Monday, December 28, 2009

Breckenridge - The first three days

Wow! I just realized that we've only been here for 2.5 days.  It already seems like much longer, but that's actually pretty fantastic.

We flew in on Christmas day, which is an awesome day to travel if you're not of the mindset of caring when you get somewhere.  The airport was nice and quiet even though our flight was full.  We met another family and a single guy that were all coming to Breck.  We haven't yet run into them, but I figure at some point we may.  Christmas dinner was at The Hearthstone where I had a couple of nice pieces of elk.  The altitude change was not nice to the belly though, and we all ended up a gassy mess, lol.

Saturday we just hung around and checked out the town a little bit.  We had originally planned to do a little warm-up day but decided that we needed the day to continue to adjust to the altitude.  It's nearly 2 miles high here.  Crazy.

Sunday we hit the mountain full force with everyone going into their separate lesson.  Amazingly enough, the place isn't jam packed which meant that Kiddo basically had a private lesson since there was only one other teen in her group and I had a private lesson because no one else signed up for the particular thing that I did.  Lovey also had a private lesson, but that's because he booked it in the first place.  We were all on the mountain from about 9:30 till 3 and let me tell you, at 3, we were all exhausted.  Running 3 miles 3 times a week does absolutely nothing to prepare one for all day on the mountain.

Because it's vacation, I must have a massage (or two).  First massage came from the lovely folks at Blue Sage Spa.  Super nice people, but most people here are.  Deep tissue massage followed by a seaweed therapy detox.  All I can say here is ahhhhhhhhhhh.  We managed to stay up until 10pm(!) 

*SIDEBAR*  I just saw the Charlie Daniels Geico commercial.  So funny.

This morning, we had it planned to go to the grocery store and run a few more errands.  Well, that was, until I could find my driver's license.  We turned the house upside down looking for it to no avail.  I called the massage place and they didn't have it.  I called the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory where I picked up yumminess after my massage and they didn't have it either.  

Panic started to set in.  How in the world was I gonna get home?  On a lesser scale, how could I take part in the champagne toast on New  Year's Eve if I couldn't prove I was old enough to do so?  My mouth started to get dry.  My stomach started to sour.  I have effectively ruined, sorta, vacation.  Our whole crew retraced my steps from last night.  We didn't find anything.  As it is, my head is always full of random thoughts, but everything was even more jumbled now.  I stopped back in the spa and they said I should call the police station to see if anyone had turned it in.  Another bust.  The other half of our crew went into the visitor center to see if anyone had turned it in there but no luck again.  We left them information to get in contact with us if, by some slim chance, someone turned it in.

AT&T service has been spotty at best for the last couple of days here.  That has led to missed and/or dropped calls and NO TWITTER from my phone. Boooo!  As such, I didn't hear my phone when it rang and it took hours for voicemail to show up.  It finally buzzed through when we were in the grocery store.  And you will never believe this, because I still don't believe it and it's happening right in front of my face, but the visitor center called and said that they have my license!!  Some kind soul found my license and turned it in!!  Breckenridge is OFFICIALLY my favorite town in the world now.  I don't know if it was a local or if someone else on vacation, but whoever you are, THANK YOU!!!

Tonight, we're still trying to recover from yesterday and prepare for tomorrow.  We've all decided that a calm day of riding greens rather than the blues and blue-blacks we rode yesterday would be a good idea.

Oh!  Photos!  You can see all of them here.

Also, I haven't forgotten about the blog challenge.  I'm thinking a minimum of three posts a week with a minimum of 100 words.  It's only for bragging rights and getting ourselves into the habit of writing a little more.

That's it for now and I'll be posting more as it's needed.  Hope all's well in each of your respective worlds.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

When TV sneaks into daily life

Yesterday, I spoke to MommaShyner about general and random things as is the norm. She mentioned that she was going to the football game tonight as her neighbor was nice enough to pass over her tickets for the evening (she's a season ticket holder; isn't that nice of her?). Off the top of my head I didn't know who was playing but MommaShyner felt that it was the Dolphins.

I know. It isn't.

Later last night, I was relaying the story to Lovey including the Dolphins part. He knew that it wasn't the Dolphins but wasn't sure who it was. In a stroke of brilliance, I realized that it was the Colts and told Lovey so.

We discussed the importance of the game for the Jags and that it would likely be a good game. Lovey mentioned that maybe the Colts would start sitting players, though, in preparation for the playoffs. I agreed that it would be a good game and, following my moment of brilliance with a moment of sheer stupidity, I said:

Maybe she'll get to see someone like Peyton Manning, maybe.

To which Lovey replied:


First, yes, just that quickly I forgot that we said that players might sit. Second, dammit Manning! You're seeping into regular conversations in our house and we're not even Colts fans!

Thanks for tuning in to your daily ramble featuring MiamiShyner.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Weekend drinkend

In an evening that was a throwback to times when I used to party hard, we really had a good time Saturday night.

Location: Coconut Grove
Venue: Crazy Pianos
Time: 9pm......

So, yeah, it would've been 9pm had they not screwed up the reservation, but after a brief (one hour) wait, they did get it together and we were able to get our party on. Upon our arrival, Lovey dropped me off and went to park the car. I went inside to check on our non-existant reservation. While checking out the scene, one of the bouncers was hitting on me...hard. Like, I have bruises hard. But hey, who doesn't need an ego boost every now and again? And he was hawt.

There's me and Lovey. I'm a few beers in at that point. This is also why I typically hide from the camera, particularly when I've been drinking. One eye gets all droopy and I forget to suck in my tummy and I'm never happy with the results. BUT, even if it doesn't look like it here, I looked DAMN HOT Saturday night.

That second photo was a little earlier in the evening where I'm still looking like I have complete control over everything, lol. Good times had by all.

I must thank The Negotiators for getting a nice piece of change lopped off the bill along with fantastic chocolate cake with ice cream and a big ole sparkler!

While we certainly had fun, I am starting to realize that I can't party hard like I used to. I think that with every sip of water on Sunday, I rehydrated some dried up alcohol particles and got drunk all over again. Yikes!

Know what though? I'm sure I'll forget by next year and do it all over again! :-D

Friday, December 11, 2009

An Open Letter

Dear Mr. Rooney, Coach Tomlin, et al:

Hi. You don't know me; we've never met. I am just another of the millions that are proud to be a part of the Steeler Nation...most of the time. You see, I came into the world a Steeler fan 36 years ago. I came up in a part of PA where Friday night was high school football, Saturday morning was pee-wee football, Saturday afternoon was college football and Sunday was the icing on the football cake with the Steelers. My father played, my brother played, and I played PowderPuff. In high school, it wasn't enough for me to be the mascot and cheer on our football team. It wasn't enough to be a cheerleader and cheer on our football team. I did both, but I didn't find true happiness until in my senior year, I was the first (and last) female manager of our football team. So yes, I know from football.

I've followed the Steelers with a passion for over two decades. I've been fortunate enough to meet many of the players. I've been through the ups and downs right there with the rest of the Steeler Nation. I understand that no one is perfect and no one (in current times) is going to win all of their games (without the help of the NFL *AHEM*), but this season has been an extreme disappointment to all of us. I'm sure that I don't need to point out that we're in a downward spiral, losing three of four to the crappiest teams in the NFL. Now, the last time that I checked, not a single member of the organization was a cardiac surgeon, so if you'd kindly stop ripping out my heart, I would appreciate it.

Maybe I'm to blame. Maybe I jinxed the team. See, I don't live in the viewing area so I only see the nationally televised games. But, the Steelers are my team and simply waiting on the updates on line wasn't enough. Last year (and a few before that), I listened to our hometown guys doing the game on Sirius and that was great, getting to hear a little slice of home. This year, however, I decided that just hearing the game wasn't enough. I wanted to see every game and not just the nationally televised one, so I got Sunday Ticket.

Let me explain a little something here. I love my team, no matter how well/badly they're doing (on a Superbowl high when I made the purchase), but that doesn't change the fact that the economy sucks and I overlooked that fact because I LOVE MY TEAM! I bought my daughter, the next generation of Steelers fans a #43 jersey to continue the tradition of love. I bought myself a new jersey because I LOVE MY TEAM. All this I do because I stand behind the black and gold. Always. That doesn't mean I'm not pissed off about the poor showing this season.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this regard. I'm sure that there are plenty of "veteran" Steelers fans who put forth their hard earned money to show their support of Pittsburgh and the Steelers and its proud history. Plenty of other fans who will likely never make the league minimum for ROOKIE players but still show up for every game. Plenty of other fans who are heartbroken that we fell, er skyrocketed, from grace like Milli Vanilli or Elliot Spitzer. Let me clue you in on what you might need in the draft next year: a new 12th man because your current one might not make it until next season.

Am I fan? Yes. Do I love my team? Obviously. Have I ever been to a game? *looks down at the ground and toes the dirt* No. Nearly a month ago, Steelers, I asked you if you were just tossing out the rest of the season. You didn't say yes, so I took that as a no. I guess that's my mistake. Why did I ask in the first place? Well, you see, you're coming to town (Miami) in January and I am finally in a position where I can attend a game. I wanted to know that, for the last game of the season, your hearts would still be in it. I wanted to know that I would love my first football game. I guess, that come Sunday, January 3, I'll have to make my own fun, and don't worry, I will. I'm sure that you guys will show up, in body if not in spirit.

I'll still love you always, Steelers, when you're riding high on top and no matter how many times you disappoint me. I'll still be there on January 3 to cheer you on even though the game will be meaningless to you (but likely not to the Dolphins). So, if you've got an apology for me, or an explanation, or a refund for my Sunday Ticket for the games you've thrown away, I'll be the black girl with dreds in the black Hines Ward jersey sitting in section 246. See you then.

With all that's left of my heart,


Monday, December 7, 2009

Weekend dinner!

Over the weekend, Lovey and I had the opportunity to go out to dinner as Kiddo was out doing Kiddo things. Our decisions always go a little something like this:
  • Should we order in or shower and go out?
  • Pasta? Sushi? Mexican? Chinese? What?
  • How far do we want to drive?
I really should make a flowchart for us to make these decisions easier.

We decided on go out, Mexican and not far which led us to Talavera in Coral Gables. As you may know, I LOVE Mexican food (Tex Mex also although it's not Mexican) and basically 99% of everything about Mexico. (See also, wedding there in June and lived there for a couple of years.) I even learned to love tacos off the street that I would have previously turned my nose up at. I am plotting a trip to Chicago simply so that I can visit Frontera and XOCO.

It was still relatively early (for Miami) when we arrived at about 7:45pm. While there was no wait, the restaurant was still pulling in a good crowd. They didn't reach a wait while we there, but the steady flow of business was maintained. We were warmly greeted and given our choice of several open tables.

Chips and salsa arrived promptly for us to munch on. Talavera provides two types of chips and two types of salsa. Right, I neglected to take a picture of the chips, but one looked like a flour tortilla that had been cut into smaller pieces and fried and the other was blue corn.

The salsa on the right had a slightly sweet taste to it with a kick. I honestly don't know what was in it. The salsa on the left tasted like tomatillo and cilantro and had a mild spice. Both salsas tasted better with the blue corn tortilla although I'm not sure why.

The menu has plenty of choices and we refrained from gorging ourselves on the first visit. As appetizers, we both had a cup of soup. The cups are normal sized cups with just enough soup. Lovey had the black bean which looked fantastically hearty and tasted just as well. I had the tortilla soup. I will admit that at first glance, I was put off by my soup as it just didn't look anything like I thought it should, but after the first taste, it didn't matter what it looked like. Tomatillo was certainly utilized in the tortilla soup but it gave the soup a light and refreshing quality. Each of the soups had small strips of tortilla and a sprinkling of cheese in them.

Before moving on to the main course, of course we had margaritas!! Lovey had The Original and I had The Ambitious. While I didn't try his, I had my hands full with my own. Let's just say that the bartender makes a damn good drink.

After much indecision, I finally settled on Tacos de Chilorio and Lovey had the Mexico City Beef Tacos, left and right respectively.

Wow! Let me start with the rice. I love when Lovey's mom makes rice. I don't know what she does to it, but it's fantastic. Talavera is giving her a run for her money. Each order of Tacos de Chilorio comes with a small side of guacamole which was also quite tasty. You would think that five tacos is an awfully large serving, but after you eat the first one, you know you'll have no problem finishing the rest. The pork was soft and delicious.

The Mexico City Beef Tacos are just as delicious. Although you can't see them, the tortillas are the same size as the ones you see on my plate and they're hiding in that little silver basket. I don't know if it's the cut of meat or what they marinate it in, but the beef was just plain fantastic and I don't really care for red meat. Lovey had no problem putting them all away.

I believe the dessert menu changes often as our server explained them to us rather than providing a menu. The only sadness of the trip was that they didn't have the fantastic sounding churro dessert. We instead had a chocolate souffle with a scoop of ice cream. It surprised us with just a touch of spicy, just like it might in Mexico.

The bill came in at the regular price it does when we go out for a meal and have three courses and drinks, so I didn't find it to be overpriced, or even expensive, especially considering that 40% of our bill was liquor. All in all, it was a lovely meal in a lovely environment and I can't wait to try it out again.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Decoration End Game

Ok, so here's last year's real tree:

Not horrible but not great and certainly no Blue Room tree. Did you see the First Lady's tree?!?! It's so beautiful. Like *tear* beautiful. See it here.

Then here's this year's tree:

Hmmmm. I think I still liked the real tree better. I should try to take a picture in similar lighting for a better comparison, right?

Friday, December 4, 2009

The OCD Christmas Tree

When I was growing up, decorating the tree was like a sacred ritual. Although we never had a set day to set up the tree, when it eventually showed up in the yard, we knew it was close to time. Real trees were the route we always took, on several occasions even going out to the tree farm to pick our own.

We did a little decorating outside the house but left the major light displays to the folks across the street. They were a great landmark when giving directions to our place. Inside, the windows that faced the front got some spray snow and the banisters got some garland, but the crown jewel was the tree. I watched in awe as my mom would transform a plain old tree into a piece of art.

There were two key components to the tree: bubble lights and the chirping bird. Bubble lights are straight 70s and they rock so hard it should be illegal. Can you imagine that bubbly goodness on your tree?!?!

I wish that I could upload sound so you could hear what the product description calls "the joyous sound of a bird chirping". It's not joyous really. It's pretty annoying after a while but that never stopped us from hiding it in the center of the tree like it was a little bird's nest. People were always amazed by it too. We all just found that to be hysterical.

My mom would decorate and I would hand her the ornaments and as I got older, I was allowed to place some ornaments or add the final touch of icicles. I believe that I was about 14 or 15 when the honor of fully decorating the tree was bestowed upon me. No pressure!! Welcome in OCD.

With this great task upon me, I was so careful to place each ornament just perfectly to try to live up to the standard of trees before mine. I'm proud to say that my trees were all beautiful. My tree OCD, however, never left.

Fast forward 20(!) years to current day Christmas where I'm solely in charge of the tree. For the last three years, we've been buying a fresh cut tree because I love the scent of pine when I walk in the front door. I'm not so sheltered, though, as not to realize the importance of our natural resources. This year we bought our first fake tree.

Obviously, I didn't immediately fall in love with this idea nor the looks of the tree when Kiddo and I first started putting it up. It came pre-lit with various colored lights. They're bright. Really bright. While the family photo albums have already been handed down, the Christmas decorations have not yet. My tree is without bubble lights and chirping birds. Sadness. It is full of pretty red and silver ornaments with some splashes of other color here and there.

What I've learned this year is that fake trees are heaven for those with tree OCD. It's taken me three days now to finish decorating the tree. Partially because there's just so much life to take care of outside of the tree, but mostly because of the OCD. Every ornament must be hanging down perfectly straight. Yes, I'm off my rocker. But the fake tree is AWESOME for this!! If an ornament isn't hanging properly, I can bend its branch or the ones around it to make room! AHAHAHAHAHAHA! Also, I need to have the amounts of red and silver be in just the right balance. Icicles can't be clumpy and have to be just the right amount and spray snow can't be overdone. I need help.

I am hoping that I will be able to finish the tree tonight and put away my tendencies for one more year. If I do, I'll post a photo. I know that I'll never be fully satisfied with the tree's appearance, but that'll do pig, that'll do.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How I Met G$

Preface: G$ is Garen Gueyikian, formerly Granian, currently the frontman for Kill The Alarm.

I love live music. At any time you can give me a guy or gal with a guitar and a mic and let him or her have at it and I'll listen for hours, providing said performer is good of course. Back in 2001, before I left for parts unknown, AKA Club Med, I did my best to fill up my MP3 player (not iPod, I wasn't that cool yet) with as much music as humanly possible. One of the songs I happened to download was "Whole Again", but, it was mislabeled as John Mayer so I still didn't have the full knowledge.

Fast forward about two years. Still in parts unknown, just different parts with different people. My roommate, Ant, at that time was someone I knew from almost day one of my Club Med days. (Shout out to I Fly!) One afternoon, we were chilling in the room, listening to some music when "Whole Again" came on. Ant went over to make sure he was hearing what he was hearing and then asked me how I knew of Granian. Completely confused (although G$ really has a COMPLETELY separate sound than JM) as I was under the impression that I was listening to JM, I requested an explanation.

Proving once more that the world is indeed quite small, Ant went and pulled out Hang Around and played "Whole Again" again. Having already been in love with one song, I devoured everything else Ant had by G$. In an awesome twist of fate, it just so happened that G$ was coming to visit us at Club Med to do a little performing and a lot of hanging out and having fun.

If you've ever met G$, you already know that he's one of the most down-to-earth people around. None of that I'm-a-rock-star attitude crap. He sat around with us, played, sang, and completely caught me off guard when I was singing along (quietly) and he abruptly stopped playing, trying to catch me singing. Ha! No I will not sing in front of the professional!

G$ came to visit a few more times (that I got to be a part of) and never failed to provide us with great entertainment. It is because of him that I will now play the hell out of "Shape of My Heart" by Sting and "New York State of Mind" by Billy Joel and I'm not afraid to say that I like G$'s versions better.

If you haven't yet, click on one of the links above to get the G$ Experience. You won't be sorry.