daunting. 

So instead, I’m going to just complain about some other goings on in kind of a random thoughts posts, but please let it be known that this is just biding time until I can write what I really want to post about…

Just last Friday it rained cats and dogs all day long.  We had lightning and thunder – thunder that shook the house and made me think we were having an earthquake.  Rigby tried to climb into the walls she was so scared.  The temps also fell quite a bit with the storm that by Saturday morning we had snow on the surrounding mountains.  Other than the puppy being frightened, I enjoyed every minute of it.  Today?  Well, it was 90+ outside.  Ugh!  A winter storm was so welcome since our winter was basically non-existent.  The 90 degree heat makes me want to complain, especially since it’s only April.

For the last couple of years, the noisiest car in the whole world my car’s brakes squeal loudly when the car slows or stops.  I take the car in about once a year to have them checked out. Every time, the mechanic tells me that there is plenty of brake left; they’re just noisy.  I like that they are honest with me and not charging me for new ones, but it’s hard to know when I actually will need new breaks.  They’ve been noisier than normal this month, so I took the car in to have it checked out, again.  Good news!  The brakes are still in good shape – minus the high pitched sound they make when I stop!  However, my alternator was not as lucky.  I left the shop this afternoon with a new alternator that cost $690.05!!!  So any plans on eating this month have been changed. Unexpected expenses like put me into a bit of a panic as the budget needs to be cut somewhere else.  On the bright side, that’s 690 more mileage points towards a business class flight to Europe – one of these days!

After picking up my car, I had to stop off at the eye doctor and pick up my new glasses, hopefully for the last time.  Since Friday, April 6, I have been to the eye doctor a total of 9 times.  On April 6 alone I went three times.  My exam got started over an hour late so I had to leave in the middle of it for another appointment, only to return to finish the eye appointment about an hour later.  After choosing my new glasses, I went back again that night to pick them up.  Since then, I’ve had to return because the glasses didn’t fit right, because they had the prescription in the wrong spot, and finally because they put the wrong prescription in the glasses.  Tonight, I can finally see out of them without squinting or getting a headache.  What a relief!

To end on a non-complaining note, tomorrow I will be attending an awards’ celebration to honor a fellow work colleague and friend who will be receiving an award.  How nice to participate in a presentation that honors teachers’ hard work rather than put it down.  It will be a refreshing change!  (I know, there was a little bit of complaining there too.)

Happy Wednesday!  Only two more days until the weekend!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

An Institution

After visiting the Bunker Hill area, we were getting a bit hungry.  Other than some fast food places our options were limited in that neighborhood.  I mentioned that Philippe’s was nearby, so we checked our phones’ GPS and walked north towards Chinatown.   

We passed by the Los Angeles Times building

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and LA City Hall.

An interesting fact - The concrete from this 1920’s building was supposedly made with the sand from each of California’s 58 counties and water from our 21 missions.

A few blocks later, we arrived at our lunch destination.  Philippe’s is an institution in LA.  It has been a sandwich restaurant since 1908 and at this location on the corner of Alameda and Ord since 1951. Anyone who has been here for any length of time, knows about Philippe’s

Philippe’s claims to be the originator of the French Dip sandwich.  It is a no-frills place with a huge clientele. 

The lunchtime crowds come in droves – downtown professionals, tourists, shoppers.    stuff 076 The lines are always this long, or longer.

Customers order at the counter, and one of the 10 counter servers takes your order and prepares your meal while you wait.  They are most known for their French Dip sandwiches with roast beef, pork, turkey, lamb, or ham. 

Philippe’s has some inexpensive beverage choices. 

Especially their coffee.They were the home of the 5 cent cup of coffee for years, and then in 1977 it increased to 10 cents.  Just this year, they quadrupled their price – a cup of coffee is now a pricey 45 cents!

Jason and I took a little break and enjoyed our French dips.  They don’t look like much, but are pretty good sandwiches and, even better, part of our city’s history.

After our lunch, we cut through the edge of Chinatown. 

Our Chinatown isn’t as impressive as let’s say San Francisco’s.  It’s got the typical markets and restaurants, but on a much smaller scale.  We hurried through the outer edge, just taking a peak.  The thought of the freeway turning into a parking lot in the near future sent us back towards our car in Bunker Hill in order to head home. 

It was a fun way to spend part of the day, even more so that it was low key and unplanned.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Historic LA Cont.

After our quick Angels Flight ride up to Bunker Hill, we walked back down the hill and across the street to the Grand Central Market.  This open-air marketplace is located in the The Homer Laughlin Building which was built in 1917. 

I found some good photo ops, but again, it wasn’t quite what I remember it being – a little bit more commercial and we weren’t too terribly impressed with the market’s options.  Unless of course if we had needed cat toenail

or stinky fried whole fish.

We headed through the market to Broadway where a couple more old (for us) buildings stand – the Bradbury and the Million Dollar Theatre. 
The Bradbury is the oldest of the two – built in 1893. 
stuff 043_2 The Bradbury was restored in the 90s and is absolutely gorgeous inside.          This building houses some government agencies including the LAPD’s Internal Affairs offices.

Just across Broadway is the Million Dollar Theatre built by Sid Grauman (of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre).  It was built in 1918 and was one of the first movie theatres in the US.
Later it was used as a performing arts stage, a Spanish-language movie house and live theatre, and more recently as a church.  Currently it is again being used for Spanish-language performances.

Both buildings were used in the filming of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner with Harrison Ford. 

The sites in these last two posts took just a little over an hour to visit, so we walked a couple miles north towards Chinatown to continue our exploration

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Angels Flight

About four months ago I started “reading” books by the crime-fiction author Michael Connelly.  The audiobooks I’ve downloaded from the library have helped pass the time while walking the dog.  They are easy, but entertaining, reads.

Connelly began his career as a journalist and eventually ended up writing for the Los Angeles Times before becoming a novelist.  His books, which all take place in Los Angeles County, are fairly sequential and have recurring characters – my favorite being Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch.  With L.A. as the backdrop, it’s almost as fun to read about the setting’s well-known landmarks, restaurants, and neighborhoods – of course, in the book a crime has usually taken place nearby.  A couple of weeks ago I finished “Angels Flight”.  The story takes place in the Bunker Hill/historic downtown district.  In the scheme of things, LA is such a young city, but this neighborhood played a big part in our early history, dating back to the mid 1800s.  Other than coming downtown for concerts or sporting events, I haven’t been to this area in years.  While reading “Angels Flight” I felt nostalgic for a visit. 

My friend (and work husband) Jason and I took a field trip to Historic Downtown just last week while still on Spring Break.  We decided to drive into North Hollywood to leave the car at the train station and pick up the Red Line Subway to Pershing Square.  Unfortunately when we arrived there was not a single parking place in the station
parking lot.  We drove around the neighborhood for about 15 minutes looking for street parking…nope.  So, like most Angelenos, we stayed in our car and just drove into the city.  So instead of paying $1.50 to take the train, we paid $16 to park in the lot of the train station at Pershing Square.  No wonder public transportation isn’t catching on here!

Armed with my big-girl camera, we headed out for our historic tour…
View of the Gas Company Tower, US Bank Tower, and the AT&T Tower

Angels Flight (the book’s namesake) was our first stop. 
Angels Flight is the “shortest railroad in the world”.  It is actually a funicular that was designed to carry passengers up and down the steep incline between downtown (Hill St.) and Bunker Hill which was a fashionable residential district.

There are two cars – Sinai and Olivet. 

It costs just 50 cents to ride to the top.  We took Sinai.

I think I was a little girl when I last rode Angels Flight.  Even though it wasn’t as exciting as it had been then, we enjoyed our trip to the top.   

I had so much fun keeping the iphone in my purse and shooting with the real camera.  By the time the field trip was over, I had almost 100 photos.  The remainder of our visit will be posted next time in part II.