Tuesday, July 22, 2008


The Mr loves using acronyms. HBEs (hard boiled eggs) in the morning. We live in PB (Pacific Beach). SDTs (sun-dried tomatoes) on our pizza.

I came up with a few of my own. Our abode is TLN (The Love Nest):

And you can find it OTM (on the mountain):

I did a little photo tour of TLN and you can check it out by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Cooking with Gusto

As I have mentioned to many of you, my main job this summer is to cook dinner for my husband each night.  I find something to do with my day:  gym, yoga, beach, reading, doing classwork.  Then at around 3:30 or so I begin to plan out my culinary adventure for the evening.  We have both been enjoying this tremendously.

It took me a while to admit it, but I have been battling a chronic illness now since November.  It's IBS and nearly one in five Americans lives with it.  I wasn't sure what was going on for the longest time and even after a doctor gave me a preliminary diagnosis, I did not want to believe it was true.  It's diagnosed by ruling out other, more dangerous things.  If there is no sign of the scary stuff they just shrug their shoulders and say, maybe IBS?  And the worst part, besides never really knowing for sure what's going on, is that there is no known cure and you deal with it for life.  Mostly what it has meant for me is tummyaches everyday with varying levels on the pain spectrum.  Not fun.

About two weeks ago I was so frustrated I started trolling the internet for more information on web-boards to help me find some relief, either through lifestyle, diet or maybe herbal remedies.  I found information on all of these options.  But the single most helpful information I found was from a woman named Heather Van Vorous.   She had this great cheat sheet for basic dietary rules on her website and best of all:  a cookbook.  This woman has suffered with this illness for most of her young life (over 20 years) and has found ways to manage her symptoms mostly through diet.  In her own words: "Most typical American meals, whether home-cooked or in restaurants, were simply intolerable.  What I needed was a way to bridge the gap between knowing what to eat and how.  I wasn't about to sacrifice my health, nor was I willing to forego great food, so I had to find a way to create recipes that were both safe... and scrumptious."

Well, let me just say this has changed everything for me.  First of all, I can now manage most of my symptoms now, too.  I still try things on the no-no list because it's still hard to believe I can't continue living my life as I have for 30+ years.  I gave up coffee.  (COFFEE!!) And I have to say that it has been worth it.  I still drink caffeine but from Yerba Matte and Green Tea Lattes.  Second, I have to tell you, the recipes this woman has created are OUTSTANDING.  I have become a very good cook using the recipes in this little manual.  If you don't believe me, come over for dinner some time.

Last night we had leftover Vietnamese Lemongrass Ginger Chicken (which was almost better than the first time - and after the first time I told the Mr, "This is the best meal I have ever prepared.") with Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp and Mango.  Today I made little pizzas with cherry tomatoes and tofutti cream cheese in the toaster oven (Amazing! - and my own interpretation of one of Heather's dishes) along with Smoky Sweet Potato Soup.  

So basically we are both in culinary heaven over here.  I love eating great food and knowing I will feel just fine for the rest of the day.  It's tremendous!  And the Mr sure enjoys all these homemade delicious delights.  I'll have to take some pictures of dishes next week.  They are divine.  And I mostly feel great these days.  I refer to Heather a lot in conversation about food.  As in, "This one is from Heather." Or "Heather recommended this."  Or "Heather said so."  If you hear about her in a later post, now you will know my new friend.

I wish you delicious meals eaten with great gusto wherever you are.  Bon Apetite!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


The Mr and I have had the opportunity to do some mid-week sightseeing.  There are some pics posted on the link at the bottom of the page.  Tuesday we went to Balboa Park.  Check out the album!  There's info in the captions.

Sunday, July 13, 2008



I am also a student this summer.  I'm taking an online course in School Finance as part of Principal School.  I thought it would be a breeze.  And it could be.  If I weren't such a darned over-achiever.  

But I'm also sometimes a lazy over-achiever and I'm kicking myself for taking hours away from my weekend time with the Mr in order to finish the latest assignment on time.  It was an 8 page paper but mine was 15 pages.  It was interesting, but not as interesting as hanging out at a friend's pool which we didn't get to do since I had a deadline.

No more.  I'm doing the next assignment early and during the work week.

So, it's not all fun and games up here OTM.  We might still have enough evening time to go light a fire, though.  Not arson, it's recreation.  Apparently they have these things called "fire pits" around here and you can go light fires in them.  The Mr brought some wood back from his work site and I'm going to see what this fire thing is all about.

By the way, we saw Wall-e on Friday night.  It was cute but formulaic.  The animation, though, was pretty incredible.  Just wondering what anyone else thought...

Friday, July 11, 2008


The Mr and I are in talks about the actual honeymoon.  We had the mini-moon to Lubec, Maine for a few days right after the wedding.  We have the extended honeymoon time in San Diego where I play housewife and he gets a home-cooked meal and happy wife after work each evening.  So, you may be thinking we are getting greedy wanting a week-long honeymoon.  You might be right.

      We initially wanted to head up the Pacific Coast highway as far as we could.  Since we don't have a motorcycle (or the means to acquire one) and what with the fires, we decided to think tropical.  The word "Hawaii" is actually translated as "honeymoon destination" in English according to a free Internet translation website I found.  But, alas, airfares are extreme right now and they don't know how to translate "all-inclusive resort" to Hawaiian.  So everything is a la carte and, I'm afraid, not in the budget.

     So, we have decided that the most tropical, most all-inclusive, most best deal place we can find would be Puerto Vallarta.  Not bad!  White sand beaches, ocean-view hotel rooms, lots of food, drinks, and water activities.  One price.  We are planning not to leave the resort AT ALL.  Why should we?  Each resort has like 15 pools, 25 restaurants, half a dozen discos (I mean, come on, they call them discos!!!) , and little shops with postcards for our loved ones.  We might be too busy ordering coconut-shaped bevvies from the cabana-boy to write, though.

      We decided to go for it and get our passports.  Mine's expired, in my old name, and in a drawer in Boston.  Ben didn't have one.  I don't know how we managed to get all the pieces together but thanks to Mom B. and Dad S. and UPS and flexible appointments we saw Suzanne at the Midway Post Office's Passport counter earlier today.  She talked us into Passport Cards in addition to Passport Books and then we paid for express mail return of the passports.  I mean we almost blew the whole honeymoon budget with nice Ms. Suzanne!  (Who kept us for an extra 20 minutes or so to tell us about her animal rescue non-profit and why we should never even consider eating meat again.  I might not, actually.)

   We are considering three different resorts currently.  Here are the links, in case you are curious:

Golden Crown Paradise - in downtown PV
La Jolla de Mismaloya - just south of the downtown
Dreams - Conchas Chinas, out of town

Place your votes here!  We won't book until we get the express mail with those precious passports (in 2-4 weeks).  So let me know.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Activity and Aging in SoCal

Today was highly productive! Instead of sleeping until a ridiculous hour and puttering around the love nest, I was up and out of the house with the Mr. He gave me a lift to the gym where I joined the other Pacific Beach (PB) housewives for some aerobics. Most of them are much older - although it's difficult to tell how old, what with the tans and the surgeries.

Sidenote: It never ceases to enrage me - maybe it is culture shock? - to open the weekly news magazine here and see endless ads for plastic surgery, botox, weightloss treatments, cosmetic dental services, lasik, tanning, spa services and other ways to avoid self-loathing through body alteration. The Mr thinks I'm slightly hypocritical since I use eye cream and moisturize. He says that if these ads (on the radio, too) bother me, I should just stop using these kinds of products. But, I said, then I'll have crows feet!

After aerobics, I stuck around down in PB for another couple of hours until the yoga class at mid-day. I stopped and bought some natural food products, of which there is an abundant supply here. Walking back the businesses were: yoga studios, taco shops, hair salons, bars, and sushi shacks. There are quite a few indendent businesses of the sort that Boston has long priced-out. Little shops for rock T-shirts, costumes, cheap Chinese-made clothing, a little vegan restaurant, etc.

Yoga was a dream - so good! Previously I had tried it out at this yoga studio where I thought the quality was going to be better than a gym. Not so! Each instructor said exactly the same thing like some kind of blond Barbie flexible robots. At my little run-down gym, I had vinny yoga with Gina. She was such a breath of fresh air. She appeared to be 60, tan -yes, but with the folds of her years that gave you the warm feeling of a very in-shape, super-nice, laid-back grandmother. She had long black hair that was streaked with silver tied back in a simple elastic. She was not in spandex and bangles (like one woman I thought might be 60 in the class) but in soft, loose cotton T-shirt and leggings. She had a kind voice and wasn't fruity and knew how to guide you without making you feel you were doing it all wrong. The practice was slow, deliberate, and gentle. And by the time Shivasana came I was exhausted and had begun dreaming soon after closing my eyes.

I still had the workout of getting back up the mountain, but I felt a wonderful peace as I pushed my bike (The Beast) up each steep hill. In a few hours it will be time to make dinner for the Mr like a good housewife. I do love this job!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Land of High-Rise Doggies

The Mr and I have been shacking up lately downtown to dog-sit for a friend.  This friend lives in a section of downtown that is quite remarkable.  According to the Mr not much of it existed just four years ago.  Now it is block after block of luxury high-rise condominiums.  Cafes, pizza joints, and fro-yo shops sprout on each block unexpectedly and delightfully each week.  

There is an eery unnatural hum in the air in the mornings when I take Jessie for her am walk.  Not filled with sounds of people talking or birds chirping, as it sounds On The Mountain (where we normally live).  It is the sounds of pressurized hoses spraying clean the sidewalks and astroturf grassy patches.  It is the sounds of construction of yet another high rise.  Occasionally broken by the sound of the trolley arriving to cart the very few public transportation users on a journey to a few choice locations in this sprawling city.

I take Jessie down the street to Petco Park where the Padres play ML baseball.  It is an enormous stadium, clean and modern.  During the day they allow pet owners to bring leashed dogs in to play in the park within the park.  I see yet another pressurized hose spraying the actual grass this morning.  All in an attempt, I now realize, to avoid these piss-yellow burned grass circles in the lawn.  Everywhere I walk there are dogs: chihuahuas and other lap-sized dogs, some labs though not so many larger dogs.  Cute dogs, groomed, manicured, with hair ribbons, smiling, happy.  (Their humans seem pretty happy too.)  And wherever they go, there are pressurized hoses to keep it all so very sanitary.  And doggy bags can be found on most street corners for that which even a very strong hose couldn't dissipate.

The whole area reminds me of what North Point in Boston will feel like when it is all up and functioning.  This is an area of the city that never existed before a developer dreamed it and funded it and built it up.  There are a number of buildings set in a little planned out neighborhood with streets that make sense and ample parking below.  A shocking way of living to a New England city girl.

I have to say that although it is foreign, it is so nice!!!  What is not to love about luxury condo living?  Did I mention the ample parking?  Walking distance to all sorts of new restaurants and cafes as well as the pre-existing downtown spots.  A trolley that could take you somewhere you might want to go.  And pooches galore!  It's a nice place to stroll with a dog - parks abound, cafes have dog bones, you are assisted in clean up efforts and there's buddies all around for your Fido (or Jessie).  All under clear blue skies and mid-80s temperatures.  No wonder everyone is smiling!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Yawn! Welcome...

You said you were curious and wanted to know.  The mystery will now be revealed...

Enter into the world of Lisa Schad, California Housewife!!!