Monday, January 28, 2008

Dear Diary,

I find much inspiration from many of the blogs I read regularly. Some for their incredible style, some for their witty sensibilities, and some purely for their ability to make words so effortlessly flow into melodic and thought-provoking journals of everyday observations and revelations. Such is the case with Marta, author of the aptly named M. Writes. She has this amazing ability to take the same English language of which I am so fond and turn it into something so eloquent and beautiful as opposed to my choppy and, well, rather basic style. And, not only is she a great writer, but proving once again that the right hemisphere of the brain functions at an awkwardly high level for some, she is also wonderfully creative. In an attempt to have some of her creativity flow in this direction, I ordered one of her mini diaries last week. How giddy was I upon arriving home tonight to find this little package of goodies awaiting me! Page one - complete! It wasn't too terribly difficult. I might even keep this up! I'm hoping that being provided with a "fill-in" will curb the usual intimidation I feel when faced with that daunting "blank page". And so it begins, my new life as a diary keeper. Let's see how long this lasts.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

superSONIC, No-I don't think so

Maybe you've never been to a Sonic Drive-In, maybe you've never even heard of it, but for me Sonic is the quintessential fast food experience. That is, until last night. Let me bring you up to speed. Sonic is not your average, "pull around to the next window" kind of drive through. It is a drive-in. You drive up, park your car, push the button, order your burger and tots, and wait for a car hop to come (in the past on roller skates) and hang your food off of your window on a tray so you can eat in your car. A little awkward, yes, and quite messy for sure, but this is just part of what makes Sonic so great. So I thought.

Now that you understand a Sonic set-up, let me get to the story. It all started with a craving. You see, my family is from New Mexico, land of the drive-in. Perhaps it is because the cost of land is at less of a premium, but these restaurants are everywhere. Here, however, in The OC, one must drive quite a distance to have their cherry-lime (an amazing cherry and lime flavored carbonated concoction). 45 minutes, to be exact. And that brings me back to the craving. My sister is pregnant and apparently with pregnancy number 3 have come some strange cravings. Last night it was a cherry-lime. I don't think my sister has had a cherry-lime in fifteen years, but last night she needed one. With that we loaded in the station wagon and set out on our way. Mom and Natalie in the back, Sister Sarah and I in the front. What happened in the hour that followed was truly the single most horrific display of customer service I have ever experienced.

To say they were rude is an understatement of gargantuan proportions. But rude I can deal with. The 48 ounces of fluorescent pink cherry lime soda that was spilled in my car window, on my brand new scarf, purse, and coat I could not. Allow the photos to speak for themselves here:

This is one of about 30 towels that were stained a brilliant shade of pink.
OK, now imagine this area of the car filled with pink liquid. Thank God I have black interior or we would have a much larger "situation" on our hands.
And, not only did she spill it on me, but she just STOOD THERE!!! I finally got out of the car and while seething with anger went to find a manager. The chaos continued and not long after there was a small circle of employees gathered around to watch what was about to unfold. I tried, oh did I try, not to lose it on this woman. This boorish brute of a woman with painted-on eyebrows and a serious attitude problem. But after about 20 minutes of listening to her blame me for what was undeniably her employee's fault when she asked me to actually PAY for my food I wanted to punch her right in the nose. Hard. Tranquility prevailed and I refrained, but SERIOUSLY!!! You just ruined my property and my night and now you want me to pay to eat my cold hamburger and soggy french fries? You MUST be kidding.

To make a long story just a bit shorter, we high tailed it out of there after the aforementioned manager told me to "go ahead and call corporate, they won't do anything". My mother was afraid they were going to come after us and rough us up. Trust me in reality it was worse, MUCH worse than I can possibly even describe.

So what came of this most terrible experience? Well, I called Sonic Corporate Headquarters and within an hour of talking to someone on the east coast, I received a call from the franchise owner who was horrified, to say the very least. She offered full compensation for all of my damages and handled the whole situation in a very professional manner. Finally, a tad bit of relief.

And my scarf? When I got home I spent hours trying to clean that scarf, that "no dry clean", "hand wash with gentle soap only" white wool scarf to no avail. The scarf is a total loss and I cannot even replace it because it went on sale at Banana Republic and everyone else realized how amazing a scarf it truly was. My mom is now knitting me a new one. And the car? My car was dripping with red dye #23 goo all over the place and has since received a $100 goop removal detail. I am almost whole again. Damn those pregnancy cravings.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The scoop

Ice cream and I have always had a bit of a love affair. So creamy, so cold, so absolutely delicious. It has been a comfort, a reward, and most recently a truly guilty pleasure. (Damn that peppermint ice cream from Baskin Robins!) The thing about ice cream is that it is always good. No matter where you are it is just good. Sure, my freezer is always stocked with the good stuff, but every once in a while there is nothing like a scoop of over processed, totally not all natural Breyer's, from Thrifty's (aka Rite Aid). That's right- I absolutely adore a cone from this local drug store chain. I can remember when I was little, maybe 7 or8, and I would search the couch cushions for change so that I could walk to Thrifty's in the Summer for a 2 scooper of chocolate malted crunch and mint chip (the double cost a whopping 25 cents in those days! Now it will set you back $1.50). But these were no ordinary scoops.

No, these were different. They had flat sides and were really tall. They were virtually "towers" of ice cream. They filled the cone just perfectly. These scoops just make sense in a cake cone. You know, the kind of cone that has a name on the side like Hans or Pablo or Gertrude?

For years I have been fascinated by these scoopers. Yes, I know, I have VERY strange quirks. I have searched antique shops, restaurant supply stores, and every kitchen gadget store known to man. They simply do not exist outside of the "Thrifty" ice cream counter. My fascination became so out of wack that I actually asked Gabe to find me the aforementioned scooper on eBay for Christmas. He did, but at $50, my obsession had to be stopped. I mean come on, that is a little ridiculous, isn't it? And so I gave up. I resolved to be content with my boring old round scooper from Target. Until today, that is. You see, I was reading a favorite blog of mine, Pretty Little Things, and there it was: The Cuisipro Scoop and Stack. Obviously a designer for this company had the good fortune of going to a Thrifty Drug Store recently. A knock-off for sure, but it will be mine. Thank you. I am content. Would you like to join me for a scoop?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Yet another fĂȘte

Last Friday (see, I'm catching up with my posts!) we hosted a holiday open house. Not one for Christams or New Year's parties, this was right up my alley. No worries that people would be busy, no pressure for people to have to decide which party to attend. It was simply a nice way to see everyone and wish them a slightly belated Merry Christmas and a barely premature happy New Year. People came and went all night long and we had a great time. So great, in fact, that we didn't even notice that it was 2:30 in the morning when we finished our final round of Catchphrase (my new favorite game). So great that I forgot to take pictures once the party started, yet again. So great that I slept in until about 4:00 the next afternoon (if I never drink another cosmopolitan it will be too soon!).

The waiting is the hardest part

Presents spilling out from under the tree. Four kids under the age of seven. You do the math. Can you imagine the suspense that these kids had to endure when arriving at grandma and grandpa's house at 5:30 on Christmas night? Enter Auntie Mimi, with her Dijon crusted pork tenderloin in the oven and French onion soup on the stove, there was absolutely NO way there would be any gift opening for at least another hour. Bah humbug.
Funniest quote of the night: My 4 year old niece, Sophie, upon opening Island Barbie shrieked, "Ohhhh, I have ALWAYS wanted this!". Thank God the wait is over.

A little family fun

Christmas seems to last for days around here. This year we had Gabe's sister, Alyssa and her husband Rob over for an intimate dinner party a few days before Christmas. Low key and informal was my motto for this one. I didn't even send out invites! (Shhh! Don't tell!) On the menu was penne arrabiata and spinach salad with chocolate chip cookies and hot chocolate for dessert. What I did forget? To take pictures. At least I got the table, though!

Coming soon to a concert hall near you

Sure, we all have them. The Christmas party before Christmas when the whole family gets together for food, gifts, a visit from Santa and a surprise performance.
It all started with the Advent calendar. Gabe said that we should learn to play "Little Drummer Boy" on the drums one night. Then he said that I should sing. Next came the suggestion that we should perform for the family party. Hmmm...this was getting serious. Practice we did. I sang my heart out to the point of receiving a text message from the neighbors downstairs making holiday requests. With only days before the performance, Gabe decided that we should have my mom join us on the flute.
And so the band was formed. We practiced for hours. We played, we laughed, my mom said to me, "you used to sing so well". With Gabe on the snare, mom on the flute, and I on the floor tom and performing lead vocals, a new band was formed. The VonTrapp family we are not. Here are some shots from the performance. We're already brainstorming next year's number.

And some more highlights:

Poses in front of the buggy (unfortunately the horse was too grumpy to give rides that evening)

Making snow

A visit from Santa

What, it's only been a month!

After numerous inquiries from my sister and husband as to "when are you going to update your blog?!" I have finally decided it was time. You see, I did not intentionally neglect this blog, it's just that, once again, life happened. Between Christmas shopping, holiday parties and a very finicky camera refusing to upload pictures, I just simply have not had it in me. But now I'm back, and before long I'll be on track. Maybe.