The Best Thing About 2010

Short post simply to say that I am happy that 2009 has passed into the dust bin of history. It was a very challenging year from the very beginning.

When we received notice last January that our renters were moving out and breaking their lease…it was clear that the year was going to be headed on a downward slope.

By April we had renovated the rental with the help of family and contractors. It was ready to sell. Except in the wonderful economy of 2009 it didn’t for a long time. It finally sold in October and we’re thankful for that. Let’s just say that I have no love for Tulsa and will be content to not ever go there again. (Excepting the yearly Vietnam weekend.)

In writing this, it’s also now clear to me that in the end, the house/Tulsa situation was really the primary reason for my distaste for 2009. Family and friends were generally healthy and happy. There were some divorces but they were (in the end) somewhat expected and actually better for the people involved. Work went well and Jess returned to the real estate game. Our little monkey is steadily improving. He so wants to be more independent than he’s ready to be.

So…while 2009 wasn’t as bad to us as it was to so many people, I’d rather not experience its like again in 2010. The rough first half of the year was enough to cloud the entire year for me.

So…I wish unto you: happiness, employment, friends, and family in the coming year. Do what you can to control your own destiny and shake off the things you have no control over. It’s something I struggle with myself. I’m all about order and control.

Happy New Year!

Cafe Bossa Nova

So….the anniversary was pretty nice. Jess and I had a quiet dinner at Cafe Bossa Nova. I was a Bossa Nova, and Brazilian food in general, virgin.

In the end, I most definitely want to return. My order was:

BRASILEIRISSIMO ………………………………………….
Our traditional black beans and rice served with grilled chicken breast or pan seared steak with grilled onions

I went with the pan seared steak option. The dish was very filling and a simple, tasty take on black beans and rice. One of the highlights though was trying, and really enjoying, something that I’ve never eaten before: collard greens. Now…it wasn’t traditional Southern collard greens. These were uncooked, sliced thin and wiry, and served with a light dressing. Wow! I never want to have my newly-found love for these greens to be spoiled by cooking them like people do spinach. Bleh.

Jess had an off-menu special of shrimp in a delicious cream sauce. I would get that if offered again, The shrimp melted in your mouth.

Additionally…I was able to knock an item off the Imbibers list from a few days ago: Caipirinha. This is a drink I want more of. I found it similar to the a margarita but much sweeter and more stout. Despite being so sweet, it wasn’t heavy or syrupy. I kept thinking that a pitcher of Caiprinha would be a perfect refresher on a hot summer day; though any time of year would suffice. On my next trip to the liquor store, I plan on buying some of the base liquor, cachaça (essentially fermented sugarcane), so I can perfect my own variant of this cocktail.

Prost!

Fired Up…Ready to Go!

The Best Thing About being married? Why my wife of course…

Eight years down…

I love her and she’s my partner and my compass. She keeps my on course and is a perfect balance for my excesses. We have a great life, a joyous and wonderful son, and a terribly barky dog.

Thank you for being my wife. I’m fired up…and ready to go for many, many more years.

Family...before the kid in 2006

Family...before the kid in 2006

Can I really be seen in public?

I’m a bit of a geek. Not a super-turbo one but I tend toward the geeky things…like sci-fi, comics, games, etc.

Now, my wife was aware of this to some degree before we started dating but once we were entrenched, I was able to reveal more geeky layers. Thankfully this didn’t keep her from deciding to marry me. She’s even gotten to the point where she encourages the open display of geekiness. Well, if not encourages, she certainly enables.

Enables like this…just the other day she sent off for some cool(?) shirts for me that she’ll likely never want me to wear in public with her.  Most excellent Star Trek shirts. Soon, well like six months, I’ll be the proud owner of a blue sciences and a red engineering uniform shirt.  She’s the BEST.

She told me it was the first time she’d ever cut out proofs-of-purchase and sent away for something like that. Again…she’s SUPER.

I, on the other hand, send away for things all the time as a kid. Cereal promotions, G.I. Joe figures, Star Wars Fan Club gear. I was all about it. Looks like we’ll be ready when our little dude wants to send away for gear, toys, knick-knacks, etc after eating box upon box of something just to get enough proofs-of-purchase to seal the deal.

Imagine me in Red and Blue.

Imagine me in Red and Blue.

The order...

The order...

It’s a race…and it might be Amazing…

So..the best thing about The Amazing Race

Well…it’s one of only two reality shows I would even consider being on (the other being Survivor). But…actually, tonight’s episode (and it looks like next week too)…represent part of the reasons why I like the show. They were in Vietnam. Anything that gives me a glimpse into Vietnam is on my watch list. I’m all about it. The show has been there a few times actually.

It’s not just Vietnam though. The whole show is, in part, a great travel-log. You get to see places and industry that make the world work. For the most part, the racers are respectful of the cultures and people they encounter. Though, it seems that taxi drivers are about the same around the world.

The production scheduling and coordination to make a show like The Amazing Race (Wikipedia link) work has got to be monumental. I’m always wondering if the host, Phil, is jetting around on a private jet to ensure he’s able to be at the mat at the end of each leg of the race. This show has won the Emmy for reality shows for the past 7 years. In fact, it’s the only winner in the category. That’s fairly impressive with sheer number (though much crap) of reality shows.

Even if you don’t like reality television, this is a show worth checking out.

I promise I’ll get that wine story out soon…Cheers!

It’s a great day in Arkansas…

Day started off grand. Nice and cool. Watched some soccer on the telly. Poor old Portsmouth…looking like they might never win this season.

There was a lot happening in Central Arkansas today. First on our plate was the Hillcrest Harvest Festival. I didn’t see much in the way of harvest…but there was a lot of festival. The weather was perfect and Bex was in great spirits. His school had a booth and was selling beer(!) as a way to raise funds. How cool is that? Well, I think it’s great that his school is progressive enough to not be concerned with the sale of beer. Besides, it goes to a good cause: all the kids at Bex’s school. I managed to choke down a Bud in support of the cause.

In addition to the festival, there was an antique auto show. As many of you know, Bex is all about things that go and he has an burgeoning appreciation for fine design and aesthetics. Thus, the auto show was like crack to him. To make matters even more insatiable for the little guy, there was a fire truck that he could play on. It’s clearly a glorious day.

After the fun of Harvest Fest, we ventured to the Clinton Center for the disappointing WorldFest. Mostly disappointing to the adults since it was clearly winding down. However the Bex was undeterred and enjoyed running around the grounds and splashing in the fountains.

Finally…late lunch at one of my absolute favorite casual dining places: The Flying Burrito. I know you may think that wrap and burrito places are a dime a dozen, but this is my favorite. No place I’ve encountered makes them as good. The Bex was not too hungry, preferring to sip is drink and watch the cars and people travel by our sidewalk accessible seats.

Seriously…a much needed, good day. Now…Time to watch Arkansas lose. My prediction: AR – 30 / AL – 40.

We’ve got the funk…

It’s been a rather terrible day today. Just long and tiring. I really don’t have much to say at the moment. However…I’ve got one of the promised wine stories planned for tomorrow. Sorry…no photos though.

Though let me take a moment to address some comments from the last post.

Melissa: Amish? Why? Because you’ve not had many items on the list. What’s your count? Make it a resolution to increase that number over the next few months. Also, check the Omnivore link to see what foods you should try.

Bryan: What Brazilian place in the Heights? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve not had that drink but since you recommend it, I’ll give it a shot.

We’re headed to Little Rock WorldFest at the Clinton Center if anyone wants to meet up. Drop a line and let us know. Not sure when we’ll be there. It’s free so even if it totally sucks…it should be an excellent weekend to be outside. Also…just down the street is a pretty cool free museum: Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center with fish and fun stuff for the kids to look at.

Lastly…it’s Free Museum Day on Saturday. It looks like the Little Rock Museum of Discovery is participating.

Hope to see you out and about!