Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Haunting

On Saturday I flew out to Anaheim, to meet Rachel and Nancy ("Scrapbooking from the Inside Out;") for CHA (The Craft and Hobby Association show.) I was very excited to be going away for a few days ( sans family;) but also VERY nervous about being apart from Luis and the kids, considering that when I'm at home, I barely even get to go to the bathroom by myself. I knew that I was going to have a great time; how could I not? I was going to get to spend time with one of my best friends, doing something that we love to do (shop for scrapbooking supplies for the next six month worth of kits for SBFTIO;) I was going to get to meet the super talented, Nancy Doren IN PERSON AND have some much needed time to myself. And then to top it all off, I knew that Saturday night we were going to have dinner at my favorite restaurant "ROY'S." (Hawaiian fusion not fried chicken.) LOL and then Sunday night go to Disneyland. I honestly couldn't have designed a better trip if I was asked to.

I was VERY apprehensive at the airport. I hadn't flown alone since 1994 and things have changed drastically since then. I bought an $80 bottle of water (ha, just kidding I think it was closer to $3 but I thought I'd throw that in for Rachel. ) I wrote a blog, (which I'm not posting because it probably reads more like a neurotic confession,) and then read the book that Michelle (sometimes she actually refers to herself as legally) K had lent me, "Dear Neighbor; Drop Dead" by Saralee Rosenberg. I boarded my flight with ease and settled into a seat next to an elderly woman. As we were taking off I remembered how much I actually like to fly. I LOVE the freedom of it and the promise of a new experience. I kept telling myself that the kids would be fine. Luis would be elated to have me off his back and out of his hair for a few days, and all I had to do was think about myself. (Now that's something that I haven't done in like; well, FOREVER.) I arrived before I knew it and made my way off the plane without incident. I found Rachel just as she was walking in the door; and then - I could breathe.
Rach and I had a very productive wait for Nancy. We reviewed February's play list for SFTIO and even started onto March's. Nancy arrived; we enjoyed hugs all around, and then whisked off to dinner at

The first time I dined (and you HAVE to say dined rather than ATE, when talking about Roy's) was with my sister, Michele (OK; not my blood sister, and not Michelle(...)K; but MY SISTER Michele; (My best friend from college who just happens to have the same birthday as me; and who got me through some of the most difficult times of my life.) Anyway, Michele, her husband Tony and their son Gian Carlo were in Scottsdale for a conference a few years ago and Roy's was right across the street from their hotel so we decided to give it a try. Michele had asked me if I liked Sushi, and I told her that I was undecided. I had only had it once; and although I didn't hate it; I wasn't sure that I ever needed to eat it again. Michele then conducted Sushi 101 - we discussed everything from the thinly sliced ginger to the different types of Sushi and by the time she was done; my mouth was watering and I knew I needed to give Sushi another try. Sushi connoisseur's that they are, we let Michele and Tony do all of the ordering. We also ordered off of Roy's prix fixe menu, which included an appetizer, main course and dessert. Lucky for me, the prix fixe menu was not very vast, so it wasn't too difficult for the Queen of NOT BEING ABLE TO DECIDE WHAT TO ORDER to make a decision. As soon as I put the first piece of Sushi in my mouth, this HUGE smile spread across my face. The flavor, the texture it was nothing short of AMAZING! It was love at first bite! And I have been enamored with Sushi ever since. Something that I have noticed about Sushi is that it lingers with you. That's no to say that there is an aftertaste; but that once you've had good Sushi, you yearn for it -almost like a drug, because all you can think about is, "I WANT THAT SUSHI." I want to taste it again, enjoy it again; and I must say that EVERYTHING at Roy's has that effect on me. I have never eaten anything there that was not superb. In fact I would order anything and everything that I've ever had in any of my meager 3 visits there.
Well, since I've been raving about Roy's for a few years now, and there happened to be one, not far from our hotel; Rachel decided that Saturday night we would pay Roy a visit. Although I've ordered some type of fish during my previous visits; on this occasion I chose to order the Pistachio encrusted lamb with blueberry reduction and Mushroom Risotto and I have to tell you, I have been haunted by this meal ever since I finished my last bite. The flavors were so intense and complimentary that it is something I want to experience again and again. I mentioned this to Michelle (...) K who recently had her first dining experience at Roy's and she fully concurred. We were in agreement that food can in fact haunt you; just like when I had NYPD Pizza for the first time. I'll never forget it. I was at my friend Tiffany's and we ordered from this place that she recommended; called NYPD Pizza; and I have to tell you that after eating it, I could think about eating nothing but this pizza for a week. It was extraordinary. I tried to recreate the NYPD experience (because there wasn't one close to my house;) and I got a slice from Ray's; which I prior to my NYPD indoctrination, I had thought was pretty good; but it paled in comparison to my memory of the NYPD pizza. And then a few short weeks later I saw a sign announcing that an NYPD was coming to a shopping center not to far from me. Well I stalked the shopping center waiting for a sign with a date announcing the opening; and once it opened I got Michelle (...)K to try it too, and what do you think happened... Well, about a week after we had it she told me "Since we had NYPD I could think of nothing but that pizza!" See; it's not just me. I always tell people that I think they put crack in their pizza, because there is just something about it that once you have it, you just want more and more. I don't know if it's the whole milk mozzarella that they use (as opposed to most of the Pizza jokers here who use god knows what;) or if it's the fact that they claim to use water from NY; all I know is it's GOOOOD! And ironically enough, they are in the same shopping center as my gym - but I NEVER go there; believe it or not. Yes I can now pass up NYPD (on most days;) but if someone offered me Roy's - I would be there in a heartbeat. Think about it; I'm sure that you've all eaten something that you tried to draw out for as long as possible so that the pleasure wouldn't be over too quickly. (OK, please disregard how that sounds like I could have been talking about something other than food.)
I would love to hear about the food that haunts you - so please feel free to leave me a comment; as it seems that most people I know LOVE food and LOVE to read or talk about it; almost as much as they love to eat it.
I was just going to say Bon Appetite and end right there, but then I remembered that I needed to turn back. There actually was A LOT more to my trip then just dining at Roy's. The hotel was lovely; and the convention was fantastic. It was so much fun to see all of the new products that the scrapbooking manufacturers are putting out, and try to make suggestions to Rachel for possible kit inclusions.
After a long day on the convention floor, we actually ventured over to Disneyland. It wasn't too crowded; and other than the Peter Pan ride, we barely had any wait at all. Woohoo! We were only there for a few hours, but I think that we probably went on just as many rides as we would have if we'd gone earlier in the day and had a wait; oh yah, and get this... when we first got into the park, I went into the Emporium (store) on Main Street to see if the stores stayed open later than the rides (which they do;) and when I came out, Nancy and Rachel were looking at one of the windows and I went over to find them and saw T.R Knight (George) from "Grey's Anatomy;" and I was giddy. I LOVE George, he's a great character; and boy it's true - the camera really does add 10lbs, because he was much smaller in person. I didn't ask for an autograph, or even say "Hi;" I was just just tickled that I had seen him.
On Monday we went back to the convention and then sadly it was time for me to go. Again I made it through the airport without incident; and I owe many thanks to the two nice men who helped me put my suitcase in and take it out of the overhead bin; because it was HEAV-Y from all of the catalogs.
When Luis and the kids picked me up, no one was any worse for the wear and we drove home VERY happy to be back together. Guess it's safe for me to take off on another adventure some time...
Till next time...

Monday, January 19, 2009

On The Fence

Our soccer season is starting to wind down; so a few weeks ago, Lyndzi's Coach asked if we were going to want to have practice on MLK Day, (because we typically practice on Mondays, but it was a long weekend.) The majority of parents agreed to come to practice; but I don't think that any of us were prepared for what we found when we arrived... The gate of the chain link fence that leads out to the field was locked. Yes, the 5 foot gate was LOCKED.

People started hoisting their kids over the fence so that they could get on with practice. The coach jumped the fence pretty easily. We lifted Lyndzi, then Kelsie followed by my friend Maryanne; who then expected that I would be next. Well, she's my friend, but she doesn't know me very well; so she clearly had no idea that she was just expecting WAY too much of me, if she thought that I could get my STILL overweight ass over that fence.
We were all laughing at the prospect of me trying to make it over, when Michelle (she thinks it pretty much takes an act of congress to become legally) K's husband Mike arrived on the scene. Mike's known me a long time now; so he knew that it would be nearly impossible for me to get myself over the fence.
Maryanne offered to watch my girls so that I could go run an errand or something, but hey - if we've learned anything about me in these (almost) 2 years of writing "TBR," it's that 1 - I'm NOT a quitter and 2- I can never resist an opportunity that could potentially be an awesome blog; and by awesome blog I mean an event that is TOTALLY ridiculous and doesn't typically happen to MOST people. I even went as far as to say to Mike; "You know that I want to do this, just so that I can blog about it; because I could just as easily watch Lyndzi's practice from parking lot side of the fence."
We were laughing the entire time. SO much so, that I was afraid that I was going to pee my pants. I was wearing jeans that were a size smaller, than what I have been wearing (so they weren't as loose fitting as my usual attire.) I had on flip flops (not the footwear of choice for climbing ANYTHING) AND I believe that I've previously mentioned (about 600 times) that I am the Queen of KLUTZ'S so all of these factors didn't add up to a very optimistic climb. Nonetheless, I persevered. I made several, valiant attempts at the fence that everyone else jumped, but I couldn't support my weight to get both legs up on the fence at the same time. We then tried another location, with a different type of gate; but I was not successful there either. Finally I thought, "well, I could back my minivan up and climb up off of that, so at least I'd start off a little higher;" but then I had to be concerned about how I'd get back. Mike had NO interest in even trying to jump the fence. He said that he'd stay on the parking lot side, because someone would have to be able to drive my kids home, in case I couldn't climb back over - LOL. It was at this point that I realized that there was a tubular bar running along the other side of the fence; so I could probably step up onto that, upon my return. I asked Mike to back his truck up since it would be higher than my minivan. I took a deep breath, and climbed up.
I put my usual fears aside, threw my other leg over and jumped; THAT'S RIGHT - I said JUMPED down. I was SO proud of myself. And just in case I had doubted it for a minute; I knew that I definitely had a lot more weight to lose. (I'm aiming for another 6lbs by Feb 17, which will be one year since I joined the gym and 40 lbs - but boy, do I have a lot farther to go!)
Pictures courtesy of Mike and his phone.
Who during my climb suggested that a wedgie
might be in order; but thankfully thought better of it.

Practice usually ends at 6, so at a few minutes to 6; Maryanne and I packed our stuff up and ventured back over to the gate; JUST in case it was going to take me a while to climb back over. We lifted Kelsie, and Maryanne's daughter, then went Maryanne; and it was time for me. I lifted my foot onto the bar and then placed it lengthwise upon it. I then proceeded to lift my other leg, whilst praying that I did not pee my pants or slip and injure my vajayjay (OR brake a leg.) I then miraculously made it to the top of the gate, and again jumped down the 5 feet without so much as injuring any body parts, peeing or tearing my pants or making a huge scene. And I can't remember being this proud of myself in a
very long time.

Let's just put it this way. As soon as I came home and told Luis that I had to jump the fence, he started laughing and followed with "OH; well this cant be good." He knows me so well. He was fully expecting me to tell him some tale of how I hurt myself, or someone else, or wimped out, OR SOMETHING, but instead I told him the story that I just told you - and after the shock wore off; he congratulated me.
Oh, the lengths that I will go to; just to bring you an entertaining story. It must leave one to wonder WHAT could possibly come next? Please stay tuned to find out.
Till Next time... Queen of EVERYTHING

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You Know You Have a Problem When... #4

You know you have a problem when... You run an annual Oscar pool, and not only haven't you seen any of the potential nominees; but you've never even heard of them!
Do I REALLY have to say anymore... Probably not; but it is "The Bumpy Ride"after all; so off we go.

I honestly cannot believe that it's this time of year already. I know that over the past few years, the Oscars have been coming earlier and earlier, but it just doesn't seem that long ago that I wrapped up my pool from last year. Oscar pool that is - Gold statues, Botox, Movie stars. Y'all come back now - ya hear. (OK, so I indulge myself a little bit from time to time- I'm allowed.)
But I digress. It seems appropriate to me, that I should blog about my Oscar pool, since it actually was the precursor for "The Bumpy Ride."
I believe that I have previously mentioned that I am The Oscar Mistress; of my pool and as such, I send several emails to the participants. I often comment on the outcomes of the award shows that occur prior to the Oscar's, the speeches, the attire etc. You know me - Queen of COMMENTING; and so after several lengthy, opinionated emails, I thought that I might try my hand at blogging and that is how "The Bumpy Ride" was conceptualized. I can't believe my 2 year anniversary is right around the corner. I may just have to make it my goal to get 100 blogs in by my anniversary date; so please stay tuned.

Anyway, I don't know what rock I have been living under; (perhaps it's the rock of work, my family, my blog, SFTIO, soccer, the soccer board, the gym - hmmm) but seriously, when I watched the Golden Globes, I had never even heard of the majority of the movies that were up for awards. Maybe I really need to stop watching 2 month old episodes of General Hospital - LOL I mean if I was current on my TV viewing then I would see adds for current movies - tell me, is Legally Blonde 2 still playing? ha ha - just kidding. But you get the point.

I have always had the luck of getting information in a timely manner. What I mean is; I might not have been up on something (in the news, usually) but somehow, just at the right time I find out about it, so that when someone mentions it to me I don't wind up sounding like a blithering idiot; because I actually (by some stroke of luck) know what they're talking about. Well, this was NOT the case the other day at soccer. I was talking to my friend Theresa (who is in the pool) and she was mentioning how Frost?Nixon was expected to take several awards. Well, I had never heard of Frost/Nixon and she couldn't think of the name of the movie. She was trying to describe it, and she was saying "You know; the one about Nixon;" and I said "You mean W?" Oh yes I did (you can feel bad for me; it's OK, I know that's pretty pathetic - but in my mind he's just as bad if not worse, so it made perfect sense to me.) Anyway, so I knew that there was going to be some movie that had something to do with Nixon. Then she said that she had seen "Slumdog Millionaire," but since I had never heard of that either, I just nodded because I had no idea what she was even saying. BUT, fast forward to the Golden Globes and "Slumdog" kicked some major booty. I TOTALLY want to see it now; and posted my status on Facebook as "Dying to see Slumdog Millionaire," and you would not believe how many people sent me messages telling me how amazing it is. SO, in case you've never heard of it, or haven't seen it - I have received MANY, MANY recommendations so you may want to check it out.

I think the biggest shock of the Golden Globes HAD to be that Mickey Rourke beat Sean Penn for the Best Actor in a drama category. Now, don't get me wrong. I used to love me some Mickey Rourke, back in the day. When I was in college (in Southampton;) we could not get very good TV reception, so we watched a lot of videos; and one of the videos that I owned and watched over and over again, was "9 1/2 Weeks;" and Why did I watch "9 1/2 Weeks" over and over again? That's right - because I'm a pervert. LOL No, no, just kidding - I watched it because I thought that Mickey Rourke was a freakin hottie!! Another movie that I love,that I used to watch over and over was "Diner," and yah, so Mickey Rourke just happened to be in that too - so you see what I mean here. I'm not picking on the Rourkster; I'm just saying that I don't think ANYONE, ever thought that Mick was the caliber actor that Spicolli is (oh, I am sorry I am just cracking myself up) OK, I mean Mr. Penn. And yet, he took it. Mickey got up there, and thanked his dogs; and not in the same way that Randy Jackson would mean it. He thanked his dogs past and present because he said "Sometimes all a man's got is his dogs."
OK, and so the fella did NOT age well. But I think we can attribute that to several years of hard living and many, many (failed) plastic surgeries. Look what A cutie he was; and I hate to say it but this "Now" pic, isn't even AS BAD as he actually looks right now - "Oh Mickey; you're (NOT) so fine." So sorry to have to say that. And PLEASE don't leave me a comment telling me that if can't say anything nice...

So, let me just say that I am SO excited for this year's Oscar nominations to be announced. I think it is going to be a GREAT year for the pool. A Great year for the Oscar's and if anyone would like more information about the pool, please email me at It doesn't matter if I don't know you personally, because I don't know the majority of the people in the pool. The pool has grown by word of mouth from friends; so there are no total strangers, but most I will probably never meet.
The Oscar nominations will be announced at 530AM Pacific time on Thursday, January 22nd. The Oscar's will take place on Sunday Feb 22nd and be hosted by Hugh Jackman; which I am actually very optimistic about; even though he's no Billy Crystal. Now, how often do you think Billy Crystal will ever hear that being said - or Hugh Jackman for that matter? I mean other than comparing them as Oscar hosts, would anyone EVER say "That Hugh Jackman; he's no Billy Crystal;" LOL. Just something to think about.
Till next time...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hershey (Mit out)

Lyndzi had been asking us for a Chihuahua puppy for quite some time. As I had no interest in cleaning up dog poop, I wasn't ready to back her on her request until I REALLY believed that SHE was ready to clean up dog poop - and a couple of months ago she convinced me that she was. I would support her when she would broach the puppy subject with Luis; but he was less convinced about her commitment AND he was concerned abut the cost of care and feeding of a pet; so I didn't fight him on this - yet, as we drove down to Mexico, I nonchalantly said "maybe we'll find a puppy for Lyndzi while we're away..."
When I saw Luis' younger brother Nacho (nickname for Ignacio) he told me that his wife's Chihuahua had had puppies in Sept. Nacho said that they had kept one because she was brown, the smallest, cutest and most playful - they named her Hershey (after the chocolate.) I told Nacho that we shouldn't let Lyndzi see the puppy because she wants one very badly; and of course, doll that he is, he said "we'll she can just have Hershey," to which I replied "Have you met your brother?" Nacho said that Hershey had already been getting her vaccinations, and he was sure that we would have no problem getting the necessary documents to take her home.
Nacho brought Hershey over the next day; and I must say - I think we ALL fell in love with her.
Luis relented and agreed that Lyndzi could have the puppy.

We got all of the necessary paperwork, and even had it translated; and then WE PRAYED. Even though everything was in order to take her into the U.S. you just never know what's going to happen when it comes to Customs & Immigration.
We had a wonderful ride home from Puerto Vallarta. Hershey included; (she was the perfect little traveller.) We were making good time UNTIL we got to the border in Nogales. We sat in bumper to bumper traffic for close to 5 hours. When we finally reached our customs agent; he looked exhausted. He said in a barely audible voice "How long were you waiting?" Luis politely said "About 4, 4 1/2 hours" and then Nicky said "It was 5 hours;" so I said "Nicky said it was 5 hours;" and then the customs agent shook his head and muttered "5 hours - just go;" and he pointed to drive through. That was it - welcome to America Hershey.
So their you have it - now we are the happy family of an authentic Mexican Chihuahua. I say authentic because even though Nacho and his wife speak English to me; they DO NOT speak English at home; so Hershey understands Spanish - NOT ENGLISH! I have no worries though; she'll probably be bi-lingual before my kids - LOL.

Now I must say, I find it kind of amusing that Luis asks ME questions about dogs, because this is a subject that I have very little knowledge of. Schmuley and I had really wanted a dog when we were kids. I remember that we got a beagle from the pound; her name was Lady. Queen of REMEMBERING THINGS that I usually am; for the life of me, I can't remember why we got rid of her, I just know that we didn't have her long. We then got a couple of kittens, but we still longed for a dog - you know, mans best friend and all that. We wanted a dog that we could play with and cuddle; and then one day, Richie Howell must have gotten a wild hair up his ass because he actually got us a dog; however, he got us a SHOW DOG! Enter - Tashi Sen Kai (translation - Blessed Lion Dog; according to Richie Howell.) OH yes, Tashi was a Lhasa Apso and to say that she was a Bitch is not just being ironic. Tashi was not lovable in the least, she was temperamental, and cold and to top it all off, the SHOW DOG, failed puppy kindergarten. Yup, Richie Howell made us take a class so that we could learn to SHOW Tashi (not that he himself ever went to the class.) I'll never forget the one show that I took her to. I walked her (best I could with her biting the lead) and she won best in breed. I was Really excited, until I found out that she was the only Lhasa Apso there. She then went on to win best in Class (and there actually were a couple of other dogs in this category) and so I had to walk her in Best in show, but alas she did not win. I don't think that we ever tried to show her again after that; but she was never that lovable, cuddly, best friend that we had hoped for.
As I was thinking back about Tashi, I had an epiphany of sorts. I thought to myself - maybe one of the reasons Tashi never liked us that much is because she could sense that we were disappointed with her. I mean she CLEARLY was NOT what we wanted. We wanted a dog to play Frisbee and sleep in our beds; not a little pisser who's only activity was getting brushed - woohoo! So, maybe we were somewhat responsible for the lack of love that she showed us; whereas, Hershey could not be more of what we wanted. She's playful, and cuddly and loving; AND as much as I believe in "signs" I think that my Nana (deceased maternal grandmother;) may have intervened on Lyndzi's behalf.
When Nana used to go to the Pines for the summer, she would play cards (Rummy) morning, noon, and night. I would stop in the card room several times a day to see her and give her a kiss; and she would always seem to have a stash of Hershey bars that she had gotten while she was in there. I don't know if they just gave them out, or she bought them (highly doubtful;) but she was a Hershey hoarder and I NEVER saw her eat one. Nana was from Russia, and she had a bit of a Russian, Yiddish accent and I can recall her clear as day saying to me (and my friends,) "Do you want a Hershey's?" And if You answered "Yes," she would always say "Mit almonds or Mitout." (Mit being the equivalent of With in English.)

Now Queen of COLOR that I am, I have a slightly difficult time accepting a reddish brown dog as a "Hershey," because to me a "Hershey" should be a chocolate brown; but I'm just gonna flow with this one, because I REALLY believe that Nana saw to it that this time we all got our Hershey - Mit out; and she will be the PERFECT little pet for our family.
Till next time...