Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Partygirls unite!

A while back I tried to embed this video, stating that it would be my new theme song for this summer. Go ahead. Click through. I'll wait.

Then I forgot about it until it was used in a routine for SYTYCD.

I don't know about you but it kind of reminds me of my evenings out on the town. The first video, not the second. Well, maybe a little of the second.


Now y'all know that I am all about the partying. But I also like to stay safe. Most will say that you are safe because you have a cellphone. Guess what? That may not be the case.

Back when I was working for the Death Star, I went into San Francisco to take a test. On my way back to the office, a group of three guys tried to mug me. I escaped, unharmed, and immediately hit "911" on my phone. Guess what? In California your call is sent to the nearest State Police dispatcher. In my case, that would be Vallejo. And if you're familiar with the Bay Area, then you know how far away this is. Then this dispatcher contacts the local PD. The delay in relaying the message could mean your life.

As a result of this incident, I have always kept the number for the police in my city programmed in my phone. Pre-iPhone, this number was one of my one touch dialing options. Now it's one of my favorites.

Please look up the number for your local PD and program it into your phone. It could be a matter of life or death.

And big props out to Fluffycat for our conversation that made me remember this tidbit.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Playing with fire

This weekend I had to go out and make yet another purchase. Because me and the propane were just not getting along. I needed charcoal.

And so tonight I fired up the new grill to try it out. And to see if I could still get some coals going. The mahi-mahi turned out wonderfully. And for a different taste, I topped it with a plantain-pineapple chutney.

Now what to grill next...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thoughts of food

Today I had totally planned on posting new food photos. Because they would be the balance to the rest of my weekend. But I got into a long conversation with my dad instead. Some crap about me being the bigger person.

The food thing was really important to me. I'd like to tell y'all that I'm a former partygirl but this weekend perhaps proves that "former" is a myth that exists purely in my mind.

As I planned the menu, I thought of all the other things that I could avoid discussing about Friday night. I wouldn't share that early in the evening I exclaimed, "Do I look like my name is Divine Brown?" I wouldn't discuss the fun of riding down the street while sitting on the lap of a quadriplegic in his electric wheelchair. (One of the benefits of sitting on the lap of a quadriplegic? We are all supermodel skinny because they can't feel our weight.) Throw into the mix that I also ran into Random Boy,

This sealed it. I needed to write about food. I needed to forget Friday. Because most folks would think that Friday was an anomaly but for me it was perfectly normal. And that's what scares me. The thinking it's all normal. If it wasn't for the fact that I had my eyes dilated this afternoon, I would be out right now. Because going out is addictive to me. Over the last couple of weeks, I have had to think about this. And then I realized the truth.

I am a partygirl. That is my nature. And sometimes I cook food in between the parties. Because to be anything else is too boring -- and depressing -- in my book. I can do "normal" but it just makes me want to curl up and die.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

An epiphany of sorts

I work for a company that has 120 employees at its peak. Of the 120, 6 of us are female. I'll let that sink in. One more time. Six of us are female. Out of 120. It is the epitome of "working in a man's world."

When I tell folks about my typical day at work, many folks are shocked. Mostly about the stuff that comes out of my mouth while at work. I drop f-bombs quite liberally. I make all kinds of hand gestures. Today I threatened to flog one of the guys. And one of my coworkers regularly threatens the guys with punching them in their throats. It's a weird dynamic. We have made them fear our ire. I also know they recognize that we're smart. We can do stuff that they can't. And I'm not talking about giving birth. It's a question of why they treat us as they do -- the fear of bodily harm or the respect of our intellect.

Being at work is like being around my dad's family to me -- I'm just one of the guys. Like I said previously, I don't wear skirts or dresses to work that often. When I do, it's like I'm not really one of the guys anymore; I'm that chick with legs. And I like being one of the guys.

I also like to protect my wardrobe as I often have to go into the warehouse. And there was that time I climbed the ladder. As a result the guys keep joking about sending me out on walks. OK with me. I make good money but they make even better. They know that I want to understand everything that they do. The thing that I have learned through my experiences in life is that if you're female and give certain guys a doe-eyed look, they'll tell you all kinds of things. Things that can help you get a better job. And sometimes my inner feminist screams her head off but then I tell her, "By any means necessary." Because it's not like there's any sex or stuff like that. Well, maybe in their minds but can I help that?

What got me going through this whole train of thought was this song. (Wish I could have embedded the video but apparently it's not allowed. And yeah, I still love this song.)

I can tell the guys to kiss my ass, to fuck themselves, whatever because I bail their asses out just as many times as I tell them what they can do. And if I didn't, I would have been laid off when the receptionist was. Then again she never told them to kiss her ass so maybe there's something to it all.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hidden gem

It seems that there were only two takers on Sunday's contest -- David Dust and Maddie. Well, they were both correct and since I bought two items for prizes, they will each be receiving their prize soon.

The most time I spent at any one location on Sunday in my travels was at Filoli. Numerous movies and TV shows have used the estate for filming but as Maddie correctly surmised, I was looking for Dynasty. And yes, what many think of as the home of the Carringtons is actually Filoli.

I started off with the self-guided tour of the house.

And then it was on to the gardens. I didn't cover all of them. Apparently there are 16 acres of gardens.

I wrapped up my visit with lunch in the cafe. While eating, I thought about returning. And so I became a member. That way if I want to get out and am stuck for an idea, I can just pop over for a quick visit.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Pacific

During this past week, I thought about my connection with water. I mean I am a Cancer after all. And so many Cancers I know have a great love of water -- not necessarily being on it but being by it. It makes me wonder about this whole astrology thing.

Me? I love being by water. I love being on it. I remember being on Lake Berryessa at age nine or so and riding on the front (Shoot me for not knowing the technical term.) of a boat. Riding on a catamaran on Mission Bay in San Diego. Or speeding across Chesapeake Bay, many years later, in the front of a Chaparral. On the latter, I felt every bump to the point that I thought that I just had to have visible bruises over most of my body. I see a large body of water and a calm comes over me. Suddenly all the stuff that has been jumbling around in my head, falls into place and makes sense. The bigger the body of water, the greater the clarity.

And then I started thinking about where I have lived over my life. With the exception of that year in Bend (not my choice), I have always lived near water. Specifically I have always lived in close proximity to an ocean. I cannot imagine living otherwise.

As I drove on Sunday, I started thinking about my relationship with the Pacific. The most time I have spent on beaches has been in San Diego and Mexico. But that is not my Pacific -- the one that I got to know during my childhood.

My Pacific is often shrouded in fog that hides the possible dangers. While the cove may look inviting, any native of northern California has a number of things running through his/her mind.

"If I go into the water, how long before the hypothermia sets in?"

"Is there a riptide? Why ask this ridiculous question? Of course, there's a riptide."

"Where is the tide right now? I know there are probably rocks. But are there ones that I can't see right now?"

"If I go out far enough, is there something prehistoric lurking beneath the surface that will try to make me a permanent part of the ocean?"

We think all of these things but we are drawn back by the hypnotic sound of the waves crashing.

The Pacific of places like San Diego? It is warm and inviting. My Pacific is a bit darker, menacing. It dares us to confront it. To reconcile it all.

And maybe it's for this reason that I find peace while looking at my Pacific. Especially after a week in which I have been called all kinds of horrid things by people who claim to love me.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Guess what

I know that some of you are sitting around saying to yourselves, "That triflin' beyotch has once more not posted a Saturday quiz. What gives?" I hope this makes up for it.

This weekend I made yet another outing. I went to a couple of places but spent the most time at the place pictured above. It has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows. I have a specific TV show in mind though. And so we have a contest -- complete with prizes that I picked up on my trip there. Just answer the following:

1. What TV show (that I'm thinking of) was this place featured on?

2. What is the name of the place?

You have until 12:01 am PDT on Tuesday, July 21 to submit your answer in the comments. In the event that more than one person gives the correct answer, I will determine the winner by random drawing from all of those who gave a correct answer.

While you think, I leave you with more exterior shots of the place. More will follow on Tuesday's post when I announce the winner(s).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Home grown

I have been enjoying the few purchases I made on Sunday this entire week. Seeing the Santa Rosa plums, instantly put me in mind of this combo -- grilled plums with duck breast. (The meal was completed with some of the leftover chard and couscous with pine nuts and golden raisins.) It's another thing that I haven't made in about two years or so. The plums weren't quite as sweet as I would have liked them to be. I guess it's too early in the season. And the last time I made this, I believe I used Muscovy duck breasts. That would have involved going to Andronico's instead of Berkeley Bowl though. (Can I say how cool Berkeley Bowl West is? Parking garage. Squeeee!) The duck was tolerable but I think I may stick with the Muscovy for this in the future.

The really cool thing about this and the lamb though was that I didn't have to buy the fresh herbs. It's been too long since I've been able to pop outside and grab what I needed from my plants. It makes me think that maybe I should explore things to do with my various herbs. (Once more thanks to Canada and the wonderful folks at Richter's.) I guess the only question is which flavor next.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What was meant to be

This was supposed to have been dinner on Sunday but the zucchini patties were too filling. So it became Monday's dinner.

Just as I knew what would become of the zucchini I bought in Sebastopol, I also knew what would become of the chard. It needed lamb. With rosemary and a balsamic sauce. The sauce is supposed to be for the lamb but I find that in some ways it's tastier on the chard. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I grew up putting vinegar on greens.

Sorry. Just lost my train of thought. Oh. Natasha says hi to all of you. And she says that the whole preparation of the meal was fascinating to watch even if she didn't get any of the fresh rosemary. (She likes fresh herbs a lot.) She also says that once I have taken a photo of her of which she approves that I can post it here.

I have learned that I'm usually on to something if the cats are enthralled by the whole process. Not that I haven't made this before. It's just been some time. And I guess that this is what this whole week to date has been about -- rediscovering old friends.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In that mood

The last couple of weeks have been filled with a great deal of reminiscing. And I know that I have just started down that hard road of "over a year" that won't end until next April. While Saturday was a bit rough, I know the month of September will be absolute hell. My two aunts and my stepmother? All born in September. And so I give you this as part of my memories.

My dad's younger sister -- who was so much fun -- would sometimes ask me to put together mixes for her for her walks. Now mind you, this was the woman who believed strongly in creative visualization. She needed music that made her feel good. And so I give you selections from the last mix I made for her.

The food will resume tomorrow.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Starting off

When I saw the zucchini at the Bohemian Farmers Collective, I knew instantly what I would make -- zucchini patties. They are a mixture of grated zucchini, crumbled feta, chopped green onions, some fresh dill and Italian parsley, and some egg and flour to hold it all together. They are served with some plain Greek yogurt.

Since the patties were meant to be an appetizer, I thought a cocktail was in order. Once more a no-brainer -- Persephone's Bees. (I first had this drink at Kitty's in Emeryville.) Juice of 1-1/2 small Meyer lemons, 1-2 teaspoons of honey, and about a quarter cup of Pearl Persephone vodka. (Thank you to the fine folks in Canada for making the vodka. It is magical.) Chill and strain. Of course, the honey is one of my purchases from beekind. For the drink, I went with the Sebastopol wildflower. (Yes, I bought more than one honey.) It's been one of my favorites from them but this year, I was told, it's a little different as it has some mustard in the mix.

Sad thing is that after that plate and cocktail, I had no room for anything else. So the rest became Monday's dinner. And yes, you will have to wait to see that.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My way and the highway*

So I wouldn't post photos of the eggs before because they weren't made the way that I wanted to -- with a little bit of Romano cheese mixed into the yolks. But yesterday I corrected that. And my mother doesn't know what she missed out on. They were delicious, in my opinion. Oh, and this batch of eggs peeled perfectly. Even after time in the fridge.

But let me rewind things. The eggs were the last thing I made on Saturday. I started off making another batch of the Spicy Lemon Marinated Shrimp. And then I cooked up some boneless, skinless chicken thighs -- salt, pepper, tarragon and some white wine. Then I made the eggs. Oh, and a pot of brown rice. And everything was complete by 9 AM. Then I did some cleaning.

Why this fury of activity? Because yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my aunt's death. My original plan had been to go out on Saturday night. But then everyone seemed to be busy. Typical. So then I decided that I would go out on Friday night instead but I was so tired when I got off of work and headed straight home. And by Saturday? I decided that going out alone was not a good idea.

Yeah, not a good idea. Not that I have a problem with going out alone. I've been doing it quite a bit for a number of years. Of course, I could have gone to Sacto but I just wasn't feeling up to the drive. And besides, I'm an independent woman and all that other shit. As long as I have myself, I don't need anyone else. And so last night I sadly remembered that Jill Scott sang, "There's just me. One is the magic number."

And then this morning I awoke and proclaimed, "There's just me. One is the magic number." And I got my ass dressed in one of my boho outfits -- dress worn as a top over jeans with flip flops. Then I told the cats, "Peace out, bitches!" and hit the road.

The first stop was Sebastopol. Because I needed products from beekind. Really.

Originally I had planned on backtracking to Petaluma and picking up the Bodega Road west but then the lovely woman at beekind suggested that I continue into Sebastopol to check out this tea house, Infusions. Oh, and then I may as well check out the market as well since it was right across the street. Infusions? Cool place even though I didn't have anything there. And fitting with the California thing, they have meditation sessions there.

I left there in search of an ATM. Just in case I saw something at the market I liked. Not that I was planning to buy anything there.

But then I got to the market and the Bohemian Farmers Collective had a stand. With a name like that, I just knew I had to buy something. (Oh, and now Sepastopol is quite possibly my favorite town in Sonoma County.)

Chard and zucchini from the Bohemian Farmers Collective, organic blackberries and boysenberries from Sebsstopol Berry Farm, Bodega goat cheese from Yerba Santa Goat Dairy, and Santa Rosa plums. Sorry lost the card for the plum place.

At this point I decided to stay on 116 out to the coast. Glad I did because if I had gone the other route, I would have missed all of the above. Oh and I so want to stay at the place that offers horseback riding on the beach. Yeah, those dark spots in the last photo are horses crossing the highway.

The next stop was Pt. Reyes Station. It's been nearly a year since I've last been there. Really quite ridiculous.

Selection of cheeses acquired at Cowgirl Creamery.

Yes, I know that I can get some of the products from Cowgirl at Berkeley Bowl. Yes, I know that Cowgirl has a shop in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. But I don't really like the Ferry Building. Kind of like how I don't like certain farmers markets. And the drive to San Francisco is not as pretty as the drive to Pt. Reyes.

On the way home, I got to go through one of my fave towns in Marin County -- Nicasio. I don't know much about the town but those few seconds I've seen of it driving through somehow resonate with me. Oh, and you have to wonder about a town that has a building named "Druid's Hall."

If I'm going straight to Pt. Reyes from the East Bay, I take Sir Francis Drake through San Anselmo and then turn off near San Geronimo to head for Nicasio. On the return I never go that way. Instead I turn off Nicasio Valley Road onto Lucas Valley Road -- which is where you'll find Skywalker Ranch. I have a pretty good idea where the property is even if you can't really see it from the road. But that's not important because today I saw a fawn grazing at the side of the road. If I could have pulled over safely, I would have taken a photo for Beth.

As I headed past the last Marin exit before getting on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (There are eight bridges in the Bay Area. And most of us try our best to never have to cross them. I know. Silly.), I remembered that back when I was kid and we were leaving Marin County, I'd say to my aunt, "Hey! Don't you need to check in at home?" She would respond, "Oh my goodness. I almost forgot that I needed to take you home." For those of you not familiar with the area, the last exit is San Quentin prison.

Driving across the bridge, I thought to myself that today had been a really good day. And then I thought about my birthday two years ago. My aunt suggested that we try a different restaurant once a month. We didn't do it. My aunt reminded me of this last year when we were out to lunch for my birthday. We promised that we would in the coming year. Then six days later she died.

Last August I tried to start up the monthly girls' night once more but that was a frustrating experience. Why? Probably because we were talking about too many schedules. Today? I remembered that list of places that I'd like to take day trips or weekend trips to. Places that I could drive to. In the last year, I have only scratched one place off the list. So I'm thinking at least one a month. But now that it's summer and the weather is so good, I'm thinking that I might be able to fit in more than one a month. Because today I managed to not feel sad given all the crap that has happened over the last year. And that's always a good thing.

Oh, and the other important thing learned today? The importance of letting a blog post marinate. Because that Saturday stuff? Yeah, I wrote it last night. But once I decided to head out today, I decided that posting could wait. Just in case. I'm glad I did. To me it's proof that I'm pretty good of taking care of me when I need to.

*I clocked almost 200 miles on the road today.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

No great surprise

You Love Being Single

In general, you're very happy being single.

You like doing your own thing, and you're happy not to have to compromise.

You're not opposed to being attached, but you're not going to settle.

Someone else should your enhance your life, and you're happy to wait for that person.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Coming to terms with Holly

Now if you've been around long enough, you've heard me throw around the phrase "inner Holly." And I know some of y'all are thinking,"What the hell is she talking about?"

I guess it all started back when I was nine or so and watched "Breakfast at Tiffany's" for the first time with my aunt. I thought Holly was so glamorous. I wanted to be her when I grew up. Hey! I said I was nine. It took me years to figure out how Holly made her money.

Over the years being Holly has become much less literal. It's that feeling of "I'm fabulous no matter what anyone else says. Not that I'm listening to them anyway because the only opinion that matters is mine." Whew. That was a mouthful. It's about living life to its fullest and generally having a good time.

Here's the thing that I've noticed over the years. In order for my inner Holly to come out, then I have to be feeling good about myself. Because being Holly is all about being confidence. And it's hard to be confident, when one doesn't think highly of one's self.

So this week has been all about the inner Holly. And thinking, "Shouldn't she be part of my everyday life instead of just making these occasional appearances?" Because now I know how to reel her in when she gets a little too wild.

I have rituals that I go through to reach this point. There's the trip to the salon to get the hair looking just right. There's the fresh pedicure. Taming the wild eyebrows. Why these things? Because these are the first things to go when I'm not feeling good and just want to curl up in the bed in the fetal position. There are also the things like doing laundry and other cleaning. The laundry is key. Holly needs to have lots of wardrobe choices.

Reading this, it comes off a tad superficial to me. But here's the thing. I do these things for me, not for someone else. Sure, it's nice when someone says, "Hey. Your hair looks great," but they're just confirming what I already know. Because after all of the various beauty ministrations, I end up wearing what happens to make me feel good that day. One day it could be a cute spring dress. The next could be jeans, a t-shirt, a hoodie and flip flops. Being Holly used to be about walking out with a full face of make-up. Now it's about being comfortable enough to go out for an evening wearing lipstick at the most. If the makeup makes you feel good, then do it. I just don't have to in order to feel that way.

I guess the best way to put it all is that embracing your inner Holly is all about taking care of yourself. Doing those little things for yourself that no one else may do. Because you know it makes you feel good. And knowing in the end that when you feel good, then others may actually want to be around you. And isn't that a part of what life is all about?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

She's back

I have been toying for days over a number of posts. And then decided that I was not ready to share that kind of information with the world at large. All I will say on the subject is that I have slipped back into my partygirl ways. And unlike in the past, I just don't feel comfortable in discussing this transgression with everyone. So maybe I have really stopped being that person.

But today is Tuesday. Media day. And so I give you one of my faves from the height of the real partygirl days. Back when I thought it wasn't really a party until I had danced on at least one piece of furniture. Back when I spent late nights hanging with the guys who would one day become Seven Mary Three. Because hey, I'm a band aid. And back in those days it was all about, "I'm with the band."

Sorry about the sucky video. But it's all about the sound. So crank it and find a piece of furniture upon which to dance. Because this week is all about my inner Holly.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Since I'm still trying to figure it all out, I thought I'd take a plunge with this quiz.

Your Soul is Searching

You are a wanderer. You constantly long for a new adventure, challenge, or even a completely different life.

You are a grounded person, but you also leave room for imagination and dreams. You feet may be on the ground, but your head is in the clouds.

You believe that people see you as larger than life and important. While this is true, they also think you're a bit full of yourself.

Your near future is a lot like the present, and as far as you're concerned, that's a very good thing.

For you, love is all about caring and comfort. You couldn't fall in love with someone you didn't trust.

Seems pretty true. Except how I think others see me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tough choice

I still haven't been accepting my mother's phone calls. And it's been pretty nice on my end. My dad, on the other hand, is not really feeling it much since it means that she calls him. I think there was once more the offer of money from him if I would resume phone calls with her.

In the past, she has screamed at me that I must always take her calls because one never knows when it will be an emergency. I have always argued that if it's really important, I would find out one way or another. Tonight I received an email from her.

It seems that she learned today that she is in the beginning stages of glaucoma and needs to make some treatment decisions. The diagnosis is not really a surprise. Her maternal grandmother had glaucoma. Her mother has it currently. Over the last couple of years, her optometrist has been monitoring things because he felt that this is where things were heading. So like I said. No surprise.

I know my mother. She is scared and wants someone to tell her that everything will be OK. And to help her to make the decisions. And I will probably do those things. But tonight I'm still tired and just can't do it. And if that makes me a heartless bitch, then so be it.