Artichokes and Pink Martini

If you like artichokes, Pink Martini, knitting, then read on. If you are interested in the woes of losing the last 20 lbs or working in education, then read on. If you want to know what it's like to be an empty nester or to share that nest with to two dogs, then read on. If you want to know what the theme is for Monday night dinner, when the kayaks are going out, or who was at the Y at 5am, then read on. If none of this interests you, just hit the button that says "next blog", & read on.

Friday, June 30, 2006

The Inverter

Katie has been entertaining her friend Jenny this week before they both go off to Europe together. I'll be staying home to feed the dogs. As a last hurrah to Tacoma, we took Jenny to the Taste of Tacoma, a Farewell Girls Tradition.

Did you know that there are carnival rides at the Taste? Well I do because Katie tries to coerce me onto them every year. Me, I have a fear of heights. More accurately I have a fear of gravity and hard landings. But this year Katie had Jenny & Jenny wanted to go on the Inverter. Katie wasn't thrilled about the prospect, but being a good sport & a good friend, she went along.

Don't they look happy?

Now this is where Katie is starting to get a bit nervous (I would have been passed out at this point).

I think they are about to flip upside down again.

I am not sure if the hanging upside down, or the free fall was Katie's most favorite part.

Can you tell?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A shot of Pink Martini

Thanks to Tracy I discovered YouTube. He blogged this great video called "The Evolution of Dance". You really need to check out his blog, because it is hysterical. So I went to the YouTube website & did a search on Pink Martini (naturally), & what did I find but their music video for Sympathique. This was the first song that Thomas & China wrote together. As you can see by the video they must have filmed it years ago when they were but mere children. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Here Comes the Bride

Katie met Alicia there first day of high school. Funny little freshmen. It was that English class & the assignment was to write a bio about your partner and present it to the class. I still remember how excited Katie was when she came home and told me all about this girl that she had just met. She knew that they would be friends. Today, Katie was Alicia's Maid of Honor.

A Maid of Honor has a lot of very important duties. Putting on the Bachelorette Party, deorating the hall, doing hours upon hours of shopping and keeping the bride's dress straight during the ceremony.

And away they go, Mr. & Mrs. Dillehay (I had to write it down somewhere so I wouldn't forget how to spell it). A big change from "White", Alicia move up 19 letters in the alphabet, good going girl!

Time for the dance to start. It's time for the Maid of Honor and Best Man to show them how it's done.

Yum, the moment we have all been waiting for, lets cut the cake. Aren't they sweet and sooooo polite. I think Alicia laid down the law, mess the dress and sleep in the car on the wedding night.

So why LA???

What better reason could there be to get on a plane and go to LA but Pink Martini. I bought tickets last fall when I heard that they were playing at my alma mater.

That would be Royce Hall on the UCLA campus. Boy, has the campus changed since I graduated, errrrrr, sometime in the last century.

In fact, the biggest change was the hotel that we stayed in. The W Hotel in Westwood borders the campus, but was married student housing when I was an undergrad. It is so nice that it is unrecognizable as to what is was in a former life. Just remember when you stay at the W, make sure you talk to Laurie at the concierge desk and you will have an experience that is guarenteed over the top!

I saved the best for last. We noticed that the television commercials are very different in So Cal than they are in the Northwest. Likewise, so are the instructions posted above the button you push before you cross the street. Thinkin' they may be a little paranoid about crossing the street ... or are they??? All I can say is that there is no place like home ...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Mmmmmm Yummy!

LA has yarn! Who knew??? We ended up in a great store in Santa Monica called L'atelier on Montana. As you can see, thanks to our spokesmodel Jessica "Vanna" Soliday, they have yarn galore! We almost missed it because of the Big Sign on the front advertising the Dog Groomer behind their store. They were so nice to let us in at closing time that we went back the next day, just to help out the Southern California economy. I know the Governator was counting on us.

As soon as we walked in Sarah and Jenn bellied up to the bar. The purse bar that is. It's a great display with recipes and all of the ingredients to make fantastic felted purses. I like purses.

One of the redeeming qualities of California is their fresh fruits and vegetables which were abundant in every restaurant that we were in. The prize for the most abundant went to Literati 2. (Their original spot, the Literati Cafe is right next door and has a better website to check out). Anyway, they had this Steamed Artichoke on the appetizer menu ... need I say more?

And after you get done munching on all of those fabulous leaves, look at the heart that is left behind!!! That sucker was at least 4" across. I have eaten a lot of artichokes in my lifetime but I have never seen an artichoke heart this big. When it arrived at our table, I looked like Homer Simpson staring at a room full of beer, complete with drool dripping from my lower lip. MMMMMMMMMMM artichoke!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Oh Moon Doggie???

The white women of Tacoma hit Venice Beach in search of surfer boys. No Moon Doggie, no Gidget, no Frankie, no Annette ... sigh. Maybe our pale skin scared them off. At least we have the Pacific Ocean rolling over our toes ... look out Sarah, you might get wet if you don't move quick.

Ahhhhh palm trees. They are everywhere in LA. Wherever you look up, there they are. And they are very cooperative when you want to pose in pictures with them.

Venice is where you can find Muscle Beach. It is the happenin' place if you are into rippling muscles and strutting peacocks. Jenn met a peacock who wanted to share some of his best moves with her. Does she look buff or what??? It must be working.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

LA's the place

So what's the first thing that you do when you arrive in LAX??? Find your limo of course! OK girls, ready to hit the BIG city???

After seeing Scott Baio at breakfast (that's Chacci from Happy Days fellow baby boomers), its off to Hollyweird. Here the girls pose with one of the big dogs in front of Gruman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd. Hollywierd, is the place to do some serious people watching.

No Jennifer, that doesn't count as holding Johnny Depp's hand. But since that will be as close as you get this trip, you just milk it for all it's worth girlfriend!

Now for people watching on the other end of the spectrum, it's off to Rodeo Drive. This is the fountain right across from the famous Beverly Wilshire,the co-star of Pretty Woman & Beverly Hills Cop. Cool bathrooms right off the lobby, you really need to check them out. This is also right below the restaurant 208 Rodeo. Great food, just don't think about pilfering the fabulous salt grinder on the tables, the Manager Jeff will get mmaaaaaaadddddd.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

My Fabulous and Rare Varigated Gingko

Isn't it beautiful? Isn't it amazing??? And so rare. At least Peter had never seen one before when we spotted one at the Tacoma Flower Show PREVIEW Gala. We would have bought it right then and there but the vendor was no where to be found. I suggested just writing a check and leaving it in the booth and taking the plant. In retrospect, I should have and will next year.

But it was a pricey little bugger so I was sure it would be waiting for me when I returned afterschool the next day. So I zoomed from school, paid my $20 to park and $15 to get into the show again. (Did I mention that I had already spent a ridiculous amount of money to get into the show the night before so I could purchase any plant I wanted before the general public got a crack at it?) Then I called Peter, who was doing the same thing to say neener, neener, neeeeeeener, beat cha! (In retrospect this was probably also a mistake) He was just leaving Fife and I was almost breaking into a jog to get to the vendor.

Oh oh! I am not spotting the Fabulous and Rare Varigated Gingko. So I asked the man, the one who didn't have the professionalism to show up the night before, where was the Fabulous and Rare Varigated Gingko? Oh, it sold first thing this morning. But I saw it last night. Then with the world's biggest, dumbest grin he told me, First come, First serve. This did not go over well. I can't tell you if it was what he said or the way he said it, but I began to feel hot steam escaping from my ears. Did I mention that I still had Peter on the phone and I think I was detecting some giggling? At this point, my composure and civility took a sudden. downward spiral. I began to lay into this retail menace as he stared at me, grin widening. He didn't think he could sell during the Gala. I stated that Peter and I didn't have any problem spending a ton of money with the other vendors. Did he have or could he get any others? Nope, that was the only one, it being so fabulous and rare. I think my face began to emit a red glow at this point. And I was definitely hearing giggling on the other end of the phone. Deep breath.

So this trip and the expenses acured wouldn't be a total waste, I asked Peter if there were any plants he didn't get last night that I could get for him today? I admit that was like asking the biggest stoner you knew in high school if they would be interested in one more little toke. Of course, there were two plants. Both at this very vendor. So the whole getting mad at him and I will never, ever do business with you thing was totally wasted as I wrote him an $85 check.

Now fast forward to this past Saturday when i was picking up my Vespa. Peter calls and asks me if I remembered the Fabulous and Rare Varigated Gingko? Well of course. So guess what kind of plant he found at Bamford and Bamford? No, he didn't? Yes, he did. And he bought it. And as fate would have it, about the time he was ready to leave, the owner showed up and he had a conversation with her about the Fabulous and Rare Varigated Gingko. It seems that even though he just bought it, it wasn't really for sale. But she had left the price tag on it and since her employee sold it, she would honor the sale. So then Snidely Peter asked her where she got it. (Are you sitting down, because I am) Oh she picked up at the Tacoma Flower and Garden Show from a vendor right when they opened on Friday morning. This was the same Fabulous and Rare Varigated Gingko. Was that Peter still giggling on the phone? Lucky for me, he is such a good and kind and thoughtful friend, he is extending me a generous visitation plan where I can go visit my plant any time I want to in his backyard. How truly fortunate for me.

Monday, June 19, 2006

They don't look like Birkenstocks?

Well they are. I call these my Vespa Birkenstocks. It was an incomprehensible blow when I realized that I couldn't wear my Birkenstocks while riding a Vespa, even though I have a pair that match the scooter perfectly! Something about having to stop the scooter, turn it off, put it on the center stand (still a challenge for me) and then walk back to collect my toes that are now scattered across the asphalt behind me. Sigh!

So even though I bought these boots at the Workwear store and they are manufactured by I don't remember who, I am calling them my Vespa Birkenstocks. It just makes me feel better to think that I am still wearing Birkenstocks, so just go with me on this!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lil' Cruise to Seattle

It was a sunny day so I took a quick drive up to Seattle. Pretty Space Needle.

Then, with the help of Robert & Tracy, I brought this fabulous Green Vespa home. I know this may seem like an impulse buy, but, truth be told, I started shopping for scooters in the early 80's. Back then it was a Red Honda Elite (a Green Vespa was worth the 20+ year wait). It's not that I have been doing research all these years or that I have a difficult time spending money. I can spend money really quick if I can rationalize it into being practical, or I can get something purely for the fun of it if I give it to or share it with someone else. But something totally fun, just for me? That takes about 20 years of perseverating to accomplish that.

But this was green and I just couldn't let it go. I mean it goes so well with just everything in my closet. And it's so cute.

When I first mentioned this to my own personal devil's advocate, Rob, I got the big lecture. I had to take the basic motorcycle safety course, get a helmet, gloves, jacket & BOOTS (almost the deal breaker). No Birkenstocks? Tear. Sniffle. Hey, I remember those 1950s & 60s Italian movies. I don't remember Audrey Hepburn wearing boots in Roman Holiday. I believe she was wearing some strappy sandals of her own. Not to mention the lack of helmet, etc, and the fact that she was wearing a DRESS! But the real trajedy is that I have a pair of birks that match this bike perfectly. I just had to go around the block in them just once. Sigh. Going out to buy icky, black, clunky boots on Sunday. Sigh. Going to be safe and responsible. Sigh. Never watching Roman Holiday again (it's just too painful). sigh.

Katie's Turn?

One more quick look at how fabulous I look on this bike. Fabulous!

So we didn't even get it off of the truck before Katie jumped on. Good thing she did, because that will be the only riding that she does, when it is strapped down in a truck. You go girl! No riding for you young lady until you get your motorcycle learners permit (i got mine yesterday) and complete the motorcycle safety course (maybe twice).

And it will be a while before I feel comfortable and safe giving passengers a lift. So, if you can't wait to jump on the back of a two wheeled motor vehicle and have that "Easy Rider" experience, talk to the Ducati across the street. Hi Jason.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Katie's Home!

After a final exam, checking out of the dorm and a whole lot of driving, Katie arrived home. Yeah! A plate of bangers and mash from Doyles were waiting for her. She was pretty excited. And very hungry.

As you can see from the picture below, Mother and Daughter have been reunited and are back where they belong.

Famous Artist in our midst!!!

Did you know that we have a local celebrity at Monday night dinners??? That would be our own Chris Sharp. He is featured in today's issue of the Tacoma News Tribune.

Check out the article and you will find out that there is an official Chris Sharp Tour that you can take to see Chris Sharp originals around town. And if that is not enough Chris Sharp for you, his work is on display at The Swiss.

So make sure to buy a newspaper tonight and bring it to Monday Night and maybe, if you are lucky, the artist himself may sign it for you.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Whoooo Hooooo, SCHOOL'S OUT!

Summer, is a wonderful thing. It has been a very challenging year in a new job, and I have been looking forward to this day for a very long time! At this point, next year is a mystery, so I am just going to enjoy the heck out of my time off.

Katie's coming home tonight! YEAH!!! But the next two weeks will be busy ones for her before she leaves for her trip to Europe. Lucky kid.

I could go on about all my summer plans, but I won't. You'll just have to wait for the pictures on the blog. For now I am just enjoying sitting in bed, after my shower, typing on the laptop and knowing that everything I get to do today (and for the next 80 days at least) is totally my choice.

In the imortal words of Tigger, "TTFN" (ta ta for now)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Welcome to Chicago

A road trip can be such a bonding experience for friends.

After 4 solid days of driving, Rob and Stu have arrived in Chicago. And they are really still speaking to each other (just wait until they have to unload that truck), so the trip was a success. Just don't ask how many times they had to fill up the gas tank to the tune of $80 each time. Ouch!

Stu has been sending me pictures and videos via phone throughout the journey. And I must admit, on the very small screen Montana looks like Wyoming looks like South Dakota looks like Iowa. But he said the scenery was beautiful so I will just have to trust him on that.

So, it's official, Rob is Mid-Westerner once again.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sunday at Doyle's

A little bit of Ireland in Tacoma on a sunny, Sunday afternoon. How does it get any better than this?

Some girls are lucky enough to have a date with a nice guy on a Sunday night. Me, I am more than lucky. I had a dinner date with not one but two handsome, exciting and interesting men. This was Tracy and Robert's first time at Doyle's. But if you can judge from empty plates and glasses, it won't be their last.

Tracy ordered the bangers & mash. the moaning started from the very first bite. He said that it reminded him of the pub food he got in England. Then we found out that these bangers (sausages in the English english) came all the way from a supplier in London. Hear that Katie? And Tracy says they are good.

Robert succumbed to the sheppard's pie. Yum! Does it look like he is enjoying it? I think we have a winner here!

Good bye Rob

This is it. Rob is headed to Chicago with his trusty sidekick Stuart. Stuart was the go to guy this week through the packing odyssey. And now he will serve as co-pilot and unpacker for the long journey ahead. So this is the before picture, hopefully they will be smiling in another 2108.83 miles. If you do the math that's 30 + hours of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota & Illinois. Talk about your partying like rock stars!

So this is a picture of all that is left of Rob in Tacoma. A dirty old pair of socks that he left at my house. Gone but not forgotten.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Pack Man!

Rumor has it that Rob is moving to Chicago ... but this week he was just all about the packing.

Here we have the front of the truck.

And here we have the back of the truck. He came, he saw, he packed, and packed and packed. Then it was time to get loaded ... er, the truck that is. And to think it only took a week.

But it couldn't have happened without a little help from his friends. Here is Jill and Matt, don't they look like the happy helpers? A whole lot of beer will do that for you.

Rob's navigators, Mannequin head & Kermit, discuss the proposed routes for the long journey east. Bon Voyage!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Sunny & Saturday

Sunny & Saturday, can you imagine? That almost never happens in June. Sunny & Monday, maybe, but never Sunny & Saturday. But today it did happen. So we were obligated to go out and enjoy it. And boy did we ever.

So Katie, take a look at the next 3 pictures and tell me where we went.

You're right. We went straight to The Center of The Known Universe (for out of towners, that means Fremont). Where else could you find a statue of Lenin and a VW eating Troll as the most photographed residents? Along with some of the most amazing food that you can enjoy, yum! While we were driving down Fremont Ave. we saw the residents building floats for the annual Summer Solstice Parade on June 17th. You know floats, crazy costumes & naked bicycle riders.

Speaking of people riding 2 wheeled contraptions ... Katie, whaddya think? Do I look hot on a Vespa or what??? And its GREEN. That's my tough easy rider look, complete with tatoo. Rob says I can't wear birkenstocks while riding (which was almost a deal breaker). So you'll be proud of me, I visited, I sat, but I didn't buy, but it was close. they should have never told me that the green has been discontinued and they only have 4 left in Seattle. Sigh.

And one last parting shot of the Emerald City, basking in the sun on a warm, June Saturday.