Speak Up

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dreamy New ChefCrush Blog

Daniel at Sel Gris

Two Portland ladies have come up with a clever, entertaining blog supported by the motto that:

"...cooking makes a person cute and sometimes even sexy! We love good food,
and we totally crush on the people who cook it for us. These dreamy chefs make us feel all tingly inside, like we’re back in junior high flipping through the glossy pages of our teen magazines."

Click through the pages of ChefCrush and you'll find photos of local Portland chefs standing right in their element of kitchen glory. You'll also read about the dish they serve that earns them the dreamy stamp of approval. I spoke with Tonya, one half of the writing team at ChefCrush. She works with another chef lover who prefers to keep her anonymity. The second lady behind ChefCrush is a cook herself so she was too busy to answer questions (sound familiar?), but you can get to know her through her blog, The Hungry Cupboard.
Gabe at Biwa

Tonya developed a crush on Brandon from Caffe Mingo and her boyfriend, how loving of him, suggested she start a website based on her chef crush. After further encouragement from her cook friend, named crush girl 2, Tonya bought the domain name and starting taking chef snapshots. She met Crush Girl 2 through PortlandFood.org and after meeting for some happy hour drinks and they hit it off with their love of food, and chefs.

I was curious how she attained all the photos of chefs. I think I'd be nervous to ask for them but Tonya assured me that because Portland has a lot of open kitchens and "chef's counter" seating it's easy to gaze into the eyes of chefs. But even in closed kitchens servers have been kind enough to take pictures for her or bring her into the kitchen. Her account of the chefs' reactions is priceless and I'll let you read it word for word:

"I usually don’t know whether the chefs get excited. It’s actually sort of cute how nonchalant most of them act about it. You’d be surprised how many chefs don’t even ask why I want their pictures. I guess they assume I’m a reviewer of some sort and don’t really care. Or at least they want to seem too cool to care. Lol. If they do ask, I tell them I have a food blog and leave it at that unless pressed to provide the URL. I’m not sure why. I guess I don’t want to act like I think I’m some kind of big deal. I love the blogosphere, but I get annoyed by people who think that the mere act of spewing their opinion online makes them some kind of expert. Also, I never ask for a photo until after the last entrĂ©e or dessert has been served, because I don’t want it to affect the service or the food I receive."

Kjell at Luka

That's so fair of her. I don't know that I'd be as reserved. If there's a chance a hook up, I'm all over it. ChefCrush seems like an eager website, and some chefs' wives have expressed annoyance with chef groupies but rest assured Tonya isn't a groupie. She's dated chefs in the past and knows all the tortures and treats that we go through. She describes what she loves about chefs:

"I think there is something very sexy about what a chef does. He (or she) has his hands on something that goes into my mouth and gives me satisfaction and sustenance. It’s inherently sensual. And I’m in awe of a person who can take a few ingredients and devise something I would never think of."

I've never thought of it that way, but I totally agree. Think your chef or a chef you know deserve to be stared at adoringly? The Crush Girls gladly accept photos of chefs from other places so email them to crushgirl1@chefcrush.com.



Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Public Blog for Chef Lovers and Haters

There's been a little confusion about the audience this blog writes for. Everyone is welcome! Yes, it benefits the wives of chefs and girlfriends of chefs but you can come and read and comment if you're a mother to a chef, live near a chef, hate chefs, love chefs, stalk chefs, are a chef groupie, are a chef baby mama, work for a chef, boss a chef, sass a chef, slap a chef, sleep with a chef, fight with a chef, or dream of becoming a chef.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008


One of the biggest problems that I face, and maybe one that you face, is loneliness. I write about this topic often but recently it's been a little more pressing on my mind. I've never been the type of person who has a large circle of friends. When I used to watch 90210 type shows I'd wish I had a gang of friends who all ate at the local hangout. But as much as I wished for it, I never really wanted it either, if that makes sense. I'm just not that type of person. And it's a shame too because when you're married to a chef you spend a lot of time alone. I would totally be at the Peach Pit every night laughing with my head back listening to the latest hits on the radio. But I'm not. I'm at home nearly every night. I spend hours working on the computer for either the blog, or work, or whatever. I clean. I pay some bills. I grade papers. It is what it is. But I'm getting annoyed with it. I wanted to go to the neighborhood block party tonight but going alone seemed a lot less fun than watching Secret Life of the American Teenager. This is my life.

I wonder if I'm really good at my job because I have no other "life" to commit to. I've got so much time to devote to my school. I don't have a husband to be home for. I don't have dinner to make. I live the life of a single woman. OMG, I even have the cats to go with the typical cliche. Yikes!

I tried talking to Erik about it but he didn't seem to take me seriously. Maybe he was trying to block the conversation since they are painful feelings. Maybe he stressed about Rest. Week. Who knows. I mentioned in a previous post that I try to think of things in terms of needs. I have a need to feel useful and being alone most evenings makes me feel useless.

I can't wait for September. Or a baby.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Chefwife Picnic

Hey Ladies! So Bonne Maman had a great suggestion to have a picnic since the Picnic Club seems to be dissolved. What a great idea! But before I plan it, I would just like to know how many people would be interested in a Saturday afternoon BYO-picnic in Central Park? It's so hard to get us all together but a picnic would be less formal and kind of come as you go. We can chat, snack, and get a little sun too. I'd really like to meet you all-in person!

If you're interested leave a comment or email me. And kids would be totally welcome, too!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lonely Sunday

It's Sunday and Erik has to work. Boo hoo! His sous chef took the day off and I haven't had a Sunday alone in a long time. Why does it feel so much different than a weekday? Lame TV lineup? Sad rainy weather? Whatever it is, I'm never going back to Sundays alone. This sucks. It's only 11 am and I already accomplished all I needed to do, which included doing my nails and making iced tea. What a to-do list. I know there is work stuff I could be doing, but I'm feeling unmotivated. Mulan is on Toon Disney and I haven't seen this one in a while, so it looks like this is it. Erik took the car to work so I can't stray too far from home either. Hmm.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Nifty Purse Holder

A couple nights ago a chefwife and her mom ate at Perry St for restaurant week. As I understand it she's from Memphis. And it must be true what they say about the kindness of Southerners because she gave me this awesome gift! Have you seen these? You hang it on a restaurant/bar table and it hangs your purse! How perfect! I haven't got to use it yet since I haven't been out of the house due to the removal of my four wisdom teeth, but I can't wait to try it out!

Thanks mystery chefwife! I really appreciate it! Please email me so I can properly thank you and hear all about your restaurant week experience.



6 Survival Tips for Dating a Chef

Ok, we all know dating/marrying a chef is hard. The late nights, missed anniversaries and the pressure of work that they bring home weighing down on their shoulers. But, what about the newbies who are trying to make it work? Or even the ladies who've been with a chef for a long time, but still need work. I know I do. But here are my top 6 survival tips for dating/marrying a chef.

  1. Pick Your Battles. This is true for all relationships, but especially those involving chefs. It seems they have a shorter fuse when it comes to arguments. They run the show at their restaurant so quickly, thinking on their feet. They don't always want to sit back and talk everything out at home.
  2. Talk! Although the last tip suggests picking certain battles, talking about everything is important. (just do it at the right time, and in the right tone) Communication is essential to dating a chef. I've been trying something new. I've been thinking in terms of my needs. For instance instead of saying to Erik, "What the hell? Why didn't you put these dishes away?" I've been saying: "Erik, I have a need to live in a clean house and when you don't do the dishes right away, that need is not met". It might sound a little hokey, but it works! It keeps my temper down and gives Erik and understanding-instead of a headache.
  3. Time is on your side. Both couple time and independent time is necessary. Even if it's breakfast everyday or a midnight snack when your chef comes home-it will make a difference. Also try emailing or texting. Sometimes even the shortest note can make up for lost love time.
  4. Visit this site. Yes, this may seem shameless but it helps. Talking with other women who go through the same types of struggles can be validating and rewarding. Knowing you're not alone make the uphill battle seem a little less steep.
  5. Love what he does. I credit some of my success with Erik to the fact that we both are interested in the careers of the other. Caring about what your spouse does makes it harder to hate the place when it seems like you're husband has been taken hostage there.
  6. Love him! You should really also like him. We say our mates have to be intelligent, funny, charming, attractive and successful, but the simplest thing: liking them should be on that list too.

You must have lists of your own, too so please share with us!



Thursday, July 24, 2008

Update: A previous post and my teeth

There was an error on the Educational Support post, so I fixed the link to my class proposal. For some reason it was a link to Erik and Wylie.

Also, I had my wisdom teeth out today and I'm feeling fine! I can't believe I don't have any substantial pain yet. Erik was so caring. He set up the couch, got me some pudding, ice cream and a sudoku book. I'm usually the Florence Nightingale in the family so it was nice to be taken care of-especially during restaurant week.


Western Spaghetti

Erik's father sent me this terrific short movie. My favorite part is the rubix cube...you'll see.


Educational Support

Although this blog is mainly a source of information for chefs' wives and the like it does involve a lot of aspects of my own life and I'm in need of some support. I found a great site for educators called Donors Choose. On this site, teachers make lists of things they need, write proposals and donors choose which school/teachers/causes to financially support. My proposal will end in September and if I don't have enough funds, I don't get anything.

My proposal is Magnetic Math, a resource of large math manipulatives for my second graders to help teach math concepts that will be carried over into third grade and beyond. Please forward my proposal to any philanthropists or wealthy lovers of education you know or even any teachers you know who work in low income schools or who can't afford materials they need. Thanks for passing it on!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tofu Results!

Erik and his worthy opponents.

Wylie Dufresne won the tofu competition hosted by House Foods and The Gohan Society. I can't think of another chef that Erik would be grateful to come in second to. Wylie does such innovative and brilliant things with food. Erik trailed Wylie by one ONE POINT! The four chefs had to make two dishes, one sweet and one savory each using organic tofu. Each dish was judged out of thirty points by Andrea Strong, Michael Romano, and Peter Berley. I was sitting at the table next to them and heard so many wonderful comments about Erik's fried tofu dish. I was floored. I've heard and experienced Erik's food as amazing, but to hear the words out of people intentionally judging his food was very satisfying. I felt as if everything we've both worked for has been done in all the right ways.

sous chef for a day, and our good friend Tyler Kord

At the end of the evening it was Wylie who walked away with the giant novelty check, but soon after he accepted first place Michael Romano spoke very highly of one particular dish: Erik's fried tofu with crispy morels and sweet corn. That was the best reward of all. A perfect end to a competition we both lost a little sleep over.

Erik's fried tofu with crispy morels and sweet corn.

I want to thank everyone who put together this competition. It was so organized, entertaining and fun. The audience was able to taste the food and everyone had a great time chatting up their favorites. House Foods and The Gohan Society have been wonderful to work with. Mike Colameco was such a fantastic emcee. He interviewed the chefs while the cooked and there was a live feed to the space where the press and consumers where. Erik couldn't have done it without the help of Tyler Kord. Thanks TK.

Strong, Romano, and Berley

I'm so proud of my chef! Erik, I love you!

Erik serves Andrea Strong the fried tofu.



I'm at the tofu competition and I'm more nervous than erik- I'd write more but I can't figure it out on this new (erik old) iPhone

Monday, July 21, 2008


What a waste of money. For every dollar that Erik spends I save two. Now partly that's my own controlling nature and a desire to save money. But partly-he spends money on unnecessary things.

We have computer. It's a laptop, too and it's only three years old. It has never had a problem and it's fast. Not only that, but Erik is never home to use it! He's always at Perry St. working and when he is home, he hardly uses the computer. If he said that he wanted to make movies and edit photos and do all the macbook things then I MIGHT think it's reasonable, but he doesn't. He hasn't said anything about WHY he needs it. Because he doesn't. He has even confessed that he loves opening new electronics from the packaging, organizing the parts and reading through the manual. COME ON. That's lame. The government rebate check just came he thinks he's got to spend money like it's going to start rotting.

I want things too. Big things: a home, a baby, other random wishes too but I SAVE for them. What a waste when I see Erik spending all the dough he wants and I've got to wait another five years for my savings to start paying off. This sucks.

Oh, and he just bought the new 3G iPhone last week. If this is only child syndrome, then I don't know what is.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blog Love

I love this blog, which is really saying that I love you ladies! Thank you so much for being so honest and open in your comments. Talking about babies is actually very personal for me and I don't even discuss it outside of very close friends and family so I guess that says something about how safe I feel 'speaking' through this blog.

BB, I cannot believe how similar I feel to the way you do about children. I have wished for a "mistake" a thousand times. I too fear that without a mistake (baby on my doorstep, .01% that the pill won't work) I will plan my way OUT of having a children. My GYNO warned me about this. I'm such a good planner, too. Maybe it's not such a talent in this case. I keep thinking we don't have enough space and money. I keep questioning my role at the school, when to conceive to make it work for maternity leave. I wonder about Erik's time at work. If Jean Georges is reading this: Can Erik work 12-12 everyday? Maybe if he didn't have those two doubles we'd be able to have a baby.

Talking about this helps a lot. I hope you all are getting something from it as well, too!


Friday, July 18, 2008

You're Invited (If your're young enough)

I'm working with CCAP to put together a junior event set for late October this year. It's going to be a fantastic event here in the city with some really great chefs and it's all for a good cause. This is a junior event so the age range is 21-35. If you're interested in being invited, or you'd like to donate something for the gift bags please email me. I believe the cost for a ticket (which includes alcohol, live music and food tastings from restos from all over the city) will be less than $150. Even if you're over 35 let me know and I can make sure you get invited to the main event in 2009. I'd really like to help raise a lot of money for CCAP. They are doing such great things for students interested in culinary arts.


Chef Offspring

Does this man look ready for kids? Yes.

It has recently been brought to my attention that my true calling isn't teaching or education. My father told me my real calling is being a mother. That may be true, but I'm pretty sure those words were just a mask for my father's disappointment in me for not producing offspring yet. I've got older step siblings who ALL have children. My step brother is the same age as me (25) and he already has two children. Great for him, really. But I'm just not ready for that kind of lifestyle.

My chef is worked to the ground, we live in a super high rent area and I haven't got a family support system nearby. If I could even afford it I'd have to quit my job, but I really like my job and I'm good at it. How often does that happen? I love teaching! I go back and forth with the idea of starting a family. Sometimes I practically cry when I see women with babies and sometimes I can't imagine things any other way other than the way things are now.

I know so many chefs' wives have got growing families and I'm seeking your advice. How do you make it work? I feel as if I'm fighting with Perry St for my husband's attention and I can't imagine adding another person (baby) to the list of things demanding Erik. I do have to say we are much better off than we were a couple years ago. Erik wouldn't even let me talk about planning and family and now I've caught him saying how much he'd like a baby. We'll see...


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Division of Labor

If only he cleaned like this at home.

Happy Hilary sweeps her old apt.

When it comes to chefs one of the last words that comes to my mind is cleanliness. Although Erik's kitchen is pristine, his domicile -without my assistance- would be graded slightly above nasty. The question is: "Where do I draw the line of division? How much work should Erik have to do as my equal partner?"

In a perfect world, which as far as I know doesn't exist, Erik and I would split the housework 50/50. The chores aren't that intense; we have a one bedroom apartment. Some dusting, dish washing, and laundry. Swifer wet jetting every week after vacuuming, and cleaning the bathroom. Open some mail, pay some bills, make the bed, feed the cats. It's not that hard.

Since this world is far from perfect the scheme we've worked out still allows for 50/50 chores, but with a twist. We both do an equal amount of work proportional to our free time. Since I work a normal amount of hours and get home at a decent hour I end up doing more work. And honestly I do get a little resentful for this, but for now it's the only way to make it work, that I know of. Talking about it with Erik helps to makes me feel less resentful and writing about it on this blog also helps.

I do get frustrated when Erik complains about having to work at home. But Erik is usually sooo great about getting things done. He makes the bed, scrubs the oven (he's the best at it) and can even manage the cat litter.

How does everyone else manage their housework situation? I'm curious to know about those with yards. Do you mow? I always wanted to mow the yard and as soon as I get one I'm sure I'll be the one doing it.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chef and Wife

Liberty Church, where I tied the knot.

Thanks to everyone who wrote such honest and authentic comments for the last two posts. Divorce is a serious issue and we've all had to approach it. Everyone who makes the vows of marriage also makes a commitment to do everything they can to avoid the big D. Actually I've lost a couple participants to this site because they've since dumped their chefs. In the end it's about being a good fit for each other.

I think "mplschefwife" (Mineapolis ChefWife) said it best in her comment. She says that it's important for wives to support their husbands, no matter the career. And I agree. I'd also like to take it one step further and say that husbands should support their wives as well. We should all be each other's biggest fans.

Marriage is tough work. The rewards are great, I mean having a lifelong companion and lover is a beautiful thing, but it certainly doesn't come without its difficulties- no matter who you're married to.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Love These Wives

You may feel like this on the day you marry a chef, but the feeling will go away.

If you haven't checked out the comments from the previous post, please do so . It was wonderful reading what you all had to say about being married to a chef and the big D (divorce). Call me a sentimental Sally but those comments are inspiring. We've got it rough and we know it. We work at it, we struggle, we seek support, but we manage. And I think we're doing one heck of a job, too.

Keep at it, wives!

I know there are a lot more people who read the blog and don't comment. If there is anyone who does feel like divorce may be the only way out, please COMMUNICATE with your chef. Email me too if you'd like. But we are all here to help, too.


Friday, July 11, 2008

We're Not Leaving

DumboNYC reported yesterday that a lecture in Brooklyn was addressing the issue of "Chefs, and why their wives always leave". I could do a 6 hour lecture on why the word ALWAYS in that statement is completely absurd. Come on! Always? I can name tons of wives who have stayed, and tons who have left. Yes, this blog is based on the idea that women married to chefs need support-we all know why-but we are also a group of strong, passionate, supportive women who intend on connecting with our chefs for a very long time.

Were any you at this lecture? I'd like to know how it was. I might even contact Mr. Rene Ortiz to see what he has to say about this. I also might not.

Thanks Passion for sending us the link!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Great Gathering of Chefs

Alan "Battman" Batt is well known photographer whose stunning "food porn" photos are back again-this time in the form of soup. His last book featured sandwiches from well known NYC chefs including Nobu Matsuhisa, Wylie Dufresene,and of course, my favorite Jean Georges. His two newest books: The Colors of Dessert and Soup will be debuting at a charity event this September. The Great Gathering of Chefs benefiting the Children's Storefront , a tuition free school in Harlem. Of course I am 100% behind this event as it supports chefs and children, my two favorite things. Erik will be there signing the first 100 Soup books. His pea soup, which is now served at Jean Georges, will be featured.

The event will feature a "meet the chefs" portion for both the soup and dessert book. There will be over 125 chefs signing books followed by a tasting. The tasting only is $100 and the tasting plus the book signing and a book is $250. Save 10% if you order before August 1st.

photo courtesy www.thegreatgatheringofchefs.com

DCW_Columbus, Ohio

Friday, July 4, 2008

God Bless America

Happy 4th everyone! I'm driving to Ohio today for some home-grown family loving. Wish me luck on the long drive because 8 hours is a lot of hours. I'll try my best to post during the next week, but I am on vacation. I will miss my chef terribly! I hate leaving him, but in order to function properly I need to be able to get some family time in.

Today (after driving), I'll be busy choreographing the annual 4th of July dance with my sisters and cousins, eating some serious pork and farm fresh corn, watching fireworks from the top of the hill at Gram and Pups, and playing with my foster cousin Dominique.

The 2006 4th of July dance. Truly some of my best work.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Age of Anger

I'm a fan of the industry; I love it. After all without it not only would my husband be searching for a new career, but I'd be out of a hobby-probably paying close attention to the magician industry. But something is happening in the restaurant industry that's really turning me off. This industry is getting gross.

What triggered my new observation were the recent comments I've been reading on Eater. I used to compare PXthis to the 7th graders smoking behind the school but now they look like a bus full of nuns compared to the vile behavior on Eater. I'm not wearing a halo here; I've been less than polite sometimes, but it's getting crazy. In general there are three causes of severe rage on Eater.

  • DC hate. Eater mentions a sneeze David Chang blows and all of the sudden comments are flying.

  • Eater hate (usually b/c of the DC hate). No one likes hating on Eater, more than the people who read it daily. I don't get it. At first it made sense, I'm sure some people thought "if enough of us complain, then maybe Eater will change what they post about" (which seems to be the biggest complaint). Well it's been a while and it seems like the same people are complaining and complaining about the same things. Just read another site already! Please don't think I should do the same, though. I can't stand most of the people who do the commenting, but as far as the actual blog goes, I like it. I read it.

  • Misc. hate. This can include:Batali fat jokes, Bruni insults, Top Chef cracks, etc. This stuff is fine, and usually funny, too.

I wonder... this rank behavior might have been like this years before my rookie blog showed up on Google. Anthony Bourdain talks about a heap of naughty chef behavior in his day, but again, it seems tame compared to the vulgar chatter between the industry followers of today. Who, by the way, may or not even be directly involved in the industry.

It may also have a lot to do with the particular area of the industry that I'm surrounded by and the media I read. What if I cared more about the purveyor industry? Would there be nasty remarks there too? Maybe it's the location. Everyone says NYC is the best place to cook with the best restaurants so maybe that's why everyone gets so hyped up over DC and something involving a mime. Are there people in Chicago who act like us and get heave-ho angry? I don't think it's a NY thing because the comments on Eater LA can get mean too.

Is the media (blogging/iPhones) to blame for the swell in rage? Everyone is so close, all crammed on the Internet like a hot subway car and we turn on each other. Everyone has opinions and because of high speed Internet we are able to thrash around these thoughts and ideas like umbrellas at rats.

Speaking of media, maybe it's all Eater's fault. Maybe by giving "the people" the privilege to comment it created a monster. I think I remember a day when there were no comments allowed and it seems pleasant to me.....ahh....

Am I to blame? After all I am contributing to the attack of commenters/foodies/everyone else by writing this? Sure! (Well, maybe, if this post was reaching a larger crowd. ) But I am adding to it hoping to understand it more.

Whatever, whoever the cause it doesn't really matter so long as it gets a little classy again. I really adore this industry. However cruel and selfish it is, it's what we're a part of.


So Much for Girl Power

This is an honest, authentic blog. So here comes some honesty.

Last week I wrote a post about some ladies who took out an ad in Craigslist to get dinner dates to one of the most popular restaurants in town. I saw the story on Eater and reached out to the ladies, they were kind enough to email back. They agreed to give me an update on the date and I was so looking forward to this. After a few emails back and forth I was told they would email later this week with pictures. Well it turns out they did give their story...but to Eater.

I know, I know Eater is big and flashy and has tons of advertisements and whatever but I feel hurt. I feel stupid that I actually thought they would give me the story. I was looking forward to writing about something that I thought the readers of this blog would enjoy. This blog is written by a woman, for women and now since those two women made the wrong choice, they've got the Eater Creatures devouring them.

I'm finding it hard to write this without letting the F-bomb drop between every word. So I'll just stop. I'm pissed.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Too Much of a Good Thing

I can only do this alone.

After spending 9 days with my chef on our vacation I started to get, well, a little tired of him. Am I an awful wife? For the last several years I have been spending my evenings alone. Dinner alone, cleaning alone, TV alone-you get the idea I'm sure. This life of solitude has many downfalls...read this very blog for examples...but it also has its upsides. After all, if there were no positives then I'd go crazy. So the good parts: I can take long showers at night, watch whatever I want on TV, and get some serious "me" time. Some things can only be done alone, like singing outloud to Legally Blonde the musical, plucking my eyebrows, and watching Seinfeld. Last week towards the end of my vacation I got a little cranky and realized I hadn't spent time alone all week. I just wanted to be alone. Do nothing and say nothing. Erik was great about it and left me to wander around the internet for a while. I felt bad, but I was grateful for the time.

Does this happen to anyone else? Please tell me I'm not alone in wanting to be alone.

Although I'd choose to have my husband home more over anything else in the world, I do value my personal time that I've learned to love.


Back from LA

Love California Sun!


Best burritos ever!

After a pleasant trip to LA I'm feeling relaxed and ready to go back to work. You may have read in a previous post that Erik and I thought it was weird being there. An odd experience, like going back in time only with better clothes and more responsibility. We did get to hit some of our favorite local eateries. El Tapatio, has got the best super burritos and horchata in town. We also got to scarf some serious double western bacon cheeseburgers from Carl's Jr. I've learned that the west coast may not hold a flame against NY for fine dining, but they have got the best selection of fast food and Mexican ever imagined.

We spent some time at the beach where I was attacked by the ocean. I ripped up my toe trying to escape from a wave and save my pocket book. After diggin out the sand from my infected toe I realized it was a small price to pay for my imitation Prada.

I'm glad I was able to visit. We should go more often to see his folks. Right, as soon as Erik gets more time off we'll be all set. I like the Valley and LA. There is something to be said about a city that rears you. I spent the better part of my childhood, teenage and early adult years there. I just couldn't ever go back for good. When I left 4 years ago it was a difficult time. My family already moved back east to Ohio, I was in turmoil with friends (whom I've now reconnected with-yay!), and I was really angry at that particular time. I guess I just boxed up all my things-both literal and figurative- and moved on. That part of my life is over and as much I'd like to go back, I can't.

I'm home now and I'm leaving again on Friday to visit my family for a long 10 day stay in lovely Ohio. I hope the 8 hour drive doesn't kill me.