Monday, December 29, 2008

Rambling Through the Holidays...

Hope everybody had a great Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Festivus!! We had a nice quiet holiday here in NYC once again...we'll get to that day in a bit, but I feel like its been a while since I actually blogged (good job, Jen, for keeping it going....I was worried our blog was going to fall apart like the Neals apparently has)

So lets get caught up on some stuff meandering through my mind these days...

-- We're trying to blaze through Broadway these days. Tons of shows are closing early and shutting down due to the poor economy. So we went and saw All My Sons with John Lithgow, Katie Holmes, Dianne Weist and Patrick Wilson the other day...good show...Lithgow's always good in these settings, and Katie Holmes did well for her Broadway debut...although I think the highlight for Jen was seeing Katie carry young Suri out of the theater after the show...though she wasn't very happy with the Nazi-esque security guard that wouldn't let Jen stand near the guardrail because I left our printout tickets inside....after everyone had left, we went looking for the guy to give him a piece of our mind, but he had fled the scene, probably because he knew we were coming with a SMACKDOWN!!!

-- Anyways, we're off to see Young Frankenstein this weekend, and I've managed to talk Jen into seeing Spamalot next week before it closes (we're getting big time cheap tickets). That will make a grand total of EIGHT Broadway shows for us since we've been here...I've got this grand plan to buy frames for the Playbills and hang them up...we'll post pictures when it happens...

-- Speaking of Nazis (boy there's a segue), we went and saw Valkyrie last Friday. Pretty good movie, and I really am coming back around on Tom Cruise after "Tropic Thunder" and his appearance on Kimmel a couple of weeks back (where he played "Touch The Head), but he couldn't even attempt a German accent for this flick? In fact, no one apparently could...its a movie about Nazi Germany, and I think I counted 2 German accents...who knew there were so many Brits and Americans in the Nazi Party Germany in the early 1940s??? Having said all that, the movie was still pretty good...

-- I don't know about you, but as an anti-Yankee fan, I can't wait for this July when I'll get to watch a 420-pound C.C. Sabathia laboring through a 95 percent humidity day at Yankee Stadium when he's 6-and-8 with an ERA over 5....yeah, that was worth 180 million dollars...I mean, anytime you offer a guy 160-million, and he leaves the deal on the table for a month PRAYING that some other team will offer him something close because he doesn't want to come to New York, then you have to throw him an extra 20-mill just to get him to come play for your team, I mean, you have to do that deal.... BWHAHAHAH!!! Man, I love the Yankees when they overreact...between Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, that money is just wasted....

-- Speaking of the Yankees, Brian and Katie Neal were in town for the holidays, and Katie put together a surprise 30th birthday party for Brian as well that Jen and I were able to go to...since he's the ever optimist, I think he liked the gift I got him....

-- I'm fairly certain Al Davis is now no longer able to competently run the Raiders because after watching his performance in the "I fired Lane Kiffin" press conference, I'm pretty sure Al is now a sea monster....

Well, we've reached the halfway point of this entry, so lets take a commercial break....

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"Now for a limited time only you can get amazing zero percent APR financing on any Toyota"

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"That's zero percent financing on 11 different models. No other car brand can make this offer. So hurry in now and see how much zero can save you on a Toyota."

"Saved by zero! Saved by zero!"

(by the way, that was from off the top of my head. We're coming awfully close to the point where I'll be a week away from driving to a Toyota dealership, buying a new Toyota with zero percent APR financing, driving off the lot, then yanking a 180 and speeding straight through the windows of the showroom at 80 miles an hour while I lean out the window yelling "Saved by zero!!!" Toyota folks, you might wanna shut down the ads...I'm not kidding. You know why we havn't seen John Cougar Mellancamp in, like, 2 years? Cause some guy has him trapped in a trunk in his basement dressed like The Gimp from Pulp Fiction after hearing "This is our country" for the nine-millionth time. Time to tone it down Toyota...we get it. Zero percent APR financing....heard you.


-- I really wanted to root for Brett Favre this season, but that did go out the window as soon as the Pack dropped from the playoff picture, so watching the Jets collapse and Favre play like the old man he is was strangely enjoyable. I tried to warn Jets fans that this was coming, though even I didn't think Brett would crap the bed the way he did in the last five games (2 TDs, 9 interceptions) to lead the Jets from a sure playoff berth to on the outside looking one day later, the Jets head coach is canned, and New York gets to spend the next six months doing the same "is he coming back, is he retiring" dance that I went through the last 3 seasons...good times!!

(by the way, if you're keeping track, I've done a complete 360 on my feelings for Favre. I hope no one injured their neck keeping track of those mood swings)

-- Christmas/Hanukkah was wonderful this year. I got some very nice sweaters and a great RL polo from Jen along with tickets to the Upright Citizens Brigade show (which we went to last night)...and great gifts from my family like the SportsNight DVD set from Sister Jen and the Jeff Pearlman book about the Cowboys from Mom and Dad...and a whole host of other stuff...its funny, when I was younger, I used to dread unwrapping a present to find what I called "the dreaded Sears box." Now? I'm more excited to get clothes than anything else. Does this mean I'm growing up?

-- Speaking of clothes for Christmas, I had asked my folks for a Sac State sweatshirt as a gift for reasons that continue to elude me...I guess I feel more of a tinge to represent my college experience out here since no one in the world has heard of CSUS out here. Or maybe its because I'm currently trying to lead the Hornets football team to the national title on NCAA Football 2009 on the Wii....or maybe its because I look good in green...I don't know...anyways, I got the sweatshirt and wasn't planning to wear it that same day, but when Chris and Shirley came over Christmas Day for dinner, Chris said "guess what I got for Christmas?" and he took off his coat to reveal a Sac State Hornets t-shirt!! Well, that changed my dress plans for dinner...I think we look rather good, don't you....

-- Christmas dinner consisted of delicious turkey cooked by Jen, with cranberry sauce and green bean casserole, and Shirley brought delicious lasagna and made lumpea as an appetizer, which I think I ate about 7 of....

Overall, its been a great few weeks and we'll see what the new year brings!! Happy New Year everybody!!!!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

30th Birthday!

I feel very blessed. I have accomplished some pretty awesome things over the last decade. I met my best friend and partner in life., married him, had some amazing positions in the field I have wanted to work in since age 14, moved over 3000 miles away to the largest city in the country to work in the center of the news universe, and not to mention Cooper's bouncy presence in our lives. So I feel very fortunate and blessed for my 20's. I can only hope To be just as successful, lucky and happy in my 30.
Speaking of blessed., I had two amazing 30th birthday parties!!!A few months ago I was looking ahead to my 30th and was sad I wouldn't be with all of my friends in Sacramento to celebrate.. But I have been very fortunate to make a lot of good friends in NY in the last year. My friend Dawn threw me a bowling birthday party at this hip bowling alley called Bowlmor Lanes in Union Square on the Sunday before my birthday. It was so much fun and I was amazed at how many people came out. It was super fun. Here are some pics...

On my actual birthday .Mike and I flew to Vegas. We stayed at the Bellagio. I have always wanted to stay there and it did not disappoint.. Our room was beautiful and huge! You could open and close the curtains with a switch in either fast or slow speeds. This was so my entertainment! Whenever Mike would walk up to the window I would close them on him. It never got old! Our view was fantastic! We could see the Bellagio fountains spray up in the air and Paris' Eiffel Tower was right outside our room!! The maid service was the best I had ever experienced too! I took like 3 showers a day because I didn't want to smell like smoke from the casinos. Every time I left the room, magically the bathroom was clean and we had fresh towels. I wish that happened at home!
After we checked in a surprise arrived at our door. It was room service with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. A birthday surprise from Kelly and Chris! It was awesome!!
For my birthday dinner we went to Emeril Lagasse's steakhouse the Delmonico in the Venetian. It was amazingly BAMtastic!

On Friday both of our parents and my sister and her new guy pal arrived.
Friday morning we had brunch w/ my mom and dad at the Bellagio and then headed next door to the Forum shops at Caesar's! You see we have a little tradition, on your 30th birthday Weiss Women get a Louis Vuitton. 2 yrs ago my sister got one and I was so jealous.. You see I've always been the handbag lover in our family. So I was counting down the days until I turned 30 and tada... Isn't it beautiful!! For those of youwho care it's the Neverfull GM
That night we had my birthday at Machines across the street from the Wynn. It was so much fun! Our good family friends the Goldmans joined us. It was a great night.
We spent Saturday bumming around, shopping check out the casinos that opened since our last visit and then on Sunday we went all went home.
It was an Amazing Birthday Weekend!!

Oddly enough it was warmer back in NY then it was in Vegas. It was so cold. If we would have left a day later we would have seen it snow on the strip! And probably would have gotten stuck there too!!

Catching up Thanksgiving, Canada, and Early December!

Lots of catching up to do. As you all know we just got back from celebrating my 30th birthday in Las Vegas.
Before I tell you about all that I need to catch you up on everything that's happened since Thanksgiving.

On Thanksgiving day we had dinner with some friends that we have made in our neighborhood. James and Laura live a few blocks north of us and
Andy lives just down the street from us.
Laura hosted dinner and made the most moist amazing turkey, I brought 2 sides; creamed corn and green bean casserole. and Cooper was invited! He wore a fall. Themed sweater for the occasion.

Friday morning instead of doing up the black Friday sales we hit the road. Mike, Cooper and I packed into a little red rental car and headed north to mike's grandmas house. We literally went over several rivers and through the woods (the Pocono's) for about a 6 hour drive. This was Cooper's 3rd trip into Canada. I wore a red T-shirt with a big white maple leaf on it to charm the guards at the boarding crossing. On the way home he sported his stylish "I dog bone NY" hoodie.

We had a wonderful time in Canada. It wasn't as cold as it was the year before when we went and we had so much fun with Mikes relatives. We stopped in to see Mikes dads sister Irene while we were there. Living closer has allowed us to see Irene and Dick a lot in the last year.

All in all we had a wonderful trip up north.

The following weekend our good friends Will and Jen came into NY for a night to stay with us.

They are friends from Sacramento and we have dined with them in s states now! CA, GA, CT, & NY. Maybe next time we'll meet in Jersey just to bring it up to 5!!!
The next day Santa made an appearance at our neighborhood dog park so all the little dogs, put on their warm little sweaters and met for an afternoon of dog park fun! I brought Coopers Hanukkah bone and asked Santa to hold it since Cooper celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Viva Las Vegas, Blog On Hiatus (hey, that rhymes!)

We've been lagging with the excuses...just lagging...

and now we're gonna lag some more because we're off to Las Vegas tomorrow for four days of rip-roaring adventure in honor of Jen turning the big 3-0

So when we get back, I PROMISE we'll catch everybody up on the last few weeks, including Thanksgiving, our trip to Canada to visit Grandma, Will and Jen coming down for an overnight trip and the Las Vegas excursion...

I WOULD like to say, since I haven't blogged in awhile, that I really appreciate all the kind words expressed both on this blog and to me in other forms of communication regarding the passing of Murphy the Dog...I know it meant a lot to my family, and it means a lot to me....thanks very much, you guys are the best!!!

Expect a new post either Monday or Tuesday of next the meantime...

"bright light city, gonna set my soul, gonna SET MY SOUL ON FIRE!!"


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Cold, but we have Friends

It was 27 degrees this morning when I was walking to work. It's cold, like crazy cold and it's only November. The farmers almanac said it would snow early and be a cold winter and those farmers were right. While you Californians basks in 70-80 degree weather, we are freezing.

It was so cold last night that when I was walking to the subway after work the inside of my nose burned.

Anyhow, fall was beautiful this year. All the leaves were beautiful! Now they are all gone, but last week they started putting beautiful white lights on every tree in the city it seems like. Its so pretty and magical. I don't think the excitement of seeing the white lights will ever get old.

Anyhow, this year I feel more prepared for the cold. I have all my hats, scarves, gloves, uggs, rain boots, snow boots and jackets. Well, I want to get one more wool coat like one that goes to my knees instead of my ankles for days when its over 25 degrees.

Anyhow, we've had a fun couple of weeks. The week before last we got to see 3 friends from California in one week!! Everyone seems to make it to NY eventually and we love seeing them when they get here.

My friend Allison from college was here while her husband was running in the NYC marathon. The 4 of us were able to grab dinner the night before the race.

And then Katie was in town for business.. The following Wed. we were able to have dinner with her.

And then Jen Sweeney came and stayed with us for a few days. We had a great time. One of the highlights was seeing American Buffalo on Broadway. It was starring Haley Joel Osment, Cedric the Entertainer, and John Leguizamo.

All in all it's been fun. We're not able to make it home for Thanksgiving this year. Mike has to work. I got the day off though. Right now our plan is to get up super early and head with our new folding chairs down to the Upper West Side and grab seats along the parade route. Then Mike will go into work and I will go home and make side dishes.

Our friends in the neighborhood, James and Laura, are having us over for Turkey dinner. The next morning we will get up early, pick up our rental car and head to Canada!!!

We're going to spend a couple of days with Mike's grandmother in Kingston, Ontario. It should be really cold there!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

RIP Murphy

Friday night, I got the call no one ever wants to was my Mom...Murphy wasn't doing well...they were at the vet...and they were going to have to put him down....two hours later, I called back....he was gone...
Needless to say, I lost it. The Watts family are dog people, and we had just lost a family member. Everyone was devastated. I was really upset I couldn't be back there to see the boy one more time. It was awful....
When we got Murphy in 2002 a few months after Rusty (our first golden retriever) had passed away, I remember being angry. No dog was going to be able to replace Rusty, and I was mad my mother had gone out to get a rescue dog that couldn't possibly measure up. I told here, "I'm going over to your house, but I'm not going to like this dog."
So I stopped by while the parents were at work and met Murphy for the first time. He was a mess, all ratty and scabbed, because he had been on the streets before the rescue group got him, and he smelled to high-heaven. But, there was something about him. He was all about playing with the tennis balls, and all he wanted to be was loved....after an hour, I called my Mom and told her "Dammit, its awful hard not to like this dog."
And that was that...Murphy became part of the family. He was a great dog. He was obedient. He was gentle. He put up with just about anything. All he ever wanted was for you to play ball with him. He'd drop the ball in your lap, or near you...and then walk away and stare at you until you threw it...some people would be a little thrown by the intensity of the stare...he just REALLY wanted to play ball...
I'll remember lots of stories and quirks about Murph, but here are a few:
-- When I was substitute teaching, I would stop by my parent's place in Roseville to see Murphy on my longer breaks...and I always gave him a cookie...this quickly became a routine for him, and in fact, whenever he saw me, he'd get up, greet me QUICKLY, and then run over to the cookie jar and look at me....some spoiled dog, eh???
-- Murphy never barked at anyone, in fact I never saw him get upset at anything, except just once. Jen and I had just got Cooper in November of '04, and we took him over to my folks house for Christmas that year...Murphy had got a rawhide treat in his stocking and he was chewing it in the family room, and Cooper decided to investigate...well, he got as far as Murpy's nose, and Murph unleashed several large barks at Coop, sending him scurrying for could do a lot to Murphy, but you weren't allowed near his rawhide...
-- And Cooper did beat up a bunch on poor Murphy. Watching the two of them together was like watching the two dogs from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons....Cooper with all the crazy energy, and Murphy the wise one putting up with it all...Cooper would jump on Murph's head, fight him over tennis balls, chew on his tail, and basically bounce all over him, and Murphy would just put up with it with a slight sigh...such a good boy....
I'll miss that dog so much...I can't imagine coming back to my parent's house in April and him not being there...anyways, I can't write much more without breaking down again, so here's a video that pretty much sums up my feelings at the moment....Goodbye Murph, you were the best dog.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Ramblings

America made history last night....congratulations to those who took go pay your back taxes...

In short, a quick ramblings regarding Election Day...

-- wait, the voting thing was Tuesday? Why didn't someone say anything?

-- I can't be the only one that hoped for Barack Obama to hit the stage for his victory speech and then yell, "Hey, where are the white women at??!!" I know Dave and Mike were hoping for that as well...

-- I missed this, but CNN apparently had a thing on their coverage where a woman was appearing on the set "via hologram." Like they literally beamed her image in there....this is the future...I'd like to be beamed "via hologram" into work next week, frankly...

-- So Obama wins, and Prop 8 in California does similar props in Arizona and as Jen succinctly put it earlier today "America isn't racist...just homophobic."

-- Speaking of California, its now hitting me that I spent 22 years of my life in a state that is governed by an action movie hero and a city that now has a former NBA point guard as its mayor. Read that last sentence again.

-- Flipping around election coverage last night, watching Fox was laughable...they were absolutely the LAST ones to call ANY state that other networks were calling for fact, when everyone else had called the Presidency for Barack, I think Fox still had him with 85 electoral votes...but no bias sirree...

-- And I thought California was bad, but Minnesota now needs a recount to see if they voted a comedian into office for the U.S. Senate? Really? Wasn't this a Robin Williams movie last year....

-- No McCain victory means no Palin vice-presidency, which means no Tina Fey sketches for 4 more years, which makes me a sad panda...

-- The biggest outrage of Election Day? Jen not getting an "I Voted" sticker after she cast her ballot. I haven't seen her that sad since I was forced to tell her that "The Hills" is entirely fabricated...


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Long Time No Bolg Part 2- Mike's Bday

Disclaimer: For those of you (Barb) who complain when we do back to back posts-- this disclaimer is for you... Scroll down... This blog has just been updated twice! :)

On October 23rd Mike turned 32! He's getting to be old. I'm still in my twenties! Hehe- at least I will be for the next few months anyhow... but back to Mike. His birthday was on a Thursday and we both took Friday off. We were going to spend a couple days with Will and Jen in Connecticut. We were going to catch a train from Grand Central after work on Thursday so on Wednesday I got Mike an Ice cream Cake so he could have some birthday fun while he opened up his presents from Cooper and I.

Cooper got him a new winter coat so he could stay warm and dry while he took him on walks. Isn't Cooper thoughtful!!! Anyhow, I got Mike a new sweater and a rugby shirt... As he where's them in photos I'll caption them so you know.

Ever since Cooper had his 1st birthday party he has had a complex-- he thinks that all presents are for him and that he MUST help take off wrapping paper --- as you can see in this photo.

Anyhow, Mike had a nice pre-birthday evening on Wednesday. Thursday it was off to work!! I took a small suitcase with me to work that had both of our belongings in for the next couple of days. Mike raced back to our apartment after he was done working and picked up Cooper and we met at Grand Central Station. We took a Metro North Train to New Haven, CT where Will and Jen picked us up and then we drove to their place in Farmington. This was Cooper's first time in Connecticut!

Anyhow, for those of you don't know Will and Jen- They are good friends of ours from Sacramento. Will used to work at News10 with me and he and Mike became fast friends as did Jen and I. An interesting note about Will and Jen: We've had meals together in 4 states!! California -obviously, Atlanta- Will had just started working at CNN when Mike and I got married- so sadly they weren't able to come to our wedding. When we flew to Jamaica for our honeymoon we had a 3 hour layover in Atlanta... Coincidentally, Jen was flying into the Atlanta Airport at almost the same time... SO the 4 of us had breakfast together at the airport. AND since we've been East Coasters - all of us moving here around the same time-- we've eaten out together a few times in both NY and CT- Anyhow - that's not something you can say for most friends!

SO we had a great time hanging out with them in Connecticut. Ever since i was a little kid I have always had a fantasy about living in Connecticut. It stems from the open to "Who's the Boss" Remember that show? Well, in the show open it always showed beautiful houses surrounded by tons of fallen leaves and trees that looked as if they were painted by a sunset. It was beautiful and Connecticut did not disappoint... it was BEAUTIFUL!!!

(this is the Rugby shirt that was one of mikes presents)

We got back late Saturday from CT... Will was working the night shift so that's why the visit was just for Thursday and Friday nights.

ON Sunday we had a few friends over. Mike recently bought a Nintendo Wii and he wanted to play some of his new games with some friends.. SO we had an Open House play date type of thing.. i made meatballs, cocktail hot dogs in puffed pastry, chili cheese dip and we had lots of adult beverages on hand. It was good times!

The interesting thing about the Wii is that it's motion activated. you have to move your hands and the controllers as if you were swinging a bat or driving a car or as this photo shows... Sweeping a curling stone down the ice.. Mike and Chris had a great time playing this game! And we all had a great time watching them.. It was too funny. Coincidentally Mike and Chris were born on the same day and the same year!!! We're not sure about time of day-- but isn't that funny? 10/23/76!

Anyhow Happy Birthday to Mike and Happy Birthday to Chris!!

Long Time No Bolg Part 1- Becca's Visit

HI Everyone!!!

SO I have a lot of catching up to do!
Let's see where to begin... A couple weeks ago

Becca was here and we had an amazing time!!! I LOVE it when she visits. We went to the Daily Show taping, wandered around my neighborhood and park (which Cooper loved), Saw Speed The Plow with Jeremy Piven- Great show.

Funny story actually about that.. So, Jeremy Piven is known best for his role as Ari Gold in Entourage. One of his characters catch phrases is "Hug it out." Well, when Kelli and Meghan were in town we took the "Sex and the City" tour. The tour ended- as most tours do- in a gift shop. BUT this was the HBO store gift shop. So I bought Cooper a Doggie t-shirt that said "Hug it out Bitch"

Now fast forward to Becca's visit.. after we see speed the plow we line up by the stage door to try and get Jeremy Pivens autograph...Everyone was standing there w/ playbills and posters and i had Coopers Dog shirt ready for a sharpy so Piven could sign it... but ALAS Piven was sick and didn't come out to meet the fans... but don fear... i have every intention of heading back over there some night soon, so I can get Cooper's shirt signed!!! While we didn't get to see Jeremy Piven, the other 2 stars (Elisabeth Moss and Raul Esparza) came out and met with fans and signed autographs. Per Elisabeth- who was incredibly sweet, Piven was really sick. IN fact the show started 30 minutes late because he wasn't feeling so hot.

Other things we did while Becca was here.. Went to Central Park, went to "the My Dog Loves Central Park Dog Fair", went to the Boathouse, went to the Met, had Frozen Hot Chocolate's at Serendipity, went to the infamous Dylans Candy Store- which is pretty much awesome AND we made soup!!! Bec taught me how to make the BEST Butternut Squash soup EVER!!! I'll post the recipe at the bottom of this blog.




Anyhow-- It was a great time! We had so much fun!!!!
Butternut Squash Cider Soup Recipe
**FYI I added a teaspoon of ground ginger-- It was fantastic- - i suggest you do the same!**
Apples and apple cider lend a pleasant sweetness to this beautiful soup.
Servings: Serves 10.
5 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
2 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only)
1/2 cup chopped peeled carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage leaves
5 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 cups apple cider
2/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream
Chopped fresh chives
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, leeks, carrot and celery; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Mix in apples, thyme and sage. Add stock and 1 cup cider and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until apples are tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly. Working in batches, purée soup in blender. Return soup to pan. Boil remaining 1/2 cup cider in heavy small saucepan until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Cool. Place sour cream in small bowl. Whisk in reduced cider. (Soup and cider cream can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.) Bring soup to simmer. Mix in whipping cream. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with cider cream. Top with chives.