Friday, May 30, 2008

Hot Damn

There is a big bon fire flaming in my mouth at the moment as I'm enjoying hot wings at the Wing Stop inside the Green Valley Resort before we catch a movie. I picked the Atomic and Original Hot seasoning and boy...I've never had wings this hot and man they are good. The Original Hot wings just tastes like Frank's hot sauce but the Atomic has a melody of flavors--the habañero chili was especially strong...LOL!!
Tonight we have a date with John, Maggie, Annejelynn and her husband to watch Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. We made our way to the theatre after we ate and there was already a line of people that weaved around the main lobby. Hundreds of people and you can tell that they have been waiting for some time.

We had stumbled upon the opening night of the movie, Sex and the City. A look at the concentration of women waiting in line was a dead giveaway. Some dressed in cocktail attire like the fashion icon character in the movie, Carrie.

My husband observed that THIS would be the place to hookup for the single guy ... but then (he thought), the girls would look at the guy and declare, he must be gay. (LOL)

The Sweetest Gift

Check out what me Aunt Jan and Grandma sent us in through the mail: a recipe for shrimp with spicy lime ginger butter (see photo below) and a couple decks of cards accompanied by the sweetest note. Ever since I tasted the grilled shrimp for my birthday/Easter, I fell in love with it and longed for the recipe...and now it will be part of my collection!!
The game cards came in two color schemes, green/blue and red/pink/orange so I don't get the two decks mixed up. That way I can stay sharp at the game of gin for my next match with the iron ladies who originally taught me the game. Not that Grandma and Aunt Jan thought I needed practice but no--I really do. My husband and I have been meaning to buy some cards to play with each other and these could not have come at the right time, not to mention how beautiful they are.
Now why can't I think of something so thoughtful for these are a few of the sweetest gifts we've received. Many hugs and kisses, Grandma and Aunt Jan. We love you!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Blood Pressure

During a visit to the doctor earlier this week, I was told my blood pressure was 92/64 (that number is slightly lower than my usual readings of 110/70). The normal blood pressure is 120/80* if that gives you a perspective.

"Are you pretty mellow?", the nurse asked.

"I think so." I replied. Nothing really bugs me and I rarely get angry or upset. Rarely...

But I will surely bet that my blood pressure sky rocketed this morning while I was driving to work!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Our Memorial Weekend in Lake Havasu

The storms on Saturday nearly dampened our spirits and boating trip to Lake Havasu but we took a chance and drove to Arizona on Sunday morning. As the morning hours ticked by, the weather got better and better. There were clouds in the sky but none as dark as a smoker's lunge and so we knew we were in the clear from the rain.

~-Day 1-~
We arrived in Lake Havasu around 10:30 a.m., apparently at just the right time as the lines at the launch ramp started to wind along Lake Havasu Boulevard. I learned that this particular launch ramp, the smallest out of the three on that island, allowed 500 vehicles (with boats) in before closing the launch ramp. We made it in the water at the nick of time.

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Along each side of the channel there were tons of boats parked like perfect rows of teeth along the sea wall and not a single slip available for us to squeeze in. Half naked bodies were everywhere as we followed other boats and jet skis through the channel. Some of the people were sprawled on the sun deck of their boat while others danced to the music blasting from their boat speakers. It felt like we were on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland except that instead of cruising by animated figures of pirates and maidens, we were watching displays of near-voyeuristic at their best.

The moment we cleared the London Bridge and made it out onto the open water, we drove around the island towards the Parker Dam. Despite the lack of wind in the air to stir the river, the boating activities were enough to churn the waters of Lake Havasu like a washing machine. We managed to do okay on our boat but passed a rescue helicopter just outside of Copper Canyon plucking three men from the water who apparently sank their watercraft.

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After we reached Parker Dam, we turned back towards the channel. This time it took us a lot longer to pass through because boat traffic was like rush hour on the 405 in Los Angeles. I had to push off a jet ski that nearly crashed into our boat because the driver panicked after he saw that he was too close to us and couldn't control his jet ski.

Even if there was a slip for us to beach at, there was no way we were going to be able to relax in all the boat exhaust fumes and the greasy water from their oil, the smell of cigarette smoke and sweaty warm alcohol-soaked bodies that filled the channel.

So we decided to hang out at little sand bar (the big sand bar is always closed on holiday weekends). This location proved to be much better. We had a litle more room around us, flowing water from the river, and the breeze was refreshing compared with the stagnant air in the channel.

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There were two large boats with speakers playing music loud enough to drown the music from any boat nearby. We didn't need to pull out our portable iPod boombox for the entire afternoon. I took a video because sometimes that does a better job of explaining our experience.

We cut our afternoon short to get off the water before the remaining hundreds of boats decided to do the same. Besides, we wanted to catch dinner at Cha-Bones (its name alone has kept us from trying out the restaurant in the three years that we've frequented Lake Havasu). But we've received strong recommendations persuading us to give the establishment a try.

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Inside are five copper water structures which run from the ceiling to the floor. It's a very hip restaurant, however small, with a view of the river. We were seated at a small table next to a window and ordered freshly made Mojitos and a Blue Moon to start off dinner with lettuce wraps. When dinner came and went, I was so full from tasting my husband fillet mignon that he ordered and the lobster tail that came with my dinner that I didn't even touch the prime rib on my plate. I must say the fillet was really tender and had the perfect flavor and crust. We will definitely go back to Cha-Bones.

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Afterwards, we went to the Naked Turtle Beach Bar for drinks. There was a live band performance consisting of two guys and they played songs from Jimmy Buffet and other songs that people liked to dance to. We people watched while waiting for our friends to join us but exhaustion got the best of us so we called it a night to rest our weary bodies.

~-Day 2-~
There is something about Lake Havasu that wakes me up early in the morning. I never struggle to rise and even when I felt like I had enough sleep and am ready to get up, it's barely 6 or 7 a.m. Perhaps I'm excited about the day.

The next morning we woke up before 7 a.m. and prepared to spend the day in the channel. Since it's Monday, the lake shouldn't be as crowded as it was yesterday. Those who come out today are either residents of Lake Havasu, live in Las Vegas and have less than two hours drive, or took Tuesday (or the entire week) off. That leaves those who may not have taken extra days off or they have five to six hours to drive home to CA. Or maybe, just maybe they are simply partied out...LOL.
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When we got to the channel, sure enough we had our pick of places to tie up. After picking a spot, we walked along the path to a restaurant close by called Makai Cafe for breakfast.

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I ordered something I have not had recently, a mimosa (orange juice and champagne), but then I spotted their Bloody Mary's and that sounded like the perfect accompaniment for breakfast! It was thick and spicy. Two of my favorite breakfast things to eat are ham and pancakes (hold the butter and syrup; I just love the taste of the cake--especially if it's a good pancake!).

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To our surprise, the channel had more boats and people than we had expected. I think the day was a little breezy for most people to enjoy or hangovers kept folks in the channel rather than running on the lake.
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Parked next to us were two couples from CA. We watched their boat while they left for breakfast and then we spent the afternoon hanging out with them.
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After a while, I left the slip with all the girls so we can cruise the channel. We spent more time in the channel and did not want to leave. I think it was close to six o'clock by the time we pulled the boat off the lake and drove home.

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I'm glad we took a chance against Mother Nature to spend our Memorial Weekend in Havasu; it turned out to be a great trip.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

Wishing you the happiest (and a safe) Memorial Day. We're parking in the channel of Lake Havasu to have breakfast at Makai Café. The weather is absolutely gorgeous and I think this special day is gonna be another good day. :-)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lake Havasu Channel

It's like Spring Break II out here. We're out on Lake Havasu pretty early but even at this time, there's not a single slip in the channel to beach up on. I'm just glad it's sunny with not a whisper of wind in the air.

I can see clearly now the rain is gone

Forecast for Henderson is rain today so with the sun rising behind us, we're escaping to Lake Havasu. On the road the air smells clean, of desert sagebrush and dirt cleansed by the rain.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Granny Smith Draft Cider

While shopping at Trader Joe's, I came upon Newton's Foly granny smith (apple) draft cider and picked up the six-pack to sample at home. I love cider, specifically Wyder's Pear Cider, and thought this slightly different cider would be worth a try.
Made in the good 'ol U.S.A., this cider packs 5% acohol by weight. It has a light taste (typical of ciders) but a hint of granny apple. For the drinker who doesn't like the taste of alcohol, this would be your drink (I can hardly taste any). Served cold, it is very easy to drink though.
All in all, if I've gotta hava drink ... I wouldn't reach first for this granny smith apple cider but I still give it two cheers .

Slim-Down Secrets

Last night I picked up a magazine while grocery shopping for our boating trip this holiday weekend. Of all the magazines on the rack, this one by Women's Health caught my eye though it didn't look like anything special. I rarely buy magazines (especially when there are stacks of Bon Appétit, Taste of Home, and other cooking magazines waiting to be flipped through at home) and since I own many health and fitness resources already, I was hesitant to buy another lose-weight-quick gimmick. After scanning the pages inside, this one looked like a good read--at least while I'm soaking in some sun on the bow of our boat. Maybe it was the headline that read, "THE BEST SHAPE OF YOUR LIFE! Our Ultimate Get-Fit Diet" that lured me in. After all, that has been my goal since the start of this year. So 10 bucks later, I was at home reading through the pages.
I must tell you it was $10 well spent because of the basic guidelines and simple approach to health and fitness provided inside. It was just what I needed to stay on track and renew my personal goals.

To give you a preview of some of the contents:
  • What's Your Perfect Weight? (a question I've been trying to answer to set a realistic goal)
  • The WH Pefect Body Diet
  • 10 Foods, 40 Recipes (forty delicious, no-hassle recipes from ten nutrient-rich foods for the carb-sensitive and carb-friendly dieter)
  • The Perfect Cardio Plan
  • Hello, Abs!
  • One Perfect Hour
  • Mind Over Fatter
  • How to Get Your Fill
So far I've learned how to calculate my perfect body weight which was exactly what I had estimated when I created my weight loss ticker. I found the lazy-day calorie goal and busy-day calorie goal helpful; I shouldn't eat a set amount of calories every day anyway but rather based upon each day's physical activity.

Women's Health also has an Ultimate Fit Plan 2008 (a 6 month workout plan in three 8-week schedules to transform you) that I'm thinking about joining (especially because I can download the exercise videos to watch on my iPod). The last thing I need is another e-journal and fitness log (my PDA/Phone is my current tool) but it just might be the challenge I need to reach my goal of losing the last 4 to 6 ½ pounds. That and the effective eating, workouts, recipes, and tips from this Slim-Down Secrets guide should do it!

Kick boredom goodbye

The past couple weeks, I've been feeling like working out was a becoming chore, just another thing to check off my daily to-do list. I was starting to feel that exercising was no longer enjoyable or fun as it had been for the past several months. I guess I was bound to fall into a rut after going to the gym five days a week, only alternating between the stair stepper, elliptical trainer, and circuit training all the while working out alone.

This week I decided to take a couple group classes, a step and strength training class and a cardio kickboxing class (not both in the same day of course...LOL). The step and strength training class came first in the week. When I first walked into the class, I was so excited to be there in that large room with other people and start a different workout. I had taken step classes before so I am somewhat familiar with the moves. By the end of the class, I felt the routine left something to be desired. The moves were difficult to follow because the sequence wasn't logically tied together and (personally) I found the instructor's high-pitch small voice overwhelmed by the loud music annoying and hard to hear. Still I tried to make the most of my workout putting forth as much effort as I could; I hate to waste my time (doing half-assed workouts).

The strength training portion, however, made up for my evening. I was introduced to new moves that challenged me. The soreness I felt the next day assured me I had put forth enough effort. I was looking forward to the next group class, cardio kickboxing.

THAT class was high-energy from the start; alternating medium and high-intensity moves. It left me invigorated when all was said and done--even squeezing what energy I had left to do the strength training moves afterwards. I will definitely take that class again.

I'm glad I decided to take some group classes. Now I know there are options for my workouts and I don't have to work out alone.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Dark Skies in Vegas

The good news: it's FRIDAY!! The bad news: it's RAINING (well, it's still good news for the desert but bad for boating). I drove home from work underneath a cloudy, dreary sky as if I was driving into a dark tunnel but instead I was driving into a blanket of rain. My car skidded across the asphalt as I turned the corner at less than 20 m.p.h. The mixture of fresh rain and oil makes the road slick so everyone drove cautiously on the freeway.
Earlier this week, the temperatures exceeded 100°F and today, the digits dropped to 62°F. I drove past the neighbor's house, a black Tige hitched up to a lifted black pickup truck poised to take off for the lake. I imagine they did what we had planned to do, hitch up our boat so we're ready to take off for Lake Havasu first thing in the morning. But with thunderstorms in the forecast, our plans are now delayed.
So we did what a gloomy wet day would make most people want to do, curl up by a warm fireplace and drink wine. Even though we have a perfectly good setup at home, it's always fun to go out--especially to a place we've been wanting to check out, VOX Vine Lounge, recommended to us by our friends.
There are separate dining areas from the bar/gaming area when we first walk in which is glassed off from the formal dining area and the lounge where we sat to have appetizers and wine. The setting is intimate with chairs and what looks like double chaise lounges with fluffy pillows arranged in a half circle around the fireplace; the perfect place for us to relax.
We had the lounge area to ourselves while we enjoyed the Charcuterie & Cheese Plate (house-made cured meats, marinated olives, domestic & imported cheeses) and Grilled Prawn Flatbread (tomatoes, basil, and garlic cream sauce) with our wine. It was just enough to fill our tummies and fuel us for the grocery shopping we needed to do for our trip.
The weather should be warmer and sunnier on Sunday and Monday so there is still a whole lot of weekend ahead! If it's not to be, however, I would be just fine right by a warm fireplace instead.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gyros Salad

I've been told (in more words or less) that I spend a lot of time photographing my food and posting it on the net. I guess ... I can't dispute that--LOL!! What can I say? It is a fetish, I think. I like food; the presentation and the way it looks before I devour it. So when Subway calls their employees "sandwich artists" I can see why. Because food ... is an art! So with that said, I have another picture of a collosial gyros salad I ate Paymon's Mediterranean Cafe earlier this week. It doesn't look large in this photo but believe me, it's larger than my head and I desperately tried to make a dent but only succeeded in eating half of it.
I am rather disappointed that I didn't get a good shot of a Whedubop salad I had with my friend the next day. Next time you bet your bottoms up, Rob, I won't forget...
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Black Velvet My Heart

I was at a restaurant which boasts having the world's largest selection of beer on tap. With so many choices to choose from, I settled on one of their beer blends, the Black Velvet. It is Wyder's Pear Cider with a float of Guinness Stout and the mix was just smooth on my lips. Sipping the Black Velvet, I can taste the sweetness of the cider coming through the Guinness--it tasted like eating a chocolate covered pear!

Wyder's Pear Cider can be too sugary sweet for the hard core beer drinker and Guinness can be too bitter so their marriage is sweet success as far as I'm concerned. You can learn how to make your own by visiting a post by The Disgruntled Chemist.

I give the Black Velvet three cheers .

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Oyster Bar Sunday

Near the heart of Henderson, NV is a quiet casino nestled between the city's busy streets called the Sunset Station. One of the Station Casinos, its sisters include Boulder Station, Fiesta Henderson, Green Valley Ranch, and the newest addition to the family, Red Rock Resort and Spa. While the Sunset Station Casino may be 15-20 minutes from the beaten path of the Las Vegas strip, is not far from our home.

If the state-of-the-art bowling facility didn't draw us there (they have 72 lanes which makes them the largest bowling venue in Las Vegas and second largest in Nevada), the Oyster Bar certainly had us at "hello". The restaurant lured our tired bodies to it after we get off the lake (we usually don't feel like cooking after a lake day anyway).


Once inside, we relaxed to the trickling water and smell of seafood in the air.

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I sat quietly and enjoyed the entertainment before me (which never ceases)...LOL.


The Oyster Bar was part of our Sunday lunch tradition but they switched to dinner hours recently (we were so bummed) so finding ourselves sitting at the familiar tables this evening was comforting.

I couldn't resist ordering the hot shell-on shrimps cooked Louisiana style, served piping hot in a spicy garlic sauce that is delicious enough to dip bread in. The portions here are generous because I'm positive there was more than 1 lb. on my plate. I can't remember what John ordered but it had lobster, crab, and shrimp in a buttery gravy sauce. It was YUMMY too!

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At the Oyster Bar, it is easy to forget that we are in a casino and as far as we are concerned, it was the perfect ending to our weekend.