Green Grass on the Other Side of Road Trips

South on the 101

 

The solstice is still two days away, yet it seems summer has been in full swing for weeks in spite of skies so thick with the seasonal grey we’re accustomed to it’s been misty from time to time.  We began celebrating college graduations and finished doctoral work mid-May, then educator friends’ wistful counting of days remaining until the school year ends mingled with cheers for three of our nieces and nephews recently graduated from high school.

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Somewhere in the shuffle of events, the MoH and I made a quick road trip to San Francisco to collect the RT and his meager belongings.  His second semester in college was under his belt and planning for how we’d manage transporting the three of us and his stuff back home became a sort of puzzle considering we no longer had the space my old Acura afforded us.  Instead, a MINI would have to get the job done.  I thought about it long enough and decided it was possible as long as I could put the MoH and RT on a flight home and I could drive the belongings back to San Diego by myself.

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Wordless Wednesday Contrasts

If you haven’t been reading my blog for any length of time, then you need to know that my idea of Wordless Wednesday is to write less than four or five pages in a single post and add photos. That would be today, even though the orange glow of the setting sun on the houses across the street reminds me that this is easily categorized as better late than never.

Whatever.

I have a foodie blog friend who lives in Ohio who often mentions their weather in less than loving terms. Suffice it to say that her description of mornings finding her car door frozen shut have been quite colorful and completely hilarious.

I have been hounding her for photographs of her home town all winter, and yesterday I received them. Oh. My. Goodness. I had a clue because my mom recently moved to upstate New York and has sent me a few, but she isn’t out in her car. No sirree.

So… I ran outside and took a few of my own photos to warm her up. I figured since most of you live in places much more…um…FRIGID than I do, I’d warm you up also.

It has been in the mid-seventies for two days now. Even I like it which is semi-miraculous considering the grumpster I am about Paradise and sunshine.

We slept with our windows open last night, and today?

Today I put on my shorts, went for a walk, and sat down by the beach waiting for the RTR to finish up with his math tutor (news at eleven…) and watched the surfers.

Totally excellent. Dude.

Jeez, Lis… Look what’s blooming in my garden…
I can’t believe you gotta deal with this… Even the damn palm tree next door that houses all the squawking crows was looking gorgeous…
It looks just like Christmas, Lis… Our street is pretty empty, too…
The trees are so perfect, Lis… But the sunset was completely amazing today…
Everything looks like a delicate work of art… Some would say this is spectacular, too…
Your “outside” looks a lot different than mine, Lis… Here’s my view at sunset tonight, February 27th…

Politics & Paradise: What’s your vote?

*If you want to make a comment, please click on the title of the post…sorry. Don’t know why the comment button at the bottom of the post isn’t functional. I’ll get around to figuring it out after I’m done complaining.*

I’ve been biting my tongue about politics and the various campaigns for the presidency. It isn’t because I don’t have an opinion. Hell will freeze over before I am caught without an opinion, let alone one as important as how the next four to eight years of my life will be influenced. That’s right. When you really get down to business, it’s really all about me.

Just kidding.

But I have been circling my wagons, and keeping an eye on the situation. It’s quite challenging to watch debates like the one CNN aired last night when I was lovingly kneading what would turn out to be a fragrant braid of Finnish Pulla. Does Mitt Romney ever, EVER stop talking? And does he ever NOT have that smirk on his face? I can barely bring myself to listen to anything he says. And when I hear him, I don’t believe any of it.

Remember the old Charlie Brown cartoons on television? When the adults spoke, they sounded like, “Mwha-wah-wha-mwah-wah-ah…”. That would be Mitt for me, except his diatribe is more like, “blahblahblahblahdee-blahdee-blahhhhhhh. Chuckle.” Go ahead and plug your nose, grin like a silly ass and try it. It’s annoying. He’s annoying. His eyes are glittery, which can’t be good. And he’s accomplished at the “he said, she said” junior high school game which doesn’t look good on a man in his position. Wait. Dubyah’s good at it, too.

Ugh. It’s all so depressing. *this is the part where Chicken Little can be heard saying, “The sky is falling…the sky is falling…”*

Not too long ago, NPR was interviewing people about the Republican candidate they’d most likely vote for and why, and more than one woman in the “my age” bracket actually mentioned that at least he “looked presidential,” and that’s why they’d vote for him.

Excuse me?

Don’t you wonder about people who actually don’t have a problem saying things like that for a national audience? Okay, so ANY audience. Oh. My. Gawd.

Or my personal favorite comes from women who state that they vote the way their husbands vote. You know, so they won’t cancel each other out? Huh? They’re kidding, right? As much as one might think these voters could be compared to June Cleaver, I’d say June was a tough mother and most likely had Ward voting her way or else he’d be sleeping with the Beev. Yanno?

Continue reading “Politics & Paradise: What’s your vote?”

San Diego Chargers WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Legal Celebration of Game!

In spite of completely ROTTEN refs and Peyton Commercial King Manning, the Sunshine Boys have won. Without L.T. and without their first string quarterback.

Clearly, the MoH and the RTR are not very happy…Bwahahahahahaha!

Of course the carnage on the field is allowing the New Cheating England Patriots some glee in anticipation of their supposed perfect season and Super Bowl win.

But.

The fat lady has not yet begun to sing.

Just wait.

Cheaters never win, Bill.

Brain Malarkey Cooked for Us

Screw the memes I have to do. (I really WILL do them. I promise. And my fingers are NOT crossed behind my back.)

But the MoH and I had the perfect recipe for a Monday. We went to our local cook’s haven, Great News in Pacific Beach and spent the evening with Brian Malarkey.

What?

You don’t know who Brian Malarkey is? Feh. Where have you been? He was one of the finalists on Top Chef this year, and the recipient of Chef of the Year from the San Diego Restaurant Association. Of course he should have won Top Chef, but that’s beside the point. WE got to enjoy his magnetic personality, sense of humor, and great cuisine tonight. Here. In Paradise. It was so worth it. IMG_5180.JPG

The sky was clear, the air clean, and the Pacific stretched as far as the eye could see. That orange glow was shimmering just above the deep blue horizon. Gorgeous. But a tad cool. Okay, so about 50 degrees F.

But I forgot my camera. So how convenient that we were an HOUR early and I could whiz home to get it and then slide into my seat and look forward to a couple of glasses (well…three if you count the one the MoH didn’t quite finish) of Two Buck Chuck. And the MoH says after the class, “That was pretty good…what was it?” “Koolaide,” I replied, “and you’ll be sorry in the morning.”  The MoH does not imbibe.

IMG_5172.JPG The menu for this cooking class was “Asian Inspired Malarkey.” Brian is the executive chef at The Oceanaire here in San Diego. Of course, we seemed to be the only people in the audience who hadn’t eaten there, but that’s because we’re busy paying taxes. We love to eat out, but only do so on special occasions during the year. Actually, we thought we’d enjoy The Oceanaire before this Monday’s class, but time has gotten away from us lately. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to improve our record in that department, getting out to try local food more than we do. I know. Quite the novel concept. Where would San Francisco be without all those Food Bloggers sampling local faire? S.O.L.

Ahem.

The menu Brian and his right hand man prepared for the 50+ group this evening was lovely:

Kumamoto Oysters on the Half Shell with an Asian Inspired Mignonette Kumamoto Oysters on the Half Shell with an Asian Inspired Mignonette

Sesame Crusted Big Eye Tuna with Ocean Salad and Micro Wasabi Sesame Crusted Big Eye Tuna with Ocean Salad and Micro Wasabi

Shiitake Mushroom and Ginger Soup with Bean Sprouts and Cilantro Shiitake Mushroom and Ginger Soup with Bean Sprouts and Cilantro

Japanese 7 Spice Petite Filet Mignon with Ginger Butter Japanese 7 Spice Petite Filet Mignon with Ginger Butter

Green Tea Ice Cream (from a local vendor whose name I regrettably did not get)

Y.U.M. Truly. We’d never had oysters before. Clams, yes. Mussels, yes. But oysters? Um. Nope. So this was big. And I appreciated what Brian had to say about them because the information helps when you slurp something live into your mouth and do notice the slightly briny “Mermaid’s Kiss” with a hint of cilantro as you swallow the creature and smile.

I did not get a stripe on my arm for this accomplishment, but I FEEL good. DAH-duh-DAH-duh-DAH-duh-DAH.

The Ahi Tuna? Oh. My. Sesame seeds all ’round and seared and then sliced and served with a compound butter. Goodness. I love Ahi this way. But what really made it was the “ocean” salad we waited for while Brain took questions (mostly from the MoH) about his Top Chef experience. The seaweed, thinly sliced and plated under the ahi was perfect. Fresh . Crunchy. Amazing. Totally. I have seared ahi with sesame seeds, but would never have thought to have the seaweed. Who knew? Delicious. It has to be THE reason why I’m a morsel and not a lithe waif. *Make a note to strike the Barefoot Contessa like I didn’t already know this.* Just kidding, Ina. Could you send me a pound of buttah, please?

IMG_5174.JPG And Brian’s Top Chef experience details were interesting, too: He didn’t get to speak to his wife for FIVE weeks. They take away your wallet, your keys, your cell — everything. And then, if I’m getting this correctly, they send frequent letters reminding you of your obligation to remain silent on the outcome of the show. With respect to the filming, each day, there’s either a quick challenge, or a main preparation. In Brian’s opinion, the only quick challenge that mattered was the one that took place at the French Culinary Academy (I’m sure I’ve gotten this incorrect). And speaking of culinary academies in general, in his opinion, those interested in his line of work would be better served volunteering for a few hard days with a chef, then signing on to work in that kitchen (if you passed the chef’s scrutiny) and learning from the ground up. You’d earn money as you were learning, as opposed to paying nearly 50K going to an academy. Sounds good to me. Maybe in my next life since I’ve essentially learned by trial and error, reading, by example, and anything else that counts for the last 40 years or so.

Other points of interest in the evening: Brian recommended many local places to find great ingredients, and fresh food. I did know of a few, but a couple I can’t wait to schlep to are San Diego Coffee, Tea, and Spice which concocts the spice mixtures Brian used, and Specialty Produce which is where the chefs in San Diego get their goods. Now how could I have NOT known about this? Unbelievable. I’m there this coming Saturday.

News at Eleven.

Anyway…it was a lovely evening. The worst part about it was the ending, and finding out that it was still Monday, instead of Friday, which would have been perfect.

An early birthday present for the MoH with more to come later in the week.

What’s up with these December babies, anyway?

Gluttons.
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Sunshine and Big Surf

This morning when I popped out of bed… *wait, that was yesterday*

This morning, after I listened to the guy who rants each morning on the radio station the alarm is set on, I got up a bit more slowly than yesterday and went right to the window. I always do this. It’s a strange habit that helps me think about what kind of day it will be, thereby informing me about the attire I might don for the day. How sad is that?

But I’d opened the window about an inch last night just to hold the flashing demons at bay. Hot flash demons. Not demons who flash. Well, unless they’re menopausal demons, and then I supposed they’d flash. And if they were creative demons they could do that more than one way.

Moving right along…

Because the window was open, I could hear the sound it took us a while to adjust to when we first moved here. That distant roar when the wind is just right, or there’s been a storm in the Pacific. It was very loud this morning, and I could smell the salt in the air.

Of course I had to go outside and listen. I had to stand in my driveway and enjoy it, weather related phenomenon starved human that I am.

I went back in the house and had to tell the MoH, so I turned off the radio to his moaned, “Nooooooo…” and threw open the window. “Listen! Can you hear it? Cool, huh?” Although he was less than enthused, he didn’t throw anything at me, because he’s a weather sap, too.

I knew I’d be down oogling the waves before the day was out. But the MoH couldn’t wait. He drove down to the beach before work this morning.

Can’t you just smell the salt?
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The air was misty blocks away, and the sidewalks damp.

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The surfers were out in clusters, just waiting for that perfect wave.

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And lifeguards were just waiting for that surfer who couldn’t quite make that perfect wave.

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Spectators lined the coast to watch the show. There were so many people in business attire mixed in the crowd, the productivity level must have been non-existent in nearby offices.

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The sea wall near the Children’s Pool was closed.

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The seals were thoroughly uninterested, however, and basked as they normally do in the early afternoon sun.

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Just another day in Paradise.

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Dear Whomever is in charge of Coastline spying…

Nine days and counting on NaBloPoMo…Yay! It’s Friday. The downside is that the weekend is when I have a tendency to drop a posting day. But not this month! I’m on it, pecking away, and fighting with my date stamp which is completely driving me nuts…

November 9, 2007

Mike McConnell

Director of National Intelligence

Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir:

Although I’m sure that you’ve been briefed about the recent discovery of yet another boat left on the shore in a neighboring beach community, I felt the need to share a few thoughts I’ve had with respect to the idea of security in our country. Since this is the second such occurrence in less than two months, the last of which took place not two miles from my home, I’d say there should be some eyebrows raised about what constitutes “safe.”

I’m not paranoid, but still.

  1. What difference does continuing to process everyone at the airport make if people can ride the surf packed in small boats in the dark and jump onto the shore to enter the country? Mind you, I’m not referring to the fact that they’re entering the country illegally. I’m suggesting that being able to enter in this fashion at all would be a problem. Where’s their security check-in processing and wand-style detector waving session?
  2. It’s just wonderful that so much of everyone’s time is spent “securing the border” with those more concerned about “illegals” coming to work in the country as it is needing to know who they are and if they’re someone to be concerned about. Are you having a bit of that “it’s not my job” difficulty between your departments? The Border Patrol doesn’t speak to the Coast Guard who isn’t expected to acknowledge the existence of ICE. I’m sure I left one out.
  3. Perhaps you are paying attention to the coastline, and you already knew who those people were that got out of those boats, and had decided that they were harmless. That you’d let the local authorities round them up at some point so people around here won’t get their panties in a wad because more undocumented people gained access to the land of opportunity. Yes, perhaps you knew.
  4. I would hope that because Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have recognized that human smuggling using boats is a “seasonal phenomenon in San Diego, with smugglers trying to blend in with pleasure boat traffic during warmer months,” that they also acknowledge that not many boats are out in the dark, especially near shore. Well at least not boats without lights, and packed with people who all happen to be wearing black. Now, they could be New Yorkers lost on their way to a party in L.A. by way of the Panama Canal, but still.
  5. You might want to have some of your agents dress like drunks and lay on the rocks to keep an eye on things. Or, you could just pay the people who already do that. I haven’t seen any signs down at the shore that say “Will Spy for Booze,” but it’s only a matter of time if these boats keep pulling in.

Thanks for your time on this matter. I’m sure your departments or agencies, or whatever you call them will get this figured out and actually communicate on the matter.

Sincerely,

Me

p.s. You could probably call Arnold on this.