Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Falling in Love...with Football

It was almost fall the other night. I could taste it. Literally.

The hand-picked apples were simmering in their sugar and cinnamon syrup- turning just soft enough to be wrangled into a rose-shaped pie. JUST BECAUSE. The turkey breast was crackling in our stove and I smiled because I finally finally figured out how to best utilize this weird contraption called a bottom burner. Our potatoes were cooked to Eccles' home perfection- soft inside and crunchy outside, the closer to french fries the better.
These homegrown beauties soon became...
Don't be fooled, this isn't as difficult as it looks. Just time-consuming!
The pup was weaving her way through my legs, her small fuzzy body tickling my shins. She looks less scruffy after a shave and a bath, a mohawk trailing down her spine to match Mr. E. He's in the living room just behind me doing his best to multi-task: one eye on his boiling ears of corn, the other on the Colts and Broncos game. We've never splurged for cable, and this isn't even on for love of the game. 
It doesn't matter who's playing, what the score is or who just grabbed that touchdown- football is the sound of fall. Listening to Al Michaels and my mind instantly hits calm. When I was at my first quarter of college and away from home for the first time ever, anxiety hit me so bad I wanted to roll up in my bed and cry, trying not to hit my head on all my open textbooks. But my roommates were out and supposedly the TV was available to all so I tuned in to Monday night football and the calm that washed over me was instant. The soundtrack to my perfect days.

I barely even watch the games. It's on in the background, a soothing sound of whistles and 10 second sound bites, of cheering and announcements. "The best this season" and "Offsides, number ninety-four". Baking is easier, more focused when I can half-tune into NBC. Tidying is quicker when I'm sneaking glances at the latest commercials for game day feasts and tail-gating Americans.

We may have woken in the middle of the night to heavy humid temperatures this week and used the air conditioning more than we ever have before, but every few days when we wake up the sky is a grumpy gray and the mountains behind us are shrouded in fog. It's not cool yet, but it's coming. I felt gypped out of our sweater weather last year thanks to an 80 degree Christmas, but I have high hopes for the coming seasons.
The view from behind our building
In the meantime I'll be grabbing the last of the summer produce and freezer-jamming myself silly in an effort to preserve sunshine in a PB and J.
This is the most delicious apricot-cherry jam I've ever had. Or made.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ren Faire

My only regret is that we missed the "Wines and Wenches Weekend", as I can only imagine the kind of cleavaged debacuhery that would occur.
Not that we didn't already witness our fair share. (Get it?)
Yes, it's true, the renaissance faire in Irwindale is one of the biggest on the West Coast. And yes, it's true, it's also a fantastic excuse for women to dress in corsets and little-to-no shirt product. But it's also a rockin' good time.
You can't fully enjoy the faire if you are not properly attired, as their many costumed booths could attest to, but as I don't have the guts (or the boobs) for a corset, eclectic gypsy-esque it was going to be!
Mr. E and I went a little early to fully enjoy the $26/pp experience, and later met up with some friends of mine from work. Accents and feathered hats, oh my!
Forgive their expressions- they really are excited to be hanging out with me.
There were booths selling all sorts of things, from woodworking to incense, pewter goblets to glass ornaments, hair twirling, baton twirling, skirt twirling, gypsy skirts, palm-reading, jousting, and the food...Turkey legs were almost mandatory. And corn on the cob.
One of the things I love the most is how supportive everyone is. There are all kinds at the faire, and some of them take their roles or their characters so seriously I'm pretty sure that's just how they are, but they are all so sweet to one another. They laugh and call out across stalls, compliment you on your skirt or your bag or your mustache, offer their services or stop you in the middle of the thoroughfare, stomp their feet and bow "M'lady..." before whisking away, cape in hand.
Who doesn't want to get treated like a princess for a day? A princess with all her boobs in her shirt, no less...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Paint Nite

Four colors.

Five paintbrushes.

Two beers and two slices of pizza big enough for Malibu Barbie.

Paint Nite (or Sit and Sip) has been sweeping through cities like crazy- all over social media (including Groupon, Living Social and Yelp!) we've seen pictures of cheesy girl friends, clinking wine glasses in front of half-finished canvases.

It was time we joined the trend.
 Also, I have a hard time saying no to 50% off.

The website is super easy to use- you scroll through and can choose your painting based on proximity of the location, the type of painting or how hard the painting is rated. Seeing as this was our first time (and after work), we needed close by, something we wouldn't get tired of looking at, and EASY.

Turns out, easy is in the eye of the previously-painted-before.
Although there were some venues just down the street from us, we really liked the look of a particular painting, so we headed off to a little Italian restaurant (+ bar) in Glendale. We're totally coming back because those raviolis looked GOOD. The bar was big by drinking/eating standards but as soon as you throw in a 2x3 canvas at each place setting, cups, brushes, paint plates and beer, you're looking at pretty tight quarters.
Mr. E and I set ourselves up in a booth, and quickly realized that this was a class of friends. There were easily 30 people there, but it was less of a "date" thing and more of a "group date" experience.

Our instructor was sweet, had a little trouble with the feedback of her headset, but she played some good tunes in between the instructions (Don't mix your water and your drink!) and was generous with the compliments.

What I really liked about painting this way was all of the examples you had surrounding you. There was a finished canvas at the front, the instructor painted a second one with you, there were tiny examples sitting at your station and everyone else was painting the exact. same. thing. So comparison wasn't an issue- even if yours sucked (which you're not allowed to say out loud), you can bet you'll find someone worse than you.
What I didn't like? My perfectionist streak was not as thankful for the alcohol as my social butterfly self would have liked. The one beer may have loosened my inhibitions to strike up small talk, but when focusing on a certain method of brushing I could have used a little more focus.

Mr. E, suprisingly, was completely in his element. He loved the cathartic motions, mixing the colors and working to make sure that his background trees looked different from his foreground- he played with dimensions and perspective and showed a little competitive streak I didn't know his fine motor skills were capable of.
I think by far the best ending to a date has got to be: When can we do this again?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hie Thee to Zion

Zion is apparently an international hotspot.
Is it the stunning views? The trails for hikers of all levels? Perhaps it's the absolute silence and the stunning cascade of heavenly bodies that surround you once the sun sets behind the cliffs. I haven't quite figured out how to take pictures of stars with my iPhone, but if it looked like this during the day...imagine what that looked like by the light of a waxing moon.
For four days there's actually quite a lot to do in Zion. That is, if you are surrounded by nieces and nephews, catching up with sisters-in-law, tending to injuries, cooking any and all meals and/or trying to find a free bathroom for a quick second. Just me?
We biked from the park entrance to the Lodge almost 5 miles away (uphill, both directions, in the snow...).
We hiked a mile along the Virgin River until we dead-ended at the river itself....then we took up walking sticks, double-bagged our valuables and trudged in. Much like the California surf, the water was cold but soon numbed your feet.
We also hiked to see the canyon view- through a tunnel and out the other side, there's a (perilous) staircase, some natural, some not, that deposits you at a cliff edge with a stunning vista of the park. Granted, it was no Angel's Landing (same idea, but a four hour trek and one of the highest points in the park- not suggested for kids. Me. People with a fear of heights.)
We swam for most of the day- hiking was strictly a morning sport as the heat of the day quickly baked everything in the canyon.
My favorite part of the trip? Catching a wide-eyed Mr. E as he spouted geological tidbits, trying to cram every rock and crevice into his memory bank like a kid at a museum. We vowed to hike more often- and actually get out and camp once in a while!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Heads Up!

We've kind of got a lot of balls in the air right now in our household.
Forgive my giant face- this is as close as I can come to showing you where I work!
I was hired (as a contractor) at Baxter Bioscience with a whole new schedule (5am-1:30pm!) so my days have become pretty limited. Then Mr. E found a position on an HBO show that has him working 12+ hour days- so we kind of pass like ships in the night.
Cast and Crew private screening for Wish I Was Here- Mr. E's first job on a Hollywood movie!
And then a car accident.
And then Mr. E's thesis film Ganas was accepted into a prestigious short film festival called Holly Shorts.
And then Mr. E decided to submit a short film to Project Greenlight- sort of a documentary series that follows aspiring filmmakers spearheaded by Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

And of course this is all in the same week, because when it rains it pours.
But with my extra time at home I've been house-keeping: donating, organizing, de-cluttering. I've pulled out craft projects that had been gathering dust: quilts and cross-stitches that have seen better days. It's been nice to head into the changing of the seasons with some productivity under my belt.

In the meantime we've kept busy around the city- vacationing, day-tripping and experiencing all  most of what LA has to offer.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Legacy to Leave Behind

Since we're coming up on the year anniversary of Mr. E's thesis film Ganas (and his graduation!) I thought it'd be fun to reminisce about leaving our mark on Dodge College.
 Don't tell my mother, but we definitely vandalized the theater.

We were sitting in one of the backrows during a screening or a class or some such, holding hands and enjoying each others company far more than we were enjoying what was onstage, when I realized the tiny gold plate on the arm rest was loose.
Inspiration struck and I stuffed that sucker in my purse.
A few weeks later we snuck in as a family to glue it back into place- so really we were maintaining the integrity of the venue, right? We squeezed our bewildered pup into my purse (she's half chihuahua, after all, she should be right at home) and walked in like we owned the place.
A phone flashlight and a bottle of craft glue later we were left with this. A legacy for future students to find and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Let's go to the Museum

I've been to a museum or two in my day, so I was really excited to hear that LA's museums opened up their doors FOR FREE for a day. And even though we missed that day (there's always next year) it sparked an itch that only $10 could scratch.

Come to find out that the CA Science Center is free everyday, so a) science RULES and b) we made sure to go bright and early because I heard it was in the ghetto, which is actually Angeleno for next to USC. Mr. E and I reminisced about the skipped opportunity there as USC was originally his first choice for film school until Chapman knocked it out of the park.
The outside is absolutely lovely and I couldn't help think what pretty wedding pictures could be taken here. Now that I'm past all the wedding hassle, I love imagining industrial wedding venues (as opposed to the ethereal flowery type that is so often flaunted).
Inside, though? Not. As. Impressed.
 I mean, it was cool to look at all of the space things- the Endeavor (which is extra $$, so no thanks) and other space-related parts. The habitats of the world, their creatures and their patterns, the exhibit on LA and the trash we use, the functions of the body and how life evolves, changes and adapts to fit the world it lives in. But all of the exhibits felt old- the plastic was garish and the color scheme was reminiscent of a doctor's office.
In reality I was probably unfairly comparing it to the Children's Discovery Museum down the road from us in Orange. We passed that giant cube everyday and finally found ourselves on the inside one weekend. Granted, it may have been the Indiana Jones exhibit that tempted us, but we stayed for all of the gadgets and the activities. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves there, so to see the moldy too-dark rooms that LA offered was disappointing, in the least.
Like tap water when you really wanted Hi-C. At least there's always LACMA to look forward to.