Christmas on Oakdale

Busy hardly begins to describe our December…and with that, we decided to not travel this holiday season.  We both come from large families and would love to see everyone…but sometimes it is good to have some quality time in your own home.  It is nice to feel like we are our own little family and begin some traditions and create our own celebrations.  This is not to say that we wouldn’t love to see our families a lot more often, and especially during the holidays…but a lot comes with the visiting – like flights, and airports, luggage, dog-boarding for Cleo, holiday travel hassles, , and sometimes all that can leave you feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation.  So this year, we planned a family stay-cation!  It’s been great and FaceTime and Skype allow for some good family visiting as well!  Here’s a look at the goings-on around here.

I squeezed in a bit of time to craft a few things in an attempt to not only think about work during the early December weekends…

We made Krumkake’s to give to friends and coworkers…

We wrapped gifts and tied up packages with string…

We went last-minute grocery shopping for only the necessities… 🙂

When planning to lounge around the house for a few days, play some video games, catch up on some reading and generally laze about…it’s important to have the makings for queso and lil’ smokies in the house!

We made homemade bread…

We cleaned and tidied to make sure the house felt festive and we could enjoy it…

Somehow, presents continued to appear underneath the tree…

We cooked and opened some special bottles of wine…

We enjoyed the living room and the fireplace…

We opened presents…

And Christmas day was topped off with some homemade Turkey Tetrazzini…

Since then, not much has been photo-worthy…Woody’s been enjoying his ‘Maschine Mikro’, learning how to sample and mix…click here for a taste of his original mixing.

I’ve been ferociously reading through a few cookbooks we received, logging in some time on the Wii playing some Lego Harry Potter (years 5-7)…and generally enjoying the first consecutive days that neither one of us has been to work in…I-can’t-remember-how-long!

I hope your holidays have been equally relaxing, enjoyable and filled with the people you love!

Cheers to the end of 2011!





Onto another year…

Okay…so I’m 31.  According to my brother, this qualifies as being in my ‘mid-thirties’.  This all happened in the midst of the craziness of the end of May – May 21st to be exact.  We had a lot going on.  But we managed to squeeze in a celebration or two – thanks to some really great friends.

Jennie brought me breakfast – homemade sausage and mushroom mini-quiches.  (no pictures – they were too delicious!)

I was treated to lunch by my office at this place and was basically queen for a day.  It was lovely.

Anna and Rhea biked over and visited me at work and brought me homemade scones.  (can you tell there is a theme…? delicious treats)

I also enjoyed some (very) frozen ice cream cake – flaming ice cream cake in fact.

I also received some very fun things…

a slackline…(see upcoming post)

A new work bag made entirely out of recycled fishing waders…I can actually see some old patches where people tried to make repairs before throwing in the towel and purchased new waders – and it’s completely waterproof…so I have no excuse now to not ride my bike all year-long.

And finally, I was lucky enough to be taken out to dinner by my friend Jen…

Thanks for all the birthday love, phone calls, goodies, and cards.  I have great friends and family!

Woody’s Birthday!

Woody’s Birthday – technically on February 4th….but really who celebrates their birthday on the actual day anymore?  Just kidding…in all seriousness, Woody found out a few weeks beforehand that he would have all day meetings with people from Chevron, not on February 3rd or February 5th…but on February 4th.  And when I say, all day, I mean starting with a breakfast meeting, right straight on through lunch, past happy hour and during any time period that you would consider to be the dinner hour, only to arrive home just after 10 pm.  Needless to say, we did not celebrate his birthday on the 4th.  Did you know you can do that?  Just move your birthday?  Well, you can.  I learned this early on in life, as Ciaran could clearly not have any kind of a birthday pool party in December in Utah…so…you just move your birthday.  I worked the following weekend, so we finally decided on celebrating W’s birthday on Saturday, February 13th.

We started with breakfast at Elements Cafe in Pasadena – new to both of us and chosen for the ‘Duck Sausage Breakfast Burrito’ – which I figured would make it into W’s top choices for the meal.

It’s rough when your birthday is in February, typically a month filled with cold and snow and darkness, and you’re able to sit outside at a cafe in lovely 70’ish degree weather…real rough!

Coffee was tasty and the menu enticing.

Normally, I would not be pleased with Woody’s behavior of checking his phone, looking for cool images of motorcycles…but after all…it was his birthday, so I allowed it…just this once.

The long-awaited – Duck Sausage Breakfast Burrito with a tomatillo salsa.

I ordered (and I realize I made a misstep here) the polenta with scrambled eggs and crispy prosciutto with Parmesan.  It was okay, flavors were complimentary…but the texture and overall appearance of the dish left something to be desired.  I think I was picturing crispy polenta wedges with Scrambled eggs draped over the top…as a cook, I would never place a mushy yellow ingredient as the base of the dish and then pile on top of it…another yellow, soft-textured component.  And the portion was enormous.  I should have had the ebelskivers.  These wrong decisions happen when I haven’t quite made up my mind but the waiter appears and wants my decision right that very moment and I say words…but I don’t actually mean them.

I think I would go back and give this place another chance, it seems genuine and like they are really trying but haven’t quite worked out all the kinks yet.

The rest of the day went like this…

I had big plans…and none of them really worked out…which means, that we ended up heading back to the house, relaxing and playing some Wii, and napping – which is all you really should do after having a gigantic duck sausage burrito or a humongous bowl of polenta for breakfast.  We pulled ourselves together for an early dinner reservation at Palate in Glendale, with a stop at a few dealerships on the way per Woody’s request.

Don’t worry…we’re not purchasing a truck anytime soon, except in Woody’s dream world.  But it’s fun to look and we learned a few things about dealerships in California.

1.  California car dealerships don’t need showrooms…as the weather is generally nice.  You just look at the cars on the lot.

2.  California dealerships and maybe more specifically dealerships in LA don’t carry trucks that are not 2 x 4 (or 4 x 2…I don’t know)…Woody was disappointed with the lack of 4 x 4 trucks.  I told him we could head towards Orange County and find plenty of dealerships with not only 4 x 4 trucks, but probably a few that will jack up the truck for us pre-purchase and add on some quintessential motocross stickers and accessories like truck nuts.

3.  Apparently, car salesmen at California dealerships don’t jump on any living breathing thing that walks through the door…as we wandered through a couple different showroom/sales areas and not a single person even looked up.

Now here’s how I begin to ruin not only Woody’s birthday…but also Valentine’s day…keep reading.  We sit down to a lovely dinner.  We’d been to Palate once before when my parents and sister were in town.  It is a wine store, wine bar and restaurant.  For appetizers, they do ‘potted meats,’ which are essentially rillettes mixed with a few fresh herbs, seasoned and served in a mason jar with super thin bias cut toasted baguette.  They also do amazing house-made pickles of various sorts…cucumber being the boring option although probably the best pickle I’ve ever had.  This place would be worth it just for the potted berkshire pork and a glass of wine…but we didn’t stop there.  We both ordered a starter of sorts (the portions are reasonable) and then an entree.

I ordered a goat cheese gnocchi with lamb cheeks and english peas with herbs, followed by a sea bass with morels and a root vegetable puree.  Woody started with a lamb tartare served appropriately with a raw quail egg cracked on top, and followed that with a pork belly dish that was notable for it’s crisp skin and smoky flavor.  They have a ridiculous cheese menu…but we couldn’t do it.  Too full.  So, we left and headed home.  We did stop for some frozen yogurt at a new place in our neighborhood…and then it was back to the house to release the hound and open some presents.  (Note – I began feeling a little off somewhere between leaving Palate, getting yogurt and arriving home.)

We started turned on the fire place and sat down to enjoy the living room.  Cleo loves it when we sit on the floor…it’s her chance to attack.

Woody had a box from Minnesota, a card from Pop and Barby and a few goodies from me.

Cleo couldn’t wait and pounced giving Woody her present…licks all over his face…so much that his beard smelled like dog breath.

Woody received some cookbooks, a fly-fishing in California book, a wool patagonia top and a ski movie…all things Woody loves!  We then sat down to watch a movie…and this is when I really started feeling ill (no more than an hour after we left Palate).  My stomach felt awful and I was shaky and dizzy and just ill.  I went to bed trying as best I could to not move, as any movement made my stomach churn.  I managed to fall asleep, only to wake up 2 hours later at 11:30…fully knowing that I was about to ‘toss my cookies’.  I was sick, very sick, food poisoning sick.  Cleo was even concerned…why would her humans be kneeling in front of the toilet making bad noises?  And the worst part is…I couldn’t figure out what it was that made me sick – my best guess is the sea bass…but Woody and I shared everything we had eaten that night…and he had more than a few bites of both my dishes and he was perfectly fine…except for grumbles about how a pukey wife kind of ruins a birthday.  I managed to make it back to bed and fall asleep.  I woke feeling okay, and took it easy the next day…but Valentine’s day is not early as fun when you’re not interested in cooking a fun and interesting dinner.  So…that concludes the ‘how I ruined my husband’s birthday and valentine’s day in one bite…of something bad.

So…here is another little something for Woody – a bit of glory for a day of hunting with Cleo this fall.  In November, I was out of town and Woody and Cleo headed to Frazier Mountain to hunt for quail.  He got one and Cleo did what she loves best and brought it back.  Cleo was a little too energetic to sit still for a photo…so the gun and the bird would have to do.

Happy Birthday Woody!

(sorry I puked)