Friday, December 31, 2010

Sailing Away From 2010

Last night, I walked home from Staples Center after a Kings game in chilly weather with winds gusting up to 18 MPH. 

Most of the time the wind blew straight at my face, causing me to lower my head and lean forward to keep pushing my way home.  At times, the head wind was so strong it slowed my pace by half or even stopped me altogether.

Occasionally, the wind shifted 180 degrees and pushed at my back until I was moving too fast and trying to control my momentum.  Those bursts never lasted long, and while it was a relief to have some help walking a little more quickly, it was hard not being in control.  Plus, I spent my time worrying when the wind would shift another 180 degrees and resume it's attempts to slow my progress.

As it turns out, walking through last night's windstorm is a great metaphor for the year I had in 2010. 

Whether I was fighting conditions holding me back or struggling to control unwelcome forward momentum, everything was a battle.   I got caught up in the emotion of that struggle, and I made a lot of mistakes handling the challenges I faced -- in some cases major ones I'm still trying to completely repair.  I looked for places and people to blame.    Over the course of the year, that constant battle wore me down.  At one point, I wanted to give up completely.   I felt exhausted, uninspired and hopeless.  I lost myself, or at least my vision of who I want to be.

But I realized I DO have the power to find myself again.  Like a good sailor, I just need a plan to navigate and the strength to adjust my sails and tack around so the wind works for me, not against me.   If life is a journey and not a destination,  I still have a lot of sailing left in me.

I think they use champagne to christen boats, right?

Then toast with me as the next phase of my journey begins.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Make My Day Monday: A Toy Makes A Difference

Just before Thanksgiving, I received an e-mail from one of my co-workers, requesting help collecting toys for sick children.  Lots of organizations do this every holiday, including my beloved Los Angeles Kings, but this request touched my heart when I learned the story behind it.  In the interest of privacy, I'm leaving out names and other details and paraphrasing the story, but I feel compelled to share it.

My co-worker and her daughter collected toys to donate to Children's Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) one Christmas, and the little girl had so much fun she asked her mother if they could do it every year.  But one Christmas was all she would have.  She became seriously ill the month after Christmas and ended up in the hospital.   During her stay, she received a visit from hospital services with a gift -- one of the very toys she had collected herself.  Her sisters received gifts as well, but her mother got the biggest gift of all --  a priceless smile from her daughter and a chance for her to forget about being sick for just a little while.  And she remembers her daughter's smile every holiday, because memories are what she has left.  Sadly, the little girl passed away, but her mother continues her legacy by collecting toys every Christmas to donate to CHLA and UCLA.

She was kind enough to include a recommended list of toys in her e-mail, so I happily printed it and headed out to Target after work.    It was the most fulfilling shopping I've done in a long time.

I can't WAIT for these to get delivered!

So when you see folks in your community collecting toys for the holidays, remember there are real children out there in need of a smile at Christmas, and you can help give it to them.  A toy CAN make a difference.  Sometimes, it makes all the difference.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Smells Like True Friendship

I am blessed to have many people in my life I consider friends.  They've come into my life in all sorts of ways -- through school, work, hockey, or even other friends.   Depending on how we're acquainted, we have different levels of interaction.  Some things we share, some things we don't.  Some friendships instantly feel like they've existed forever, and some take time to establish.

Sometimes you find friends that are practically an extension of you -- as essential as one of your own limbs.   They almost know you better than you know yourself.  They're the kind of friends that can finish your sentences, know from the tone of your voice that something is wrong, or feel something in the air one day that makes them pick up the phone from 3,000 miles away and call just when you need it.

That friend is Michelle.

We met in college, and our connection was instant.  The finishing each others sentences thing has always been there, and it makes us look at each other and laugh in recognition when it happens.   Our mutual friends from school have difficulty talking about one of us without mentioning the other.  "Where are Meg and Michelle?"  "What are Meg and Michelle doing tonight?" 

She knows more about me than any person on the planet, and she remembers EVERYTHING.  So I shouldn't have been surprised when a got a call from her this summer in the middle of the day.

"Hey, sorry to bug you at work, but what's the name of that perfume you loved so much but can't find anymore?"

"Huh?  What perfume?"

"You know.  It's gold...something...maybe the box is gold?  Did the name have gold in it?"

"You mean Valentino Gold?"


"NO WAY!!!!!!"

"Yup! I found it.  They have 3 boxes.  How many do you want...I'll send them to you."

"You just found the last 3 boxes of my favorite perfume ON EARTH?  I'll take them all!!!"

"Perfect!  Gotta go....LOVE YOU!"

Bear in mind, I can't even remember when we ever had a conversation about my perfume.  It might have been late at night over a bottle of wine, enjoying each others company so much we couldn't stand the idea of sleep.  We might have been shopping once.   I had long since forgotten I even missed the stuff, yet she remembered it meant something to me once AND scoured every nook and cranny of New York City looking for it.

So after a failed attempt to mail me my bottled magic (wait, you can't mail perfume because it's flammable? DOH!), she made extra space in her suitcase and delivered it to me in when we met up back at JMU for our annual Alumni Band Weekend.

Now every morning, I look at the graceful gold bottle on the vanity tray in my bathroom and am reminded what a true and undying friendship I'm blessed to have.  The fact that I smell nice is just a bonus.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kitchen Adventures: The Thanksgiving Recipes!

I've written blogs on many subjects I personally find interesting.  Some of them resonate with the people I share them with, and some don't.  But the one subject that seems to unite everyone I connect with is FOOD.

Now THAT'S a Thanksgiving Feast!

I think we try to make the world so complicated sometimes that we forget what makes people tick is really pretty simple.  We need companionship and we like to feel good.  Shared meals bring those things together perfectly, which is one reason I enjoy Thanksgiving so much, no matter who I spend it with. 

Food also helps us learn more about each other.  We all have stories attached to particular meals or recipes that make them memorable.  We can share elements of our culture and heritage through flavors.  Most importantly, the process of cooking involves service to the people we care about, showing our love by nourishing each other.

This plate made me feel VERY taken care of on Thursday!

So in service to you, the friends who read and comment on my blog and keep me mentally nourished, I'm happy to share my recipes from Thursday.   I hope you pass them along and use them to create wonderful memories with people you love.


Grandma Hiller's Spinach Balls
2 boxes frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 cups crushed herb stuffing mix
1 stick of butter, melted
3 eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3-4 chopped scallions

Mix together all ingredients.  Roll into 1 inch balls and bake on a greased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.  Serve with mustard sauce or other condiment of choice.

Key West Lime Mustard Sauce
4 cups mayonnaise
1 cup Dijon mustard
3/4 cup Key Lime juice
1 tablespoon Pickapeppa Sauce (you can substitute Worcestershire if needed)
1 tablespoon A1 Sauce

Using a whisk or food processor, blend the mayo with the mustard.  Slowly pour in the Key Lime juice.  Add the Pickapeppa and A1 and blend until light golden brown. 

NOTE: This recipes makes about 5 cups, which is at least 4 cups more than you need for the spinach ball recipe.  The amount of ingredients can be cut in half and the sauce will taste just as good.  Or you can make twice as many spinach balls!

Sweet and Spicy Nuts
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon season salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg white
3 cups mixed nuts (1 cup each cashews, pecans and almonds)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Combine sugar and all spices in a medium bowl and set aside.  Beat egg white until foamy.  Add nuts to egg white and toss to coat.  Add spice mixture to nuts and toss to coat evenly.  Spread nuts onto a greased baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 1 hour, stirring once.  Remove from oven and cool slightly, then break apart.   Cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Kitchen Adventures: Thanksgiving Style!

Living 3,000 miles away from my family makes it tough to get home for every holiday.  Christmas trumps Thanksgiving in my holiday rankings,  so my Turkey Day is normally spent with friends.  With a few exceptions of cancellation due to illness, I've always been very fortunate to have some kind soul adopt me and do the heavy lifting in the turkey cooking department.   But I'm a courteous house guest and always happy to help out in the kitchen, so in addition to the perfunctory bottle of wine, I try to pull out a fun recipe or two to support the party and guarantee a return invite.

This year I'm in charge of bringing some appetizers, and I was kind of bored with the stuff I always do, so I went digging through the recipe box.  In the process, I found a quick and easy new one, plus a forgotten gem from a prior Thanksgiving more than a dozen years ago.

Let's start with the new kid on the block - Sweet and Spicy Nuts!

I love nuts, and I've seen different versions of this same kind of concept at other gatherings before.   These are coated with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, season salt and ground black pepper.  The binder is a beaten egg white.    Bake for 1 hour at 250 degrees, low and slow.  YUMMY!

One important thing I learned?  Don't let these suckers cool off too much, or you have a little challenge prying them off the baking pan (even though it's greased).   But the pay off is durability -- store these guys in an airtight container and you've got leftovers to snack on for up to 2 weeks AFTER the holiday!

My second choice came to me in a flash of inspiration thinking about a Thanksgiving gone by - Grandma Hiller's Spinach Balls!

First, a point of clarification about Grandma Hiller.  She isn't MY grandmother.  She belongs to an old boyfriend.  Sadly, he had to go, but she was a kind and generous woman and shared two things with me during a holiday visit to Oklahoma City back when the boyfriend was still a boyfriend.  The first was this spinach ball recipe, which she decided I MUST like after eating half the spinach balls she made us.  She also shared her famous from-scratch hot mustard recipe, which is the dipping sauce that accompanies the spinach balls.

Well, I found the spinach ball instructions, but I couldn't find the hot mustard recipe!  I know it's here, but my recipe box is stuffed and I was short on time and patience to find it.  Luckily I found another one for Key West Lime Mustard Sauce, so I made that instead.  Taste testing confirmed it's a pretty good substitute.

But back to the spinach balls.  All it takes is a couple of boxes of frozen spinach, some crushed stuffing mix, grated Parmesan cheese, butter, eggs and a few chopped scallions.  Combined together and rolled into balls, you bake them for 12 minutes (15 if you're using my oven) and you have a tasty veggie that isn't carrot sticks!

So now that my party contributions are ready, it's time to get gorgeous and go be social, which is my favorite part of the holiday!  I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving as much as I'm going to enjoy mine!  Gobble-gobble!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I worry / I weigh three times my body
I worry / I throw my fear around
But this morning / there's a calm I can't explain
The rock candy's melted / only diamonds now remain
- "Clarity" by John Mayer

A girl who likes to sleep sits at a computer at 2 AM, awake.   For weeks, her head has been full of big ideas, random thoughts, musings on life.  They come at odd times, sometimes slowly and only in brief flashes.  Sometimes they flood in faster than she can handle.  She wants to get them down, figure out what they mean, and ultimately share them, but the words don't come without effort.  Not the right words anyway.  And that stops her from writing them down, from making sense of them.  It stops her from sharing anything.

Sometimes she lays awake at night trying to figure out why.  When did the roadblock happen?  What got in the way and brought everything to a grinding halt?  Then she realizes she knows what happened, what shook her confidence, dealt a blow to her faith in herself. 

She knows what happened doesn't matter now.  What matters is that she lost her vision for her life.  Everything got out of focus for a while.  Like flying through clouds, it was hard to see too far in front of her until she soared just a little higher and got over the obstacles.  Now things have become clear once again, and she knows where she is going.  So it's time to hit the reset button, put the past in the rear view mirror -- and move forward.  And start writing....

That girl is me.  What happens now?  Stick around and we'll see....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Life is a Highway

It's been an incredibly long week in my life, one of those weeks when I've been so busy running to get things done I haven't thought much about the greater meaning of everything that has happened.  Today, I put over 150 miles on my car road-tripping to Southern California's "High Desert" (aka Lancaster/Palmdale) for a birthday celebration for a friend.

That gave me a lot of time alone to think.  

On the drive home, the sun was setting, and for long sections of the drive south on Route 14 back to Los Angeles, the colors of the sky were beautiful, a gradually blurred descent from indigo to rust.  And while it isn't the safest thing in the world to do, something told me to pull out the camera, point it towards the sky, and click just once.  When I got home and saw what I captured, I had a revelation...

Sometimes the road ahead of you is unclear.  But when you see something beautiful in the distance, it's best to keep heading towards it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's Finally Done!

I mentioned some time ago I had decided to branch out with my hockey blogging , but I hadn't completely decided on the plan to execute my idea.  It took some time, a lot of thinking, and a great deal of editing help from a dear friend, but I'm finally ready to unveil my new adventure.

Welcome to Kings Court!

All my musings on my beloved Los Angeles Kings will now be posted here:

I have a Twitter account for Kings Court as well, and I have something planned for Facebook but haven't had time to execute it yet.  It's been an incredible experience carrying a nagging little idea in the back of my mind to something fully realized, and I hope you decide to follow along. 

If you don't, A Life Less Ordinary will be still be here so you know what's happening with me personally.  Whatever your choice, I hope you enjoy reading!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How Do I Know That Name?

For any artist, name recognition is a big deal.  If you've ever read a story about how your favorite band came up with it's name, you know lots of thought goes into it.  You want your name to say something about the themes in your music, or your vision as an artist.  Most of all, you want people to remember you.

I remember Tracy Bonham.

The memory wasn't specific at first, but when Tammy and I arrived at the Hotel Cafe and saw her name on the list of artists at the door, it was nagging at me.  "Tracy Bonham....where do I know that name?"  With a quick Google on my iPhone, it started coming back.

The year was 1996.  The album was The Burdens of Being Upright, which I always thought was a genius name.  And the monster single was "Mother, Mother."

I loved this song.  It kicked ass in a way that made me want to go out and conquer the world.

More than 20 years later, Tracy Bonham is still knocking around, making fantastic and interesting new music.  Key tracks from her latest record Masts of Manhatta performed at Hotel Cafe included "Big Red Heart" and "Devil's Got Your Boyfriend."  I bought them on iTunes as soon as I got home, along with "Mother, Mother."  Because she performed that one at Hotel Cafe as well, and it rocked my face off just as much as it did in 1996.  Good music becomes great music over time that way.

The other intriguing discovery of the evening was Kasier Cartel.  They're an unusual duo out of Brooklyn, NYC who made me think of a folked-out version of the White Stripes, but with distinctly non-Rock-and-Roll musical instruments included.  Remember those little multicolor xylophones you played with as a kid? Yeah, they do too.  They used one!  And they also used a slightly more grown-up version on the same instrument, but played with a Dremel tool so it sounded like a phone ringing....

What can I say..I'm intrigued.  This is the fun part about discovering new music.  You should try it.   Just make sure to remember the artists name, even if it just hangs out in the back of your mind for years before you need it again.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tow Yard Art

I love taking pictures of everyday things I see while I'm training in the field and trying to make them look more like art.  Here are my latest efforts from a couple of days outside....

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Under Construction

OK, don't're safe here.  But I've been dying to use this photo in a blog post and just haven't found the right subject....until NOW!

I've been doing some thinking during the summer, and I've decided to expand my hockey blogging into some new arenas.  For that reason, I'm giving this blog an overhaul, including a new look.  Those of you interested in my personal life only are probably doing a little happy dance right about now, and that's OK.   Heaven knows my life is crazy enough outside of hockey that I'll still have interesting things to write about. 

If you like my hockey life as well, or if you follow me only because of my Kings rants and raves, don't worry.  All will be revealed shortly, and I'll make sure to leave a bread crumb trail so you know where to find me talking hockey.  And you won't have long to wait!  Training camp starts in a few weeks, and my new venture will be ready for it.

Regardless of where you follow me - here, the new hockey site, or both - I appreciate your support, comments and feedback.  Connecting with you makes me happy, so let's keep the conversation going!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

99 In The Shade

Auto insurance is a crazy business, so you have to find ways to have fun, even at a salvage yard in the middle of summer.
At least someone is working hard while I'm taking pictures...  

Double letters let you know you're in the "Back Forty"
Cool accessories are how we vehicle owners roll here in Cali!
And who says china marker isn't fun?

Monday, August 16, 2010

My New "Signature" Bag

Anyone who has seen me in person over the last two years is well acquainted with my constant companion and signature accessory -- my Michael Kors "Lattington" bag.

It was love at first sight when I spotted it in a Vanity Fair ad, so sophisticated and yet rock and roll, as well as the perfect shade of purple to match all my Kings gear.  I ripped the ad out of the magazine, dragged Nadine down to the Michael Kors store at The Grove one sunny afternoon in September 2008 (incidentally wearing a Kings jersey because we went shopping after a Kings Rookie Camp scrimmage), added some temporary debt to the credit card, and never looked back.

Sadly, the poor thing has been dying a slow death from too much love.  I've hauled it across the country and back several times, stuffed all manner of hockey gear it, and put it places no classy bag should ever go.  And for almost two years, my Lattington has loved me right back in so many ways.    But I think the handles are tired and ready for some rest.

I've taken my poor Lattington to my shoe and leather repair shop, searched on line, and even spoken with the Michael Kors store, but sadly, repairs are not feasible and it's time has come.  I can't bear to part with it completely, because it's held so many wonderful memories, but it's earned a rest from the rigors of daily use.  So I've been quietly scouting around for another signature purple bag.

Today, Brighton came to the rescue.  Meet "Blondie."

It's a messenger bag, the color is "grape," and it's perfect!  Love the two little pockets on the front for things that need to be within easy reach, and the strap extends perfectly across your chest for hands free shopping. 

Even the fabric lining is fab!

 But the best part is the detail in the leather texture...

In the words of Barbra Streisand, "It's like buttah, baby..."  So expect to see it VERY, tomorrow.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New Music: Empire of the Sun

I didn't know anything about the band Empire of the Sun when Tammy invited me to check out their show at the Music Box in Hollywood last night.   But given her current musical tastes are running in the vein of foreign and electronic, I knew it wasn't gonna be anything like John Mayer.

Going to a new venue in LA is always interesting, because there are a ton and a lot of them are great.  The Music Box was a great set-up for an act like this, although I will admit I was a little worried about what I was in for when I saw this.

Thank goodness I left my Sharpie and studded belt at home!  And the velvet rope Nazis made me spit out my gum when I came in, but somehow plenty of cameras made it.

Things started out weird with an opening DJ set that included a Lady Gaga-like set piece.  And by set piece, I mean her.

She never moved from the chair the entire 30 minute DJ set, although she did uncross her legs once while she was reading and eat one potato chip after 2 minutes of robotically slow movement.    And I think she fed a potato chip to the DJ when he came over to check on her.   Yeah, I don't dig performance art so much.

As for Empire of the Sun, the band's My Space page describes them as pop/electracoustic/alternative, which is pretty much what the recorded versions of their songs sound like.  Translated to live performance, the show was part Kabuki theatre, part NYC disco rave party.   The music was so loud the floor was vibrating,  and I'm pretty sure there were more dancers than band members.

I couldn't help but think the experience was a little like it would have been seeing Prince for the first time.  It's a little on the weird side, but the overall vibe is good.  Or maybe I just had Prince on the brain since the DJ included "Controversy" in his set.  Lots of synthesizers, some grooves better than others, but overall not the worst time I've had in my life.  And I hope they sell lots of records because guitars (sadly) were destroyed at the in smashed on stage.  Yeah, Prince has smashed gear too.  I think the comparisons work.

Hopefully my ears stop ringing by Friday....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Praise of Real Jerseys

There was a post on one of the many hockey blogs I follow this morning on the "new" jerseys the NHL will be marketing to women this season.   After I got over my initial shock and immediate dislike for the design, I started posting it on my social networks online.  The reactions were less than favorable, for the most part, although in some cases for different reasons than mine.

Then one of my fellow Twitterites posed the question, "What would you like to see instead?"   And you know what?  I don't want a different option.  I want women to wear the AUTHENTIC jersey of their team, because that's the way it should be done.  So until the OFFICIAL team jerseys include tapered waists, the name of the team and not the player on the back, and sparkly stuff, I'm not wearing one with all that mess.  Here's why.

The tradition of women wearing men's clothing is as old as time.  Greta Garbo in a tuxedo.  Wearing your boyfriend's letter jacket in high school.  And the whole idea is that it ISN'T made for a woman.  It represents pushing the boundaries of how a girl is supposed to look.  Or in the case of the letter jacket, the affection of someone who likes you enough to give you something of their own so everyone else knows you belong to them.

Now some of my fellow female hockey fans may say, "But Meg, guy sized jerseys are unflattering.  I want people to see my figure.  No dude will think I look sexy hiding in an enormous hockey jersey."

I could not disagree more.  First off, I can't imagine Sandy accepting Danny Zuko's letterman sweater in the movie Grease and saying, "Oh Danny, I love this sweater as much as I love you, but we just have to take this in at the waist, honey..."

I've also gotten opinions straight from dudes.  Take Rusty, the Fox cameraman, for instance.  He spent a lot of time last season getting Nadine and I on highlight reels, so this is a guy that appreciates attractive women.  We were having dinner after a Saturday afternoon game last season and ran into him at ESPN Zone.  While he was hanging out getting some food before he shot the Clippers game later that night, he was telling us about growing up in New York, going to hockey games as a teenager, and marveling at all the sexy women wearing hockey jerseys.  Men's style jerseys!  "There's just something about a woman in a hockey jersey," he said.

And if you need more proof, here's actual photographic evidence of a real dude reaction from last season.

I rest my case.

I realize the world is changing, and I pride myself of being progressive about most things.  But on this subject I'm happy to work it old-school.  So ladies, show your love for your team the right way -- by honoring their OFFICIAL jersey design.  Your boys will love you for it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

A CUT Above

"To the victor go the spoils" - or so the saying goes. So thanks to the Philadelphia Flyers loss of Lord Stanley's Cup in June, I won a bet I made with my friend Tammy and had the privilege of dining in one of the finest restaurants in Los Angeles.

Tammy and I both appreciate a good meal, and when we made the bet, we knew someone was pulling out the spare credit card. We did not bet on dinner at a specific restaurant, only that the location would be the winners choice and there was no budget. In LA, that gives you some dangerous options, to say the least. When were getting around to scheduling the evening and discussing restaurant choices, I really didn't have anything specific in mind when Tammy started throwing out names of steakhouses. We both enjoy a good steak, and it's not the kind of meal either of us enjoy on a regular basis. But I also wanted her to help choose the location, because I thought it would be fun to go somewhere neither of us had been before. That helped narrow the choices sufficiently for us to choose CUT in Beverly Hills.

Attach the name Wolfgang Puck to anything related to food and you know you're in for an amazing experience. Locate a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (which is owned by the Four Seasons hotel group) and you have an evening fit for a princess (That would be me, in case you were wondering who the princess is in this little dining drama).

Can I move in?

I had a bit better luck than Tammy in the traffic department, so I enjoyed a cocktail at Sidecar (conveniently located right next door) while I was waiting.

The gentleman seated next to me was enjoying some bone marrow flan off the restaurant menu. Gorgeous presentation, but a little off the scale in experimentation for my taste buds.

When Tammy finally arrived, we got seated and she started perusing the wine list.

The sommelier stopped by and asked if we needed some help deciding, and I was impressed immediately by two things. First, the sommelier was a woman. Second, she didn't linger and make us feel pressured to choose. She made some lovely recommendations and left us alone with our thoughts. After an additional few words of encouragement from our charming waiter, Tammy chose a perfect syrah for our meal.


Then we set about the formidable task of deciding what to eat. If you've never enjoyed dining at a place like this before, everything is a la carte, so you order entrees and side dishes separately and the portions are large enough to share. And because you're spending a Kings ransom on a steak, they even bring the various cuts of meat over on a gleaming silver tray so you can inspect the degree and consistency of the marbling (or in steak parlance, fat, which makes it more tender and juicy when cooked) in the cut of meat you're considering. And we also received a bit of eduction on Kobe beef, which apparently is under embargo right now, so unless you go to Japan you cannot enjoy "true" Kobe beef, although you can have very fine beef in the "Kobe style." So many decisions....

Of course, in addition to being charming, our waiter was French (originally from Lyon) and retained just enough of his original accent to contribute the perfect ambiance to the ordering process. This was our conversation:

Adorable French waiter: "And for you madam?"
Me: "I'll have the Nebraska rib eye, please."
Adorable French waiter: "Lovely! How would you like it prepared?"
Me: "Rare."
Adorable French waiter: "Very good...*raising eyebrows*...and your side order?"
Me: "I would love to try this incredible macaroni and cheese."
Adorable French waiter: "*smiles and nods*...The perfect meal!"
Me: "Can I take you home with me?"

Before we got down the main course, we did have a lovely crab and shrimp appetizer. I promptly apologized to Tammy for photographing my food, but I don't live like a princess every day, and documentation was necessary.

I had every intention of taking pictures of my incredible steak, the heavenly mac and cheese, and some truly amazing creamed spinach I shared with Tammy, but the wine and the appetizer got the best of me. Plus there was a very handsome fellow at the next table that kept glancing over at me. Initially, he sat down alone and I thought he might be security, ready to throw me out of the place for photoing Mr. Puck's lovely food and attempting to steal his secrets. Luckily another man joined him, so he's probably just an out-of-work actor.

And even though we had absolutely no room for dessert, we got just a little something sweet to finish off the loveliest meal I've had in a long time.

Sadly, it was time to leave.    And even more sadly, THIS chariot was not included in the deal... 

But a girl can dream, right?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Every Day Is A Birthday

I've been fielding questions for the past several days from friends asking what my "big plans" are for my birthday. I think because my life is normally so busy in general, everyone expects some kind of superhuman craziness out of me on "The Big Day."

But aside from a fire drill in my building sometime between 6-10 PM, I have absolutely no plans for "The Big Day." And it doesn't concern me in the least. Because birthdays are like life. Some of life's moments are big, colorful, momentous and unforgettable. Some are peaceful, easy, and simple. And as hectic and my life has been lately, I've actually been looking forward to peaceful and easy. Besides, my life is pretty darn awesome on a daily basis, whether it's my birthday or not. Isn't every day a cause for celebration?

Then I got a text from a friend who was preparing for an interview where one of the questions was, "Do you have a philosophy for work and for life?" And I realized I do. My philosophy is this:

Live every day like it's your birthday.

Birthdays are a celebration of life. The day you were born, the world changed irrevocably. And it keeps growing and changing in new and wonderful ways every day you're here. With every choice you make, every experience you have, every investment of your time and talent, and every person you touch or share your life with, you change the energy in the universe! Sometimes it happens in little ways, and sometimes the changes are big. But no matter what size the impact, it's uniquely yours. Isn't that worth celebrating?

Special things happen to you every day, if you just pay attention and recognize them. The smile on your face from a silly text message from your craziest friend. The feeling of the sun and wind on your face driving the freeway with the top down. The unexpected invitation to a baseball game. The joy you hear in someones voice when you call them out of the blue. The fun of wearing your favorite party dress and strappy silver shoes to work on a random Thursday.

(Yes, I am wearing this to!)

So don't wait for your "official" birthday to celebrate all the amazing things in your life. Get out every day and LIVE IT.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Farewell to Frolove

We suspected it by the end of last season, but the reality hit yesterday when the theories became fact. Alexander Frolov is no longer a Los Angeles King. Our Frolove is gone, and he's not coming back.

The hockey/business reasons on both sides of this parting of the ways have been exhaustively covered by people more qualified than me to write about them. But reporters, bloggers, and armchair GM's with Twitter accounts don't explore the human factor, which is where I come in.

Alexander Frolov and the Kings started out together young, with great intentions of building a beautiful future together. But like a romance between high school sweethearts, the passage of time saw them grow apart. In fairness, no one ran away at the first sign of trouble. The love was there all along, with both sides trying what they could to make it work.

It was a long, slow decline, but in the end everyone involved recognized it was unrecoverable. It's like looking across the breakfast table at someone you once loved with all your heart, knowing that you still care about them but you have no choice but to pack your bags and leave.

Alexander Frolov, the hockey player, has talent. I hope a change of scenery helps him show it again. He deserves that chance.

I only spoke to Alexander Frolov, the person, on a handful of occasions, at fan events and such. And I use the term "spoke" loosely, partly because I was hopelessly tongue-tied looking into those gorgeous blue eyes, and partly because Fro is so quiet. Sweet, kind, exceedingly polite, and a little mysterious too, with this slow smile that make you feel like he was looking into your soul with those eyes and reading your every thought. I'll miss that.

And I'm not the only fan that will miss the beautiful man that wore #24. My friend Nichole Glaze (aka "The Frotogropher") will be without her favorite subject. Nadine will miss screaming, "спасибо, Sasha! хорошую работу!" during games, and speaking Russian with Alex at player events, prompting him to sign her jerseys "To Nadia"...

And I will miss those blue eyes...

New York Rangers fans, our Frolove is now yours. Take good care of him. And love him well -- just like we did.