Thursday, December 27, 2007

Signs of my cluelessness....

I woke up this morning and still in a half sleepy daze…I shuffle out to the living room and turn on the morning news. “This just in: Bluto has been assassinated by a suicide bomber”

In my dazed state, I was incredulous that they would kill off the Bluto character from Popeye… Why would they do such a thing? He’ll no longer be part of the cartoon???? Who will battle with Popeye for Olive Oil's heart???

I then find out that it was Bhutto…the opposition leader from Pakistan.

Tanya's hard news database may be as dusty as mine…She thought they said that Joey Buttafuco was assassinated…

I need to quit getting my news from TMZ and Perez Hilton…

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A quiet return...

Yes, I have been gone for a while and I do not have a good reason for my absence beyond laziness...please forgive me.

However, I received the BEST Christmas present ever...a Canon Digital Rebel XTi-10 MP. Craig couldn't wait and gave it to me early on the 17th.... It has not left my side ever since. Unfortunately for my's been a very LOOOOONG week. Here are some of the highlights....

A visit to the wine bar quickly led to an antler struggle between Nadine and Jerry Lee

Obligatory "Christmas Pictures".....

If looks could kill... I'm wearing down Jerry Lee's patience. Too bad! It's his penance for being "rescued".

Nadine however, understands the importance of documenting her beauty...

My favorite picture of Kody....Tanya's baby boy.

So, I have quietly returned and can only promise that I will do my best to not wander away too far. Happy New Year to all!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


It's not often that you find a geriatric male roaming a parking lot donning a pimp hat.... I like they way he accessorized the hat with a fanny pack.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The art of not being seen

I have often been told that I would make a great detective. As my father says, “Not much gets passed Michelle”. So, as I watch Forensic Files or Cold Case Detectives, I imagine myself outwitting the criminal and saving the day. However, when confronted with the need to be unobtrusive and inconspicuous, sly and smooth, I was rather unsuccessful.

Recently, I have found out that a friend has a family member that has been cheating on their spouse. I myself have caught them mid-clutch. This is a very good friend of mine, so I sat them down and told them what I had seen. They voiced their appreciation and pleaded that I keep them informed if I see anything or know of anything else.

Fast forward to today. Kevin, Tanya and I went out to do some lunchtime chores and on our way back, we spotted the love birds on the street mid clutch yet again… All of our adrenaline started to rush and three varied and muddled instructions could be heard in a scream type of crescendo as we worked out and got worked up over our “master plan”. Quickly, I darted back down the alley trying to interpret the different instructions screamed in my ear… Speeding around the corner while simultaneously rummaging through my purse for my camera is not something I would advise anyone to do. We swung around the block again as I yelled and then clumsily demonstrated instructions to Tanya on how to use my camera. The first time around the block we (me) panicked and drove by too quickly. We ended up with this shot. Hardly the scandalous picture we had in mind.

Due to our failure, we all started screaming out instructions again as we made our way back down the alley and around the block, braking with hazard lights flashing in all our covert glory. Finally heeding Kevin’s advice, we parked at the corner and took another picture. Not the best picture, but it will serve its purpose. I am still amazed that they failed to see my car awkwardly go around the block three times and stopping on the corner once as we very obviously snapped their picture. Love is blind…and deaf too.

I have left off the incriminating picture in the interest of my friend’s feelings. So, it appears that I will need to work on my detective skills just a bit more…. I don’t think I will be hired for my surveillance skills anytime soon….

Monday, September 24, 2007

The day I have been dreading...

Yes, I am still alive...just putting in extra hours at the wine bar. For this week, I am off the schedule...yeah!

So, today is Monday and the first day of my Basic Sales and Use Tax Auditing course. (I sense I have already lost some of you with this information) A 15-day, 120-hour course designed to teach me everything I ever wanted to know about auditing, but knew better than to ask. What was I thinking???? The second chapter of the Audit Manual is 86 pages devoted to the intimate knowledge of one form. Yes, that's right...86 pages, one form. Last week, I actually found myself nodding off in my cubicle as I tried in vain to finishing reading the chapter and to date, I have yet to complete it. You would think that by now, some clever State employee would have created "Cliff Notes" to aid in the prevention of self induced comas. But alas, no relief in sight.

Let it be known, I am a visual learner. So, 86 pages of instruction on how to complete a form is about as useful to me as carrying water in a strainer... I have retained nothing. However, in utilizing all my study techniques from college, I have carefully highlighted all the bullshit that appears to be vital in the hopes that the information will magically be planted in my head. And, as I look at the neon yellow lines of highlighted text on the page, it is apparent that my technique did not work; the osmosis has failed. On to Plan B...the appearance of knowledge. I'll just look like I retained the information., competent and confident... I just hope that I am not asked any questions or I may end up looking like this...

Wish me luck...I am going to need it!

Friday, September 7, 2007

A good cry...

Originally, I had planned to drop by the wine bar to celebrate the end of the week. But, as I eased my car onto the freeway, I found myself re-thinking my plans for the evening. I just needed some time to stop and "reboot", so to speak. Yes, it was a perfect evening to make some popcorn, spend time with my dogs and enjoy whatever could be found on TV.

However, it wasn't going as well as I had expected. Apparently, you are supposed to have plans on Friday evenings...this would explain why nothing worth watching was on... I was seriously started to contemplate watching "Sideways"...yet again. I decided to take one more look before I gave up....and there it was. The granddaddy of all chick flicks...."The Way We Were".

Now, I must add that I am not a fan of Babs...oh no. But for some reason, this is the one movie where I not only tolerate her, I love her. And though I have no interest in men of fair hair...Robert Redford sold me on this one... I went and got some tissue...I was going to need it. For two and half hours I laughed and cried; well, mostly I cried. It was a two and half hour release of emotion and it was fantastic. I forgot how much I love this completely sappy and sad movie. Thanks Babs and Bob for a great Friday night!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy Labor Day Weekend

Sending wishes of a safe holiday weekend... Limit your risks, not your partying! And as I have experienced, the State of California provides a gift for being a good girl...

Recently, on my way home from the wine bar (I was working, not patronizing) I went through a sobriety check point. For flirting with the officer and not driving while under the influence, I was gifted with this parting prize....

Wind him up and watch him go.... He actually moves like he's a bit under the influence himself, but it's the thought that counts.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Wow! I feel like Steven Hawking. And these are the future leaders of our country; kind of like the current leader of our country...

Friday, August 24, 2007


Not only does she desert me at work for a "mini" leave of absence, Tanya defiles my precious property....

God, I love her! Enjoy your time off my friend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The tasting

I felt like I had just arrived at Disneyland. They gave me a badge and handed me a wine glass… I looked up and all that was there was wine as far as the eye could see. On Monday, Craig and I attended the Family Winemakers of California 2007 Tasting. 2 days and 150 different wineries showcasing their latest vintages… Sunday was opened to the public, but Monday was purely for the wine trade. It was a wine fool’s paradise. Held at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco which sits on the bay across from Alcatraz, it was a gorgeous day. Truly, it was like hitting the wine lottery; making our way up and down the aisles, swirling, sipping, savoring, swallowing, occasionally spitting and ultimately swooning when we had found a wine that bewitched us. I only wished that we had more than one day so we could take our time, break for lunch, a stroll in the city or ride on the bay...but this was a serious undertaking (at least for Craig).

Our friends, Chef Bret and his lively wife Debora meet us at Fort Mason and away we went. For nearly 5 hours, we wound our way around, first drinking Pinot, then Chardonnay, then Cabernet. Around 6, we were half looped and in desperate need of food, so we decided to crash our dinner reservations early.

Debora and Bret had made reservations at La Folie, a charming French restaurant on Polk Street. Known for its Prix Fixe dinner offerings, it is city dining at its best. All the stress I endured that day was due to making menu decisions. First, you can go with a 3, 4 or 5 course meal. Then, there were five to seven choices within each course offering and some chef’s offerings not listed… I seriously thought about asking how much our bill would be if we ordered the entire menu…. I wanted EVERYTHING; we all did.

I finally settled on the five course meal:

Goat Cheese and Fourme D’Ambert Terrine with Baby Pickled Beets, Toasted Walnuts and Frisée Salad

The Seared Day Boat Scallop resting on Celeriac Puree finished with an orange beurre blanc

Baby lobster resting on English pea ravioli finished with a vanilla butter and toasted almonds

Seared Rib Eye with baby Chanterelle and Shitake Mushrooms resting on arugula risotto
finished with shaved black truffle

Peach Melba incased in meringue with an Earl Grey Sabayon.

Craig had an amazing chocolate fondant that incased the most delicious vanilla ice cream.

We also were presented with two Chef’s amuses; one of Duck Soprasetta with a fingerling potato and Frisée salad and the other of “scrambled eggs” with fresh black truffles. They had a fabulous intermezzo of fresh cantaloupe juice and they finished off our meal with a Chef’s offering of sweet bites.

It was a great day and a wonderful way to end our evening. And with our bellies full of amazing food and wine, we made our way home and back to reality.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The lost weekend...

If one spends 5 out of 7 evenings at a bar...does this make you someone with an addiction issue? Actually, I have been spending many of my nights at the wine bar where Craig works. The bar has been expanding their events calendar and has started to offer dinners on selective evenings. Collectively, the staff has little restaurant experience and one of the owners, Bob, was down due to a knee injury. It was decided that I would step in and help them organize the food service aspect of the bar and fill in for Bob. On Thursday, the bar was starting "French Dip Night". Thursday night went smoothly albeit quiet... So, we all decided that I would come in on Friday just in case they needed assistance for the Friday night tasting.

Friday came and I headed over to the bar after work. I was still a little tired from the late evening the night before so I picked up a four shot espresso on the way. THANK GOD!!!!! It was like a "people bomb" exploded in the bar that Friday night. We ran out of chairs, we ran out of glasses, we ran out of crostini, we ran out of patience and we ran out of steam. The worst thing was that we barely had a chance to drink our E.W. (aka employee wine). Sometime around 1:00 in the morning, Craig and I crawled home.

Standing room only...

On Saturday the wine bar was participating in one of those god awful "wine and food tasting" fund raisers where people spend a ridiculous amount of money to receive a "souvenir" wine tasting glass and a plastic plate. Sondra (one of the bar owners) and I were chosen to work the event. Luckily, our table was next to our friend, Bret, owner and chef of the Boulevard Bistro. We were able to swap "war stories" as we passed the time. So, the various restaurants and wineries were all lined up in an event's center to hand out tastings of wine and menu items. It makes you feel like the ugly desperate girl at the high school dance...eagerly waiting for someone to make eye contact so you can sell them on your business and push your product. We actually had it's not too difficult to hand out free wine... The hardest part was "pretending" that we hadn't recognize repeat visitors for the 3rd time. We hid our amusement as they wandered over for another visit as they asked.."Oh, what are you pouring?" It took everything I had to not respond, "At this point, you tell me." Throughout the evening Sondra and I bounced back and forth from drinking wine to drinking Go Girl, a new low calorie energy drink from Tab. To say we were tired was an understatement.

The Wine and Food Tasting Event

Chef Bret

Helping out the wine bar sounded good in theory, but I forgot about the fact that I still have a day job and at 38 years old, double shifts aren't something I do well... Let's face facts, I have become spoiled with my "desk job" and have grown accustomed to an 8 hour work day. It's been a long time since I have worked 15 hours straight and now remember why I walked away from the "hospitality industry" and signed up for civil service. It's hard to paste a smile on your face and ignore the fact that someone has treated you just slightly better than a homeless lush (ok, I may own up to the "lush" part). It can be fun, rewarding ($ and wine), and exhausting. Of course, when asked if I will help answer will be yes. Food and wine and "the business" are addictive and the friends that Craig and I have made, make it worth it in the end.

Fun and friends, Craig and Jeremiah

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I'm Back with Birthday Wishes!!!

August 3rd was Craig's birthday so the dogs and I decided to take pictures and make cards for dad.... It seemed like a great idea and had I had cooperative animals, it would have been a quick process. However, just like their mother, they were reluctant models...

Damn, a Jerry Lee leg is in the background...I could photoshop it out, but I decide to continue.

This shot is NOT going to work. It's not too precious when I am forcing her headshot with my hand...

Finally, Nadine strikes a fierce pose and we get the "cover" shot..... Now, it is time to tackle my most difficult subject-Jerry Lee far, so good. This isn't the BEST shot, but at least he's cooperating....or so I think, so I pray.

He reverts back to his reluctant pose and now I am forced to behave in the worst "stage-mom" fashion...this little "project" is now an hour and 15 minutes in and I am 45 minutes behind in my schedule...

Why look at this, I have caught my darling in mid-sneeze... I will let the picture speak for itself.

And finally, a cover shot is capture and the project is complete. By the way, Dad (aka Craig) loved the birthday cards. I am already starting to think about what we will be doing for Dad for Christmas... Any ideas??

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lack of inspiration equals absolutely nothing...

So as you can tell, I have not posted anything in a very long time. I go through stages where I may feel completely creative, inspired, manic, and I find myself able to post something almost everyday. Recently, that has not been the case.

I think it all started when my cousin and I threw a party for my aunt's 70th birthday at the beginning of this month. Throughout the entire day, I took pictures with the intention of posting them and running a narrative on the day's events. However, when I started to download the pictures and write the post, I hit a wall. And I have yet to recover... Maybe it's because it can be an emotional and frustrating task to write about family, any family. And then I just couldn't get myself over the wall. So I avoided my blog altogether...kind of like taxes, balancing my checkbook or weeding the backyard. All things that I am quite proficient at avoiding.

Then, people started asking me why I hadn't posted anything in awhile... I thought to myself..."you actually read this, not out of obligation?" But with anything "somewhat" creative, you just can't force it. So, I wait for inspiration, a tipsy evening (like some alcoholic poet) or a life altering event that will thrust me back into my normal posting pace... Craig and I are headed on vacation this weekend to Lake Tahoe and I am sure that inspiration or something like it will be waiting for me. I hope.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Is that for me?

I have to say that one should not tempt fate or even unintentionally tease a dog.... That being said, I neglected the very important fact that I have raised my dogs to appreciate, enjoy and even covet the finer things in life. So, in my earnest attempt to catch my dogs frolicking through the lens of my camera, I did not have my eyes on the big prize. Luckily, Nadine did. She took this "opportunity" to partake of my chardonnay... I can hardly be mad; she is after all, her mother's daughter....

Monday, April 30, 2007

Questions of the day....

Can you name three things you consider yourself to be very good at?

Can you name three things you consider yourself to be very bad at?

Here are my "skills" or lack there of.....

Good things: cooking, party planning, college (I loved being a student, lectures and studying)

Bad things: driving in reverse, making pie crusts (the art of the crust eludes me to this day....), running (unless someone is chasing me with a knife, it just doesn't happen)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Proof that I am an airhead....

Wednesday was Administrative Assistant's Day. Since my boss has been in and out of the office for the last few months, I took it upon myself on Tuesday to email the staff and ask what we would like to do for our assistant. We took our tasks and it was my responsibility to pick up a card for all of us to sign. Good enough!

After work, I headed over to Target to pick up some items and the card. I couldn't find my ATM card anywhere, I had no cash and had left my credit cards at home (an attempt to curtail my spending which now, given my current situation, supports my original belief
that a girl and her credit card should never be parted...). I then remembered that I had left my ATM card in the pocket of my jeans on Sunday. I also remembered that I had washed AND dried said jeans on Monday. Oh great! So, I left Target empty-handed and went to work out. After I got home I headed to the bedroom and that pile of clothing that I had just washed. There, still in the pocket, was my ATM card....curled up and slightly burnt (I dry my jeans on high heat) on the edges. It reminded me of a Shrinky Dink. The spender in me was thinking, "Nah, it's still good...maybe I can heat it again and flatten it out" After coming up with a half dozen ways to "McGuyver" my card, I opted to just order a new one.

I now had the task of dialing the dreaded 1-800 number to cancel the card and order a new one. After I had pressed a MILLION numbers into the phone, I finally got a live person. I explained that I had washed and dried my card and it was now out of commission; I needed a new one.

"You washed and dried your card? Why?"

Was he serious? Did he think I did this intentionally? I wanted to respond, "I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Do you know what kind of bacteria is on that card?"

However, my banking future was in his hands. I opted to be kind. I instead responded with, "I'm an airhead and I left the card in the pocket of my jeans." He laughed (mockingly, in my opinion). What a pleasure to know that I am providing entertainment...most likely to the entire Wells Fargo Call Center..

After going through the standard question and answer tango, he then tells me that he has cancelled my card and directs me to destroy it. Wasn't that the whole point of this call? I had already destroyed it. "Yeah, let me take care of that buddy. Buh-bye now!"

And here is the latest in Wells Fargo Shrinky Dinks.....

Monday, April 23, 2007

A weekend of food, fun, friends and laughter

I apologize in advance for this being such a lengthy post, but there was much to write about and I was unwilling to do more than one post. I can say that it's shorter than, War and Peace....

I love when I have weekends that can be marked by friends, fun and especially food. It was a rather lazy weekend and I quickly decided that the weekend would not include any demands on myself. I had my list (yes, I am a list person) going of all the things I had planned to accomplish over the next three days ( I have Monday off too). But, as I type this post, the list is less than half completed...(sigh).

On Friday, I left work an hour early to get a jump on the traffic and run a quick errand. As I pulled my car onto the freeway, I was met with a parking lot. What are all these people doing on the road at 3:30? Don't they work? They couldn't possibly have the same idea I did.... So, I settled in my lane with my right foot bouncing back and forth on the gas and the brake. Of course, all the people in the carpool lane were flying past me. I started to take a look into the cars to check out the passengers and noted one driver and the passengers....a baby in a car seat. That baby shouldn't count. The whole point of the carpool lane is to avoid two or more people driving solo. So, unless that baby has a license...that driver is really stretching the definition of a carpool lane and a passenger.... If that's the case, then my dogs should count as extra passengers as well. Add a letter to the Department of Transportation on my list...

After the stop and go traffic, I completed my errand and headed over to the wine bar for some much needed rejuvenation. As luck would have it, friends started to trickle in and soon Colin, Irene, Dennis, Mike and Gen had joined me. It was a fun evening of cheese plates, wine and laughter. I was having such a good time, that I completely forgot to pull out my, no visual of this evening.

The next day, I did actually mark off a few items on my list. I met a friend for a quick walk, came home and did some yoga, caught up on some reading (I am one of those people that juggle the reading of multiple books at any given time) scrubbed my kitchen from top to bottom, and made some delicious hummus with Kalamata olives. As the rain really picked up, I headed over to Tanya's for dinner and a movie. The original plan was to go to Whole Foods Market to purchase a ridiculous amount of food, make a four course meal, take tons of pictures and blog about our decadent evening... In my head, it was running like our little version of Babbett's Feast. However, Tanya wasn't up to such an evening, so we tweaked our plans a bit. I headed over to Freeport Bakery and picked us up a slice of Tiramisu and Lemon Cooler. Then I popped over to Trader Joe's and picked up a plant to brightened Ms. Tanya's day and an extra bottle of wine...just in case (wink, wink). We dined on a delicious veggie pizza, a beautiful salad with avocados and this fabulous Green Goddess Dressing that Tanya made. After dinner we settled down to enjoy some "Sex in the City" and dive into dessert. Kody was quite taken with the dessert as well.....

Kody "jonesing" for our treats.....

On Sunday evening, Craig and I were invited to Colin and Irene's for a dinner party. Since all of the guests were bringing various items to the party, I decided to make dessert. At first, I decided on a flourless chocolate torte with some fresh cream. However, when I got to the store, there were these beautiful blueberries and raspberries in the produce section. So, I decided to make two desserts; the chocolate torte and fresh berry parfaits with lemon cream....Yum! Normally, I will make the parfaits in martini glasses...but there were going to be 10 people at the party. So, I headed over to Ikea to pick up some dessert glasses for the parfaits. As luck would have it, I ran into my old friend Bart. He had just recently purchased a house in our neighborhood and was buying a very large rug. After catching up with one another, I invited him over for dinner on Monday...Leg of Lamb, it will be.

Back home, I whipped up the parfaits and the torte. Since I have already shared the preparation of the parfaits with you, we can just dive right into the torte! So, to speak...

Berry Parfaits in my new dessert glasses from Ikea

Measure out four ounces of bittersweet chocolate. I used Scharffen Berger.

Chop up the chocolate for easy melting.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl with one stick of unsalted butter. I use a stainless steel bowl over a small pan of water on the stove at low heat.

After the chocolate and butter have melted, remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in 3/4 cup of sugar. Add 3 large eggs and whisk.

Sift 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa over the batter and mix until just combined.

Pour batter into the prepared (recipe below) 8-inch cake pan. Batter will be similar to a thick brownie batter.

After the cake has completely cooled. Dust with unsweetened cocoa powder. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Then the fun starts.... Colin and Irene had invited Craig, myself, Lori and Mike, Bob and Sondra and Dennis. We had a delicious dinner of grilled tri-tip, fresh green salad and roasted baby potatoes. And since Bob and Sondra own the wine bar, many bottles of wine were introduced and enjoyed.

Dennis, Mike and Lori sharing wine bar gossip

Bob and Dennis perhaps conspiring on how to keep the Stag's Leap District Cabernet all to themselves.....

Bob takes the next step in the plan as he deftly grabs the coveted bottle...

Irene and Craig enjoying themselves and the wine.

That must have been some kick ass wine. The Riedel broke in a way I have never seen before....

Looks like Colin can add writing a letter to the Riedel Glass company on his to-do list....

Flourless Chocolate Torte

4 ounces of high quality bittersweet chocolate
1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for finishing

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom of pan with a round of wax or parchment paper. Butter the paper.

Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into the pan and bake in middle of oven for 25 minutes or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 5 minutes and then invert onto a serving plate.

Dust cake with additional cocoa powder after the cake has completely cooled. Serve with fresh whipped cream, gelato or coconut sorbet.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A possible venture into polygamy.........

For those of you who are not aware, Tanya and I met our future husband this weekend..."George Clooney". Since "George" was already married, it appears that polygamy is our only option since we found out that his wife is a dead-ringer for Heather Locklear. (Information that we really didn't need to know......) Anyway, since I doubt "George" will leave "Heather", and neither Tanya or I would be willing to step aside and give him up, we will have to settle for Sister Wives #2 and #3.... However, we neglected to get his name, so it puts a bit of a wrench into our plan.

But, all is not lost..... Our co-worker ran into "George" on her way home. Apparently he works very close to us in the downtown area. I requested that she approach him, explain that she is our (by "our", I mean, the slightly inebriated women that took their picture with you at the Bockbierfest last weekend) friend and then find out his name. Obviously, I will need to work on her because she refuses to associate herself with us. Whatever! Anyway, this little project may take longer than expected. I will keep you posted on our progress.....