Archive for January, 2014

Bleeding money

Buying and selling houses is causing me a wee bit of financial stress. First, there was the urban farmhouse that we got bumped on. That was fine, but I wish we hadn’t spent $400 on the mortgage application and another $400 on an inspection that did little more than shave a few years off of AO’s life with the stress it caused him. Next up was the offer we accepted on our condo. It was a great offer, but then came the inspection that revealed a few glitches in the place. We agreed to fix them, but spending boatloads of money on our place for someone else’s enjoyment is sad. Necessary, but sad. Now we have ourselves another accepted offer! It’s so exciting, but I just forked over another $400 for the new application fee (the fees go to the appraiser, or so I’m told). And soon will come the earnest money. And then the inspector’s fee. And then the billions of other fees. And then the more expensive mortgage.

But with it all comes a beautiful new (to us) home that I’m thrilled about. Oh, and because it’s so much bigger than our current digs, I suppose we’ll have to figure out how to bleed a little more money for new furniture.

LA weekend

Last weekend I got to go to LA to visit the GAOOG. Special thanks to AO for being so supportive of this trip. It was a great time with sunshine and lots of wine and laughs. I didn’t want to be burdened by my giant camera for such a short trip, so I have only iPhone pics to share. And, yes, they’re mostly of what we ate. You didn’t think I was going to show you the dress we found, did you? Shame on you.

Tacos and flautas!

Tacos and flautas!

Nina's

Nina’s

Our first stop after the airport pickup (holy traffic, LAX!) was Nina’s, a tiny little taco shop in West LA. Delish!

The next day, after sleeping in, we got up and went to get coffee (the GAOOG’s morning ritual involves a trip to Peet’s where, not only do the employees know my friend, they know how to make her very specific Americano. And if it isn’t made right – say because they hired a new employee – they will have it remade without our little Indian having to say a word). Then we headed out for a hike. Me in shorts and a tee shirt, the GAOOG in a long-sleeve shirt, long capris and a hat.

Hiking trail

Hiking trail

View

View

View

View

Orange tree

Orange tree

After the hike, we headed to Olive & Thyme for lunch and snagged a small table (in the shade per the GAOOG’s request) outside.

O & T

O & T

Hummus plate for me, egg number for her

Hummus plate for me, egg number for her

After lunch, we went back to SR’s apartment, showered and changed and headed out for a Dress Appointment. This Dress Appointment was just supposed to be to get the feel of things. We were just supposed to be seeing what she liked, what she didn’t like. You know the drill. In fact, we were supposed to be just scoping out the bridal world so we could go back to SR’s stylist friend and report our findings so he could come up with something perfect (and possibly free). Instead, we found The Dress. Gulp! First dress she tried on. Bam. Nailed it. Done and done. But first, we let the shop treat us to a little Prosecco. Cheers! After such an exhausting emotional afternoon, we headed back to SR’s apartment (after a short stop in a cute furniture store where we saw the First Lady of tv) for a little rest. I admit I snoozed a bit. For dinner, we ¬†went to SR’s favorite place, Cube, where we dined with SR’s fiance. I had a super pizza and a side of delicious baby broccoli with garlic. I forgot to take pics of it, but here is the tasty charcuterie plate we started with:

Meat and cheese

Meat and cheese

Cube

Cube

On Day Three, I really slept in. I mean, REALLY. It was heaven. I hadn’t slept that long or that well in ages. Was it the best part of the trip? Nah, but it was amazing. Ok, so day three we headed downtown to the Grand Central Market, a place I requested we hit up after I saw it featured recently in the New York Times. It did not disappoint. It’s a bit like Milwaukee’s Public Market, but not.

Market, as seen from the street

Market, as seen from the street

Market signs

Market sign

Market

Market

Stuff

Stuff

This is where SR ate. It was super popular.

This is where SR ate. It was super popular.

This pic is for Maggie & Bryan

This pic is for Maggie & Bryan

A little B&W

A little B&W

More market

More market

Market map

Market map

After the market, SR indulged me and drove us over to West Hollywood, so I could get a little shot of this. If you don’t know the significance, you should be proud of yourself.

Sur

Sur

Sur

Sur

After SR made her second of three jean changes of the day, we each got a mani-pedi and I got an amazing brow wax. Thanks again! For the evening, we decided to stay in because we needed to get a lot of wedding work done. We had champagne and wine and tacos (again!), watched Bridesmaids, which just serendipitously happened to be on, and tackled the color scheme, bridesmaids’ dresses, the photographer and the DJ. Phew. It was a lot.

We didn’t have a lot of time on my last day, so we just got coffee, drove around and looked at fancy houses (a hobby of mine) and went to Hugo’s for lunch. If the theme of this year’s visit was wedding and tacos, last time I visited the theme was open houses and turkey burgers. I ate so many turkey burgers last time I visited that LA is now inextricably linked in my mind with the poultry sandwich.

Hugo's turkey burger

Hugo’s turkey burger

After lunch, it was off to JMB’s place because he nicely offered to take me to the airport because SR was otherwise occupied. I snapped this outside his place, figuring it would be the last green I would see for awhile.

Grass. In January.

Grass. In January.

Despite the traffic, I can see why she lives there. And despite the cold, I hope she visits soon.

Pea soup

For about as long as I can remember, I have loved pea soup. Specifically, my mom’s, but now I really relish AO’s. It’s the only soup I have tried to make. For a long time, it was the¬†only soup I liked. This sometimes seems weird because I don’t really like peas at all.

In any event, fast forward to a few weeks ago. Or, rather, rewind, I guess. As you know, the GAOOG is engaged and has been focusing on all things wedding. Good for her. After whirlwind trips to Temecula, Santa Barbara and Sonoma, she and her fiance have settled on a beautiful winery in the Santa Ynez valley and I couldn’t be happier for them. What could any of this possibly have to do with pea soup? Well, you’re in for a real treat with this news. They’re serving pea soup at their wedding and we’re all required to come dressed as our favorite pea soup ingredient! I think I’m going to go as a ham hock. Or maybe garlic.

Just kidding.

But, there is a connection to the tasty soup. Apparently, there is a place in the world called Pea Soup Andersen’s. And I have learned that there is an inn attached to Pea Soup Andersen’s called – wait for it – Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn. The poor GAOOG had to tell me the name of the place about ten times and I still couldn’t understand what she was saying. So she sent me a text and that’s how I finally learned of this famous venue. And now the beautiful bride and handsome groom have reserved a block of rooms at this historic spot.

I love a theme in a wedding. I love it when there are little details that all tie together and make you feel like the wedding is deliberate and purposeful and lovingly crafted. But this is a new one for me. A wedding that ties in my favorite soup? I’m in.

Ode to blueberries

Blueberries

Blueberries

More blueberries

More blueberries

More blueberries

More blueberries

 

More please

More please

Are there any more?

Are there any more?

Oh yes, there are.

Oh yes, there are.

A kid and her berries

A kid and her berries

Just a few more

Just a few more

Is this a boring series of pics?

Is this a boring series of pics?

Stepping away from the berries

Stepping away from the berries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy new year!

Yes, we’re nine days in, but I can still wish you a happy one, can’t I? Well, I think so. It’s never too late to wish one a happy new year, I always say. Actually, I’ve never said that, but I’m going to start. It’s never to late to wish one a happy new year!

The GAOOG sent this to me and I think it’s really quite something. And I very much liked that movie. Very much. I thought it was an absolute delight.


January 2014
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