Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fires & Pumpkins.

What a week. As you may have heard, there were some crazy fires in Southern California earlier this week. Monday morning, my commute looked like this:

Scary, right? The fire was about 10 miles away, but the winds picked up, and by Monday evening, there was concern that the fires would burn straight down to the coast. We got a call from the City on Monday evening, telling us to prepare to evacuate. We went outside, and our neighbors were packing their cars and leaving to stay with friends and family. It was very ... apocalyptic.

In case we were evacuated, Josh and I packed up our cars with family pictures and other sentimental stuff. After a long night of tossing and turning, I woke up Tuesday and got news mid-morning that our city was no longer threatened by the fire. Such a relief.

After that scare, the rest of the week seemed like no big thing.

On a brighter note, the weekend has been great. Saturday morning, we checked out the Calabasas Pumpkin Festival.

There was a little pumpkin patch at the entrance.

We are cheap, though, and didn't buy any pumpkins. Apparently, the grocery store by our house has pumpkins for $4 each, so we decided to hold off.

We met up with my dad and his lovely girlfriend Cathy.

Since it was game day, my dad was completely decked out. Can you guess for whom he roots?

The festival was filled with food booths, disastrous news for me since I am trying to lose the 4,327 pounds I've gained since starting at the Firm. Funnel cakes, sausages, and burritos galore. Tear.

I love fall in Southern California (yes, there are seasons here, they are just subtle, ok?). The weather Saturday was sunny and cool with a slight breeze. And the sky blue flecked with clouds. This may make me sound like an office rat, but it was so nice to be outside.

After looping through the Pumpkin Festival, we headed back to our cars. I really love my dad's girlfriend, Cathy. My dad has such a big heart and is kind of a goof, and in many ways, I think they work so well together.

Exhibit A: My dad and Cathy breaking out their dance moves on the way to the car. (Embarrasing yet adorable, no?)

After we left the Pumpkin Festival, we had lunch, and then headed back to our place. Dad and Josh watched football, and Cathy keep me company on a trip to Crate and Barrel to get some bookshelves. I spent all yesterday afternoon and evening unpacking the last few boxes of books, assembling the bookshelves, and cleaning out our home office. It looks like a totally new place.

Today, well, I should be working, but as you can see, I am procrastinating. Josh wants to go see W. this afternoon, so I should probably knock some work out here so I can go play later. More soon...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beat the Sun Devils.

Josh woke me up at eight o'clock this morning. Waking me up that early on a Saturday is usually unforgivable, but he had the most excited-little-boy smile. (It's hard to be mad at him when he is so cute.) Apparently, my dad had called and had four tickets to the USC football game and wanted to see if we wanted to go. Since Josh is obsessed with college football, and since USC is my second favorite team (sorry, Bruins friends) next to the Washington Huskies, we jumped in the shower and headed to the Coliseum.

Parking at USC is insane. Most of the event parking by the stadium is between $40 and $60 (!!!!), so we drove a little further away and finally found a sketchy vacant lot that was charging $20. But, that's not all. They would give you free parking if you paid them $25 to baby-sit your kid in the vacant lot while you enjoyed the game. Not sure if anyone took them up on the offer.

First stop once we were inside: food, of course. I got a rice bowl with tri-tip and chicken. Mmmm.

We found Bug and my dad, decked out in Trojan gear.

Our seats were pretty good. Actually, they were fantastic, considering they were free! And, it was a gorgeous autumn day in Southern California: 70 degrees, slight breeze, and sunny. Now this is why I moved back to L.A. after several cold years in Upstate New York! (Although, I must confess I miss the leaves this time of year, but I digress.)

Since both my parents are SC alums, and Bug is in medical school there, it has become my second favorite college football team. Now, the Huskies will always be my first and favorite. In fact, I hope they cream the Trojans in a couple of weeks. Unlikely, but a girl can hope.

Bug flashing victory. Fight on.

The game itself was pretty uneventful. The Trojans beat the ASU Sun Devils 28-0. Despite some messy fumbles, USC pretty much dominated.

Friday Night with Cio-Cio San.

Ahhhh, the weekend again. This week was a little slower, which was a nice change. Monday, Bug and I met up with some friends for dinner at the Spring Street Smokehouse. The original plan had been french dips at Phillipe's, but the crowds were insane. (Awesome Monkey recap here.)

The rest of the week was just work and home. Josh had Yom Kippur off on Thursday, so he was a total angel and whipped our house in order. Such a nice surprise to come home to!

Friday, Josh met me downtown and we headed to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. We have season tickets to the L.A. Opera, and we had tickets last night to see Madama Butterfly.

Josh is actually a pretty big opera fan. Fun fact about Josh: He has an absolutely gorgeous voice. He was classically trained, and for awhile, sang in operas. However, he got bored with that, and now would rather start a 90s grunge cover band. I kind of wish he would have stuck with opera, because how many people can sing like that? I mean, if I opened my mouth and all those incredible sounds came out, you would not be able to pull me off stage. A side note to this side note: Josh is fantastically fun at karaoke.

(One more digression: This week, I dug out my old point and shoot camera, so I actually have pictures (I am often too lazy to tote around my big 'ole SLR), although they are a little fuzzy.)

Okay, back on track.

We arrived at the Music Center an hour before the show. I was hoping to have dinner at Pinot Grill, but it was completely packed. Josh and I decided to grab a quick bite at the Spotlight Cafe, a small cafe run by the Patina Group that has sandwiches and snacks.

We got a couple little bottles of wine, and I ordered the grilled portobello mushroom sandwich with arugula, which was quite tasty! (Extremely fuzzy pic below.)

We sat by the fountain, ate our food, sipped our wine, and enjoyed the water show.

After a quick bite to eat, it was time for the show.

Of course, no pictures were allowed or taken during the show. The music was gorgeous, and the set design was very modern and minimalist. It was beautiful -- the stage looked like a moving painting, and the singers would freeze and slowly walk it looked like they were gliding. The stage was a moving, breathing painting. (That said, the theater was quite warm and we had just had a delicious dinner. Some of the slower arias set against the minimal background seemed to drag a little.)

After the show, we trekked home. After the food, wine, and beautiful music, I made a beeline for bed and slept like a baby.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

To Market, To Market.

Wow, a two week blogging drought. You can probably guess why I have been MIA from the blogosphere lately. Yeah, I have been working a lot. I did escape my laptop for awhile last weekend to go to Bean's first birthday (awesome recaps here, here, and here) and had a wonderful dinner at Mastro's in Beverly Hills with some of my favorite girls from work last night.

After all the go, go, go, I was SO looking forward to sleeping in this morning. It has been over a month since I have had a free Saturday morning, so I was well overdue for a nice, long sleep. Giddy, I came home from dinner, slipped into my pajamas, and crawled into bed at 11 o'clock.

I woke up this morning, groggy, thinking it must be at least 1 p.m. I reached for my Blackberry to check the time (yes, it's on my nightstand -- sad, I know), and it was only 9 o'clock!! I used to be able to sleep well into the afternoon. Looks like I am losing the magic...

On the bright side, I felt well-rested and still had the whole day in front of me!

I got dressed, and Josh and I headed to the Calabasas Farmers' Market, our new Saturday morning tradition.

It's such a fabulously grey and drizzly day, so it almost felt like we were back in the Northwest.

I was really excited to find a bunch of baskets of different types of lettuce leaves.

We had to come home with a bag.

Everything was so fresh. I have never seen Josh so excited about vegetables. :)

And, of course, we loaded up on Josh's favorite food in the world: potatoes.


The Farmers' Market is a lot bigger than I thought it would be. It had little restaurant booths in addition to local produce.

Josh said it reminded him of Oly. It reminded me a little of the produce stands in the Campo where I lived in Rome. Either way, we both agreed that we would be back next weekend!