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!