Sunday, April 27, 2008

Finding Food in Sacto

I've been spending a lot of time in Sacramento lately, so I've had a chance to taste around a little bit. If you're ever in the area, here are my suggestions.

La Bou Bakery and Cafe: This place is open for the breakfast and lunch crowd, and serves sandwiches, salads and soups. The sandwich bread is nice and soft, very fresh. I had a combo of half a tuna sandwich and Chinese Chicken Salad, which was delicious. There are a few other items I'd like to try there, so I plan on going back. They have several restaurants around the Sacramento area, with quite a few just in Downtown alone.

The Blue Gecko at 1379 Garden Hwy (no website): The first time I went there we were able to sit outside, which is very nice, as the restaurant is located on the bank of the Sacramento River. One of my dining partners had the spicy fries, and I was so envious of them that I returned with other people the next month, and hyped up the fries so much that almost everyone in our 6-member party ordered them. They were not disappointed at all. The restaurant describes itself in an article as American cuisine, with a hint of Caribbean flavor. They have Karaoke one night of the week, in case you're interested in that.

Pyramid Alehouse (menu not included on website): I don't enjoy beer, and I needed to go back to work, so I didn't drink anything here at lunch, but I enjoyed my meal, and my dining partners enjoyed their meals, too. As expected, they offer sandwiches, burgers, and the like. I had a turkey burger which came with swiss cheese, and I added on carmelized onions and mushrooms. My friend predicted that they'd have good onion rings there, and she was pleased that she was correct. The service is a bit slow for lunch, though.

Texas Mexican Restaurant at 1114 8th Street: The service is prompt here, and the food is tasty, with the portions just the right size for lunch. I've heard good things about the Charro Beans, so I'll need to order those the next time I'm there.

Megami Bento-Ya Restaurant at 1010 10th Street: Japanese food with good prices and very generous portions. I had their chicken teriyaki, and it was quite good. I might try their sushi one of these days, because I've seen good reviews about it. It's a little place, and difficult to find due to street construction, but I'm glad that one of our friends had already been there and knew the general area that it was in so that we could find it.

Gino's Java Juice at 1500 7th St: I had coffee here about 3 times a week for the 2 weeks that we were having training across the street, not only because of its convenience, but because I really enjoyed their Black & White Mocha. Absolutely sinful blend of white and dark chocolate with espresso. No, I didn't have that every time. Their Chai was also very good, as was the Mexican Mocha. Their baked items were blechy, though, so I recommend getting your breakfast elsewhere. I don't normally have coffee this often, but when you're sitting in a training session all day, caffeine really helps get you through the day.

Hmmm...I'm now actually looking forward to going back to Sacto, but really just to try other menu items in these places.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Room with a View

Sometimes, you can find nice things in unexpected places. I stayed in Sacramento last week, and was able to stay at the Radisson for one of my nights there. This is the view from my Lakeview room the night I arrived.


Then the next day, and for 4 more days afterward, here was my view at the Hawthorn Suites.

Back to the Expected.

So I may end up back here someday, eating breakfast on the terrace, looking at this view again...


Canadian Geese were honking at each other, and I was really relaxed. If only their coffee bar had been open that morning, I would have had breakfast there, but I may order room service next time just to be able to really enjoy that again.

Next up: Restaurants in the Sacto area

Monday, April 21, 2008

DLR LotD 04/20/08

Disneyland Resort Line of the Day
Sunday -- April 20, 2008

"No, it's the other one." -- Glenn and Sherry, simultaneously giving the name of the Not-New-Zoo-Revue, at Whitewater Snacks

Friday, April 11, 2008

Adventures in BradySitting -- Day 3

I got up a little late, so Bro had already left before I was done with my shower. When I opened the door, there was Brady, smiling at me and giggling, because Dad had just finished telling him to knock on the bathroom door to get me out of there. What a cute face to see in the morning!!!

Brady and I played some air hockey. There was only one handpiece to use, because we couldn't find the other one. So I offered to use the bottom of a Duplo block. I said, "Should I just pretend? I can use this..." and Brady nodded his head. We started to play, but he must have decided that my block was giving someone an unfair advantage, so he took a Duplo block for himself, and the game was on. Well, kinda. The air doesn't work on the hockey table because it needs batteries (it's a small table game), so we just kinda pushed the little disc around. I know this paragraph is long, but the game only lasted, like, 3 minutes. He got tired of it and decided to build stuff with the Duplo blocks instead. What's interesting about him is that he tries to get his towers to be one color. Lots of other people use whatever color is there, but he's quite methodical about it. After he connected his tower to whatever concoction I made, he realized that I wasn't using like colors, so he took it apart a little bit to make things match more. So I guess he won't be needing Garanimals.

Oh, Bro told me a few days ago that Brady bases his outfit choices on whatever Bro is wearing. So if Bro wears blue, Brady wants to wear blue. Too cute. Dad asked him about the color of his shirt that day, which was orange. I asked him what color Bro was wearing that day. Brady said it was blue. Apparently, Brady ran out of blue shirts, and someone needs to do laundry.

Brady saw that Dad was trying to sneak out in the morning, so Dad brought him along with him. After they returned, we went to Lakeshore Learning Center to get some gifts for a couple of kids. Brady seemed OK playing by himself as long as Dad was still in his sight line. When I offered to take him around the store to shop for something he'd like, he couldn't see my Dad anymore, and kept calling out, "Nono, Nono!" while walking through the aisles. He didn't walk very far, though, so I've decided that he's not quite a searcher yet. At least not in strange places. We didn't want him to get yet another ball-based toy, so he got mad at me when I wanted to take him away from the one that got his hand stuck. No, I did not get his hand stuck. He did that all by himself. Dad convinced him that he wanted a fishing rod magnet and a bag of letters that you can use in the bathtub. When we got home, Dad was disappointed that the reel on the fishing rod didn't actually turn. Brady was equally disappointed when he tried it. Dad has now decided that he's just going to give him a real fishing rod. OK, but when Brady got tired of fishing for magnets with the rod, he just started using the string and its magnet to pick up the other stuff. Hopefully, he won't do this when he gets a real fishing rod.

We went to Costco, and I carried Brady around while Dad got in line for his prescription. (He didn't want to ride in the cart, so Dad took it to get his orange juice). Brady didn't want to try any of the samples, so I ate them while he pointed at everything saying, "Ooh, BIG!" Yes, I encouraged that. I can't help it that those boxes of milk are big enough for him to crawl into. We also went to the flower bouquets and smelled the roses. We ate our lunch there, and Brady pretty much picked all of the meat off of Dad's pizza. Apparently, they can sit there for hours because there are birds for him to watch and stuff. Hey, as long as there's food and drink and restrooms, go ahead and loiter, I say. On the way home, Dad asked him to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." So I sang, while Brady aah'd along. Apparently, he does know some words, but he didn't feel like singing them at the time. At least he was on pitch, which is what I hoped would happen. I tried to get him to say "TA DAH!" after he was done with each song, but I'm not sure that it stuck. I do know, however, that the difference between "bank" and "net" stuck, though, because I quizzed him without even having a ball handy.

Unfortunately, with all of the caffeine from Dad's Coke (the lemonade didn't taste right), Brady didn't feel like taking a nap. He actually ran from room to room to see what the dogs were doing, and they were really just lying there. We went to visit my mom and hung out there until she was ready to leave, and Bro met up with us. Brady really loved the carrots that were on Mom's plate, eating almost all of them, so it looked like Mom had quite the appetite. We told Brady that he could play with Mom's balloon when he came back the next day, but he didn't want to get into Bro's car without it, so he ended up taking it with him. I was just happy that there was no balloon in our car. :) Anyway, before he left, we told Brady that he wouldn't see me the next day, so he actually gave me a kiss this time. Finally!

You see? Dreams do come true! No, I'm not just talking about the absent balloon.

We'll see how much he remembers about our bonding time when we spend time at Disneyland together someday. Bro wants to see if Brady will actually let me carry him around there next time. I guess one needs to have goals, right?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Adventures in BradySitting -- Day 2

Yesterday, Dad was able to get away for a longer amount of time, since it appears that Brady has gotten used to the idea that I'm going to be here for awhile. Brady turned on his Nintendo while we were watching Curious George, and pointed at it, saying "Play." I said, "Who's going to play? Brady or Tita?" He looked at me like I should actually know the answer, and said, "Tita!" So that was my first time for him to say my name in person, at least so that I can actually hear it.

He requested milk shortly after that, so I went downstairs, and told him to stay on the couch upstairs. No sooner had I reached the refrigerator than I hear from upstairs quite loudly, "TITA!!!!! Titatitatitatitatita!", along with dogs growling. OK, so now I've heard my name quite often and really didn't want to hear it that many times in a row. I brought his milk upstairs to him, called out the dogs' names, and it quieted down. Brady does actually know the dogs' names, but once Cadence and Presto start quarreling, it takes very loud voices to get back to serenity. Or serenity as compared to, you know, a full circus.

He helped me play Nintendo, even knowing how to get to his actual game after the system had been turned off. The kid is smart. We went outside and he promptly picked up a rake and started doing yard work. Granted, it's one leaf at a time, and it takes him 2 or 3 sweeps of the rake to get that one leaf, but it still helps. I didn't exactly know where Mom puts the leaves that she's raked, so I asked him, and he brought over the pail so that we could transfer the leaves. He also played frisbee with the dogs and me, which is always fun, because the dogs really love catching the frisbee, especially Cadence (or "Dadence," as Brady calls her....he calls the other dog "Peeto").

He mostly played and argued with my dad for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, he didn't feel like taking a nap. I was soooo looking forward to that, but after I had been away for an hour and came back to his awake state, I realized that the nap was not going to happen. Of course, the result was that he was really cranky at the end of his day here, so we just had to deal with it until Bro arrived. Brady got mad at Dad because Dad didn't want Brady to put his hand in his mouth after touching dirt, so he cried, and then wouldn't talk to me either, nor would he share his apple with me. Dad distracted him for awhile by taking him outside to meet up with Bro, but then the dogs got all whiny when they heard Dad and Brady out front.

Oh, well. I guess the whining just doesn't stop when you've got more than one kid to look after.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Adventures in BradySitting -- Day 1

My mom has been unable to take care of my nephew Brady this week, so I'm staying at my parents' house to help out my dad. Brady usually ignores me for a few hours before he warms up to me, so I thought that maybe if I stay for a few days in a row (instead of a day here and there), he'd get used to the idea of having me here.

We started yesterday with him agreeing to eat an egg that I cooked for him, even though he didn't actually say hi to me. That's OK. I'm not a morning person, either. Then we went upstairs to watch "Curious George," which is his favorite program. He said, "Monkey!" when I suggested going to watch it. During the program, he decided to turn on my dad's laptop, and promptly clicked on the TurboTax program. Since I didn't really want him to mess up my dad's taxes, I firmly said, "No, Brady," which resulted in loud crying until my dad came upstairs and clicked on the Curious George game website, which is what Brady had originally intended to do. He's pretty good at that, BTW. Brady also taught me how to play on his Nintendo DS, so that I could keep busy with him.

Well, our first argument of the day was over, and, surprisingly, we didn't have anymore. My dad sneaked off for a little while, and Brady did notice after about 10 minutes, so he went downstairs looking for my dad, calling "Nono, Nono!" (his version of the Tagalog word for Grandpa, which is actually "Lolo"). I somehow distracted him by playing basketball, which thoroughly entertained him as long as I was excited about my own b-ball skills. He ended up learning the expression "WHOO HOOOO!" (complete with arms up), "Winner!" and also learned the difference between "Bank" and "Net" shots. This impressed my dad later on in the day, so I'm pretty sure I taught him something new, which is cool. He did end up playing with me for awhile as I dribbled the ball (he can't quite do that yet), passed the ball to him, and he made the shot. Oh, he also learned "rebound," but I don't know if he knew that before. The night before, with my brother's lead-in, Brady cheered the U of Michigan "Let's Go Blue!" which cracked us all up, especially due to the fact that he was wearing his Michigan shirt.

Dad came home and after I left for awhile and returned, we had lunch and eventually took a nap. Yes, all of us. My nap didn't last quite as long as Brady's (2.5 hours), but it was still quite relaxing, as most of the family has been anxious as of late, and I needed the rest.

By the time Brady awoke, it was close to time to get him to his Daddy, so we said our goodbyes. Brady still won't hug and kiss me goodbye, but maybe we'll get around to it by the end of my stay here.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Girls Day with the UCI Roomies

One of my friends was able to get the day off from the rest of her family, so some of us went to a fancy nail salon in West Hollywood, l.a. vie l'orange hand + nail spa.

It was more expensive than I'm used to paying, but this was more like a spa experience than a regular salon, and they served us beverages, such as water (which, like a spa we go to, is flavored with fresh cucumber and oranges)/iced tea/hibiscus tea, and they also baked fresh cookies while we were there, which made us all more hungry for lunch. At least when I went here, I was prepared for how much I'd be spending, unlike that time we were in Reno and there were no prices marked anywhere, and the women basically ripped us off.

Here, we sat in individual little cabanas (Christine's word), yet we were still able to talk to each other. That might have annoyed other people there if they wanted a quiet atmosphere, but we were the only ones there for most of our appointment time, so we didn't really disturb anyone. Their basic foot soak contained stones and rose petals, and it smelled really nice, and they have their own small line of lotions/body wash. The technicians were friendly, and mine had even memorized half the names of the nail polish colors, which was quite impressive. She heard me tell my friend that I wanted a different color than what I had chosen, and when she heard the kind of color I wanted, she promptly had one of her co-workers bring the exact shade that I was thinking of, requesting it by name.

Afterward, we went to Orso, and had a tasty Italian meal. Their menu changes every day, but you can check the New York page on their website for an idea of what they serve. We were seated in the (enclosed) patio area, and they had heatlamps on, so it was very comfortable. They weren't particularly busy due to the time of day, we were served promptly, and the food was tasty. One of the servers had a little bit of an attitude, but he wasn't our main waiter, so that was OK. I split a plate of Insalata Caprese as well as Pizzetta Elba with one of my friends, and we enjoyed our food, as did our friends whom had pasta dishes.

If we had more time, I would have led them to MILK for dessert, but alas, one of us needed to get home, so I just told them about it instead.

I had a great time with you gals! Thanks for helping me get my mind off the stressors in my life. I was happy to relax with all of you.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

When did I stop being a Christian?

I was talking to someone the other night, and they asked me, "Are you Catholic or Christian?" I went off on a rant, and they explained to me that they just meant to ask if I was of a certain denomination or not, but it still bugged me.

This is not the first time that I've heard someone make this distinction. When the question is asked in this manner, it hearkens back to a time that someone told me that some people think that Catholics are not Christian. I think it had to do with the fact that we emphasize the importance of Mary, but I just don't buy it. I guess they're just ignorant or whatever, but I was never taught in Catechism that Mary is God. We just ask her for help to pray for us, as we do for the other saints. (Hey! Saint! That's me!) :)

Anyway, my rant included the fact that Catholics follow the teachings of Jesus, and we actually depict Him on the Crucifix, so where did the aforementioned people get the idea that Catholics aren't Christian?

I'm not going around telling people which church is best. What I believe is my faith. But don't tell me that I'm not Christian. You'd just be as wrong as wrong can be. I sing for His glory every week. I read the lyrics that I'm singing, you know. I've been told that when I'm up there leading the congregation, my love for the music and for God shine through and that I'm clearly happier up there than any other time they've seen me.

So don't downgrade me and tell me that my faith ain't real. These days, I need that faith more than ever.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Step By Step

All grown up, and looking FINE!!! Yummilicious.

Thank you to those of you whom let me know about my boys' projected announcement on tomorrow's Today Show. I really hope Merc knows about it, because I'd like to think that she'll be thinking about our crazy antics when she sees the show tomorrow.