Saturday, February 25, 2012

More places I like to go and eat

While I'm waiting for the repairman to come fix my washer, I thought I list a few more places I like to eat.

Zono Sushi
Chance and I went to lunch here yesterday and we had an appetizer called Dynamite, which is baked scallops, mushrooms and zucchini in a special sauce, not to be confused with Dynamite roll.  We had hamachi, salmon, Hawaiian something, I can't remember the name, and one other, plus a second order of hamachi.  It was all very delicious.

The food truck permanently parked at Topanga Carniceria 1206 Cypress Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90065
I have only been here once, again with Chance, but I will make it a point to go again this week.  Very tasty Mexican food.

Urth Caffe
Urth Caffe is my neighborhood has really delicious coffee and the best tuna salad sandwich I've ever had.  I don't get there very often, which considering it's walking distance from my house, I should rectify.  Once, when I was talking with Bruno after a concert, we were talking about L.A. and he mentioned Urth Caffe.  I was amazed that he knew of a caffe in my neighborhood and said so.  He said "I love that place!"  Good to know, Bruno!

Bossa Nova
Bossa Nova is Brazilian food and is a nice place for a casual lunch or dinner.  I love their coxinha appetizer and the traditional chicken breast with rice, beans and plantains.  I go here occasionally with Bob and he likes their Cajun blackened chicken.

In N Out
In N Out has the best fast food burgers.  I love the cheeseburger, animal style with fries and a chocolate shake.   The food is cooked fresh to order and is good every single time.

Tomato Pie Pizza
Hands down, the best pizza I've had in L.A.  The dough, the sauce, the cheese, the toppings, all first rate.  So, so good.

The Palace
Really delicious Chinese food.  I've been here a few times and the food is consistently good.  I wish it were in my neighborhood!

Well, I suppose I should go do something else in my house while I wait.  All this talk about food has made me hungry!  Maybe I'll have a snack then do something else.  Ha!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Places I like to go and eat

There are many places that I like to go to and eat their food.  Here are some of them:

Kitchen 24
This is a new restaurant in West Hollywood.  They just opened and they are still working out some kinks.  The service was a little slow, but the waiter was nice and we weren't in a hurry.  I had spicy tomato soup and a grilled Gruyere sandwich, called the After School Special.  It was very tasty.  Bob had the same soup and a small salad.  We both liked it and would definitely go back to try other things on the menu.  That being said, I don't think I would go here if I was in a hurry.  Soon to be open 24 hours.

Nickel Diner
OMG, this place!  I love this place.  Yes, it's in a sketchy part of town (Skid Row-ish) and you do have to wait for a table, but you can walk around a bit and look at some of the amazing architecture of downtown Los Angeles while you're waiting.  I love their Big Time Cheddar sandwich, so delicious.  They make their own donuts, pop-tarts and ding-dongs. Don't even think about sticking to your diet at this place.

Sushi Gen
One of the best sushi places I've been to.  They have an awesome lunch special. Chance and I have been here a couple of times.  They open @ 11:15 and we usually get there about 10:55 and there's usually about 20 people ahead of us.  The very first time we went there was on my birthday and instead of the lunch special we sat at the sushi bar and ordered a la carte!  The place smells like the ocean in the middle of downtown. Definitely a favorite.

El Compadre
I've been coming to El Compadre since I moved to LA.  The food is good, the margaritas are really good and the atmosphere just makes it.  Truly a family restaurant, dark and cozy with upholstered tuck and roll booths and mariachi music.  I love the chile relleno combination special.

Umami Burger
I love Umami Burger.  Chance introduced me to this place and the first two times I went there, I had the original Umami Burger.  Then I tried the Truffle Burger, I practically passed out it was so good.  Always, always thin fries and Mexican Coke to go with.

Ulysses Voyage
Our go-to Greek place.  Peter, the owner, is a lovely man and the menu is based on his family's recipes.  I've never had a bad meal here.  Hummus; sweet red pepper; kalamata olive & fig are my 3 favorite dips served with warm pita bread.  Love the chicken skewer; also the dolmades and the baked artichokes.  The lemon chicken soup is great as is the greek pasta and the calamari.  For dessert, there's a variety of things but I like the chocolate walnut cake.  Yum!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 13

Today is day 13 of the '21 day walkathon to create a new habit'.  I have walked every day, most of the time with Ben, but he and I have had a couple of days where we did our walks separately, for various and sundry reasons.  We tend to run little errands around the neighborhood, library, groceries, etc., on our walks but we are moving towards walking for walking's sake.  Not to say we can't run errands while walking but I think we would both like to balance it out that we are just walking at least a few times per week and walking with errands the other days.

We are more than half-way through this little experiment so I guess I could say that the habit is still being created but to be honest, it doesn't feel like it's an established routine yet.  It still feels like something I'm doing for 21 days to see what happens.  Either way, whether I am walking or not, 21 days will have passed.  May as well do something with those days.  I was reading a post on this site about breaking the chain, referring to this:  I started doing this in my little pocket calendar for walking and I have 12 X's.  Today, in addition to walking, I added a short exercise routine to my calendar and the only way I get to 'X' today's date is if I do both.  I'd hate to have a blank unX'ed spot on my calendar.  It's quite the little visual when you see all those Xs in a row.

What else?  I finally got my new media credenza, moved the TV on to the top of it, hooked up all the components and made sure everything was working properly.  I was so jazzed that I have things in a proper place now, that I tackled a few other things in my house.  I had a stunning amount of shredding to do, I knew there was a bit, but I didn't expect that it would take me more than an hour to do it all.  Going forward, random crap gets shredded immediately, receipts need to be done as soon as I don't need them anymore.  I know as I go through my files, there will be a bunch of stuff to recycle and a bunch to shred.  I'm glad I got all this miscellaneous paperwork that I had just stuffed in a bag done before I tackle the files.

Still not watching much TV, although I did turn it on for a while yesterday @ work.  I geeked out and watched a program about the Mars rovers and was entertained by that, but then I found myself trolling through channels trying to find something.  I should have turned the damn thing off but I didn't.  I did notice that I was more agitated on the drive home than I've been for the last week, don't know if that was just coincidence.  Last night, I went to dinner with Chuck and Bob at Ulysses Voyage at The Grove.  We shared an appetizer, a 3 dip combo, hummus, kalamata olive & sweet fig and sweet red pepper dips with warm pita bread.  Bob had lemon chicken soup, I had chicken souvlaki and Chuck had lamb souvlaki.  Tasty delicious, all of it!  We then strolled around The Grove and went into Crate and Barrel so I could visit my furniture that I'm going to buy.  From there, we went home.  I sorta semi-watched TV from 9 - 10, then Face Off came on and I watched that.  I'm not big on competition shows but I like this one.  I'm also enjoying the 2nd season more than the 1st, not so much interpersonal drama, it's more about the work.

I'm off to take bottles to the recycling center, then have lunch.  Just another day of thrills and chills.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Owned up.

So I saw my lovely doctor on Friday, told her everything.  We talked a bit and she said that she was there to help me get healthy, that I was basically okay with some elevated levels but with a few tweaks to my food and exercise, it was all manageable.  Then my lovely phlebotomist came in and drained me of blood.  Not really, but I have incredible disappearing veins, so even though she is used to me it always takes at least two tries and we don't even bother with my arms, she goes directly for the back of my left hand.

My lovely doctor called me this morning and told me that my blood sugar was back to normal, so the really minor tweaks to my diet and the 30 - 60 minute walks every day have made a difference.  Now to tackle the cholesterol, which is also higher than it should be but not sky-high.  A few more tweaks, a little more exercise and that should come down as well.  All of this has happened in a very short period of time, 6 - 8 weeks.  It's made me realize that while it is a lifestyle change, the changes do happen rapidly once I got on the bandwagon. And it isn't an all or nothing thing.  I don't have to cut out chocolate, I can just eat a square or two instead of the whole bar.  I can still have wine, but a half a glass, not a glass and a half.  And although I just said it's not an all or nothing thing, I do know that there are foods that I need to keep out of the house for right now (microwave popcorn, I'm lookin' at you) because I have not an ounce of control over myself when it's around.  It's my version of crack and I make complete fool of myself, then feel like crap.

I am currently on day 10 of my '21 day to create a new habit' walkathon with Ben.  I go out everyday, even if I have to drag my ass, pissing and moaning the whole way.  Once I'm out, it's good.  And I didn't watch TV last week, so last night I watched several shows on On Demand and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It's basically commercial free and I only watched what I wanted to see, I didn't spend the hours and hours on my ass mindlessly watching whatever I could find.  I'm going to continue this little experiment this week as well, it's made a huge difference.

I also did Rodney Yee’s A. M. yoga for beginners for the 1st time this morning. Yowza! What’s not to like? Can we talk about Mr. Yee here for a second? Woo-hoo, eye candy! The whole routine, 20 minutes, is on a beach in Hawaii , more eye candy. And it’s not a work-out but a gentle stretching to start my day.

Like James Brown once said "I feel good!"

Friday, February 17, 2012

Owning up

It's a beautiful day outside, there's snow on the San Gabriel mountains from the rain and cold weather the other day.  Today is day 4 of no TV, I dvr'd Vampire Diaries to watch by next week, and it is day 7 of of my 21 day new habit making walkathon with Ben.  Last time I was at my lovely doctor's office, she wanted me to lose 6 pounds by today's appointment, a pound a week.  Did I do it?  Hell, no!  I spent most of the last 6 weeks in a funk but it wasn't until I owned up to the very fact that I was depressed that I started to shake it off.  That was about 2 weeks ago, more or less, probably less.  I once heard it said that anger turned inwards is depression.  For me it's the opposite, depression turned inwards is rage and that's where I was, just seething for weeks after  I returned from Paris.  I kept thinking it was, as a friend put it, that Paris "grabbed my soul and gave it a shake" and that was certainly part of it.  But the other part, the part I wasn't acknowledging, was the health issues that came up just before I left on my vacation.  Intellectually, I knew what was going; emotionally, I hadn't dealt with it.  I finally, FINALLY, owned up to how badly all this information rattled me.  When I admitted to myself that it scared me, really scared me and just sat there and owned the fact that it scared me, that's when I felt the shift.  That dreadful cold empty place receded a little bit.  The walking has helped immensely as well.  Ben and I were walking often but not every day.  I was still in that depressed place when I proposed the 21 day walkabout to Ben and I know the regular exercise has helped me emotionally.  The biggest change to my mood has been turning off the TV.  It wasn't just the horrible stuff I was watching but I truly believe that just the constant exposure to that electronic hiss has a deleterious effect on the human body.  

So today, I will tell my doctor that I didn't lose the weight, I will tell her what's been going on with me and how things have started to turn around.  That I have hopped back on the healthy diet routine, which admittedly needs some fine-tuning, that I am walking every day and plan to continue to do so.   That I will incorporate some other exercise, yoga or zumba or one of my exercise dvds or a combination of all of those things, into my life and keep walking every day.  I try always to tell the truth, that way I don't have to remember what I said, but even if I were in the habit of fudging the truth, the one person I never lie to, or would lie to, is my doctor.  What would be the point?

Thursday, February 16, 2012


This is the start of my 3rd day of no TV.  I am amazed at how much better I feel.  It's really quite remarkable how badly the constant electronic drone was affecting my outlook.  Last night, I went to bed by 10:00 and slept really well.  I woke up this morning feeling rested for the first time in a very long time.  My dreams were not that jagged, angsty stuff that I've been experiencing for the last few months.  I can't even recall what I dreamt about, so if it was bad, I was sleeping soundly enough that it didn't disturb me.  My next move is to cut back on the hours and hours I spend mindlessly surfing the internets.

PS.  In order to be completely truthful, the only show I really love, The Vampire Diaries, is on tonight.  I haven't decided if I'm going to break my no TV rule for it or not.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I have a faceful of novacaine and talking is a treat. Right now, I'm sipping hot cocoa through one of those hollow coffee stir sticks because it's the only way I can drink and not dribble it down the front of me and because it's freakin' cold outside! This is LA, baby, it ain't supposed to be cold like this.

In other news, I walked to the dentist and went for a stroll on the way back. Ben did not join me, he's been fighting a cold for a few days and with the rain and cold today, he's not feeling very good. Hopefully, he'll be back tomorrow, feeling better. But I did get a walk. Since I won't be able to eat for awhile, I think I'll break out one of my exercise dvds and bust a move. Or bust something. Gonna read a little tonight and as the spirit moves me, maybe do some shit around the house. I want things to be nice and the only way I can do that is to make it nice myself. The only thing numb around here is my face, so I can certainly get a wiggle on 'cause the last time I looked, my ass wasn't immobile.

21 Days

My friend Ben and I have started a 21 day thingy. This is based on the notion that it takes 21 days of doing something consistently to create a new habit. So we've been walking every night when I get home from work. We were walking before we started our 21 days but it was a bit more haphazardly, as in not every day. Last Thursday, when we went for our walk, I proposed the 21 day create a new habit idea to Ben and he agreed. Then we both promptly got sick and didn't walk on Friday, so we started the official 21 days on Saturday which makes today the 5th day. Ben has meetings this afternoon and I have a dentist appointment, but we agreed to meet after that. We will be walking a little later than normal and I will have a face full of Novocain, but still, we walk. We do at least 30 minutes, sometimes 45. Heck, we've been known to walk for an hour. And even though I am currently in a plateau as far as weight goes, I know that walking will help me lose. The week in Paris, I ate and drank my head off, but because we walked everywhere, I was 4 lbs lighter when I returned. Imagine, 4 lbs lighter after a week in Paris at Christmastime! Walking works. And as far as my plateau goes, I know I need to tweak my food a little more (the Cheezits, jay-zus!) and add a consistent exercise routine in addition to the walking and it will have 2 effects: 1) it will bust through the plateau and 2) my overall health will be better. Glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol will all be at healthy levels.

As for my other experiment, I am now on day 2 of not watching TV. I didn't turn it on at all yesterday, either at work or at home and today, I haven't flipped it on at work nor do I have any desire to do so. A few times last night, I found myself unconsciously heading for the remote but I stopped myself. I made and ate a leisurely dinner (lemon garlic chicken breast, brussel sprouts in butter and rice with a glass of Murphy-Goode merlot), I read, I emailed a friend. The most important thing was when I felt like going to bed, I went to bed without having to feel like I needed to stay up to finish the show I was watching and AND I was relaxed, both physically and mentally. The mental difference between last night (no TV) and the night before (blood n guts TV) was truly eye-opening. I'm enjoying this.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oh, crap.

Oh, the crap that is in my head. I have been writing in a journal, sort of a morning pages style of thing, although I do it at any time of day the mood strikes. I find that it helps immensely to calm the tornado of "I want to do this" and "I have to do that" clutter that fills my brain at any given moment. Writing about it made me realize that I already know what I want and/or need to do and I don't have to keep a to-do list in my head. The constant sort of 'list making' in my head makes me tired before I even start, so by writing in a journal about the chatter (NOT writing another to-do list) is like fine-tuning a signal and getting rid of the static. It makes getting through the day easier because I can do one thing at a time and move from one thing to another much more easily, with more effortless energy and with much less resistance.

Another thing I am going to try for this week is to not watch TV. I have a TV on my desk @ work and I turn it on as soon as I come in each morning. There's nothing really that I want or like to watch on daytime TV so I end up watching reruns of shows I've already seen. Plus, I believe that having a TV on all day sets up having a TV on all night. I didn't even own a TV for ten years, now I flip it on as soon as I walk in the door. And it has become clearer and clearer to me that at the end of a show, I often think "Why did I watch that? It was pretty boring." And yet, I keep watching. And the programs I watch! Jay-zus! True crime and blood n guts. And shows like Criminal Minds and L&O: SVU, holy socks! The subjects that they use for entertainment on these shows are appalling. I stopped watching SVU years ago because I thought it was heinous that they used sexual assault for entertainment. I never watched Criminal Minds until recently and wow, it's gruesome. It's too bad that the crimes they show are so vile, because I do like the characters. For the most part.

Anyway, part of the reason I'm trying this is that I've been in a funky space since coming back from Paris and I hunt out the really dark stuff on TV to watch. Dianne Sylvan in writing about Vampire Diaries on her blog referred to "the sheer volume of WTFery in this show" which made me laugh and also was the perfect phrase for what's been going on in my head. The sheer volume of WTFery is making me...bored now. So a little experiment is needed. It's already bearing fruit. I've been thinking about a blog post for several days but haven't done anything about it. Today, no TV, new post.