Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Haunted...by a drink...

A non-alcoholic one at that. Of course if you knew me you would know that since I don't drink alcohol. Never really learned how to acquire the taste for it so I don't bother. In high school I got to drive everybodys car since I was always the designated driver. It was fun. Anyway last week I was visiting San Diego and I got to out a lot to dine with friends. Oddly this was almost never for dinner, mostly lunch and 1 breakfast. Even more strange, I went mostly to places I had never been before.

One lunch I had with my friend Anna and her co-worker and they took me to Eclipse Chocolat. Yes darlings that's a foodie chocolatier place and it is divine. We ordered a fruit and nut platter with melted chocolate fondue to munch on and some divine 'cupcakes' for lack of better descriptions I suppose the title cupcake is close but really, does them no justice. They have a variety of different chocolate, chocolate/coffee, and teas, both hot and cold, drinks to choose from. I also noticed that they had their version of Thai iced tea. I have a weak spot for Thai iced tea, especially with boba (not what they had here) so I actually ordered a non-chocolate drink from a chocolatier. I was feeling a bit guilty until I tasted it. OMG it was the most amazing Thai iced tea I have ever tasted. Ever. It was very unique, I could recognize the Thai iced tea taste for the base of the drink but they took it someplace else too. There were coconut and chai undertones that made it something above and beyond your average Thai iced tea. Hats off to the creative streak of those chocolatiers. They rock....

Yes, I just wrote a post on a glass of tea I drank in San Diego. If you ever are near there you must go and try some.....

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ranitomeya orange lamasi

AKA thumbnail sized poison dart frogs of the orange variety. I smuggled these home from San Diego. You see the alternative was to ship them overnight which is insanely expensive and the frogs are very temperature extreme intolerant. And no, poison dart frogs are not allowed as carry ons on Southwest Airlines. Or any airlines for that matter. I printed labels with their name (the one in the title, not poison dart frogs) and tropical frogs written on it and put each in an individual 16oz clear deli containers. Then handed them to security and told them they needed to be hand inspected. They took them to the hand inspection area and gave them back once I made it though x-ray. I put them back in my big purse and proceeded to fly to San Antonio without ever mentioning them to the stewardesses. Yeah, I'm sure I broke a few laws but really, how dangerous are these little things? They aren't poisonous unless they are eating their native prey in south america. With their domesticated diets of fruit flies they aren't poisonous anymore. And they're smaller than your pinky nail, not exactly 9-11 material. They are so damn teeny and adorable even the hubby admitted that he thinks they're cute. Because they are.

Once I got them home I put all 3 in their quarantine container (a 190oz clear deli container) where they will stay until they get a clean bill of health. What does that mean for a frog? They can get internal parasites just like dogs and cats so they have to have fecals run. And just like in dogs and cats they have to have one run every 2 weeks until 3 in a row come up clean. Alternately you can just own frogs and not care if they have diseases. All frogs can have these parasites, most people just don't know it and for the most part don't care. Your average pet store frogs is cheap and if it dies because it has hook worms it's no big. Dart frogs are expensive, some go for over $200 each. I don't own any of those. Yet. But you know I was a vet tech for 5 years. Those fecals run on dogs and cats? You know who ran those? That would be us, the vet techs. The kid has a microscope, I have the know how, I can check them myself no problem. So it's not as financially silly for me to keep them in quarantine and run the tests. There is 1 other test that is more expensive that I will be running but even then, since I work in a lab I can reduce the costs greatly. There's a disease wiping out entire species of frogs in their native habitat called Batrachochytrium dendrobaditis, or more commonly known as chytrid. They do PCR testing (really insane) to figure out whether or not captive bred frogs have it. It's nasty, aggressive, and will wipe out an entire collection of frogs so yeah, I'm testing for it. I'm a scientist and PCR was something I watched neighboring biologists do at my old research lab. Yes, I am a nerd. Plus it's the responsible thing to do. Gawd I'm so old....

Belly shot!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Things to get done whilst in San Diego

This trip is almost over and I have, for the most part, completed the things that need to get done here because there is no where else I can get them done. Not visiting people, I mean things to get done. I made a hair appointment with Lynell, my hair dresser since 2000 in SD, a week before I came out here. I went Tuesday morning and while I was there I asked her if she could recommend an esthetician. For those lucky souls out there who do not know what I'm talking about an esthetician is a wax person. You know, eyebrows, upper lip, under arm, bikini line. These people are hit or miss and lemme tell ya, you want a good one because a bad one can scar you for life. Physically and emotionally. I no longer trust those crazy asian ones set up in the back of a nail shop. They are whack. The non-asian ones are few and far between though and normally cost a fortune.

Note here, if you want a good one you need to go to either southern California or (and this is just a guess here) Brazil. You can probably figure that one out if you think about it for a minute huh? I haven't even put real effort into finding one back in San Antonio. I figured I would get it done while I was out here if I could find a good one on short notice. Hence asking Lynell when I had my hair done Tuesday morning. She set me up with Nicole Wednesday (this) morning. Now I have had just about everything waxed before and the only pain (yeah, this shit hurts) that I can't take is waxing the legs. Everything else is fine, painful but I can suck it up.

This time was a new experience. When she asked me if I wanted just the bikini line or a full Brazilian I opted to go big and take it all off. Never done this before and lemme tell ya, it's a whole different experience. You must go to someone good for this one peeps. You don't want that much hot wax near your parts unless that person knows what the hell she's doing. Trust me on this one. Don't try for the budget back of the room wax place for this level of hair removal.

Fun stuff! It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a party by any stretch of the means. But it was an experience. Live life to it's fullest right? And whilst in So Cal take advantage of all it has to offer....

Monday, August 16, 2010

A small quick vacation

You ever notice that a vacation that includes any sort of travel is never ever restful? It's always running around like a chicken with it's head cut off to get everything squeezed in that you want to do. I try to never ever vacation outside my home for these reasons. I am a total homebody. Of course every decade or so I end up doing it anyway for whatever stupid reason.

This time around it was to escort the child home from her summer in San Diego. Now mind you I have not taken a vacation from my work since I started there. My plane left for San Diego last Saturday. I had to be at the airport at noon. My boss was calling me at 10:30 am on a Saturday I was leaving for the airport, expecting some results from things I had running on the instrument Friday night. I had already gotten preliminary results at 5:30 pm on Friday night that were basically the same exact answer she was going to get when I went in on Saturday morning to look at the results. When I should have been preparing to get on a freaking plane. I haven't left them for 3 years, this was the first time. I'd like to look at it as job security. All I could really feel though was bitterness at the audacity. I earn them almost $40,000 a week. A week. In the testing I do. They can get the freaking Hell over me leaving for the first time in 3 years.

Moving on....
So I am now in San Diego and was finally getting to see my daughter after 3 very long months. She was sooo glad to see her mommy and vice versa! I'm pretty sure she'd be happier to see her daddy though. I am staying at my friend's house on their couch so while I take the kid during the day I send her back to her grandmother's to sleep. If her daddy were here he'd be sleeping on his mother's couch and she wouldn't be saying good bye to him every night. You may think that this should not be traumatic since she's sleeping anyway but she's 8. She'd rather be sleeping with me. We fly back to San Antonio on Thursday so I'm only here for 6 days, 2 of which are essentially travel.

I told very few people of my arrival in America's Finest City. Mostly just the ones that would be pissed if I didn't tell them. The others can blow. Yes, as a matter of fact I am warm and fuzzy, not.

So here's how the itinerary is going/has gone so far (please note that my father paid for me to come out here, he gets priority):

Saturday: Jas and Alison (my friends putting me up for this trip) were in San Francisco for work, my dad picks up my kid early (her grandmother had left this past weekend for a quilting trip in Palm Springs), entertains her for all day, then picks me up at the airport with her (she's super excited). We find Jas & Alison's house and drop off my and the kid's stuff (she's staying with me for just that night). We go out to dinner then go back to the house to sleep. Amazing what you can get done in 3 hours.

Sunday: Brunch with dad, pick up Jas and Alison from airport, take them home, go out with Alison and the kid to get groceries for dinner, make/eat dinner, take kid back to grandmother's house, come back, collapse. Trip is starting to make me very tired.

Monday: Get kid, stop at a nursery to look at plants (yes, it's an obsession), drive ~20 minutes north to a pho restaurant to eat lunch with co-workers from old San Diego job. Hi Donna, love ya babe, congrats on closing! Drive to exotic pet store (was slightly disappointed), drive to expensive tourist toy store in Old Town(kid was happy), drive back to Jas and Alison's. Please note, I am driving Jas' HUGE Queen Mary truck. Some big ass towing capacity Chevy that I have problems seeing over the steering wheel but can reach the gas pedal and brake so it's ok. It is lifted though with no step bars. Did I mention I'm 5' short? Fun stuff to watch. Also it's the only 'car' Jas and Alison have so I try to keep my borrowing of said vehicular to a minimum. They also have a pair of motorcycles though so it oddly works out ok.
Dad comes and picks us up and takes us to his fav place in the whole world. He essentially lives at O'Brien's Pub. Everybody knows him there and he takes the kid there too when they visit. It's licensed as a restaurant but it's like Cheers and he's Norm. My kid has been there this summer, she loves it. Not for the beer. There's a Hello Kitty store next door and she waits patiently until dad takes her over there and buys her whatever she wants, smart girl. But wait, it gets better. Apparently everybody there loves my dad. That translates to the kid. So one of the other guys there has been known to be taken next door by the kid and get squeezed out of $. I had heard about this and had just figured he'd had too much to drink. Not so. That guy was there this afternoon when we stopped. And he conversed with the kid about Hello Kitty stuff. She went over with my dad and he bought her a bag of loot. Then later this guy takes her back over and buys her another bag of loot. Yeah, she loves this bar. My kid, she's good.
After dinner we go to another nursery. Kid gets a plant. Surprised? No I didn't think so. We then go the book store because you know me, I'm already done with the book I started reading on the plane. Yes, the kid got a book too. Seeing a trend? I'd say she was spoiled but she behaves so well that it really is a moot point.

Future plans? Yeah. Tomorrow is the pick up kid early (9:30 is early) and go to hairdresser's to get my hair cut. I get my hair cut like once a year and my hair stylist here in San Diego I've had since 2000. I miss her so. I'll probably have her trim the kid's hair too. Then dad is picking us up and we're driving up to see my grandmother and aunt up in North County (45 minutes north of San Diego). This is going to be an all day affair. I also plan on visiting another exotics pet store and picking up some stuff I can normally only get on line. I hate paying shipping and this place happens to be someplace we pass up whenever we go to the aunt and grandmother's preferred restaurant up there. We may even get to go to a nursery up there if I don't totally run out of steam. It's a possibility since just writing this is tuckering me out.

Wednesday is my odd day where I don't have plans with dad. I am going to lunch with another old (met in high school) friend of mine. After that another old hs friend will be returning to town so I've set aside the afternoon with her. I don't know long that will last though so dinner is still a bit in the air. I do know that late that night I need to go to Chula Vista to pick up 3 poison dart frogs I put a deposit on. Yes, I am going to smuggle them on to the plane after showing them to security. It's much safer for them to be in my carry on luggage than to be shipped and they are smaller than a person's pinky nail so they are no chances of trauma to anyone on the plane. Unlike peanuts. I was on a flight that was delayed because someone with peanut allergies insisted everything with peanuts had to be removed from the plane. That included any that other passengers already had on them. Can you be more obnoxious?

Tired yet? No peace for the wicked and I am still missing squeezing in at least 2 sets of friends that I can think of. I haven't been able to book Darryl and Denise (our paintball friends) and David and Alena (their kids went to preschool with mine). Not enough time in the day...