Monday, September 29, 2008

Of Love & Hate

Oh, how I love me a hearty breakfast anytime after nine (a.m. that is). My favorite combo is fried eggs over easy, bacon, french toast, and coffee. And my favorite place to consume it is at the Blue Star Diner. I finally planned a date with Steve to get my fix at the BSD located in the industrial wasteland of downtown LA. The next door neighbors are scrap metal yards and textile companies. Getting there may leave your car begging for new alignment, but it's well worth it. It's not a traditional greasy spoon with avocado and gold color scheme and waitresses over sixty who've made taking orders their career. The big difference is that the BSD has great food and a low key atmosphere. You'll never find the waitresses rushing you despite the line at the door. Instead, they're pleasant and attentive without being obtrusive. Even my mother (who is notorious for being on the receiving end of restaurant food or service gone wrong) loves this place.

The Blue Star has traditional breakfast options, but they use fresh, local ingredients and have homemade touches (like their jam) that make their fare better than the rest. Besides their breakfasts, they make great fish /chips (only served on Fridays) and a heart attack yummy mac-n-cheese. The clientele is a mix of blue and white collar workers from the surrounding industrial sites. They're open M-Sat, 8a -3p and serve breakfast all day on Saturday. A perfect breakfast spot after an early morning at the flower market.

My second favorite breakfast combo is eggs, bacon, toast, and hashbrowns. Runny eggs mixed with hashbrowns is heaven! The best deal in town at $7 for this combo that also includes fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee is Du-par's. But it's only offered Saturday mornings.

Most diners, even mediocre ones, can serve up a decent breakfast that will satisfy. But one, despite its longevity and famous clientele, cannot even manage to meet those low expectations. That distinction goes to The Pantry Cafe. Last time I was there, the food was so greasy and unattractive I couldn't finish it. The place smelled like a band-aid. The smell co-mingled with my food such that vomiting would've been a pleasure. I didn't think it possible to get eggs and bacon wrong, but I was, uh, wrong. A Soviet-era cafeteria could've made better. Gross barely describes my experience.

So Yum!

A friend invited us over for dinner last week and made us this super yummy risotto. The combination of sausage, tomatoes, and spinach make it a tasty complete meal - simple enough for every day, but fancy enough for company.

I did make a change to the recipe to make it even easier. I did steps one through three just like the recipe suggested, but instead of doing step four, I threw everything into the crockpot for about an hour and fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes before it was done, I removed about a cup of liquid. At the end I added the cheese and spinach according to the recipe.

Despite my changes, it still came out creamy and delicious. The texture wasn't exactly like my friend's version who did it the traditional way, but close enough that I'd do it again.

This woman made a crockpot risotto and just threw all the ingredients in together. I may try that next time with this recipe, but still cook the sausage ahead of time.

Bon Appetite!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac SNAFU

Are you as confused about the FM & FM business as I am? Thanks to this interview on C-Span with Peter Wallison of AIE I'm a lot less confused, but a whole lot angrier. He does a great job explaining in layman terms how the companies were managed, how the markets viewed them, and why congress (both parties) had an interest in keeping the status quo. In 2001, Peter Wallison wrote a book about these two companies predicting the meltdown we've all just witnessed.

(HT: Jonah Goldberg on NRO)

UPDATE: Read this great City Journal article from 2000 that gives background and context to the mess.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Q: What do The Power of Now, Ulysses, The Elements of Style Illustrated, and Interpreter of Maladies all have in common?

A: They were all discovered in the recycling trash bin outside our apartment complex. Tossed in like a used cereal box or grocery advertising as if trash and literature (using that term loosely) were equally bits of garbage. Is this the act of a civilized person? I think not! Rather, it suggests the act of a barbarian, one so uncivilized he (or she) cannot make proper distinctions between what should be destroyed and what should be preserved.

Really, why not give the books away or donate to charity? We have several thrift stores within two miles of us. The copy of Ulysses is an Everyman's Library edition bound in red cloth, which doesn't seem to be available anymore. I'm shocked! shocked! someone would throw away such a lovely edition. Although I will never read Ulysses, perhaps one of you would. Thus, I'd be happy to pass on this beautiful book to the first person who requests it in comments.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

And the Moral Is...

On our "babymoon" (pardon me while I hurl on that word) mentioned in the post below, Steve picked up a little friend we call poison oak and then passed it on to me via some inanimate object. You would intuitively think that the greater the exposure over time the greater the immunity. Not so with poison oak. In fact the exact opposite is true - so that the more you are exposed the worse the rash will be each time. We were quite fortunate that our friend was rather mild. The itch lasted about a week or so, but the spots are still visible after a month.

What is the moral of this story?
a. Don't take a leak by the side of the road unless it's covered with cement. (Yep, Steve's bladder was the cause of this calamity. Less than five minutes from a legit latrine too.)

b. Don't try to save money on accommodations by camping instead. If romance is wanted get a hotel.

c. Take the vacation to Hawaii as requested despite the extra cash. At least they don't have poison oak.

d. All the above.

Here's what could've been and my personal favorite.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Yes, yes, it's been far too long since I last posted especially since I no longer work a 9-5 job. Or any job for that matter. Is it the procrastinator in me? Is it the latent lethargy in me? Is is the lack of direction in this blog? All of the above is the correct answer.

ANYWAY - now that you know my lame excuses for ignoring this blog for five months, let me proceed with the updates.

1. After quitting my well paying yet undesirable job, I found out I was pregnant - yeah!. Thank you GOD that I didn't know prior to quitting otherwise I just may have stayed for the insurance. And that would have been a mistake of monstrous proportions and no, I don't think that is hyperbole. I LOVED that I could sleep as long as I wanted in the morning and still have the option of taking three hour naps in the afternoon or after breakfast - since pouring out a bowl of cereal with milk, showering, and dressing would drain all the morning energy from me especially in the first trimester. If I was working, I probably would have napped in the handicap stall of the bathroom every chance I got. Why didn't I quit sooner? Oh, yeah. I thought we needed the money more. Stupid me.

2. Before learning I was pregnant I applied for the MA in Philosophy at Talbot Seminary. After getting pregnant I found out I was accepted for this fall. I decided to start this semester despite my baby being due at the beginning of December before the semester is over. I'm only taking one class so it shouldn't be a problem. I'm sure those will be my famous last words.

3. I thought I would be all over the pregnancy books reading everything I could about what to expect and how to take care of the baby post delivery - but no. I find that I don't want to read those books or know too much ahead of time. I'm on a need to know basis right now with everything that is happing to my body and could potentially happen. If I know too much, I get overwhelmed and start thinking of what is happening as an alien invasion rather than something perfectly natural. However, I have informed myself of warning signs for various conditions so I'm not totally in the dark.

4. We're having a baby GIRL! Prior to getting pregnant, I thought I wanted a boy. But sometime in the first trimester I believed I was having a girl and that made me very happy. The hardest part now is thinking of an appropriate name. We had many boys names picked out already, but very few girl names. We're keeping mum on whatever we do decide. We may not know till we see her face to face. My parents almost named me Tricia until they saw me and changed their decision to Danica. Who would I be if named Tricia?

5. We went on our "Babymoon" get away to the Central Coast and were blessed with poison oak (more posts /pictures on that later). FYI: Poison oak and romance don't go together. Fun was still had in between Steve shouting "WHY?!" every few hours and me having to pee every other minute.

6. School started with a Philosophy Bootcamp coordinated and taught by current philosophy students. Spent three hours each of the two days working through symbolic logic. Fun! No really, it was fun - strangely so. I should be working through practice problems right now instead of typing this post. But I'll resist the lure of logic until I complete this task. Out of thirty new students, only two of us are women. Out of a total of 120 philosophy students maybe fifteen are women. Nice odds if you're not married! I'm also one of the oldest students by about ten years. It's weird to feel a teeny bit matronly in the face of all these youngins who are straight out of undergrad studies. They're the sprinters getting through the program in three years and I'm the distance runner most likely taking six or more to get through. I'm looking forward to the challenge!

7. Preached two sermons this summer and am in the line up for one more before lil' b pops. I'll be ENORMOUS by the time I speak again, which may be a bit odd for those unused to fecund female preachers. Our lead pastor thinks it's wonderful as do all the other male pastors. Their support of me to preach and to have babies is awesome (and rare I'm realizing)!

Pictures will be posted (eventually - I'm hopeful it won't take me another five months).