Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why the RC sucks. Seriously.

So I just realized I never told y'all that I was going to be offline last week. Monday I had to fly quickly to DC for a meeting on Tuesday and back out on Wednesday. The meeting was definitely not worth my time but I got to see my parents which was awesome.

As usual I took a United flight but my bag didn't make the connection in Denver. United assured me that my bag would be on the next flight so I headed to the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner. My parents came over and we had dinner with my brother at Maggiano's. (Which btw - Yum!) Because I'm always prepared for the worst, I then ran around Tysons 2 looking for clothes in case my bag didn't make it. Well, I thought that the mall closed at 10. It doesn't, it closes at 9. That meant that instead of and hour and a half, I had 30 minutes to find a complete outfit.

I ran like hell and stormed Anthropologie. I saw a pair of black, dressy, wide-leg crepe pants. I didn't even have time to try them on, I just threw them with a blouse on the counter. Well, they are by Elevenses and they are FABULOUS. Want to know why? They're extremely high-waisted and yet make me look tiny, tall, and lanky. Woo hoo!

I then ran around the mall trying to find size 11, leather, stacked heels. Apparently this size is only worn by transvestites because NO ONE had any. I finally found one pair at Macys (ick) that, surprisingly, I don't hate.

Anywho... long story short, United delivered my bag that night but the Ritz didn't see fit to keep track of it. I got to wear my cutie-patootie pants with my 3" tranny heels for my meeting on Tuesday. I then got my bag before checking out that night. I'm about to write a very mean note to the manager of the Ritz. I mean, really. They're known world-wide for their service - why should I get the shaft? Looks like I'll be at the Four Seasons from now on.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Oh kittens,

It has been a whirlwind weekend. DH didn't come home until 8 or so on Friday and he had a really weird face when he asked what we were doing this weekend. Turns out he had volunteered us to drive up with some of his work friends to go hiking and camping in the San Jacinto mountains.

Elliott doesn't do the outdoors. In fact, I cried three times when we summitted Mt. Snowdon in Wales two years ago.

Anywho, everyone promised me that it wouldn't be that bad. Tahquitz Peak is seven miles, 8800 feet, listed as "moderate" in the hiking book. The big liars - it was listed as "moderately strenuous" which really means "Holy hell, you're going up Everest!"

Here it is, in all its glory.

Anywho...it was a tough hike. Even the serious climbers in our group were surprised at how tough it was to slog through. The beginning is really steep, then it levels out for a mile or so, and then the last two miles are tons of switchbacks and extremely narrow and rocky. I think everyone was feeling the altitude. Having lived my entire life at sea-level, I didn't think it would be that big a difference. HA!

The view from the top, however, was killer. There's a fire watchtower at the top and the lovely ranger let me collapse there for a while. The view is so good that the rangers can spot a fire before satellites can!

So after our hike we headed to the town of Idyllwild, CA and ate at the Gastrognome. Such a cute restaurant. The waitress kept our water and wine glasses filled and didn't blink an eye when we asked for the breadbasket to be refilled a third time. (Some of the group was going to do a 20 mile hike today so they needed to fill up on carbs.)

We pulled in to our campsite around 9, drank bottles of a really good rioja until 10 and then passed the heck out.

Even though it was a rough day, I'm glad I slogged through. DH loves his outdoorsy things and I want him to have fun weekends. I have to admit though, I almost cried when he told me how proud he was that I had pushed through and gotten to the top.

Well, I guess I should go unload the 8000 pounds of hiking gear still in the car. Later, kittens!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More wedding pictures

Here's a picture of the GORGEOUS Swan Hotel. The weather last weekend was sunny and beautiful. Between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, we ordered a bottle of wine and sat at cafe tables on the side of the river. FAB.
Headwear was a big issue for me at this wedding. The ladies all were wearing beautiful hats but 1. I get really bad hat head and 2. I had to get it through 12+ hours of flying. I decided to wear a foofy headband instead. I LOVE headbands so I was delighted when I found this one that matched my dress at Nordstrom. Also, I swear I wasn't perturbed with DH, despite what my face says.

Also, I'm convinced I'm going to get West Nile

DH and I went to the garden center yesterday and I got two mosquito bites. Pshaw...big deal, no? Well, little ol' Elliott is allergic to EVERYTHING and mosquitoes are no exception.

The small bite on my shoulder is the size of a half dollar. The large one is on my wrist. No joke, we measured its diameter: 4-bloody-inches! It's itching like a mother, despite massive amounts of hydrocortisone. I went to bed and it was hot and pink. It's now burning and bright red. If it goes purple I guess I'll have to hit the allergist tomorrow. BAH!

On a more serious note:

I have friends who work in law enforcement in crimes against children. They universally said that it's both the best and worst job they've had. It's a horrific job because of the subject matter and the victims. It's the best job, however, because they have one of the best conviction rates for any program. (Personally I'm rather outraged that these predators tend to get to live out their sentences in solitary. Put them in general population and let them get a taste of their medicine. Ahem.) ANYWHO... please contact your senator and pass Senate Bill 1738 for increased funding for law enforcement.

Help Pass Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act

Hundreds of thousands of children are victims of sexual abuse each year. Due to the sheer lack of resources, law enforcement is unable to follow up on the majority of leads they have.

The PROTECT Our Children Act will:

Authorize over $320 million over the next five years in desperately needed funding for law enforcement to investigate child exploitation.
Mandate that child rescue be a top priority for law enforcement receiving federal funding.
Allocate funds for high-tech computer software that can track down Internet predators.

Act Now!
Your U.S. senators will be voting on the bill soon, so it is crucial you contact them immediately.
Go to www.senate.gov to find contact information for the senators in your state. Search for your senator by name or state by clicking on the arrow from either dropdown menu. Contact information is provided here. To send an e-mail, click on "Web Form" below his or her name, and e-mail your letter to make a difference!

Call Your SenatorsIf you choose to contact your senators by phone, be sure to tell them, "Vote yes on Senate Bill 1738—The PROTECT Our Children Act."

Write to Your SenatorsIf you choose to write a letter, fax, telegram or e-mail, you may use the following sample letter—and modify it how you see fit.

Dear Senator:

I know that you believe, like I do, that we must do everything possible to protect children from sexual predators. That is why I am asking for your help.

Last year alone, U.S. law enforcement identified over 300,000 criminals who were trafficking in movies and pictures of young children being raped and tortured. Experts say that one in every three of these criminals has local child victims. Child pornography trafficking over the Internet has given us a trail of evidence that leads straight to their doorsteps, but the vast majority of these children will never be rescued because investigators are overwhelmed, outnumbered and underfunded.

As your constituent, I urge you to do everything in your power to pass the PROTECT Our Children Act (S. 1738, Biden-Hatch). This bipartisan legislation passed the House 415-2, but it is now the victim of petty partisan politics.

Now that we know where these children are and how to protect them, there is no excuse for the Senate to fail to take action this session.

(Your name here)

Instructions for How to Copy and Paste the Letter
To copy and paste the letter into your senator's web form at www.senate.gov, point your mouse arrow at the beginning of the text that you want to copy. Click your left mouse button and hold it down. While holding the left mouse button, drag your arrow to the end of the text that you want to copy. Release the button. The text should be highlighted. Place your mouse arrow over the highlighted text, click your right mouse button once and let go. A new menu should appear. Select Copy from the drop down menu. When you get to the message form field for your senator at www.senate.gov, point your arrow at the beginning of the message field that you want to copy your text to and right click with your mouse. Click Paste from this menu. Submit your form and help our children!

She may be the devil...

...but Rachel Ray has some yummy recipes in her magazine.

As requested, the beer margarita recipe:

Four 12-ounce bottles cold light-flavored beer, such as Corona

1 cup (8 ounces) tequila

One 12-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate

Lime wedges

Kosher salt, for rimming glasses

Rim glasses with lime wedges, dip in salt. Mix the remaining liquids together. Take a big gulp and add extra lime, if needed.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Street Scene 2008

After several years of being hosted at Qualcomm, Street Scene is back in downtown San Diego - right outside my building!
As seen from our balcony:

I'm totally bummed that Saturday's headliner, Black Crowes, canceled. Devo's replacing them. Whip it, whip it real good! Gotta go, there's a beer margerita in my immediate future! Woo!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ahh...back at home

What a wonderful wedding. What a wonderful week. What a wonderful world.

DH and I flew out Wednesday and got to England on Thursday. His parents (who I absolutely ADORE) organized a great barbeque in the garden so that DH could catch up with his friends and have his beloved sausages. (He laments that Americans just don't make the type he loves. Whatev.)

DH's best man (i.e. best friend) and his fam came over. Their little boy is two and quite possibly the cutest, best behaved kid I've ever met. It (almost) made me want to have a little Elliott or DH. Almost.

Friday we drove to the Lake District and checked into the Swan Hotel. The hotel was beautiful and very very "English." However, the rooms were about 8000 degrees so we had to prop open the windows and run a fan 24/7. That made it tolerable, barely.

Friday night we went out with DH's family. I forget the name but it had a Michlin star and was gorgeous. Many bottles of wine were opened, the best man practiced his jokes for the speech, and everyone had a roaring time.

At this point DH and I had such bad jet lag, we hadn't slept in three days. I imagine that added to the hilarity.

Later today: The wedding itself. But for your amusement, here are some pictures:

Bride and groom (B&G) signing the register:

They've been together ten years. I think they're happy to be Mr. and Mrs. now.

By far my favorite picture. S looks so adoringly at his Misses!

DH with his brother and sister in law

They had fruit, chocolate, and sponge cake. Yom yom yom.

DH and his mum. She's super cool. And he obviously takes after her.

My in-laws. They're coming to San Diego for two weeks in October. Can't wait to see them again!

Us. Note to self: silk wrinkles like hell when you sit for a couple of hours and cross your legs.
Gotta scoot to work. More later!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Off to England...

...be back next week!

Monday, September 8, 2008

1st Anniversary

One year ago today DH and I stood up in front of our 80 closest friends and family and swore that we'd be each others best friend and confidante for the rest of our lives.

(I know I've posted the above picture multiple times but it's my favorite. And I can't get over how exquisite the flowers turned out.)

We danced our first dance to Nick Drake's "Northern Sky" mostly because "our" song is highly inappropriate for weddings. :) So Schmoo, happy anniversary. I can't figure out a way to upload our dance video so I'll have to use a YouTube video.

Next weekend my BIL S and his fiancee E (the couple on the far right) are signing up for this crazy thing called marriage. I bet they can't wait to get the show on the road!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Damn straight.

Gloria Steinem rocks my face off in "Palin: wrong woman, wrong message" in the LA Times. It eloquently says what I cannot. My personal favorite part:

"[Palin] believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women's wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves "abstinence-only" programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers' millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn't spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger."

Why oh why do people believe she should be one second away from the Presidency? Stop being swayed by her being female. Stop being swayed that she's a working mom. Look at her stance on the issues, please, please, please!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

If I weren't married to DH...

...I would marry Jon Stewart. His commentary on Palin's cronies is hilarious.

Five things for flying

Next week DH and I are flying to the UK for his brother's wedding. We're looking at 12+ hours of flying time so I'm stepping up my normal flying routine. Not only shall I fight hunger (airplane food = not ok) and boredom, I need to look fabulous when we land and hit the ground running.

  1. Anthropologie lounge pants
  2. J.Crew tank top
  3. J.Crew tissue tee
  4. Large Cashmere wrap
  5. Privo flats
Makeup bag (Which is really a 1-QT. ziploc. Thanks, TSA.):
  1. Burts Bees lip balm in pomegranate
  2. Neutogena make-up remover wipes
  3. MAC studio finish concealer
  4. PF Organic bronzer
  5. NARS Orgasm blush (I'm not going to link because everyone already has it.)
  1. IPOD loaded with new music and podcasts
  2. Sudoku book
  3. Noise reduction headphones (imperative for sleeping)
  4. Eye mask (ditto)
  5. Random paperback thriller from Borders
  1. Cheese and stoned wheat thins (first flight, obviously)
  2. Dried fruit mix (cherries, pineapple, mango, peaches)
  3. Rice crispies treats
  4. Luna bar
  5. Wasabi peas
Extras: Airborne (I know it's a placebo but I still like it), 2 large bottles of FIJI water, Tylenol PM (so I knock myself out on flight #2), a bucky pillow, a different tissue tee and undies to change into close to landing.

Well, that's about it. What do y'all carry on planes to make the flights tolerable?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sooo yummy

Chicken Salad with Cumin-Scented Carrot Raita
courtesy of Food & Wine

One roasted chicken, meat shredded (I got one at the deli)
3 large radishes, thickly sliced
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Cumin-Scented Carrot Raita
Cayenne pepper
Lime wedges and warmed pita

In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the radishes, onion, mint and cumin. Stir in the raita and season with salt and cayenne. Serve with lime wedges and warmed pita.

Cumin-Scented Carrot Raita
2/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 carrots, coarsely shredded
2 scallions, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro leaves
Cayenne pepper

Spoon the yogurt into a coffee filter set in a strainer and let stand until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Transfer the yogurt to a medium bowl.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the garlic and cumin seeds and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the carrots and scallions and cook, stirring, until just heated through. Add the carrot mixture and the cilantro to the drained yogurt and season with salt and cayenne. Serve the raita warm, at room temperature or chilled.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day goodies

I spent Saturday morning running errands including exchanging DH's shirts at Mens Wearhouse. (Note to DH: Here in the US you have to look at both neck and arm sizes.) I was turning out of the parking lot when I saw tons of furniture in front of Hold Everything.

Despite sounding like a Container Store rip off, HE is actually a cool modern home furnishing store. I pulled in for a quick look and flipped over the price tag on these beauties. 4 Scintesi Orbit chairs for $200?! DH, get your butt down here with the big car! (They're normally $300/each.) Happily, DH was able to take a break from work and came on down. :)

A little cleaning (they were dirrrrty) and they look amazing. I can now get rid of our dreaded IKEA dining room chairs. Yippee!

Monday, September 1, 2008

I have a black thumb

I cannot keep plants alive. That is, until now! DH and I started a little herb garden on one of our balconies a couple of weeks ago and it's still going strong!

Three types of basil in this pot: Hot peppers making their way in life:
Two types of rosemary:
And my personal favorite, chocolate mint. It smells EXACTLY like a York.
We also have a couple of cilantro plants but they're not doing so well. We've lost one but the other is doing well after some intensive TLC from the garden store. :)
I'm hoping to get a regular mint plant and maybe a spearmint. We do a kick ass cucumber salad with basil and mint and I want to fiddle with the flavors a bit. I'm also going to make chocolate mint ice cream in a couple weeks once the plant really takes root. Yum.

Gov. Palin on Super Tuesday...

...which would make her six months pregnant in this photo. Methinks there's more to this story than the Palins are letting on.