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Mar. 5th, 2010

ny trip


columbus circle
Originally uploaded by embem30
If you're behind the times, you can find my entire wrap-up for January's trip to NY on my new blog. I am also behind the times, as is evidenced by the fact that it was nearly two months ago that said trip occurred. In any case, read about it now!

Feb. 12th, 2010

best thing?


s'more pie
Originally uploaded by embem30
I'm currently watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate on Food Network—chocolate episode—and this little beauty showed up. It turns out, one of Tyler Florence's favorite chocolatey things was part of our rehearsal dinner at Buckeye Roadhouse back in 2008. (He's a Marin guy, so a lot of his favorite stuff is in SF or just North in Marin Country.)

The funny part? I didn't eat any of this at the rehearsal dinner, because it had nuts in it. I didn't want to get sick the night before my wedding... BUT... They showed the chef at Buckeye making it, and the nuts were toasted almonds. I totally could have eaten it!

If you didn't get the memo via Flickr, I'm not actually allergic to almonds. I plan to write an actual blog post about that soon, along with my macaron obsession.

I guess I'll have to try the pie if we go to Buckeye Roadhouse again sometime.

Feb. 9th, 2010

new year, new blog

Sorry, Livejournal.  I have a shiny, hot new blog on the side.  I know we've been together for almost six years, but I need a little more than you're able to give me.  I'll still come visit sometimes—read my friends' posts and maybe occasionally post myself—but I'm afraid you'll have to share me with Blogger now.  No hard feelings, m'kay?

You can find me here now.  I've only just started tinkering with it, but so far so good.

Jan. 30th, 2010

blogging troubles

Why is it that the Flock browser used to be awesome for doing blog entries and now it sucks?  I used it for all of my photo-heavy posts about the anniversary trip, and it worked fabulously with Rich Text mode.  Want a photo right there?  Just go to the Flickr page and drag the picture over to the blog window.  Quick and easy.  Once it was there, I could change the size to what I wanted or move it around.  Something's changed now.  I try to drag a picture from Flickr and all I get is a box on the photo for adding a note.  I try to drag from the "All Sizes" page on Flickr and it takes my blog window to the picture link.  I hit "back" and I've lost my entire post so far.  Because I was editing an existing entry that I started through Flickr's blogging link, it didn't autosave.  So apparently, my only option for adding dragging pictures into the post is the media stream section that runs along the top.  In theory, it's not a bad system: you can set it to your entire photo stream or an individual photo set.  In past practice, however, the media stream has been problematic.  The order in which the photos appear has been wonky, making things impossible to find, or the stream becomes inaccessible as you scroll too far back.  Maybe they've fixed that problem now?  In any case, I'm annoyed.  And apparently, I'm going to have to start my post over again.

Jan. 13th, 2010

jumping off the wagon

I'm feeling a little conflicted about not having taken any pictures yet today.  I mean, I finished Project 365 last Thursday (not that I've uploaded all of the shots yet) and I'm pretty sure I don't want to commit to doing another one right now.  But I've still taken pictures each day since.  Even yesterday, when I was walking back from picking up a burrito and saw a shot, I had to go back later with my camera and take it.  (The lesson: I still need to carry the camera with me.)

The thing is, I've been waffling about it all.  I remember those days--and there were a lot of them--when I trudged around the house, looking out all the windows, whining that I didn't know what to take a picture of.  Despite being at the end, December was easy enough because of all the Christmas decorations.  They were everywhere, including my house.  I could just pull out one of my ornaments and take a picture of it.  The rest of the year, however, it could get pretty difficult, and I used up a lot of my reserve ideas.

I wasn't going to turn this into a reflective post about all the things I learned by doing Project 365, but I guess some of that is called for here.  I think the main thing about doing it is that it forced me to pick up the camera every day.  By extension, it forced me to get out and go places more often, since there are only so many interesting pictures one can take in all the same locations.  I suppose I'm reluctant to give up that restriction of a picture a day, because I won't be as motivated anymore.

That said, I don't want to start a project that I won't finish.  I'm proud of the fact that I started and finished 52 Weeks in 2008 and Project 365 last year.  My plan for the time being was to keep taking pictures each day until I decided whether or not to do another year.  I've considered making it less of a formal project and just calling it "2010 Year in Pictures."  I could still do pictures of the day, just not number them "xxx/365."  Maybe I'd use the date in the title instead so missing days wouldn't be a big deal.  Making my own rules doesn't have the same appeal or feeling of accomplishment, but maybe it will keep things more enjoyable than forcing it would. 

That, and I still have hundreds of pictures to edit from the MI, IL, NYC trip.

So unless I crack under the pressure tonight, it looks like my streak ends with Day 370.
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Dec. 29th, 2009

2009 year in review

It's that time again. I've been quite the slacker with posting in the last few months, but I did have at least one post per month this year. If I have time in the next day or so, I might do an actual sum-up post, but it's likely that I won't get to it until after the upcoming trip to MI, IL, and NYC.


Go to your Calendar and find the first entry for each month of 2009. Post the first line of it in your journal, and that's your "Year In Review."

January: I've never been one for New Year's resolutions, but something about this time of year does seem to bring about a little more ambition to get things done.

February: So... back at the end of January, I promised to update about work and outings. Since I'd rather post with a new picture for these "outings," I'll just write about work for now.

March: Steve and I have been trying not to spend too much money lately by not going out to dinner very much.

April: Having realized that I only wrote one real post in all of March, I decided it was time to write the one I've been meaning to do since about November or December. I saw Twilight when it came out in theaters.

May: I started to write an entry about the cabaret class show last weekend, but I scrapped it for being too boring.

June: I'm having a love affair with a book. It's charming and sweet, and it entices me with the visions of food.

July: I realize that by titling this entry with a "pt. 1" I am implying that there will be a part 2 in the foreseeable future. (Halfway in to 365)

August: I'm not sure if I'm going to get around to writing a wrap-up about the summer shows anytime soon, and it may end up being friends-only if I do, so we're moving on to my birthday.

September: August blog postings=epic fail. What with the summer shows, my birthday, our first anniversary, the trip to Napa, and other craziness, I'm only now starting to feel like I'm catching up.

October: Oh look, it's October and I still haven't finished posting about our anniversary trip that happened almost two months ago... The in-laws have been here, and work has started up again, so I've been a little busy.

November: It's Thanksgiving, and one of the things for which I am thankful is the fact that the fall show is done.

December: It's almost Christmas, almost bedtime, and NBC's Sing Off was almost a good show.


The lesson here? Maybe one of my New Years plans this year should be to blog more. All my posts end up starting with variations of the same: "I've been bad about posting, I haven't posted in a while, I still have to write about this or that." I'm toying with the idea of a new blog--something that works better with photos. Not sure if that will happen, but it would still be nice to blog more of my pictures.

We'll see.

Dec. 21st, 2009

almost...

It's almost Christmas, almost bedtime, and NBC's Sing Off was almost a good show. Almost. Excuse me while I geek out. I got sucked in, and then I got disappointed by the result.

The good things about the show? 2/3 of the judges, for starters. While Nicole something-or-other from The Pussycat Dolls never really said much of value and was clearly there as eye candy, Sean Stockman of Boyz II Men had some decent things to say. And it's hard to go wrong with Ben Folds. He's just a cool guy, and his comments were generally right on the money. Clearly, he knows about music and singing. Thank you, Ben Folds, for raising the intelligence level of this show. Note to self: finally time to check out the Ben Folds a cappella album.

Also good: the concept. It was nice to hear these groups singing without the crutch of professional musicians on instruments. It was also interesting to know that they were mostly doing their own arrangements, aside from the combined group numbers, I assume.
They managed to get some pretty good groups too, although I imagine plenty of better ones would come out of the woodwork for a second competition.

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Nov. 26th, 2009

guys & dolls


guys & doll
Originally uploaded by embem30
It's Thanksgiving, and one of the things for which I am thankful is the fact that the fall show is done. The last two years, we've performed them the first weekend in December, which meant that Thanksgiving was the last break before a busy and stressful tech week. This year, we did Guys & Dolls the weekend before Thanksgiving.

As with Grease last year, however, it wasn't easy. The fall show seems to get harder and more frustrating each year. There was the usual shortage of boys, we had several kids with scheduling conflicts that we had to work around, and it took us a while to secure someone to play Sky (he wasn't even able to come in until about 2-3 weeks before opening). To make matters worse, several kids missed rehearsals because of the flu. I'm not sure if it was swine flu or normal flu, but it kept a few of them out for longer than was convenient for us. We also gave many lectures about reviewing and practicing at home, after having to fix things multiple times. It seemed like they would just walk out the door and forget everything we told them--not conducive to producing a good show.

But somehow, they pulled it out last weekend and did well. Suddenly, more of the jokes were actually landing, and they were really performing. Oh, it still wasn't as tight as I would have liked for one of my favorite musicals, but they did a good job.

I took some pictures during the final dress rehearsal last Thursday and a few before two of the shows, to get a couple of the songs I had missed while I was playing. Most of the pictures are on Facebook rather than Flickr.
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Oct. 20th, 2009

napa, day 4


grapes
Originally uploaded by embem30
Okay, time to finish this.  Here is the last installment of the Napa trip: Wednesday, August 19.

That morning, we got up around 8am again, showered, then went in search of breakfast.  We didn't have to search very hard, because Bouchon Bakery was the obvious choice.  The previous morning's breakfast there had been better than the breakfast provided by the Yountville Inn, so we went again to try new pastries. 

I went a little crazy picking things out, but they were all worth it.  We got a chantilly eclair this time instead of a chocolate one, and it was perfect.  It had custard inside and chantilly cream on top, as opposed to the chocolate cream inside the chocolate one.  This was closer to what Steve and I had hoped for the day before. 

I also ordered some pain au chocolat, mostly because of Molly Wizenberg's stories of eating them as a child with her father in France.  I had never had it, but it's basically bits of dark chocolate tucked inside bread, or croissant dough in this case.  It was flaky and somewhat more subtle than the other things we ordered.  It was not the standout item at breakfast that day, but I keep craving it every time I see my pictures.  It may be about time to try Molly's basic recipe from A Homemade Life.

The last thing was a TKO cookie.  My guess is that those letters stand for "Thomas Keller Oreo," because it was reinterpretation of an Oreo.  Of course, this was bigger and made with much better ingredients.  It was great, but I only got through half of it.  After half of the eclair, most of the pain au chocolat, and half of the TKO, I was on sugar overload.  We ended up putting the other half back in its bag and taking it home with us.  I finished it at home that afternoon.

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Oct. 11th, 2009

napa, day 3


223/365 taste the rainbow
Originally uploaded by embem30
Oh look, it's October and I still haven't finished posting about our anniversary trip that happened almost two months ago...  The in-laws have been here, and work has started up again, so I've been a little busy.  But that's another entry (or two).

Where was I?  Napa, day three.  Tuesday, I believe.  Good thing I have pictures to remind me what we did.

Tuesday, unlike Monday, did not have any set schedule for wine tastings.  As a result, we were able to take our time with breakfast.  We still got up relatively early, partly because we went to bed early.  I've realized that I go to bed earlier while on vacation when I'm sharing a laptop with Steve and don't have a DVR to keep TV interesting.

Anyway, we decided that the hotel breakfast was old hat and walked to Bouchon Bakery for breakfast that morning.  Why eat at the inn when you can go to a Thomas Keller establishment?  We had been inside briefly two years ago when we ate at The French Laundry, but we didn't buy anything for fear of spoiling dinner.  This time, Steve got coffee, and we shared a chocolate eclair and a citron tart.  The tart was very good, but pretty intensely lemony.  The eclair was ever so slightly disappointing, just because Steve and I prefer them with vanilla custard or pastry cream in them.  This one had a chocolate cream inside.  Good, but not as good as it could have been.

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