Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lunatics... puppy love.

If you follow me via any form of social media, you probably know that The Hubbs and I have been searching for a pup for a while. We have an adorable and funny kitty, but felt that adding a pup into the mix would be a good choice. After searching and applying for puppies that got snatched up before we could even meet them, I heard about Luna. I was actually in Boston for work (oooo, that sounds cool!) when I got the email saying she was available. I immediately emailed the organization (PoochMatch). Then, I thought that might not be enough, so I called. :)

Donna from PoochMatch spoke with me about Luna, who was named Bippity at the time. She was quite shy, but sweet. Luna had been rescued from a hoarding situation and wasn't used to people. I called my husband when I landed back in California to see if he thought we had the ability to help a shy pup become confident and he said yes.

We made arrangements to meet Luna that night. She ran away from us and hid at first, but once we had her in our arms and laps, she snuggled and got quite comfy. Our hearts were stolen. We took Luna home a few days later and she worked her magic on our hearts. She especially melted The Hubbs' heart. He's a sucker for puppy cuddles.

She is such a sweet and gentle puppy and we've been having a good time going through the learning process with her. Her first walk was spent with her cowering behind us and now she walks with head and tail up, beside or in front of us! We get to work on learning to heel soon! :) She's learning how to sit on command and how to fetch right now. She has also learned that she's not allowed to bark at Ellie.

And that's another thing! Our kitty has been so good with Luna. Aside from hunting Luna once or twice, she tolerates her well. Then again, there was that look of utter disgust on Ellie's face when Luna licked her this morning... :) I'm just waiting for the cold winter day that I find them sleeping next to each other.

All this to say, we are crazy (you may even say LUNAtics) for our puppy. We love introducing her to people and other dogs and helping her build her confidence. She is such a sweet cuddler, so even just hanging out is a joy. If she keeps heading in this direction, I may have a therapy dog in the next six months! I would love to share her sweetness with people who need it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cupcakes, meet Margaritas. Be best friends.

I just finished eating one of the best cupcakes I have ever had. I know that sounds lofty, and it sounds even worse when I disclose that I baked them myself, but it was so good! I stole the Margarita Cupcake recipe from the Brown Eyed Baker blog ( so you can check it out there. I made a few little changes and I doubt that they altered the final product, so feel free to take note or ignore the following:

The Hubbs and I prefer Corralejo tequila, so I used that instead of Patron. Good choice! Curious about the taste of Corralejo? Check out this review: You can find this stuff for a great deal at Costco if you're willing to hold a bottle the size of a newborn child.

No zest was used in my version because I don't have a zester and the cheese grater does not work well for that purpose. Surprise.

I baked my cupcakes at 350 because my oven doesn't know how to bake at a lower temperature, even when I set it to 300 degrees. I can't wait to move to place with a legit, properly-calibrated oven! Regardless, my cupcakes turned out great and did not burn or dry out.

I cheated on the frosting. I bought store-brand vanilla, because it was cheaper than sin and holds up to piping nicely. If you choose to do this, scoop the frosting into a bowl and then add a dash of tequila and lime juice to taste. I like quite a bit of lime, but toned it down for The Hubbs. I also added one drop of green food coloring since I didn't have zest to add any color/garnish. I chilled the frosting mixture for about an hour for ease of frosting. Then, I spooned it into a ziplock and cut off the corner for a disposable frosting extravaganza! I had plenty of leftover frosting because I don't like to pile it too high and the recipe only makes 12 cupcakes anyway.

All that being said, if you are looking for a satisfying, tasty, tangy, sweet cup of deliciousness... make these! I wish I could take them in to work to share tomorrow, but there is unbaked tequila in/on them and I don't want to go against the rules. Keep that in mind if you also work on campus at a college where no alcohol is allowed. Or just in any conservative work place.

Now I think I'll go taste test another one....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Spoke to a Squirrel

The title says it all. Today I caught myself talking to a squirrel. Shall I elaborate?

I work on a college campus that seems to encourage squirrel life. Worse, the Natural Sciences department and Business Office secretaries feed the squirrels. Campus Safety officers have been taking pictures of the "evidence" (no joke, they've photographed nut shells) but so far haven't stepped into the action more than that.

Because of the feeding, the squirrels have become rather forward with people. This delights some and frightens others. I lie somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Which leads me to my story.

I was walking across campus, minding my own business, when I noticed a furry little creature out of the corner of my eye. I paused to glance at it and the second I made eye contact, the evil little squirrel began to pursue me. He'd follow for a few steps, then pause while standing only on his hind legs, only to follow on all four again. Creeper. Without even thinking I stopped and yelled to him, "I don't have any food! So stop following me!"

Strangely enough, he listened.

And so I walked away, glancing furtively over my shoulder until he was far behind me. And that's the story of the time I spoke to a squirrel.


PS I promise I'll write more frequently soon. I'm in rehearsal for a play (I'm a lead!!!) and I'll surely have some fun stories. I'm working with some awesome people.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

It's 2012. 2012. 2012. Oh, sorry, I'm just practicing so that hopefully I don't use up a whole container of white-out at work tomorrow when I have to fix the year in my writing. :)
Hubbs and I had a pretty quiet celebration. We had a friend over and I made stuffed mushrooms and cupcakes. Really healthy stuff, right? The cupcakes are what I really wanted to share about, though. If you don't like chocolate, read no further.

I found a recipe for Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes online and adapted it to my way of working. The beer isn't too noticeable, but adds another level of delicious to the eating experience. I love any opportunity to use my red mixer and this was the perfect one since I'd also be making homemade frosting. Here's the deal for the cupcake batter:

1 c unsalted butter (I accidentally only used 1/2 c and they turned out great)
1 c Guinness stout
2/3 c cocoa powder
1 c light brown sugar
1 tsp table salt
1 c white sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 c sour cream

Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a saucepan melt the butter and add Guinness, cocoa powder, and light brown sugar. Whisk frequently until it is all melty, combined, and smooth. Remove from heat and let it cool. Perhaps sample the tasty goodness on your whisk.
In your mixer, add the rest of your ingredients (sans eggs and sour cream). Make sure these are all stirred together, then add the cool Guinness mixture to them. Once that is mixed well, add in your eggs and sour cream. If you taste the batter at this point, you'll notice the sour cream so don't taste it. Once the batter has been baked that goes away and what is left is moist chocolatey goodness.
Fill your cupcake liners 2/3 or 3/4 full depending on how much you want them to bake over. Bake for 20-25 minutes. This recipe made me 20 cupcakes.

Now for the frosting:

1/2 c butter, room temperature
3 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 pinch salt
Bailey's (to taste)
Jamison's (to taste)

Cream the butter as best you can in your clean mixer bowl. Then add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time. Toss the salt in. Mix until combined. Add some Bailey's and Jamison's as you're mixing until you get a spreadable consistency. Taste frequently. If you want to cut down on the booze factor just use Bailey's and milk.

Now frost those lovely cooled cupcakes! I sprinkled some extra cocoa powder and then decided to sprinkle some salt, too. The salt isn't terribly noticeable, but it adds interest to the taste and evens out the sweetness a bit.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Good Grief

I should probably open this entry with a disclaimer. This post is an attempt to organize my thoughts about grief.
At 9am on December 23rd, my Grammie passed away. My husband, brother, and I were driving to Northern California to be with my parents for Christmas when I got the phone call from my mom. It wasn't a surprise, but at the same time, it wasn't something I expected.
Grammie had been fighting colon cancer and had been put on hospice in her home weeks ago, so we knew the end was near. She had two very large tumors that could not be operated on. As a result, her appetite and strength diminished until she was too weak to continue on. I last saw her two weekends ago. She looked weak and I could tell she was hurting badly. I was thankful that she could even recognize me with all of the pain medications she was on. That night I sat with her, holding her hands, speaking occasionally, and praying that her pain would be soothed. Of course, my hope was that her pain would cease and that we could keep her here on earth for longer. But our plans are not God's plans.
I think I first began grieving when I heard about her diagnosis. Severe colon cancer does not give an already weak grandma good chances. I was given plenty of comfort and encouragement from family and friends who had known people who had fought that cancer and won. Grammie was not strong enough physically to do that. When Grammie was placed in hospice it really hit home. I've never lost someone close to me this way. To be honest, the closest losses I've had were my Great Auntie Bea and my friend Landon. They were very unexpected situations and the grief cut differently than it did with Grammie. The night my mom told me that Grammie was placed in hospice, I grieved hard. To me, it was the end of the story. As my husband held me and wiped away my tears he said a few things to me that helped. He said that it was ok to hurt, but he also reminded me of the truth.
The truth is that Grammie was in a lot of pain.
The truth is that we are not meant for this world.
The truth is that there is a better place without pain and without suffering.
These thoughts give me comfort as I grieve. Grammie no longer hurts. As much as I crave one last story, one last laugh from her... I know that she is in a better place. And even if that means that our hearts ache we can at least take solace in that.
Grammie was one of the sweetest women I've known. She always had frozen Eggo waffles (my favorite, eaten uncooked) and Hershey Nuggets. When I was younger I used to unwrap a Nugget, pop it in my mouth, and fold the paper into the original shape, and then place it back in the candy dish to see if I could trick her. She somehow enjoyed that silly prank. Grammie also had wonderful stories to tell. They ranged from her minor usage of french to the craziness of her three children. I don't think I ever heard her complain. She loved mallard ducks, lighthouses, iceskating, and Maine. Later in life, she adopted the Lakers as her sports team and diligently watched every game of theirs that she could with a Laker flag and blanket. Even though she had to quit smoking for health reasons, the smell of some cigarettes still reminds me of her. Grammie watched my husband and I as romantic leads in a play together before we were even dating and suggested that he would make a handsome boyfriend. Grammie was a smart lady.
I'm having a hard time organizing my thoughts, so I apologize if this post seems scattered.
I think that Grammie's death has reminded me how important it is to keep in touch with those we love. We have limited years, months, weeks, hours, minutes, and seconds with our families and friends. Even if you have weeks to say goodbye, that time will not be enough. No one knows how long we can hear their stories and feel their embraces. I will intentionally treasure these things.
So, for the first year in a long time I am making a New Year's Resolution. I resolve to soak up the loving words and actions and to reflect them back. I resolve to be intentional. I will not and cannot be perfect, but I can try my hardest to show my love.
Thank you for reading.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Epic Weekend (or, the weekend I proved my wifely awesomeness)

Hubbs has been bugging me to write lately, and I figured this weekend was blog-worthy, so you are now my victims.

Friday night Hubbs and I went to see a Christmas play at our undergrad. We got free tickets because I had made a ridiculous hat for one of the costumes. For the first time, neither of us knew any of the students in the show. We had fun enjoying the Christmassy feelings and re-connecting with the director and another friend who had worked on the show.

Saturday, Hubbs and I went into the LA area to visit family and to see a PWG show. For those of you who are blissfully unaware, PWG stands for Pro-Wrestling Guerilla. PWG is like WWE, but smaller and with less big stars. The great thing about PWG is that the matches are all very high-energy. PWG shows are generally held in smaller venues than the larger wrestling promotions so we found ourselves about ten feet from the action at times. I might also mention that PWG is not for the faint of heart. These guys get seriously injured and go flying into the crowd from time to time. The fans take great joy in that. One other thing I've noticed about wrestling fans is their love of chanting. They often like to encourage or dis the guys wrestling, or they chant the catch phrases of the wrestlers. One wrestler (Steen) has the catch phrase of "Kill, Steen, Kill." He was seen hugging another wrestler and Hubbs started up the rather popular new chant of "Hug, Steen, Hug." Later in the night, I decided to try my luck on originating a chant for the last match. Another fan was heckling one of the tag teams and I hollered, "That's Not Nice! That's Not Nice! That's Not Ni......" before I decided it was wiser to be silent than to chant. I was drawing unnecessary attention from the wrestlers and fans surrounding me. Thus died the small spark of creation in my soul that night. The event went quite late into the night and I was fully thankful to stumble into bed once we got home.

Today we woke up and got on the road to San Diego for a Chargers game. A buddy of ours had won the tickets at his work but was unable to attend, so we got them! We were seated on the Plaza level, almost behind the goalposts of an end zone. Hubbs and I take great joy in yelling at football, and being there in person made it so much more immediate. We were sitting next to a man and his son who were big fans and who had been to many games over the years. Every touchdown was prime opportunity for high fives with all of the people around us, even if we had never met them. This was probably my favorite live sporting event that I've attended. Hubbs and I also go to hockey games, but football beats all. I'm pretty sure I hurt my voice from all of the screaming and cheering and I do not regret it. If you ever have the chance to attend a live game, even if it isn't your team (I'm a 49ers girl, myself), DO IT. We were stuck in traffic to and from the game, but it was so worth the time.

Now we're home, catching up on Hulu like exciting married folks while I enjoy my egg nog (the real stuff). I'm thinking ahead to this week and feeling both dread and excitement. Perhaps I should elaborate? On Thursday I reported for jury duty (yay for being a registered voter) and was selected to sit for a case. I originally convinced myself that the courts evilly chose me because I was an hour late checking in and they wanted to reap vengeance, but Hubbs pointed out that it's likely because I don't have a whole lot of prejudices and I seem like a fair person. Whichever reason, I've been trying to be honored to be chosen to perform my civic duty. I'm also trying to be excited to spend some time away from work, but I find it hard to detach myself at this busy time in the office. I'm hoping the trial resolves mid-week, but the judge promised to have it over on Friday or sooner so I can't complain too much. Unfortunately, I can't elaborate on the case right now, but I think I'll have some interesting stories after it closes. Perhaps another blog post will be in order. Or a short play about the jurors. Regardless, I'm certain there will be something to read, whether you like it or not.

In other news, Hubbs and I have our two year wedding anniversary on Sunday! I can hardly believe it has been two years with him. I can honestly say that marrying him was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I'm so thankful that God directed me to him (even if it did take a while for me to realize it). :) We are going to go to Disneyland as our anniversary/Christmas present to each other and I'm pumped! I'm sure I'll have some awesome/embarrassing story about that, too. Until then, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Below is a candid shot from our wedding day, taken by the amazing Christian Kaysen. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pretty Much Famous

I met someone famous. That makes me pretty much famous, right?

Let's start at the very beginning... a very good place to start...

Hubbs has been back in town for a couple of weeks now (hurray!). I flew to Vegas to move him home and had a great time with him. Also, the same lady who sold me my shuttle fare the first time I flew into Vegas was at the window when I purchased my shuttle fare this time. However, she had upgraded to reading a book while taking my money instead of doing her make-up. :) This really has nothing to do with me being pretty much famous. So, I'll stop being distracted by it and move onward.

Hubbs writes for a popular pro-wrestling website, so when The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity was coming to The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles he was granted two (count 'em, two!) press passes for opening night! If you've never been to The Geffen, you should Google it. It is gorgeous and feels warm and intimate. I still have fantasies of working there as an actor.

We arrived at The Geffen and the complimentary valet whisked away our Scion. We picked up our tickets from the Media table (so legit) and headed into the courtyard where a live instrumental band was playing. A server walked by with a tray of wine and we enjoyed a good glass of cabernet. We meandered around the property and eventually ended up in a side room where a winery was offering more free glasses of wine (which were delicious and local) and succulent appetizers. We mingled a bit, spotted some famous wrestlers from WWE and TNA, and eventually made our way inside the theatre space.

This is where it gets good.

Hubbs noticed John Morrison, who just happens to be one of my favorite wrestlers because of his high-flying style, sitting two rows behind us. EEEEEKKK!! I kinda geeked out, wanting to introduce myself and being too embarrased. So I remained silent with the understanding that I'd have a chance to see Mr. Morrison during intermission. Which I did. Imagine me saying the following in a voice that sounds like a twelve year old girl's voice:

Me: "Excuse me, John Morrison? John Morrison?"
JM: "Hi."
Me: "I just wanted to tell you that I think you are awesome and I really appreciate what you do and I don't want to bother you so I'll let you go and get back to your seat but I think you're awesome!"
JM: "Thank you."

He shook my hand and went back to his seat. Nice guy considering I talked a mile a minute. And no, I didn't take a picture with him. I figure that these guys hardly get any days off, so who am I to take up much of his time just because I'm a nerd?

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity ended up being a great show. And it wasn't a cheesy wrestling story. It was about race, how the American public perceives it, and about how it is exploited within entertainment. The message was a bit heavy-handed, but communicated clearly and consistently with what I've observed in my few years as a wrestling fan. The acting of the main character was lovely. He does all of the "heavy lifting" and the success of the play depends on him. He delivered. There were a few overly cartoony moments, but I think that might have been the influence of the director.

Afterward, we were invited to the opening night cast party at a swanky restaurant a few blocks away. We knew the Assistant Sound Designer so we headed over with her and her friend. They were great company and the food was delicious. And free. That's the thing I had the hardest time getting over: everything we ingested was free and wonderful! :) I'm not used to being wined and dined at a show. I'm used to putting on make-up, a wig, and a costume, only to hang it all up and schmooze over champagne with patrons, though. Now I've discovered that both sides of them can be fun. :)

Anyhow, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I should probably stop writing so that I can continue playing fetch with The Fluffy One. Adios!