Saturday, March 28, 2009

You can thank me later

I'm trying to not let this blog become a link dump, but today I'm too uninspired and pressed for time to make a brilliant, original post of my own.....and frankly, this one was to eefin awesome to not share. This came from WFMU's Beware of the Blog, which is a daily wonderland of cool stuff. Read the article, then conduct your own exploration of this unique musical form. There is TONS of stuff out there to check out.
Enjoy! You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wisconsin Trip Part Two--Food and Stuff

Like I wrote in my last was really cold when I arrived in Milwaukee. This is the temperature at 7am on Thursday morning. President Carter would be really proud of us keeping the thermostat below 72 degrees!
The frozen tundra of my sister's back yard. Even though this is all dead-looking, she showed me the teeny-tiny shoots of tulips that were starting to come up.
After working all day Friday prepping the shower food, we--my sister, dad and I went to church and worked at the Fish Fry. They really do a good job and this is one of the most popular church fish frys in town. There was even smelt on the menu! They served close to 500 dinners.
Sunday we went to the Iron Horse hotel for brunch. It is a new hotel that was made by converting an old wherehouse. It is located near the new Harley-Davidson Museum. We ate in the bar area. It was a beautiful room with huge windows. Keeping with the wherehouse motif--they used old workbenches and stools. The chair I sat on was just like my old drafting stool from the old days when I worked at a drafting table. Ahhh....comfy nostalgia.
The food was excellent. There were about ten of us at the table and it was split between breakfast items and lunch items. No complaints. 
The best thing about this burger was that they ran the cheese under the broiler and made it all bubbly...nice touch. The buns were house-made too.
Of course, I had to have a brat. It was pretty good. 
Here's a great example of a ghost sign--
I made my Dad take me to Leon's on Sunday afternoon. It was the first nice day for about a week and everyone was out getting some custard. This was about 5 in the afternoon.
I got the smallest hot fudge sundae possible. Heaven in a cup.
On Monday we went driving around. Still a few chunks of ice in the lake.
The is the Wisconsin Gas Company Building. Sadly, it seems to be in need of an occupant. Back in the day, the "flame" on the top of the building would be illuminated at night with a color code for the weather. Now, I think it is only lit on special occasions, if ever. Sad.
Here's is a poster I have that tells what the colors mean--
I seldom go east down Wisconsin Avenue. Wow--what a great view! I usually come from the south so I never get to see this angle. Somebody really got this one right.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wisconsin Trip Part One--Bridal Shower

My trip to Milwaukee was short, cold and tons of fun. It was mostly a working vacation--I co-hosted a bridal shower for my niece--so the first three days were spent preparing for the party. The plan was that I would make the food for the party and the other co-hostesses (my other niece and the MOH) would do desserts and decorate and all the rest of the party planning tasks.
I arrived Wednesday morning on the red-eye, and after a nice breakfast my dad and I hit the stores and bought all the provisions I'd be needing. I'm sure glad I dressed warmly--it was cold (in the 20's) and super windy. At least we didn't have to worry about the food getting too warm as we went from store to store.
With the pantry stocked, Thursday and Friday were spent prepping the food. Sous chef Dad helped out on Thursday and on Friday my sister played hooky from work and helped me.
I had looked forward to using some great Wisconsin cheeses--this one was used in the Prosciutto and Gruyere Pinwheels.
I needed to grill these peppers and give the sates some grill marks (they would  finish cooking in the oven at the venue). It was about 40 degrees outside. Hey--at least the sun was out, and if I stayed close to the grill, it wasn't all that bad.

The theme of the shower was "Martini Party", so I wanted to make things that were finger foods and easy to eat.

Marinated Mozzarella, Roasted Red Pepper and Olive Brochettes

Pecan and Goat Cheese Marbles
Smoked Salmon, Avocado and Horseradish Spirals
I hit the West Allis Cheese and Sausage Shoppe and got this nice assortment--Stravecchio (a Parmesan-type), aged Gouda, smoked Cheddar, and Buttermilk Blue. I brought the dried fruits with me from California.
Crudite with Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Dip
Everybody loves shrimp cocktail
In addition to these items, I also made curried chicken sates with peanut sauce and teriyaki beef sates.
My niece Allyson was in charge of desserts. She made these awesome strawberry shortcakes.
She also made plain cheesecake and turtle cheesecake. MMMM
In honor of the bride, a recent UT grad, she made these longhorn cookies.
Everyone had a great time. We laughed, played games, opened gifts, and of course--drank some martinis! Later that evening, we went out for the bachelorette party. This had an 80's theme, so we all wore our best leg warmers and had a blast.

(if anyone wants the recipe for the sates or spanakopitas.....let me know)

Space Junk!

Is this where they put the space junk?!?
(Now I got that Devo song playing in my head!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hi Mr. President!

Did you see me waving?
Today President Obama visited California for the first time since he became president. Had I not just taken off some days for vacation, I would have seriously considered trying to get a ticket for the town hall meeting.
I work in Huntington Beach which is about midway between Long Beach, where the president landed in AirForce One and Costa Mesa, where the town hall meeting was held.
Today, I kind of spaced on the fact he was coming--I could have been listening to the radio or streamed video of the event.
Shortly after 3pm, we heard some heavy-duty aircraft noise (we're close to a Naval Weapons Station too) and my co-worker called out--Hey I bet that's the President! We all ran outside to check it out. I grabbed my camera and attempted to take a few shots.
There were five helicopters--two in the front, one in the middle and two in the rear. That was pretty cool.
I was a little worried that there would be a traffic jam on the way home on the 405--it runs right past Long Beach Airport--but things were clear when I went past at 4:15 or so. As I passed by I searched the runway and sure enough, I saw AirForce One parked way down at the north end of the runway! Yeah!
The Q&A part of the meeting started while I was driving home and when I reached home I rushed into the house and went to turn on the tee-vee but the DV-R red light was on! Oh no! What was recording?!?! Big Joe! Damn...what to do?!?!?
I quickly turned on my computer and finally got a video stream going on KNX.
I thought the questions asked were pretty thoughtful and covered a lot of the issues that are in the forefront today and I thought the answers were good and as detailed as they could have been considering it was all off-the-cuff.
When the program was over I stayed at the computer and tried to catch up on my blog reading. It is a beautiful spring day and the door is open next to me and I hear a familiar sound--more helicopters! I looked to the north just in time to see three military helicopters travelling northwest towards LAX. I think Mr. Obama is following me!
I wonder where he will spend the night? Vandenberg AFB? The guy on the tee-vee said those details were not made available. I can't wait to see how he does on Leno tomorrow.

Monday, March 16, 2009

There's no place like home

But where is home? I'm happy to have two awesome places to hang my hat.
I've been so busy on this trip I haven't really had a chance to get email, much less think of things to write about.
The flight back to California tonight will give me a chance to decompress and write some stuff. Lots of photos and fun activities.
It's kind of weird to be sitting at my Gramma's desk in my old bedroom (now the computer room) typing this on my dad's laptop!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Radio Silence

No....I wasn't in the hospital, or in jail, or dead. The absence of posts this last week was due to a general lack of inspiration combined with being busy with work and stuff. When I get busy at work, the longer hours spent there cut into the time I have to sit and think of junk to write about. Not to mention that I'm usually brain-dead when I do get home and that really puts the kibosh on any type of creative thinking.
Last week was Dale's birthday, which we celebrated by going to the movies--we saw Milk. Totally awesome. Not only was Sean Penn spectacular, but I hadn't known another of my favorite actors, James Franco, was also in the film.
Thursday night I spent baking a cake--German chocolate--and finally finishing the tomato soup I started on Sunday when I roasted the tomatoes. I was worried I wasn't going to get to finish with the soup.  But I did and it was so yummy and worth waiting for.
Friday we had a little party to celebrate both Dale and his daughter's birthdays--pizza, cake and polka dancing with his 2 month old grandson. Gotta start 'em young!

I spent the weekend preparing for my upcoming trip to Milwaukee. The weather forecast does not look too promising for Wednesday and Thursday, with highs predicted in the 30's....brrrrr! Luckily, I have some cold weather clothes, so no worries there, except for their lack of style. It is the shoe situation that is giving me a problem. I don't have the same shoe dilemma as fellow blogger GoldenRail, since I have only one pair of shoes to chose from, but they are clogs, so I'm worried my poor little feet are going to be cold. I do have UGGS, but I'm not looking forward to the derision the Milwaukee people heap on us UGG-wearing Coasties.

I'll be co-hosting a bridal shower for my older niece while I'm there. My task is food preparation, so I'll have a few days to do that before the party on Saturday. I'm really looking forward to seeing friends and family and having a great time visiting with everyone. Hopefully I will have time to go to a fish fry and get to Leon's as well. Not too sure I'll be able to post while I'm gone, but I'll try.