In-flight post #5 – Where did October go?

You guessed it! I didn’t pay for inflight internet yet again. This means that you’ll be subjected to another one of these italicized prefaces explaining how I wrote this post on the plane, but waited to publish it until I got home. Let’s move on, shall we?

So here I am, sitting on yet another cross-country flight after yet another business trip. This is something like my seventh so far this year and I’ve got at least one more before 2010 is over. All this week I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to write while I was on this plane with no other obligations keeping me from my laptop, but now that I’m here, my creative energy is nowhere to be found. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that today was another unintended 12-hour workday, my fourth this week, and I’m completely exhausted. It doesn’t help that I was already asleep at 8 PM every night, the same time my flight took off from Dulles. The good news is that because I’m on an evening flight instead of one early in the morning, I can watch some decent television. Like tonight’s Laker game! It starts in a few minutes and I’m looking forward to watching it without all the distractions that usually present themselves when I’m at home. Like chores. Nothing can keep me from being excited about going home, though. Sleeping in my own bed and waking up when I’m good and ready, instead of when my cell phone alarm goes off at 4 AM, is incredibly enticing. Seeing my husband won’t be half bad either! At least I have the weekend ahead of me before I have to go back to work (hopefully, but you never know). And it’s Halloween too! The first of the big end-of-the-year holidays and I’m thrilled. On October 1st as I was flying back from my last business trip I was already marveling at how fast the year was flying by, and now October is almost over. The holiday season starts as soon as October arrives, as far as I’m concerned, and every year I am determined to enjoy these last three months as much as possible. So now I’m wondering, where did October go? I suppose most of it was swallowed up by work, considering how many hours both Dan and I put in this month, but it’s like the rest of it was gone in the blink of an eye. Tomorrow night Dan and I will don costumes and attend Jim and Melissa’s Halloween party. Pardon me, All Hallows Eve party. We look forward to these Halloween get-togethers every year, but due to the dress code for this particular party, we won’t be wearing the costumes we originally planned for Halloween. But don’t worry, those costumes are still in work because we’re hosting another costume party at our house next weekend. It might seem strange to have a costume party after Halloween, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to entertain, even if it is in November. Plus, it gives us an extra week to get everything ready (especially since I’ve been out of town this past week). On Sunday my only plan is to watch Halloween movies and pass out handfuls of candy to trick-or-treaters. Hopefully we can get our yard sufficiently decorated before then. It’s always fun to sit in our living room and hear how amazed the kids and parents are by our graveyard setup as they walk down our driveway. And how many days out of the year can you legitimately watch “Hocus Pocus” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” without feeling silly? Only on Halloween.

I’m counting on this weekend to re-energize me for the week ahead. As usual, it promises to be crazy at work. I have a feeling the rest of the year is going to be like this and I don’t know if I can keep up the same pace that long. So how else do I plan to relax this weekend? Well, I’m definitely going to watch the Florida football game tomorrow, which will hopefully turn out to be relaxing rather than heartbreaking. I was foolishly optimistic as I sat down to watch the Alabama and LSU games, and I was disappointed both times, but I couldn’t have realistically expected either outcome to be any different based on our opponent’s rankings. But on the weekend Florida played Mississippi State I thought for sure the losing streak was over. I was wrong, but at least I was having fun at Disneyland with Dan that day so I was spared witnessing the loss firsthand. (Does watching something on TV count as firsthand? Probably not, but just humor me for a minute.) Three losses in a row is almost unheard of for Florida in recent memory. I do recall that 2007, which was between their two national championships, was a three-loss season (as I mentioned in a previous post). But with three losses already in the books and so many threatening opponents still on the schedule, how can we expect the 2010 season to end? Tomorrow the Gators are taking on the Georgia Bulldogs and, being a true fan, I will watch even though I have no illusions as to the outcome. I will be ecstatic if Florida wins, but I won’t be surprised if they lose. As a University of Florida alumnus I hate to say that, but in order to keep college football from making me crazy, I have to be prepared for any result when the Gators takes the field. I got way too worked up over their losses to Alabama and LSU and the last thing I need is to cry my eyes out over a football game. Of course I’m writing this as I’m watching the Lakers vs. Suns game while my plane slowly makes its way to Los Angeles. I never watched NBA basketball before I moved to LA, but as I’m sure you can tell by my posts during the playoffs, I have definitely jumped on the Laker bandwagon. I’m in a good mood right now, despite how exhausted I am, because the Lakers are winning. But not by much. I should strive to my mellower about Laker games as well. And New Zealand All Black’s rugby matches. That reminds me that they are playing in Hong Kong tomorrow and I need to add the match to our DVR as soon as I get home tonight. I have no idea when the topic of this post switched to sports. I apologize. All week I planned to write about October and Halloween, but as I’ve been sitting here I think my train of thought has been influenced by the free Virgin America satellite television. The channel selection is limited, but still perfect for someone like me who needs to be entertained on a flight. So here’s to the last two days of October because I know I’ll enjoy Halloween, no matter how many of my favorite sports teams lose.

Another three loss season

“And the Gators lose again…for the third time this season.”
10/27/07 webpage post

At least those three losses weren’t in consecutive weeks. Like this year. And the season isn’t even over. Let’s hope I’m not crying my eyes out after the Florida vs. Georgia game on Saturday. I’ll always be a Gator fan, but some years are harder than others.

In-flight post #4 – This weekend

Here’s another post (one of two actually) written while en route from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. Once again, I decided that it wasn’t worth it to pay for internet access on my flight so this was posted from the comfort of my hotel room instead. Plus, writing these posts kept my awake for the entire five-hour flight. That might not sound like a good thing, but it’s a very important weapon in fighting jetlag.

I had big plans for last Friday. I was going to get to work early, get a lot accomplished, go to lunch at Portillo’s with Enrique and Jon, finish off my work day in the early afternoon, and spend the rest of the day relaxing at home. Well, some of that happened. I did get to work pretty early (after skipping spinning, sadly) and got some work done, but things didn’t go quite as smoothly as I hoped so when I left for lunch there were still some issues that needed to be resolved that afternoon. Lunch at Portillo’s was delicious as usual, especially because that I figured that my Italian beef sandwich was going to be my last decent meal I would have until I got back from my business trip next week. While I’m on the subject of Italian beef sandwiches, I’d just like to say that my fondness for putting mustard and ketchup on mine might be sacrilegious, but it’s just so tasty! I might not be able to get away with that in Chicago, though, so I’ll stick to Chicago-style eateries in Los Angeles instead. The real Friday craziness started when I got back after lunch. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to leave early, so my next goal was to avoid working over the weekend. In order to meet that goal I stayed late. It was 8 PM and just about everyone else had gone home, but I was still sitting in front of my four computer screens trying to check everything off my work to do list. Unfortunately as the hour progressed, my fatigue got the better of me and I managed to screw up what I was working on. Since I was exhausted and not willing to stay any later that night, I resigned myself to working on Saturday to get everything done before leaving on my business trip on Monday. Not fun, but necessary. So the next morning I woke up at 7:30 AM (thank goodness the construction crew wasn’t working on the house next door that day or I wouldn’t have been able to even sleep that late) and went to work for an indeterminate amount of time. It turned out to be five hours, which wasn’t enough to get absolutely everything done, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice any more of my precious weekend hours to work. The rest of Saturday will filled with running errands (library, pharmacy, etc.), baking my very first batch of holiday treats (pumpkin blondies which I will write about in an upcoming post), and other stuff. I was so tired that I went to bed early that night. Sunday was dedicated to shopping. Earlier that week I realized that Dan and I were leaving for Hawaii in three weeks and I only own one functional bathing suit! I thought I had two bikinis that would work on our trip until I discovered that the elastic had died on my older one. Very annoying, especially considering how traumatic swimsuit shopping is. So my number one mission when I drove down to South Coast Plaza on Sunday morning was to buy bathing suits. And since my tolerance for shopping is short, the first store I went to was Everything But Water than exclusively sells swimsuits. With an entire store dedicated to swimwear I was hoping to find a lot of different options, but I wasn’t too thrilled with the selection. After trying on quite a few suits I did manage to find a couple that I liked enough for me to purchase. They cost a fortune, though. The marginal success at Everything But Water was a disappointment, but at least I found something that would work for our trip to Hawaii. Then I remembered a little store on Main Street in Seal Beach that I used to shop at called Endless Summer that used to have racks and racks of bikinis. So even though I was already burned out on shopping when I left South Coast Plaza, I drove to Seal Beach hoping to find something there. And it’s a good thing I did because Endless Summer had all of their summer season bikinis on sale. There wasn’t a huge selection, but I ended up getting three pieces for less than half of what I spent at Everything But Water. So I might be returning some items to South Coast Plaza after I get back from this business trip. I don’t think I need more than three bikinis for our trip, but I need Dan’s opinion on what I bought for I decide what to keep. Unfortunately I had less luck finding sundresses, skirts, and shorts on my shopping excursion. I am kicking myself for not shopping for summer clothes this summer when they were actually in season. I keep looking back, wondering what was keeping me from doing just that. Then I remember that I was depressed for most of the summer. It’s not a good excuse, but it’s the truth. I’m really hoping that I have a couple of pairs of shorts and a skirt or two that fit well enough to take to Hawaii next month. Dresses are going to be more difficult, but while I’m in DC I’m going to try and do a little shopping to see what I can find. Dan and I already have dinner reservations at three nice restaurants during our trip so I’m definitely going to need something a little dressy to wear out in the evenings. Vacation shouldn’t be this stressful!

My flight is just about over so I have to turn off my laptop. I really enjoy passing my time on an airplane writing posts for my webpage. Over this past weekend I felt like I had a lot that I want to write about it, but finding the time to sit down and type it all up was impossible. So what better time than a coast to coast flight?

In-flight post #3 – Last weekend

Here’s another post (one of two actually) written while en route from Los Angeles to Washington, DC. Once again, I decided that it wasn’t worth it to pay for internet access on my flight so this was posted from the comfort of my hotel room instead. Plus, writing these posts kept my awake for the entire five-hour flight. That might not sound like a good thing, but it’s a very important weapon in fighting jetlag.

I need to learn to stop giving excuses for my infrequent posting because they all stem from the fact that I work full time. OK, more often than not I work more than full time, but that’s not the point. The point is that I have very little free time and I’m stingy with it. Not long ago I said work was eating me alive, and that hasn’t stopped since I first wrote that. When I get home from a 10 to 12 hour workday all I want to do is lie on the couch and watch TV so hopefully that explains why my posts have been few and far between, and sometimes lacking in substance. I’m attempting to change this (hopefully writing this post on my transcontinental flight will back me up), but I can’t make any promises. For now I will attempt to entertain you with the events of the past couple of weeks.

Last weekend Dan and I planned to go to Disneyland so that we could enjoy Halloweentime at the park before it was over. We made these plans before Dan got back from his last business trip, but after an insanely crazy week of work, I wasn’t sure I was going to have the energy to get up and go on Saturday. Nevertheless I bought us a couple of discounted Disneyland tickets on Friday in the hopes that I would feel differently the next morning. We had an alarm set for around 6:30 AM since the park opened at 8 AM, but we both ignored it and slept for a couple of more hours before me actually got up and started getting ready to go. We arrived at Disneyland at 10 AM. And what was our first order of business when we got inside the gates? Scouring the shops for Halloween items, of course! A couple of years ago Dan bought an illuminated Haunted Mansion tombstone there and we’ve been trying to buy more of them ever since. Unfortunately we haven’t had any luck, and this year was no different. We were disappointed at the selection of Halloween offerings at the shops on Main Street and the first place wevmade a purchase was at The Mad Hatter in Fantasyland where Dan and I both got Mickey Ears – Dan’s looked like a jack-o-lantern and mine were decked out in Haunted Mansion décor. We were fully aware that we looked like dorks, and don’t worry, we look plenty of pictures to share, but that will have to wait until I get them off Dan’s phone. The first ride we went on was the Enchanted Tiki Room, if you can even call it a ride. It’s more like a show, but we decided that it counted towards our ride count since we had to wait for it. We didn’t have to wait in a line, but we hung around for the next show to start in a little holding area with a Hawaiian atmosphere. We really enjoyed that because of to our upcoming trip to the island state. We ate delicious Dole pineapple spears (one of the best snacks in the park) while watching the cheesy Tiki Room show, but it made me very excited for our vacation. Our next stop was the Haunted Mansion where we picked up Fast Passes so that we wouldn’t have to wait in the 60 minute line for the ride, but then we had to find another way to entertain ourselves until the passes were valid. Lunch was a couple of hand dipped corn dogs since we couldn’t get a table at the Blue Bayou restaurant that overlooks the entrance to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Instead we sat in the Walt Disney statue area in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and enjoyed the delicious corn dogs. They were really good. Dan decided that the corn dogs counted as a ride because we had to wait in a really long line for them. I never realized that the corn dog truck existed, but evidently my friend Enrique is right about it being the best place to get lunch at Disneyland based on its popularity. After going back to the Haunted Mansion following lunch to use our Fast Passes (and marvel at how my green and black striped Mickey Ears fit in there), our next stop was Tomorrowland where we planned to get Fast Passes for Space Mountain. Unfortunately the Fast Pass return time was after 10 PM and line was 80 minutes long so we gave up on that possibility. It was OK to miss it this time around, though, because we experienced the Halloween version of the coaster last year when we went with Jim and Melissa. Dan and I did, however, go see Captain EO, which is showing in the old Honey I Shrunk the Audience auditorium. We both saw Captain EO at Disney World when we were kids so we had to see it again for old time’s sake. It was much cheesier than we remembered, but still fun to watch. I love Michael Jackson’s rainbow t-shirt. By this time it was early afternoon and Disneyland was pretty busy so before we left the park for the less crowded California Adventure we got a couple of Fast Passes for Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters. There’s something about shooting an imaginary laser gun that makes the ride irresistible to Dan. Or maybe it’s the chance to beat me that he likes so much (especially since I beat him last year). California Adventure was certainly less crowded than Disneyland, but the park was preparing for a TRON movie preview that evening so there was a lot going on. Our first stop was the California Screamin’ roller coaster which required Fast Passes to avoid waiting in line for an hour. So until the Fast Passes were valid, we walked around the park taking in our surroundings. We sat down at the wine-tasting area of the Vineyard restaurant where Dan had some wine and I enjoyed some sparkling apple juice. It was nice to relax for a little while in the middle of a busy theme park. Our last hurrah at the parks that day was making use of our remaining Fast Passes – California Screamin’ at California Adventure and Astro Blasters back at Disneyland where, of course, Dan beat me. I made a really poor showing this time around so there was no question who was a better shot. We left Disneyland and headed over to Downtown Disney for dinner and some more shopping. Our new favorite restaurant at there is Catal and we had a delicious dinner there while watching part of the Giants vs. Phillies playoff game. Just before we drove home we stopped at a shop at Downtown Disney to pick up a couple more Vinylmations – two more Nightmare Before Christmas figurines and one more Muppet figurine. Yes, I know I was gambling when I picked up that Muppet Vinylmation box, but I was lucky enough to get another new character this time – Bunsen Honeydew! By the time we got back to the car it was 8 PM so it was a long day at Disneyland, but it was a lot of fun. Dan and I usually only go to Disneyland once a year so we try to get a lot out of each visit. And spending quality time with my husband is great in any setting.

Conversation from yesterday

As a substitute for a real post, here’s a funny excerpt of a phone conversation between Dan and me yesterday:

Lauren: Do you really like Diet Squirt?
Dan: Well, it tastes like grapefruit and it’s diet.
Lauren: What more can you ask for?
Dan: Something that tastes good.

The sacrifices we make to avoid drinking highly caloric, sugar laden real soda.

Awkward family photos

When I was sitting at the Dulles airport waiting for my flight back to Los Angeles at the end of my last business trip, the Virgin America employee at the gate told us about an awkward family photo contest that the airline was holding. She told us that anyone who submitted an entry would get a 33.3% discount on their next ticket purchase. Sounds good, right? I thought so, so I figured it would be worth my time to dig up an awkward photo (so many to choose from!) and send it in. In order to avoid embarrassing anyone but myself, I chose the picture above. This photo was taken in April 1991 at the Air Force Museum in Ft. Walton Beach. I was twelve years old and my family was there on vacation with my grandparents. I would like to point out that my Mom looks beautiful, but don’t I just look like the epitome of an awkward pre-teen? I’ve never been fashionable, but my outfit in this picture is quite possible the worst ever. The folded over blue socks, the long red shorts, the hideous American flag t-shirt, and that blue hair bow! Yikes! And the frosting on the cake is that I’m very unattractively squinting in the sun as well. Looking at this photo makes me cringe so I submitted it to Virgin America’s contest hoping to use my 33.3% discount to buy a ticket to see Käthe in Seattle sometime next year. It was only after I hit “submit” that I discovered that the discount only applies to purchases of 3 to 6 airline tickets, and since I’ve never bought more than two at once, there was no way I would be able to take advantage of it. That was a detail that the Virgin America gate attendant failed to mention when I was at Dulles or I wouldn’t have bothered. The upside to all of this is that I’ve found quite a few other awkward photos to embarrass each and every member of my family – take a look at the six top contenders that I’ve scanned and posted here.

Food blogging – Vinaigrette vegetable salad

Dan and I went to Illinois for the Fourth of July last year to spend some time with his family in that part of the country. I had never meat most of these folks and Dan hadn’t been to his parents’ hometown in years, so we figured it was time to make the trip. The first group that we visited was Dan’s cousin Jaymi and her immediate family, some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and we had our first Fourth of July cookout meal at their house (even though it was only July 3rd). The standout dish at that buffet was a vegetable salad with a vinaigrette dressing that Dan’s Aunt Shell made. It had cucumber slices, chunks of bell pepper and red onion, and halved cherry tomatoes in a simple, tangy dressing and I couldn’t get enough of it. After raving about how wonderful it was, Dan’s aunt was kind enough to give me the recipe for the vinaigrette, and I’ve made this delicious salad as a side dish many times since then for Dan and me. It really couldn’t be easier to make. The first step is prepping the vegetables – peeling and slicing the cucumber (the slices should be pretty thin or else they’re cumbersome to eat), dicing the bell pepper and red onion (larger chunks of these make them easier to spear with your fork), and halving the cherry tomatoes. As a personal preference, I leave out the tomatoes when I made this at home, but if you like raw tomatoes I expect they would be great in this recipe. When making this for just Dan and me I make a much smaller amount than Dan’s Aunt did for the Fourth of July – usually slicing half a cucumber, dicing half a red bell pepper, and adding just enough red onion to balance out the other two vegetables. As you can see in the photo below, this makes for a very colorful salad.

For the amount of vegetables in this batch I mixed a minimal amount of dressing to marinate them in. Take a look at the list of ingredients below and tell me, who doesn’t have these ingredients in their pantry on any given day? As far as the vinegar goes, I’ve tried red wine vinegar and white wine vinegar, but you can’t go wrong with apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar either. (I’ve made this same dressing with balsamic for broccoli salad and it’s incredible.) For this batch (made with red wine vinegar), I put the three dressing ingredients in a small ramekin and stirred with a fork to combine. When Dan’s aunt made this for the Fourth of July she put quite a lot of dressing on the vegetables so that they would marinate properly before serving, which is something to keep in mind if you’re making this dish a ways ahead of time. But for me, dinner was only a few hours away so I made much less dressing and just stirred the salad contents a few times while it was marinating in the refrigerator.

Dump the prepared dressing on the vegetables and stir, stir, stir! You want to make sure that all of the veggies are coated in the vinaigrette. This is very important. So is the marinating. This last batch I made didn’t have enough time to marinate in the fridge before I served it, so the longer you let the vegetables sit in the dressing, the better. I suppose there’s a point where “the longer the better” could become “too long,” but who makes things that far ahead anyway? So when dinner time rolls around, simply gave the salad a final stir and enjoy! This is an incredibly easy and delicious way to serve vegetables with any meal, and it’s ideal for me since Dan doesn’t like cooked vegetables. It doesn’t quite rank up there with our favorite broccoli salad recipe (I’ll have to repost that one again soon), but it’s a tasty way to mix up our side dishes at dinner.

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 large red bel pepper, diced (large chunks)
1/4 red onion, diced (large chunks)
2 Tbsp vinegar (red wine, white wine, apple cider, or balsalmic)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS:
Combine sliced and diced recipes in a medium bowl. Combine vinegar, sugar, and oil in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk or fork to combine as much as possible. Pour vinegar mixture over the vegetables and stir to coat. Let the salad marinate the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Rental cars

I started writing this post on my last business trip (9/26 to 10/2) and it’s been on quite a journey itself since then. It started as piece of paper almost completely covered with scribblings that I wrote during what few slow moments I could find at work. I planned to type it up one evening before I went home, but it never happened. I had the best of intentions, but on the last night of my trip I was just too tired to transcribe more than a few sentences into electronic form. So I put the piece of paper into a book and took it on the plane with me thinking that I would either type it up on the flight or when I got home. The book made it home with me (which is good because it’s a library book that I have to return before the 12th), but I can’t find the paper anywhere. I guess it fell out on the plane. I hope the person who found it got a laugh. So in the end I’ve had to rewrite the whole thing using a little bit of what I remember and filling in the rest with what I think I was trying to say. And here is the finished product.

My flight arrived in DC around 2:30 PM on Sunday and I headed straight to the car rental place as soon as I got my suitcase from baggage claim. One of the things about arriving earlier in the day is that there seems to be a better selection of rental cars there than when I arrive later. Unfortunately it means taking a before-the-crack-of-dawn flight out of LA, but that’s another story. There have been times when I only had three or four cars to choose from when I arrived in DC, and all of them lousy. So I was glad that there were plenty of cars available when the van pulled into the rental car parking lot that afternoon. There was a slew of the usual Dodge Chargers and Avengers (I’ve convinced that National is trying to fill their entire fleet with these), but since I’d rented both of them before (and hated driving them) I kept walking. Next I saw a Volkswagen Bug, which I’d also rented before and actually enjoyed driving. But I remembered that they’re so underpowered that you have to floor it to pull out from a green light at a decent speed, so I bypassed this option as well. Then I saw a couple of Kia Souls – you know, the car that’s advertised by those hip hop hamsters? The first time I saw that commercial was at the movie theater when Dan and I went to see Iron Man 2. The unedited version (see it here on YouTube) was part of the movie pre-show and it was so weird that it left me wondering what the heck I’d just seen. It was bizarre, but it’s turned out to be one of the most successful automobile advertising campaigns in history. It’s one of those things that makes you want to drive a Kia Soul just to see what all the fuss is about. So on my business trip in July I got the chance. When I arrived in DC that day there was a single Kia Soul in the rental lot amongst all of the Chargers and Avengers, so I made sure I got to it first. And after a week of driving it I understand why people like them so much – they’re fun to drive and pretty stylish (if you can consider me a judge of style). Every time I got in the car the “This or That” song from the commercial started playing in my head and visions of hamsters riding around in toasters flashed before my eyes. The Soul was one of the better rental cars that I’ve driven, but on my last business trip I kept walking when I saw it because I wanted to see what else was available. Then I spied a Ford Escape. It’s been a while since the last time National had small SUVs available for Emerald Club members to rent so I was excited when I saw the Escape. I used to gravitate towards Toyota RAV4s when National had them in their fleet, but it’s been a couple of years since I last rented one. I loved them because it was the easiest possible transition between my own car and a rental car. RAV4s are like my CR-V’s cousins – similar in looks, size, and driving style. It took a while for me to get over losing my old Neon, but after five years I’ve grown very attached to my CR-V Raz and I hate driving anything else. So when I rented the Ford Escape I was hoping it would be a similar driving experience. Plus, I’ve always regretted not test driving one when I was shopping for cars five years ago, so I took this opportunity to see what I was missing. So what’s the verdict? I hated it. I hadn’t driven the Escape for more than an hour before I realized that the visibility was terrible. The headrests covered up the windows and I almost hit someone in a parking lot because the blind spots were huge. I did like the satellite radio, but I was still glad to give it back after a week. Every other car I drive reminds me how much I love my CR-V, which really is the best thing that could happen because I can’t afford to think about replacing it for at least five years! So here’s to more second-rate rental cars in the future!

Previous October 7th posts

I’ve got a couple of posts in progress, but until one of those is ready for publication, here are two blog flashbacks from past October 7ths. The first one is from the summer Dan and I started dating. We went to see “The Lion King” at the Pantages Theater that fall, which led to us listening to the soundtrack anytime we were in the car. That was fun. The second one is from my grad school days when I was convinced that political scandal followed me from Florida to California. For the record, I voted AGAINST the recall. And my vote was so effective that we’ve been governed by the Terminator ever since. At least we’ve got an election coming up next month.

10/7/2001 – What I’ve learned from Dan: “Hakuna Potato. It means no potatoes for the rest of your days!” (This motto emerged as we were listening to the Lion King Broadway soundtrack yesterday and “Hakuna Matata” just wasn’t good enough. By the way, I am making a list of other things I have learned from Dan so be on the lookout for more pearls of wisdom.)

10/7/2003 – On my way to campus this morning I cast my vote in the infamous California recall election. I had the opportunity to use one of the notorious punch card ballots too. And my polling place happened to be an empty fraternity house. The many facets of political scandal. If the actual results agree with the current predictions the next Terminator movie may be Arnold-free.

Swedish Chef

Look what I got at Downtown Disney this afternoon! It’s the Swedish Chef Vinylmation I’ve been wanting! I first mentioned these hot new collectibles in my Labor Day weekend post, and there have a been a couple of developments since then. After we got Rizzo the Rat and Bean Bunny the first time we bought Vinylmations, I decided to go back and buy a couple of others while Dan was out of town a couple of weeks ago. I was hoping that one of them was a character Dan liked. And it was – Fozzie Bear. Waka waka waka! Unfortunately the other one was Fozzie as well. What are the odds? Sheesh. So when I picked up another Muppets Vinylmation box at Downtown Disney today Dan thought I was crazy, but that particular box stood out to me amongst all the rest. And what did I find when I got home and opened it? The Swedish Chef! Bork bork bork!