November 21, 2006

For the Wordy Version, See Below

Waves crashing in San Simeon

How beautiful is the Central Coast?

Garrett and I at Lone Madrone

John, Gina, Jen, and Nick showing their 49er pride

The whole clan

Cutest 49er fans EVER!

Wine, Dine, and 49!

I know...I'm totally obnoxious! But I can't resist now that I finally joined computer literate society and know how to post pictures. I've had a rowdy couple of weekends and thought I would just post a few shots that really capture the fun!
Nov 10-12 Me, Garrett, Sarah, and Ebruvwiyo headed down the Central Coast to do some wine tasting. I hadn't been down to the area since I transferred from Cal Poly (what in like 1998) so it was nice to go back and reminisce. Ultimately I realized what a beautiful climate I had taken for granted! The weather was great, the scenery was awesome, I couldn't have asked for a better backdrop for a fun weekend of indulging. We stayed at Sarah's parents' house in San Miguel, and what wonderful hosts they were! I don't think we stopped eating from the time we got there until the time we left - with highlights being some tried and true biscuits and gravy, some wonderful tamales from the Templeton Farmer's Market, and a Sunday morning all-you-can-eat-hangover-cure Mexican breakfast buffet. Whoa! Their property was beautiful, nestled atop a vineyard covered hill, and full of wide open space - something I really miss living in a little downtown Sacramento apartment. The only downside was that all the dirt, pollen, and pet dander that comes with wonderful wide open spaces was in full effect that weekend, so you can guess that my allergies were acting up something fierce!

Saturday we headed out to the Farmer's Market and I had so much fun sampling all the delectable bits of local produce. The most exciting discovery was a little stand selling a Brazilian fruit called a feijoa. I thought they tasted like tart little kiwi fruits, but what was even more amazing was that Garrett has one of these trees growing on the side yard of his house. We have been painstakingly picking up this odd little fruit off the ground and cursing it, all the while never knowing it was actually a wonderfully delicious Brazilian treat! Who knew?

After getting our fill of the agriculture scene, we headed out the wineries. Wow! There are many. We did our best to map out a route that would be efficient and fun, picking out places we'd like to try or that sounded appealing to our palates, and we didn't even come close to seeing everything. It was a full day of tasting, with blissful consequences! I think it was unanimous that Grey Wolf Cellars was our favorite. The informative staff and delicious concoctions delighted all of us-- it was a fitting place to end the day.

Before heading home we trekked out to San Simeon and watched some waves crash. It was salty, sandy, and chilly and great to see that the ocean, in fact, is still there. I love just about everything about Sacramento, but the fact that I don't see the ocean regularly just bums me out! I'm always so grateful when I get to the beach because there is something refreshing about the sights and sounds of ocean waves. It was great to be reminded how beautiful it is. All in all a great time was had, and it was a wonderful way to unwind before this last weekend

Nov 17-19 Woo hoo! Another fun filled weekend to reminisce and be thankful. Lately I have found myself really feeling grateful for all the abundance in my life. I guess that's sort of cliche with Thanksgiving coming up and all, but I assure you the sentiment was genuine and had more to do with the actual events of the weekend, and not necessarily their chronology.

Friday was Garrett's and my anniversary (I'm sure their is a wretched grammatical error in there, but you know what, I am too lazy to figure it out!). I continue to feel overwhelmingly happy to have him in my life! He is just my absolute best friend, charming as hell, funny, adorable, and there is just no one I would rather be around. On top of it - he's supportive, smart, and silly, and he digs my family (crazy as they all are) so basically I just couldn't ask for anything more. Being the big goober when it comes to things like holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc - I did a lot of thinking on Friday about how much better my life has been over the past year having Garrett in it...and its just so apparent! The boy is a cornucopia of goodness---how's that for a cheesy Thanksgiving reference????

Piggy backing on this gratitude kick that I am on, I feel really thankful that I got to spend Sunday with a bunch of people that I care about, as well as watch the SF 49ers kick some serious tail against the Seattle Seahawks! Kelly and Gersson had purchased tickets for this game for the entire wedding party back in September, and we were all to reunite and share a day of fall, football, and fun - and that is basically just what happened. With our cooler full, our SF gear in tow, and of course a caravan of craziness, we all headed down at the CRACK OF DAWN to Monster Park (c'mon its soooo still Candlestick) to start the tailgating early. It was members of the wedding party, significant others, my cousins, my aunt and uncle, friends...I mean just about everyone was there! It was so much fun to tailgate, drink beer, eat hot links (its always about the food in my family, right?) and then take in a super fun football game where the 49ers kicked butt! It was great to see all my cousins -- not only just the Fremont crew, but Jim and Krystal heading down from Chico, Jeff from Santa Cruz, Sara from Monterey, and of course Gersson's extended clan all the way up from LA. I was just so happy to feel the love from everyone! We were all so happy to just be hanging out, kicking back, and enjoying each other's company - it just doesn't get any better! Moments like that are hard to come by with everyone's busy schedules, varied geography, and especially during the holiday season - so I was exceptionally grateful on the ride home just thinking about how lucky I am to have that kind of family in my life. What a blast!

Monday came with a MAJOR fun hangover - I think work was the last place any of us wanted to be no matter how much we like our jobs. I can't imagine next Monday will be any different with Thanksgiving coming up and all the excitement that entails. I'm really looking forward to family, stuffing, turkey, and football (in that order)! Hope the pictures weren't too obnoxious--I just had a ton of fun and wanted to share!

November 09, 2006

I Vote Treats, not Tricks

So Garrett was going to be working late on Halloween so for me it was going to be like any other night. Sure I would see cute little ones in costumes trick-or-treating on my drive home from work, but living in an apartment these days definitely eliminates the demand for Costco bags full of candy waiting eagerly to hear the doorbell. I was pleasantly surprised when Garrett's meeting was cancelled, and being that he actually lives in a home in the 'burbs, I got to experience some genuine trick-or-treaters. They were all so cute, though the volume of kids walking about was definitely different then when I was young.

Feeling festive and excited that I was going to get to celebrate a holiday (c'mon you know I'm a super geek for that kind of stuff) I came up with an appropriate dinner menu that fit the occasion perfectly. Everything turned out great, and noshing on candy while we waited was great, but I have to say the star of the evening was the following recipe for pumkin soup! You might be thinking that it sounds gross, but I am not kidding it was a most delicious and spicy delight that I can't believe I have never served before (but most certainly will serve again):

2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
3 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 (15 oz) can black beans drained
2 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 Cup heavy cream
1 TBS red curry powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Coarse Salt
20 blades fresh chives chopped for garnish

Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute onions 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine ingredients and bring soup to a boil. Reduce head to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne and salt, to taste. Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve garnished with chopped chives.

OMG! Where are the leftovers???

November 03, 2006

Regarding # 2 below...I AM NOT ALONE

My tech saavy impresses you, huh?

Bones to Pick

Two random points of contention:

1. What is happening to Tower Cafe? The quality of food and the service at that restaurant is declining like a cancer patient with a metastasized liver. Whoa!...its finally happened...too many Grey's Anatomy episodes have me making cruel and insensitive medical jokes. I knew that show was bad news! Anyway, last Sunday Garrett and I hit it up for breakfast, and once again the food was subpar. Anyone who knows me, knows that it is a rule that everyone orders their own breakfast entree and then the appropriate amount of their delicious French Toast is ordered as well--whether you want it or not. Frankly if you don't want it, you're probably not even a friend of mine, but that is beside the point. The point is, lately the entrees really havent been tasting that great. The french toast is the only thing that keeps me coming back. Brown eggs, and not so brown potatoes are not the signature cuisine I have come to expect on my weekend mornings. Its kind of a tragedy. And to make it even worse the service has been horrific! Garrett and I waited for almost 40 minutes after we finished our meals to get our check last Sunday (luckily we brought the paper with us, so it wasn't a total loss) and when we finally tracked down our waiter, he forgot that he had already served us our food and gave us the broken record "Your food is just about ready." It was SO bizarre...though sadly, not that uncommon as of late. (The biggest tragedy of this little rant is that we didn't even order French Toast this time so it was bad service, brown eggs, and not-brown potatoes...not so good...not so good!) I know Tower Records is on its way out of town, but Tower Cafe is a little ray of sunshine on the weekends, and my last few experiences there left much to be desired...WTF???

2. Since when did wearing acid washed tapered jeans with an acid washed denim shirt come back in fshion? I've seen two people wearing that senseless ensemble today, and I am incredibly curious. Did I not get the memo???

Updates and Anticipations

I can't believe it's Friday already!

Last weekend was so much fun, then having a mid week goof off day with Halloween, it just doesn't seem right that I am already cruising through the gateway to the weekend.

So Sarah and Kenny continue to cook the best lasagna on the planet, as demonstrated by last weekend's Friday night festivities. They have such a cozy new house, and the fact that they moved in during the fall, and they have a beautiful tree getting ready to change colors right out front just rocks! Sitting on their back patio and watching that tree change is going to be one of my favorite things over the next couple of weeks, I can just feel it!

Saturday night was David Sedaris and he was so GREAT! I mean I was expecting him to be great, of course, but he was just so unassuming, frank, and FUNNY! He read a few selections to be published in upcoming issues of The New Yorker, and a few other really hysterical pieces. It felt like home there at the Crest - my people! I felt like a nerd among nerds :) It was great to share that with Garrett too, because I know it wasn't something he usually does, much more up my alley, and to see him be open to that as well as truly enjoy himself was really special!

Sunday was a catchup day, as they usually are. I'm hoping we get up to Apple Hill one of these Sundays soon-- before all the Holiday craziness begins (though looking at my calendar I am pretty sure it has already begun). Speaking of the Holidays, I picked up a lb. of Peet's Holiday Blend this year and it is as delicious as ever. Full bodied with a little fruity tang! I had my first home brewed cup this morning and it was I love seeing the little red bag on my counter top. It was so delicious it made me want to bust out my French Press since there is no better way to enjoy a quality cup of coffee. That is definitely what I miss about Peet's, the ease with which you could craft a perfect cup on a moment's notice. I don't miss the hectic nature of the holidays in there though. The volume of people, the fogged up windows, the constant restocking, steaming eggnog (ugh! that's the worst!). This year I will definitely relish my ability to go inside, enjoy a beverage (and I will never EVER order an eggnog latte EVER), pick up some beans and some Peppermint bark (mmmmm), and then GET THE HECK OUT!!!

Holiday parties are starting to line up as well, which just makes me giddy. Garrett's work party/dinner is at Moxie, which I am excited about. His company is small and his co-workers are genuinely kind, so it makes being the Significant Other not so stressful. Although the last work event of his that I attended, I ended up being told by his boss how cute his butt was, and how I was spiritually obligated to "consummate our relationship on the Sabbath"...and that was a little weird. I guess that's what happens when you work for a small company - more liberal sexual harassment policies and such :).

My work holiday party is at the Hyatt, and it is being billed as a "Night of Dinner and Dancing." Let's hope that doesn't mean bad music and raw Prime Rib (redundant, I know...ick!). I don't know how Allied parties, so we will have to see this year! The night after Allied's party is Jeremy & Hilary's annual extravaganza, which is always a great time. I'm thinking about White Elephant gifts already -- So fun! I think Garrett and I will have to head down the The Shabby Shack again this year as it was RIPE with gift-worthy items last year.

This weekend looks to be relatively relaxing. I'm hoping to get down to the downtown ice skating rink...I'm such a nerd for anything festive! Plus I have a damn cute collection of scarves and what better place to don one! Hopefully tonight if Garrett's travel day doesn't suck too much out of him. Tomorrow is the Junior League Bus Tour and we are heading to three notable places that I am totally interested in seeing. It includes trips to the Children's Receiving Home, Crisis Nursery, and St. John's Shelter. I'm really excited. I continue to feel good about my decision to join Junior League of Sacramento. It's been nothing like the horror stories I have heard about debutantes and unhappy housewives. I've met some really nice people, and I'm looking forward to all the opportunities I will have to impact my community. The experience is what you make it, and I'm glad I didn't think too much about joining alone, or have second thoughts because it scary getting involved in something where you don't know anyone. I think it was ultimately a decision that will enrich my life for a long time, and how can that NOT be exciting.

Anyway, I guess that's it! That's all the news that is news.


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