Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Every time my blog updates, an angel gets its wings!

Geez, if that were really the case, I'd probably post more often. My apologies to Frank Capra... ;-)

Hello, my little elves! I hope you're having a lovely holiday season, and are gearing up for the big celebrations in the days ahead. I've been keeping busy during my semester break, which is going by waaay too quickly, FYI. A little work (including a really fun on-camera audition and callback which I hope turn into a paying gig), catching up on my workouts and some long-neglected housework, a few errands... and some fun parties including the Broads in Broadcasting brunch, my company holiday gathering (at which I won a $100 Macy's gift card... woo-hoo!), and my girl Melissa's famous birthday cocktail bash.

I'll be working on Christmas morning (ah, the 24/7 radio biz... gotta love it), but don't feel too sorry for me. I got the early shift, 5-10am, so I get that precious double-time holiday pay and the rest of my day free! After I get off the air and grab a sure-to-be-crucial nap, Steve & I will head over to share Christmas dinner with our awesome friends Bill & Kim. Can't wait to bake some chocolate shortbread cookies to contribute to the festivities!

So, before we all get too caught up in our last-gasp preparations, I just want to take a moment to wish you a very happy, safe, and loving holiday season. To all of my long-distance family and friends, I'll be thinking of you. However you choose to celebrate, I hope this time of year is everything you want it to be. And I know that all of our special angels will be watching over us. Wait... was that a bell I just heard? :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Yo, crickets... take five!

Chirp, chirp... chirp chirp... yep, that's about how quiet it's been here in Blue Sky Blogland for the past two months or so. I've seriously missed writing on here, but if you recall from my last post, school has been taking up much more of my time this semester. Fortunately, I'm down to my last week of that... one more paper due, one more assignment, and then I'm free for a month. Woo-hoo!

So let's see... last time I wrote back in September, Eric & Tommy were about to visit us from San Antonio. We had a royal blast with those two! Although I always end up in the same predicament with out-of-town visitors: where do we take them? When Steve & I are out by ourselves or with local friends, when we find a cool new place to eat or drink I say to myself, "Self, remember this place for when people visit from elsewhere". Do I remember? Of course not. But after strolling around Fisherman's Wharf, we ended up making one of our many beverage stops at the Buena Vista Cafe for their famous Irish coffee. (Eric had seen the place on Food Network and really wanted to go.) I'm ashamed to admit that I had never been there in 13 years of living in San Francisco! Yes, I have been back since.

After that we got wrapped up in Giants playoff fever, and we all know how that turned out! With the dismal economy and all-around gloominess around here, San Francisco needed that World Series win bigtime. It brought the city together like nothing I've ever seen before. And it was a little disconcerting but totally thrilling to be part of a crowd of over a million people to celebrate the win at the Giants' victory parade. I still get chills thinking about the whole experience, and I'm counting down the days until spring training starts so we can hopefully do it all over again!

In October, I was very pleased to track down my long-lost cousin Marijo on Facebook. She and I hadn't been in contact with each other for something like 15 years due to some old family drama that I won't get into here...not the fault of either of us, just the way that it went down. Considering how little of my side of the family I've maintained ties with, it's been really great to reconnect... and to remember that not everybody in our family was crazy. ;-) Love ya, Marijo!

Thanksgiving sneaked (snuck?) up on me before I knew it, and Steve & I continued our holiday tradition of spending the day with our great friends Bill & Kim and John & Sharon. It's been, what... five Turkey Days together now? This year was a nice, low-key celebration at McCormick & Kuleto's restaurant in Ghirardelli Square (followed by a stop at the afore-mentioned Buena Vista Cafe). The good news: no leftovers. The bad news: no leftovers.

And that brings us pretty much up-to-date. Assuming that I finish my last paper in time, Steve & I will go out this Sunday to buy our Christmas tree and do our holiday decorating. Since we've got two cats (one of whom, Jojo, is the devil incarnate), we'll get a small tabletop tree so there will be no ornaments dangling tantalizingly toward the floor. A few Christmas carols, Charlie Brown & Rudolph on DVD, a little holiday bubbly and some fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies... ahh, it's a wonderful life. (We won't watch that movie until Christmas Eve, but you get the idea.)

Until next time... which hopefully will be a lot sooner than last time... ciao! :-)

P.S. We've booked our reservations for our trip back to Penn State for my graduation in August... wow, this is really happening!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's all a bit of a blur...

Hey there, blog fans! It's been longer than I would have liked since I've written here (again!), so I just wanna give you a quick update on why that's the case. Reason #1: school is kicking my butt!

The good news is that I've moved up my scheduled graduation date by almost a year, to August 2011. The bad news is that between now and then, I've got several difficult senior-level courses to tackle, one of which is becoming a big thorn in my side this semester. It's a course on analysis of historical speeches, ranging from Puritan sermons to Bush on 9/11. And when I say analysis, I mean super-deep analysis. The speeches are interesting from a historical standpoint, but the analytical part is definitely a challenge for me. But hey, I never expected college to be a walk in the park, and if I'm gonna get me some "edumacation" I'm proud to work hard for it. Fortunately I'm doing well in my other two classes this semester, so at least I still have a shred of academic self-esteem.

I'm also in a time crunch to get my schoolwork done this week because we have friends visiting from out-of-town this weekend. Eric (a radio friend from waaay back) and his partner Tommy are heading out from San Antonio to hang with us, and they're bringing Eric's parents with them. I'm pacing my food and alcohol intake in advance... it won't be pretty, I can tell ya now. But it'll be great to see the guys, and after this crazy week a beverage or two or ten might be just the ticket.

Hasta la vista... :-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The title of my previous post lies!

Well, so much for MB's two days of summer. After two months of one of the foggiest, chilliest summers in San Francisco history, yesterday's high was 87, and today it got up to a sun-baked 98, with triple digits in some of the outlying areas. Kinda like the old saying "when it rains, it pours", except considerably drier. It was so hot today, I traded in my wardrobe staple of jeans for a dress. (Yes, I manage to look like a girl about three days a year. I really should've started using the self-tanner a bit earlier, though!)

Now, I try not to be the type of person to look a gift heatwave in the mouth, but really... did we have to go the meteorological equivalent of zero to sixty in just a few days? Even our sun-worshiping cats were both constantly shifting places around the apartment trying to find a cooler snoozing spot. I, on the other hand, had no trouble there... I just pulled the curtains closed, turned on the fan, climbed into bed and sacked out blissfully for 45 minutes.

Prior to naptime, though, I managed to slip out for a walk in Golden Gate Park before it got too crazy hot. The sprinklers were on in various parts of the park, and unlike my usual effort to dodge the spray when it's 30 degrees cooler, today I just plowed right on through for a welcome little spritz. Ahh... a brief trip back to my childhood when my mom would set up the lawn sprinkler to spray around the side yard for Jean & me to frolic in.

Taking full advantage of this rare new thing called summer, I was inspired to make lemonade. Steve & I do try to watch our diets (most of the time), so I found a recipe for low-sugar lemonade made with unsweetened applesauce and maple syrup instead of sugar. Yeah, it does sound weird, doesn't it? But I thought I'd give it a shot, using agave nectar instead of the maple syrup to make it a little less weird. It was okay, but it wasn't lemonade. I've decided that I'm a lemonade purist. Nothing more than lemons, sugar and water will do. Okay, maybe strawberries once in a while. All right, maybe some mint. And occasionally a splash of vodka, but that's it, I swear.

Thankfully, this little taste of summer slipped in before I got bogged down in schoolwork again. My Penn State fall semester classes started yesterday, and the first week is very basic introductory stuff, so I got that all-important taste of summer freedom before I have to start seriously hitting the books. Tonight, I raise my Diet Pepsi high in a toast to the sun... while it lasts. The weekend forecast is once again calling for clouds and fog, with below-normal highs in the 50's and near-record lows in the 40's. Sixty to zero, here we come.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

MB's two days of summer

Fog. Fog. More fog. For a girl who loves sun in the summer, this year has been a real bummer. So it was liberating to make an escape from the San Francisco chill and head north to Lake County to hang with our good friends Lysle & Marietta, whom we don't get to see nearly often enough these days. Weather conditions: lots of sun, highs in the 90's. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

We met up with Lysle at Benessere Vineyards in the Napa Valley (St. Helena, to be specific). Sadly, Marietta is recovering from a nasty illness, so it was just the three of us on the receiving end of some very attentive service from Eric in the tasting room. And in the barrel room, where we tasted some baby wines that will grow up to be great big wines someday. And in the vineyards, where Eric showed us the effect the cooler-than-normal summer is having on the grapes (nothing detrimental, but the harvest may be slightly later than normal this year). We grabbed Eric's business card and told him, to quote Steve, "We'll de-he-he-hefinitely be back!"

After lunch at Brannan's in Calistoga and a stop at Bennett Lane's tasting room, we headed over the mountain to Hidden Valley Lake where the lovely (but jealous) Marietta was waiting for us at home. Steve & I were happy to have taken with us lots of fresh Acme Bakery bread from the Ferry Plaza, which we took out to the patio and proceeded to cover with four different kinds of cheese, olive & walnut tapenade, and truffle mousse pate. (Um, no, I was not watching my diet on this trip, thank you for pointing that out!) Lysle then treated us to his amazing grilled leg of lamb, which was complimented oh-so-well by the magnum of 2004 Merry Edwards Olivet Lane Pinot Noir that Steve contributed for the festivities. (No, believe it or not, Steve & I cannot drink a magnum by ourselves.)

After dinner (and a welcome break after that feast), Lysle broke out his luscious lemon-ginger creme brulee for dessert, which we proceeded to eat in our jammies. Oh, how much fun that was! Then the next day, after more food, more wine, and more sun, it was time to wrap up our getaway and head back south to reality. Funny thing is, I'm beginning to realize that the older I get, the less a fan of the heat I'm becoming. Don't get me wrong, I still love the summery weather... but if I don't have some AC to escape into after a while I get a little cranky. And when we arrived back home in San Francisco, I opened the car door to the dense fog that blanketed us and thought, "Ohh, now that feels good."

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ah, the best laid plans...

Yeah yeah, I know... this is the first time I've updated my new blog since I started it a couple of weeks ago. I've had all sorts of good intentions to write here on a regular basis. In fact, there have been several days recently when I thought, "Hmm, I really should update my blog." I'd like this whole new writing thing to become a welcome habit, not something I dread like jury duty, or eating tripe.

Now that I'm on my two-week semester break from Penn State, I've got some extra time on my hands. And again, I've had all kinds of good intentions: "I'm going to work out like a demon every day!" "I'm going to catch up with all the friends I've been neglecting!" "I'm going to find every excuse to use copious exclamation points!" Okay, that last one's not real, but still... during the first several days of my break, I've done very little exercising, a lot of sleeping, and a bit of reading.

Since I don't normally read much for pleasure when school is in session, I vowed to finish the book that's been on my nightstand for months: The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. I had read my older sister's dog-eared paperback copy while I was in my teens, but a lot of the deeper stuff in the book went whooshing over my head. I appreciated it so much more this time around. (And unlike my sister's copy back in the day, my newer one doesn't automatically fall open to the hot forbidden sex scene between fallen priest Ralph and his true love Meggie.)

Next up: the "reconnecting with friends" part of my break. On Sunday, Steve & I will head a couple of hours north for a much-anticipated weekend reunion with our dear friends Lysle & Marietta. There'll be tons of mouth-watering food, incredible wines flowing freely, and a chance to spend some long-overdue quality time with two of the most wonderful people on the planet. And it's my intention to enjoy every single moment of it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Welcome to my blog!

Today is my birthday. (Actually, a little less than an hour from now will officially be my birthday, but being a true Leo I'm never averse to starting the celebration early.) So I decided to give myself my very own blog for my birthday. But it's not really just for my birthday...

My plans for this space are to write about the people, places and things that I care about. On any given day, that may range from what fun stuff I'm doing with my hubby and/or friends (Giants baseball! karaoke!) to what sweet concoction I've whipped up in the kitchen ("Hi, I'm Mary Beth and I'm a foodie.") to how I'm feeling after my workout (I'm big into health and fitness, so expect a lot of that type of material here).

But mostly, this space exists to give me an outlet for what I hope will be a new venture for me, and that's writing. I've been on the broadcasting side of communications for most of my life, but it wasn't until I decided this past year to go back to college and study online (We are... Penn State!) that I realized how much I was enjoying writing those essays that I used to dread my first time through school. That and the fact that I don't get to talk in my radio job nearly as much as I used to led me to think, "Maybe it's time I started expressing myself in one o' them there blog thingies all the kids are talking about."

So here I am, officially a blogger. I hope you'll check in every now and then. Maybe I'll be writing about you someday, and how happy I am to have you in my ever-changing life.

Happy birthday to me.