Thursday, October 15, 2009

People Suck

On Monday afternoon while my dad stood on a metal chair with a flat head screw driver, I continously hit the garage door opener. The reason was to get the door back on the track not to play peek-a-boo with Doraida, though that would have been slightly more entertaining. My dad managed to get it dislodged from the frame and it bending back in the right direction. It was time. Time for a new garage door that is. El and I called the number on our opener and Precision folks and sold us a fine door, to be installed without our hassle (infamous words) on Wednesday.

The ol' timer (the installer that is good at working with homes that are old apparently) came out on Wednesday and gave us a list of things that needed to be moved and changed and insisted on that we must have been notified to do so, which we weren't. So El rescheduled for Friday. The thing is that between work and school there was no time to get it all moved, so we called our superheroes: the Ortegas.

My folks came out this morning to move all the junk out of the way. In this process my mom was going to mow the backyard. A neighborly fellow walking by offered to help. My mom at first said no, but he insisted that it wouldn't be any trouble. My mom offered him 10 dollars and the deal was made. The tall, white, blond hair blue eyed clean cut man mowed our backyard, because are super neighbors had mowed our front yard yesterday. Well once this super nice fellow was finished, my mom paid him the 10 bucks and supposedly off he was likely waving goodbye and skipping....

Skipping AROUND THE BLOCK to COME in through the front gate and STEAL ELIOT'S BIKE!! Once my parents realized it the felt awful! My dad felt awful! My mom felt even more awful! Eliot's bikeless skinny-self felt not that terrific either!

MEAN MEAN Bike Thief! MEAN MEAN! I know that the universe will make sure things are right! And Mr. American Bike Stealer know that if you across my path I will kick you hard, in the shin! And then in the head. You have made some lovely people feel really shitty!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

U2:360 Tour was Out of this World!

Before we got married which was almost 7 months ago now, Eliot heard that U2 was coming in concert. Instead of waiting for the sale day, he joined the fan club and bought tickets. He called his sister, she did the same. He called his BFF, he did the same. Tickets were purchased and secured. They arrived and we placed them in the top drawer of the dresser, not with the underwear but the drawer right next to it. The last 7 months as many of you know, has been long. We have certainly missed many events. We had baseball tickets that went unused, weddings that we missed, and trips that we canceled. The last 3 weeks Eliot has progressively felt better. He has been eating well and has gained some weight back. It has been a long haul and we aren't completely in the clear. Due to our hopefulness, and faith in God, we decided that it was worth venturing to the concert.

Some tactical planning had to be done. Since there were 70,000 people in the greater Tampa Bay area were at the Raymond James Buccaneer Stadium last night to see the world's greatest rock band: U2. BKay borrowed a wheelchair to help Eliot conserve energy from the parking lot to our section 206. This was a great help and though, he wasn't particularly thrilled about riding around, he was happy that we made him do it. His parents had decided on contingency plans if suddenly he didn't feel well but there was no need to activate them. So many folks we know were at the show, the Klinks came by and hung out through Muse, texting with the Koshys, the Broadways, and the Sistrunks.

The show was hands down the greatest show on earth and this does include Barnum and Bailey. It was spectacular! Every song was perfect! The showmanship led by Bono had every person in the crowd at the edge of their seats. The lights, the stage that looked like it was going to walk away at the end, the slinky video screen expanding, spinning, and shrinking, marching people with masks, running laps! There was no end to the willingness to amaze the audience. It was one of those concerts that even though the cougar in front of us was giving her boyfriend a perpetual ass massage (squeeze, pat, rub, squeeze, pat, rub) you could shake your head and ignore it just because you were in the presence of real greatness.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Puzzler

Eliot has been feeling better which is wonderful. He is still not 100% but certainly better. Since he is at home and watched every single thing on television at least twice he has tap into an old favorite of his: puzzle making. When we moved in together along with Eliot came an extensive game collection which was much to my delight because I too had accumulated many board games through the years. Together our board games take an entire set of shelves in the garage. You read correctly: board games. Not video games or computer games but real ol' school family game night games. We are talking Monopoly, Scrabble, Taboo, Life, Dominoes, Trivia Pursuit...and on it goes. (Excitingly we added Boogle to this last week!)

The board games were not it, there was also an entire box on puzzles. Specifically Hometown Collection ones..actually these are really the only ones he will do. Over the weekend, he had run out. He had actually gone through the entire box of puzzles. Once he's put one together he really has no interest in putting it together again. I went to Target and the only one of this brand they had left he had already completed in less than 24 hours this past week, so I opted for getting some others; some that are more of a challenge. Bigger ones! Crazier designs! Photographs rather than folk art paintings! He wasn't as excited. And out of the four I picked up, I have to go return two. Sigh.

Even though he is a pill about his puzzles, I enjoy every piece we put together, together. I have memories of being a little girl and my parents and I hovering over puzzles on the dinner table for hours that turned into days. The week or so before Eliot and I got married we actually bought the HomeTown Wedding and put it together. My coffee table and is now that old dining room table.

Can you guess which towns these are suppose to be?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Painting with a Twist

BKay and I decided to spice things up! Do something a little different. Find our inner VanGogh, hence we found ourselves at the new place on central called Painting with a Twist. The concept hails from Louisiana. There are corporate artists that design paintings that are easy to teach the novice painter. The local establishment selects specific images for certain times and dates and the future artist selects their day based on this. A local art teacher is hired, they provide the canvas, the paints, the easel and the smock and off you embark into the creative unknown. So BKay and I set sail Friday night towards Abstract Daisy.

The instructor takes you step by step through the process of painting. First you begin with sketching they image onto your canvas with a pencil which can be very tedious. Then you begin with one color filling the areas in. We started with blue. You could select the shade of the color...if you wanted a little lighter you would add some white as a foundation. Each new color we would paint in the areas of the canvas that correlated. We learn some different brush stroke techniques along the way. By the end of the class, we were mixing our own colors and putting them wherever we wanted regardless of our teachers' guidance.

BKay and I had taken a bottle of Jersey's finest to sip on during our 3 1/2 hour art class and enjoyed every drop of this fruity beverage. The last part of the class is adding in the the black outline to each of the painted designs. To me this was the best part because you could really see your image come alive on the canvas. With a steady hand and immense amounts of patience it took some time. But well worth it.

The owners of the shop were there taking pictures which they emailed to us. They invited us to check out there facebook and monthly calendars for future painting fun. They told us about their private parties and their SOS class (which is when you can bring in your painting if something awful has happened like you are a crappy painter, they will help you fix it. They were super nice folks and it really was an adventurous night (later is when we went to Three Birds Tavern.) BKay and I felt like accomplished artisans and enjoyed brainstorming over where our paintings were going to be hung in each of our homes: look out Picasso! VanGohn! Monet!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The 'Burg Restaurant Reviews

This weekend was filled with many new experiences. This blog is dedicated to the eating portion but there will be a couple more to come that will chronicle the other events. I am behind with my local eatery reviews. I like to eat, therefore I cook. I like to eat, therefore I eat out. Both philosophies apply nicely here. So from Hungry Girl to Out in the 'Burg Girl....

Though everything is in a bowl, most of us ate off of square white plates. My friend Pancho used to say everything looks prettier on a white plate and he's right. The food looked amazing. Our after church brunch crew decided to head there based on a recommendation from BKay. Admittedly the server was a little slow to start, a little absent minded about coffee refills and returning credit cards, but we befriend Brian nonetheless. We each had a different item and all of us raved! Each bite got better, the coffee was delicious which is unusual for your average restaurant. I had the Benedict Bowl with Braised Beef (pictured above). The beef was so tender it kept falling off my folk. The hollandaise sauce was rich and spot on. Easily 5 gold stars! Brunchtastic!

Three Birds Tavern
From the Cockney Rebel to Limey's to now Three Birds Tavern it feels as if the food has been on a slow downward spiral. If you are interested in a good beer with a comfortable outdoor atmosphere this is still a nice place to go. If you are going to snack on anything go somewhere else. Friday night after our painting extravaganza we went to grand opening of this reappropriated establishment, and though I like the new logo I woke up in the middle of the night with stomach pains that felt like food poisoning and so did BKay. And though, it is completely possible we both had some random indigestion, it is also possible the soggy zucchini sticks, the overcooked sliders, and greased soaked fries were the culprit. Everything was under seasoned and grease tasting. This is one of my favorite places to have a drink and hang out with friends and I am more than a little disappointed by the new menu. From English fare eat at Moon under Water. For a drink and comfort hang at Three Bird.

Only my second time at this Thai restaurant downtown. The Phad Thai on my first visit was too sweet, on my second visit I stuck to the sushi, which I enjoyed much more. The construction of the rolls was a little loose and on that particular note there are better sushi places in town, but the taste was spot on. The others had mixed reviews. Chadd has a very cool Volcano Prawn dish that was served theatrically in a clay pot and arrived 10 minutes after the rest of the tables' food, but he reported that it was divine. Tre thought here Phad King was way too salty and proceeded to drink many glasses of water in response. It's hit or miss I think. The service is good and the restaurant itself is located in perfect downtown corner. Ratachada is a try again. Both times the company was the best part of the evening.

The CupCake Spot
The one gourmet cupcake place in town. Their hours are insane for anyone that might want a cupcake after 5 o'clock or before 10:30 in the morning. I am not sure how small businesses of this type make it with these slim choices but that being clearly stated I can effervesce about the yummy cupcakes. The website lists the menu. El and I wanted to taste test a couple before sharing them with the birthday girl. The first one, which I think is still my favorite is named The Elvis, a banana cake with peanut butter frosting and rich chocolate kiss on top. El loved the Butterscotch. The birthday girl which must remove all frosting to remain her dairy-free self ate the Lemon cupcake and said it was great. Chadd enjoyed the chocolate with coconut the best, but since they took home the extras he was lucky enough to sample the red velvet as well. Nothing but good things to say except for my s'mores disappointment. A chocolate cake with marshmallow frosting which is crusted with graham crackers did not meet expectations. It tasted like your average chocolate cake. Since I don't really like cake and cupcakes tend to have slightly more moisture this missed the mark for me. My advice is go on a Saturday morning as soon as it opens so you have every cupcake flavor to your disposal by the end of the day, you will have no options.