Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Love Lucy!

My parents finally brought home the black lab puppy that they have been planning for since they moved back to San Diego almost three years ago. Continuing in our family's black lab naming tradition, the new addition has been named Andalusia (Lucy for short) in commemoration of a recent trip that my parents went on.

She seems to be making herself right at home.

She is already quite popular.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.  ~ Mark Twain

All of my grades were due on Monday. On Sunday afternoon I had approximately sixteen pounds of ungraded papers in my bag, so logically, I decided to bake. 

{pumpkin muffins with pecan streusel topping}

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Felicities

Things that made me happy this week:

*the anniversary of Midgey's birth

*celebrating the anniversary of Midgey's birth with delicious sushi

*the way that spring mediates the battle between winter and summer
Even in the supposedly seasonless clime of Southern California, I can feel the winter-summer tension of the mid-March battle for dominion.

One minute summer is winning - the roadsides are covered in wildflowers in full bloom, longer days invite evening walks, strawberries and tangerines have replaced swiss chard and mustard greens at the farmer's markets, and the stores are practically giving away daffodils.

At other times, winter takes the lead - the rain pours down, temperatures don't crack sixty (I am still talking San Diego winter), the weatherman predicts more snow in the mountains, scarves and boots are legitimate clothing choices, and an evening fire seems like the perfect way to fight the chill.

*mid-week movie and wine nights
I headed up to Long Beach for a conference on Wednesday. So, knowing that I wouldn't face a gaggle of needy adolescents the next day, I stayed up late on Tuesday to enjoy my husband, a silly movie, and a heavy red...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Midgey!!

My super fly, ultra-smart, singularly sweet, gorgeous baby sister turned 21 yesterday. Being far more sophisticated and mature than I was at 21, she did not go out and get sloppy drunk at her first legal opportunity. Instead, we celebrated Shack-family style with wine and reflections and stories and laughter all wrapped up in a dining experience. 

Peohe's hooked us up with custom, celebratory menus.

{photo credit: MoShack}

And the waiter played along and carded the Midge.

{Photo credit: MoShack}

There was much posing and documenting of the evening.

{Photo credit: waiter man}

{Photo credit: MamaShack}
 Dinner ended as dinner at Peohe's must - with lava cake.

Twenty-first birthdays, however, are extra-special and thereby require multiple cakes...

{I just realized that this picture includes: Mom, Dad, birthday cake, funky head scarf, and champagne...what a lucky birthday girl!}

Happy Birthday, Midge! 

{Cry baby no more!}

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cape Mayhem

On Saturday afternoon, the sun defied expectations and came out to shine on a little outdoor fun. The residents of Cape May Avenue in Ocean Beach acquired the requisite permits and closed off their street to host "a free event celebrating community and music."

OB being OB, there was a wonderfully diverse group in attendance. The street was packed with dreadlocked hippies, skinny jeaned hipsters, stroller pushing mamas, homeless vets, scruffy musicians, cholo types, and free spirits galore. At least fifty percent of those in attendance were accompanied by a canine companion. Bigs was my favorite.

Drinking and dancing all afternoon necessitates some sort of non-liquid sustenance, and that need was easily met by the fabulous Green Truck, a 100% organic food truck that runs on vegetable oil and solar power. 

They also use compostable utensils and plates which are added to the food scraps in the compost bin underneath the truck. The resulting compost is delivered to the farms where they source their ingredients. Seriously cool.

Happily, in addition to being food for the planet, the food was also good for my mouth. I think I won with my grilled mahi tacos, but Tom insisted that his chicken pesto wrap was top notch. 

Bigs was also a fan of Green Truck's offerings.

Then, of course, there was the music.  Tom has been playing with Melly Frances and the Distilled Spirits for awhile now, and they put on  a great performance under a small tent at the end of Cape May Ave.

Once the sun started to set and the temperature dipped to the mid-fifties, I wimped out and headed home, but I'm told that Tom and Devin wrapped up the night with some crowd-pleasing covers that even had the police tapping their feet when they came by to enforce the 10pm curfew. All in all, it was a great way to spend a Saturday.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Friday Felicities

Things that made me happy this week:

being finished with car shopping 
Car shopping is the worst. Let me rephrase, shopping for a certified pre-owned Prius the week after    Japan was devastated by natural disaster and oil prices pushed $105 a barrel while on a limited budget and in possession of taste that does not believe in budgets - that is the worst. The only good thing about driving all over creation last weekend looking for a car was getting to meet up with Tom's brother and his girlfriend for dinner at The Library in Santa Monica. That reminds me - sweet potato fries also make me very happy.

{Santa Monica Boulevard}

* my new car
The good news is that all that car hunting paid off and I now drive a super-cool spaceship car. Most importantly, in purchasing a hybrid, I have earned the final merit badge and am now a full-fledged yuppie.

Of course he makes me happy every week, but he went above and beyond this week. He called all the dealers and did all the talking to the awkward salesmen (had I been on my own, I probably would have bought the first car I test drove because the guy was super nice and I felt bad for him because he seemed particularly sad and desperate).

Tom also took my ridiculous demands (leather interior, navigation system, sunroof, less than 20,000 miles, 2010 or newer, previously owned by a B-list celebrity or reality star, etc) in stride and let me realize on my own that some flexibility might be required. He didn't even roll his eyes once. In addition to his endless patience, I am also particularly grateful for the fact that he relieved me of all negotiating duties; I would certainly have paid at least $5,000 more just to avoid the awkwardness of having to bargain.

As an extra bonus, he makes silly faces and those also make me happy.

While I'm at it, his random guitar-playing strolls around the apartment make me happy too.

*pets that cost less than five dollars and require minimal upkeep
 I got a little distracted on my errand to Staples, wandered into Petco, and came home with this guy...

I asked Tom what we should name him, he reflected for about two seconds and came back with... Spanky. 

*hilarious babies on youtube
Someone posted this video on Facebook this week, and I've since seen it a bunch of other places. It makes me laugh every time. It's a 59 second mood lift, something we could all use as we try to wrap our minds around the tragedies that seem to be stacking up at breakneck speed around the globe.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life List Update

Some recent additions to my life to-do list...the under the sea edition.

I came across this video on the beautiful and inspiring photography blog, chookooloonk.

                          How to Photograph a Whale

                                                  {video via Time}

So, yeah, I need to do that.

The most recent addition to my list was, awkwardly enough, inspired by an episode of Dateline that I watched the other day. In this particular edition of Real Life Mysteries, Dateline's investigative team delved into the mysterious death of a young newlywed on her honeymoon.  It seems that the freshly  minted husband, a certified rescue diver, had convinced his young bride that they should take a scuba trip to the Great Barrier Reef for their honeymoon. Oh, and also, she should increase her life insurance policy and make him the sole beneficiary. You can see where this is going...sadly, Tina did not and she ended up drowning/being suffocated depending on whose lawyers you are talking to.  Anyway, I was less interested in the "mystery" than I was in the site of the dive that the couple was on. They were diving off the coast of Queensland, Australia and were exploring the wreck of the S.S. Yongala, a passenger ship that sank in 1911. It looks super cool, and I'm sure it's perfectly safe assuming your husband isn't trying to kill you.

{All photos via Yongala Dive}

Since both of these adventures will require a large cash infusion, it is unlikely that I will be crossing them off in the near future; but that's why this is a life list, not a do-in-the-next-six-months list.

Oh yeah, and I also decided that I am going to learn all of the words and references in "We Didn't Start the Fire." That's free, maybe I'll tackle that one this weekend...

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's Easy Being Green

After a long weekend of hunting, Tom and I finally tracked down my new vehicle late yesterday afternoon. When I came to terms with fact that the Jetta was officially out of commission, I knew that it was time to put my money where my mouth is and go for the hybrid.

I mean really, have you seen An Inconvenient Truth? No? Well, let me fill you in. The polar bears are drowning because they can't find the they can't find icebergs to rest on, and they can't find the icebergs because the icebergs are melting, and the icebergs are melting because we like to let our Hummers idle so as to leave the air conditioning on while our friend runs into the store to pick up a six pack because God forbid we roll the window down and breathe the polluted air. And the plastic rings that hold the six pack together? They're eventually going to strangle a penguin. At least that's what Al Gore said.

{This guy just got lucky. Look how teeny tiny his iceberg is!}
So, in order to save the polar bears, I bought a Prius and I only drink microbrews that are locally sourced and come in recycled, biodegradable carriers.

So what if my new car looks a little bit like a spaceship that got stuck in a wind tunnel? It's well worth it if I can cut emissions by even 25% on my fifty mile round-trip commute. Look how relaxed the polar bears are now.

Plus, think of all the new tops I can get with the money I save on gas...

{Antilles Tank, English Rose Kimono Blouse}

And just for good measure, more polar bears...