30 October 2008


I work in a one-story building with exposed pipe and ductwork. It just began raining here and the sound was magical. The funny thing was that everyone in the building jumped out of their cubes and ran to the windows to look at the strange and miraculous liquid falling from the sky.

I can't wait to turn on the news for STORM WATCH 2008! ;-)


I had dinner last night at Beso, Eva Longoria-Parker's restaurant in Hollywood. The LA Times had kind of panned it but I was meeting a former co-worker who is a real foodie and so we decided to try it.

First off, we both felt woefully under dressed. This place is frequented by Party People. All the ladies were in cocktail dresses and heels and dressed to impress.

The atmosphere is very clubby. It's dark, and red, and there are rooms with curtains and upstairs rooms.

There are two kitchens. Anything grilled comes from the front open kitchen and everything else comes from the rear kitchen.

Our server was fantastic. She asked if we had been there before and would we like some suggestions. We took her suggestions for cocktails, starters, entrees, and dessert.

Our cocktail choice was the signature Blackberry Collins. I had heard people in the bar ordering it and it was good! Lots of fresh blackberries, vodka and lemons.

Food wise, we started with a grilled pear salad and a roasted beet salad. Both were really beautifully presented and really tasty. The vinaigrettes were light enough that all the flavours in the salads came out.

Then we had grilled flat bread, compliments of the chef.

For entrees, we had paella and skirt steak tacos with a side of grilled asparagus. The paella was really good and full of chicken, chorizo, shrimp, mussels, clams, fish, and lobster. All of the meat had been grilled beforehand. The rice was almost risotto-like, creamy and tasty. The skirt steak tacos were very simple. Just grilled skirt steak and aioli in a wrapper that seemed more like lavosh bread than a tortilla with a garnish of pico de gallo. The grilled asparagus was FABULOUS.

For dessert, we had the flan and tea. The flan isn't really flan; it's more mousse. But it was hazelnutty and delicious. The teas are served in infusion pots and the black tea had a french press device in its pot.

We spent a lovely four hours lingering and chatting and were never pressured to leave.

Beso is pricey (our check was over $100 before tax & tip) but worth it! If you are ever in Hollywood, you should check it out! Reservations suggested.

28 October 2008

Could Be? Who Knows?

I don't know if I have mentioned this, but I have been extraordinarily happy lately. I was mentioning to a friend a few weekends ago (while canvassing for Obama - but that's another story) that I feel kind of weird about it because so many of my friends seem to be going through pretty difficult times right now.

I can't really explain it. Maybe I am anticipating my vacation, maybe it's all the new people I am meeting lately, maybe it's a sense that change is definitely coming to this great country of ours. I honestly don't know.

It all started the night I saw The Swell Season at the Greek Theatre. That was, without a doubt, the best concert experience of my life. It was spiritual. I have never felt that way at a concert before. It was like being in a Dali film because strange things were definitely going on.

But ever since that night, I have had this feeling that something really good is coming (that's the musical theatre cue folks).

Tsarina's Club Rules

Just a silly little note. I went out last night with some friends from church to see another church member's band at a club. Everything was going swimmingly until the second band took the stage. They were quite loud and I reached into the small pocket of my purse and pulled out my earplugs. Apparently, I was the only one so prepared as evidenced by the comments after the show.

This came after having breakfast with my co-workers earlier the same day when we were discussing boys (as you do when you are all single women!). I mentioned my 'No Musicians' rule and they were kind of stunned. After all, they said, you have a lot of friends who are musicians. Trust me, I said, the more musicians you know, the less you will want to date one of them.

Or maybe it's just those trust issues rearing their ugly head again...

The world may never know...

But one thing's for sure, I spend enough time in clubs/pubs/bars seeing my friends' bands to never leave home without my earplugs.

24 October 2008

I love the smell of books in the morning

If you know me, and let's face it Gentle Reader, you probably do, you know that I am addicted to books. I read voraciously. I own over 1000 books, my library card is well-used, I frequent bookstores while on holiday, I subscribe to two (2!) audiobook services so I can listen to books when I can't actually be reading. I am a bookaholic.

So at any given moment, I have just read THE MOST FASCINATING book and I have to tell everyone about it.

Now if you look to your right (the blog's left), you will see a list of just some of the books I have read this year. If you scroll through the list, you will come upon 'Leap'. This is a very interesting book. I have found myself continuing to recommend it several weeks (and books!) later.

If you haven't heard of it, I suggest that you check it out. It was written by Sara Davidson, a 50-something former TV writer and producer of Dr Quinn Medicine Woman (a tv show I happened to like) who was suddenly left by her, I'm not kidding here, cowboy boyfriend.

Anyway, Sara decided to interview people to see what they did when faced with life-changing events. Although she interviewed a lot of women, it's not a chick book. It is actually fascinating. And in the end, she doesn't really tell you what to do, but I think she helps you imagine the possibilities. Really, I think that's what we all need.

So, young or old, male or female, rich or poor, you too can benefit from the wisdom Sara gathered in writing her book. It's available in hardcover, paperback, at libraries, bookstores, on audio, and even Kindle (I don't have one, but I am thinking it's the only form of book I don't have and I need it!).

[Deep Breath]

But, Imperial Highness, what are you reading RIGHT NOW? Well, I'll tell you... Three Cups Of Tea. This is THE MOST FASCINATING book (hah). I started it because my alumnae group is having a book club/tea party to discuss it. Let me just tell you that I am only a few chapters in after reading it at lunch today, and I love it already. I am bawling my eyes out and I hate to put it down. At this rate, I will have finished by dinnertime tomorrow. It's a mountaineering adventure, a war story, a tribute to a lost loved one, a chick book, and a motivational seminar all rolled into one. How did I ever put off reading it for so long?

Speaking of which, I'm going back to it now...

11 October 2008

It's A Small World After All (sing with me...)

I have been volunteering at a children's home for over 10 years. One of the ladies in my volunteer group has been with us for a little over a year. Recently, we became friends on Facebook.

Today she told me that she had noticed I belonged to my High School Alumni group on Facebook. I asked if she went to a rival school. She said no she went to the same school.

This is an all-girls boarding school in upstate New York. Not exactly popular with girls in So Cal. It was amazing!

Anyway, her class is 16 years after mine so we know none of the same people.

But it was very interesting and amusing.

You never know...

10 October 2008

Friends Don't Let Friends Vote For McCain/Palin. Or Do They?

Last night, a dear friend and I were discussing the upcoming election. Now this friend and I have much in common and have been friends for nearly 15 years, but we quite often disagree on politics, even though we are both registered Republicans.

I was explaining why I have decided to campaign for Obama: how disappointed I am in McCain's Veep choice, how sad I am that McCain has changed so much over the years that I have lost all respect for him, and the fact that, no matter how much I like Nader, he just doesn't stand a chance.

Previously, she had told me that she might consider Obama and I had been hoping to persuade her that Obama was not a bad choice. Suddenly, she blurted out how much she liked Palin. WHAT?

I honestly don't know how to respond to that. This is a well-educated woman we are talking about here (my friend - not Palin). One of my co-workers has stated that she will never again speak to a woman who votes for McCain/Palin and she's knows my friend.

I could understand voting for McCain because you agree with his politics (Or not voting for Obama because you don't), but to actually state that you are voting for him because he picked Palin?!?

I am at a complete loss...

08 October 2008

Drive For Change

Last night I was watching the Presidential debate and IMing with a friend who is a strong Obama supporter. I have challenged my Obama-supporting friends to try and convince me that I should vote for Obama instead of Nader.

We were chatting about how the debate was going, I was commenting that it was a shame Nader wasn't given a chance to debate, and all of a sudden she asked me the very pointed question "Wouldn't you be willing to do anything you could so that McCain would not be elected?" Well, I think I would.

She invited me to join her in campaigning in Nevada on behalf of Obama. She had a very compelling case. After all, as much as I like Ralph, he doesn't stand a snowball's chance in Las Vegas in July of making it to the Highest Office. How would I feel, she said, if McCain is elected and I had the opportunity to do something about that and turned it down? She said she wouldn't be able to live with herself unless she had done everything possible. I told her I felt the same.

So, my friends, I will be campaigning for Obama in Las Vegas next weekend.

God bless the United States of America!

04 October 2008

Palin-Biden Pre-Debate Thoughts (from my Facebook notes)

Last week I was annoyed by the Post poll that 52% of Americans liked Sarah Palin. This week, I am more satisfied with their recent poll.

According to the latest survey, 65% of Americans think Palin is not qualified to be President and more Americans are saying that Palin is the main reason they will not vote for McCain.

I have to say that I am one of those. Prior to the VP selections, I was completely ambivalent about Obama and McCain. I guess I still haven't gotten over my disappointment in John Edwards. Anyway, I had been checking out third party candidates and hoping Obama or McCain would pick one of their prior running mates that I really liked (Richardson? Romney?).

Biden doesn't suck, but he wasn't one of the people I was thinking would sway me to the Obama side. McCain, however, totally jumped the shark.

I cannot, will not, ever vote for the McCain-Palin ticket.

If I lived in a swing state, I would vote for Obama, but I don't. I live in California. Obama has a pretty good shot here. So I am voting for Nader. Of all of the candidates out there, he represents me the best on a lot of issues, primarily single-payer health care.

My two cents...