Thursday, July 31, 2008

Like a 90s Supermodel

Jack is a cute little dog. And he knows he's darn cute too. Whenever we spend too much time (read: more than 5 minutes) doing things other than lavishing attention on him, he starts making all sorts of expressions and gets into poses that just make us stop in our tracks and go "Awww." Yet when the camera comes out to capture his cuteness he scampers off. But inspired by the 90s supermodel who stated she wouldn't wake up for less than $10,000 a day, I was able to take these photos by letting Jack linger in our bed longer than he normally gets to. He might have even had the chance to nibble on a biscuit while there. He likes thinking it's his deluxe doggie bed.

His profile shot.

His mug shot. See his underbite peeking out? That's the reason why he was the last one left in his litter. :-(

Sleepy puggle. Much like his pet parents, he's not an early riser.

Mopey puggle. He knows when I'm getting ready to leave for the day.

Jack wouldn't know what to do with $10K other than shred it to bits, so instead of money he got "paid" for his photo session with an off leash romp outside. The beagle in him loves running through fields and picking up scents in the grass. I love seeing him get this goofy, happy expression on his face. His tail was wagging so much it was a blur!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"If we're both dead, save yourself."

On Monday I left work a bit early to head here:

I had signed up to do a helicopter patrol ride-along. I've done several ride-alongs with a local police department, but this was the first opportunity I've had in six years to go up in the air with the aviation deputies. I'm generally pretty terrified of the thought of being in a helicopter or any small aircraft, but I sucked it all up to ride in what's known as "40-King". 40-King is the generic term used to refer to all types of law enforcement helicopters, but the particular aircraft I rode in looked similar to the one below. One of these babies costs roughly $12 million.

My ride-along began with attending the daily deputy briefing. It was very boring. After the boring briefing came my safety briefing, which sent me into a renewed sense of fear and terror. During the safety briefing I learned that:

  1. That my Maverick & Goose had never been in a crash. They only had close calls! (gulp)
  2. That if a major emergency came up they would have to land wherever we were at and I would have to disembark and wait for a patrol car pickup. Um, I live in a county that has a lot of 'hood-ish areas; standing around in the middle of the 'hood at dusk kind of worried me.
  3. That if we did go down I shouldn't exit at all until the propellers had stopped moving, lest I be shredded into bits.
  4. That the fire extinguisher was to be used on people who may be on fire, not the helicopter itself.
  5. Goose's closing words: "If me and Maverick are laying there and look dead to you, just save yourself."

Shortly after those parting words, I was loaded into the passenger area and we lifted off. In the pocket on the seatback in front of me were several tiny manila envelopes with white trash bags neatly folded inside of them. The envelopes had the stamp below:

I thought it was a nice touch to reassure passengers that they shouldn't be embarrassed to puke.

I managed to last the 90 minute duration of their patrol pattern without freaking out or getting sick. It was really neat to find out how much detail you can really see from 600-800 feet in the air. The nosy part of me also loved seeing the huge beautiful homes and their fabulous backyards in the non-'hoodish parts of the county. Unfortunately, all the deadbeats and tweakers were on their best behavior Monday night; there wasn't a single call that we needed to respond to. Instead I just sat back and enjoyed the scenery, including my residence:

Here's a "Where's Waldo?" challenge for you if you're bored. Find Eddie in the picture above! He had just made it home in time to see 40-King circling around. I was apparently too busy taking this picture to see him wildly waving his arms around trying to get our attention. Since Maverick & Goose didn't notice him either, I guess he wasn't acting crazy enough to attract police attention (difficult to believe, I know).

Overall, I had a good time. Maverick & Goose were very friendly and professional and invited to come back anytime. I wouldn't rule out doing another 40-King ride-along, but next time it would be cool to do one at night. I bet I'd look hot in night vision goggles. ;-)

Weekend Wrap-up

I can't believe it's already Wednesday and I'm just catching up on the weekend's activities! What can I say? It's been a busy week.

I started off Saturday morning by visiting my aesthetician Marina at Faces Salon. It took me two years and a few painful experiences before I found her three years ago, but ever since my first visit I've been a loyal client. It's a bit of a trek for me, so I usually try to make a day of it when I head out there. Often I end up shopping at The Grove, but this past Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting up with Weezermonkey, Insomniac and CBB for brunch at BLD. I ordered brioche french toast with creme fraiche and a berry compote. Look at the adorable log cabin inspired tin my syrup came in:

Yes, that tasted as good as it looked. I had also ordered a side of chicken merguez sausage. As Weezermonkey noted, it was tasty but a bit dry and crumbly. Since I had never had merguez sausage before I wondered if that texture was the norm. Nothing I subsequently read mentioned dryness, but almost everything I read mentioned that merguez is traditionally made from either beef or lamb. I'm thinking that chicken, while healthier, didn't provide enough fat to properly bind the sausage.

Brunch was so much fun. My cheeks were tired from all the laughter. And as if my immediate company weren't enough, I had my first celebrity sighting after six years of living in SoCal! Oscar winner Forest Whitaker was seated at a table nearby.

On the way home I snapped this picture of the Mel's Drive-In on Highland Avenue. Can you read that line of script underneath the Mel's logo? It says "celebrity bar". Although it's likely outdated (when was the last time you heard of a Lohan sighting at Mel's?), I thought it was a cute nod to that particular diner's location since I've never seen that designation on any other Mel's Drive-In.

Later the same evening Eddie and I headed out to OC to visit our friends and their baby boy. Is this a glimpse of the future?!

Sunday was quite the lazy day. I stayed in pajamas until about 5 o'clock. There isn't a new recipe to post for this week because Eddie and I went to the IMAX theater to watch this:

I don't want to spoil the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, so all I'll say is that it was freakin' AWESOME. I usually get antsy during long movies, but the 2-1/2 hours flew by. I didn't want it to end. I never say that about action movies, but then again I think The Dark Knight is so much more than an action movie. The characters were so complex and the story delved into themes of good, evil, hope, mistrust and what it means to be a hero. Heath Ledger was phenomenal as the most twisted and disturbing Joker I have ever seen. I couldn't believe it was the same guy who was in 10 Things I Hate About You. It is such a shame that he left us so young, with so much talent he had yet to share.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I'd Like to Thank the Academy ...

... or rather, FogCityDweller! She passed on the Brillante Weblog Award to me.

There are some rules I'm supposed to follow regarding passing it on to others, but I don't always like to do what I'm supposed to do. Why do you think this blog is titled Law & Disorder? I would, however, like to mention seven bloggers that make me laugh and never fail to inspire me in some way:

FogCityDweller: my dear friend's adventures in dating and stitching.

More Fun than a Barrel: food, fun, entertainment and so much more.

My Super Sweet Fashion Diary: thoughts on style, friends, family and life.

Wan Life to Live: the type of cool mom I hope to be someday.

Jennsylvania: my coping mechanism for the time periods in between her book releases.

High Heel Confidential: keeping up with the Bollywood glitterati (and their glittery clothing).

HERstory: the blog of my oldest childhood friend who I lost touch with over the years, but 'found' again online.

Edited to add: If I have mentioned you on this list, please don't feel obligated to pass it on, participate, etc. I don't think bad luck will befall you if you don't. It better not, since I didn't follow the chain-y rules myself! I just wanted to let my favorite bloggers know that they're my favorites. :-)

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Dog Days of Summer

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get three dogs to stay still long enough for a decent picture? The result of my attempt to do so is the not-so-great picture above. The brown and white blob on the left is Bailey, a terrier mix. The tan blob in the middle is Jack. The white puff on the right is Mimi, a maltese. Jack is the oldest one of the bunch by a few months, but they have all known each other and played together since they were puppies. The three of them are doggie BFFs. As much as Jack loves to play with all dogs, he goes absolutely nuts when he sees Bailey and Mimi. The feeling is apparently mutual. The last few weeks Mimi has started barking the second she gets to the grassy area directly in front of our windows. Her bark always summons Jack to the window. Upon visual confirmation that it is indeed her, Jack starts to howl, whimper and bark until we open the door. After saying (or sniffing) their greetings, they both run up to Bailey’s door, which he is usually scratching at by this point. And once all three of them are outside they run, chase, and wrestle to their heart’s content.

With our dogs being BFFs, it was inevitable that we would also become friends with the other pet parents. Bailey’s mom, B, lives in the unit below us. H&S, Mimi’s parents, live just two doors down. While the dogs are frolicking we all hang out on the stairs and gab about work, life, other neighbors and of course the dogs. With the weather being as nice as it has been lately, this is becoming almost a nightly routine for all of us. More often than not, KB Squared, a couple that lives in the building across from ours also come down to hang out with us. They don’t even have a dog. That’s how much fun we are.

This night was especially nice. Eddie and I were having a late dinner when Mimi barked out her orders to come play, which meant that Jack had to wait until we were finished eating. This took unacceptably long to the dogs, because Mimi and Bailey were waiting for Jack on our doormat when we opened the door. Since they were already up at our place, we provided Round 1 of the night’s doggie treats. The dogs got very spoiled because H&S provided another round of doggie treats a little while later. At this point B decided that the adults needed a treat as well and popped into her place for a few minutes. She emerged with glasses and a bottle of champagne. So there we were sitting on the stairs (well, at least the girls; we make the boys sit on the walkway). Seven people who likely would not have become friends but for our dogs, sipping champagne on a Wednesday night while the doggies played. I love these lazy summer nights.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Not Quite a Frenemy

Today I found out that a co-worker who I had once considered a close enough friend to be invited to our wedding didn’t invite us to his annual birthday bash that was held this past weekend. And judging by the look that crossed my friend’s face after she mentioned the party in conversation this morning, after realizing that I had previously known nothing about it, I think it was an intentional snub, not a mere oversight.

Even though I’ve seen this moment coming for the last eighteen months or so, I have to admit that it still stung for a moment. But then I realized that all the reasons why I saw this coming were the same reasons why I shouldn’t waste too much time mourning the loss of this particular relationship. True friends are the ones that are there for you when you’re going through a tough time. They back you up and set the record straight when other people gossip and spread lies about you. True friends try to make a difficult situation better for you rather than stir the pot for their own amusement. This guy did none of the above when the moment called for it. Instead he said that he was “going to stay neutral.”

According to Merriam-Webster:
Main Entry:
1: not engaged on either side

In this guy’s world however, neutral apparently meant developing a deeper friendship with the Lying Gossiper and abandoning our friendship entirely. His version of staying neutral apparently also includes perpetuating the myth that Lying Gossiper and I can’t ever be in the presence of each other without some sort of Armageddon occurring. This is the perhaps the part I find most offensive.

I am an adult. I am a professional. I am polite. In other words, I am capable of handling myself in a social situation where I may encounter someone I don’t particularly like. The fact that this co-worker doesn’t seem to think so and continues to fuel a battle long forgotten (on my part at least), that didn’t even involve him directly, speaks many more volumes about his lack of maturity, not mine.

I have made some good friends through working at The Agency. But experiences like this one make me want to re-examine some of those bonds. The co-worker in question didn’t invite me to his party (which I realize is his prerogative), but other mutual friends kept completely silent about it even in discussions about weekend plans. I hate to think that I need to detach from certain people, but what else can you do when a friend turns out not to be one after all?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

New Recipe Sunday #3

Scallops Provencal

I found this recipe via
Sing for your Supper blog, but the original source is Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris cookbook.

You will need:
  • 1 pound bay or sea scallops
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • flour, for dredging
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, cut in half

    1. If you are using bay scallops, keep them whole. If you are using sea scallops, cut them in half horizontally. Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper and toss with flour. Shake of the excess flour.

    2. In a large saute pan, heat 2 Tbsp. of the butter over high heat until sizzling. Add the scallops to the pan in a single layer. Lower the heat to medium and allow the scallops to brown lightly on one side without moving them (a light sear). This usually takes approximately 2 minutes. Then turn the scallops and brown lightly on the other side, another 1-2 minutes.

    3. Melt the remaining butter in the pan with the scallops. Add the parsley, garlic and shallots. Saute for 2 more minutes, gently tossing the seasonings with the scallops. Add the wine and cook for 1-2 minutes.

    4. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon.

Cooking Notes: (a) If you have access to fresh scallops, use them. I didn't, so I used frozen wild Japanese scallops from Trader Joe's. Despite ScallopGate on this past season of Top Chef, frozen scallops won't destroy a meal as long as they are completely thawed, drained and patted dry. Even if you use fresh scallops, pat them dry before tossing with the flour. (b) I used about 1/4 cup flour to adequately cover 1 pound of scallops. (c) When it comes to using wine in cooking, I use whatever I would drink myself. If it's not good in a glass, it's not good in a pan. Tonight I happened to have an already-opened bottle of Kono Sauvignon Blanc in the refrigerator and used that for both the dish and my beverage.

I served this with a Demi Pain Rustique from Trader Joe's. It's a warm, crusty bread that is great to sop up all the tasty, buttery sauce.

Eddie's Rating: "It was alright."


Saturday, July 19, 2008

You Can Take a Girl Out of the City ...

... but you can't take the city out of a girl. That is the reason why I headed westward to civilization (Pasadena) today, while Eddie delved deeper into BFE territory (Hemet). Some couples need to spend all their free time together. We are not one of those couples. It works out well. Plus I really enjoy my little day trips outside of the Inland Empire. And when I'm happy, Eddie's happy. It's a win-win situation.

I started off my day (sans camera - booo!) at Dashing Diva nail salon. I knew that I was one of the first appointments of the morning, but damn it was quiet when I walked in. It felt a bit unnerving. The receptionist didn't help matters; she was not at all friendly or welcoming. Why do people like that end up in hospitality oriented positions? Things rapidly improved however, when my technician showed me to my seat. I was escorted into the VIP area! I don't know how or why that happened, but I felt quite spoiled as I gazed out upon the masses from my comfortable chair behind the fringed curtain. I got to enjoy the privacy of the back area, as well as my own tv, for the duration of my mani/pedi. What I didn't enjoy though were the strange co-irker dynamics going on between the lovely ladies attending to me and the aforementioned unfriendly receptionist. They clearly had some sort of issues going on based upon the dirty looks the receptionist gave to the technicians and the resulting rapid fire conversation between the two technicians in their native language. Some things need no translation though, such as the look that one of the technicians gave me that clearly said, "Receptionist Girl is a beeyotch." I nodded my head sympathetically.

After leaving the nail salon, I headed over to Salon Sessions for a much needed trim. Eddie always teases me that the only reason I go to there is because of the number of times either the salon or its owner has popped up on shows we watch such as America's Next Top Model, Shear Genius and Flavor of Love Girls' Charm School. What he always seems to forget is that I had been going to the salon since it first opened, before it appeared on any of those shows. I had followed my stylist Ruth to the salon after she left her previous employer. Seeing Ruth now requires an extra 30 minutes of driving and 30 extra dollars, but she is well worth every penny. I trust her skill so much that earlier this year I sat down in her chair and told her to do whatever she wanted with regard to cut and color. The result was a haircut and style that received far more compliments that anything I had asked for in the past. I loved it so much that I've maintained the cut ever since. There are supposed to be a lot of layers and texture, but my hair had grown out so much that the style was looking pretty muddled. Forty minutes later however, I had my style back. yay!

All that pampering made me hungry (it's so hard being waited on hand and foot), so I headed over to The Crepevine Bistro. I had walked by this place for years, but never went in and actually tried it until I read Weezermonkey's review of the place. Last time I ordered the duck confit crepe. I ate every single bite and washed it down with an excellent glass of albarino. This time I ordered a steak and cheese crepe, which is technically not on the crepe menu. It was on the flatbread menu, but the server said they could easily make it as a crepe instead. I ate every single bite and washed it down with a delicious pomegranate champagne cocktail. I've never been able to leave enough room for a sweet crepe at The Crepevine yet, but I always leave with a happy tummy (and slightly buzzed).

While I was at The Crepevine, I surreptitiously observed the family seated practically right in front of me. Their dynamics and conversation entertained me while I ate. I know it's considered "bad" to eavesdrop, but sometimes it's inevitable in such close quarters. The group consisted of an engaged couple, the fiancee's mom and the fiancee's grandparents. Amusing Item #1: When the fiance gave his fiancee a bit of crap about the Nutella and banana crepe she had just scarfed down as she is supposedly on a diet, fiancee responded with, "But it's all fat free. Nutella is made from cocoa and cocoa doesn't have any fat." Umm, according to the Nutella jar in my cabinet, one serving of just Nutella has 190 calories, 100 of which are fat calories. There's apparently more than just cocoa in the jar. There's also apparently a reason why this woman's diet isn't working as well as she'd like. And aside from all that, I was amazed that the woman didn't slap her fiance upside the head for his comment. She was very calm about it. I guess it happens often? All I know is that a comment like that would so not fly in our household. Amusing Item #2: When their bill arrived, the fiance immediately started crowing about how his item didn't cost very much and he was only going to put in X amount. (cue visions of many MM debates) That was followed up by much confusion about how much his future in-laws each owed. Then his fiancee started harping about other money he owed her from the day prior. Now I know everyone handles their money in whatever ways that work for them and that it's not uncommon for there to be much confusion about bill splitting, but I have never seen it happen among such immediate family members. I could never imagine quibbling with my parents, grandparents or in-laws about whether they owed another $2. If there's ever any argument over the restaurant bill when we dine with family, the disagreement is about who gets to pick up the entire check. Not about who ordered the iced tea when everyone else ordered water. It was odd, yet entertaining to me. I felt kind of bad for the grandparents though. They seemed like such a sweet old couple; I couldn't believe that neither their child nor their grandchild wanted to treat them. I hope my future kids love me enough to buy me a crepe in my old age.

In order to let my buzz wear off a bit before driving home, I started browsing the usual shops on Colorado Blvd. Then I headed up to Union St. to Clothes Heaven, which is a resale boutique that had been mentioned in one of Diabolina's blogposts. I wasn't expecting to find or buy anything; I just wanted to check it out. Famous last words. The salesladies were incredibly friendly and helpful. Too helpful. Once they saw the first dress in my hands they pointed out all the similar styles they had available as well as other pieces from the same consignor. I walked out with a never-worn, tags attached Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress. Original price = $285. I bought it for $139. Score! I've done a lot of shopping this week; there will be a post shortly with pictures of every bullet that has hit my wallet the past three days.

So how on earth can one top a day of pampering, eating and shopping? With a cupcake of course! My last stop before heading home was Dots, to pick up a couple Hostess and Red Velvet cupcakes. I also picked up a mini Strawberry cupcake to tide me over during the drive and prevent any temptation to tear the box open while on the 210. The cupcakes made it home safely, as did I.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Recipe Sunday #2

This is nothing new. Nor is this a recipe. This is, however, the answer to "what's for dinner?" after a long day of housecleaning. Cleaning makes me cranky. Very cranky. So cranky that the second I was done with it I poured myself a (very)generous glass of wine while I put my feet up for a bit. The wine went to my head rather quickly; chopping anything would have been a dangerous endeavor. Everyone needs a quick, go-to meal in situations like these. Chicken soft tacos were the answer on Sunday night.
The best thing about making tacos is that there is so much room for personal expression. Maybe that's overstating it. But as long as it tastes good, you can pretty much do whatever you want in terms of fillings and condiments. Eddie and I are pretty basic. We just need some meat, cheese, guacamole and a good sauce or salsa. Of course using freshly made items would be preferable, but since we had so many taco-worthy items on hand in our cabinets I totally went the lazy route. I'm blaming the wine.
You will need:
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 packet Lawry's hot taco seasoning
  • shredded cheese
  • guacamole
  • jalapeno hot sauce
  • tomatillo salsa
  • sliced jalapenos
  • tortillas
  1. Prepare the chicken according to the directions on the seasoning packet. Set aside.
  2. Warm tortillas.
  3. Spoon chicken into the tortillas. Add toppings and condiments to your liking.

These tacos paired well with Novella's Synergy Blanc wine. It's a blend of chardonnay, pinot gris, sauvignon blanc and a bit of muscat canelli. It's available at Trader Joe's for about $5. It was also quite nice to drink on its own.

Cooking Notes: (a) I tried to make things a little healthier by using ground chicken instead of beef, low carb tortillas and light cheese. In the future I'd opt for regular cheese instead. (b) Eddie and I like spicy foods, hence the hot seasoning, sliced jalapenos and two spicy salsas. You can always adjust the heat level to your liking. (c) Trader Joe's makes a pretty decent pre-made guacamole. (d) Have napkins on hand (or a dog underfoot) for the inevitable spillage while eating.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Law & Disorder: The 90210 Edition

I was a huge fan of Beverly Hills 90210 when it first began airing. The characters were sophomores in high school, as was I at the time. As the years passed by many of my young adult milestones such as getting a driver's license, taking the SAT, going to prom and graduation were played out in a glamorous and idealized fashion on my tv screen, oftentimes just days or weeks before they happened in real life.

Recently, I've become addicted to the show's reruns on the SoapNet cable channel. My fascination started up again while the network was reairing the college years. Watching those episodes brought back so many memories ......... of my closet!

Floral print dresses and skirts? check
Baggy jeans worn w/ a bodysuit? check
Plaid shirts? check
Clunky mary jane shoes? check
Faux Doc Martens? check
Black velvet chokers? check
Dark brown lipstick (btw MAC ruled this dept.)? check

I swear there was one episode I recently watched where Kelly Taylor was wearing the exact same skirt I once had. I couldn't decide if that was a good or bad thing. :-/

I continued to watch the show faithfully until the post-college years. As ridiculous as the storylines were before college graduation, the show started its freefall into cancellation territory when Noah Hunter, boatman revealed to be billionaire, became a regular character. That was roughly at the same time that Kelly Taylor suffered from amnesia as the result of a drive-by shooting, David Silver became a musician, Donna Martin got a job in fashion design within the blink of an eye, Steve Sanders started a newspaper and Brandon Walsh became even more self-righteous than previously thought possible. See? Way too over the top. I know that Valerie Malone is missing from that recital of characters, but she was merely just carrying on in her skanky scandulous ways. Nothing new to report there.

A few weeks ago, the reruns moved into Season 8, the first post-college season. Like the first time around I began to lose interest. But as I was scrolling through upcoming episode descriptions on the DVR, something caught my eye. There is an episode titled "Law and Disorder"!

The primary storyline in this episode is Valerie's accusation of date rape against Noah. The DA refused to file criminal charges, so Valerie has brought a civil suit against Noah. wtf? it has been merely a week since the incident. A WEEK! there is no way in hell ANY trial starts up that quickly after an incident. and certainly not a civil trial. legal ridiculousness. The episode opens up with her testifying about being "roofed". what ever happened to roofies? you just don't hear about them the way you used to in the 90s. is ghb the date rape drug of choice these days? As she testifies, the rest of the gang roll their eyes in skepticism. As the trial progresses, defense counsel asks all sorts of objectionable questions concerning Valerie's past. Of course, her attorney never objects. Not that it really would have made a difference as the judge is totally weak and lets both lawyers get away with tons of inappropriate courtroom behavior. more legal ridiculousness. if i can't get away with that shit then neither should the actors playing lawyers. Defense counsel also calls Brandon, Kelly, Steve and Valerie's boyfriend David to the stand as character witnesses for Noah. having her boyfriend subpoenaed was fucked up yet brilliant at the same time. All of their glowing testimony is overshadowed by some damning words from Noah's own brother. The testimony from Noah's brother establishes that Noah was last seen heading to the Peach Pit After Dark's backroom with a drunken Valerie after Noah had served and handled her glass of wine.

Meanwhile, the secondary storyline revolves around SweetVirginDonna's transformation into DruggieDonna. Within a week of hurting her back in a car accident, Donna has blown through an entire bottle of Vicodin and is strung out in a major way. She tries to bum more drugs from Noah's brother. When he says "no", she attempts to get a refill at the pharmacy. The pharmacist actually does his job and won't give her a refill, stating that a new prescription would be needed. She pleads with him to no avail. It's all very Neely-esque from Valley of the Dolls. On a mission for pills, DruggieDonna heads to the clinic where her dad, Dr. Martin, works. She almost gets caught breaking into the medicine cabinet, but instead manages to charm her dad into prescribing a few additional pills. She quickly downs 4 pills at one time as opposed to the 4 pills per day as she had been instructed. Obviously she runs out of pills again, can't function while at her job and ends up stealing her co-worker's designs, submitting them as her own original fashions. BadDruggieDonna!

There is a third storyline involving David, the band he was playing keyboards for, a smarmy record producer and David's promotion from keyboardist to frontman. I had to fast forward through these scenes. They made my ears hurt.

Back at the courthouse, the jury has deliberated and is ready to announce its verdict. the jury is dressed WAY too nice. i have never seen a male juror in my county wear a collared shirt, tie and blazer. ever. is this how jurors roll in la county? we're happy if they are just wearing something clean without cuss words. The jury finds in favor of Valerie! Following her victory she utters the memorable line, "One minute I'm a slut, the next I'm Joan of Arc."

While everyone else is at the courthouse, DruggieDonna heads to Noah's boat and franctically searches through his brother's belongings for painkillers. She finds the painkillers. And then she finds a package of roofies! Josh walks in, followed shortly by Noah and the truth comes out: Josh had planted the drugs in Valerie's drink intending to date rape her, but Noah intervened instead when she began to feel poorly and ended up reaping the "benefits".

The episode wraps up with Noah heading over to the Walsh home to tell Valerie and the rest of the gang what really happened. It appears that no one really cares based on the lack of reaction. Noah then heads over to Donna's place. When there is no answer at her door he looks in through the window and sees her lying motionless on the floor with an empty bottle of pills and a glass of wine on the counter. Vicodin and alcohol is no joke.

So that's the 90210 version of Law & Disorder. I deleted the episode as soon as I finished watching. Season 8 really is as bad as I recalled it to be and this episode, despite the awesome title, did not persuade me otherwise. And it's only downhill from here to the end. I think I'll just wait until they get back to seasons 1 through 7. I don't think I'll be watching the show's reincarnation this fall either. Some things are just best left in their original form.

Monday, July 7, 2008

How to Keep Your Job

There's been some drama(!) at the Agency lately. So for all those out there about to start a new job with a probationary period of any length, here are some friendly tips for how to stay employed.
  1. Arrive at the office reasonably close to your starting time.
  2. If you say that you are out of the office at another location, actually be at that other location.
  3. Leave the office reasonably close to quitting time.
  4. Don't take a 3 hour lunch, especially when you arrive late and leave early.
  5. Don't "work from home" without permission.
  6. Don't throw temper tantrums.

And finally, for the men, control your spontaneous erections. Seek medical help, psychological help, tight compression shorts or whatever else it takes not to freak people out. One time may be excusable, but more than that and you might just be a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen. No one likes taking on that type of liability (or seeing the tents that you are pitching).

No Recipe Sunday

No, I didn't abandon my pledge to cook a new recipe each Sunday after a mere week. We left SF much later than we anticpated on Sunday and were nowhere near home by dinnertime. Instead we (including Jack) ate here:

It's almost homemade, right?

Nopa? No Problem.

Friday the 4th of July was a long and painful day. Since I am not DIY-inclined whatsoever, pretty much everyone knew that Eddie would be doing the bulk of the work on the deck, but I still tried to help him out. But after helping to sand nearly half the deck and helping out with some of the painting, I was done. Kaput. Finished. My arm couldn't take it anymore. While Eddie continued on his quest for painting perfection I tried to not scream from the pain that radiated from my shoulder to my fingertips. No matter what I did or how I positioned myself it would not stop hurting. I even resorted to using Tiger Balm, which prompted Eddie to ask before we went to bed, "What is that smell?" Sexy, huh?

Much to my relief, I was a bit better by Saturday. I was still popping Tylenol every four hours on the dot, but I was feeling okay enough to head out for something I had been looking forward to for weeks: dinner with my closest friends FogCityDweller and Claire at:

"NoPA" is local shorthand for the area of the city that lies north of the panhandle of Golden Gate Park. The restaurant Nopa is located at the intersection Divisadero and Hayes Streets. When my parents and brother first moved to the U.S., they lived in an apartment building just a few blocks away from this location. Back in those days, the neighborhood was cheap, somewhat dangerous and pretty undesirable. Now, however, the area has transformed itself into an up-and-coming hip little neighborhood.

Nopa has an extensive cocktail and wine list, but green drinks were all the rage on Saturday night. The colors are a bit muted in this picture, but my Old Cuban (rum, mint, sugar, lime juice and cava) on the left was nearly flourescent green, while FogCity Dweller's Elderflower Gimlet (vodka, lime juice and elderflower syrup) was a very pale green. There were many other green drinks on neighboring tables. A quick perusal of the spirits menu revealed that other cocktails featured green tinged liquers such as absinthe and chartreuse. So much green ..... and it was nowhere near St. Patrick's Day.

Since I'm still getting used to blogging, much less blogging about food, I wasn't entirely comfortable with taking pictures of all of our dishes. I'm sure I'll get over that eventually. :-) I can tell you though that all three of us thoroughly enjoyed our dishes which included goat cheese crostini, flatbread topped with fennel sausage and beet greens, cauliflower soup, a grass-fed hamburger with pickled onions, braised duck legs and a brown butter-chevre cake for dessert. Here is a pic of the "friendship fries" that came with my hamburger. After I placed my order, the waiter commented that having the fries available for sharing would make sure that my dining partners would be always my friends. I like to think that the many years of friendship the three of us have shared is based on more than sharing fries, but these really were damn good fries. We later learned that they were fried in rice oil which created a perfectly light and crisp french fry that stayed light and crispy. No greasy fingers!

After dinner we hung out at Claire's place for a bit. By the time I got home Eddie was fast asleep. I found out from my dad (who was waiting up for me) that Eddie had been painting until past 9pm! The man really was on a quest for perfection. Much of his best work ended up being on the underside of the deck, which I didn't get a picture of, but as you can tell by this 'after' pic, he accomplished his goal of a beautiful, protected deck.

Tackling the I-5

The husband, puggle and myself set out for San Francisco over the long weekend. My least favorite part of heading to SF is the long drive up the I-5. Not only are gas prices exceptionally high along the corridor, but there is little to look at. In fact, when I head up on my own, I almost always take highway 101 instead, for its scenic value. It really doesn't take that much longer than the 5, maybe a half hour at worst.

Luckily, Jack is easily entertained and loves riding in the car. He can't get enough of looking out the window.

The photo above was taken as we were traveling along the Peninsula. I think we were in Burlingame or San Mateo. Can you see the layer of fog and cloud cover in the distance? Those clouds were over San Francisco. It was a very welcome sight. After weeks of 90-degree+ weather, I was more than ready for cool air.

By this point in our trip (almost seven hours in), Jack had enough of looking at the cars whizzing by and hunkered down for a nap.

And here is the primary reason for our trip. We volunteered to paint my parents' newly reconstructed deck. This is the 'before': an untreated redwood floor and railings that were last stained and treated several years ago. Stay tuned for the after!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Recipe Sunday #1

Back when we were dating, Eddie made one somewhat odd request of me: to make a home-cooked meal on Sunday evenings. Since I already had an interest in learning how to cook and I knew how often he relied on Carl's Jr. for dinner most weeknights, I acquiesced. Now that we've been married for more than a year, I definitely cook more frequently, but it's hard to try out new recipes during the week. Trying out a recipe for the first time requires a certain level of time and attention that I simply don't have at the end of a workday. So inspired by our former Sunday night dinners, I have pledged to cook a new dish each Sunday.

So without further ado I present: Bucatini with Sausage and Peas (source: Food and Wine magazine)

You will need:
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • 2-1/2 cups prepared tomato sauce

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 1/2 cup frozen baby peas

  • salt

  • 1 lb. bucatini

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. shredded basil

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over moderately high heat. Add the sausage and cook 6-8 minutes, until lightly browned, breaking up the sausage into small pieces. Add the minced garlic and shallot and cook for about 2 more minutes, until softened. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer.

  2. Turn the heat down to low and partially cover the the sauce. Cook for 30 minutes. Stir in the cream and frozen peas and continue to simmer over low heat for an additional 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.

  3. While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta in salted water until it is al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to its pot. Add the sauce and the grated cheese. Stir over low heat until the pasta absorbs some of the sauce, approximately 2-3 minutes.

  4. Top with additional grated cheese and the shredded basil and serve.

Cooking notes: a. If you can't find bucatini, spaghetti is an adeqaute substitute; b. If you can find ground Italian sausage, it will make things a little easier; c. For the tomato sauce, I used a very plain organic marinara from Trader Joe's.

Eddie's Rating: "Make it again!"

Right here would be a great location for a picture of the finished dish. But you'll have to use your imagination this time. Quite frankly, I was too lazy to clean off the tabletop to take a nice picture. Oops, my bad!