“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
--- Douglas Adams

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Upward Mobility

Last Saturday The Girl and I climbed to the top of 555 California. This was my 3rd year and The Girl's 2nd year. 

555 California is the big brown building in the picture.

Here we are before the climb, standing in front of the sculpture "The Banker's Heart."

Here's The Girl, standing in line, waiting to climb. Isn't she pretty?
And here we are after the climb as we round complete the 51st floor and start climbing the last flight of stairs.
Look at The Girl, not an ounce of sweat on her. Oh to be 12 and fit.

Here I am. Not 12, or even a size 12, but fit enough to climb 52 flights of stairs.

This year there were 1192 stair climbers, just about one climber per stair. The youngest climber was 6 and the oldest climber was 72.

So how'd we do?
The Girl
The Girl climbed 1,197 stairs in 20 minutes, 17 seconds. She came in 847th place overall and 15th place in her age group.  She didn't even break a sweat. As I was approaching floor 38 I got a text from her. It simply said "done."
I climbed the stairs in 35minutes, 12 seconds. I came in 1148th place overall and 141st in my age group. I also shaved off 2 minutes from my time last year of 37minutes, 27 seconds, but was did not beat my first time of 27minutes, 10 seconds.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to our fundraising efforts. We really appreciate it and we couldn't have participated in this climb without you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dear Greg Anderson

Dear Greg Anderson,
Your stupid facial hair makes you look like a tool.

pic stolen from NY Daily News


Monday, March 21, 2011

An Open Letter to Silk Soy Milk

Dear Silk,

I like soy milk. Soy milk tasted good on cereal. Soy milk makes good hot chocolate.
I also like milk. Milk tastes good on cereal. Milk makes good hot chocolate.

Your newest ad campaign where you drive off into the middle of the country and try to convince people that soy milk is better than milk kind of pisses me off. Instead of trying to change the minds of people who rely on milk production to put food on their tables and keep their houses warm, why not just introduce them to another yummy beverage that they might also like?

Sure, you can use soy milk in place of a lot things you would normally use milk but I don't see why I have to make the choice. Why does one beverage have to replace the other? Can't I have both?


P.S. I am not a crackpot.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

An Open Letter to Starbucks

Dear Starbucks,
Overall I think you have a good product. A grande brewed coffee in the morning sets a nice tone for the day. I hate the language you've created. For the longest time I would refuse to ask for a grande coffee in favor of asking for what it should be called, which is just a medium coffee, but then I realized I was confusing the cashier and holding up the line so I decided that at 7am my need for coffee was greater than my pride and I should just give in and speak your stupid language. I'm will be eternally pissed at you for wrecking the macchiato which is simply a shot of espresso marked with a little bit of foam. If I had a free macchiato for every time one of your employees responded with "what size" every time I asked for a double macchiato, I'd be awake and shaking with caffeine jitters for months on end. All that being said, however, I know that pretty much whatever I order will be the same no matter what Starbucks I'm in.
OK so I'm puzzled about something. Most mornings I would rather have salt for breakfast instead of sugar. I skip your 390 calorie slice of lemon loaf in favor of your Fruit, Nut and Cheese Artisan Snack Plate. I like it. I can nibble on it throughout the morning. I get a nice little salty fix, with just a dash of sweet from the dried cranberries, and it fills me up. I'm not too keen on the apples in the plate, however. Often times the seed casing of the apple is left on the slice and I have to pick it off and then I get apples under my fingernails, and then, because I'm at work and don't have any nail clippers, I have to dig it out with a paperclip I've modified for such a purpose. I suppose you should feel flattered that I buy one of your products so frequently that I've created the need to fashion a tool to deal with the problems that sometimes arise with various foods I like to eat of yours.
Recently I started the PX90 exercise program. The dietary requirements of this program are really high in protein. I thought I should try the Protein Artisan Snack Plate instead. I was a bit troubled. The Protein Plate has a hard boiled egg in it. I don't eat a lot of hard boiled eggs and the thought of eating them from Starbucks weirds me out almost as much as buying perishable groceries from Target. I can't quite make myself buy eggs from Starbucks.
I decided to compare the labels of the Protein Plate with the Fruit, Nut and Cheese Plate. You know what I found out? The Protein Plate has 13 grams of protein while the Fruit, Nut and Cheese Plate has 19 grams of protein. I'm no math wizard but I can subtract. There's a 6 gram difference between the two in favor of the yummier plate. Now I'll take the high road and say that 13 grams of protein is a pretty good amount of protein but why dis the Fruit, Nut and Cheese Platter? It has more protein. Why not promote that?
Like I said, over all you got a good product. I don't like the stupid language you've taught the public, and if I have to start using it at Peet's when you buy it, I'm gonna be super pissed, but over all your coffee is pretty good, and the things of yours I don't like have to do with my own personal preferences, not because of the quality of the things you sell. My point is, you should take more care in not giving things stupid names.

P.S. I am not a crackpot.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dream last night - It's a Churchy dream

I had a fairly "churchy" upbringing and most of the lessons I've learned growing up have stuck with me through today and have been passed on to my children. Some lessons are more ingrained than others, but I can safely say that I am a product of my upbringing and old habits die hard. I went to a Lutheran school from 3rd grade to 9th grade. We went to church every Sunday. I went to youth group through the end of high school. I sang in the choir from 4th grade to 9th grade. I was baptized as a baby and confirmed in the 8th grade. It's hard to turn one's back on what was so ingrained and such an intrinsic part of life, so I don't. It's me.

So last night I had a "churchy" dream. Here it is.
I was on some unfamiliar street trying to catch a bus to go to church. The buses I needed kept passing me and the buses I didn't kept stopping. I never caught one, but I did finally get to church. I walked in. The church was the one I grew up in, Bethany Lutheran in Long Beach. The church had been completely remodeled. It was shaped in a big semi-circle and the altar was super white. The seats where the pastors sat when they weren't at the Lectern or Pulpit were on a high balcony above the altar overlooking the congregation. I walked up to the front to take Communion. Instead of being led to the spot where I went when I was a younger (kneeling around the railings around the altar), I was let to a 6-top round table. I noticed that there were many 6-top round tables around which other Communicants were sitting. On my way there the current pastor there, who I've never met in real life, said to me "hey, nice hair cut." A plate was passed around with chunks of yummy bread and pieces of salami, really really excellent salami. There was an end-piece of salami I was hoping would still be on the plate when it got around to me. It wasn't. Someone else took it, but the person next to me noticed I was a bit bummed about that and gave me the yummiest piece of bread he could find. I commented that this was a lot different than the last time I was at this church. A man at the table said that we're celebrating The Lord's Feast, so why not sit at a proper dining table. I mentioned that there wasn't any wine and the man told me that they found that too many people drank too much wine in this setting so when everyone was back in their seats they'd pass around a chalice for everyone to take a sip out of. As I walked back to my seat I took a wrong turn and found myself in this weird narthex-annex. In this weird narthex-annex were tons, and I mean tons, of good looking red-headed teenagers playing frisbee, having a good time and listening to the church service via an overhead speaker. Then I found myself outside the church. I noticed that the name of the street the church is on was changed from its former name to Bethany Lutheran Street. It was only this changed name for the block the church is on. I looked inside the church and some elder came up to me and I while I was telling him what the church looked like when I lived in Long Beach, people who were sitting in the pews kept turning around and shushing me.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Eating #8

I'm doing #8 on my list this month. Bring my own lunch to work for a month.

The purpose of this list item was to save a bit of money.
Lunch costs a lot of money in downtown San Francisco.  Figure a trip to the salad bar at 7.99/lb or a sandwich at $6.99 plus a drink, plus some fruit to have later in the day. That totally adds up. It frequently adds up to be about $13 a day. Gee whiz, that's a lot of money. That's $260 buck-a-roos a month.
I had intended to stick to the only-bringing-in-leftovers rule, but amended that. Since the goal is to save a bit of dough, I decided that all lunches I don't pay for count towards "bringing my lunch to work for a month"

Week 1 started on February 21.
I did pretty good. We made sure to make yummy dinners and when we put dinner away I made sure to pack my self a lunch. One night Tom made some super-duper rockin' lamb stew. So good the next day at lunch.
Week 2 started on Feb 28.
On Monday I had to order lunch for a meeting that was taking place in the office. I poached a sandwich, instead of bringing an actual lunch.
On Tuesday I was treated to lunch by someone I work with. I wanted to go to Houston's because I really like their coleslaw. He wrinkled his nose and dismissed that idea quickly. Who was I to argue? He was, after all, paying. I sold him on the idea of Truffled Fries with Asiago Cheese, so we went to Fog City Diner instead. We split a plate of fries. He had a burger and I had a BLT with a fried-egg on it and we talked about iPads. For dessert I had bananas foster, which was OK, nothing special. He had a pistachio creme brulee. He picked off all the sugar from the top and put it in a little pile on the side of his plate. When he was done eating the creme he put the sugar in his coffee.
Week 3 started on March 7
No company sponsored lunches this week. Good thing, though. As yummy and as free as they are, they don't have the best nutritional value. Can you say "chocolate wheat-germ cookie" from Specialtys? I started P90X this week. For the next 90 days (minus the 7 that I'll be in Hawai'i in May) I have a particular diet to try to follow. Food from Specialtys or Il Fornaio certainly aren't on the menu of a P90X-er.
Week 4 starts today, March 14
Why am I writing this post before I actually finish the list item? Well, at the risk of counting my chickens before they hatch, I don't think it'll be any problem to finish out this week making my own lunch. I'm enjoying packing my lunch every night before I go to bed, and although I've been particularly poor this month and haven't actually benefited from saving $260, I definitely didn't put an additional $260 on my credit card this month.

It'll pay off in the long run.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sometimes Haste Doesn't Make Waste

I had a dream a few mornings ago. I should have written about it that day but I was so busy I couldn't sneak any time away to write. I have to remember that it's a bad idea to wait to write when dreams are concerned. A few mornings ago I had a dream that I was at a bar. It was really crowded. I was walking along the "employees only" side of the bar and I happened upon Tom Bosley. Tom Bosley had really long straight hair parted in the middle, not unlike Neil from The Young Ones, except that it was brushed, well groomed and one could tell Tom Bosley had a much better diet than Neil because his hair looked better (not part of my dream but once upon a lifetime ago I worked for The Food Whole and Tom Bosley came in and I saw him buy 5 roma tomatoes and a loaf of Grace pugliese bread).
He kept flipping his hair back much in the same way Cher did in the 70's. Tom Bosley had diamond piercings in his face where his dimples would be. Tom Bosley was glowing with happiness. Now, here's where I need to remember to write down my dreams right away instead of waiting until the weekend, Tom Bosley told me that something happened to him recently that made him very happy. I can't for the life of me remember what it was.
Lesson Learned.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Yay 12!

The Girl turned 12 over the weekend. Every year I tell her the story of her birth and then end it with "I can't believe I kept something alive for 12 years in a row."
The cliff notes version of her birth story involves  a VW Rabbit getting stuck between an inbound and outbound L trains at Sunset, steamed toast, Ali Farka Toure, pre-eclampsia and the sweetest, bestest little girl, ever.
The Girl had a little party last Friday night. I took her and two of her friends out to dinner. They got a table of their own and I sat at the bar. We went to Park Chow on 9th and Irving.
I think The Girl has such a positive memory about this place because one time, when she was 3 or 4 years old we went there to eat dinner. It was Hubby's and my anniversary. We attempted to drop The Girl off at her grandparents' house for the evening while we went out to enjoy a nice romantical dinner. She pitched the biggest fit ever when she found out we were going to eat at a restaurant. She didn't want to stay w/ her grandparents. We let her come with us, and we were grumpy the whole ride over to the restaurant. 
We shouldn't have been grumpy. We ended up having a great time. The Girl has always loved restaurants. We ordered their mussels appetizer. The Girl jumped right in, dipping her bread into the yummy yummy butter/wine/herby sauce, and eating all the mussels. About halfway through she looked up and said "what's this, it's good." For the rest of the night we had a really good time and I'm glad she came with us.
So fast forward, she's 12 now, and in between that one night and last Friday we've eaten at Park Chow a number of times and we're always pleased.
Last Friday night was no different. The girls sat at their own table, ordered their appetizers, drinks and main courses and desserts all by themselves. At one point the waiter introduced himself to me and even offered to inform me when they were going to sing Happy Birthday so I could be there as well. He was just the right amount of flirty, courteous and professional. The girls gushed about him all the way home. I think the night was a total win for them. They had a good time.
My dinner was pretty yummy, too. It was nice to sit at the bar, watch some sports on TV, eat my dinner and people watch.
Happy Birthday Baby. I love you.

The Girl and her 2 BFFs.
I'm not sure how her friends' parents feel about their kids' pics on my blog so
I turned their pretty faces into pretty flowers.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Where Did My Dreams Go?

I've always had a pretty vivid dream life. I've always been able to recall the most minute detail, what color something was, how many buttons it had, what songs were sung, how something smelled.

Lately my dream life has been somewhat off kilter.

I've been waking up knowing I was just dreaming but unable to remember what it was, or even worse, been waking up not remembering any dreams. It's really bothersome. Frankly I was pretty darned entertained by my weird dreams and I miss them, a lot.

I think they might be coming back. In the last two nights I've had two dreams I almost kind of remember.
Here are my fragments.

Picture stolen from nayontenor.blogspot.com
 Dream #1 - I overheard someone tell someone else that Ulrich Roth had died. I was sad, but was happy to hear that it wasn't Klaus Meine.
Note- when I woke up yesterday I wasn't sure if I had dreamed this or if his death was reported on the news and I just incorporated it into my dream. I don't usually fall asleep with the TV on, but that night I did. I have been known to incorporate outside noises into my dreams. When I got to work I investigated. As far as I know both Ulich Roth and Klaus Meine are still alive and kicking. No word on whether their careers are, though.

Dream #2 - I woke up this morning remembering only one phrase: It's Taco Tuesday Somewhere! I wish I had some background on that one. I'd be nice to know why Taco Tuesday was so important.

I hope this is the start of a new pattern of remembering my dreams. I really do miss remembering them.

Welcome now my friends to the show that never ends

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Nice Pictures - Where'd you steal them from?

Some of the pictures in my blog were taken by a photographer called Julie Michele. Some of the pictures were either taken by me or someone I know. Some of the pictures were ripped right from the internet, mostly from google image searches from photographers to whom I may or may not give credit.

Rest assured I make no money from any of it.