Tuesday, August 31, 2010

La Tomatina

Sunday was the La Tomatina tomato fight downtown to raise money for cancer research, so again I went to shoot video of it.

This time, I started shooting from up in the adjacent parking lot to get an overhead view before moving closer to the action.
These people are totally nuts.
I certainly didn't come home spotless, but I wasn't nearly covered like most of the people who participated. I did get hit in the back of the head with a whole tomato, and I can tell you it does not feel good. Then I became a target when people noticed I was both fairly clean and holding a camera.
I think next year I'll wear a helmet. And goggles.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chris' big 3-0

Chris' birthday was on Saturday, so we had a little party with a little poker, a little Baggo and more than a little dessert.
After Erin and Sandor's wedding, Chris had requested a dessert bar for his party, so I obliged. (For those wondering, I made sugar cookies, brownies, carrot cake, stout cupcakes [made with Guinness], banana chocolate chip cookies and raspberry cheesecake cupcakes. Na brought pumpkin pie and Erin brought more cookies. We have plenty leftover, so feel free to drop by!)

Chris' birthday present was a new poker table. A friend also brought one so that we could have a tournament.
The Birthday Boy

Julie, Na, Erin and Me

As you can see, Scoop and Chris were both very excited about the party hats I made them ;-)
The cards didn't fall Chris' way in poker, but he had better luck at Baggo. We had a really good time and are so thankful for everyone who came and helped make Chris' party a fun one!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Chris!

Happy 30th Birthday to my best friend, and the most wonderful husband I could have ever hoped for. Here's to the next 30 years!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This and That

This week, I am back in school. I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. I am looking forward to my classes, they all seem like they will be fun as well as educational. But it's my last semester, which also means focusing on my project and preparing to defend it. And at the end of the tunnel ... well, I just don't know what's there and it's freaking me out a little bit. Come January I'll need a job, and I'm hoping to find one that let's me apply what I've learned in grad school. It's made me very introspective lately, trying to figure out what exactly it is I want to do.

A couple other things that have made me introspective: I was having a conversation the other day with someone born in 1990 and came to the realization that I've been legally driving for 15 years. 15! Which of course means I've been legally able to drink for a decade. Good grief, where does the time go? We spent our Sunday shopping for trees for the backyard, so I feel oddly ... grown up? When did all this happen? Sometime in the last 15 years, I suppose ...

I realize this morning I missed a couple of blog milestones: My last post was the 300th, and last month I missed our second Blogaversary. Seems like I could have commemorated the occasions with some sort of special post, but instead you get me today babbling on about the nonsense rattling around inside my brain. Lucky you. Well, don't worry. I will make up for it this weekend with tales from Chris' birthday festivities!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dog Days

On Monday, the Aces had a Dog Days of Summer promotion where you could, you guessed it, bring your dog to the ballgame. Of course, that was a deal that Scoop and I couldn't pass up, so we tagged along with our friends John and Julie and their dog Abby. The dogs got special Aces leashes and got to "parade" around the field before the game. Scoop was well behaved despite her excitement at all the other dogs and we had a fun time. Here are some pictures:





Monday, August 16, 2010

A Beautiful Wedding

Last weekend was Erin & Sandor's wedding at Lake Tahoe. The celebrating began with a barbecue at the lake on Friday night, and the wedding on Saturday. Everything was beautiful and the reception was so much fun!

The Bride & Groom

They had a dessert bar instead of a cake, which was a hit!
Yours truly made the cupcakes :-)

It began to rain just after the ceremony, which was kind of cool because the lighting made for good photos and there was a double rainbow! It has to be a good sign to have a double rainbow on your wedding, don't you think?
Team Gabel & Duran-Duran

The Bride and Me

Other fun touches at the wedding included a photo booth for the guest book (one copy for you, one for the guest book) and sparklers! It was truly a memorable day and we are so happy for Erin and Sandor!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Layover

Here's how well my family knows me: On the long plane ride from Tokyo to L.A., I told Andrea that maybe I should have specified that I'd want a burger when we grabbed a bite to eat during my long layover before my flight to Reno. Not only did they choose a burger place without my having to request it, but they picked a place that lets you build your own.

Gruyere Cheese, roasted red peppers, grilled onions and garlic aioli? Yes, please!
As a bonus, some people outside the restaurant were working on an Elvis sand sculpture.
Dre and her friend Kim joined me, Dad, Deb and Mena (who happened to be visiting from D.C.!) for lunch, and then headed home to Oxnard.
And the four of us headed over to Jen's, where we joined Juliette for a tea party. Uncle George and Jim came by, too.
Even though I was tired from traveling, it was so nice to see everyone, even just for a short time!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Okinawa

The V-Team welcomed Andrea and I to Okinawa with this sign. They were excellent hosts and it was so great to visit them! On our first full day on the island, we went to the Okinawa cultural park.
There were all kinds of photo ops for us at the park, where we also learned a lot about Okinawa's culture and history.

After our kimono photo shoot, we caught a traditional Okinawa performance.

Olivia was not too excited about getting an up close view of the performance, as you may see in this video:

video


Later in the evening, we had dinner to celebrate Benny's 30th birthday and then went out for karaoke in a private room.

The following day, we went to an Asa drumming festival. We saw many groups of various ages performing all down the street, which was really cool.

But the best part about being in Okinawa was spending time with Benny, Michelle and Olivia and getting a taste of what life in Japan is like for them. Olivia is just too cute, and running around all over the place. It's a bummer we don't get to see them more often, but what a great experience they've had living in Japan the last couple of years.

Thanks V-Team for being awesome hosts, and Andrea for joining me on this trip! I will always treasure the memories from this adventure!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Food in Japan

Here is a sampling of some of the food we ate in Japan (what is not pictured are ramen noodles and rice with curry, which are two popular items):

This was my first meal outside of the hotel. Prawns and noodles and, you'll notice, a dollop of mayonnaise. It was really surprising how much the Japanese like their mayo. It comes with on or in almost everything.
Many of the restaurants have plastic food displays of their menu in their windows.
This food was grilled elsewhere, but then placed on our hot grill for us to serve ourselves. I forget what it was called (maybe Michelle can help fill in the blanks on this blog?) but it was good!

This was my pre-Fuji meal at the fifth station. Notice the pink stuff? Pickled ginger. I was not a fan. (Also discovered on the trip - Dre does not like mayonnaise or wasabi, Michelle does not like ketchup, I do not like seaweed.)

After the hike, when we returned to the fifth station, I enjoyed a melon soda. Really sweet, but I liked it.
This was almost like fondue, except instead of dipping the food in hot oil to cook it, we cooked it over a grill.
Sushi, of course.

Crazy crepes! They had these everywhere and they were really good with a whole bunch of options from savory to sweet, including custard, ice cream, fruit and cheesecake.

Plum wine. I loved it and considered bringing some home. That thing in the bottom that looks like an olive is a plum.
Taco rice. This is a dish you can find in different variations all over Okinawa and it was good. We had it at a brewery called Helios, where I also had a Mango-Weizen (Hefeweizen with mango juice) and it was really good.

We enjoyed ice cream in untraditional flavors while in Japan such as grape or Okinawa Salt Cookie. Here I am having Okinawa Brown Sugar and Beni-imo (sweet potato) swirled. Sweet potatoes are big in Okinawa, and brown sugar and salt are made on the island.

Before the trip I told Michelle I preferred to not eat food with a face. On the last night, however, I was served whole prawns, which were raw so that I could grill them myself. On the right is a scallop on the shell.

Our meals on our last night included dessert so we ordered shaved ice. Michelle got it the traditional Okinawan way so we could try it ... it has sweet beans on the bottom. But they weren't actually sweet - it tasted like baked beans with ice on top. Apparently it's an acquired taste.