Posted in Drinks Galore

Cocktails: Cosmopolitan

Read about this challenge and see the list here 

Ingredients: vodka, cointreau, lime juice, cranberry juice

Drank on: May 16, 2018

Location: The Independent, Placerville, California

Notes: This place makes all juices fresh, and it was pretty and tasty too.

 

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Posted in Reading Materials

On the Bookshelf: Foundation

1001 Books to Read Before You Die

read about this challenge and see the full list here

Title: Foundation
Author: Isaac Asimov
Publication Date: 1951
Country: USA
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 255

Synopsis: For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future–to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire–both scientists and scholars–and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a future generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun–or fight them and be destroyed.

My Book Report: I am not sure if I want to do a book report/review for each one. I will definitely let you know on ones I absolutely hated. This one was a pretty easy read, short chapters of different situations through the years. If I think of more to add I will.

Posted in Festivals/Special Events, Home Town, It's Artistic/Creative, Random Acts of Kindness, State of Mind

#347 Get a Tattoo

I had thought about getting a tattoo on and off through the years. I couldn’t decide on what it would be or where I would have it. I knew it had to be something I wouldn’t regret or get tired of after a few years. I would look at tattoos of things I liked, teddy bears, turtles, ladybugs, and Celtic knot designs. Plus, there was the whole being stabbed with a needle. I get light headed just seeing a needle for blood work. Of course that could be the blood part. So, I would look at tattoos but not really plan for getting one myself.

A couple of years ago, as I was looking online, I came across this Wild Bills Tattoo place located in Roseville, California. There was information on a day that they would host a tattoo-a-thon and 100% of the cost of the tattoo would go to the UC Davis Children’s Hospital. I thought to myself, “Well if I do get a tattoo that is when I will do it and then I can say I got tattooed for the kids”. It was an awesome find. I put it in my calendar to remind myself about the tattoo-a-thon each February.

I think it took me another couple of years to work up the nerve to go for it and get that tattoo. In 2016, I decided on getting a shamrock (because I’m part Irish, and it’s for luck, and it’s cute) and started looking at different photos online to see what kind of design I wanted and where. I found a cute one where it was just an outline and the leaves also looked a bit like a heart, and it was on the wrist. I really liked that idea, then I would be able to see it. I showed my mom and told here I wanted to get this one but not to worry, it would be small. She liked it be was iffy that I would go through with it from seeing the needles and getting poked. I made my appointment for early that Saturday morning.

A friend said she would come with and check it out. She was thinking about getting a tattoo and wanted to see. We got to the place and had to wait a bit for one of the artists. When one came over, I showed him the photo of the shamrock tattoo I wanted and that it’d be a small one on the inside of my wrist. He said okay and went to sketch the design on the transfer paper. That was something I hadn’t realized they did but totally makes sense. That took a while and then he came back and we grabbed seats. Luckily it was near the waiting area and my friend could sit and watch.

The artist told me to relax my wrist and warned me that doing it there, my fingers might twitch. Whoah! What? I hadn’t thought about that, but with the nerves being right there. Something else to get nervous about. How much twitching would they do? Deep breath. He transferred the design on the wrist. It was a little larger then I was thinking, but didn’t look too bad. I had told him I wanted it in green, he suggested doing a green and black coloring. I figured he knew what he was talking about and said sure. He placed the needle over my wrist and started the process. It went up and down so fast that at times felt like it was slicing me like a knife. That is when I realized, tattooing is basically have people stab you on purpose and scar you. Usually we try not to leave scars if we get cut. hmmm.

It felt so uncomfortable, but so glad he was was fast, and that I got a simple enough design, that it was over pretty fast. My friend got a photo that perfectly summed up what I was feeling. I am glad she got it while I was getting tattooed. The artist finished up and went over the care for instructions and I was done. He told me what the cost of that size tattoo would be and I wrote a check for a little more for the donation to the hospital. Then got a sticker that said “I got tattooed for the kids”. I really wanted that sticker.

A friend that lived nearby messaged us to come over for brunch, so we did. We said there almost all day, just chatting away. Hope she didn’t mind. I waited until the tattoo was healed and took a photo to show it off while wine tasting at a winery. I think it turned out cute. Took a while to get used to the fact I have something permanent on my arm.

I don’t know if I will get anymore. I have thought about it now that it’s been some time. But then I look at that photo above of when I was getting this one and remember. I am not closing the door, but I am happy with this one.

Did it take a while for you to get a tattoo? Have you done someone like this where the money is for a benefit for children?

 

Posted in Bon Appetite, Drinks Galore, Festivals/Special Events, Gift Giving

#516 Throw a Surprise Party

My favorite so far is the surprise birthday party my sister and I threw for our mom a few years ago.

This was one of those milestone birthday’s (I won’t say which one so she can’t get mad at me) My sister and I wanted to make sure to do something special. Her birthday is at the end of July and there were several years she had to celebrate it at a swim meet.

I had gone to a friend’s wedding at a little winery not far from our house. It was super cute and their wines were pleasant to taste. I had the place in mind right away when we started discussing this. AND it would serve as a great cover of getting her to it, by using the excuse of wine tasting and then lunch.

We created a list of family and friends and sent out invites. This was my first time planning a big-ish event like this. Lots of little details became clear. Not to mention costs. There was the location, food, drinks, cake, decorations.

My uncle (her brother) was very helpful with the planning and when I became worried about having the money for it all, said he would be willing to help cover the cost of the food. My cousin was dating (and now married to) a very nice gal whose family managed a food place (Armadillo Willy’s). They talked and worked out that they would bring the food as a buffet. It was a perfect choice because it was food we knew my mom would enjoy, especially the coleslaw (side note: I am not much for coleslaw but this one is very yummy).

Next up was ordering a fruit basket cake from Whole Foods. That part wasn’t hard at all. The hard part was getting my sis here from Hawaii and making sure not to blow the party to our mom. I was living in an apartment at the time, so she was able to fly in and stay with me without mom being aware. She went to our house during the day, while mom was at work, and looked for photos to use as part of decorations. We found some fun ones of her throughout her life.

My sis thought she was being clever in setting up a call to mom to make it seem like she was still in Hawaii going about her daily routine. I just had to make sure not to say anything about the party when my mom was around.

We almost got away without her being completing aware, but then the winery made the mistake in calling her house phone instead of my cell phone. They wanted to make sure I was sending the final payment for the event. I was SOOOOO PISSED! It worked out in the end because, as my mom said, I didn’t need to come up with an excuse and she didn’t know what or who might be there.

The day of, we went to the farmer’s market to get a bunch of flowers. Then headed to the winery. Our uncle and family was there to help set up the food and when a few other guests got there a little early, gladly helped us finish setting up tables. We had bought glass jars from Goodwill that we filled with the flowers and then had the photos placed at the different tables. The winery had a table for the wines and set up another one for the cake and any presents people brought. I had a little stereo that had music, but it was small so people couldn’t really hear it (turned out to be unnecessary anyway). Being at the end of July, I wasn’t sure if it’d be super hot like it can often times be. Luckily it was only warm with a slight breeze coming over from the river nearby.

Then I went to go get the guest of honor.

One last thing, the week before my mom had gone out to dinner with a friend. They decided to get a bottle of wine and asked the waitress for a recommendation. She mentioned Scribner Bend to try. My mom came home to tell me that we have to check out this winery and that the wine was very nice. I almost said something then, but I was able to stop myself. Was very glad to know she would enjoy the wine.

So, I went and got her and came back to the winery. Now, where we all were was in the middle of some of the vines, so she couldn’t see it right away. She walked through the flower arch and everyone yelled, “SURPRISE!!” and she was. There were a few people she hadn’t seen in a while. But when she noticed my sister hiding in the back, she said “I KNEW you were here!” Later, she admitted she didn’t really, but had hoped.

In the end, it was a very pleasant afternoon and so fun. Definitely a surprise party to remember and cherish.

Have you thrown a surprise party or been the recipient of one?

Posted in Drinks Galore

Cocktails: Woo Woo

Read about this challenge and see the list here 

Ingredients: vodka, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice

Drank on: May 21, 2014

Location: Clubhouse 56 in Sacramento, California

Notes: The bartender hadn’t heard of the drink name before but when I showed her the ingredients she said no problem. I really liked this one. It’s a nice change up from just vodka and juice. Also had fun saying the name with friends.

 

Posted in Bon Appetite, Drinks Galore

Recipe #9 – Tarragon Mustard-Crusted Scallops

“Everyday Dining with Wine”

Read about this ongoing cookbook challenge here

Ingredients:
16 large sea scallops, patted dry
Dijon mustard
Fresh tarragon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground white pepper
Unsalted butter
Olive oil

Wine recommendations:

Barrel-Aged Savignon Blanc / Semillon Blends , Murphy-Goode Fume Blanc, Dry Creek Fume Blanc (California), DeLille Chaleur Estate Blanc (Washington), Chateau La Louviere, Chateau Rahoul (France)

I found a Murphy-Goode Savignon BlancMy Review:
Scallops are a bit on the expensive side, so we only bought a dozen (6 for each of us). The flavor came out great with the scallops. I was thinking, it’s not really crusted and then realized as I was typing this that I forgot to pat the scallops dry so the mix would coat them more. I was a little nervous cooking them, as this was my first time and I know how easy it is to overcook scallops. But I think I did it just right.

Savignon Blancs are usually pretty tart tasting to me so I don’t often get them and this wine choice was just okay. This did go great with the scallops though.

Overall I wouldn’t mind making this dish again.

Posted in Generic Ones, Gift Giving, Random Acts of Kindness, Volunteering

#869 Grow Long Hair

& Donate to Wigs For Kids

I can check off 2 items for this one “Grow Long Hair” and “Donate to…”

Back in 2013 a friend mentioned she was going to start growing out her hair and donate to Locks of Love. I thought, why not do that too!! When I mentioned it to my hair stylist, she told me to look at other organizations that create wigs for children. People assume the wigs they make and give to kids are free. It’s not true. Plus, it is mostly for children that suffer alopecia areata (a type of hair loss). Not to say that is not also important to give wigs to kids that have that, but I was thinking of donating toward a wig for a child that has to deal with cancer (or wider range of reasons a child lost their hair). Researching more, I found they use a sliding fee based on parent’s income. And even though they accept at least 10 inches of pretty much any type of hair (even dyed), they don’t use all of it. Some they sell off. Maybe to help keep costs of making the wigs down, but that was still unclear to me.

I was disillusioned with Locks of Love and started looking for other organizations that fit more with what I wanted my hair to be donated for. I came across Wigs for Kids. “For children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, Alopecia, Trichotillomania, burns and other medical issues at no cost to children or their families.” And as far as I can tell, they work to make the wigs complimentary to children.

Side note: I saw on the Wigs for Kids website they have a Girl Scout patch for donating. Where was that when I was a Scout? Would have been fun to earn.

The requirements for Wigs for Kids is at least 12 inches and no chemical treatment to the hair. I figured I can do this challenge and let my hair grow long. It had been quite a challenge for me. I usually keep my hair chin length and anytime it starts to touch my shoulders I chop it off. It’s also quite thick, so when I do the chop, I can feel the weight come off my head. I’ve liked to dye it a reddish color. Growing up it stayed a light brown due to me swimming year round. When I stopped swimming, it went back to my natural color which is a very dark brown and I was very much not used to that. Friends even asked if I dyed my hair.

It took about 4 years to grow, and as soon as I could, I chopped it off as part of a birthday treat for myself. I got it layered and colored.

The back ponytail reached 12 inches but the other ponytails were a tad short. Plan B, donate that one ponytail to Wigs for Kids and the rest to PanteneBeautiful Lengths program. They provide free wigs for women battling cancer. Their requirements were at least 8 inches and color free. Done!!

It was fun to grow out my hair to see how it looked and felt. People said long hair looks good on me. I might grow it out long again but this time style it more than just an even cut and see how that looks. And down the road, I might donate it again. I hope that little bit of hair will help add to making a wig for a child and a woman and bring a smile to their faces.

Have you donated your hair? What organization and how was your experience?

Posted in Festivals/Special Events, Home Town, Sporty Chance/Heart Stopping Adventures, State of Mind

Participate in a Polar Bear Plunge

I’ve been wanting to do a new year’s day polar bear plunge for a few years now. I would look for ones around the area. They all seemed a bit far away, and the ones talked about on the news that day would be too late to go to.

my first attempt in 2010
In 2010, I tried jumping into the ocean. We happened to stop at Stinston Beach in Northern California and I thought about changing into my swim suit, but there was so many signs warning about sharks that I chickened out. I did stick the lower half of my legs in the water though. Hey, it was a start!

Second attempt in 2011
December 2011, I was looking at the different options, and most seemed to be beach jumps down in southern California. Then I came across a flyer online for a polar bear plunge in a community pool not to far away. The part that made me happy was that it going to happen in the middle of the day, not the morning. I posted to see if anyone else was interested and right away I got comments that I was crazy. Although one of my friends decided to consider it and asked if I really planned on going. I had started to waver with the fact it might be raining and the water was going to be about 48 degrees. Then I told her, you know, I keep looking at these kind of things to do and then it’s becomes too late to do them and I end up regretting not doing it. Plus, it is a jump, not a swim or anything. So why the heck not do it. They said there would warm showers, hot chocolate, and soup to warm back up.

With that response to her inquiry, she decided, why the heck not too. A couple of others did say okay while we were talking about it at a new year’s eve party. And a couple of the guys said that they would jump if I joined in the group drinking car bombs. I thought, that’s easy enough and did drink up. Of course that seemed to be our downfall for the rest of the evening.

The next day, we woke up with headaches and seeing that ground was wet from a rain shower and more grey clouds in the sky. But my friend and I were still determined to do this adventure. We got on our swim suits and sweats and blankets and headed out to the pool. As soon as we got into the parking lot, we were wondering if we would be the only adults as we were seeing lots of kids walk by with towels. But there were lots of friendly smiles and encouragement from others and there were other adults in the pool area.

Two other friends from the night before showed up and we started getting ready to plunge in the water. Lots of joking and wondering this really was a good idea. The sun came out and the day felt a little warmer. We got out of our sweats and lined up along the pool sides. There were almost enough people to line up on 3 sides. We counted down and took a huge jump and deep breathes and under the water we went. It definitely was a shock and right away was trying to find the top of the water. Then swimming for the edge of the pool and hopping out. Actually it did seem after the initial cold shock that it wasn’t too bad, but I didn’t really feel like staying in too long. One dad had said that his daughter had to be told to get out of the pool last year, she stayed in so long. Most of the other people jumped in and out just as fast as us. The two guys that jumped with me were saying that swimming a lap wouldn’t be too bad, but they were just as fast, if not faster on getting back out of the pool.

Here we are all excited to be doing this polar bear plunge

3, 2, 1…JUMP!

Thanks again Aaron Craig, Erica Scoggins, and Marty Crossley Jr. for joining me

There was also a slide that was open for people to use. A few kids decided they had to slide down. Marty and I decided to brave the water again and go on the slide. It was a very slow slide down into the water but fun. The outside air was quite warm after being in the pool.

We changed and found out that there were buttons to get saying we survived. We definitely wanted proof, besides photos, that we did a polar bear plunge. The other nice thing about this event was that it was a fundraiser for a youth scholarship.

We couldn’t find any hot showers, but we changed as fast as our cold hands would let us and headed out for a celebratory hot lunch. As we left, the clouds came back with sprinkles. I was glad to have gone and even more glad that I had some crazy friends to join me. I’m already looking forward to doing this again with more people.

Are you a Polar Bear Plunge survivor? Pool, lake, river, or ocean?

Posted in Reading Materials

#1553 Read Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso, and Burroughs (part 1 of 4)

I’ve been wondering why all these authors were grouped together. According to Wikipedia’s entry; “The Beat Generation was a group of American post-World War II writers who came to prominence in the 1950’s, as well as the cultural phenomena that they both documented and inspired. Central elements of “Beat” culture included rejection of received standards, innovations in style, experimentation with drugs, alternative sexualities, an interest in Eastern religion, a rejection of materialism, and explicit portrayals of the human condition”

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

I am so happy I can finally say I finished reading “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac! I don’t why, but it’s taken me over a year to get through this book. I can cross off 1 out of the 4 authors. Although, these other authors are featured a bit in the book so I almost can stop here. But I won’t, I’ll try to get through one book by each person.

I started reading this book and immediately noticed that there were no paragraphs or chapters. Guess that’s what they mean by Kerouac’s spontaneous prose style of writing. He rambled on and on about people and his adventures between the years 1947 to 1950. I think that is what made it hard for me to get into the story. The rambling, odd descriptions of what was happening, how he viewed other people, side thoughts or insights, and tangent stories. I told my mom that it felt like I sat down with Kerouac to hear about his adventure over a drink. We all get that way (mostly) with telling someone about a trip right? Start a story, remember other stories, go off on tangents, and then go back to the main story. And there’s no breaks, unless you would count another person interrupting the storyteller.

I had to ask for clarification on a few slang terms and expressions. And after a few pages of reading, I forgot what I had read before. Got the gist of everything, but if I had to go back to write a better review, or a paper on this, I would basically have to reread it all over.

After finishing the book, I am now curious on reading some papers delving into what people think he was writing about and see what they interpret as the meaning behind or into the story. I didn’t understand the difference in this edition as opposed to the original edition published in 1957. It is pretty cool that he first typed this story up on one long piece of paper (120-foot roll of teletype paper), hence why the “scroll”. Later on, he had to break it up and write on normal sheets of paper. He also changed the names of the characters in the story so there would be no libel suits. I read names like Jack Kerouac, is also known as Salvatore “Sal” Paradise. And his other main character, Neal Cassady, is also Dean Moriarty.

It was hilarious, and I don’t think a spoiler, to get toward the end of the story and have it stop abruptly. I was about to get mad, but on the next page there was a note from the editor that it stopped there because the last bit of the scroll had been chewed off by a dog. The editor also noted that based on notes and Kerouc’s published story, he added the last bit.

I thought it interesting on Wikipedia’s page that they had a section of public reception for the book. Both for when it first was published and the current reactions to it, 50 years later. I would say the perception of the story and characters probably have changed drastically over the years.