Friday, October 31, 2008

Just Tampax

When I realized I needed tampons today, I took a brisk walk right over the hotel's little convenience shop hoping desperately that they'd have some. Sure enough, there was a little ten-pack hiding in the corner. But when I turned to the checkout counter, I saw that a man would be checking me out. Suddenly I couldn't buy only a box of tampons. I may as well have walked right up to him and said "I just started my period today!" So I looked around to see what else I could buy. Advil? Yes, I happened to be in a little *ahem* pain, as well. Gum? I could always use some of that. So I took the three items and placed them on the counter, hoping he wouldn't notice the tampons.

"That will be $24.95," he said.

"What?! But I only have a $10 Canadian bill. Umm, take out the Advil then."

"Ok, $15.34."

"Seriously?! Fine, then . . take out the gum. How much now?"

"Eight ninety-nine."

"Ok . . *sigh* . .then I'll just take those."

At least I tried.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

pretty in pink

Earliest Bedtime Ever, Seriously

I came upstairs to my hotel room a little early tonight. Instead of going to dinner I'm going to bed. Although I got eight hours of sleep last night and a 20 minutes power nap this afternoon, I am still extremely tired. And I have a slight sore throat. Uh oh. It's not even 9 o'clock yet, but I'm out.

Tired of Travel

Is it possible to get tired of traveling and seeing new things? I never thought it would happen! But after ten days of running around Los Angeles and San Francisco, I am ready to go home! Only I can't. I'm in Vancouver for work until Friday. It's a lovely city with a lot to see, yet somehow I don't care . . as much as I normally would. I did force myself to go for a walk and a mini-ferry ride to an island, though. I predict that I'll be locked up in this hotel for the next two days trying not to fall asleep through technical discussions and talking points. There should be fancy dinners at night, though. But wait, I've already spent so much money (including my work per diems) that I don't even care about that anymore. And I know I've been consuming crazy amounts of calories! I wonder if I'll have enough willpower to grab a Subway sandwich and stay in for dinner. I didn't tonight. We all went out for Indian food at an already-tried restaurant. It was the best Indian food I've ever had! Wow! I've had some great Indian food before, but this was just different, giving me new flavors I'd never tried before. But I winced when I got the check. I'm tired of spending money, tired of traveling. I can't wait to go home!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


My brief time in L.A. could not have been more productive. That's how I like to do it when I'm visiting someplace new.

What I fit in:

- domino Bazaar, where I browsed some home goods, learned how to create two indoor succulent arrangements, and took a plant and organic tote home with me. That organic tote saved my life because my suitcase was already 51 pounds, and we all know it's not getting any lighter after 14 days of travel.
- visiting the beach in Santa Monica at sunset
- walking through the Third Street Promenade, eating a crepe for dinner and a delicious Nutella-filled, white chocolate-covered churro for dessert!
- driving through Hollywood after dark
- a drive to Malibu at sunrise, early brunch on the beach, views from the Pepperdine campus
- church in Bel Air with a friend's friend
- lunch at In-N-Out in Westwood, and an ice cream sandwich at Diddy Riese!, plus a stroll around the UCLA campus
- shopping on Melrose (just missed Scarlett Johannson)
- cupcakes at Sprinkles (peanut butter chocolate chip, red velvet, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate marshmallow)
- a stroll on Rodeo Drive
- a beer and calamari at a local place in Malibu as the sun set out the window behind me, and I made friends with my bartenders
- a fun night in West Hollywood with a new friend
- breakfast outside in Venice and some quiet time on the beach


I just arrived in San Francisco, and tonight's dinner, although more expensive than last night's, was delicious and worth it! Scallops, lobster, swordfish, and shrimp sauteed with onions and mushrooms in white wine and garlic on rice, served with penne pasta and vegetables. Followed by vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate sauce. . . followed by a trip to the exercise room!

My view at dinner.
One block from my hotel.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bye Bye L.A., Hello San Jose

the view from my friends' church in Bel Air
Hollywood Blvd
Malibu, Pacific Coast Hwy
Santa Monica, Ocean Ave.

a painful expenditure

Trying hard not to be irritated, as I just spent $35 on so-so salmon and a glass of red wine. My colleagues and I went to dinner, and I was under the impression that I would not be paying. Maybe because one of the gentlemen with us mentioned last week that he would pay for dinners, plural, the nights of our events. He paid last night, but apparently wasn't planning to expense another meal tonight. However, nearly everything on the menu was pricey, so even if I had tried to save money, I would've only saved about $6. Just knowing that I could've had a much better meal for the same price is what bugs me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

alone on the beach

I spent yesterday morning in Venice. A healthy and delicious brunch and a walk on the soft sandy beach. I did not want to leave. Really. I DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE, could've sat there all day doing nothing but breathing in the ocean air. It was so peaceful, so quiet sitting there alone, listening to the huge waves crash against the shore. The weather has been perfect here - just enough breeze and plenty of sun. I'm not sure I've ever enjoyed the ocean as much as I did today. Maybe because I enjoyed it alone. I didn't have to talk to anyone or proclaim how beautiful it was, just delight in God's creation without saying a word.

Today I fly to Silicon Valley. Tomorrow it's up to San Francisco for five days! Then on to Vancouver, BC.

(If you live in the San Fran area, I should be free Wednesday evening to possibly meet up. I'm staying in the Fisherman's Wharf area.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

La La Land

Less than 36 hours in L.A., and I've already fallen in love with the city. It's possible that in another 36 hours I will have fallen out of love, but right now I'm nuts about it. There are a few things I could foresee being an issue if we were to enter into a serious relationship, but I guess this is a just a fling. And what a fun fling it's been so far.

I flew in yesterday, giving me a full 48 hours to discover L.A. before I have to work. I rented a Chevy Equinox (in love with that, too), filled up the tank, and put the GPS to work. Traveling alone certainly has its perks . . for instance, you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. I'm an extremely social person who likes to share every moment with someone else, but traveling alone doesn't necessarily mean I can't. I get to make friends! And so far, I've made friends on the plane, friends at the beach, friends in line, friends at church, and friends at a bar in Malibu. The one downside to traveling solo is that I have to ask strangers to take ridiculous pictures of me. You know, like pictures of me eating my ice cream and pictures of me at a restaurant, just so I never forget that I ate that or visited that place.

I've just checked into my hotel (after staying with a friend's friend last night), and I'm venturing out to West Hollywood, meeting up with new friends. (My mother won't be able to fall asleep after reading that. She doesn't like me walking outside alone after dark. Ever. Anywhere.)

It feels so good to be in California again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

'Tis the Season

Election season. I'm about to go there. Much more I could say, but I will save it for another day. Aren't you so excited? ;) Either way, I hope you'll still love me. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Waiting for a Wedding

My friend recently asked me to be a bridesmaid in her fabulous wedding. I can't believe I have to wait an entire year for this:

“We’re going to have the wedding at sunset with Lake Michigan as the backdrop! So the wedding will be at about 5 ending at about 5:30. Cocktail hour from 5:30 to 7 (but we are going to have to do pictures during that time) with dinner at 7! We haven’t decided the menu yet (of course) but we have decided that we are going to have signature cocktails! So cocktail hour will feature the signature cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in the aquarium (which is tunnel with aquarium all around – floor and ceiling). Then on to the all glass roof-top venue for the reception. It’s going to be black-tie so the dinner will be longish and formalish. Dancing will begin around 8 and during that time we are going to have a wine and cheese pairing/tasting and flights of local beer to try (ode to Wisconsin!). Then at 10 we are going to bring out a dessert buffet with 5-8 different mini-desserts. Then at midnight, when the evening is over, everyone is going to leave with homemade cookies and milk for a “midnight snack.” So hopefully it’ll be the foodie event that we have always talked about!”

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Guess who's going to be in L.A. for this?! As if my itinerary wasn't packed enough! But I cannot miss this event. I absolutely love this magazine, pour over its pages about ten times before setting it aside. This event looks fantastic.

Oh man, this California trip ain't gonna be cheap. But I've already scored my first good deal. I reserved a mid-size SUV with GPS, two days for only $108 (including tax)!

It's all I can do to not sit here daydreaming about ten days in California, Southern and Northern. Only ten more days before I'm there!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Twelve Weeks 'til Christmas!

I enjoyed my friend's post today:

This has been on my mind lately. I don't have children, but I have plenty of people I'd like to buy gifts for. I love buying gifts! And I'd be lying if I said I've never used my credit card at Christmas time. But even if I could afford to, what is necessary? What is too much? There is such a thing as generosity, but there is also such a thing as encouraging materialism and over-indulgence. My family has always kept it very simple at Christmas, and although it hasn't always been easy to watch the majority of my peers rake in the cash and prizes, I've grown to appreciate my parents' way of doing things. Although I'll probably always be tempted to overspend in the name of generosity, I'd like to follow their model of 'giving in moderation'. It's nice to see other families keeping it simple, too.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Days of my Life

Sometimes I stop and just look around at this life I'm able to experience. I'm so thankful for it, every day of it, knowing God has me here for a purpose, and He's equipped me to do His will. I'm surrounded by people (at work specifically) who don't share my world view. At all. And I know it's no mistake. Although I sometimes miss being surrounded by at least a few like-minded people. :)

Today I found myself on the top floor of the S.tate Department building in an Un.der Se.cretary's office having cocktails, looking out at the Lin.coln Memorial, right there, just a couple of blocks away. I watched as three P.residential helicopters came in for a landing right down the street at the Wh.ite House. We toasted to a newly-titled Am.bassador, appointed by the Pr.esident. And this reception was after a ceremony led by Se.cretary Rice giving a Disti.nguished Service award to General P.etraus.

What a cool day.