Saturday, July 26, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Today was Pixie's 3rd birthday, so to celebrate this weekend we took her in the car with us to Pets in the Pearl. Ever since the Fourth of July and the World War III Pixie thought was going on outside, she has suffered from severe separation anxiety when we leave the house together... to the point of charging the door and growling when Jessica attempts to leave. So just taking her with us somewhere was a treat in and of itself for our little Pixie.
Pets in the Pearl is a charity-oriented festival with booths from local pet-oriented business and organizations. Among the honored guests were the Winterhawks mascot (Tom-A-Hawk I believe, which has rocketed up the list of "Names for a Son If We Have One"), Lumberjaxx (local pro indoor lacrosse team -- hey, we take what we can get) and Blaze of the Trail Blazers which is a big dog. By the way, Pixie barked at and hated each of them, no surprise if you've met Pixie before.
We had a great time at the festival and Pixie had an even better time, sniffing a lot of butts (dog butts, not human) and getting at least 5,000 tail wags in. We finished off the festivities with some Hot Lipps Pizza, highly recommended for their slices of BBQ Pork and Asparagus, Roasted Garlic, Shitake Mushrooms and Goat Cheese. Pizza's come a long way, hasn't it folks?
Enjoy the pictures!
A Doggie Bakery with some elaborate cakes. We could have bought our wedding cake from this place, but we got a Diva Cookie for Pixie instead.
The First Sniff -- this is like the first pitch on Opening Day of the baseball season. Batter Up!
This is a classic picture - the llama intrigued by Pixie, and Pixie leaning back with all her might to avoid this hideously hairy creature from approaching her. Hopefully you can blow up this picture to see Pixie's leg leveraged against Jessica's arm, trying to launch herself out of her mother's grasp and away from this curious camelid.
OK, so you can't blow that one up, so here's a closeup of Pixie. Gotta love the terrified look of her animal friends... Lassie she's not!
Cat on a leash. Not sure what to say here...
- Miss Venezuela (she always makes it and she's hot)
- Miss USA (TV ratings, baby...)
- Miss Vietnam (host country -- RIGHT GILBERT?)
- Miss Japan (Miss Japan won last year, and this year would make the semi-finals to avoid embarassment in the home country even if she had a goiter the size of Mount Fuji coming out of her neck)
- Czech Republic (Jessica is part Czech, so it make sense that Miss Czech Republic would be hot and nice)
After a tremendous performance in the Top 15 round (I picked 11 of them), I slumped in the Top 10 where I got last place (only chose 5 of the Top 10). But I tooootally redeemed myself in the Top 5 competition, where I picked all of the Top 5 -- including my Miss Venezuela selection.
I won't bore you with the rest of the details, but the final results included an astounding win of 149 points for me... including a selection of Miss Venezuela to win it all from the beginning, netting me bonus points that made it a massacre of my fellow competitors, who now hate me. In fact, Jessica is disgusted that my "icky taste always wins." Icky taste, says my new bride? Hmmmm... :)
I have a sinking feeling that my hot streak ends with next year's Miss USA, but I'll be sure to let you know.
See Nicole's scorecard below, including her quite scientific analysis of the Top 3 which includes the comment: "Miss Venezuela: just hot":
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
My favorite pic of the night:
Sunday, July 13, 2008
On the Miss Universe website, the contestants are asked "What is something unique that has happened to you; some interesting thing about you?" GREAT QUESTION! And here are some of my favorite answers from those I read:
- Albania: "I AM DELIGHTED TO ADMIT THAT THIS IS MY VERY FIRST AMAZING AND UNIQUE EXPERIENCE. " (Note: ALL CAPS not necessary. I blame the person transposing as Miss Albania is far too pretty to have made that mistake on her own)
- Angola: "I was in an airplane crash, escaping from an invasion in my city, during the civil war." (Uh, OK, you win. That's ridiculously unique and interesting, holy cow)
- Antigua: "I have recently developed an interest in the different types of snakes located around the world." (Thank you Wikipedia!)
- Argentina: "Sometimes I feel I am psychic because I have paranormal experiences." ("This pageant is clear")
- Bolivia: "On one occasion, when nobody knew what to do, in a compulsive and sudden action, I saved my father`s life." (Wow. You and Angola are kicking some trash right now on this question, I have to say)
- China: "When I was in drama school I played many different roles." (And when I was in Math class I did a lot of equations... is that unique too?)
- Finland: "My parents said that I never hit puberty! " (Judging by your picture, I would disagree with your parents)
- Guatemala: "What is interesting about me is normalcy. I am unique because of that." (COPOUT!)
- Hungary: "I still do not know who registered me for this pageant." (she's writing a book titled "How to Accidentally Get to Miss Universe")
- Nigeria: "WINNING THE BEAUTY PAGEANT, MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN NIGERIA (UNIVERSE)." (Easy now, Miss Nigeria, let's not get carried away already...)
- Ukraine: "Once I had a dream that I was competing in the Miss Universe competition, and a year later, I won in the national contest..." (You and Miss Argentina should talk)
Recently, a previously-closed restaurant that I used to frequent is now open "Under New Management." It used to be one of my favorite places for quick, healthy teriyaki food at a decent price, but even under new management I will never set foot again in that place, for one reason:
About 18 months ago, I went by the place. I hadn't been in a while, since I had found another teriyaki place a bit further away that didn't have any gristle in their chicken and it was worth heading to (I'm a stickler about chicken -- one bad experience with chicken at a place and I'm a veggie or steak guy from then on). But I was in a hurry and thought I'd give this place another try. It was later in the lunch period -- maybe 2 or 3PM -- and so when I walked in the place was empty.
I stood at the counter for a few seconds, which feels like minutes when you're waiting for someone to come take your order. I waited a bit more, and then peeked around the corner to try to get the attention of someone that I was there and would like to actually spend money at their store. At first, I didn't see anyone, which was strange. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw some movement on the floor...
There was a regular-sized person that appeared to be wrestling a "little person" on the ground of the kitchen. Actually, it wasn't much of a wrestle, more like a headlock on the little person -- kind of like Rocky Balboa's lock on Thunderlipps (Hulk Hogan) in "Rocky III" where Thunderlipps is reaching for the ropes to pull himself up. Anyway, normally you either get one of two noises in a situation like this (or at least I'd expect one of two noises -- it's not like I've seen a lot of wrestling matches and submission holds on the floors of eating establishments): laughing, as in "we're goofing off and this is fun if a bit unhygienic" laughing, or yelling, as in "someone call the cops because I'm being robbed or killed or something here" yelling.
What I got was absolutely no noise. No laughing, no yelling, not even the squeaking of sneakers on the tile floor in the kitchen. It was definitely the weirdest thing I'd ever seen in any quick serve restaurant (the weirdest thing I'd seen at any restaurant was a cold, dead, alcohol-soaked pigeon on my plate in Hong Kong but that's a story for another day). I had to make a quick decision, and so I did the following:
- I quickly surmised that these were both employees at the store -- I had been served by the little person previously, and I thought I recognized the other from the kung-fu grip that she'd had on my credit card before and the matching polo shirt that is the store's attire. So I figured that at the very least this was not a robbery or murder of some sort (perhaps it was too soon to judge that, but oh well -- I'm no Matlock here people)
- I was not going to make any noise to alert them that I knew they were there. I had already cleared my throat or made some sort of noise (like I'm in the woods and letting the cougars and bears know I'm coming down the trail) so they were either too engaged in their struggle or just couldn't hear me -- either way, I felt it best if I just slowly backed out of the place and left. I remembered that they didn't have one of those beeping motion sensors when people come in and out of the store, a good thing or I would have had to book it once I left the store to avoid being recognized as the patron in such a strange situation.
- I determined that I was never going to eat at that restaurant or its sister restaurants across the Western US. In fact, I don't think I would even go back to that location if it totally switched to a Thai restaurant or something like that. Once you see two people wrestling on the floor of the kitchen, it's like seeing a ghost or something... you just leave the place be.
Out of curiosity, I went by the place on my way to Quizno's later that week, and it was closed under "Winter Hours" (really? Winter Hours? Are you a beach towel shop in Lincoln City or a teriyaki store in Tualatin?), and soon after it was closed for good.
What's the moral of the story here?
- If you see two people wrestling on the floor of a restaurant's kitchen, don't say anything and slowly back away. It's just better for everyone involved.
- If you own a restaurant, don't let your two employees wrestle on the floor of the kitchen, or you'll lose business.
I'm no Aesop, but I'd say those are preeeeeeeeety darn good guidelines. You're welcome for the tip.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
We missed our flight on Sunday AM and spent Sunday at the Courtyard Marriott LAX. It was actually great! Gave us a day to unwind, had a nice hot tub and functional air conditioning.
- The pool at the hotel was the best part -- wet bar, infinity edge, and great view of the ocean from our balcony.
- About 2PM every day, a muddy current would come by the hotel and make the ocean water very murky. Luckily, we spent our time in the pool and didn't have to concern ourselves with the contents of said murky water. I'm guessing it wasn't chocolate churned by waterfall, Mr. Wonka...
- I have apparently joined a nice fraternity of "middle-aged men who tore their Achilles tendons and were in Mexico a couple weeks ago." I had more discussions than I would like about the circumstances of those surgeries and injuries, and hopefully I wind up in better shape than the other guys. Whew...
- Jessica and I had a couples massage one day in which Jessica swears the woman kissed her ankles and wrists one by one (let's just be glad she stopped there or there could have been trouble). I cannot substantiate this, as I was enjoying my massage (Bon Jovi music playing in the background) and hoping my masseuse wouldn't either re-tear my Achilles or pop my shoulder out of socket. Success!
- I got burned after caking myself with SPF 15. Jessica looked fine as usual. I will now only use SPF 50 in the sun and go to a tanning salon if I really need to look tan.
This was the hotel room we had the first night in the London West Hollywood, a new hotel right off Sunset Boulevard with a great view of Hollywood from our balcony. We ordered some great room service from the Gordon Ramsay restaurant, but we didn't see much of the hotel 'cause we left early the next morning. Gorgeous place though, and huge rooms!
Us at the airport waiting for our flight. My cripple-ness allowed us to get on the plane earlier than everyone else, and we think our seatmate in our aisle was an air marshall since he had to be on the aisle (my moans and groans about my window seat and my leg condition notwithstanding), and immediately before takeoff he whisked off to a first-class seat with the full knowledge and approval of the flight attendants.
For those who did not have the honor of meeting my knee scooter (actual name: "Roll-A-Bout") that I rented for the wedding and honeymoon, here it is. In many ways, this thing was a godsend -- I was so sick of crutches by this point, and all I had to do with this was kneel and scoot. Unfortunately, it was still a workout in the hot Puerto Vallarta sun and humidity, so my little knee pads were soaked with sweat and my back started to hurt from the position and the constant lifting of the scooter to change direction (note to manufacturers -- how's about a steering wheel?). I was, however, the source of amusement of many individuals who had never before seen such a contraption or who perhaps thought I had a bionic leg (doesn't it kind of look like a fake leg from the back?)
Our view from the balcony at the Marriott Casamagna resort. It was a nice room overlooking the ocean with a clear view of the aforementioned Wonka-like current coming in during the afternoon. We also had a perfect view of the sun setting from our angle which was tremendous. The bad of our room? A weak air-conditioning, and an overly-agressive "mini-bar checker" guy who seemed to have a knack of arriving at the most inopportune times and taking his job a bit toooooo seriously. We consider him the Dwight Schrute of the resort. I mean, the mini-bar's not going anywhere people...
Our room and bed! I am already sunburned (sigh)...
Here's the great pool we were at a lot of the time -- good food and bevvy service poolside, a nice infinity edge, and the perfect depth. We loved it!
I'm sure our nickname around the resort was "the bionic leg guy on the tacky scooter and his hot wife" -- in the one above, we're heading to downtown PV for a day of hilarity and introspection.
After much wandering around Puerto Vallarta for a nice souvenir with little luck but lots of sweat, we toiled up the hill on a cobblestoned street to Si Senor, a great restaurant with lovely tacos but even lovelier air conditioning. I drank 37 Coke Lights here.
I know what you're asking... and no, I don't know what she's doing with me either. We're here in the humongous hotel hot tub, where we successfully cleared out the water-squirting teenagers with our sheer mind power and a couple mean half-turns from Jess.
Our beachside dinner! The atmosphere was great, including a close-up of cruise ships leaving port and blowing their horns, and a great sunset of Peruvian ceviche and boulliabaise. Jess had some un-good shrimp, though, thus spoiling her meal a bit. But look at the view!
Happy on our honeymoon -- we LOVED IT!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
- Lucky that my Achilles tendon issue held up and didn't totally ruin our wedding, reception or honeymoon
- Lucky that we got married on June 21st and not a week later, since my sister would not have been able to make it then (bedrest thanks to incoming triplets)
- Lucky that we found a great, unique and beautiful reception venue that worked with our budget
- LUCKY to have friends and family there to support us and celebrate with us on our special day and also at our reception in Portland
- And most of all, LUCKY to have found the love of my life. As great as our courtship was, marriage is so much better. We talk the same, we laugh the same, we just don't leave each other anymore and that is truly special. At one point during the honeymoon we were laughing so hard I think I was crying, and we promised each other that we would always have that much fun. Certainly there is a reason why there is the colloquial term "honeymoon period" -- I know things will not always be so easy. But there is nobody I would rather meet challenges with than someone like Jessica who makes me stronger, smarter, kinder, funnier and more resilient than I could ever be alone.
I love you Jess.
The rest of you are pretty OK too.