Monday, June 30, 2008

Santa Rosa Plateau

Other than S's house and the new BJ's Pizzeria in Temecula, there aren't a lot of cultural gems in Southern Riverside County. But there is a natural delight there called the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. It's a massive natural space just off the 15 in Murrieta, hidden behind the hills west of the freeway. There are all sorts of different hiking trails that take you over undulating hills, past little creeks lined with tiny wildflowers, and across acres and acres of old ranch land. (I haven't fact checked that it was actual ranch land at one time. But there's a ranch house. And it sounds good.)

When S and I feel motivated, we like to try and get there early in the morning for a little hike. We've lucked out in spotting wildlife: coyotes, hawks, snakes, and the teeeeeniest little frogs you've ever seen. Pull out a dime (go ahead, I'll wait)...that's how big the froggies are. They hang out by the vernal pools. The best part of the hike is when we reach the historic old ranch house about 2.5 miles into the reserve. We realize a) that there STILL isn't a bathroom there even though we learned that the last time we came here, and b) we now have to hike BACK to the car.

I have since discovered that there is a Foundation that supports the Plateau, and they have a Cowboy Jubilee! Somebody's found the theme to her next birthday party!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I Loves Me Some Aunting

I love being an aunt, probably (ok, definitely) to the point of being a wee bit obnoxious. I could not WAIT to be Auntie JJ. By the way, for the record, my sister and I have always referred to each other by odd nicknames, rarely "Kelly" and "Jenny/Jennifer." My nickname for the past few years has been J.J., or the full version, J.J. Jumpy. It doesn't really mean anything, it just sounded fun to my sister. However, she did also say, a few years back when she bestowed this nickname on me, that she was going to start calling me J.J. because she thought the name Auntie JJ would be cute when she and Ross started having kids. She recently told me she doesn't remember this conversation, but I remember it quite clearly as the genesis of my Auntie JJ title. And I love it. But back to the babies. Here they are when they were one day old:And here they are just a few weeks ago (in their cute little shirts from Aunt Janine):
Good job, babies.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Babies!

One year ago today Benjamin and Samuel were born, and it was just one of the best days ever! I love being an aunt, and I love these little boys. I'll post some pics tomorrow, but before I go to sleep, I had to make sure they got an official bloggity birthday wish on their actual birthday. I love you!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Just a Typical Wednesday Night

So as a jetsetting host for a slightly-viewed local entertainment internet sensation, I'm getting to go places and do things that I normally wouldn't go out of my way to experience. And this is a good thing. Because my curiosity and enthusiasm for San Diego nightlife and other extra-curriculars often doesn't translate to getting off of my couch. (It's red! And squishy! And there are books next to it!)

This past Wednesday was one of my more interesting experiences. We were profiling this fancy-pants spa in La Jolla (wait, everything in La Jolla falls under the category of "fancy-pants") called Gaia Day Spa. The employees were all very nice, and very nervous, to the point that they prepared typed answers to all of my potential questions, and were practicing trying to memorize them when I arrived.

As the host I had to experience one of the treatments (the Banya!), but in the interest of time, I didn't REALLY get to have the full 80 minutes of pampering. Sigh. However, I did get to partake in the "best" part of the whole thing. I lay down in a 160-degree sauna, and a nice lady named Sarah thwacked me all over with branches of Eucalyptus leaves. Allegedly this is good for the immune system, or for waking you up, or for your kidneys? I don't know, I was distracted by the thwacking.

Fortunately for you, dear reader, this was all caught on camera, so watch for it soon on!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

But He's So Important!

That's what my sister said when I called and told her that Tim Russert died. It might seem odd to be so saddened by the death of some media figure we've never even met, but Tim Russert and Meet the Press was just the best.

I'm not profound enough to write anything that interesting about Tim Russert dying. But I'm really sad about it, and feel like our country has been completely ripped off by losing him, especially this year. Please check out Tom Shales' column in the Washington Post, I think it sums that feeling up perfectly.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Even the Swedish Brush Hook?!?

S and I rolled down to Barrio Logan this morning to go pick up his car from the scary impound lot. Luckily, I was wearing my J. Crew-iest, "Hi-I'm-preppy-who-wants-a-chai?" outfit, so I blended right in.

They wouldn't let me go in the lot with S to check out the car, but I could see him and the impound lady (who kind of looked like Tom Cruise in Collateral with that odd gray hairdo), as I eagerly watched through the razorwire fence. Though it was somewhat obscured from what I could see, Grimace looked ok. He didn't appear to have any physical damage, though I would imagine the emotional toll from being driven by strangers will keep him from being able to trust for awhile. S started him up with no problems, and I jumped up and down in excitement.

They took most of what was in the car, including the delightfully-named Swedish Brush Hook, which as you probably already know, hooks brush. I have no idea how the Swedes got involved. The worst loss was all of his work certificates, which may not be replaceable, and even if they can be, will be a long and tedious process.

S is still feeling pretty down about the theft, but it's a huge relief to have the car back. Still hoping that somewhere in the city, some very itchy thieves are suffering from poison oak rashes.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Great News, Team Sizzle!

This just in! The po-po called S this evening and informed him that his car has been found! We have no idea where it was found or what condition it is in at this point, but Grimace the Purple Car may live to see another day. After the indignity of having your car stolen, you then 'get' to pay $300 to have it released from the impound lot. Terrific. At least it's been found though, right?!?

Huh. Why Are My Eyes Watering?

I love politics. I wish I could say that it's because I have passionate feelings about the major issues of our time, or a burning desire to change the world. That's not to say I don't have opinions or questions or frustrations about domestic and international issues. But what fascinates me most about politics are the characters that make it up, the actions they take, the motivations behind those actions, and the way they react to, make, and change history.

I am so looking forward to watching Obama and McCain duke it out, and though I'm pretty confident I know who I'm voting for, I'm curious to see if there will be one statement or cause or event that might change my mind.

And then there are the Clintons. I think Bill is brilliant, charismatic, and was a very effective president. However, he's also, in my opinion, quite sleazy. As for Hillary, I wanted to like her for so long, I really did. I was offended and alarmed by people's hatred of her not for her stance on fill-in-the-blank, but because she didn't dump her husband after he cheated on her. I don't have a problem with ambition in a woman, even when it's as naked as it is in Hillary.

However, I just couldn't ever warm to her. Her repeated lying about dodging sniper fire in Bosnia realllllly bugged me. (It's weird how certain things can get under your skin, while you can forgive other transgressions) I just started feeling more and more uncomfortable with the whole Clinton clan. (Except that Chelsea; who's doing her hair? Fabulous!) But what most turned me against voting for her was the aforementioned hatred of her. Our current President is, um, somewhat divisive. I'm exhausted by how divided we've become over the past 8 years. I don't think either McCain or Obama will inspire such division, but I think Hillary does, and I didn't want to vote for that.

All that being said, I'm watching Hillary's concession speech (oh, sorry, "suspension" speech), and I'm truly sad to see the closest shot we've had at a female president leaving the race. I wouldn't vote for a woman just because she's a woman. But all things being equal, seeing a woman in the White House would be amazing. I don't like her, but I'm saddened. I'm saddened to think of the women who fought for the equal rights amendment, who feel that this might have been their last chance to see a woman president in their lifetime. It very well may be.

But hey, there's Ted Danson in the audience!

Friday, June 6, 2008

People Who Suck

So various friends who I love and respect have been encouraging me to write more postings and not fret about the brilliance and insight of each topic. I sure didn't want my first post in 5 months to be negative, but here it is, and I promise the next one will be much cheerier.

S got his car stolen from in front of my apartment last night. There are a few silver linings: it wasn't his truck, it didn't have the multiple sets of uniforms in it that he has to keep packed at all times. But there was some electronic stuff he just got for his new gig at the airbase; his beloved, expensive, and always carefully selected sunglasses; and all his work certificates that he has earned for various specialty classes that may or may not be able to be replaced. What an infuriating and absolutely violating experience. It's maddening to basically be left helpless, because there's really nothing the police can do. You just have to say "oh well!" to thousands of dollars of your things, your mobility, your better gas mileage, your connection to your grandma (it was her car), taken from you by some assholes who will probably just end up working for S at Rainbow. Ah, irony.

There was some wildland gear in the backseat, and I am praying it was covered in poison oak oils.