Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Radio Silence

Ever since this post, I've had contact with my dad exactly three times: to request he send us a copy of our wedding video (long story), to send a curt Father's Day email and to respond to a phone call of his wondering when we can get together (the response - not anytime soon). I needed a break from his melodrama and all the craziness surrounding him. I figured I'd finally contact him when I was over the anger and felt like I could talk to him without blowing a fuse.

We can see how well that is going. We're coming up on 8 months and I still see red, bright all-encompassing red, when I think about everything that happened surrounding the surgery and the months leading up to it. In many ways, life has been so much easier without him being part of it. I know that sounds incredibly calloused and cruel, but sadly, it's true. However, I also have this cloud hanging over me. I know that at some point, I'm going to have to drag my head out of the sand and deal with things. I'm going to have to let him know why I've basically cut off all contact from him. And yet, the last 8 months haven't helped me understand his actions any more than I did in February. Nor has it brought any clarity to how I should go about dealing with the situation.

Unfortunately, my time is about up. After almost 8 months, I guess my dad has finally realized that something is wrong. And that is baffling in and of itself. Really, it took me being on radio silence for almost 8 months before you figured out something was wrong? Really?! I go 1 week without contacting my mom and she calls to find out a) if everything is okay and b) "you're not mad at me, are you?" For so many reasons, it's no surprise they are no longer married....

I received an email several weeks ago with the subject line "I'm sorry if I've hurt you" and the body of the email just said "Love, Dad." I've also received 2 phone calls inquiring if I'm alright and that if there is anything he can help with, just let him know. Somehow, I think if I responded with a request for him to stop being so damn selfish and melodramatic, I'm guessing it wouldn't change much.

My brother has maintained somewhat consistent contact with him (which is all relative - it's still much less than how often he talks to our mom) and I've gotten updates on my dad from him. My dad has never been an easy person to communicate wiht, but part of what is compounding the insanity now is that he is dealing in some crazy, new-age, brainwave, scientology-esque kind of crap. He has dropped cryptic hints about this to me, but I don't play along and ask what he's talking about. Mainly because my brother has filled me in on all the missing information. I've also been told he's not discussing this with me because he thinks I wouldn't be very accepting of it. [Really, ya think? You mean, I'm supposed to find sitting in a meat locker for a week with electrodes strapped to your head a good thing? Yeah, I'm gonna go with no.] This is similar to the reasons why he never discussed the divorce with me either -- he never wanted to hear what I would have to say about it because it wouldn't be all rainbows and puppy dogs. Fun times, eh?

I've already decided that I actually have to do something about this and soon. Not this week, not until after the wedding and our Vegas vacation. The decision to deal with it has helped to lift the burden a bit, but I still have a massive tension headache whenever I think about it and I still don't know what I'm going to say. I figure I'll start with an email so that I can write it all out in black and white and really say what I need to say, whatever that is. My brother has agreed to read it over before I send it so I can make sure it makes sense and so he has a heads-up in case my dad turns to him to decipher why I'm so upset. I'm guessing there is a high liklihood of this.

I hate that I'm still in this place and don't have any answers. I hate that I'm having to deal with this. And most of all, I hate knowing that no matter what I say or do, I'm never going to get a resolution that I'll be satisfied with.

Sigh.

Wish me luck. Or, if you're so inclined, a prayer or two would help, too.

Weekend Catch Up

This past weekend was our last at home before Vino's Vegas wedding, so it was filled with errands, chores and generally catching up on everything before our end of summer mini-vacation.

Thursday:
I had to drop my car off for service in the south bay, so Jim and I decided to have dinner with his parents and then spend the night there. We hadn't seen them in a long time and it was great to just sit around the table eating, drinking wine and catching up. Since there were no games or TV shows that we wanted to watch, we talked until after 10pm. So nice.

The funny part came the next morning though. Jim and his dad made it through 2 bottles of wine that night, with me and his mom only having maybe a glass each. His dad was up early and went swimming, while Jim nursed a headache all day. Jim's comment "How pathetic is it that my dad can drink me under the table?" Pathetic? Nah. I'd say hilarious!

Friday:
I was up just after dawn so I could head out on a long walk along the beach. So beautiful. I did a 10 mile loop, which took me down to Hermosa beach and back to the inlaws house. Not only was the water refreshing, but those beach houses along the strand are absolutely drool-worthy. Lots and lots of pretty things to look at. After I got back and showered, Jim and I met up with his parents and grandmother for brunch at The Corner Bakery.

After brunch, Jim headed back up to the house to get some work done, while I ran up to Beverly Hills to pick up my dress for Vino's wedding and get my toes painted and my eyebrows waxed. That night we picked up mexican food for dinner and just vegged on the couch while watching Fringe (the show has potential, but isn't quite living up to it yet).

Saturday:
Up bright and early to head out to the Rose Bowl to tailgate before the UCLA game. Tailgating was fun -- we (aka I) made breakfast burritos, which we had to eat on napkins because I forgot the plates. Um, oops. The game, however, was just depressing. Yeah, that's all I have to say about that.

We got home in the late afternoon with enough time to take a dip in the pool and then start cleaning up the house before dinner. Dinner consisted of homemade veggie and sausage calzones, salad and red wine, which we consumed while watching more college football on television. At least those games were somewhat interesting, as opposed to the one we sat in the bright sun watching that afternoon. :/

Sunday:
Sleeping in - yay! After lounging around for a bit and having breakfast, the rest of the day was an errand and chore bonanza! By the end of the day the kitchen and bathroom were sparkling, the laundry was all done, the tables were cleared off, bills were paid, plants were watered and the house was in great order. I even incorporated some errands in my 8 mile walk that afternoon (running by the grocery store to fill a prescription and picking up a book at the library).

That night we collapsed in a heap on the couch. Jim is on a business trip until really late Wednesday night and then Thursday morning we drive out to Vegas for the wedding. So excited for Vino's wedding and all the accompanying festivities. :D

Monday, September 15, 2008

3rd Anniversary Recap

Since our anniversary fell on a Wednesday this year and we are celebrating 3 years, it was only appropriate to have 3 anniversary dinners. ;)

Dinner #1:
We did a mini-celebration on Wednesday night. Jim met me at The Melting Pot right after work so we could take advantage of the happy hour specials. We each had a glass of wine and then split the Wisconsin Trio cheese fondue, Spinach Bacon salad and the Yin and Yang chocolate fondue. The seats at the bar were all filled when we got there, so we had to sit at one of the cocktail tables without a burner. The chocolate fondue was awesome, but the cheese fondue was only so-so. The blue cheese seemed to just sit at the bottom and was way too overpowering, especially for this blue cheese hater. It was still nice to actually go out for dinner though on a weeknight.

After dinner, we came home and exchanged gifts. The 3rd anniversary is "leather" so Jim got a new pair of work shoes (boring, but necessary). In addition, I also got him a Pleepleus t-shirt and a little Pleepleus toy monkey. Confused as to what in the world "Pleepleus" is? Read this. The shoes might have been necessary, but Pleepleus was definitely the hit of the night!

As for me, I got a new pair of Uggs in anticipation of the chilly nights at our new house this winter. I love them!

Dinner #2:
Friday night we made dinner reservations for Simon LA. Ever since seeing Kerry Simon and his restaurant featured on an episode of After Hours we have wanted to dine there. We tend to fade fast on Friday evenings, so we had a very early (like 6pm early) dinner reservation. The service was excellent from the get-go and the restaurant itself has a great cool vibe to it. I'm an idiot and totally forgot my camera in the car, so sadly no pics :(

For the food, it's wine & dineLA week right now, so we both opted for the 4-course set menu and Jim also ordered the wine pairings. The menu:
Course One - Yellowtail carpaccio, cilantro, mint, citrus vinaigrette
Course Two - Crispy striped bass, chanterelles, grapes and hazelnuts
Course Three - Grilled New York Steak, faro risotto and sunchokes
Course Four - Passion fruit souffle

Overall the food was very good, but not spectacular. The highlight of the evening was the farro risotto and the passion fruit souffle. I wanted to lick the plate clean to make sure I got all of the risotto and the souffle? Jim just kept staring at it trying to figure it out. Easily the more flavorful and delicate souffle I've ever eaten. So. Damn. Awesome!

I had alerted the restaurant that it was our anniversary, so before the souffle was served, they brought out 2 glasses of muscat and a HUGE platter of fresh pink cotton candy for us to split. It was a nice touch and made us giggle.

After polishing off the wine pairings, Jim was toasted, which made the drive back home pretty hilarious. Great anniversary dinner and a good way to start the weekend!

Dinner #3:
Late next week we're headed to Vegas for Vino's wedding and we're spending a few days there as a mini-vacation. We're toying with the idea of either Bouchon or Carnevino as the site of our 3rd and final anniversary dinner for the year.

It's been a very happy anniversary and I'm looking forward to many more to come!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

I can't believe it's already been 3 years said we said "I do!"

Jim, I love you so much and am so happy to call you my husband. We've been so blessed to have had such a wonderful 3 years together and I look forward to many more years with you.

Happy Anniversary sweetie.

Monday, September 8, 2008

She was walk-ing

Over the past few weeks, I've logged quite a few miles walking around our neighborhood and other local spots. [What can I say, to walk over 20 miles in one weekend, you have to cover A LOT of ground!] Through all the walking, I've gotten a really good feel of the neighborhood and surrounding areas and I'm even more in love with it now than I was when we first moved in, which I didn't think possible. It's a quiet, pretty, diverse little area that I'm enamored with. Everyone is so friendly. They appear to take care of their houses and their yards. They're respectful of the area. All things that give a neighborhood a real sense of community.

Having grown up in a very diverse middle-class neighborhood in the Bay Area, I love that we purchased a home in a similar type of community. I think it helped to make me the person I am today and, while the jury is still out on whether we want kids, I can say that if we ever have them, I would love raising them in this neighborhood.

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When I'm out and about, I tend to be a friendly walker. I say "Good Morning" to people, I smile at dogs and babies alike. I love admiring pretty houses or gorgeous landscaping. All good things. However, what I don't like is when I walk by a house with a dog and the gate is open and the dog comes barreling at me barking and snapping it's teeth, while the owner stands there meekly calling it back. !!! Yes, it was a small dog, but it was still really scary, especially when it came within centimeters of my achilles. It didn't bite me, but it totally freaked me out. I was too shocked and scared to say (or shout) anything, but I gave the owner one hell of a stink eye. She apologized, but I was still beyond angry. Dude, get a leash or keep your gate shut!

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Books on tape are the greatest thing evah for making the time pass quickly. I've already listened to Twilight and Harry Potter Book 1 and I'm working on New Moon right now. I check them out from the library (which is easily walkable from our house), throw it onto my ipod and I'm off. Love it!

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After trying out a waistpack and remembering that they don't really work for me, I picked up a small camelbak backpack this weekend instead. So great! It's small enough so as not to be too cumbersome on long walks, but there is still enough space to carry the essentials I'll need for the 3 day event itself. It would also make a great day hike bag for anyone looking for one.

And thanks to REI's 100% guarantee, I can return the waistpack and get a full refund. Yay!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Weekend Recap... almost a full week late!

What can I say? I'm still behind in my blogging. Which means that life is still humming along at warp speed. At this point, I'm content to just deal with the crazy for as long as it lasts and just keep squeezing stuff in where I can find time. On that note, let's recap the long Labor Day weekend, shall we?

Friday:
Off work early (yay!), which meant I had time to run a few errands and do some grocery shopping before getting ready for dinner. Jim and I decided to try the new Roy's in Pasadena after having a really delicious dinner at the one in Downtown a few months ago with my girlfriends.

The dinner started off on a high note. Even with our late reservation the weather was gorgeous and we sat outside on their patio. Our waiter was nothing special, but took our order relatively quickly and we had our apps in a reasonable amount of time. We were in a fish mood, so we started with the Ahi Poke and the Curry Panko Crusted Calamari. Both were excellent, although I'd say the calamari were probably my favorite. That's saying a lot seeing as how it's something I eat because Jim loves it, but I could usually take it or leave it. This version had some kick to it and was served with siracha aioli. So yummy!

And this is when dinner took a bit of turn. We had a really long wait until our entrees arrived. When they were finally served, they were barely meh. :/ I ordered the Hawaiian Style Misoyaki Butterfish and Jim had the Uni Dynamite Roasted Alaskan Halibut. When I had the butterfish at the Downtown location, it was so delicious! But while the menu described a similar preparation for the fish, this dish looked and tasted nothing like what I had a few months prior. Ugh. I tasted the halibut, too, and it was just not that great. For dessert, we split the Molten Lava Cake, which was tasty enough, but still didn't erase the total disappointment in the entrees. Looks like the kitchen and waiters are still undergoing some growing pains, so I'd say give it another couple of months before trying it out if you're so inclined.

Saturday:
I woke up at 7am and went for a 10 mile walk in and around the neighborhood. For the last part, I actually walked down to the local farmer's market and picked up some fresh produce for Sunday dinner. The market is so cute and so vibrant! I then headed from there over to Whole Foods to pick up some last minute stuff for dinner that night and then Jim was nice enough to pick my tired and sweaty bum up so I didn't have to walk all the way back carrying bags of goodies. :)

We spent the rest of the afternoon running errands and cleaning up the house. Around 4pm we had our friends Dubber and Party Girl over to hang out by the pool and have dinner. The rest of the evening was spent lounging around the pool, eating dinner while watching Cal in their football season opener and playing rock band. I'm sure our neighbors love us, especially when Jim screams Sabotage at the top of his lungs. :P

Sunday:
Nothing! We had absolutely nothing planned! This happens like maybe twice a year so it's always cause for celebration.

In reality, I cleaned the kitchen and did 395658 loads of laundry, while Jim did some work. We also squeezed a Target and 21 Choices run in there, too and ended the evening with a really awesome dinner. Ruhlman posted a loose recipe for pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil on his blog last week and ever since reading it, I've been obsessed with making it. Honestly, it was even better than I expected it to be because on my first reading, I missed the sentence saying that a bunch of butter gets added to the sauce. Butter makes everything better! So simple to make and so freaking good! Before tomatoes are out of season, you need to make this dish. No really, you do!
Monday:
We slept in. Yay!

After finally rolling out of bed, I made breakfast, took care of a few things around the house and then it was time to pack up the car and head out to the Rose Bowl for UCLA's season opener against #18 Tennessee. It was a beautiful day, perfect for tailgating and being outside. The parking was packed as usual and we had a good time enjoying our chicken fajitas and hanging out with friends.

However, we figured the game itself wasn't going to be pretty. I mean, yes, we have the holy trinity in coaching right now (Neuheisel, Walker and Chow), but we also have an offensive line that can't seem to block much of anything and we're on our 4th string quarterback. There is only so much that coaching and the crowd can do. Or so we thought....

The first quarter sucked. Our quarterback threw a lovely 4 interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. We were down 7 going into the half, which was only because our defense and special teams kept it close. Lord knows our offense sure wasn't gettin' it done.

And then, something happened during halftime and wouldn't you know it, the offense got a clue and started playing well. Like, they stopped throwing the ball to the other team and they kept blocking and the passes were connecting with receivers and ... well, they just looked a lot better. If you're a Bruin you know what happened next. We were up by 3 points after a beautiful drive that marched down the field and led to a TD. Tennessee answered with a field goal in the final seconds and we were pushed into OT. For the OT coin flip, we only had 2 captains left (a total of 4 veteran players left the game with injuries), but we managed to score a field goal and then it was Tennessee's turn. We held them, but then it was time for them to attempt a FG themselves. AND THEY MISSED!!! WE WON!!! HOLY CRAP!!

The fans had been loud the entire game, but the stadium just erupted! The players started running around like crazy people. The Volunteers just looked dumb-founded. I screamed until I literally didn't have a voice left. Such a great win for our team and our new head coach. This feels like a new era in UCLA football. No, we're not gonna be great this season, but we're gonna fight and we're gonna have heart and we're gonna try to actually win!

A really fantastic way to end the holiday weekend if I do say so myself. :)

Part 2: Vino's Bachelorette Party

Just a warning, this is a really long post with lots of pics. :)

After straightening up at the house, the 5 of us (Vino, Blondie, Sporty, Dressing Queen and moi) threw our massive amounts of crap in the back of Sporty's SUV, jumped in the car and headed out to start the second part of the weekend. But first, a quick stop at Starbucks for iced caffeinated beverages and then we were on our way to downtown San Diego.

Thanks to no traffic, we made it to the Manchester Grand Hyatt in good time. After checking into the room, we started getting ready for the evening festivities. Someone noticed a wedding that was happening that evening by the pool and we all took a break to watch the processional when it started. It had such potential from the set up (chic black and white with red accents), but the actual execution left a lot to be desired. Highlights were bridesmaid bouquets that rivaled what Miss America carries after winning the crown and what looked to be a black sheet attached haphazardly to the back of the bride's dress, that was supposed to be a train? So. Ugly. And thank god we were on the 24th floor because we howled with laughter when all this went down. Yes, we're evil.

Anywho, back to the partay. At 7pm, we popped open the bubbly and a few other girls met us in the room to have a toast and let Vino open another round of presents for the bachelorette portion of the evening. She gots lots of pretty things.
It's not a party without party-favors. Look, an army of pecker party bags!
And they double as hand-puppets!
While Vino was opening gifts, some of us were having fun with the contents of the bags.
8pm finally rolled around and it was time to head to dinner. Although, not before I took a partial group shot. Wheee!

We met Crafty in the lobby of the hotel restaurant, Lael's, and then headed in for dinner. We specifically chose this place because they generously accomodated food allergies and with 3 of our diners having gluten allergies, this was a good choice. Almost immediately after taking our seats, our server greeted us and left us with menus. A short time later, the manager came out to say hello, quickly followed by the head chef. He spoke with each of the guests with the gluten allergy, answering their questions and deciding on a yummy entree for each of them.

Before the main courses were delivered, however, we started with an amuse bouche. Sea scallop on truffled mashed potatoes with some other stuff mixed in. Absolutely amazing!
Several of us ordered the sea bass crusted in crab with garlic mashed potatoes. The picture is ugly, but it was so good! Perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked. I paired it with a glass of Kim Crawford chardonnay, which was also wonderful. There was a multitude of other things ordered and everyone seemed very pleased by their meals. About midway through dinner, the server re-appeared with champagne for the table, compliments of the house. Um, guys, this wasn't the drug store special. A bottle of Veuve Cliquot for the bride and 2 bottles of Moet White Star for the rest of us. !!! I know, I almost keeled over, too. At this point, most of us have had at least a glass or two of champagne in the room, a glass of wine with dinner and then some more champagne. Suddenly, the penis straws became very popular.
The restaurant was fantastic and I'd highly recommend it if you're ever in the area. Once we were done with dinner, Crafty decided it was time to high-tail it out of there, but not before posing for another picture with her daughter. We're really glad you were at dinner m'dear! Thanks for putting up with all of our shenannigans. ;)
A quick bathroom stop and then we jumped into cabs and headed to Envy at the Ivy Hotel. One of Vino's friends, we'll call her Spitfire, thought she'd be able to get us on a guestlist, but it didn't quite work out. We did manage to get into the club fairly easily, but instead of striding up to the rooftop area, it was closed for a private function. This was information that was somehow not told to us until after we'd pay the cover. Um, boo. Sporty tried to work her magic and get us upstairs, but sadly that failed, too. We heard there was a dance floor downstairs, but the line to get down there rivaled ones I've seen in Vegas. We were a sad little group there for a bit, until Sporty found a manager and laid it out there for her. I'm paraphrasing but it went something like this:

"Look, put yourself in my shoes. We're all old and we don't go out very often. Our friend here is getting married and we were told this is the place to go to have a good time. So, we come here, we pay our $20 and then we can't get upstairs. And this area sucks. So, either give us our money back or take us downstairs right now."

The manager looked at her, shrugged and said "Okay, let's go." Ah-maz-ing.

And then the party really got started. The alcohol was a flowin' and while we were only there for a few hours, I think I took enough pictures to create a flipbook of the evening. I'll just let them speak for themselves.

Shortly before the bar closed, Spitfire bought the 6 of us a shot. Um, I might have downed it like a marathoner downs gatorade and I might not have remembered taking it until the girls reminded me of it the next morning. Yeah, about that... But, I was coherent enough for pictures! Before we knew it (no really, time goes by really fast when you're the opposite of sober), they started clearing out the club. I thought it was a good idea to wave bye to everyone and tell them to have a good night. Vino waved with me and thanked them for "coming to my party!" Look at how nice everyone was to us.
Eventually, we were ushered out, but for some reason stopped to chat and take pictures with the bouncers. I suddenly really needed to go to the bathroom before we left and they let me back in. And then I got lost and couldn't find the rest of the girls :/ Thankfully, Dressing Queen came back to get me and then we piled into pedi-cabs and headed back to the hotel.

If you couldn't tell, I was on a bit of a roll with the camera at this point. And the first few pictures I took were good.
And then, they looked like this. As Blondie said the next day "Well, the last 12 pictures about sums up the evening, I'd say."

Not that you can tell from the pics or anything, we were actually racing in the pedi-cabs. And the 2nd one crashed right before we got back to the hotel. And they still ripped us off. Lovely, right? Grrrr.

We finally managed to make it back upstairs at which point, the rest of the evening becomes fuzzy. There are a few points that I remember quite clearly that I'd rather forget (I was a bit of a hot mess) and other moments that I'm sure would have been even funnier if I didn't just hear about them the next day (i.e. Spitfire passed out on one of the beds, me face first on the aerobed on the floor and the other 4 squished together like sardines on the other bed.)

I won't even discuss the next day because really, it was painful. Very, very painful. :/ Some of us faired a bit worse than others *cough*me*cough*, but it's not like anyone was ready to go run a marathon or anything.

All in all, it was a ridiculously fun party! Somehow, we all seem to be partying harder the older we get, which none of us can figure out. Maybe because we don't get that many chances to really *party* anymore? Who knows, but it does lead to to really fun times!

Vino, I hope you had a great bachelorette party and I can't wait for the wedding next month. You can be sure I'm bringin' my A game! ;)