Sunday, December 31, 2006

I'll be starting the new year fresh...

I am no longer going out with 23. So, I'll be starting 2007 fresh and single! :-)

Nothing major happened, I sensed that something was amiss and so I asked him about it and I found out that he's not over his fairly recent break-up with his ex-girlfriend. So we won't be seeing each other any longer. I was kind of down about it for a day, but in a way, I'm relieved. I think the age gap would've been a problem at some point, so better to break it off now before I'm all crazy about him! Also, I think, like most 23 year olds, he wasn't really sure where he's headed just yet whereas I don't really have that problem. I'm practically booked through April and know exactly the direction I want my life to go. As one friend said, "I don't think he really knew what he was getting into when he asked you out." I couldn't help but laugh! I can be intense at times, so my goal is to find someone who likes and appreciates that quality in me.

I've already started working on my resolutions for 2007, to be posted tomorrow. Hopefully, you've started thinking about what you want to do this upcoming year. It's fresh and new and full of possibilities!! Optimism is my friend!

As for tonight, there will be most importantly, FRIENDS! and food-wise: honey baked ham, potatos au gratin, creamed corn, Que Bueno Nacho Cheese, chips with salsa and guacamole, a cheeseball and some Columbus peppered salame. Then for dessert, pineapple upside down cake and a pear tart from Porto's. Mmmmm... And of course, LOTS of alcohol. I'm ready for a drink!

Oh, and Guitar Hero. There will definitely be Guitar Hero...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Guitar Hero 2 Career Update

OK, Travis and I were working on our expert career. We got hung up on section 7, the Fret Burners! We finally passed those, and yesterday, I passed three of the four songs in Section 8. Travis wanted me to save Miserlou for him, so he is hopefully coming over tonight to bust that one out.

I was VERY happy to pass those three songs because we had practiced earlier in the week and I couldn't pass them. I must've been in the zone yesterday because I passed all three of them within about 30 minutes of each other!!

All I know is that Freebird is going to be TOUGH to pass on expert. I've also been working on 5 starring the hard and expert songs. I don't think I've 5 starred any of the expert ones, but I have done some of the hards. I'm trying to stick to the bottom of the list.

Amazing Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I went out to dinner tonight with a group of friends to Campanile in Los Angeles. It was my first time there. Their food is delicious! On Thursday nights, they do grilled cheese sandwiches in all varieties. I had the Reuben on country white bread ('cause I don't do rye bread). They use La Brea Bakery bread and mmmmm... it was heavenly!! The service was adequate, nothing really to write home about. I had a good glass of champagne and a pretty decent Long Island ice tea. It's been a while since I've gone out for a dinner like this and it ended up costing $67 including alcohol, food, tip and valet.

Here are pictures of all our sandwiches...

Reuben on country white
My Reuben on Country White (not rye)

Hanger Steak with Wild Mushroom Sandwich
Hanger Steak with Wild Mushrooms

Grilled turkey and cheese sandwich
Grilled Turkey, Cranberry, Cheese sandwich

Gorgonzola dolce sandwich
Gorgonzola Dulce with honey and walnuts

Cured Meat and Fried Egg grilled cheese sandwich
Grilled Cheese with Cured Meats and a Fried Egg on top

Cheese plate for dessert
Cheese platter for "Dessert"

Then, we went out to Simon LA for dessert. It's located on the bottom floor of the Sofitel Hotel on Bevery Blvd. To start, we ordered a couple side dishes: macaroni and cheese gratin and truffle mashed potatos. Both were just so-so to me. A couple other people in the group kind of liked the mac & cheese, but I wasn't super crazy about it.

For dessert, we ordered the junk food platter which included: vanilla bean milkshake, Rice Krispie treats (regular and cocoa flavored), fresh pink cotton candy, a peppermint sundae, melon sorbet, bag of cookies (chocolate chunk, oatmeal cranberry and peanut butter), caramel popcorn with peanuts, homemade Hostess cupcakes, and homemade Snowballs. My favorite item on the dessert platter was the vanilla bean milkshake. The second best was the cotton candy and I'm not a huge cotton candy fan!

Junk food dessert platter at Simon LA

As if that wasn't enough, we also ordered grilled donuts served with a cup of melted chocolate for dipping.

Grilled donuts with hot chocolate at Simon LA

The one thing that was pretty good was our server. He was pretty attentive, but the best part is when I inquired about our leftover desserts to be sure none of them had nuts, he got us all new desserts that had definitely NOT been in contact with nuts to take home. His girlfriend has a peanut allergy, so he is very aware and sensitive to the seriousness of that allergy. He was very gracious and gave us extra cotton candy for somebody's breakfast tomorrow!

Bottom Line: I would gladly go back to Campanile for the food. However, I wasn't overly impressed with anything at Simon LA, so I doubt I'll make the trek back there. I'm glad I went once to at least try the desserts and a couple side dishes, but I don't know if I'd want to go back and spend $50 on an entree.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! To all my friends out there, I hope you're having a wonderful holiday! The dinner last night was fabulous. I ended up having the standing rib roast, Yukon Gold mashed potatos, parmesan crusted asparagus, creamed corn, and salad for dinner with a chocolate mousse and a raspberry & blueberry trifle for dessert. Here'a picture of the roast and asparagus:

Standing Rib Roast with Asparagus
Standing Rib Roast with Asparagus

One of my favorite aspects of giving and receiving gifts is the element of surprise. I love surprising someone with something that either they totally aren't expecting or with something they didn't even know they wanted.

A couple days ago, I went to see Jason to exchange Christmas gifts and he gave me a 6 GB external hard drive with all of our digital photos from the computer he kept in the split. I was very happy to get those! Now we just have to rummage through and divide up all the actual photographs we own. He also gave me the most adorable chopsticks set I've ever seen. I kind of have a thing for cute, cool bunnies or bunny graphics and it's a set of five pairs of Japanese chopsticks and they all have different bunnies illustrated on them. Here's a so-so picture of them:

Bunny Chopsticks
Bunny Chopsticks

I got lots of great Christmas presents from my friends and family!! Thank you!! I'll be cooking quite a bit this year! I can't wait! :-) For being my first Christmas (in a long time) without a husband or family around, it was really nice. I heard from several friends and had two here. We watched Elf and A Christmas Story and cooked gourmet burgers that were delicious. I had every topping imaginable on my burger. It was quite tasty.

Random Background Info: More here about the whole bunny thing: In the Chinese zodiac, I am a rabbit. I feel I'm a lucky person and rabbits (or at least their feet!) are lucky, so I feel that tie too. Both Jason and my college boyfriend independently had a nickname for me that included the word "bunny." The funny thing is that the nicknames kind of meant the same thing, but they used slightly different words. And I have a Swatch Bunny Sutra watch! :-)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas is almost here

I've had a weird afternoon, so this is kind of rambly...

Christmas is almost here and thankfully, the only areas I'm still working on are my Christmas cards and my Christmas menus. I'm having a small group of friends over for Christmas Eve dinner and then an even smaller group over for dinner on Christmas evening.

For Christmas Eve, I'm planning on making a standing rib roast (prime rib), Yukon Gold mashed potatos, roasted asparagus and one other dish. I'm having trouble deciding on the last one. I think I'm leaning towards creamed corn of some kind. My friends are bringing the salad, appetizers, champagne, wine and a chocolate souffle. Oh, I'm making a raspberry trifle for dessert too. So we should have a smashing dinner. I made the standing rib roast last year for Christmas Eve and it was a hit!! So delicious and easy!

23 came over last night before he headed out to his parents' house for Christmas. We exchanged gifts. He liked all the stuff I got him (a couple games he wanted, Christmas-y boxers and cables to hook up his SNES) and he got me a wireless guitar!!! It's a red flying V. I love it!!!! I was very excited to try it out. I know one GH buddy that will be ecstatic!! (I apologize in advance to my downstairs neighbor!!) It will be very handy too when I go to friends' houses with big living rooms. I can't wait.

While not what I would call a "romantic" gift, it was very thoughtful and sweet. He knew I wanted one (even though I had never said so) and that I would never actually spend the cash on it since I already have two guitars and having three would be just darn frivilous!! Plus, we've only been dating a month, so getting something toooooo romantic might have just been out of place (but maybe not!). It was, in my book, a perfect gift for where we are in our relationship.

I'm just starting to feel like it's Christmas time. I've been having a hard time this year with it and I think it's just because I've been so busy with non-Christmas activities. Plus, this being the first Christmas in a long time without Jason or any family around is a little weird. I miss him. He called and said that he has a gift for me. I have one for him too. Nothing major, but when I saw it, I thought of him, so... I don't know how long it takes to "get over" someone, but hopefully it will work itself out. I mostly feel over him, but every once in a while, a thought of him will sneak up on me and I'll miss him. I suppose it's natural since we were together for so long, but it's still tough.

Actually, here I am thinking that tonight was weird. This whole week has been off for me. Wednesday night was the worst, but 23 came over and helped me through my mental funk that night. Maybe I just need more sleep. Oh, and not to be a woman. That would probably help.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Looking Back at my 2006 Resolutions

Looking back at the resolutions I made at the beginning of the year, I realize that they were all financial! Maybe because at the beginning of the year, I was pretty worried about that because of the upcoming divorce.

So you don't have to click back, here are the resolutions I made:

1. Continue and increase saving money outside of my retirement accounts - I have done this, but not enough. I haven't been tracking my savings and balances enough. I just know I have enough right now, but I could probably be a bit more careful and save more.

2. Write a will or living trust and a power of attorney for my medical needs - I did not do this. This will go at the top of my list for 2007 financial goals. I kind of put it off because I thought that until the divorce was final, I wouldn't be able to designate someone other than Jason to handle that stuff. I don't know even know if that was accurate. I guess I was OK with him handling it for me in case I became ill or died during the process of the divorce.

3. Start investing outside of my retirement accounts - I did finally start my investment account at Vanguard. It has continued to grow, so I've been happy with that!

4. Rebalance my 401k account quarterly - Our company changed 401(k) providers in July and I'm pretty sure I set it up to rebalance quarterly, but I will double check that to make sure that's accurate.

5. Increase the amount put in my 401(k) (ultimate goal is to max it out) - DONE!!! I maxed out my 401(k) for the year with my bonus check during the second week of December. So, the plus for me is that now for the last few checks of the year, I get bigger paychecks because there's no 401(k) deferral!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Laundry Etiquette

I don't know if there's some kind of rule about this sort of thing, but I got into a very heated discussion with my friend about laundry etiquette. We both live in small apartment complexes that have laundry rooms that you share with everyone else in the building.

His complaint? He thinks it's rude for people to move your stuff out of the dryer when it's still wet and put it in a ball in your laundry basket. Not when the dryer bell goes off, but when it's been sitting there overnight into the next morning. He thinks they should kind of lay the clothes in his basket, not just bunch them up in there. According to him, the clothes get more wrinkled if you just throw them in a ball in the basket.

My complaint? People that leave their laundry in the dryer! If he really cared about how wrinkly his clothes were, he'd get them out of the dryer when the buzzer goes off. I know I've lost track of time or just plain forgotten about my laundry while I'm doing it. I don't get upset if I go to the laundry room and someone has moved my stuff so they can finish their laundry. I feel bad that I forgot and made them do extra work! That's one of the main reasons I use a timer while doing laundry. So I don't forget to go down there and switch my laundry or get it out of the dryer.

He actually said that it was "inconsiderate" of people to just dump his clothes in the basket. I love my friend, but how can he really think that?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Football pool update

At the beginning of the football season, I joined a football pool. I had some good luck (or should I say skill?) in the beginning and then hit a slump towards the middle. However, I'm on a roll the last few weeks! I have come in first place for the last three weeks in a row! So I think I've come in first place four times this season and second place twice.

There are only two more weeks left in the season and I'm currently tied for second place in the season-long record competition. If I can clinch second place, I think I could win 200 credits. First place would get me 300 credits. I have a chance, but only if I ace my picks and the first place person just tanks. We'll see what happens!!

Lotsa hits

I was going to make a post announcing that I had reached 5,000 hits like a week or two ago and I just forgot about it. I just looked at the stats tonight and I'm already over 5,500! I guess with more content, it seems like my blog is getting more and more search action.

The most popular searches are related to:

Monday, December 18, 2006

My boss rocks!

My boss is can be cranky and mean sometimes, but I just ignore that. I know that underneath all that, he's got a mushy, gushy interior and just doesn't show that at work.

He just stopped by and dropped off my Christmas gift! No big surprise since he gets me the same thing every year, but I still can't stop smiling! One 1998 bottle of Dom Perignon champagne. Dom is my favorite champagne. I love it that I have simple things that make me happy. Champagne is definitely on that list!! And I love it that my boss knows that!

As a total side note, my favorite "cheap" champagne is Roederer Estate Brut. It's delicious and best of all, reasonably priced! Louis Roederer makes Cristal and I received that one year from my boss as a gift and frankly, I like this "cheap" champagne better than the Cristal. Whenever it goes on sale, I'll buy a case of it and stock up for the year.


I went to three parties this past weekend, plus a cookie exchange! It was fun. I went to two company parties and one birthday party for one of 23's friends. His friend, incidentally, was turning 22. I was worried I'd be the oldest one there. Did that stop me from having a good time? No, not really. I fit right in since we were just hanging out, eating pizza, drinking and playing Wii.

It did make me realize (as if I didn't already know!) that I'm really not much of a drinker. I enjoy having a drink here and there, but I don't like to get plastered and totally drunk. So, it made the party just so-so fun once everyone really started drinking. We stayed for a few hours, then went home. I feel this way even when the people getting drunk are in the 30+ crowd. It's just not for me.

Another realization: I like chocolate! I already knew I liked chocolate, but being at the cookie exchange made me realize how much. One of the rules was: no chocolate chip or variants were allowed. So while surveying the room, I realized that I wasn't interested in too many of them because they were lacking in the chocolate dept. Oh well, I still sampled many tasty cookies. It helped me expand my cookie horizons.

And another plus in the 23 column... when he showed up to take me to his company party, he did so looking quite handsome with a big bouquet of flowers in hand. I love flowers. I was already in a good mood, looking forward to spending the evening with him, but that pretty much put me over the top. It's funny that a gesture like that can do wonders for the soul.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Score Hero!

I just signed up for a website called Score Hero! People post their high scores for Guitar Hero. I'm totally going to do this! I'm sure I won't be on the "highest scores" page, but it will be a good way to record my scores.

When does Guitar Hero 3 come out? Hurry!!!

Also, Travis and I have gotten through 3 out of 4 of the 5th group of songs on expert mode. We're stuck on Freya. I will master it this weekend!!

Christmas Update

I have made quite a bit of progress on my Christmas shopping. In fact, I'm pretty much done (with maybe a few little things if I happen upon them). Now the fun part! Shipping it all out!!

One stumbling block I was having was what I should get 23. We haven't been dating very long, but I like him and I want(ed) to get him something. Specifically, I wanted to buy him clothes, but when I mentioned that to a friend last night, she didn't think we'd been dating long enough for me to buy him clothing. I didn't really agree, but then after thinking about it, I figured she's probably right and I decided to go with something else I *know* he wants vs. the clothes.

I placed an order for a couple things I know he wants (he had a wishlist online) and then I get an email from him later that day that says he's put in an order for one of the things I had just ordered him.

People everywhere! Listen to me!! Don't buy anything for yourself during the month of December. Maybe even the last half of November if you have friends or family members who are on the ball. But especially don't buy yourself stuff that you have listed on a wishlist online two weeks before Christmas!! It's not cool. And just not good form.

In this case, it's not really that big of a deal because I can either keep it or make use of it somehow.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dating update

I hadn't really thought about it, but one of my friends who reads the blog pointed out that I hadn't mentioned 23 lately. My friend's assumption was that since I hadn't mentioned him, he was history. Quite the contrary! We spent a lot of last weekend together and I took him to a party and a gaming event and introduced him to some of my friends that hadn't yet met him. By now, I think most of my friends have met him and so far, no complaints! Oh, and I learned something really cute about him: he's an eagle scout. I love that!! My college boyfriend was one too. Maybe I've got a thing for eagle scouts! Those all-American wholesome guys! :-)

Over the weekend I noticed aspects about his personality I really like: He's laid back without being lazy, he's confident in himself and doesn't seem to be the "jealous" type and he is pretty independent in social settings. At the party on Saturday night, he didn't know anyone and yet he chatted and hung out with people while I cooked in the kitchen and got caught up with people I know. He didn't get bored and he really enjoyed himself. On Sunday, he joined in a game and played all day with other people and had a blast. I like being able to mingle and do my own thing without having to "worry" about if he's having a good time. He seems pretty confident in himself and I like that he doesn't seem like the "jealous" type. I have lots of male friends and I flirt, so I like that I can be myself without worrying about him getting all weird because I'm talking to other guys.

The best thing is that I've been feeling good about how things are going and that they aren't getting crazy out of control. Since I've been consciously being un-manic, I think it's been working really well. I feel calmer and I think I've been enjoying it more. I feel like my life is pretty balanced and not all skewed toward "the relationship." I like it. It's different... in a good way.

Busy weekend

OMG, I had such a busy weekend and it was great!!! I have pics to put up with the posts though, so all the details will have to wait!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Toe Jam is famous!

One of my favorite sites to check is Stuff on my Cat. If you haven't seen it, you have to check it out. It's quite amusing. I submitted a picture of my sister's cat Toe Jam and it was posted today! She's famous! I have another one I need to submit from last weekend. It's hilarious!!

Check it! :-)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas has officially begun at my house!

During lunch, I bought a Christmas tree!!! I went to a lot recommended by a friend and they had great trees. He warned me that they would be expensive and he was correct! I got a 7+ ft tree for about $85. It's a noble fir and it's gorgeous!! I can't wait to have people over tomorrow night to decorate. I'm so excited!

And, I learned my lesson from the Secret Santa thing this morning and when I received a box from Amazon, I realized that I haven't ordered anything yet, so it must be a gift. I had a co-worker open up the box and sure enough, it was! So she packed it back up and I'm taking it home to wrap it. She said I'm going to like whatever it is! I can't wait til Christmas to open it!!

My Secret Santa has delivered!

I signed up for this year's Secret Santa exchange on BGG and I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened up my package from Time Well Spent and saw that I had received two games I have been wanting! Wyatt Earp and Werewolf!!

Wow, I just realized that my Santa is totally on the ball! We were assigned our targets on 12/1/06 and that's when he placed his order!!

When I got the box, I thought to myself, "What did I order from Time Well Spent?" I thought maybe I had and just forgotten. Geez, that's pretty bad!! I wish I had thought about what it was. I would've waited til Christmas to open it. Oh well.

I'm very happy. I've been wanting those games for ages!!

I need to get on the stick for my target. I ordered his games with some other ones that are backordered, so I might have to go somewhere else and just pick them up and keep those as extra games. Hmmm... we'll see... I have two of the games he wants in my closet unopened right now, so I could just ship those out and buy myself replacements since it doesn't really matter when I get them.

What I really want though is to send him something else, like cookies or something. Hopefully he's not allergic to chocolate!

Success!! Our career is advancing!

Travis and I completed our Guitar Hero 2 career on "hard" mode. The song that was giving us the most trouble was Carry Me Home by the Living End. Man, that song was TOUGH! I don't even want to imagine what it will be like on expert. For our efforts, we unlocked the Snaketapus guitar!! Rock on!!

We started 5 starring all the hard songs and even completed a couple in expert mode. I will have to work on it more tomorrow night once I get home from Christmas shopping.

My only hope is to be as good as this guy! Thanks Travis for the link!!

148_4809Picture of Snaketapus Guitar

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Guitar Hero Videos

I just spent my lunch break chatting on the phone and then watching Guitar Hero videos posted on Now I'm feeling like I need to get better so *I* can post a video up there of me playing on expert mode. Right now, I'm still floundering a bit on the hard setting.

I already want to post a video of me playing Bombastic (another PS2 game).

I'm definitely practicing some GH tonight!

Monday, December 04, 2006


One of life's great joys is cookies. They're easily portable, not too messy, totally yummy and come in a billion different configurations. They are without a doubt my favorite thing to bake.

Over the weekend, I baked some chocolate chip cookies with macadamia nuts. They were delicious!! I can't wait to bake more! In fact, I am thinking that even though I'm gaming, I will bake some more cookies in between turns or something. I just can't resist!!! Plus, having that gorgeous Kitchenaid stand mixer just makes it so freakin' easy. There's really no excuse NOT to make them.

I'll post some pictures and a recipe tomorrow of whatever gets made.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas shopping

Wow, how did it already get to be December? This year has flown by!! Last year, my goal was to get all my shopping completed by December 1st, so I'd be freed up to bake cookies, wrap presents and write Christmas cards during December.

I did an assessment last night. I made my list and checked it twice. Thankfully, I started shopping in July, so it looks like I'm more than halfway done shopping plus I have ideas for almost everyone.

It's always a struggle... how much to spend on everyone? Should I get that person something? Do I think this other person will get me something? Should I get them something practical or quirky? Questions, questions!

I pared down my list to the people that I feel closest to now. I have budgeted and now I'm ready to tackle the rest of the list!

Friday, December 01, 2006

BGG Secret Santa

I've been assigned my target for the BGG Secret Santa 2006. It's someone I don't know which isn't surprising. The individual does live in California though and has one person on his geekbuddy list that I know. Not bad considering he doesn't have that many people geekbuddied.

I want to send him something other than game(s), but there isn't enough on his profile to go by. I may have to contact our mutual geekbuddy to do some recon work!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

All or Nothing?

After some more reflection today, I think the area of personal growth this whole dating thing is tackling might be my "All or Nothing" tendencies. While I've grown more grey in my years, everything used to be starkly black or white.

I have to remind myself that everything is NOT an "either/or" proposition. Take this whole 23 thing... There are varying degrees of actions I could take between running away to avoid the potential hurt and falling blindly into infatuation. But in my mind and more so, in my heart, those feel like the only two options.

Thus, my personal growth area... the area where I could grow and stretch those boundaries I have in my mind. Can I continue to date him with some caution and make somewhat rational decisions and not let my emotions (or hormones) take control? I can, right? I've always been somewhat manic about relationships, so it's not a new feeling. However, maybe changing part of the feeling and creating a new, less manic feeling is a good thing. I don't even know if it's possible, but how can it not be possible? If I set my mind to it, I know it is possible.

I want to see where this goes and be open to whatever permutations it might take from my end or his. Seriously, I was looking at the subtitle of my blog and I thought, "If I just run, then I'm letting this opportunity in life pass me by and I don't want to do that." And I'm not going to.

To add to that All or Nothing tendency is my other thing: I fluctuate from being wildly optimistic to worst case scenario chick. But that, is another post. And I'm not sure I want to 'fess up to all that online. :-)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cut and Run or Crash and Burn?

I went out on a date with my 23 year old suitor and unfortunately, I had a good time. I say unfortunately because having a good time just makes me like him more and more!

I have one friend in the "You Crazy!" camp who predicts that 23 is going to do or say something that makes me realize how young he really is and then I won't find him so attractive anymore. I'm not going to discount that, because I could see that happening. In fact, he said something last night that made me think, "Yeah, this most likely is going to be temporary."

Which brings me to the question: Is it better to cut and run or crash and burn?

I've been thinking that doing the ol' cut and run might be the smart money in this situation. The problem is that I don't really want to! I'm pretty sure I'll end up getting hurt in this situation, even if I'm the one doing the breaking up.

I was talking with Roger yesterday about the fear of the crash and burn and he asked me if I would have married Jason if someone had told me it was going to end up the way it did. Without hesitation, I said, "Yes. I would've still married him." Even though we ended up divorced 10 years later. He has clearly been an extremely important person in my life and even though a life together did not ultimately work out, I know I'm light years ahead of where I would've been without him. The experience with him was worth the heartbreak at the end.

I talked to Roger this morning about my date last night and he thinks I should totally go for it. He said that the look on my face is totally different with this one than with any other guy I've gone out with so far. I know that's true because I can feel it's true.

All I know is that I'm doomed. But it still might not be too late to cut and run.

Awesome Thanksgiving

We had an awesome Thanksgiving! I broke one casserole dish as I was drying it, but other than that, no major disasters!! In fact, everything was beautiful!

Here's a picture of my awesome turkey:

Roasted Turkey

This turkey was from Shelton Farms and it was a free-range, antibiotic/hormone-free turkey. It was delicious! And it was 24 pounds!! I could barely lift it into and out of the oven!

Here's a picture of the first table of side dishes:

Side dishes

We were all hungry by the time dinner was served, so a lot of it has food missing. Let's see we had yams with pecans, green salad, orange jell-o salad, pumpkin pie, vegetable crudite, M&Ms (peanut and plain, dark chocolate ones), green bean casserole, broccoli-mushroom casserole, deviled eggs (made with blue cheese and bacon), mashed potatoes, and yellow squash casserole.

Second side dish table

On the buffet, we had the turkey (beautifully carved by Stephanie R.), cranberry salad, creamed cornbread stuffing and bread stuffing.

I forgot to take a picture of it, but for dessert, we had four different kinds of cheesecakes (Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Reese's PB cups, Midnight Milky Ways), pumpkin pie, apple pie and pecan pies. All desserts were homemade and delicious!!!!

After dessert, we played some Guitar Hero (what else?) and had a great time with that. Shane played some Skipbo with various people too.

Here are some Guitar Hero photos:

Erin and Travis playing Guitar Hero

Erin and Steph playing Guitar Hero - hard song!

Steph playing Guitar Hero - we failed and got booed off the stage!

Dave and Steph playing "Rock this Town" - most likely since it's "our song"

All in all, a super fun evening with great food and great friends. Last year was the first year I didn't do Thanksgiving strictly with family. I think these last two Thanksgivings have been the best ones yet! I expect they will only improve in the future.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Age Gap

I met a guy recently that is cute, fun and very sweet. He asked me out and I hesitated, but I ended up saying "yes." Why did I hesitate? Because he's 23. That's right, 23. For the record, I'm 31. I'll help you with the math. The Age Gap = 8 years.

Which means that he graduated from college just this year. He's at his first "real" job and living by himself in his first apartment. Meanwhile, I just finalized my divorce from my ex-husband that I was married to for 10 years. I've already owned my first home and I've had the same job (where I've moved up the ladder) for years. I feel like the difference in our life experience is huge.

I think it's probably too much of an age gap to really be able to successfully date, especially because at 23, he's not in any hurry (and rightly so!) to get married and have kids. Not that I'm in a "hurry," but I certainly don't want to date for five years in order to not rush a relationship.

If he were my age (or even just closer to my age), I wouldn't have hesitated for one second. Especially because, according to him, he definitely wants to get married and have kids. My worst case scenario side is guessing that this will end disastrously, but I must not totally believe that because if I did, I wouldn't have agreed to go out with him. When I started worrying, one of my friends pointed out that things could end disastrously with anyone, even someone my own age, which is absolutely true. And since no one else is really on the horizon at the moment, I'm free to do what I want. I might as well as go out with him and see how it goes. It's just dinner. And it's just a date. Plus, I think it'll be fun.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I haven't been blogging everyday

I have tried to blog everyday this month, but I haven't. My life has just been so jam packed with fun stuff that I haven't even been able to take five minutes to post an update!

Here's a summary of the Thanksgiving Day weekend:

Thursday - Dinner with 14 of my closest friends with scrumptious food and Guitar Hero!

Friday - All-day games day (including Guitar Hero) and then some Wii action!

Saturday - Moving all day, Karaoke Revolution and then some more Wii action!

Sunday - Started watching a Netflix movie I've had for a month, then mini-golf/arcarde/batting cages with friends, then more Wii!

The Wii is cool, but I don't feel the need to own one. I am content to just play it. I might buy a controller though so that when I go, I'll have one of my very own!

But between all that stuff, I hardly had time to sleep, let alone post something on my blog. But, even when this NaBloPoMo ends, I think I'll keep trying to blog everyday. It's good for something, even if it's kind of like an online diary!

Saturday, November 25, 2006


There will be a post about the awesome Thanksgiving dinner we had later, but we just got back from Will's house where we were playing with his new Wii!!!! It was so cool! We boxed, golfed, tennised, and bowled! I can't wait to try it again. You have to try it.

I had not heard anything about it really before last week. It's a new Nintendo game console (?) and you hold this remote in your hand and move your body like you would. You bowl with the controller in your hand and it records your movements. So if you flick your wrist, it will curve the bal appropriately. Will is really good at it, but he's had more practice than any of us.

I can't wait to try it again!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Clean sheets rock!

Side note: Since I started playing Guitar Hero, everything that's cool "rocks"!

I love climbing into a bed with clean sheets. I love the way they smell and feel. I washed my sheets last night and had a great night of sleep even though I didn't go to sleep until past 1 AM.

So, in anticipation of Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for having clean sheets on my bed right now! I can't wait to climb into bed!

Pampered Chef Order?

Anyone interested in ordering something from Pampered Chef? My rep is running a 15% discount for this weekend only, so if you want/need anything, let me know ASAP!!

The website is

The products I would highly recommend are the vegetable peeler, kitchen timer, Twixit combo kit, scrapers (there are four sizes), and any of the stoneware.

My boss has insisted I order him a couple more of the vegetable peelers. His wife ordered one a year or so ago and he said that whenever he helps her in the kitchen, she always uses that one and gives him the crappy one. So he wants one for himself and an extra one for back-up! I am doing the same thing. An extra one is always good to have on hand. Especially when you're working on a big meal, like let's say... Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rock, Paper, Scissors Showdown

When I saw L's post about Hollywood Team Trivia, I thought it sounded fun! Plus, I'm always up for anything that has a gambling angle to it! The winning team was going to take home half of the door. Considering it was $9 per person to get in, half the door could be a sizeable amount depending on how many people showed up.

So, L assembled a team that consisted of L, Erin, Ron, Dr.P and myself and we headed on down to Safari Sam's. I let them all know in advance that I probably would be absolutely useless considering that I don't really know all that much trivia, especially not Hollywood trivia.

The quiz was split into three rounds, 20 questions each. Erin knew probably half the answers all by herself, while Dr.P, L and Ron answered some questions too. I think I knew only a couple questions that no one else really knew. So at least I was useful!

They gathered all our sheets and then tallied up the scores. They then announced a tie of 37 right out of 60 questions between our team (Power to the Meeple) and another team. So we did a 5 question tie breaker. Result? We both answered two questions correctly.

So they asked for a representative from each team to come up and challenge the bar owner to some thumb wrestling. Why not each other? I don't know. All I know is that I suck at thumb wrestling, but my team had faith and sent me up anyway. My heart was pounding when I got up on stage. I went first and I lost. The bar owner's hands were bigger and stronger than mine. Then the other guy thumb wrestled the bar owner and he lost too.

So it went to the classic Rock, Paper, Scissors tie-breaker. Winner was the first to win 2 out of 3. Once I heard that, I was feeling pretty confident I could take the guy. I consider myself fairly good at RPS. We decided on the 1-2-3-show method and went to work. See the throw-by-throw details below!

1: P=P
2: S>P
3: R=R
4: P=P
5: S>P

With that, I won!!! The grand prize was.... $103.50. So we each got $20 and they graciously donated the remaining $3.50 to the Thanksgiving fund. So, I may be only able to answer a couple questions, but I kick ass at Rock, Paper, Scissors!!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Cranberry Side Dishes

I have two cranberry dishes that I make every year for Thanksgiving. The thing I love about both of these recipes is that they can be made a day or two in advance, so I usually make them Tuesday or Wednesday night so they're ready to go on Thanksgiving. I found both of these recipes in a Martha Stewart Living magazine (the one with the chocolate turkey on the cover I believe).

I usually make Martha's Cranberry Orange Sauce which is basically just taking 3 cups of fresh cranberries (12 oz.) and cooking them in a pan with 1 cup of sugar over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries begin to pop (about 7 minutes). Then add 1 cup of water and simmer until slightly thickened (about 4 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in whole segments of 2 satsuma mandarin oranges. Let it cool!

The other one is a recipe for Cranberry Orange Relish. I modified it to my tastes and ever since the first year I made it, it has become a staple at my Thanksgiving table. When I saw it, the first ingredient that really piqued my interest was the jalopeno! I love spicy food and I don't think I had ever eaten a real cranberry, so I just decided to go for it.

Here's the original recipe and I just put all the stuff I omit at the bottom of the ingredients list and marked them as (omit).

Cranberry Orange Relish

Cranberry Orange Relish

Makes 2 cups
This is an easy addition to the Thanksgiving menu since it doesn't require any cooking.

2 cups fresh or defrosted frozen cranberries
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 blood oranges or navel oranges, peeled, sectioned, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces, juices reserved
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger (omit)
1/2 cup sugar
2 stalks celery, peeled to remove strings, cut in 1/4-inch dice
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped (omit)
1/4 cup pecans, toasted, broken in pieces (omit)

1. Place cranberries in food processor, and pulse to chop coarsely, about five pulses. Transfer to a medium bowl.

2. Add onion, jalapeño, lime juice, orange sections and juice, ginger, sugar, and celery; mix gently. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Just before serving, add mint and pecans, and toss to combine.

Here's a picture of the ingredients before mixing it up:

Cranberry Orange Relish - "Before" picture

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Guitar Hero Weekend

It has been a Guitar Hero FEST this weekend! First, GH2 at a birthday party on Friday night til, um, (3:30 AM), did I just write that? :-) Then same thing pretty much on Saturday night (but til 4 AM). Yes, I have a problem. But the good news is I'm getting better at playing! I pretty much have just graduated to doing the songs on hard because medium just isn't a challenge anymore.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Recovering from BGG.con

I am STILL recovering from BGG.con. It might actually help if I got to bed sometime before midnight any night this week. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to get up at 6 AM for work! Yuck!! I am DEFINITELY sleeping in tomorrow.

Tomorrow I was going to game, but I think that will have to just wait til Sunday. I need to do all my planning and shopping for Thanksgiving. It looks like the guest count is going to be either 13 or 14 people (not including myself). I ordered a 25 lb. free range turkey from Full of Life and I'm really looking forward to cooking. I also need to clean up my apartment tomorrow and wash the tablecloths. Fun! :-)

On Sunday, I'm doing a team trivia contest. The winning team gets half of the admission money. It's $9 per person to enter, but I have no idea how many people usually show up.

As usual, a busy weekend!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Moving sucks. That's all there is to it! I helped my friend Erin move a couple carloads of stuff and I'm beat!! Time to go to bed!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


There's a con in L.A. this weekend. I'm not planning on attending, but I was tempted by the fact that they are having a Guitar Hero 2 tournament as well as Karaoke Revolution!! Two of my favorite PS2 games!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

BGG.CON 2006 Recap

Well, I'm back from the BoardGameGeek convention. The #1 thing to say about it is that it was a blast!!! I slept a total of 12 hours from Thursday morning until I boarded the plane Sunday evening around 6 PM.

I won't list all the games I played because frankly, most anyone reading this just wouldn't care. And all my geeky friends know where to find the list of games I played, so, there.

Here's what I do know: I will be signing up to attend next year's con as soon as it's available. It was fabulous. I really liked the hotel room, but frankly, I might be tempted to cram a bunch of people in a room because all I did was sleep and shower in there. I spent zero time in my room. Maybe I will change my mind by next year, we'll see!

Highlights included:

Puzzle hunt: OMG, my friend Dave did a puzzle hunt for the con and it was fabulous!! I can't say much about it since he may run it again in SoCal, but it was REALLY fun. A lot of people complained it was too long and I could see that, but I didn't feel that way. We were probably around 3rd place or so on this one. We were SO close to finishing!! This was won by team Desert Meeple.

Frozen custard: We went out for dinner on Friday night after the puzzle hunt and then had some frozen custard. It was delish. I'm ready to have some more!

Game show: We participated in a Family Feud style game show (our team name was Meeple are Meeple) and we sat across the row from a team of two gamers from the SCB group (a fellow SoCal Group - their team name was Die, Fuggers!). We were talking shit to them all throughout the game, especially when we were in first place at the end of the second round. Unfortunately, they made a strong comeback in the third round and ended up coming in second place by only ONE point!!! It was so close. Those damn Desert Meeples won this too! And the sad thing is that we were beat by team Mangina (Derk, Ron, Jon and someone else I think) who consumed TWO bottles of wine during the show. Ugh!!! :-P

Final Score

Playing Werewolf: I had only played WW once at my apt. I played one game on Saturday night which turned into two games to three and next thing we knew it was around 8 AM on Sunday. So, Aaron says, "Well, there's no point in going to bed now, right?" He was absolutely right, consider the con ended at 3 PM, so I just said, "All right! Who's hungry?" We all piled into my rented SUV (thank goodness for that car!) and we headed out to Cafe Brazil for breakfast.

While we were there, Aaron offered $20 to anyone who would drink some of the pretty spicy hot sauce on the table. He had one taker who drank more than the required amount and paid for it for the rest of the morning. He did, however, get his $20!

Oh, and a quick side note, Greg had a WW playlist on his iPod for us to listen to while it was nighttime during the game. It was pretty cool.

Being mooned after a game of Time's Up: Yes, I saw Derk's ass on Friday night. 'Nuff said.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Guitar Hero 2

My plan was this: Get off the airplane, head straight over to Best Buy and buy Guitar Hero 2. It's what I did, but what I didn't count on was the Best Buy closes at 8 PM on Sundays, so I was 15 mintues too late.

I did run out and buy it during lunch today. My friend and I played all night tonight and unlocked all the songs on medium. We're not experts and frankly, he's better than me at this point. I have some practicing to do!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

BGG.con update

I just sent this out to my gaming group, so if you're in that, it's pretty much the same thing.

We're all having a great time!! We've been playing lots of games: Imperial, Emira, Space Dealer, Time's Up, Werewolf, a couple prototypes (Homesteaders and something else), etc. Jeff won a prize in the drawing last night: Pitch Car with the expansion set. The library is huge and there are tons of games from Essen.

I think the one we've all played and enjoy pretty much is Space Dealer. It's a space themed simultaneous played game with timers to regulate the actions. It comes with a CD that plays background music and serves as the timer. I think Lincoln already has one on order and I think I might pick up a second copy so we can try the 8 player version. It's neat, very different.

Aaron entered the Texas Hold'em tournament and did pretty well. I think he said he ended up 13th out of over 100 people who entered.

L&N, Ron, Aaron and I were on a team and did Dave's puzzle hunt yesterday. It was stunningly fun!! We had a great time. I was SO impressed with all the puzzles and the whole overall continuity. I loved it. We all did. And we were all made famous in one of the clues when Dave used us all in a Puerto Rico session report puzzle. Fabulous!!

Hmmmm.... other than that, lots of late night gaming - favorites are Time's Up and Werewolf (which I will play tonight).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More BBQ

OK, I have eaten MORE BBQ today. My room at my hotel is beautiful too. I love it. They have this heavenly bed and it's gorgeous. Pictures to come.

And I've recruited a Guitar Hero II practice person for next week!!!

More updates re: BGG.con as they come!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Guitar Hero II

And as a side note, we stopped by Best Buy today to pick up the new Gnarls Barkley CD and while I was there I saw the new Guitar Hero game!!!!! It's out!!!! I'm buying it on Sunday when I get home from BGG.con. You can play cooperatively. I talked to a guy later at EB Games and he said he heard it's harder than the original. I can't wait!!! Who's coming over to practice??

Barbecue (BBQ) Galore!!

OK, first off, I've had zero internet access. I'm posting this from a Schlotzsky's Deli. They actually have computers here for their customers. Awesome!

We have been eating BBQ, BBQ and more BBQ. Now I know why my friend Dave hates L.A. BBQ. It sucks. It's so awesome.

Monday, we ate at Sonny Bryan's in downtown Dallas and had brisket sandwiches. Then we drove down to Austin, but on the way we stopped in Georgetown, TX at the Monument Cafe. I will have to post pictures of this place when I get home. The inside is gorgeous, just like an old diner. We ordered pie: pecan, fried blueberry and monument chocolate pie with a pecan crust. All of these were delicious!!!

Today, we stopped by Black's BBQ in Lockhart and then cruised over to Sonny's BBQ for more!!

We drove down to the Alamo and then went to the San Antonio Riverwalk, which is gorgeous!! More later!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My vacation is starting tomorrow!

I know that technically, since I didn't go into work on Friday, my vacation started then, but since I arrived in Phoenix, it's been go-go-go! There was the bachelorette slumber party on Friday night, the wedding and all the fixins on Saturday and then today, I slept in til 11:30 AM!!! I hardly ever sleep in that late! Lounged around in my PJs watching football til about 2 PM and then shaved my legs and took a shower. Went shopping (got some cute clothes!) and then went to Shane's mom's house to cook dinner for her parents, her uncle and his wife and kids and Shane's mom's friend Ann. The only thing I really "cooked" was roasted yellow squash and zucchini. It was delicious. I love yellow squash!

Now we're home and I have to transfer some of my stuff from my gigantic suitcase into a duffel bag because it's too heavy. They let me slide at Burbank, but I am positive it's over 50 lbs. so I'm moving all the heavy stuff to a duffel bag borrowed from Shane's sister Alix.

Speaking of, Alix and Ryan were at the airport to leave on their 2 1/2 week honeymoon to Europe and their flight from Phoenix to Minneapolis was delayed and ultimately cancelled. So, they are still here, hoping to catch a flight tomorrow.

I know I'm supposed to blog everyday, but I am wondering if how that will work since I won't have as much internet access as I have this weekend. We'll see!

I do feel like tomorrow is really the first day of vacation though. And, so far, foodwise, it's been a great vacation! Fried chicken on Friday and I've had steak every day!! Today I had some for breakfast AND dinner! Woo-hoo!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bad manicures

I had my nails done yesterday at a salon here in Phoenix. The first thing that I noticed was that all the ladies working there were white. Actually, more accurately, they weren't Vietnamese. I got the crappiest manicure of my life there. And I had to pay $15 for it. The Vietnamese ladies charge me $8 and do a much better job. I ended up just buying nail polish at Target today and repainting my nails myself.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The best fried chicken of my life!

I had the best fried chicken of my life today. It was at Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe in downtown Phoenix. Here's a picture of Shane outside of Mrs. White's.

Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe

The chicken was some of the best I've ever eaten. It's a total hole in the wall and it's only open from 11 AM - 5 PM Monday through Friday. All meals are $8.80 plus tax and it includes the main portion of the meal and your choice of two sides. And, they also have sweet tea!! It was pure heaven for lunch. I now will have to make sure that whenever I'm going through Phoenix I am passing through on a weekday so I can check out Mrs. White's for lunch!!

Here's a picture of the fried chicken:
Fried chicken

Here's a picture of the fried pork chops:
Fried pork chops

Here's a picture of the list of sides you have to choose from (yes it's written on the wall):
Side dishes at Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe

One unusual thing about Mrs. White's is that you order from the waitress, but when it comes time to pay, you just go up to the cashier and tell them what you had. They ring you up in literally about 1 second. They don't even add it up on a calculator. I walked up and said, "We had two meals, two drinks and a piece of pineapple cake." He (Mrs. White's son) said, "That'll be $24.96." He didn't even hesitate.

Mrs. White's Golden Rule Cafe
808 E. Jefferson St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034
(602) 262-9256

Open M-F 11 AM - 5 PM

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Vacation looms (and Christmas)!

My vacation starts tomorrow! I'm heading out to Phoenix for a wedding, then heading to Texas for some sightseeing and a convention!

I already feel like November is slipping away. My goal is to get all my Christmas shopping done by 11/30/06 so I can enjoy December stress-free! And I can bake lots of cookies and decorate my tree and do all that fun stuff.

I did actually start my Christmas shopping, but more so, I've been making a list of what I want to buy. I'm hoping to do as much online shopping as possible to avoid the malls. They are going to be crazy!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


E is participating in NaBloPoMo. Basically, a pledge to post every day in the blog. I guess I should try that too although it might be impossible since I'll be out of town for 10 days. Oh well, let's see if I can do it! This is the first post of the month.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More Jack'o'Lanterns

Yesterday, I went out after work with co-workers, came home and then went to the laundromat to do about 5 loads of blankets and sheets and about 6 loads of clothes!!! I got home around 10:45 PM and ran into my neighbor who had left a pumpkin on my doorstep over the weekend. I thanked him for the pumpkin and he invited me to come down to carve it. He had his girlfriend and some friends over and they were having a pumpkin carving party. So, I went down and carved another pumpkin! Here's how his wall looks:

The Wall of Pumpkins

Window and Bulging Eyes

Various designs

Skeleton and Sick Pumpkin

Evan's Homemade Costume

Growing up, I never had a homemade costume. Sure, I put my little brother in my soccer uniform, but I didn't actually make a costume of any kind ever. I've always admired people who think of something and then make it.

My sister, crafty gal she is, made this costume for Evan:

Evan as Lego Man

Isn't that the cutest!? I told him he'd have the best costume out of his entire class. While all the other kids have costumes bought at Target, he has a costume custom-made by his mom. He won't be one of the five pirates in his class, that's for sure!!

EDIT: I heard from my sister and apparently, his costume was the hit of the entire school! Everyone was stopping to stare and check it out, even the 4th and 5th graders. They were giving him high-fives as he walked by. You know you're cool when you're a 1st grader getting high-fives from the older kids!

Here are some pictures of our jack'o'lanterns we made over the weekend:

Jack'o'Lanterns 2006

Hmmmm.... can you guess which one I made?!? :-)

More pictures of jack'o'lanterns made last night at my neighbors apt. to come later today!!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Jack'o'Lanterns from years past

*Make sure you check tomorrow when I post a picture of Evan's costume!! It's SUPER cute and homemade!!!*

When I got home last night, I found a pumpkin on my doorstep. I can only assume it's from my downstairs neighbor, Andy. His wall around his patio is fortified with pumpkins, two of which, are carved. I will post pictures of those when I get home.

I don't think I ever carved a pumpkin until I was married. I guess that one of the cultural downfalls of growing up with a Korean mom is that some American traditions just pass you by. But, my sister is keeping the tradition alive and well with Evan and they carve pumpkins every year. We carved a pumpkin each while I was out there this weekend, but I'm waiting for her to email me pictures of all the ones we made this weekend. I should be posting them tomorrow.

But, to start whipping up the Halloween spirit, here are pictures of the jack'o'lanterns they made last year!

The Sick Pumpkin

I'm Watching You!

Pumpkin Family

All Lit Up

I love this Tom (from Tom & Jerry) jack'o'lantern that my brother-in-law made. It's fabulous!!

Other people's pumpkins
I think they took pictures of these while trick-or-treating.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Video game fun

I have been buying more video game stuff lately. I'm visiting my sister and we stopped by a GameStop (they sell new/used games) and they didn't have Karaoke Revolution 1 or 2, but they did have Guitar Hero. They had one hooked up so you could try it out and it was FUN. So, of course, I bought one. It's a rhythm game that's kind of like Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) except with a fake guitar. I also bought Sims2. Why did I buy these games? Because I have ALL this free time I need to fill? :-) Well, I'm looking forward to playing them anyway!! We can have a dance/sing/guitar-off on Thanksgiving!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Off to Denver

I'm off to visit my sister (really, my nephew) again this weekend. I'm pretty much all packed. I'm taking my most gigantic suitcase because I have several board games to take out to him. I'm also going to take the Flyaway from the Van Nuys airport for the first time ever. I've heard good things about it. It will be interesting!

Saving Dinner Mega Menu Mailer Verdict

Well, several meals have been eaten (not all necessarily by me) and it seems like the consensus is that the concept is good, but that the recipes leave room for improvement. We were joking around while making them saying that they seemed to all have mustard in the recipes and were probably geared toward a midwestern palate, for example, nothing was really spicy or garlicky.

What we can all agree on is that everyone likes the convenience of having the food there just ready to eat. So, I think next time, we're going to all submit recipes we think would freeze well and try to do the freezer concept with recipes we already love and see how we like that!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Skidboot the Dog

A heart-warming segment from Texas Country Reporter, with Bob Phillips.
For more information visit or

Monday, October 23, 2006

Follow-up to the blind date

So, my blind date's name is Bo. He's from the South and somehow that fact makes it "OK" he's called Bo. I don't think I've ever met someone named Bo who wasn't from the South. He'll try to tell you he's from Missouri and that's not the South, but as far as I'm concerned, it still is!

Anyway, Bo did call to arrange a date for last Friday and I think we both had a great time! We went to one of my favorite dive bars in Burbank, the infamous Blue Room, and then hit up a karaoke bar called the Smogcutter in Silverlake that was awful... awfully good! They don't have any new songs, it's a small little room and we sang the worst rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody EVER! He was a good sport about it considering he says he hates karaoke. That, I believe, is a big, fat lie. He knew all the words to all those old songs they played. It was pretty fun. Then we went out to eat a bit and hung out for a while. I was so tired by the end of the date I was practically falling asleep on him. But, I think by that point, I had been awake for over 20 hours, so what do you expect?? I'm not the Energizer Bunny!

Overall though, the date was pretty cool. Oh and he likes my cats, so that's a plus! I think the thing I like the best about him is that he seems very dependable. I really like that in a guy. That is definitely one of my "must-haves".

1 vs. 100 Screen Shots

Recently a guy I went to high school contacted me. He found me because I'm a link on a mutual friend's blog. Isn't it just so odd how you can not ever have talked to someone in high school and yet feel some kind of connection because you grew up in the same town and went to the same high school? It really is...

Anyway, he captured several images from 1 vs. 100 and without further ado...

1 vs 100 Group Shot

1 vs 100 - waiting for the next question

1 vs 100 - clapping

1 vs 100 - Answering the Monk question

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Here's how the richer get richer...

OK, you know that saying: "It takes money to make money"?

Well, I started my Vanguard investment account about one month ago. Since then, my account (thanks to the stock market has just been out of control lately), has gone up 3.9%. In one month. That's crazy! My EmigrantDirect and ING accounts are paying about 4.9% per year.

So let's put that into some numbers, shall we?

Let's say I invested $1,000:
In my online savings account, after a month I'd have about $1,004.08.
In my Vanguard account, after a month I'd have about $1,039.00.

The downside is that the stock market could tank and then I'd be in trouble! But if it stays relatively stable or on an upward trend, I should be fine.

But it's easy to see how you can make money without doing more work if you have money to invest and let it do the work for you!

The 1 vs. 100 Saga

Ugh, I had an awful experience taping 1 vs. 100 back in August. This is long, so feel free to skip it!!

Here's why it sucked...

I got to the studio at 7:30 AM on Saturday morning and was there until about 8 PM. Yes, over 12 hours! When I arrived, I basically stood in a line out on the sidewalk waiting to get escorted in to a large hangar style room with chairs in groups of 100. They had three groups of 100 that came in that day. I found out while standing in line that there had been a taping the day before that had gone horribly wrong so they didn't actually get anything they could use, so all those people were "invited" to come back for Saturday's taping.

I think I stood in line for almost an hour before they escorted my group in. Luckily, I was put in the first mob. We got some paperwork, sat in our assigned seating and then talked with each other and waited. And waited. Because of the game show scandal back in the 50s, contestants are sequestered and monitored pretty strictly. That meant that no one could leave the room to use the restroom without an escort. So around 9:30 AM, they said that anyone who needed to use the restroom could get in line and they would escort them to and fro. They neglected to mention that this would be the ONLY time we'd have to use the restroom before the taping began. And just to wrap this part of the story up, my group was not allowed to use the restroom until almost 3 PM. One lady in the row above me urinated on herself and THEN decided to leave. Don't you leave before you piss yourself? I mean, really, is a little cash worth your self-respect?

The set for the show was pretty impressive, but the downside was that we had to stand the entire time. They had these little wooden benches built into the wall behind you, but they were tiny and not very comfortable. I was lucky that I was standing next to Sal, a stand-up comic/personal trainer, who kept me entertained most of the day. Bob Saget was actually pretty funny, but a little too much poop humor for me.

The biggest problem though was the rule change they did between the time I auditioned and the time of the taping. At the audition, they explained the premise of the show, and granted, they did say that the rules had not been finalized. However, the major rule change they did do was horrible! Originally, if the "1" could walk away at any time with the money they had accumulated up to that point. If they saw the next question and got it wrong, all money accumulated up to that point would be divided up among the remaining mob members. Imagine my not-very-happy face when they explained that they had changed that rule and now, IF the "1" saw the next question, but then didn't know the answer, they could walk away with 25% of the amount they had accumulated up to that point. That pretty much guarantees that the mob will get nothing. The only way the mob would get anything would be if the "1" honestly just made a mistake or if the "1" was a gambler and took a chance and was wrong. Who's going to do that?? Well, not the first contestant! He got up to $135K (?) and then decided to just take the money.

After taping the first two contestants, I was still alive in the mob. I could've elected to come back on Sunday to tape more, but I was so frustrated by that time, I decided to pass on it. Well, it turns out they changed the rules before Sunday's taping (probably because they realized how RIDICULOUS they were!) and made it that if the "1" went to the next question, there was no escape clause. Either they got it right and kept the cash or got it wrong and the mob did. Even knowing one of the mobs on Sunday won some $$, it just wasn't worth it to me to come back. Perhaps I would've, IF they had told us there was going to be a change in the rules.

Here's what would make that show a LOT better too. If when the "1" got a question wrong, they randomly picked someone out of the remaining mob to become the "1". That would make it more of an incentive to become a mob member.

I have a couple friends who want to try out for the show even though they think it's awful. I'd go back at this point. I don't know when they will be taping more of them. I guess it just depends on how the ratings are.

On the plus side, I had a couple people who saw me on 1 vs. 100 and they didn't even really know I was supposed to be on there. They recognized me! My game show fame continues! :-)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Blind date results

At his suggestion, I met my blind date at Ireland's 32, a dive bar in Van Nuys. I probably should've been a little more concerned about my safety than I was, but I just didn't think anything bad would happen and nothing did, so I was right not to worry.

At my suggestion, we wore old band t-shirts that were the "roses in our hair" to recognize each other. I wore a B-52s shirt (what else?) and he wore a Lemonheads t-shirt. He was cute! He bought me a drink and we chatted for a couple hours and listened to some pretty decent karaoke. He's from Missouri and moved out here a few years ago to write and direct (how LA, I know!) and I guess he's making a living at it, probably supplemented by editing on the side. He was funny and fun.

I gave him my phone number while we were in the bar and then when we went outside, he asked what I was doing on Friday. He wants to take me on a date. I told him to call me and then we'd discuss whether I'd go out with him on Friday. I already have plans to go to a spa happy hour with Shane & Lana until 8 PM, so I could go out with him after that, but first we'll see if he even calls. My gut says he will, but who knows?

Overall, a good date and good conversation. He asked lots of questions as did I, and we had fun! So, no blind date horror story. It's almost disappointing, isn't it? That was part of the excitement of going on the blind date, the fear that things could just go horribly wrong. I'm glad they didn't though. If nothing else, I guess it's good dating practice!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Saving Dinner Mega Menu Mailer

Whew! That's all I have to say! We chopped, sliced, diced, cut and assembled a total of 74 meals. We worked our hands to the bone and had a great time!! I purchased Mega Menu Mailer 2 and we got together yesterday at my apartment with its small kitchen and had a great time assembling all the meals. Actually, aside from my weird perfectionist tendancies, I think we all had a fun time. It took about 4 1/2 hours to assemble everything and another 1/2 hour to divvy everything up and pack'em up to go home.

I did most of the shopping on Saturday and the bulk of it was at Sunland Produce which is AMAZING! I have known about this place for years, but just never actually made it over there! I had done some pricing at Costco earlier in the week so I had an idea of how much it "could've" cost. Sunland Produce had boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.79/lb as opposed to Costco's (and Vons') $2.99/lb. Considering I had to buy 20+ lbs, we ended up saving $25 just on chicken. And the produce! It looked as good (if not better) than Vons and the prices were WAY less! Red bell peppers - Vons: $3.49/lb, Sunland: $1.19/lb. Ridiculous!

The good news is that thanks to Sunland Produce and Costco, the cost of all the groceries was about $330 to make DOUBLE the Mega Menu Mailer 2. And then we split a lot of the recipes into servings for 2 people vs. the 4 servings. So, everyone ended up with about 10 meals or so.

The fruits of our labor View 1

The fruits of our labor View 2

We are going to eat them up and then see how well we like the meals. If we like them, we'll probably end up doing it again in a month or two! I'll report back on the taste of the meals!

Sunland Produce
8840 Glenoaks Blvd.
Sun Valley, CA 91352
(818) 504-6629

Friday, October 13, 2006

1 vs. 100 Airs tonight!

Well, finally! 1 vs. 100 is airing tonight. I have no idea if I'll be on the shows they air or not. Apparently, they changed the way the game was played so they may have thrown out the first two episodes that I'm on. We'll see! I'm #61 in the mob.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Blind date

Here's what happens when you have free time on your hands at lunch...


OK, so I saw an ad in the "men seeking women" category that simply said:

I love blind dates and want to go on one. HERE ARE THE RULES. Must be semi attractive, not BBW, have a job and not be under 23. This goes for me as well, I have to be semi attractive, not 300 pounds and have hair. So if you are game, let THE BLIND DATE CRAZYNESS BEGIN. I think this is so much fun and scary.

Well, I met all the "qualifications" so, I replied. And the scene has been set. I'm having my first official blind date at a dive bar on Sunday! Yes, I am crazy. The least I'll get out of it is an interesting experience right? Don't worry, I've told two people where I'm meeting him and when so they'll know where to look for my dead body. (OK, that's a little morbid, but I wouldn't be "worst case scenario woman" if I didn't think that!)

Now the weird thing about that last statement is that I'm a big contradiction! While I am worst case scenario woman, I'm also WILDLY optimistic. How do those two reconcile in my mind? I have no idea.

UPDATE: He emailed me because he was confused about some of his plans, so it's been rescheduled to Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Freezer dinners

Everyone's tried Dream Dinners, right? Well, I know lots of my friends and I have tried it. It's a great concept! I sent out some feelers to see if anyone's interested in getting together at my place and doing our own little Dream Dinners session using one of these Mega-Menu Mailers from We'll see! If we do it, I can't wait to see how it goes!

I used the menu mailer for last Thanksgiving and Christmas from the website and it worked beautifully!! So I have faith that these mega menus will work too.

Update: I have several people interested, so I think we'll do a trial run this Sunday!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Debt restricts you

Having debt sucks! The only debt I have is a student loan. I consider myself debt-free though because I'm choosing to not pay off the student loan because the interest rate on the loan is about 2.6% and my EmigrantDirect account pays over 5% in interest. So, I just keep making my mandatory monthly payments because I'm making money by doing it this way.

I'm frugal. I'm not cheap, but I certainly don't just spend money like it's water. As far as credit cards go, I pay them off every month. So I never have an outstanding balance that carries over. My car has been paid off for at least five years and it has about 113K miles on it. I spent about $1K in July for a major tune-up and a minor repair on it and I plan on keeping it until it dies or I just get sick of it. So far, it doesn't bother me! Sure, it's not some fancy car with leather interior, but it's functional and decent.

I know people of varying levels of debt. They range from completely debt-free to hampered down by credit card debt, student loans and car loans. (I don't think any of my friends have this, but one of my pet peeves is car leases!!)

I have one friend who chalked up a lot of debt over the last 10-15 years because he was a single father working a not-so-great job simply for stability for his son. Now that his son is all grown up and he has a MUCH better job, he's been working the last couple years to pay down his debt. We were talking about it last week and he thinks that by the end of next year, he may finally be out of credit card debt! He's so excited about it and I'm excited for him! We're planning on having a party to celebrate his debt-free status once he's all done!

Debt chokes the life out of you and prevents you from following your dreams. Having financial freedom is so liberating! I wish everyone would live within their means. It's tough to do, but like anything, you really can appreciate what you've worked and waited for. There's no satisfaction in getting something for nothing. Just talking about it with my friend reminds me about how happy I am that I don't have to worry about that!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Thanksgiving is right around the corner

OK, Thanksgiving isn't really right around the corner, but it feels like it. I've already started contemplating what I should do this year for Thanksgiving.

While married, I usually went to my mother-in-law's house for T-day dinner. She is an excellent cook and it was usually fun to catch up with my husband's family.

Last year, I knew things were headed for splitsville, so I decided cook my own T-day dinner for my side of the family and some friends and we had such a good time! It was the best Thanksgiving I think we ever had because we talked, laughed, ate yummy food and just enjoyed each other's company without any of the family BS that seemed to come out sometimes at his mom's house.

Well, this year, I'm not dating anyone and I don't have any family left in the area really and I don't know that I want to travel over that weekend, so I am contemplating having another T-day dinner at my apartment. It would be small and cozy, but I know a few people who are planning on being in town and I could find more I'm sure. Someone suggested doing a MyPC event to get people who are leftover in town and I may very well do that. We'll see how many people I find who are left in town before I do that. Oh! And maybe I'll host an all day games event the following day to help eat up all the leftovers!!

I loved the menu from last year, so I will probably stick to something very similar. It's not the turkey that makes the dinner, it's all the sides and the gravy. Mmmmm...

Fall is upon us

I've gone hiking a couple times since Saturday and it's been great! I have never really tried hiking before and I'd have to say it's pretty enjoyable! Much better than just walking around on a track or doing the stairclimber at the gym. What I've noticed is that it is getting a little cooler which made me realize that it is now autumn!

I love fall. Truth be told, I love all the seasons - and living in southern California, I use the word "seasons" very lightly.

Here's what I love about fall:

It's the beginning of the holiday season! We get Halloween and Thanksgiving which will be followed up by a wintiferious Christmas! I don't know what I'm going to be for Halloween, but hopefully I'll figure it out soon!

It's football season! I don't sit glued to the TV, but I love having a game on and listening to everything while I do my mindless household tasks...

It's cool enough to cook hot food! Baking cookies, simmering soups, roasted vegetables and meat... mmmmmm...

I have a reason to knit! Who doesn't need a scarf or hat?

I get to wear all my warm clothes! They've been staring at me in my closet for months and now, I can wear them again!

Monday, October 02, 2006

100 New Games! Check!

When I originally decided to try to play 100 new games this year, I figured I could probably do it by the end of the year. I never imagined I'd get it done by October 1st! I played my 100th game yesterday. It was Mystery Rummy: Murder in the Rue Morgue. With BGG con coming up in November, I'm sure I'll add more to that list.

Friday, September 29, 2006

I love Hawaii!

I went to Hawaii as part of my vacation fest at the beginning of September. It was beautiful! This was my first trip to Hawaii and I don't know how many times I said, "I could totally move here!" It's just my style! Here's what I loved about Hawaii!

  • Plate lunches: We arrived on Wednesday around lunchtime, so our first stop was LocoMoco, a fast food place that serves the plate lunches I had been teased about for a month before going to Hawaii. Plate lunches are the staple Hawaiian fast food. It's some kind of meat with rice and mac salad. Here is my teriyaki beef plate lunch:

Teriyaki beef plate lunch

  • Wearing flip flops (or "slippahs" as everyone there calls them!) to a wedding on the beach:

New slippahs

  • Visiting with Ron's family who just took to me (and I to them) like white on rice! We played Karaoke Revolution, watched a couple really bad movies (Benchwarmers and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), cooked dinner one night (that's a whole 'nother post!) and basically just had lots of fun together. Ron's sister is fabulous and her family is awesome. It made me want to adopt them!

After spending a few days with Ron's family, we headed over to Maui.

When I decided I'd go to Hawaii with Ron, I consulted 1,000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz to see what exactly she recommended one see while in Hawaii. There were two activities that sounded fabulous and we did both of them!

The first one was seeing the sunrise at the top of Haleakala on Maui. We got up at 2:45 AM to get dressed, peel the blankets of our hotel beds and drive the hour and a half up the mountain. Once at the top, we slept for another hour or so and then got out to brave the 20+ mph winds! It was SO windy and freezing cold! According to our car, it was 42 degrees outside. Brrrrrr!! The cold wouldn't have been so bad. The wind was the kicker.
Ron at Haleakala
Steph - Freezing to death!

The sunrise was worth it. It was completely gorgeous, even though the clouds were blowing through due to all the wind! These pictures do not do it justice, but here are a few anyway! It was so cool! The top of the mountain is just over 10,000 ft. It looked like we were an island in a sea of clouds. Everyone starting cheering once the sun peeked over the horizon. I would love to do this again and then ride a bike down. You ride through three different zones on the mountain. It looked pretty cool!

Just after sunrise

Sea of clouds

On Saturday night, we went to Ron's friend's wedding that took place on the beach at sunset. She was really cool and her husband seemed super sweet too.

Ron with Kimmie

The food was wonderful and we had a really nice time. Here's a picture we took after the wedding at the beach.

On Sunday, we got up fairly early in order to get on the Road to Hana by 8 AM. It was well worth the whole day it took. All day, I kept saying, "Wow! Oh my!" It was stunningly beautiful. The Road to Hana was windy (I think the book says it has over 400 turns) and many times over the bridges, there is only one lane. There are all kinds of waterfalls that can't be seen from the road. You have to hike down into a small ravine or behind a bend to see them. It was gorgeous!!! The photo on the left is one of my favorite pictures I took on the day we drove the very curvy Road to Hana. The one on the right is the first waterfall we saw. I think we did this during a drier part of the year because some of the waterfalls weren't gushing with water.

Steph on the Maui coast

The book we used as our guide for where to stop along the Road to Hana was Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook. It gave us excellent recommendations. We also used it when choosing restaurants to try while we were in Maui. We loved Da Kitchen in Kihei which was recommended.

Overall, a very enjoyable trip. I made Ron go to only one open house, but the condos were way too expensive for me (over $1 million!). I'd love to buy a home there and be able to stop by whenever I wanted. That would be awesome!!

I posted a few more random pictures on my Flickr account, so if you want to see any other pics, just check that link out! I feel like I posted plenty here! This may be the longest post ever for me!