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A Day at the Fair

When I was a kid, we went to the county fair every year. It was the highlight of my summer. My parents or my friend’s parents would take us and we’d play the midway games and go to the 4-H demonstrations. There were baby goats, pigs—and pig racing—a petting zoo, and milking demonstrations.

And we’d eat. Cotton Candy, hot dogs, soda.

It was heaven for a kid turned loose with $20 in her pocket.

Yesterday we went to the L.A. County Fair. It was the first time in about 15 years that I’ve been to a fair–and it was the first time I went to the L.A. County Fair. I can’t believe how much fairs have changed over the years. They’ve always had the shopping pavillions with the up-and-coming Sham-Wow guys, jewelry cleaners, new windows and arts and crafts. But I don’t know if this is specific to the L.A. County Fair, or if it’s just par for the course now, but there was a section that was like a giant swap meet—cheap clothing and shoes, cell phone supplies and all sorts of randomness. It was kind of disappointing.

But really, the only reason to go to the fair is for the food. From 10 a.m. to midnight you can eat anything you want—in cholesterol-clogging, artery-busting, coronary-inducing quantities.

When we got there, I started with a BBQ beef sandwich and an ear of corn. This was probably the healthiest thing I ate all day. And that corn? Was perfect. It was fresh, crunchy and grilled just enough.

The corn was probably the healthiest thing I ate all day

The corn on the cob rocked my world

When we finished our lunch, I spotted a stand with chocolate-covered bacon.

Photo by Elise Thompson (LAist.com)

Photo by Elise Thompson (LAist.com)

It was basically thick pieces of bacon dipped in dark chocolate and served in Chinese take-out containers. I’m not a fan of dark chocolate, so I didn’t love it, but Bill thought it was weirdly good.

We heard a rumor that someone was serving deep-fried pizza. We didn’t find it, but we did find the deep-fried Oreos. I think I’m in love (and a little bit sick).

Donut-y, Oreo-ish goodness with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate

Doughnut-y, Oreo-ish goodness with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and drizzled with chocolate

And this place…

ChickenCharlies

Chicken Charlies

Chicken Charlies will fry just about anything. They serve fried Avocados, fried White Castle burgers, fried frog legs and fried Twinkies.

I was more interested in a drink at this point.

Daquari and a beer=$24

daiquiri and a beer=$24

The daiquiri cleansed my palate so we went searching for more greasy goodness and found these…

Tasty Chips

Tasty Chips

These Tasty Chips are  hand-cut, homemade potato chips with just the right amount of salt. They give you dipping sauces like ketchup, ranch or this jalepeno cheese sauce. After much sampling and tasting it was determined that for optimal flavor you should dip the chips in ketchup first, then the cheese sauce. Personally, I’m a purist and ate them plain.

By this point, I was feeling a little sick, so I bypassed these….

Caramely delishishness

Caramel-y deliciousness

But I was thinking about having one of these.

Monster Sausage

Monster Sausage

These foot-long Italian sausages are served on a grilled bun, smothered in onions and peppers.

This place…

This place cranks out a lot of BBQ

Juicy's cranks out a lot of BBQ

cranks out a whole lot of this…

Finger-lickin' good

Finger-lickin' good

cazy amounts of chicken, and turkey legs bigger than your head.

That place also serves this:

Okay, I've heard of chicken and waffles. But this?

Okay, I've heard of chicken and waffles. But this?

A chicken sandwich served on a Krispy Kreme doughnut.

I was sorry I didn’t get a chance to tackle the dill pickles, eat the brick of french fries or eat a waffle cone full of ice cream, but you’d need to hit the fair every single day for a month to hit all of the food places.

And you should keep your cardiologist on speed dial.

I think I’m totally going back next year.

PS: These photos were all taken with my Blackberry. Not too shabby, hu?

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Funkadelic (aka the weirdest, vaguest post I’ve ever written)

I’m a little funkadelic these days. And not in the totally awesome get down with your bad self George Clinton kind of way (someone please tell me you get that reference).

It’s more of a I Need To Make a Big Change And It’s Freaking Me Out To The Point Of Nearly Being Paralyzed kind of way. I’m overwhelmed with the thought of it all. Before anyone freaks out—assuming you’re still coming here because this blog sucks a big pile of crap at the moment (*crickets*)—it has nothing to with my marriage (thank GOD for Bill right now, FYI) or friendships (and thank GOD for Lesley) or any of that stuff. I’m not going through a mid-life crisis and I’m not moving (hopefully, that covers all the possible scenarios).

I have decided that I need to take control of a few things in my life. And when I make up my mind about something I just want to DO IT. I’m impatient as hell. I want what I want when I want it. And I usually want it NOW if not sooner! My impatience practically vibrates through my body, pulses through my blood and buzzes in my head. It’s why I can’t sleep, it’s why my shoulders are shoved up so high they live against my ears, giving me excruciating headaches. It’s why I barely have the focus to even read through a short article on TMZ, why I can’t quiet my head. And, obviously, why I can’t write a blog post.

I know this post is obnoxiously vague and I hate it when other people do this, so I apologize. Hopefully, I’ll be able to tell you more about this soon.

Really, I Have No Idea Why I’m Not Sleeping Well

This is clearly the post of a sleep-deprived person.

I haven’t really slept well lately. I don’t think I’m under an usual amount of stress and there’s nothing life or death about the things I think about. I just can’t shut my head off and get some rest.

Here’s a rundown of my night.

10:00 p.m. Totally exhausted so I climb into bed and sink into my comfy mattress. I prop my pillows up behind my head and watch TV for a few minutes until my eyelids feel so heavy I can’t hold them open.

10:15 p.m. Turn off the TV, turn off the lights, settle into bed and close my eyes.

10:17 p.m. Doze off.

10:20 p.m. Wide awake. Make a mental reminder to grab my iPod in the morning so I can take it to work.

10:21 p.m. Speaking of work, did I remember to send that e-mail before I left? Think about what I need to do when I first get into the office.

10:35 p.m. Think about how much traffic there’s been in the morning and wonder if I should get up a little earlier.

10:36 p.m. Get cranky about having to wake up earlier and vow to just get ready faster in the morning.

11:00 p.m. Remind myself to grab that book before I leave for work because I need to use it as reference for something I’m working on.

11:05 p.m. Realize I will never remember to grab it in the morning, get up, find it and put it by my keys.

11:20 p.m. Let the dog out.

12:00 a.m. Let the dog in.

12:10 a.m. Remember to pay the power bill tomorrow (which is now today).

12:30 a.m. Roll over and pull a pillow over my head to block out Bill’s snoring.

12:50 a.m. Take pillow off my head because it’s hot.

1:00 a.m. Get irritated because I’m still awake and can’t go to sleep.

1:01 a.m. Wonder if it’s too late to take a Tylenol PM. Maybe just one? Probably not a good idea.

1:02 a.m. Will myself to sleep, but the more I do that, the more awake I become. Maybe I should take up meditation? Or yoga?

1:04 a.m. Wonder when I would ever find the time to do yoga since I barely use my gym membership.

1:05 a.m. When did I go to the gym last?

1:15 a.m. Wonder when I’m going to find time to go to Target this week.

1:16 a.m. Mentally make list of stuff I need to get at Target: toilet paper, paper towels, hardwood floor cleaner, soap…

1:17 a.m. Contemplate getting out of bed to write up my target list. And maybe a grocery list.

1:19 a.m. Wonder if I have enough toilet paper to last through the weekend if I can’t get to Target during the week. Maybe I can go Thursday night?

1:21 a.m. Nope. Not Thursday. I have to take Gracie to agility that night.

1:22 a.m. Wonder why the special leash and collar I ordered for Gracie to wear for agility hasn’t shown up yet. Wonder when I ordered it. Hmmm, should be here by now. They usually send orders pretty quickly.

1:30 a.m. Wonder if it’s too late to take shot of NyQuil to knock me out.

1:40 a.m. Let the dog out.

2:00 a.m. Let the dog in.

2:15 a.m. Maybe a half shot of NyQuil?

2:20 a.m. Frustrated because I can’t sleep. Think about everything I have to do this weekend. Things that don’t involve sleeping in. Or even being home much.

2:30 a.m. Hope I get off work on time Thursday night because I have to drive home, pick up Gracie and drive her 40 minutes away to agility.

2:35 a.m. Plan what I need to take to agility. Make backup plan in case new leash doesn’t show up.

2:40 a.m. Doze off.

3:30 a.m. Hear Bill wake up and go into the other room because he can’t sleep.

3:31 a.m. Wonder if my not sleeping is keeping Bill from sleeping.

3:35 a.m. Listen to the coffee pot grind the coffee and wonder why that damn machine makes so much fucking noise.

3:36 a.m. But damn, it makes some good coffee.

3:48 a.m. Do I have enough dog shampoo to bathe Gracie on Friday night? She has a show on Saturday and I have to groom her.

3:49 a.m. Do I have all of her dog show stuff together? Do I need to wash her bowls? Where is her lead?

4:45 a.m. Let the dog out.

6:40 a.m. Let the dog in.

6:50 a.m. Alarm goes off.

7:10 a.m. Get out of bed, totally trashed from not sleeping.

8:25 a.m. Leave the house late. Again. Too tired to get ready on time.

Is it just me or is anyone else—other than Bill—stressed to the max over nothing at all?

Boobies, Horny Dogs and Patrick Swazye (And, No, None of These Things Have Anything To Do With Each Other). Just Another Random Tuesday

randomtuesday

Lazy Blogger

I haven’t written much lately. It’s not that I don’t have stories to tell, things to say or rants to make. I have plenty to say, I just don’t haven the energy to focus and write. Which stinks because it’s a good way for me to relieve stress and blow off some steam.

But I’m so tired. I’m worn down. I feel like hibernating—and it’s only mid-September. I feel so lazy that the simplest, most basic tasks seem exhausting. I did a few loads of laundry Sunday afternoon and it sucked every bit of life out of me. I don’t think it’s the seasonal change—I am so happy that it’s starting to cool off a bit and I can break out some sweaters and my beloved boots—I think life is catching up to me. I had a vacation (that I still haven’t written about. What’s the statue of limitations for that?), my birthday, my anniversary, dog shows and work. Plus, all the little stuff that adds up to long and busy days. I hope whatever this is stops and life gets back to normal.

Mondays are for Mammograms

If you’re feeling particularly sadistic, make sure your schedule your mammogram the week you have your period. I had my first mammogram at 35. Since I’m adopted and don’t have a medical history, they wanted to establish a baseline to check against. Now that I’m 40, I guess I have to do this every year. I had my appointment yesterday—the day before my period started. I made my appointment months ago and didn’t realize I scheduled it when I was going to be on vacation, so I pushed it a couple of weeks without really paying attention to the calendar.

It takes the pain and magnifies it a million times. It’s bad enough the tech has to grab what little boobage I have and wrestle it into this machine to smash it into a pancake, when they’re already sore and swollen (I apologize to my male readers for the visual!) it’s like having vice grip attached to your tatas while someone cranks it tighter and tighter until tears spring from your eyes, your boob feels like it’s burning and you’re just about to cry “Uncle!” when the machine mercifully released your bruised and battered boobie. Repeatedly. (Bill’s thinking, “Shit, she’s never going to let me near THOSE again!”)

“Bitch in Heat!”

I went to my first dog show a couple of years ago. When I got Gracie, they told me I was required to show the little diva, and although it sounded fun and I watched the Westminster Dog Show on TV, I had never actually BEEN to one. So I begged and bribed asked Lesley to come with me, and we drove to the middle of nowhere (or close to it) to meet Gracie’s handler (who also owns Gracie’s Baby Daddy) at a dog show. I realized quickly that it was not going to be as easy (or as inexpensive) as promised, but I was willing to give it the old college try.

A couple of weeks before Gracie started showing. I met Gracie’s handler again at another show so I could see what this was really going to entail. I wanted to talk to her about how I needed to groom Gracie beforehand. I also wanted to watch everything from how they get the dogs ready to go into the ring, to how the judges look them over, to how people behave (Did you know that Rottweiler owners are big into clapping and cheering for every single dog while Samoyed owners think it’s not appropriate to applaud until the very end? File that under Weird Shit You Never Wanted To Know.)

Bitch in Heat!

Bitch in Heat!

So the Sammys are getting ready to show, and Gracie’s handler has me walk one of the male dogs to the ring for her. As I’m taking this dog over, a woman is dashing through the crowd with her German Shepherd, sees the obviously male dog I’m walking and starts bellowing, “Bitch in Heat! Bitch in Heat!” At first I wasn’t sure if she was talking about herself or her dog. But I realized she thought the boy at the end of my leash was ready to break free and start humping her little bitch. I was stunned. I looked around to see if anyone else thought this was strange, but no one blinked an eye.

Gracie has a show this weekend and she’s in heat. If we’re lucky, this will be her last one (show, not monthly visitor). She only has two more points before she becomes CHAMPION Gracie, so I think I’m going to go out with a bang (pun intended). I’m going to bring a bunch of bodyguards to surround my precious baby to make sure no rouge dogs knock her up. And I’m going to walk her through the crowds and announce “Bitch in Heat!” With a bullhorn.

Maybe that should be my new tagline?

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

Although it’s not unexpected, I’m still sad that Patrick Swayze passed away yesterday. Dirty Dancing is one of my all-time favorite movies. I love those Saturday afternoons when I don’t have anything to do and find it on TV. I will stop and watch. Every. Single. Time.

One of the best movie lines ever...

One of the best movie lines ever...

For more random reading today, check out Keely at the UnMom.

Happy Birthday, Gracie!

Today my baby is 2 years old!

This is Gracie the day we brought her home. She was 9 weeks old.

This is Gracie the day we brought her home. She was 9 weeks old.

And this is her now (in a calmer moment!)

And this is her now (in a calmer moment!)

My little girl is all grown up. *sniff*

Pawsabilities

I signed Gracie up for Agility lessons. If you aren’t familiar with it, agility is kind of like an obstacle course for dogs. There are jumps, climbing obstacles, poles to weave through, tunnels and—god help us—a table that she needs to pause on, usually mid course.

Not Gracie

Not Gracie

I figured that this would be fun for her, and I thought it would be a great way to burn off some of that insane energy I can’t seem to get rid of any other way. And bonus? If I can actually train her to do these obstacles, I might actually have a chance of, ehem, actually training her to behave.

This Isn't Gracie Either

This Isn't Gracie Either

Our first class was on Thursday and even though she was a week behind (all the newbies started while we were on vacation) she caught up quickly and did really well. I’m kind of excited about this—even though I have to run alongside to coach her through the obstacles.

And Neither Is This...

And Neither Is This...

She’s still not finished doing regular dog shows, but we only have two more points to go.

Sometimes I think my life has gone to the dogs.

Random Thursday Thoughts: The Vacation Edition

I’ve been ignoring my blog and I really didn’t mean to. The past week has been full of milestones. I have turned 40, celebrated my 10-year wedding anniversary, and went on vacation. I’ve had a million things to write about but haven’t been able to direct a single thought into a coherent post. In fact, I started writing this post TWO DAYS AGO with a glass of wine in hand, thinking I was going to relax and let the words flow but I got sidetracked (OOH, SHINY THINGS! PRETTY), so this is what ya get… I’m sorry.

**********

We were in Sonoma/Napa for a week, and as amazing as the trip was, I think I’m thrilled to be home. We had an amazing time, but I’m on wine and food overload.

When we got to the Napa Valley, we were armed with a list of wineries we wanted to visit, and we agreed that we were just going to taste—sip and savor the wine and spit it out—not drink.

On Friday—our first full day—we hit three wineries. And I’m guessing it was one too many. Somewhere along the line, that whole tasting plan went out the window. I didn’t eat breakfast that morning, and by the time we had lunch it was about 1:00. Since it was our anniversary, I had wine (natch) with my salad. After that, we walked down the block to a tasting room for a winery we like. They sent us to another winery, and that winery sent us to yet another…

I’m sure I got carried away with the whole Hey It’s Our First Day of Vacation and It’s Our Anniversary! And I drank. We split a tasting of about 5 wines at the first place. At the second, we tasted-—and I use this term loosely because these are pretty generous servings—about 5 or 6 more. The third place? I’m pretty sure there were about 7 wines. And my tastebuds were numb.

Add to that the fact that it was 105 degrees.

I didn’t get super sick/drunk, but I definitely had too much wine/sugar/heat that day. After that, I paced myself, but I have eaten my body weight in parmesan cheese, salami and sourdough bread—all with a heavy amount of olive oil. Plus, we had dinner in some amazing restaurants and I felt compelled to try a little of almost everything. I feel like that guy on The Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food, who takes on every food challenge he can find. 96-ounce steak? Sure! 12,000 hot wings in 10 minutes? Done. I ate the equivalent of a wheel of cheese, had more frisee and tomatoes than I can count. I slurped soup, peeled shrimp and inhaled pasta. I know I’m lucky but I was so happy to have a plain green salad with iceberg and Italian dressing on our way home.

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Last Friday was our 10-year wedding anniversary! Ten years is a big deal for us. We have stayed together through raising three sons (his), the death of two parents (his), biological clocks ticking exploding (mine), job changes (ours), and a million other little things that added up together make for a crazy life.

It hasn’t always been easy, but I probably wouldn’t change a single day of it (well, maybe a couple). I feel lucky to have met and married my best friend, my partner in life, and the one man who’s most equipped to deal with me and all of my idiosyncrasies. I love him more than my shoes and I’m looking forward to many more years together.

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So I turned 40 and it really wasn’t that bad. Certainly not as bad as I thought it would be. I’m not sure what I was expecting—maybe I thought I’d suddenly become decrepit overnight, hunched over, blind as a bat, complaining about my sciatica—but it was a pretty smooth transition. No additional wrinkles, no gray hairs (as far as you know), and I actually feel better than I did in my 20s. I think I look better, too, if I do say so myself.

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When I was in Northern California I spent the day with one of my best friends. We met on the first day of high school (twenty-mumble-mumble) years ago and we’re still in touch. She saw me through braces, bad perms and ugly school uniforms and she was my maid of honor at my wedding.We don’t talk often and probably see each other even less, but we seem to pick up right where we left off when we do, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

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Tonight I’m putting Crazy Gracie to work. We’re going to take our first agility class together. I’m sure much humiliation (for me) is in the cards. Stay tuned for the update.