Wednesday, June 8, 2011

And We're Packing Again...

I'm sorry I haven't been a very active blogger recently, we have been very busy over here with our upcoming move.  That very same move has been making my thoughts ping pong around my brain, and this blog post will likely reflect that.  Bear with me?

Last weekend we started packing the apartment and it's beginning to look pretty empty.  I always start with the decorations and nicknack's, partially so they don't get broken in the chaos, and partially so normalcy disappears from the space- that way I don't always feel like we're taking down the Christmas tree whilst packing.  Does anyone else relate to that feeling?

A lot of things seem to be working out for us.  For example, after flying to D.C. and completing a week-long interview process with DCPS M was offered a job teaching Algebra I at Roosevelt Senior High School in the district, and last Friday he officially accepted it.  He's looking forward to starting work with his new team; though I know he's really sad to leave behind the students and teachers with whom he's developed such wonderful relationships.

In a crazy spat of fortune, Mara, M's sister, is moving to Los Angeles a couple weeks after we leave it, and she and her roommate are going to take over our apartment.  We got approval from our landlord just a few days ago.  That means that we can just give our furniture (which is IKEA and therefore not worth moving across the country) to the two of them.  A win-win for both parties if you ask me.

So that leaves:
1 day until I fly to Arlington for my friend Karri's wedding
3 days until friend Karri's wedding
4 days until I fly back to L.A. from Arlington.
1 week until my last day of work
1 week and a day until M's last day of work at Animo Inglewood Charter High School
1 week and 3 days until my dad lands at LAX to help us drive
1 week and 4 days until we pack up our cars and start the three day drive to Texas

An excellent example of what a whirlwind feels like!

Because we're not moving our furniture, we're just packing our things into boxes.  We'll squeeze what we can in our cars and freight ship the rest, or maybe get one of those roof-top carriers to help maximize our cars.  We're finding it very difficult to know how much we own and how much our cars can fit until it's actually all packed up.  Any tips on packing?

There are so many little facets that go into moving, and sometimes it's hard to remember what all needs to get done.  One thing we haven't figured out yet is a place in D.C.!  We've heard good things about apartment finder services, and luckily I have a month "off" to look for one while staying with my family.  M, meanwhile, will jet off to upstate New York for the summer genius math camp where he teaches three weeks of the summer.

Finally, I'll leave you with a protip: It's really easy to change your address with the United States Postal Service online here.  You can tell them what date the change takes effect, and they'll send you an official change-of-address form which you might need to prove your move to people. You will need a credit card though, it costs $1, mostly so they can verify your identity.  If you don't want to give them your information, I'm sure there's a paper copy you can fill out at your local post office, but this seemed easier to me.  Remarkably space-age for the USPS.  Props to them!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dinner with Friends Part II: Hosting

Recently M and I have had the opportunity to host a few friends for dinner.  Our first, real dinner-party-for-the-sake-of-having-a-dinner-party guys!  It's fun to treat our friends to a nice meal, and it's been great to learn to work together this way.  When we made Thanksgiving dinner we fought out of a pressing sense of tradition (holiday's are stressful, right?), but by last Saturday, we didn't peck at each other about cooking at all. 

It's not like we fight a lot, we don't, but cooking has a way of putting me on edge, especially when someone is in the kitchen watching me.  It tends to make me self-conscious which makes me needlessly defensive.  (Boy I sound like a dream, don't I?)  Anyway, the moral of the story is that, through practice, I'm getting more confident and less defensive (hallelujah), and M and I are learning to be a team in the kitchen.  And that's swell, kids!  We both want to be great hosts one day, and I'd say we're on the way. 

We had a tapas-style menu (though not necessarily traditionally tapas recipes), with many different bites and flavors to sample.  For starters we served prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe (Malcolm did that all by himself!) and Whole Foods spicy olives.  The sweet, salty, and spicy elements all worked really well together.  
For the meal we served a "shrimp and asparagus salad" which was sort-of-not-really a combination of these two recipes from Martha Stewart for Asparagus with Prosciutto and Lemon Sabayon and Grilled Seafood Salad

Basically, I sauteed shrimp with red onion and red pepper flakes, all tossed lightly in half lemon juice and half olive oil.  Meanwhile, I cooked asparagus in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until it was softer and bright green.  Then I put it in an ice bath to cool, followed by air drying for 10 minutes.  Finally, I cut the stems into bite-size pieces and tossed it all in approximately 2.5 tablespoons each of olive oil and lemon juice.  It was delicious!

Next we had chorizo and oven-dried tomatoes on toast, which vaguely followed these two recipes, both also from dear Martha: (for braised chorizo, for oven-dried tomatoes) but both presented some challenges. 

Chorizo is often featured in tapas dishes; it's a Spanish sausage which can come in many different forms- some cured, some very soft.  Despite the plethora of chorizo recipes out there, we had a real difficulty finding any.  We bought the only sausage labeled chorizo after searching Ralph's, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods.  It was very soft, so much so that after (I guess) not pricking it enough, it exploded in couple of places in the pan, and basically fell apart from there.  It tasted delicious spread on bread (I keep saying "like pâté" though I really have no idea how people eat pâté) and topped with the tomatoes, but I would be careful about trying it again.

Also, the oven-dried tomatoes recipe calls for you to bake them in the oven at very low temperatures for 3 hours.  When we did that, exactly as the recipe called for, they came out burned to a crisp.  No, thank you, one hour turned out just fine for us, maybe not completely dried, but flavorful and delicious.  Luckily we had enough time to try the recipe again, and I've made the one-hour version since this to good success.

We rounded out the menu with my dad's rosemary roasted potatoes, devilled eggs, a green salad, and squares of pizza provided by Lovely Linda:
For desert we made a blackberry, apple, pear cobbler for Linda and Roberto, because they'd never heard of one.  Luckily, it came out well and I was able to show off this very American of dishes to good reviews by all involved.  Who cares that the desert wasn't remotely Spanish when it tastes this good?   
I made this arrangement when Linda and Roberto came to dinner.  Yay for Trader Joe's flowers- $9 baby!
I'm feeling good about getting practice, but a little guilty about basically always using Martha's recipes. I know, I'm sounding like a broken record.  What source do you guys use for recipes?  I'd love to hear your entertaining tips!    

Thursday, May 19, 2011

One Month Till We're On the Road Again

One Month.  Malcolm and I leave L.A. in One Month.  We start THIS in One Month: 
We'll travel it in two portions: first from L.A. to DFW with my dad (who's a champ), then there'll be a month-long break for me in Texas and 3 week math camp in NY for Malcolm, and then on from DFW to DC.

Just for some additional perspective, please consider these pictures:
That's an entire country, folks.
Actually, it's an entire continent.  2,800ish miles.  It registers on a global scale.

It's pretty big for us too.  So there's that.  Just thought I'd let you know.  We haven't made all the plans.  We've got a lot left to do.  But I'm pretty excited.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pretty in Pink: Shower Invitations

A little over a month ago I made another set of bridal shower invitations for friend Karri who is soon to be wed. (Exciting!) Her colors are pink and black- very classy and very feminine, just like her.
These invitations were a lot of fun to make.  The patterns in hot pink were made by painting through a stencil.  I made the stencil by cutting out designs I liked in scrapbooking papers.  Each one came out slightly different, which was pretty beautiful when you saw them all together.
The enclosed recipe card was a constant element across both of her showers- all the guests were invited to contribute a recipe to her collection, such a cute idea from one of her friends!  The little instruction flag telling the guests to write out a recipe was stuck to the card by a glue stick run along the top of the index card.  There was just enough stickiness to keep the flag in place, but not enough to prevent it being peeled away without tearing the card.  I thought that was a pretty neat innovation.     

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Beautiful World: Italian Sodas

I'm a lucky girl.  M likes to make Italian sodas, it's his thing.  And when I ask, he makes them for me.  Instant fruity soda at your fingertips.  Like I said, I'm a lucky girl:

The cherries make it extra special!

And as always, if you aren't interested in Beautiful World Posts, no worries! Just scroll down to the most recent long post, tagged "Musings" and click on the tag. It will remove all the "BeautifulWorld" tagged posts from the page.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Huntington Library Gardens Visit

When I was in Junior High, I had this vision of what I would do with my life.  I would found and run a garden that contained a peaceful library and an art museum and had spaces ideal for reflection, serenity, and honest discussion.  There would be a restaurant, because it's hard to feel truly at peace without some coffee or tea to sip while having said discussions, or a perhaps a gourmet panini to munch on.  There would be a place for performances of music and plays.  There would be a menagerie.  It felt special, perfect.  Eventually that idea slid to the wayside because, basically, you need a lot of money to build an Eden like that, and I didn't have any. 

But luckily, some other people (Henry Edwards Huntington and his wife Arabella) did, and they, in the nineteen teens, decided to do what I had dreamed of with their copious railroad money.  On Easter M and I went to the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, and it struck me how much this beauteous place matched my childlike vision.  Except for a distinct lack of peacocks and horses- but older me thinks that that's probably okay. 

A view of the North Vista Lawn, the lawn is surrounded by an alley of camellias.  Secret passageways guarded by classical statuary are the best.
We came because we'd heard that the gardens were spectacular; and that they were.  The estate is 207 acres total and the gardens range over 120 acres of that.  That's a lot of gardens!  So much so, that even though we roamed the gardens for three and a half hours, we only managed to see half of the gardens, and never-mind the library and art galleries. 
Please notice how someone placed a camellia on this gentleman's toes.  So "Moses supposes his toeses are roses", huh? Maybe for good reason?
Don't you wonder what these two are conversing about?
And if the multitude of gardens wasn't enough, The Huntington also has several art galleries that house the collections of European and American art begun by Arabella Duval Huntington- a very successful collector.  You recognize the fellow below, don't you?  He lives at the Huntington.  What a wonderful surprise.
Gainsborough's The Blue Boy.  Photo credit:
As often happens when I discover a gem in California, I wish I could take my parents to it.  When I discovered things in Houston, at least I knew I could show it to my parents on their next visit, but for the things I've discovered this year, I don't know if I'll ever be able to show them more than pictures.  That's really sad, since the Huntington also features several works by Mary Cassatt, an American painter, one of few women that could be considered a bona fide Impressionist, and one of my mom's favorite artists. 
This is from the "Shakespeare Garden", where only plants mentioned in the works of Shakespeare may be planted in the garden.  What amazing devotion to the bard's works!  The Columbines in the front (bright yellow star-shaped flowers) are some of my favorites. 
And this! I would love to show my dad this: it's the best rose garden I've ever seen.  Roses in every shape and color.  (It's supposed to represent 2000 years of rose history, and I might understand why if I hadn't been completely dazzled by the blooms).  Roses can be finicky plants, that the gardeners can get this many of them to look this beautiful is truly amazing.

This is just about an eighth of the extensive rose garden, which we came at just about the perfect time to see.  Amazing!
And unlike grocery store flowers, each one of these flowers has a distinct scent. 
The Huntington is more than botanical gardens and several art galleries.  It's also a specialized research institution with some of the finest early books and manuscripts in Anglo-American history.  Gutenberg Bible?  Check.  (pshaw, natch!) Ellesmere manuscript of the Canterbury Tales? Check.  Double-elephant folio edition of Audubon's Birds of America? check.  And so it goes.    If only I had known about this magical place earlier!
This is the only view of the Japanese garden we could get.  It's closed for renovations until 2012.  What a bummer.  From here it looks like it might be the only Japanese garden I've ever personally seen that might beat out the Fort Worth Botanical Garden's in my list of favorites.
Who doesn't love plants (Angel's Trumpet) with flowers as big as my head?
The Australia Garden.  M exclusively likes plants that look like aliens.
Aside from the Camellia, Shakespeare, Rose, Japanese, and Australian gardens, what takes up the rest of the 120 acres?  I'm glad you asked:  For one, a beautiful "Bonsai Court" with some incredible works of living art.  Some of them were guarded by alarm system. 
This is an azalea bonsai.  Amazing, right?
I'm pretty sure that this is a piece of driftwood, with one tiny tree trained up the side.  Isn't it poetic?

There was also a truly stunning desert garden.  If you think desert plants only come in shades of gray-green, brown-green, gray, beige, and brown, prepare to be amazed: 
Fun fact: usually when you buy a cactus in a plant store or grocery store with a crackly flower on it, it's been hot-glued on.  This flower was not hot-glued. 

This is probably the tallest yucca in the world.  Or so their signs said.  I'd believe them, wouldn't you?
Seeing plants like this, and being aware that Dr. Seuss lived part of his life in California, makes you a little less impressed with his illustrations' creativity, no?
These flowers come from the 'blue-raspberry fruit roll-up' species, don't you think?
Like I said, we spent three and half great hours and we only saw half of the gardens; we didn't get to see the Conservatory for Botanical Science or the Chinese Garden, or the Children's Garden.  We didn't see the library at all, and we barely had time to stroll through the art galleries.  This beautiful place absolutely deserves a return trip.  I can't wait.

So thanks, Henry and Arabella, for using your wealth to make a little piece of heaven on Earth.  I'm grateful. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

You Should Listen to 99% Invisible

Thanks to my office Christmas present of an ipod nano (I know, right?) I've become even more addicted to NPR podcasts. The good folks at NPR keep me company on the plane, when I'm walking to pick up Peanut-Butter Snickers from CVS, and while I complete menial tasks around the house.  I'm super grateful to have rational, intelligent, reasonable minds keeping me company and offering new perspectives.  So assuming you like that too (why wouldn't you), let me share with you one of my most recent favorite things (besides Peanut-Butter Snickers).  Most everyone's heard about This American Life, All Things Considered, Car Talk and Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, but if you haven't already added 99% Invisible to your podcast playlist you should. I love it. describes the show as: "a tiny radio show that explores the 99% invisible activity that shapes the design of our world." And they're not kidding about tiny- most episodes are about 4.5 minutes long, but there have been 23 episodes- plus podcast listeners tend to get extra content- so there's plenty for you to listen to if you start from the beginning. 

The show, produced by Roman Mars, is far-reaching in its scope.  If you read "design" and thought it must only mean architecture- or perhaps some reference to Intelligent Design- you'd be wide off the mark.  What the show does highlight, in an endearingly whimsical yet still intelligent way, are multitudes of tiny, calculated efforts made by well-informed specialists to make our world better- more efficient, more meaningful, more useful.  Past episodes have covered such wide-ranging topics as the periodic table, augmented reality music, optimal toothbrushes, the principles of good flag design, a one-way mission to Mars, and Esperanto, just to name a few. 

The very first episode, for example, focuses on the successes, failures, and issues in the world of "sound design".  It references the efforts of sound designer Dennis Paoletti to correct a flaw in architectural design that led the main info desk of a library to be positioned at the exact crux of the echoes and reverberations of the entire lobby.  His solution- move the desk- which led to another problem: the design of crowd movement across the floor of the lobby.  And then the episode moves on to the Epic of Gilgamesh.  And it finishes with a discussion of whether or not a city can have unique "environmental sound" that adds to its character rather than annoys.  If this doesn't sound fascinating, it's because I'm not Roman Mars, but seriously, you should let his mesmerizing story-telling take you away.

I'll close with two of my favorite sentences from past episodes:

"I'm sorry, but if you don't love maps, I don't think we can be friends any more."
(Episode 13-Maps, they don’t love you like I love you)

and, said jovially:

"If you don't approve of that sentence, I don't want to live in your dark and joyless little world."
(Episode 16- A Designed Language)

Now, who wants to join me in a Peanut-Butter Snickers?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Railroad Revival Tour: San Pedro

Two Fridays ago I was lucky enough to get to see the San Pedro stop on the Railroad Revival Tour. (I know, awesome right?)  I've really been enjoying not only getting to go, but also being able to share the excitement with the community of people who are interested in these three awesome bands, and who, moreover, were enthralled with the idea of a train theme tour where community-building and creative cross-pollination can get going in high form. 

A friend recently wrote a blog post about the use of jargon to instantly identify participators in your preferred sub-culture.  In her case, she was referring to nerdy lovers of "Firefly" and Broadway musicals (represent, yo!).  I can completely relate, I've likewise loved seeing "RRT" and other shorthand on people's facebook profiles, and I've enjoyed discussing the relative merits of Old Crow Medicine Show, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Mumford and Sons with my friends. 

So, even though I'm well aware that this blog post is arriving behind schedule, here are my impressions of the Railroad Revival Tour:

The Train: So Cool.
Here's my own messy picture of the train.  As you can tell from the lettering, these are some beautiful, authentic vintage cars. 
Here is a better one.  Photo credit to the good folks with the railroad revival tour:
 This idea is so amazing.  All three bands were obviously enchanted with this train- and referenced it in song and conversation between songs- often referring to it in the charming feminine form.  As a future historian, I'm really proud that these groups not only reveled in the idea of the songsters of old that inspired their current genres- floating halfway between drifters and bards, traveling the country on the rails- they actually relived it- and in beautiful, vintage cars, each one with it's own personality.  Musicians often advocate for the importance of preserving instruments, but here they extended their halo over an entire train!  Part of the choice of venues for each of the stops on the tour (I extrapolate from the choice of Ports o' Call Village, San Pedro) was to allow the audience to also see and participate viscerally with the train.

Tommy, who arrived a few minutes before M and I did, got to watch the train pull in, with band members waving out the doors, windows, and back of the caboose.  What perfection!

The Company:  Awesome.
Is this happy face or awkward face?

I really enjoyed going to this with Tommy and Malcolm.  Good buddies and who both happen to have just the best lack of negativity at things like this.  It was special to get to remember the good vibes from folk singing nights on the Wiess Terrace with Tommy, one of my fellow participators, and with music that captures the same spirit.   

The Crowd/ The Venue:  Huge/Appropriately Gritty

These are all the people behind us.
The crowd was giant.  Tickets for this event sold out so quickly, I expected it to be a small, intimate affair.  Ummm... not so much, but that made it better!  Tommy and Malcolm, who have been to more of these sorts of things, tell me that it felt more like a festival than a concert.  Which is awesome for me, since this was my first "realer" concert. 

Earlier this spring I went to my first "real" concert (i.e. not Jamfest, or someone I personally knew performing) to see Vienna Teng perform, but this was an entirely different experience- loud and huge and buoyant and accompanied by lighting effects.  There were so many people, some in "railroad" inspired costumes, some in overalls, some dancing, some drinking, some smoking, some goofing off- all jovial.  The mood could appropriately be described as infectious. 

The venue itself was a fenced off section of parking lot between the touristy area that makes up Ports o' Call Village- an outlook spot for the huge working port of Los Angeles- with cruise and industrial ships sending waves splashing up on each other on one side, and train tracks and a highway on the other. And there were about eight food trucks.  As I said: both fair-like and industrially gritty; which, when you think about it, is pretty appropriate for bands all heavily influenced by the music of the traditional working class.

Old Crow Medicine Show: So Fun
Funny Story:  I happen to have so many friends that are HUGE fans of Old Crow Medicine Show, that when I first heard about the concert I thought they were the headliners.  Sure, I thought, Mumford is really big right now, but they are a pretty young group.  OCMS are the veterans, right?   They'll have the largest following, right?  No, Tommy told me, not so much. 

OCMS, it seems to me, is a very regionally-specific band in terms of style and mythos.  If you didn't grow up appreciating the nuances of Tennessee bluegrass, and if you aren't entirely sure that dating a girl who wears perfume "made out of turnip greens" is an appealing option, then you're not entirely going to appreciate how good this band is at what it does.  But that doesn't change the fact that they are absolutely are great at what they do, nor that they are energetic, friendly and completely a class-act.  They had no trouble filling their set with one great song after another, which is not something Edward Sharpe can claim.  After seeing that only the front third of the crowd could sing along, it made me sad that they're not a more popular group. 

They also were the band that suited the idea of a railroad themed tour best.  They played the music that felt the most attuned to that particular yester-year, and included a song in their set about the tour and the train itself.  Go team!

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros:  Meh?
I also have a lot of friends that also really like this band, but I'm not sure I see the appeal.  To be fair, my ambivalence may have had a lot to do with some situation-specific mishaps.  Practically the whole set was punctuated by Edward-actually-Alex grudgingly apologizing that they were "working something out".  What they seemed to be working out was two-fold, first was an issue of feedback, which is excusable when a band of this size doesn't have time for a sound-check- Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros looked like they were about 14 people strong for this evening.  But they also seemed to have not discussed their set-list prior to going out on stage, which just seems unprofessional to me- especially considering that they were living on a train together

And here's the real kicker for me- when the audience was less than completely overjoyed with what was clearly a less than completely prepared performance, and some unpleasant feedback, Edward-actually-Alex reacted peevishly.  He criticized the audience for not putting their "bleeping hands in the air", and generally acted either freakishly hyper or vaguely annoyed at the audience.  And he kept asking (over the microphone) how much more time they had to fill- it created the impression that he couldn't wait to go do something else. 

Sure the music was happy and interesting enough- and the moment when one of the band members, Jade, had her father come onstage and play guitar with her was very sentimental.   But here's the deal: for a band that's supposed to be about happy feelings, and good vibes, and "Home"- with a front man who purposely cultivates the whole caftan-wearing, I'm-too-much-of-an-artist-to-comb-my-hair, musical messiah thing- I would have expected them to perform more gracefully and less frantically under pressure.

Mumford and Sons: Woah Daddy Hot Damn!
I completely approve of how this band exploded into popularity.  They, like OCMS, are a class act- flawlessly performing a well-designed act- but unlike OCMS, their mythos is universal to any one of the countries that rode on the back of British Imperialism and count multitudes of poor English and Irish laborers in their registers of history.  You don't have to be from the South to feel like you own this music- if you have an Irish ancestor who lived during the nineteenth century- and really- who doesn't?- then you feel like you own this music too.  Furthermore, many of their lyrics are inspired by Shakespeare- the most ubiquitous of English-speaking cultural heritage.

As a white person, a European mutt bred on American shores, I feel like I have very few "cool" cultural things to be proud of.  I don't get quinceneras, or dragon parades, or awesome spicy food with exotic ingredients- what I get is music like this- that hearkens back to a scrappy race with a love of the fantastic and the epic, who fought and strived, and gave their sweat and blood to the American Industrial Revolution, who lent their somewhat less than legal persuasion to Australia and New Zealand, and who created an evocative history in their own Irish and British homeland.

Feminine Aside: really, Mumford just looks like he walked out of a black and white photo, with his boxer's jaw and rakish suit.  (Excuse me while I pause to fan myself).

Anyway, sure, Mumford and Sons is a young band- but with some seriously multi-talented members (I love it when bands hot-potato instruments, don't you?), a front man who is obviously both respectful of his audience and really good at cultivating an evocative aura, a maturing, developing sound (the new music they played sounded like it was written for larger audiences, they're coming into their own and they know it), and some smart lyrics (re: Shakespeare above) what's not to like?  Based on this performance, it looks like they are making all the right moves, example: can I hear it for the newly-added horn section?  Plus they take this great story- this Irish/English inspired folk music, and wrap it up in South African, rock, and jazz influences and becomes something special, something unique...

Fine, I'll just say it, I love this band.  

The Vibe:  Perfection:
I am well aware how lucky I was to get to see this as my first concert.  The bands themselves were clearly pumped to get to have such a life-changing creative experience, and it's always special to peak over the shoulder of someone who is clearly a master.  And all of the bands, even Edward Shape, are clearly masters of the art of folk/bluegrass/rock/pop/jazz fusion.  This train is truly bound for Glory (at least in the memories of all the people who saw it riding the rails).            

Beautiful World: Wiess Love

I've been feeling nostalgic for Rice and Wiess recently.  The campus is always so beautiful in the spring, with the green leaves of the famous trees especially verdant and fresh, and the wildflowers blooming next to Wiess.  I figure I'll always be a Wiessman, but sometimes it's sad to be so far away from your community- and to know that that community has all but disbanded anyway- off to exciting jobs and schools and families all over the country. 

On that note: I graduated last May.  The Rice University Class of 2011 is shortly to follow.  Congratulations to them, and here's hoping for a rain-free commencement!

This is an oldie.  Hail Tiny Pig!  He sat in my window at Wiess for about a year and a half.

My parents bought this this spring.  See how Wiess sprit spreads?  Even my parents are fond of goldenrod flying pigs!
M and I found this goldrenod pig tray at World Market last week.  How awesome is that?
TFW!  TFW!  TFW! | Rice fight never die!

And as always, if you aren't interested in Beautiful World Posts, no worries! Just scroll down to the most recent long post, tagged "Musings" and click on the tag. It will remove all the "BeautifulWorld" tagged posts from the page.

Friday, April 22, 2011

So... That Was Cool, or The Time the President of the United States Came to Dinner

Yesterday evening my friend Barack Obama came to eat dinner.  Well, okay, he didn't come to my house.  And alright, if you push me, I'll admit that he didn't even eat with me.  But I'm sure that was just because he was being considerate.  You know, he understands that I'm busy and didn't want to bother me.  He's thoughtful that way.  But really, the POTUS did eat down the street from my apartment at a fancy restaurant in Brentwood.  There was a lot of police presence and tons of yellow tape everywhere.
I got the impression that Angelenos were scarred by the last time the President came to visit L.A. because most people in my office freaked out when they learned that he would be in town.  The traffic in L.A. is near disastrous on a regular basis; when they shut down major arteries for presidential security, it becomes a nightmare. 
Luckily I was able to escape work about an hour early and squeeze in right before the police closed off my street.  From what I've read on random LA Traffic websites, I also managed to slip out about 30 minutes ahead of a shut down to the area where I work.  So... that was good.   
I did go out and try to see the motorcade, but no one was being too specific on his route (for good reason), and I happened to pick the wrong corner.  But that's okay, there are youtube videos if you or I really want to see it.

Mostly, it was great to stand around with the crowds of my neighbors and chat about the excitement, the traffic, the weather, and everything else.  I live in a pretty great city, and in a pretty swell neighborhood- full of diversity- but it's easy to lose sight of that. 

So thanks for coming to dinner, Mr. President. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beautiful World: Care Package

This came in the mail for me yesterday and it was completely surprising and entirely timely!  I definitely needed a pick-me-up yesterday, and it was perfect.  Best thing ever: personal sparklers for indoor use!  Rachel, you know me so well!  Thanks buddy!

And as always, if you aren't interested in Beautiful World Posts, no worries! Just scroll down to the most recent long post, tagged "Musings" and click on the tag. It will remove all the "BeautifulWorld" tagged posts from the page.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Beautiful World: Porch Garden

This is what my porch garden looked like a few weeks ago.  The geraniums are going to town and the sweet alyssum is just wonderful.  It smells divine and is overflowing its pots!  There's a gerbera daisy in the background, and a little orange cactus.  Fantastic.

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