Sunday, December 21, 2008
I hope I keep getting better and don't plataeu -- I vow to one day be able to take a picture of Chuck actually crossing a finish line!
I was briefly flipping through the TV and landed on DHC (Discovery Health Channel) and got sucked in to Men with Breasts. It's a rare condition called gynecomastia. Some men had them removed, others embraced them - very interesting. The show that followed was "I can't stop growing" which featured people (kids & adults with elephantitis). That was too sad so I changed it.
I came across TLC's My Shocking Story World's Smallest Kids. Primordial Dwarfism is the rarest type of dwarfism that results in smaller body size in all stages of life beginning from before birth.
That was pretty sad and now I'm they are showing the World Smallest People. There is an obvious theme, I think I just need to turn off the TV off!
There was a really pretty african american lady signing autographs and we were told that she was Sanya Richards. Come to find out -- she's a real gold medalist. I was extremely impressed but we both looked like we just rolled out of bed.
Regardless, it was very exciting, I can only hope to be a fraction as good as she is :D
I reconnected with a friend that works for Verizon Wireless. He was casually talking with Carlos about work and how Verizon was sponsoring a special VIP only event with the actors for one of Mexico's top rated novela (soap opera) --Fuego En La Sangre (www.esmas.com/fuegoenlasangre/).
Carlos and I were familiar with the novela, while vacationing in Mexico the novela was concluding -- so everyone and their mother was glued to the TV trying to figure out what was going to happen with the "hermanos Reyes" (Reyes brothers). The 3 primary male actors are:
Juan Reyes (Eduardo Yanez) - www.esmas.com/fuegoenlasangre/perfiles/694900.html
Oscar Reyes (Jorge Salinas) - www.esmas.com/fuegoenlasangre/perfiles/694893.html
Franco Reyes (Pablo Montero) - www.esmas.com/fuegoenlasangre/perfiles/694889.html
So we tell our friend -- you know it sounds like a neat thing to do but we're not fans. After some thought and deliberation, I decided to accept his generous offer and take the Abuelita to see the motley crew. Verizon had scheduled various in-store appearances but we got tickets to their only live concert. Granted Pablo Montero is the only singer, the other two are just actors but in Mexico all that act apparently can sing too -- a very skewed perception.
So that piqued our curiosity, we weren't sure how good or bad it was going to be???? Our friend provided us with 6 tickets (Carlos, Myself, my Abuelita, Abel, Norma, and her mom). Traffic in LA goes without mentioning -- it was bad so we arrived at the venue a little later than anticipated but I get a call from my friend and he tells me that I can get there in the next 5-10 minutes, we (my Abue & I) might get the chance to meet the actors in person. At the time, I was driving so at a stop light, Abel suggested we do a chinese fire drill (www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=chinese+fire+drill) to switch out drivers.
After doing so, we continue to inch closer and closer but there is still too much traffic :S
So Carlos pulls up to the curb and my Abue & I jump out, and we book it (you can only imagine, me pulling my 77 yr old Abue on an incline -- no worries I took it slow). As we approach the venue, my Abue turns to me and says (in spanish) - "I'm tired, I can't run anymore". Thankfully, we had arrived, my friend spots us and rushes us into the venue (in the meantime, Carlos & Abel are parking the truck). A wrist band is placed on our left wrist and we are escorted to this secret enterance by the stage. We wait and wait (about 15 minutes) and finally get word -- Juan Reyes (Eduardo Yanez) isn't coming, he's nervous about the live performance (remember, he's an actor not a singer).
So instead we get to meet Pablo Montero & Jorge Salinas. Pablo was nice and very respectful. Jorge was an octopus. No woman or man was left standing -- he would hug and kiss anything in sight. If you were to his liking, he'd kiss you on your lips (YIKES). As he approached I made sure to position my Abue on her side, to avoid this attack.
We got a couple of minutes with them and posed for a picture. Notice, I put my Abuelita in the center figuring she'd fair better than me. As she stood there -- Jorge Salinas tells her -- you need to hug me but hug me nice and tight (in spanish). I almost lost it, my Abue got all red :D
After this excursion we headed back upstairs and finally got Carlos & Abel there tickets (to come in). Norma had saved us seats in the VIP area and we sat back to enjoy the show. We had a fantastic time!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
We love Zankous (Armenian/Lebanese Restaurant) and we were shopping at Jordan Market and found garlic paste. It's tasty but the smell lingers.
**Just discovered that if you have a flickr account, you can go to photostream to view your uploads and when you select a picture (there's an icon on the top "BLOG THIS" and there you go) Don't mind the short posts.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
4 cups (1 pound) elbow macaroni
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups milk (we did 2 cups non-fat and 2 cups heavy cream -- non-fat justified the heavy cream)
1/2 medium onion, stuck with 1 clove (we also added 2 shallots)
4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 teaspoon dry mustard (best to mix the powder w/2 teaspoons of hot water to break down before adding it)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or wondra - stuff they use for gravy)
1 cups grated Cheddar, plus 1 cup in big chunks (we used aged sharp cheddar, primarily grated)
(added 1 cup - grated Gouda) -- don't be scared to add or change the cheeses, next time I think we want to try out pepper jack and havarti :D
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cook the macaroni in a large pot of boiling salted water until done, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and toss it with 2 tablespoons butter; set aside.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat a large baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter and set it aside.
- Put the milk into a saucepan and add the clove studded onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and mustard (& shallot)
- Warm over medium low heat until the milk starts to steam, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let the flavors infuse while you make the roux.
- Roux - In a large pot over medium heat add 2 tablespoons butter and the flour. Cook, stirring, for about 2 to 3 minutes; don't let the roux color.
- Strain the infused milk onto the roux, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until the sauce is thick.
- Remove from the heat and add 1/2 the grated Cheddar and 1/2 the Parmesan; stir until it is melted and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Pour this over the macaroni, add the chunks (we used grated to maximize the melting) of Cheddar, and mix until well blended; put this into the prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle the remaining Cheddar/Gouda, Parmesan & bread crumbs evenly over the top. Bake until the top is golden and crusty, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Speaking of Christmas and shopping, a friend sent me this link. Must see (it could potentially safe your marriage)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Sunday was an early morning, we picked up our friend Jean and headed to San Dimas for Renegade Racing's annual Turkey Trot at the Frank Bonelli Regional Park (http://parks.co.la.ca.us/frank_rpark.html). Carlos and I hadn't run this course before and because of the rain, they reconfigured the route. So we really didn't know what to expect. This was also Jean's first race!
As we passed the starting line and encountered our first hill, we realized fairly quickly that this was not going to be a flat course. Carlos took off like speedy gonzales (as always).
Our strategy on the other hand was to save ourselves for the big FINISH :D We ran/walked the whole course. There was paved roads, dirt trails, mud trails (almost swamps), moderate/steep inclines. You felt the Turkey day calories melt away.
As we wrapped up the first mile we had to make an impromptu pit stop -- of all people to be running a race, you have the two people that have bad feet and require orthotics :D I had my new and improved ones on, Jean unfortunately had some over the counter - Dr. Scholls that were causing more harm than good. Once they were removed, she did better. As we headed to the half way point, I was about to stop at what I thought was a water station but it turned out to be the hangout for the local gang affiliated (noted by their tattoos and clothing) oldies car club. As we approached, we saw hynas with big hair seated in their fold out chairs, the homies chit chatting about their wheels. At this point, Jean and I were pretty close to being last, so I suggested that we kick it into high gear and as we zoomed we were embraced by a cloud of too much cologne and cigarettes.
At the 6th mile, we were finally approaching the finish line, I knew Jean was fading fast. So I pulled a Jillian (from Biggest Loser) on her and told her if she didn't speed it up I was going to drag her in by her hair. I think it worked cause she finished together:D Our time was 1 hour 33 minutes. Jean did wonderfully, she's a trooper for having done a 10k for her first race ever. We met up with Carlos and went to get our shirts, unfortunately - they ran out. Oh well, you can't win them all.
Upcoming races: The Santa Run (Irvine) only the 5K, we did the 10K last year.
At Home Depot, we found a compressor with a brad nailer for $80 (retail over $200). I've always wanted a nail gun, I guess I've been watching too many home improvement shows.
So it's settled, we now have the right tools to make our fireplace mantel. We're in the pre-production stage, I will gladly document the process through pictures once we get started.
Tuesday night and partially on Wednesday - it rained. I'm not complaining, we need all the rain we can get out here and it helps to water our lawn and veggie garden. But since I was responsible for cooking the turkey at my in-laws place on Thursday. (If you need an easy, good turkey recipe - let me know, I'm a pro!) We decided to drive out to the desert on Wednesday night. We hit hard rain, ended up driving at 50 mph or slower in some areas. It took us about 2.5 hours to get there. Needless to say, we were exhausted.
Thursday (#2) morning we got up bright and early, prepared the two 10lbs butterballs (the best turkeys in town) and started on the sides. We were done cooking by noon. Ate no later than 2:30pm. I took a nap while the rest watched Tropic Thunder and we later played scrabble until the wee hours of the morning. I think we all agree, we really should get the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.
The next morning, we headed back early since we had signed-up to volunteer at the Mission Viejo Float -- for the Rose Parade in Pasadena. To Carlos' dismay, we didn't work directly on the floats, we were cutting down yellow mums that would be used on the float. But it was fun and I was thankful it was only a 2 hour commitment. Here are some snap shots!
Later that evening, we headed to my parents house for Thanksgiving (#3). I made some salmon with herbs (something a little different) with more mac n' cheese (but with whole wheat pasta -not as tasty) and more candied yams. My sister brought over the turkey with all the fixings. Again it was a feast for the eyes! There was so much good food. We managed to keep portions small because it was our third Thanksgiving and we surely don't want to end up on THE BIGGEST LOSER.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I started at 7am (before it got too hot) and wrapped up by 3:30pm. (Granted, I took a lunch break and hit up the nursery during that time). But it was all worth it.
Initially, my garden expansion project was put on hold because we really wanted to install some drain lines and sprinklers. But I just couldn't wait. So I started my morning, manually tilling the soil - dang that was a work out especially since I had some stubborn crab grass growing in and our dirt is more like a clay. Then I mixed in some good soil and kept tilling. (At end of day, I could barely hold my fork during dinner).
But I did plant some sweet new additions to the garden.
- red onion
- yellow onion
- red cabbage
- bronze leaf lettuce
- romaine lettuce
During Christmas break I'm going to build myself a cold frame (http://www.doityourself.com/stry/oldwindowuses). Cold frame offers a comfortable environment for less hardy plants through the colder months. So I'll be able to grow more plants from seed and not have to keep them on my kitchen counter, I can put them outside to maximize the natural sunlight!
I also came across this helpful website: http://www.thebayougardener.com/ he's also on you tube.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I also hate that it's a flip phone and when I connect it with my bluetooth - the volume gets super low. It's a bit annoying.......so before our big trip to Mexico I was set to buy the Blackberry Curve. When I went to the store I was told "you know if you hold out -- the Blackberry Bold is coming out, super fast, more options, better deal"
So I've been keeping an eye out -- AT&T store is a rip off (299) after a $100 mail-in-rebate. I found it on Amazon for (150) after a $100 mail-in-rebate but I come to find out.....it excludes family plans. BASTARDS -- it's for single plans and first time-buyers.
I'm really not sure what I'm going to do. With Thanksgiving around the corner, maybe there will be some "sales".
BTW -- Vicky is still on. Amy didn't vote her off last night. I wonder if she's super smart or super dumb? We'll see -- the groups are getting smaller (in size and numbers).
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Two weeks ago, she told Bob that she wasn't loosing as much as she needed too because her husband was keeping her from reaching her goals. What a nut.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Nov. 10: Honda has developed a robot that does the walking for you
Found this video, I understand the concept but it looks strange.
Oh those filipinos......
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Don't think she fed us "sandals" for dinner - the dish is call huaraches because they shape it like the sole of a traditional mexican sandal, very much like a gigantic sope. Typically it includes: fried beans, queso, chopped up meat, a green sauce, creama, some avocado if you'd like. It's heavenly - needless to say we ate a couple!
The next day - we were back at the Abuelita's house looking for our next adventure. Our Tia Rosa and cousins: Daniel & Caro took us to see the Guachimontones (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guachimontones). The only circular pyramids (in the world -- I believe). We also got to see a couple of high school kids dress up in traditional indigenous attire preparing to film themselves doing a traditional ritual of some sort. It was hard not to stare, they looked odd - the guys had their tidy whities on under the loin clothes and scribbles on their arms with black eyeliner. Definitely a sight to see.
The very next day - we headed to "el centro" (aka downtown Guadalajara) so that Chuck could see some historical sites. Thankfully, my Abuelita lives pretty close and the bus ride was quick. But we managed to get serenaded by a blind man with a tape recorder and microphone. He sang like no one's business, it was a good time. In the Centro, we went to a couple museums, ate some tortas ahogadas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torta_ahogada) and enjoyed the other sites. We stopped in to visit with two of dad's Tias. It was nice seeing them again - 10 years makes a big difference, they were smaller and more frail but sweet and kind as always!
That very night we got invited to see LUCHA LIBRE. I was hoping for some midget action but they only had "full-size" wrestlers (remember, a good majority of men in mexico are smaller than me). We went on "college night" so there was a lot of raving and ranting between groups - lots of inappropriate comments flying around -- so I felt right at home :D (i.e. when any girl would stand up to go to the ladies room, the guys would yell: vuelta, vuelta [turn, turn] if she obided they would cheer and say something else, if she didn't they'd boo and move on to the next victim). Chuck took 4 pictures before his camera got confiscated (and returned after the event). You should have seen his face!
The next days we hit up more tourists sites like Tonala (where you buy all artisan crafts and where I got my molcajete [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molcajete]), visited more uncles Tio Cesar & Jose Luis (+ family). Hung out with Tia Ofelia at her house where we feasted on carne en su jugo and frijoles de la hoya. On our last day - our Tia Bertha (+ family) took us to las Fiestas de Octubre (big fair) and we got to see female impersonators of famous mexican stars. They were pretty good, i was very impressed with the moves, make-up, costumes, mannerisms, overall performance.
We got back and dialed into reality - work in a couple of days, tons of laundry, lots of mail to sort, grocery shopping to do, and the need to spend time with our hairy children. I enjoyed this trip tremendously and look forward to visiting with family again (very soon!)
There's too many pictures to post on the blog - check out my flickr page. If you need access just let me know!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
October was a hectic month - we started off the month in Atlanta for 5 days, then mid month headed to Guadalajara (Leon, Lagos de Moreno, Guanaguato) for 2 weeks.
It was an exciting trip, we reconnected with lots of family, met new extended family members, visited some tourist sights, ate like hogs, and enjoyed our time off.
Where do I begin..............
Thursday (10/16) we rushed home, picked up the dogs and drove to my parents house. We got a ride to the airport and caught the red eye into Guadalajara. We flew Mexicana (which apparently is the way to fly - they still feed you [regardless of time] but the seats are smaller and I did feel more cramped). Chuck slept most of the way, I couldn't since I was in the middle and the guy by the window didn't seemed to mind. He slept as if he were home, he was farting the whole flight too -- which sucked for me (felt like HELL for those 2 hours 45 minutes)
We arrived in Guadalajara at 5:30 am and found ourselves in the LONGEST line for customs. Apparently 5 planes landed at once, and with little order there were 3 to 4 entrances for the "visitor" line. Can you imagine! We also had 1 customs agent reviewing all the documents -- yes only 1 person. After an 1 hour & 1/2 we finally free to pick up our luggage.
For the following days, we took it easy - stayed with Tios Estrada in their gigantic house. Befriended - Lucas (their cockerspaniel) and hung out with my mom's side of the family. We also got to visit with tios Toño & Marcela. The cousins have gotten so big, I felt small around them.
Tuesday we took a bus to Lagos de Moreno to visit Chuck's side of the family. Can I just say that Mexico has made travel from city to city so much easier by having these wonderful bus lines. Some are more luxurious than others but at the end of day - you get to where you need to get without worrying about directions, gas, tolls, cops with large machine guns, etc..... I was very impressed, in less than 3 hours we were at our destination! We hung out with the Tios and visited the cousins (their kids) and finally saw Abuelito Chema - he turns 96 in a couple of days.
We then headed to Leon - where we feasted on delicious tacos, saw more roaches than you can possibly imagine, got bit by some more mosquito's, and hit up our first BANDA BAR. You heard right, we arrived "LA YUNTA" around midnight (Chuck's cousin gets VIP treatment, they even reserved a table for us). It's a big venue with a large stage (to accommodate the 20+ members in bandas) and the audiance sits in tables/stools - pretty much like sardines. There's no dance floor, but all manage to dance in the tiny areas available. This isn't the band we saw but you get the picture: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcTVhZg9f7M
We were there til close - got home and headed to Chuck's 3rd Tia. It was a rushed visit but we got to spend some quality time. It was nice to put a face to the name and really connect with all of them. Felt very welcomed and happy to be there!
Monday, October 13, 2008
We also did Sunday Brunch with (Kat/Danny, Trina/Chris) in Brea's Cheesecake Factory. If you get a chance to go -- you need to try (definitely share it) ..........
MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH
Dusted with Powdered Sugar and Served with Strawberry Preserves and Potatoes
Breakfast Style: Crunchy French Toast, Bacon, Grilled Ham, Scrambled Eggs and Melted Swiss Cheese
Let's just say it was an indulgence, there's nothing healthy about it but it's tasty! And I'm all about enjoying your food. Thankful Chris ordered it and that's how I got to try it. DELISH. I stuck with a Kobe beef burger, that was good too.
The following night, we had the opportunity to spend some quality time with our friends (Marisa/Tito, Ivan, Jorge/Mel, Oscar/Eileen + Diego). The Cerna's were in town visiting and showing Diego the sights at Disneyland, so it worked out. Diego's gotten so big. I forgot his beanie at home so it's in the mail :D
We just got back from NSHMBA's National Conference held in Atlanta. We were there 5 days- the time change almost killed me. It's not so good waking up at 6am EST - really being 3am PST for 5 days. It was taxing and tiresome but we made some really good connections, it was nice to see good friends, and pick up lots of free swag. You see - the national conf. has a career expo (this year over 300 companies/schools presented). To attract potential talent to their companies, they tend to bring all kinds of things - I stocked up on ..... over the counter meds/consumer products (aspirin, alka seltzer, vitamins, m&m's, granola bars, fruit roll-ups, chips, etc.) and others were giving away reusable bags, pens, notepads, other office supplies, etc. I had to restrain myself since I had limited space in my luggage, Carlos on the other hand went a little hog wild. Luckily - the extra bags were used as emergency carry-on. The person checking us in - allowed us to empty out suit cases before he checked them in otherwise we'd be paying $90 charge per bag (that's Delta's policy)
We got to see some sights: Coca-Cola Museum, Aquarium, CNN Headquarters (tallest free-standing escalator .... takes almost 3 minutes to get up .... a little freaky), Sundial at the Westin (bar on the 72 floor....made my heart skip a beat but I got up there okay), Paschal's - Southern Cuisine Restaurant (Delish, apparently MLK use to eat there), and some bars. Overall it was a great time, I would go back!
Will post pictures shortly!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I'm slowly but surely making a come back.
I've also started to conceptualize some more dog coats and started knitting some more beanies. My garden is doing well. We realized that in order to expand it, we probably needed to add some drainage lines - requires time, hard work, and money.
We'll definitely get to that -- I think after our travels in November D:
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
After the meeting, we got home just in time to get ready for our friend Marc & Joo's wedding. After dating for 5 years, they are official. It was a backyard wedding, very intimate. We had a great time.
Sunday, we started off the morning kind of slow but eventually ramped up by mid-afternoon. We devoted time to the Garden Expansion Project - I guess this was phase II (check out the slide show). Using his brutal strength, Chuck was able to dig out the grapefruit tree and stump. This means we're ready to measure and order more high quality, grade A "planters mix" for the garden. I always wondered where people got the mounds of dirt from, apparently if you call any gravel/rock mining company and they will sell dirt in addition to pavers, sand, sand bags, regular dirt, etc. We're probably going to go with Planters Mix since it's 50% sand, 50% compost -- should be good for my garden!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
So I change out of my work clothes and head back outside when I notice that Ripi's dewclaw on her right paw isn't looking too good. My only explanation is that she may have gotten it stuck on something. The nail was hanging on for dear life, there was some blood (so that made me weak). I pulled myself together and upon closer inspection, realized the dewclaw was obviously broken. The nail broke at the base and was still very much attached, it also bent to the left. Believe, you , me - I a little freaked out. Carlos eventually got home, he saw it, and we decided to take her to the groomer or vet the next morning. All the while, Ripi is prancing around like nothings wrong and periodically stopping to lick her wound. I of course call my parents for some sound advice, like any good Mexican mother - my mom recommended that I put savila (aloe) on the wound to promote healing (because it really does work). So later that night, while she's hanging out in the living room I tackle her and try to apply the slippy, bitter, goo to her paw. As soon as I put it on her, she started to lick it off (so much for that)!
Torn off dewclaw
Ripi's good paw
The piece of dewclaw that Ripi chewed off!
The next morning, she was walking around on the patio and all of a sudden started to chew on something -- I walked over to her and realized, it was the broken dewclaw. Oh that resourceful Ripi.
**FYI - Dewclaw definition: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dewclaw
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I DVR'd the episode but had to fast forward -- when they spend 30 minutes videotaping (inactive) people struggle (since they've never moved that way before in their life) and (some) complain about doing a hike on a hill in 110 degree weather, I couldn't take it. I had to fast-forward.
Shockingly: after a week (of eating right and extreme workouts), some of them lost up to 25 lbs. I can't manage what they were doing to their bodies on a regular basis so that working out and eating the right portions made them lose that much weight. I'm at a loss for words. I really doubt it's a healthy way to diet.
But hey at least this time, I got fired up and motivated. I did some bicep curls and other arm exercises as I watched them struggle.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
He's calling this: The 1st Phase of the garden expansion project.
My pals (Trina, Chris, Danny, Kat, Jean & Christopher) surprised me with a gift card to HOME DEPOT, a sweet veggie/herb organic reference guide, and some new pots and plants. Without hesitation - we decided to start our task.
Task 1: Get rid of the brick & concrete boarder
Rented a sweet electric jack hammer from Home Depot.
Cleared out the brick & concrete in about an hour.
Put up a temporary new fencing area to keep the dogs out of the trench.
Now we have to clear the grape fruit tree, remove the stump, level out the yard and start to transplant and plant some more.
I'm excited - this is PROGRESS!