Monday, July 14, 2014

weekend fun
taraMonday, July 14, 2014 0 comments

i love being home and getting to spend time with my peoples!

this weekend i finally got to see jamie paddle - a hobby/sport to which she has dedicated a great deal of time to over the last year-ish.  i've been hearing about her adventures in canoeing for almost as long as we've been roommates, so with this weekend's race being local, and me being in town, it was the perfect opportunity to cheer her on!

from belmont beach to playa del rey, it was a double-beach day.  i joined my friend and former co-worker, tania, for what is becoming a a bit of a recurring appointment. usually, it's beach time, as i'm attempting to get some color before spending a week at the lake with family (and not wanting to suffer from the long hours spent on the water there), but today i was just along for the ride.  emily had been unable to attend tania's housewarming party so wanted to visit her new place, and invited me to join.  we were quite the office trio before tania left us, so it was nice to get the band back together!

and what is a far more rare occurrence, was the invitation i received from  melissa.  she had asked if i was in town (we both travel A LOT), i told her i was, and she invited me to the orange county fair with her and some cousins.  when her cousins were unable to attend, i suggested we go a bit lower key and get together for brunch.  which lasted for about five hours (a pattern this week!).  we made some plans to meet up on the road this fall, and started talking about a possible italy trip together in 2015.  so, basically, a highly productive brunch! :D

Sunday, July 13, 2014

green party
taraSunday, July 13, 2014 0 comments

friday night i attended the surprise party for my friend larysa, who, after years and hoops and more years and more hoops, was finally able to get her green card.  party-goers were asked to wear green or red white and blue, and similarly to bring an item of the same colors.  my contribution - a strawberry blueberry fruit tart that seemed to be quite a hit.  sadly, none left to gnosh on later!

jamie and our friend luce were the distraction, inviting her for wedding dress shopping for luce.  nicole and i were supposedly meeting them back at larysa's to join up for dinner.  the ruse was a success and larysa didn't see it coming!

larysa hails from the ukraine and was one of the first people i met when i moved to huntington beach.  in fact, we met at my very first family home evening in the mid-singles ward, just a couple of weeks after i had moved to california.  lucky for me, our friendship has continued to grow in the last 6 1/2 years, and lucky for america, she's now a permanent resident!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

food and friends, my two favorite words
taraThursday, July 10, 2014 0 comments

we had a very special visitor today.  an old huntington beach friend (who now splits time between utah and north dakota) is in town for a wedding and reached out to jami to see if he could come spend time time in long beach.  a visit from brandon is sure to be a satisfying one, as he gives, literally, the best hugs on the planet.

no, seriously, he's known for his hugs. they are strong and warm and long-lasting.  this is a man who is not afraid that you will get the wrong impression if he hugs you hard and long.  and it's been three years since a brandon-hug, so it was all the more appreciated!

with our special visitor and his special hugs, it seemed some pretty special food was required for our brunch!

we started with grilled fruit skewers,

followed by jami's bacon cheddar quiche,

and finished off with my blueberry cream cheese stuffed french toast.

needless to say, the few hours we spent together today was pretty epic!

Monday, July 07, 2014

the alignment of the stars
taraMonday, July 07, 2014 0 comments

like many, i find my horoscope a fun entertaining way to pass the time now and again.  it's usually a drive-by, but i will admit that during the first week of each month, i spend a little more time than usual on one particular astrology site, 'cuz this chic has a pretty good record of 'coincidences'.  some nuggets from july (i promise, this is going somewhere):

If you look at the dates of the series of retrogrades of Venus, Mercury, and Mars so far this year, there was no oasis - those planets dovetailed almost precisely with their onset and direct dates, leaving no rest for the weary. You are a hard worker, and you rarely have problems with concentration, so you likely made progress in spite of the lack of help from the planets, but it took all the energy you had to give to do it. Life is about to become easier from now on.

You tend to overdo your work schedule, and the universe knows it, dear Virgo. July will be your time to unwind, make new friends, and connect with your current, favorite pals again. It's a time to rest, travel to the seashore, have dinners with pals, share stories, catch a new movie, and visit art openings.

You have so much to celebrate, dear Virgo. The start of 2014 will officially begin in July. Say goodbye to the never-ending series of retrograde planets - all that ends now. From now on you will have a more encouraging, productive environment in which to operate. While it is true that Mercury, your ruler, will go retrograde again on October 4 to 26, those three little weeks will pale in comparison to what we have all gone through in the first six months of 2014.

Take some needed rest in July, and see if you can take a vacation sometime in July. You need to unplug and enjoy life. You need to daydream - and don't let anyone tell you that it is a waste of time. This month, it may be the most valuable exercise you do.

there are a number of other apropos insights regarding this month, and even before i read this 'forecast',  the wheels had started turning.  it may or may not be obvious by my inconsistent blog appearances that this year has been incredibly busy.  my travel schedule in the last six months has seemed more intense than usual, and it has taken me longer to recover/settle in/get motivated to do anything but sleep and watch tv when i am home.

in fact, i have been looking forward to july all year!  i'll be making my annual trek to comic-con, followed immediately by my first vacation of the year, where i am overwhelmingly excited to return to one of my most happy places, my grandmother's lake house in new york.  all of my immediate family and much of the extended clan will be making the trek, and i can't wait to get some reading and relaxing done while reconnecting with aunts and uncles and cousins.

but there are other wonderful things happening right now.  the biggest is that i got some news at work in the last week which, if all goes according to plan, means something that i have spent the last two years hoping and praying for is now a reality.  it's not only a game-changer, it's a life-changer.  (i'm happy to share one-on-one, but not so publicly until things are more concrete).  and, since it dropped in from the sky like food rations to a deserted island, it gives me more confidence in the impressions and feelings i've been trying to interpret for some time.

meanwhile... july seems to be unfolding beautifully!

the independence day weekend involved meeting a bunch of new people, watching fireworks at the rose bowl in pasadena, spending a day at the beach with my friend tania, and having a neighbor navajo taco party.  it was the perfect mix of spending time with new friends and old.  and i certainly didn't mind the extra day of sleeping in!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

music city: bonus day
taraSaturday, April 05, 2014 1 comments

melissa and i had an almost full day to do some exploring.  during my national parks research and in looking for daytrips from the city, i happened across a state park called fall creek falls.  it's about two hours outside of nashville and boasts a number of good-sized waterfalls.

the handful of national park sites that would have been doable, were either ones i had already visited, or ones i had no interest in visiting. so, when i posed the idea of this state park to mel, i was happy that she thought it looked as cool as i did.

because i had been busy with work and honky-tonking for most of the trip, i hadn't gotten to spend much time with my bulgarian friend, who was also in town for the conference. we had squeezed in a couple of lunches and some boot shopping (i was so excited to find women's boots in my size that i bought three pair!), but our usual 'last night dinner' had been pre-empted by my grand ole opry visit.  instead, we had a very very early breakfast since melissa and i were getting an early start on the drive.  i was flattered actually, that since his flight wasn't until 2pm, he was willing and wanted to meet up...even though it was 6:30am.  

after stuffing my face, taking a selfie, and saying our goodbyes, i left to pick up melissa at her hotel and we were on our way.  

the two hour drive was uneventful, in the best kind of way.  it was a beautiful day in the mid-60s. the music was good, the conversation was good, and almost exactly two hours later, we arrived at our destination.

we spent the next several hours hiking the park, taking photos, enjoying the quiet (we had the place mostly to ourselves) and the multitude of picturesque waterfalls.  it was truly gorgeous.  and, even though i'm no better a hiker now than i have ever been, the scenery was well worth a little huffing and puffing.
eventually, it was time to return to civilization (aka, the airport), and the return drive was equally as lovely and uneventful.  we made it back to the airport in plenty of time to drop off the rental car, check-in for flights, and make our way through security.  once through, we said our farewells and headed off to our gates.

what was so amazing about this particular trip is that it felt like a vacation.  even despite the fact that we were all working pretty full days, we were able to take full advantage of the sights and each other's company. there was quite literally, never a dull moment!