Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fairytale or Heartbreak

As the Dodgers deliver a crushing 19 to 11 victory over the Colorado Rockies today, closing in on the Padres, one can't help but reflect over the past 2 weeks, past 2 months and the entire 2006 Dodger season. Missed opportunities, spectacular moments, heartbreaking losses, and amazing, record breaking wins. One game caused the Baseball Hall of Fame to call the Dodgers and ask for the bats of the 4 home run hitters in that fairytale night September 19th. Check out the links here for Video and Print. On September 25th, another amazing night - Garciaparra hits a walk off grand slam home run with 2 outs in the 9th. Check out the article here.

There are but 3 games left to the regular season. It's an exciting time for baseball fans in Southern California. We run numbers, what if's and scenario, but mostly we hope. We hope that the next 3 days will bring wins and the miracles won't end until the World Series is over.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Isn't it Grand?

Tonight was quite a night. A Dodger game that they actually won. Sitting with friends in great seats. Drinking beer, eating nachos and hearing the crack of the bat and the slap of a 97 mpg fastball hitting the catcher's mitt. Ahhhhhhh baseball. Hope springs eternal as every game brings highs and lows as the Dodger's do their usual waffle and shuffle toward first place. Who knows, maybe we'll be going to the National League playoffs. As I said, hope springs eternal.

But the events for tonight didn't end under the big Think Blue sign in the parking lot. We scoot out of my perfect parking place and roar out of Dodger stadium. We drive into downtown LA and a calm comes over me. Civilization beckons. Moments later I sit holding a glass of champagne in one of the most beautiful hotels I've ever seen. We are toasting the 10 year anniversary of great friends of ours - Arlindo and Michael. What a fitting venue for the toast. The Biltmore in downtown Los Angeles on Grand. It truly is Grand. The hotel is truly breathtaking. Designed in the style of the Spanish Italian Renaissance, the hotel opened in 1923 to national acclaim, and was designated a Historical Cultural Landmark in 1969. The cathedral-like public room ceilings were hand-painted by Italian artist Giovanni Smeraldi of White House and Vatican fame.

Touted as the “host of the coast” from the beginning, the Biltmore became the place to be for Los Angeles high society, film industry czars and stars, conventioneers, and cross-country travelers. Among the momentous events held at the Biltmore was the founding banquet
for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It was at the dinner on May 11, 1927 that the concept and design for the “Oscar” were conceived. A statue was sketched on a napkin during a Crystal Ballroom banquet marking the occassion. The statue was named Oscar.

They hold high tea here and I plan on taking my aunts and my mother in April of 2007. I'm sure they will enjoy the architecture and beauty as much as I did this night. People ask me all the time why I live in LA. Here is one of the ten thousand reasons.........

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My Mastercard Priceless Moment

We were sitting in our usual seats at the Dodger game Saturday night -- Gwyn and Jan were gesticulating wildly to the "Peanut Man". By the way, the peanut guy has a name and a website not to mention a book. They were in the mood for peanuts. The peanut guy was one row over and for some reason wanted Gwyn's money first. She passed him a twenty which usually irritates him and he took the change ($14.50) and folded it up into a nice little square and threw it back. Gwyn, being the girlie girl she is, missed it and the money fell to the ground. As she bent to pick it up I saw the "perfect pitch" and felt the rush as the green peanut bag flew past my nose and heard the "WHACK!" as it hit the back of Gwyn's head. The explosion of peanuts showered two rows of seats and fortunately Jan was there to save the remnants of the bag, picking it out of mid air.

The peanut guy came running over to see if she was ok, which of course she was, just her pride was hurt. I on the otherhand couldn't stop laughing for about an inning and a half.

Bag of peanuts at the stadium -- $ 5.50
Tickets to the Dodger game -- $112.00
Watching the bag of peanuts explode on Gwyn's head -- PRICELESS

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Survivor - Episode 1

I found it interesting the whole hoopla about the contestants on survivor being divided into teams of 5, along racial lines. Survivor is a social experiment and frankly it sounded intriguing to me. My intrigue was definitely piqued after this first episode. First, I found it interesting that the African American team felt it was important that they represent their race and they mentioned it several times. The Asian team mostly talked about how they weren't really immigrants and how they are all from different parts of asia so not really properly represented. Perhaps that is the problem with Americans, we lump Asians (and other regions or races) into large groupings and fail to understand the major differences between the peoples. Phillipinos are certainly different in many, many ways from Koreans, and Koreans from Vietnamese, etc.
Although, one of my stereotypes came true in the challenge -- the asians won. From their puzzle expertise? From their teamwork? From their intelligence? From all 3 I believe.

The 3rd group, the latinos, were from all over the map in Central and South America and mostly spoke about how their work ethic and genetic ability to handle the warm/humid climate will come in handy. That remains to be seen. The white group didn't even have a shelter at the time of the challenge. So what does that say about work ethic? Hmmm, perhaps they were wondering where their latino construction workers were?

And remember - this blog is just my opinion, no one elses. If you don't like it, don't read it. Or comment on it! And also remember, for those of you computer challenged - you can' t post a comment if you have pop up blocker on - you have to click the little bar on the top of internet explorer to enable pop ups from this site.

Diagnosing your own medical problems

As some of you know I've been having some very inconvenient knee pain, unfortunately in both knees. My doctor wants me to schedule an MRI for both of them. She's a very cautious woman who loves to schedule me for tests. After much internet research I feel I can take a stab at diagnosing my problem..... I believe I have a stage 1 Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Tear. This is easily treated with the RICE principal and physical therapy, surgery is not required. Stage 1 MCL is indicated by pain in the inner region of the knee, minor swelling, no noticeable pain when moving the knee drastically, a general feeling or under confidence in the knees ability to hold when applying pressure.

I scheduled the MRI for Tuesday and have since been and received the results for the left knee. To tell you the truth after 25 minutes for the left knee I wasn't too keen on getting the right one done. MRI's are VERY loud. I was surprised. Everyone talks about how you have to be concerned about the closed environment, etc but no one ever comments on the damn noise. I knew I was in trouble when the tech gave me ear plugs. It was just unbelievably loud for the entire 25 minutes. It felt like someone was running a chainsaw inside my head.

So, what was the result of the MRI for the left knee? Mild bursitis. What a let's amazing how much discomfort I feel for such a silly diagnosis. So, the cure? RICE although I'm not sure how you can do R (rest) and E (exercise) at the same time, but whatever.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Queen of the Crop

This past weekend I attended a scrapbooking marathon to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness. My friends, co-workers and family all chipped in generously and donated $1,700 towards the cause. I cannot tell you how much it touched my heart to have the unwaivering support of those I love. I had many visitors to the event throughout the time as well as many phone calls. It was truly eye opening and much appreciated. Because of this support I felt it was my duty to ensure I stayed up the entire 24 hours to complete the committment. I did. It's amazing what your body goes thru during those strange hours after you've been up around 20 hours. I started at 8:30 am Saturday and ended at 9:00 am Sunday. As a result of the amount of time I cropped and the $ raised I won the designated title of "Queen of the Crop". This was the grand prize and came with a nice gift. Although it's a guilty feeling of accepting something for raising money for a good cause, it certainly is appreciated. The event was sponsored by Scrapbook Safari and the cause was Pink-Link.

Here's a picture of what goes on in your mind at about 4am

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Watching golf on TV

As I sit in my hotel room in Atlanta I find myself watching the golf channel. It relaxes me, what can I say. And besides, regular TV is all reruns, you can only surf the web so much, and I have to save my book for the long plane ride tomorrow. How is that for a litany of excuses?

I think Michelle Wie should take her putter and throw it in the trash. Get a new one! You have to give her some credit though, for today she played the European Men's Open on a sponsor's invite - Omega. Many men, including those I've spoke with on planes, in computer rooms, etc., feel that women should not be allowed to play on the men's tour. Let's get real. It's all about the $$. Michelle Wie is a tournament attendance draw, she's good for TV ratings, she good publicity for the sponsor, in short, she's good for golf. Of course, she would have to make the cut. The golf channel for example, gave Michelle Wie almost a 1/3 of the air time for the entire Thursday replay of the Open even though she was 7 over par. I rest my case.....

I cannot imagine the pressure she was under. Playing with the men, playing at quite an elevation which causes your shots to sail further, and her and her playing partner were put on the clock because they were slowing the field down. Can you imagine? Rushed after the 4th hole. Wow. For the record, her playing mate faired just as poorly. Michelle spent a lot of time in the sand today. Practicing I suppose.....

I have a theory about your cart mate - whoever you ride with either elevates or deflates your game. Who affected who?
Just my opinion.....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wings and things.....

I've just had the best wings I've had in about 12 years. Still the best are Wings 'N Curls in Hollywood, FL. Yes, Florida. Apparently there are a lot of Buffalo transplants there. But tonight, I had a close second. J. R. Crickets on Spring Street near Georgia Tech University was fantastic, although skinny little chicken. But the flavor was outstanding.

I ordered my wings mild along with shrimp, blue cheese dressing and a beer. It was hard to believe they were mild, I'd hate to try medium or their 3 Mile Island for that matter. As I sat there sucking bones my nose ran so bad I went thru a stack of napkins. I'm sure all the patrons, of which I was the only white one, thought I was a wimp. I admit it, I am. The shrimp was excellent with a cocktail sauce that had so much horseradish in it my toes curled with every bite. It was sooooooooooo goooooood. But the best part of all was the blue cheese sauce. WOW! The wing sauce and the blue cheese sauce are made right there in the restaurant. My friend Joyce had previously made the best blue cheese dressing I'd ever had, but J. R. Crickets now takes the blue ribbon. It was an amazingly creamy flavorful, but not overpowering chunky sauce. I can still taste it. WOW!!! I'll never be the same. Ah but alas, it's a long drive for dinner to Atlanta......

I highly recommend J. R. Crickets if you're ever in Hotlanta and if you're ever in Hollywood, FL, try Wings 'N Curls.

Monday, September 04, 2006

We can never lose our wonder

As I sat amongst friends the other night my little 9 year old niece reached over and plucked an eyelash from my cheek. She said, "Make a wish Auntie Dawn". I said I'd never heard of such a silly thing. She made the wish for me. As I sat in the car the next day an eyelash fell upon my cheek. As I looked at the tip of my finger at the offending eyelash, I decided to make a wish, I wished my trip would go well in Atlanta. Selfish I suppose, but I figured, hey, it's my eyelash.

I think that as we grow older and responsibility creeps in we start to lose our wonder and perhaps even our joy. Life should be lived everyday and every moment to it's fullest & if that means hoping that a wish you made on an eyelash comes true, then so be it. Just remember not to wait for that wish to happen, take it upon yourself to make it happen. We control the decisions we make in our lives and those decisions effect our happiness, joy and wonder.

For those of you unaccustomed to the eyelash wish -- if someone finds an eyelash on your cheek, they lift it off and present it upon their finger -- you must blow it off and make a wish. There is some belief that if you don't guess correctly what eye it came from then the wish won't come true.

Friday, September 01, 2006

State Route 125 & bureaucracy

Yesterday I had the frustrating pleasure of driving all the way down to San Diego to attend a mandatory Safety and Environmenal Protection training seminar for SR125 . This is required of all contractors working on the project. It doesn't matter whether you are involved in laying rebar or driving one of those huge earth movers or setting up furniture or servers in the operations building, everyone gets the same training and must adhere to the same safety rules and dress.

I get to wear a bright orange safety vest, hard hat, work boots, and safety glasses in the computer room while I'm installing the advanced application servers in a nice, air conditioned, clean room. This is for my safety. I also learned how to properly secure myself when working move than 6' above ground. I can properly read Material Safety Data Sheets in case I swallow battery acid or something, I can now properly egress into a trench or work in a confined space. Most importantly however is the ability I now possess to deal with environmental issues. I know who to call and how to proceed if I find any one of the endangered species that exist in this area in the computer room. I can also properly deal with any palentology issues that arise as a result of my trench digging in the nice clean, concrete computer room. Like arrowheads, sketal remains, etc. The only sketal remains that'll be found are mine from having to wear a stupid hard hat. Some of the animals in question are the Burrowing Owl, cactus wren, checkerbox butterfly and last, but not least, the fairy shrimp.