Friday, October 31, 2008

Japanese Gardens & Surprise Guest

The main goal today was to see the Japanese Gardens. We started our day downstairs at Jake's Grill for breakfast (we have comp tickets there) and admired the rain from our window seat. After breakfast we went back up to our room to re-evaluate our walking plan and get an umbrella. We headed off to Chinatown and to see the Chinese Gardens:
We didn't actually go inside because it was still raining and we didn't want to walk around wet gardens. Instead we kept walking a few blocks and caught the rail to the Lloyd Center which is pretty much a giant mall. At the Macy's I found my birthday purse (a gold, croc pleather Guess purse) and finally used my Macy's gift card from the 'rents for some cute brown ked shoes. We had lunch at Kell's Irish Pub (bangers and mash for him and a buffalo chicken sandwich for me) and then hiked the 5 million blocks over to the Japanese Gardens:

More photos later, somebody's apparently going to die without food soon.

Anyway, our surprise guest at the Japanese Gardens???? Mr. Watson, my 6th grade teacher! He came in shortly after us, so towards the end of the tour when I saw him again I ran over and introduced myself and we chatted. How funny is that?? And then he was leaving the same time as us so we walked out together too. He was visiting his sister in Portland. Small world.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fancy Pants Dinner

So we just got back from our upscale dining experience. It was one of the best meals we've ever had, and it'd better be for $102.00! First of all, the view was beautiful, even though we didn't score one of the window seats. You could still see all the street lights a-glow. I had grilled salmon with a oyster mushroom risotto which was to die for. Chris had a steak with crab covered in some sauce with a baked potato and green beans. It was meat so he couldn't go wrong. I also had two very delicious mint mojitos. Mmmm....

If you look really hard at the bottom right of the photo you can just barely see my salmon. The mojito must have been taking the photo.
After dinner we stopped by the famous Powell's Books. It's a bookstore that takes up the entire street corner. They sell new and used books so their inventory is unbelievable.
I found some hilarious gift cards there that I bought from some poor undeserving souls.

Now we're absolutely stuffed and ready for bed. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.

We're in Portland!

Day one of our Oregon vacation is underway. We arrived in Portland today around 2:00 pm. Just in time to throw our stuff in our room and scoot our way down the block for lunch at a brewery. The best brewery food I've had yet. I had a chicken BLT and salad. It was soooo good. The canadian had a plate of meat, pickled veggies and some beer. We've spent all afternoon wandering around downtown exploring all the shops for my birthday purse. There's a mall of sorts called Pioneer Place downtown that's got Nordstroms, Saks 5th Ave, J Crew, Kate Spade (where I found a super cute cranberry purse), Banana Republic and Ann Taylor.

This is in the skywalk that spans the malls over the street:

Our room at the Govenor:
The weather's okay. It's in the 60s and overcast. We had a couple of sprinkles land on us while we were strolling the streets, but nothing too bad. We're going to a semi-fancy place for dinner tonight. It's on the 30th floor of the US Bankcorp building downtown and has views of the whole area. We're hoping it's not too bad on a Thursday night. The 'rents gave us some birthday money for the trip so this is how we've decided to spend it (and lord knows we will!).

The only thing I've bought so far was mulling spices and Williams & Sonoma (a giant magical cooking store). They actually had samples of mulled cider and that won me over. I didn't buy the $20 cider (I think I can find a better deal at CholoMaxx), but we did get two containers of mulling spices. Yummy!

We're just hanging out at the hotel room watching Batman and drinking a pumpkin spice latte from the Starbucks down in the lobby waiting for it to be late enough for dinner. Not only do we have a Starbucks downstairs, but we also have a Jake's grill which as part of our reservation package, we have four $8 comp breakfast tickets to. So I know where we'll be having breakfast!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Birthday Boy Bash

Today was Old Man Hartman's 34th birthday. We celebrated by opening presents and going to Applebee's for hot wings and beer for lunch.
He got two motorcycle movies, a automotive manual, a CD of professional race photos
from his last race, and a 11x16" race print.
Somebody wouldn't let me take the camera inside of Applebees.
Good times in the neighborhood!

Look what's back on...
That's right! Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders Season 3! It's our guilty pleasure. I should be making a packing list for Portland since we leave Wednesday after work, but I'm too busy watching lots of hair and makeup dance it's way across my television screen.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Strolling thru Bidwell Park

This afternoon we went for our first walk in Bidwell Park. We went in the entrance just south of Mangrove and Vallombrosa, where One Mile is.

We went down one of the trails and it took us way over to the east side of 99. It was a nice long walk.

On our way back we noticed all these paintings done on the Hwy 99 pillars.

Pretty cool, huh?

Bridal Shower & Funeral

Yesterday was a busy day for me. After work I attended Susan's step-dad's funeral. Her mom had remarried back in 2004 and he fell sick as of late (cancer I believe) and passed away last weekend. It was really sad because Grandpa Larry was Andrew's favorite, and he was also Andrew's day care provider. So Susan was having a difficult time deciding how to tell Andrew that Grandpa Larry wasn't coming back. It was a nice service though. Susan's eldest brother, Tim, put together a slide show to music with pictures of Larry throughout his life (come to find out he was stationed in Panama for awhile) and pictures of his kids and grand kids. It was really sweet.

Then, right after the service I had to boogy down to Chico for Poppy's bridal shower/dinner at Tres Hombres. I grabbed a little "something" to bring with me as a bridal gift:
This is going to help a stressed out bride a lot more than lingerie. I got to the restaurant first and was soon greeted by Sarah, Dawn and Poppy.

We were also joined by three other friends of Poppy's and her mom and sister. After dinner we got down with some present opening.
Lacey delicates from Sarah which only served to embarrass Poppy. Especially when Sarah draped them around her neck.
A musical card from Dawn which could barely be heard over the loud college kids and mu-zac in Tres Hombres.
And the much needed and deserved gift from her happiness, me.

Check out our cherry tomatoes and cucumber:
They're as big as golf balls and hard as rocks. CrAzY!
Not the most beautiful cucumber in the world, but it's trying. It looks like it'd only really be good for pickling. Assuming we were picklers.

Now we're off to Barnes and Nobles and CholoMaxx for the rest of our groceries. Short list this week since we leave after work on Wednesday for Portland. Woo Hoo for vacations!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Battle of the Birthdays

Chris received his birthday present in the mail from the 'rents today:

A burro card and some sort of metal drill bit, or something. The card included the fact that a donation had been made to a burro rescue farm in Chris' name. Let me remind you again about what I got:
That's right, a jacket from Coldwater Creek with a tag reading $99.50. You decide who the 'rents like better.

So my friend Poppy is getting married next weekend (while I'm in Portland) and Sarah has put together a little dinner of friends this Friday at Tres Hombres. Since I can't go to the wedding I'm bringing Poppy's presents with me to the dinner to give to Sarah to take on my behalf. These are items honest to God off of her registry at Target:
I promise, I'm not making this up. But seriously, wouldn't you rather have Ho Hos and Twinkies over a new iron or toaster? Their registry was full of games, movies and snack food. I should have registered for Que Bueno cheese sauce.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Productive Weekend

Here are some scrapbook pages I got done this weekend:

We went and saw Body of Lies today with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. It was good, but violent. Not much more going on this weekend. Chris worked on his motorcycle and I did some crafting. Oh, I bought some shirts, a pair of jeans, and a new pair of black mary janes from Kohl's. That was what I did this morning while I killed time until the scrapbook store opened.

Did everyone hear that Mervyn's is closing?? The news said that they're closing their California stores and that they will start advertising their "going out of business" sales closer to Christmas. I'm so bummed, that's where I get at least half of my shoes.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Harvest Sidewalk Sale

At 9:00 am this morning, downtown Chico was starting their Harvest Sidewalk Sale to usher in the fall season. The timing was perfect since we were already down there for farmers market. The more we wandered, the more stores started bringing stuff out. I think 9:00 am was a bit early for some of them and it'll be better later in the afternoon.
Checking out the super cute stuff in "Made in Chico". I forgot how much cool stuff they have. I should have shopped there for all the baby showers I went to this last year. Curses! However (Mom), they do have lots of delicious eats there that the Canadian was drooling over such as a three piece set of Sierra Nevada mustards and lots of jarred olives to go with the sausage that he kept talking about.
Outside of Made in Chico they had a basket full of little baby Halloween hats. There were pumpkin hats and black cat hats. For only $4 I was so tempted to buy one for a co-worker who just had a little girl (Ceci) in July. But I didn't. Some friend I am.
Here I am at Artifax apparently imitating a blind person and shopping by sense of touch. It was a gold half length jacket that had short puffy sleeves and a one button closure. I liked it of course since Chris did not. But how can you argue with a man who wears plaid on plaid?

The moral of the story is that I didn't buy anything because I have become a cheapskate like my Canadian husband and have moved away from spending money on frivolous things unless it's related to scrapbooking. Then the sky's the limit.

Oh! I have come up with two items on my Christmas list. S is for Silence (paperback only) by Sue Grafton and B sides & Rarities CD by Cake. Funny (not really) story about Cake. I love them and would sell both my sisters to see them in concert. It just so happens that yesterday while at S&S Produce I picked up a News & Review only to see a cover article about Cake having a concert in Oroville. Oroville?? Turns out they're doing a benefit concert tonight in Oroville for fire victims. The article talked about where you could get tickets, but when I made the phone calls and got online everybody was sold out. I also happened to be talking to Sarah yesterday and made mention of the concert. She said, oh yeah we're going, you should get a ticket too. Ha ha ha, too late, I said, they're already sold out. Then she replied that she forgot how much I liked them. Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! I hate you Cake, I hate you so much. No, wait. I hate you college kids who bought all my tickets, I hate you so much!! So, today's plan? Sit around and pout. Maybe cry a little, too. If you could see me right now, my nostrils are flared and I'm biting my lips. You know what that means....

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chef Susan

We made a creamy pumpkin pasta out of the Rachael Ray magazine (I know Tyler, very silly of us). It came out good even though I once again drained all the pasta water before saving some for the recipe. I had even reminded myself 5 minutes before I did it. Getting old sucks.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Day After Birthday Hangover

I had a good ending yesterday to my birthday mayhem. We went with the 'rents and had a delicious dinner at California Pasta Productions. I had the smoked chicken artichoke fettuccine like always, Chris had chicken parmesan, Mr A. had spaghetti and meat-a-balls and Mum had one of the specials of butternut squash and pumpkin raviolis. They were yummy (she snuck me a bite).
We ate outside on the patio which has roll down plastic walls and ceiling heaters for when the weather gets cold, like last night.

On our way home I got a call from Wilson who was in Chico and ready to bring me my gift. How could I refuse?
Me with both of my daughters. The fashionable one and the bum (you decide who is who). However, the bum did bring me my UCLA mug I asked for and a t-shirt so that when I visit her I can dress up in college memorabilia and look like a complete dork around her. Points for that.

Mum and Mr. A. (well really Mum) got me a dress jacket from Coldwater Creek. Need I say more? It's not something I would have picked out, but I trust her taste and will try to find something to wear it with. It's a dark, dark navy (almost a light black) jacket with no buttons or zippers and has a bunch of embroidery around the edges and small metal discs that almost look like sequins, but they're metal. It makes a jingly sound when I shake it. It needs a photo to fully express the design. It probably cost a million dollars so by God I'm going to wear it and like it! I just don't know what with...

This morning the old man and I couldn't sleep in so we got up and were going to go to breakfast at our favorite place, Country Waffle, downtown and then to the farmer's market. However, once again, the restaurant was closed for what appears to be renovations. Of course, this is the one time we actually have a coupon (buy one get one) and it will expire on the 20th. I'm going to make them honor it even after that date. No fair sending coupons out in the mail and then closing your business for the time the coupon's good for. Anyway we continued on the farmer's market and got some more jicama, cucumbers and onions. I'm tired of cherry tomatoes and Chris didn't want any fruit. The feel of the farmer's market is definitely changing towards fall. More squash and oranges and apples now. For breakfast we actually ended up buying breakfast burritos from Speedy Burrito (home of the big fat burrito - Jessica) who always has a little booth there. We both got chorizo burritos and they were yummy. I've had bigger and fatter burritos, but this was just right for breakfast. We brought them home and made some of our spooky Harry & David halloween coffee with it. Mmm...
Wilson and I are getting together today to go sign up for a new joint Costco membership so that she can buy booze in bulk in LA at a good price. Just kidding, Mom (not really). It's only 10:30 now so she probably won't be up for another hour or so. Chris is taking Mr. A. with him to a co-workers house to chop and load some almond wood. The friend cut down some almond trees and doesn't need the wood, but the 'rents have been looking for a small amount for their lake house fireplace. Free wood - it doesn't get much better than that. Except free shoes.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday to ME!!

Today I am officially older and wiser. Well, at least older. At least for my effort of waking up and going to work I scored lots of fabulous gifts and pie. Can't complain there.
I'm wearing a sash Kari brought me that says "Miss Birthday Girl". Just in case anybody forgot.
Mom got me a candle from the candle store in town. I put a pumpkin spice candle in it when I got home. It looks awesome.
A co-worker put together this bunch of roses for me. There's even hot pink ribbon wound around the baby's breath.
Another co-worker who absolutely hates La Comida with the flaming passion of almighty Zeus got me a gift certificate there. $10?! That'll last years with their prices!
Susan brought the boys over to my work to wish me Happy Birthday. Andrew gave me a card and this gift certificate to Michael's. He's knows the way to his Aunt Susan's heart.

And then when I got home, this was waiting for me on the front porch (still packaged of course) from the Yakima bunch:

Yesss....I made out like a bandit today. I was even taken out to lunch by Sarah to Hula's. Mmm.... AND we still have dinner tonight with the 'rents. We're going to California Pasta Productions. It's good and the 'rents love it.

I'd better go get a nap in so that I will be refreshed and charming for tonight's dinner engagement.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bunko Night

Tonight was my month to host bunko. That translates into somehow shoveling 12 women inside my petite house. We use the kitchen table and I set up two card tables/chairs in the living room (we have to put the ottomans in the other room to fit it all). As hostess you are responsible for providing candy for the tables, drinks, dessert and the prizes. Most of us also provide a little snack food for those that don't have time for dinner. I made pizza bagels and dip with crackers and cucumbers. I like hosting because that means that I don't have to drive home afterwards. 10 of the 12 members live up the hill (most in upper Magalia) so I relish the times it's in Chico.
Here's a shot of some of the 'bunko babes'. They're obviously a bit older than me.
I bought festive spooky table clothes for the card tables.
We keep track of our wins with stickers so I made sure to provide some appropriately themed stickers. I don't know which is cuter, the pirate kitty or the devil pug. The witch has google eyes.
For dessert I made a lemon cake recipe out of the latest Kraft kitchen magazine. It's a yellow cake mix with a lemon pudding base. It was good, but would have been better if the pudding was tart and not sweet. Everyone liked it though, and that's the goal.
I won "most 5's" (which is a certain dice roll) and got this fall yard stake. I think it looks cuter in the flower vase and I'll actually get to see it that way!