Thursday, July 31, 2008
Last night I fixed chicken over rice with cream of chicken soup poured over it. I like chicken, but I absolutely despise cooking chicken. It really grosses me out and makes a huge mess. I end up using 3 plates, a cutting board, 5 knives and 5 forks in my attempts not to cross-contaminate. I put the frozen chicken on a plate and thaw it in the microwave, and have to turn it over half-way through with a fork - that fork cannot be used for anything else as it is contaminated. Then I take the chicken out, rinse it off under the sink, and put it on a new plate (because the other plate has nasty chicken juice all over it). Then I have to cut out those disgusting white veins, so that messes up the cutting board, a fork and a knife. None of the three of those can be used for anything else because they have now been contaminated by the chicken. I put the chicken in a pan to cook it and have to use another fork to turn it over, and another knife to check if its done. Once it starts getting cooked, I don't want to use the same fork or knife that I used before it was cooked, so those go in the sink and I get another set to use to put the cooked food on the plates to serve it. I can use this set to eat my half of the meal, but Scott needs another set for his. So not only does it take forever to cook chicken, but there are also a huge pile of dishes to clean afterwards. This just isn't worth it to me!
Things would probably be easier if I planned my meals out ahead of time for the whole week, and did my grocery shopping based on my "plan". I envy anyone who actually has the time, discipline and motivation to do that. I do not have any of the three. It is a huge accomplishment that at 11:00 this morning, I know what I'm fixing for dinner tonight.
Any suggestions and or comments on this topic are welcome.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
We have to take Simba to the vet today, as he is developing sores on his mouth again. This is something that was a serious problem last Fall, and the vet we were taking him to (Banfield) simply gave him a steroid shot every 2 weeks for several months. He became mean and irritable and gained a significant amount of weight. So we stopped taking him there once we felt the sores had cleared up pretty good (around early January). In the early spring, I took him to a new vet at Pouncey Tract Veterinary Hospital - his name is Dr. Z. You know he's a cool guy with a name like that. Simba didn't have any sores at the time of the visit, so this is the first time we are taking him to Dr. Z to see the sores. I'm interested in finding out how he will handle it, because he knows we were none too thrilled with the steroid shots. I hope he can figure out an alternative treatment. He said we will figure out what is triggering them and go from there. Seems to perhaps be seasonal.
Our new chandelier for our dining room comes in today. I cannot WAIT to put it up! I am so sick of that ugly gold thing that's hanging in there now. It clashes horribly. We ordered this fixture from Lighting Universe, because Lowe's did not have anything that we liked. Their selection hasn't changed since we moved into our house, I don't think. Scott said we could start working on the guest bathroom this weekend. We are going to put in new tile, a new vanity, new toilet, and of course paint. I don't know if we can do all that in one weekend, but we'll see.
This past weekend, we finally put up pictures in the foyer on the wall along the stairs. They look great! It finally looks like a home now, with pictures of the family up. We designed it so that we can easily add more pictures later. I will take a picture and post it if I remember.
Not much else is going on this week. So that's all for now!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Day 8 - San Francisco to Paso Robles
I should mention that we had made plans to go to Napa Valley if time allowed, but unfortunately it did not. The time it took to get from Yosemite to San Francisco was a lot longer than we had expected. Nonetheless, this gives me a great excuse to go back to California :-).
On Day 8, which was July 10th, we had tickets for the Early Bird ferry to Alcatraz. We checked out of our hotel, then drove the van to a parking deck down near the Fisherman's Wharf. We got down to Pier 33 about 8:00 and were at the front of the line to board the ferry. It was foggy and windy, and rather cold. Regardless, we decided to ride on the top deck. There was a huge cloud parked on the Golden Gate Bridge, which was a disappointment considering we expected to get the best photos while on the ferry. Another cloud was parked on Alcatraz Island, which was actually kind of neat because it made it look a little more spooky! The ferry ride wasn't long, but it was really cold! If we'd thought it was cold and windy on the pier, it was nothing compared to what it was like on top of that ferry on the way over. I was nervous that Scotty might get seasick, as the water was a little rough, but he was fine.
Once on the island, we had to hike up the hill to get to the jailhouse. It was a good hike up there. They gave us audio tours which guided us throughout the jailhouse, telling us where Al Capone's cell was and where the guys were that managed to escape. It was really interesting, and pretty cool to be there where all those things happened. After the tour, one of the original inmates ( 1 of only 5 who are still living), Darwin Coon (see pic), was in the bookshop doing a book signing. So that was neat to meet him, but kind of disturbing that he was profiting off being an inmate. We still bought one of his books and got it signed, though! LOL.
We caught the ferry back to San Francisco at 12:30, and made our way back to the car. We started making our way to our next destination, Paso Robles. The rest of the day was spent in the car driving, other than a quick stop at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California. That place was HUGE.
Our hotel in Paso Robles was SO NICE! It was a huge room, and it was all very updated and fancy, and it was a Best Western. I was quite impressed. We got to our rooms relatively early, around 8 pm I guess, so we were able to just relax and watch tv. It was sad we only had one night in such a nice hotel room. Haha.
Day 9 - Paso Robles to Los Angeles
The next morning, we woke up and headed out to make our way to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. On the way there, we drove through a wine country which was really pretty, and then we hit fog that was so thick you couldn't see 10 feet in front of you.
Our tour guide at Hearst Castle was old as dirt, and could hardly catch her breath to talk half the time. I suppose the fact that she was old went along with the theme of the castle - it looked like it was used in the 1500's rather than the 1900's. Everything was really old fashioned and dark. The best part of the place was the pool, which was AWESOME. I'd have given anything to swim in it. They actually had 2 pools, one outdoors and one indoors. Both were amazing, but the outdoor pool was my favorite, by far.
After the tour, we decided to go see the lighthouse that was on the coast just up from the castle. On the way there, we stopped at this place where Elephant Seals live on the coast. That was pretty neat - there were a bunch of them just out there on the beach sunbathing!
We had planned to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway on our way back to Los Angeles, but due to the wildfires, the highway was closed. So we were forced to drive back a different way, which happened to be a lot faster. We arrived in Los Angeles around 4 pm. With no plan for the evening (we thought we would get back very late), we decided to hit up some of the neighborhoods we'd visited before and find a few more celebrity homes. We went back to Bel Air to look for the original home from The Beverly Hillbillies, but it turned out that you couldn't see it at all due to the wall around it. Then we went to Brentwood to see Nicole Simpson's condo where she was murdered, and we couldn't figure out which one was actually hers. They had changed the numbers for the new tenants' privacy. After that, we went back to Beverly Hills to Robertson Blvd. I wanted to get a pair of flip-flops from Kitson.
When we arrived, we noticed there was something big going on at Intermix - there were tons of press and paparazzi, a red carpet, etc. This was quite exciting! On our way to Kitson, my mom asked the guy working at Armani what was going on and who was going to be there. He said that with that much press, it should be someone worth seeing. I went to get my flip flops, and then we all hung out on the sidewalk outside the Ivy and watched as the cars arrived. The first person we saw was Selena Gomez (she's on the Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney). We also saw Kim Kardashian (in pic to right w/ yellow dress), Lauren Conrad, Phoebe Price, Audrina Patridge, Karina Smirnoff, and the girl-twin from Heroes. I don't know her name. This was the most exciting thing EVER for me! We met some paparazzi and the valet dude at the Ivy. Haha. It was such a great way to end the night. We stayed until about 9:00 and then it seemed to be dying down, so we headed back to the hotel to get some much needed rest before our 8 am flight home the next day. It was an awesome trip, and and awesome end to an awesome trip.
I was able to upload a couple pics, and now the uploader isn't working again. So maybe I'll get them uploaded later. GRRR.
EDIT: Pics added. Included one of my mom with the paparazzi, which I found quite humorous.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Anyway, the reason babies are on the brain is because we had a baby-filled weekend. First, we got to meet Brayden, who is the absolute cutest little thing ever! He's such a happy baby, and has such a good temperament. He gets a little fussy when he's hungry or sleepy, but other than that, he's completely content. He's friendly and outgoing, and quite a flirt! Here's a picture of him and his daddy playing with the new toy we gave him.
On Saturday, we went to visit Eric, Shannon, and little Connor. After seeing Brayden, it was such a surprise to see how small Connor really was - he is absolutely PRECIOUS! He's just so sweet and so tiny and cute as a button. When he cries, he lets out this little sqeak. The blanket we bought for him from Petit Tresor was meant to be a binky blanket, but on Connor it was just the right size to keep him warm. Scott and I were both a little nervous holding him, because he looks so fragile. We stayed with them for a few hours before coming back home. I can't wait to see him again! Below are a few more pictures of him that we took. I will post a separate entry for Day 8 of our trip.
Me holding him:
Scott helping Shannon burp him. He opened his eyes and looked up at Scott. So cute.
Friday, July 25, 2008
I'm leaving work a little early today, as I got here about 15 minutes early, and heading home to finish getting things ready for Rodger, Sam and Brayden. It's going to be a baby-filled weekend! I'm quite excited to see Brayden as well, as it will be our first time meeting him. From what I hear, he's a happy little baby.
Day 7 - San Francisco
We had a lot planned for our 1 full day in San Francisco, so we woke up early and met downstairs in the lobby about 7:30. Our hotel was on Lombard Street, about a 20 minute walk to the Fisherman's Wharf, so we headed that way. We got down there so early that there was no line for the Cable Car ride up to Union Square. So that's just what we did - we got great seats on the outside and took some fun pictures. I think this was my favorite thing about San Francisco - I loved the cable car ride! It was so fun going up and down those steep hills, and we got some great pictures.
Once in Union Square, we decided to find something to eat for breakfast - we ended up at another Mel's Diner. Scott and I both had waffles. After breakfast, we went to the Williams Sonoma Flagship store in Union Square - it was awesome! It's 4 stories and has everything you could imagine. We left there and started walking toward Market Street. On the way, we stopped at the Coach store and my mom got herself a Coach bag - I'm quite jealous, as I do not have one yet. The one I wanted was over $300, so I decided to pass on that. We walked down to Market street, then down to the Ferry Building. That's a neat place with all these unique shops and food places. We caught the Market Car back to Pier 39 at the Fisherman's Wharf. We stayed there for several hours just souvenier shopping, eating lunch, etc. Our next stop was the USS Pampanito, which is a military submarine that you can tour. My brother loves that kind of thing, so Scott and I took the tour with him. It was pretty cool, but I could definitely not live on a submarine. My goodness. We stopped in to the Boudin Bakery before heading back to our hotel to get the van.
We decided to drive up to the "crookedest street in the world", which was maybe a mile or so from the hotel on Lombard Street. That was pretty scary driving through there! It's really neat looking though. After leaving there, we went to Telegraph Hill to the Coit Tower. This is one of the highest (if not THE highest) point in San Francisco, so we got awesome pictures from there of the city. As we were leaving, the sun was setting and Rory took a great picture of us with the Golden Gate bridge in the background as the sun was going down.
We left Telegraph Hill and found the place where Monk walks across the street in the opening credits of the show. Then we drove through Haigh-Ashbury, where we passed a greatly-named Thai restaurant, before heading to Joe's Cable Car Restaurant for dinner. This place was featured on the Food Network tv show "Drive-Ins, Diners and Dives". The place had so many neon lights! It was really cool, and the burgers were good too. I had a country burger, which was sort of like a western.
After leaving the restaurant, we went back up to Telegraph Hill to get a picture of the city at nighttime, but it didn't turn out that great. It was such a fun day, we really had a great time. San Francisco had so much character, it was certainly one of my favorite places.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Our next mini-vacation will be Myrtle Beach in October. I'm looking forward to it, since it's been about 5 years since I went there. This will be the car show that I signed Scott up for as his anniversary gift. The hotel we are staying in looks awesome, and has its own indoor water park. I don't know if it will be warm enough to use it (or if perhaps its heated), or if we will even have time. But regardless, Myrtle Beach should be fun. Scott has never been there before, and I think he'll really like it.
Rodger and Sam will be here with Brayden tomorrow, and then Sunday we are going to visit Eric & Shannon. I'm excited to see all of them.
Day 6 - Yosemite to San Francisco
We woke up early on Day 6 and stopped at a place called Yosemite Forks Mountain House for breakfast. It was a family owned restaurant, and the food was delicious. I had French Toast, and it was awesome. After breakfast, we made our way to Yosemite.
The drive to (and through) Yosemite was the same as Sequoia - twisty and turny! We decided to go to Glacier Point, as you could see the valley and Half Dome from there. The road to Glacier Point is closed in the winter months, so we figured we might as well drive up it since we could. We ended up behind a huge bus that was going SO SLOW we had to stop several times to keep from hitting it. But let me tell you - if I were on that bus, I'd be having a panic attack, because that thing was way too big to be taking those turns! It looked like it was going to go right off the side of the mountain.
There was a pull of before we got to Glacier point that had amazing views of Half-Dome, some waterfalls, etc. The pictures don't do it justice. When we made it up to Glacier point, it was ridiculously hot. There was a gift shop up there (with no AC), so Scott and I bought drinks and an Icee to share. Then we took the short hike up to Glacier point and got some great pictures. We went back to the gift shop to get some souveniers, and after we got in line, the entire computer system went down. Their server had overheated (no big suprise) so we had to wait like half an hour to buy our stuff. It was ridiculous. We finally got back to the car and drove back down the mountain to a general store. We bought stuff to make sandwiches, and had a little picnic before we started making our way to San Francisco.
Driving out of the mountains seemed like it took absolutely forever. It was a joy to see a straight road! I think it took 2-3 hours to get out of the mountains. We had a good 6 hour drive to San Francisco from Yosemite. We arrived there around 6:00 that evening, I think. Now, in Yosemite, I would say it was somewhere between 95 and 100 degrees. We got out of the car in San Francisco, and it must have been no more than 65 degrees, and it was windy on top of that! The first place we stopped was 1748 Broderick Street - the Full House house! The door is no longer red, but the front of the house is unmistakeable. Next stop was the Painted Ladies, which is where they have a picnic in the opening credits of Full House. (This was my absolute favorite show growing up, by the way).
After taking a few pictures there, we decided to go see the Golden Gate Bridge. We had come into San Francisco from the South, so we did not see it driving in. It's just so amazing when you see it in person..its like, WOW. We drove across it and went up this road onto a mountain that our friends Laura and Bryan had suggested. By this point, I think it was in the 50's and still very windy, and we were all in short-sleeve shirts. It was so cold! We got some great pictures there, even though it was slightly foggy. After that, we went to check-in at our hotel (The Chelsea Motor Inn) and changed clothes. The hotel was so cute! We had real keys, and the rooms were beautiful with bay windows. We met up in the lobby (which was actually the parking lot) and we went to find something for dinner. The first place we came to was Mel's Drive-In, which was one block down from our hotel. It was about 9:30 or 10:00 by the time we ate, so I just had a BLT and some french fries. That was all we did for our first night in San Fran.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I am such a slacker. I haven't been to the gym yet this week, and its already Wednesday. I'm definitely going tonight. On Monday, I ended up having to work until 6 and I just couldn't bring myself to go to the gym after having to work late, and I had a headache on top of that. Yesterday, I had to go to the grocery store. So today, I will go to the gym. I have to stop making up excuses in my mind. I'm not helping myself by making up excuses as to why I can't go.
Rodger, Sam and Brayden are going to be visiting on Friday. This will be our first time seeing Brayden, so we are excited. I'd like to get him something, but I don't have a clue what to get for a 5-month old baby.
Day 5 - Los Angeles to Yosemite
On our 5th day in L.A., we decided we needed to do 2 things before beginning our road trip around California: get a Pink's Hot Dog, and get a good picture of the Hollywood sign. Scott was totally grossed out when we went to Pink's at 10 am to get hot dogs. He loves hot dogs, but apparently the smell of them makes him nauseous at 10 in the morning.
I had heard that Hollywood Lake was the best place to go for pictures of the Hollywood sign, so we made our way towards it. We apparently took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in this neighborhood that had amazing views of the sign. I'm pretty sure we were probably not supposed to be on those roads, but we got great pictures.
On our way to Oakhurst, which is a town right outside of Yosemite where we were staying that night, we went to Sequoia National Park. Let me advise anyone who gets motion sickness that they should probably not go to either Sequoia or Yosemite national parks. The roads were so twisty, and a bit scary in some places. Fortunately, no one in my family gets car sick, so it wasn't a problem (and Scott's nausea was gone by this point). The sequoia trees were pretty amazing - I've just never seen such big trees! We decided to go see General Sherman, the largest tree in the world (but not the tallest). It required a short hike, but it was worth it. That tree was just crazy big.
The rest of the day was spent driving towards Oakhurst. We arrived at the Oakhurst Lodge relatively late that night - maybe 9 or 10. That was about it for Day 5.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
So I haven't forgotten about writing about California - I just took a break over the weekend, and then yesterday I was in meetings from 9 am to 6 pm. By the time I got home, the only thing I wanted to do was veg out on the couch. So here we go, Day 4.
Day 4 - Los Angeles
On Day 4, Scott and I were quite excited as we would be seeing Mark, Tamara, and Greg. With their crazy work schedules, it was the only day that they could all three be available to hang out. My family woke up early and we made our way to the Farmer's Market. While this may sound strange, the Farmer's Market is actually a hot spot in L.A., especially since the Grove was built a few years ago. We had breakfast there (Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts...YUM) and did a little shopping before heading over to Hollywood & Highland to meet up with our friends. Hollywood & Highland is where the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Graumman's Chinese Theatre, and the Kodak Theatre are located. It's probably the first place most people would go when they visit L.A. for the first time, but we saved it for last. Once our friends arrived, we took a walk down the Walk of Fame to see all the famous names. We stopped at a couple souvenier shops, then headed to Graumman's to see the stars' hands and feet prints (Brad Pitt's was most exciting for me). Then we got tickets for the Movie Star Homes tour.
After a little glitch (five of us bought tickets for the city tour by accident and it was much ado getting the right tickets), and a big decision about whether to take the open-top van or the closed-top, air conditioned van (according to the lady at the ticket counter, there were "lots of trees" and I need not worry about my fair skin and affliction to skin cancer) we were on our way. Let me just say that there were maybe 2 or 3 trees, and the rest was blaring sun. Regardless, I had my sunblock and we had an awesome time. We drove through Beverly Hills and Bel Air and saw a ton of houses. Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox & David Arquette, the Playboy Mansion, and TONS more. I can't even think of them all right now. (This reminds me...on our drive along Mulholland Drive the first night, we passed by The Summit, which is where Britney Spears lives.) We saw Will Smith's real house and the Fresh Prince house, which are both located in Bel Air...this cracks me up. Kelsey Grammer now lives in the Fresh Prince house (see pic).
After the tour, we decided to try to get a good picture of the Hollywood sign, so we went to the Griffith Observatory. That place was so packed, you had to park like 2 miles away from it. So we said forget that, and we went to Santa Monica instead. We went to the pier for a while to look around and take pictures. See pic of Mark, Tamara, and Greg. The sun was quite bright, so Mark made a good effort to keep his eyes open. We went to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant that Greg suggested. After dinner, we went to the Promenade, which is a bunch of shops along a cute street. Most stores were closing, but they had street performers, music, etc. It was a lot of fun. After that, we decided to head back home, and unfortunately had to say goodbye to our friends. I wish we'd had more time with them. Overall, it was probably the best day in L.A.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I went to the gym on Tuesday. I was supposed to go Monday, and I slacked off and didn’t go until Tuesday. It was SO HARD. Oh my goodness, I thought I was going to die. It is not a good idea to take 2 weeks off from going to the gym. UGH. The gym I go to (Curves) has this thing called Curves Smart – it’s essentially a computerized personal trainer, and it keeps track of your strengths, weaknesses, improvements, etc. You have a key fob that you stick in each machine before you start using it, and it tells you if you need to work harder or slow down. Yellow means you need to work harder, Green means you are right at your target, and flashing green means to slow down a bit. Well, just about every single machine was flashing yellow at me on Tuesday, and I was dying! LOL. I go back again tonight, and hopefully it will not be so bad. We’ll see.
I've recently learned that people are actually reading this blog. Ha! Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave me some comments so I know you were here!
Day 3 – San Diego
On our third day in California, we made plans to take a trip down to San Diego. It was about a 2 hour drive down there. We stopped in Laguna Hills (which I believe is in Orange County) for breakfast at Denny’s. I used to despise Denny’s, but I must say that I was impressed with the quality of food and service. We actually ate at a few Denny’s while on our trip….better than McDonald’s!
When we got to the zoo, we went straight for the double-decker but tour. It takes you all around the park to the most popular animals (with the exception of the polar bears). They advised us to take the Sky-Fari (a skylift) to the back of the park where the polar bears are, and make our way back to the front. We did just that. It was a good thing, too, because the Polar Bears are on top of a huge hill. The skylift takes you directly to the top of the hill. We saw polar bears, panda bears, elephants, giraffes, meerkats (those things are hilarious), and gorillas (we saw more animals than that, but they were the most exciting). The gorillas were so fascinating to watch – they are so human-like! There were two baby gorillas who were trying to get food from the bigger gorillas. They would sneak over and steal the food, then go somewhere else and eat it. A few minutes later, the big gorilla would come and steal it back from the baby. This went on for quite some time.
After we left the zoo, we drove over the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge onto the island of Coronado. It was beautiful there – we found a park right by the bridge where we took pictures and enjoyed the view. We visited the Hotel Del Coronado, which is a historic hotel, then headed back over to San Diego (also gorgeous) to the Seaport Village for dinner and shopping. We had Italian food and ate by the bay as the sun went down. It was great. After dinner, we went to the Gas-Lamp district until we were ready to head back to L.A.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
We may get to see Eric & Shannon this weekend, which I’m quite excited about as we haven’t seen
Day 2 –
Our second day in
Once inside the park, we went straight for the Studio Tour (at Shane’s suggestion). The line was long, but the wait wasn’t. A tip to anyone taking the Studio Tour – get a seat on the left side of the tram! Everything, and I mean everything, was on the left side. Rory had the best seat, so he got the best pictures. It was an awesome tour, though – we saw the sound stages where all kinds of tv shows and movies are filmed, like CSI (sound stage 25) and Heroes (sound stage 27, we think, based on the huge billboard). We also saw the Bates Motel,
After the Studio Tour, we walked around the park, ate lunch, and decided to head out to do something else before our night at the Hollywood Bowl. We ended up driving out to
By the time we got to Hollywood, people were already parking and walking to the Hollywood Bowl for the night’s show (the 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular). We drove along
I was able to add some pics.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Day 1 – Los Angeles
We arrived in L.A. about 2pm Pacific time. After getting our bags and a rental car, we headed straight to Robertson Blvd. We were able to park right on the street. The first place I wanted to see was The Ivy, because I read every day about one celebrity or another having lunch there. While we didn’t see anyone famous, I did get a picture of me in front of the Ivy, which I think is fabulous. We went into Kitson and I saw some flip flops that cost $125 – for flip flops, people! As we were walking out the door, I noticed they had a pair for only $18, and I vowed to come back and get them. Next stop was Petit Tresor, the baby store where the celebrities always register. We bought a gift for “Baby Brim”, Shannon and Eric’s baby, while we were there.
Next stop was In-N-Out Burger for some lunch/dinner. It was good, but didn’t really live up to the hype. We headed to Rodeo Drive next. All the stores were closed (which was probably a blessing), so we just walked up and down the street and took some pics. We left there and decided to take Mulholland Drive back towards the hotel. We stopped at one place, after the sun had gone down, and you could see all of L.A. lit up at night. It was really cool.
We were a bit jet-lagged, so we couldn’t get to the hotel fast enough. I woke up at 4:30 in the morning, wide awake. Forced myself to sleep until 6:30, then we got up for another day in L.A.