Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Tetris Miracle

I rented a storage bin from Door-to-Door Storage and Moving to facilitate my move to Oregon. I am not leaving Los Angeles quite yet, so the convenience of these storage pods is well, quite convenient. Essentially, they deliver the pod to your location, you load it, then they take it away. In my case, they will store it for a month, then ship it to my new apartment where they will also unload it for me! The cost is comparable to renting a U-haul truck and trailer for my car, but without the headache of driving an over-sized vehicle and towing my car up.

I was certain everything wouldn't fit in one bin, but the cost of a second bin wasn't worth the price of keeping some of my treasured belongings. The worry of being able to fit everything I found essential into the pod translated into many sleepless nights. I was certain I wasn't going to fit even half of my stuff.

Thanks to some great guys in the ward who helped move all my junk and thanks to the Tetris-like skills of Chelsea, Greg and Amy, a miracle occurred yesterday.

At roughly 4' wide, 7' tall and 8' long, those pods do not seem all that big, but with a little planning, it is amazing what you can pack into those things!

I don't know how they did it, but they got everything to fit, EVEN my beach cruiser and my beloved Siesta (Love) Sak which I just couldn't fathom parting with!

It all fit! I can't explain my overwhelming joy! All I could do was smile and bounce around.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Underarm remedy

I just happened to see this product on a sidebar of the website. It was intriguing to me.

There seems to be a remedy for everything out there...

But seriously folks! MUST WE have to find a remedy for every discomfort, mallady or nuisance? Can't we just leave some things alone? I mean, really, really?

Product Features

Extra Adhesive
Extra Absorbency
Quiet and Comfortable

I am only going to assume that the leading competitor's product makes some kind of noise, such as a squeeking sound of some sort? Or maybe the "squishing" sounds gets annoying? Otherwise I have no clue how "Quiet" is a necessary selling point.

Maybe some people out there really need this and I'm being a brat about it. But I for one, don't really get it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

$1.50 what?! Where?! For reals?!

It is hard to pass up deals like this...though we're all used to long wait times at the Cheesecake Factory anyway, right?

The Cheesecake Factory Serves Up a Delicious 30th Anniversary Celebration! Celebrating “30 Delicious Years,” The Cheesecake Factory is serving up several sweet initiatives throughout 2008. To kick-off the anniversary celebration and in commemoration of National Cheesecake Day on July 30th, 2008, The Cheesecake Factory restaurants will offer every delicious slice of its more than 30 varieties of cheesecake with a dollop of nostalgia by featuring all cheesecakes at $1.50 per slice, limit one per guest, dine in only, on that day—as they were when the restaurant first opened in 1978.

In addition, a special, limited edition cheesecake, the 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake, will be introduced on July 30th with $0.25 from the sale of each slice sold this year benefiting the national hunger-relief organization, America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network. Additional activities will be announced throughout the year.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Succulent Tomatoes

Few things in the food world come even close to the savor of a homegrown tomato. I am not a fan of tomatoes and prefer most of my food without them, but I will gladly eat a tomato from someone's personal garden.

My coworker has a knack for nature and in starting his small garden a year ago, has found he has more product than he can handle! Yesterday he brought me a bag full of fresh vegetables straight from his garden.

And today, I ate some of it. The tomatoes were so sweet and juicy. I forget how delicious tomatoes can be.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The LA Report

Since making my list I have found that I now have a purpose in planning my evenings. As I get together with friends in these last few weeks, it is easier to find a destination or an activity for the time we have. And already, I am able to check some items off my list having thoroughly enjoyed the experiences!

My sister has hiked to the Hollywood sign several times, so actually getting there was no problem. But for those who don't know where to start, here's my tip: In any sort of mapping program, type in the intersection: "Beachwood Dr and Hollyridge Dr, Hollywood, CA" and you will find the entrance to the trail there. There isn't much parking, so keep that in mind. Also, go earlier in the day. It gets HOT up there! Here's a link to a detailed description of what turns to make while on the trail/fire road/paved road.

There is a ranch there where people can pay to ride horses through the area.

There are several great spots to take pics of the sign and when you get to the top, you end up above the letters.

Who knew there was a dammed lake in Los Angeles?!

On a clear day you can see in all directions from the top of the Hollywood sign. It was a nice Sunday walk, though a bit smoggy.

Though it is illegal to hike to the actual letters, there was a trail heavily I made an exception.

I can also check Roscoe's off the list. Accompanied by Eva and Kristen, we each ordered a #13 and devoured a delicious meal of waffles and fried chicken, with a side of cornbread. To make it even more special, we were joined by Lee Champion for his first ever Roscoe's visit and in true newbie fashion, had to sell the practice of eating the chicken and the waffle together in each bite! Bliss. Then heartburn. But it all comes with the bliss...

People have suggested I add the following to The LA List:

- Griffith Observatory

- Father's Office
- Getty Museum

Consider them added.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Denke Family

A couple of weekends ago I got together with a good friend of mine from Seattle. Alex (Xander) Denke and his family live in Burbank and since living in LA, we have managed to stay in touch and continue to remain close.

In the last three years, the Denke's have endured trials and tests of faith that most people will never experience.

I don't know all of the details of their history, but in general:

In October of 2006, Alex and Carrie welcomed twin boys Keane and Ethan into their family. The boys were healthy and beautiful and so fun! But only a few months later, one of the boys got sick and after a visit to the hospital, the visits just never seemed to stop.

Shortly there after, the boys were diagnosed with an unusual and rare syndrome called Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, commonly known as HLH. I don't know exact characteristics of the disease, only that treatment includes chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.

The Denke's initiated a campaign to find a bone marrow match for their boys. In all facets of the Church and donor organizations in Southern California, the hunt was on.

Miraculously, the boys wait ended and they found a donor match and received the transplant. Now almost a year later, the boys are better, but not completely in the clear. But upon our visit, they couldn't have looked happier and more content as little boys. When I walked in the door of their home, little Ethan looked at me from the kitchen and gave me the biggest smile the little guy could muster. It totally melted my heart! I am in love with these boys!

The Denke's have endured so much and you can read their story here on Alex's
blog. But in these last three years of following the boys' progress and staying updated on the Denke family, I have all respect and love for them.

Visiting with them always makes my day better and I leave feeling joyful and positive. For the situation that they find themselves in, Alex and Carrie are the happiest couple I know and continue to share loving and caring concern for each other and their boys. They manage to stay positive and find the joys in life that make life together so precious. They are amazing people.

I am sad to see them leave the SoCal area, but I can only imagine how blessed Seattle will be to have them and little Ethan and Keane there. I wish them the best in their family and continued happiness and joy in their home!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Last Crusades

I have been in Los Angeles for six years now and it is weird to look back and try to remember what Los Angeles was to me in the beginning.

So much time has passed and though never 100% committed to this amazing city, I feel I have succeeded in making a good life for myself here.

Though this may be the first of several farewell blog posts, I feel this one is necessary to initiate now considering I only have a month and a half left. I have very little time to enjoy my favorite parts, activities and destinations in Los Angeles, so, with that in mind, let's not waste any more time!

Below is a make-shift list of places, pleasures and passions of LA that I want to have just one more go at before I split. The list is short and after six years, you would think it would be more substantial, but if there is one thing I have learned living here: there is so much to do and you should try it all at least once, but in the end, take time to slow down and appreciate the things that mean the most to you.

Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles
The first time I went to Roscoe's, it was just after I had moved to LA. I was an emotional wreck as I had just broken up with a long-term boyfriend and I was devastated. My sister and her roommate took me to Roscoe's thinking it would be just the right pick-me-up for my down-in-the-slumps demeanor. I remember sitting there not really understanding what was going on, though too sad to process what was expected of me. Waffles? and fried chicken? And you eat them together in the same bite? I didn't eat hardly any of my meal that first visit, not because it was an odd concoction of food items, but because I had no appetite. But, that first experience aside, I went back several months later and since then, keep going back! It's an artery clogger, but so worth it every once in a while! I'll have one #13 please!

The Counter
Best burgers around. Hard to get a seat, but the wait and the scramble for a table is so worth it for the yummy, made-to-order gourmet burgers and the sweet potato fries and horseradish dipping sauce!


My parents love this place. It is seafood heaven! I have taken a few friends here and they have all loved it! Essentially, pick a live crab, maybe some jumbo shrimp and in 15-20 minutes, they throw it on your table with a pile of napkins and a wooden mallet and you are feasting! This restaurant, owned by Koreans who also serve the yummiest spicy fish soup (meh-oon-tang), is one of my favorite restaurants in the LA area. It is an eating experience!

Cheap and delicious. Two tacos with cheese. 'Nuf said.

I have always felt that I never get to the beach enough. I think some years have gone by where I didn't go even once just to hang out. But this year, I have been packing in those beach romps knowing I wouldn't have the opportunity in the coming future. The last time I went I actually got in the water and attempted a little body surfing. Those waves are so much larger up close and personal, but the feeling of being surrounded by open water is so refreshing. One more visit is a must.

Hollywood Bowl
Seeing a show at the Hollywood Bowl is a requisite activity at least once a year. Not only because of the wonderful performances that go on nightly there during the summer, but because of the uniqueness of the events and of course, the beauty and splendor of the Bowl itself. There is nothing like chilling in the open air of the Bowl surrounded by tens of thousands of people listening to the LA Phil or singing-along with Julie Andrews. Thanks to Jennie, I will get my much needed visit in for the year.

Greek Theater
KJ is a concert-goer. I am not. Every time she has ever asked me to go to a concert with her, I have said no. But this last time she asked, which I say was very gutsy on her part considering our track record, I said yes. 1: because I felt I should go to at least one concert of her choosing with her (rock on John Cougar Mellencamp) and 2: I love the Greek Theater.

If time permits:

The most I have ever paid to get into Disneyland was $6 and that was for a season's pass (ask me and I'll tell you the story...) yet I have been there countless times. Just one of the perks of living in SoCal I suppose! I can now count four friends who work for Disney and as cast members can get three friends in for FREE to Disneyland. If I can convince one of them to take me for one last time, I will have my fill. Six years ago was the first time I went to Disneyland and it truly is the happiest place (because everything is fake just like a fantasy land) on earth.

Hollywood sign
Little known secret: I have always wanted to hike to the Hollywood Sign. My commute to my first job in LA took me down Doheny Dr. and into the heart of Hollywood. I remember looking up at the Hollywood sign for the first time as I was making my way through traffic to my first job on a reality television show and thinking, "Wow, I am really doing this!" Later it became more of a "I can't believe I'm wasting my time doing this crap," kind of thought, but still, it was exciting nonetheless. Anyway, the sign. It'd be fun to hike to it just to do it.

Beach Cruise
I bought my cruiser much too late to truly appreciate it. If I can squeeze in one more ride down the boardwalk I'll be pleased. It's such a peaceful feeling...

All are welcome to join me for my last crusades. Yeah, traffic sucks and the air is dirty in LA, but there is so much more to love than to hate about this awesome city.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Restroom routine

Every day I use the same restroom stall in our restroom at work. If I find that my usual stall is occupied, I experience a bit of internal discord, but then casually move to the next-to-next stall down (no one wants to do their business RIGHT NEXT to someone else doing their thang if it can be helped...).

My bathroom visits are so frequent, that I have become very accustomed to the experience each time I go, which can be several times a day depending on my water intake. I know to expect that when I enter the bathroom, the temperature will be about 10 degrees cooler than what I have acclimatized (I hope I used that word right) to at my desk. I know that as soon as I step away from the toilet, the sensor will automatically and instantly trigger a flush. I know that the latch on "my" stall will stick just a little bit every time I lock or unlock the stall door. And I know that when I wash my hands, the sensor on the soap dispenser will give me one squirt more than I wanted. It's clockwork! Sadly, it's almost more familiar than home...

So today as I was in the bathroom, I got curious and wondered:

1. Can everyone relate to my similar experience with their restroom visits at work? or places they frequent?

2. Do people really even care as much as I do or even notice that they too are in a routine with their most frequented restroom?

3. Why is this such a big deal to me?

4. It's crazy to think that that book is true, everybody poops? Crazy.

5. I wonder what the men's room looks like...

I don't think I am alone in any of my thoughts. Just like taking the same route to work every morning is a familiar routine, why not would be my daily activities while at work? Sometimes a visit to the restroom is the only time I ever leave my desk, although if I am going to the restroom, it also means I am frequenting the kitchen for refills on water.

This is really just my observation today. Nothing big to report. Just my observation.

Anyway, the men's room. I took a peak in and it totally threw me off. The color scheme is the same, but the layout is completely different and that urinal thing is just unsightly.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Doo Doo Tree

Last summer when a bunch of friends and I returned home from a week-long trip, I noticed that my friend Chelsea, relatively new to Los Angeles, had parked in a most unfortunate spot. Yes, she was close to the apartment, but not was her choice of parking sound in mind. As we pulled up next to her little silver Honda Civic, I excitedly proclaimed, "Ha, ha! You parked under the doo doo tree! You have a doo doo car!"

And in fact she did.

It is my sixth summer in Los Angeles and I have come accustomed to a particular tree here in west LA. It lines many of the streets in and around my neighborhood and spots the rest. Every year in the winter I watch its branches sprout green leaves then come spring, the trees are in full bloom with little purple blossoms.

The trees are nice to look at and when you peer down a street with a lot of them, it makes west LA seem almost homey.

But just as soon as the trees are in full bloom and the strollers and passers-by are decidedly fooled by their deceptive beauty, the trees are a pleasantry for what seems about less than a week and then they turn into a nasty menace.

All of the "pretty" purple blossoms start to fall off along with the sap and the muck that nourishes the dam* oversized shrub.

Everything that was once ON the tree is now OFF the tree and has "doo-doo'd" on whatever was below it.

Can you only imagine all of this yuck on your car? But it's more than the shrubbery blanketing your car, it is the addition of the stickiness which absorbs all the nasties in the air and the dirt wafting by making for a sappy mess.

But not only that, the dead debris begins to stink and the stink lingers for weeks. A stink like the inside of a soda can recycling bin that has been sitting out in the sun for a really long time.

The "Jacrarandra" or so they call it, is no pleasantry. It is a neighborhood menace if you ask me.

This poor soul parked her car under this tree and has left it for over a week. I took these pics just one day after the car was left. I can only imagine what it looks like now. Though the seasonal dropping has essentially ended, the doo-doo has been done...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rice please. Just rice.

A question my friends and I like to ask each other and other people, is: If you had to choose one thing to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

When I first contemplated my answer to this most thought-provoking question, I automatically thought of the following:

- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- Hotdogs
- Rice

When told I could only choose one item, it was a tough decision, but I chose rice. And since that day, my taste for rice has not wavered. PB & J has gotten old to me and hotdogs have gotten gross to me (with the exception of the occassional dog...). But rice, has been welcomed to the party in my tummy through and through.

Whenever I get Mexican I make the same two special requests everytime: no cilantro and no beans, extra rice.

Tonight at Wahoo's I made that exact request and the amount of rice (which is so buttery and yummy) they gave me was glorious!

I couldn't have been happier!

What would your answer to the question be?

Monday, July 7, 2008

It's a party in my tummy!

Who knew parties could be so fun?! " yummy, so yummy..."

And I thought Barney was freaky...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


After viewing pictures from the "Oh Ho-Down" a friend of mine explicitly pointed out our natural reactions to what was a lovely time and tipped me off to a fun blog called "Dance Face". I kind of love the idea of the site! And it is so true! The expressions we make out on the dance floor are priceless!

So, after a wonderful wedding weekend for Kris and Brian, I caught some gems to start my own danceface collection! Boy oh boy were we having fun and it showed!

Okay, this last one isn't technically a "danceface" but this picture of Eric Smith swooping a Smartie off of little Lauren's head was too fun to not include! And it occurred NEAR the dance floor!