No animals were harmed in the making of this post.

That is because I am currently drinking vegan chai folks.  A little vegan chai concentrate + almond milk.   Some of you (the 1-3 people who actually read this these days) may be thinking “gross!”  But actually, it’s DELICIOUS.   Dare I say better than Starbucks or Coffee Bean?  I dare.  Plus, it’s cheaper.  And if you know me, you know I love a good bargain 😉

So I didn’t keep my promise about my Christmas update last night but I’m here now.  Let’s go back a few days.

Wednesday I worked, and I spent most of the day drafting and finalizing a letter in Spanish, to a woman in Mexico who needs to sign a form for me that is written in English.  Technically I don’t know if she can read, so all of my efforts may be in vain, but at least I tried!  The thing is, I didn’t learn things like “signing on this line indicates that you XYZ” in spanish class.  I learned things like “where is the bathroom?” and “I would like the cheese enchilladas.”  Unfortunately, while such terms help me out in certain areas of Los Angeles or while travelling to spanish speaking countries, they don’t help me as a lawyer.  Apparently, I need a “spanish for lawyers” book to help me out with my pro bono clients 🙂  Nevertheless, I finished the letter, and found a fluent spanish speaker in the office to make sure I wasn’t saying anything embarrassing (sometimes literal translations from english mean something totally different in Spanish).  A few minor grammar corrections and all was well.  Woohoo!

(Side note- one time a friend had a guy who didn’t speak english painting their bathroom, and they asked me to do two things: (1) ask him if he was afraid of dogs, because they had a dog locked up in a bedroom and wanted to let her out; and (2) how long it would take for the paint to dry.  Well, I didn’t learn the word for paint or the verb for drying, so I had no idea.  So I just pointed at the cieling and said “Time?” (in spanish).  And then I pointed at the door where the dog was and asked him if he was afraid of dogs.  I think that was a bad move because he could hear the dog barking, and she was behind a door, so he probably thought she was something huge and vicious.  He suddenly got really scared.  So we just left the dog in the bedroom.  Communication fail.  Hopefully my letter isn’t as big of a fail as that day!)

Thursday, my brother came to visit.  (From way out in the far land of Mentone, CA which is only about 70 miles away… but 70 miles in southern california is a lot further than 70 miles in other places.  The unpredictability of traffic means 70 miles can be a little over an hour or it can be four hours.  Not pretty).   Luckily, Will didn’t have much traffic either direction.   We hung out in my apartment for a little while, and then decided to go down to Santa Monica and get lunch and shop a little.  Sadly, the restuarant I wanted to eat at was closed for the holidays so we went to Mariasol which is a Mexican restaurant at the end of the pier in Santa Monica.  We got a table outside and unfortunately the view, and being together, were the only good things about that lunch.  The food was mediocre and the waiter was extremely lame.  I asked him if I could get salsa in my cheese quesadilla and he said “No.  Justuh the cheese.”  Will and I did get a lot of humor out of that phrase for the rest of weekend, but it was still annoying.  Just to prove him wrong, when he came back with the quesadilla I opened it up and poured salsa inside.  HA!  (not in front of his face, after he walked away..)

Very Cheesy Cheese

The view 🙂

Santa Monica, Christmas Eve 2009 🙂

Then, we never saw the guy again and had to flag him down after waiting a long time wondering where he was because we were done and ready to go.

Since lunch took so long, we barely had any time to peek our heads in a couple of stores on 3rd street before heading back to downtown to meet a couple of my coworkers to see Avatar in 3D.  We thought we’d need to get there like an hour early to ensure we got good seats.  Instead, the four of us were the only people in line at the point they told us we were now allowed to go into the EIGHT HUNDRED SEAT theater and find our seats for the show.  Luckily, more people showed up eventually.  It wasn’t packed by any means but we weren’t the only people in the theater.  Being the only people in a huge theater is not as cool as it may sound.  That happened to me once over the summer with two of my cousins.  It’s actually more distracting than you’d think.   The movie was amazing.   And when we walked out I was like “I know this may sound weird, but that main blue girl was really hot.”  And everyone agreed, both that it was kind of weird and that it was true 🙂

Wow, for some reason it took me awhile to write that much, and right now it’s about time to check in and then time to get dressed and get to work… so more to come later! 🙂

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Lions and Tigers and Clowns, OH MY!

Okay, okay, there weren’t any lions or tigers involved in my night last night, but there were definitely a lot of clowns.  French clowns.  That’s right folks, last night I went to my first Cirque du Soleil show, Kooza, down at the Santa Monica Pier!  I’ve only heard good things about Cirque du Soleil, and I definitely wasn’t let down.  One thing to note though is that it’s a very intimate setting, so you don’t have to pay for the most expensive seats.  Every seat in the house is a good seat.

The acrobatics were INSANE.  At a couple of points I felt like I might vomit out of fear for the acrobats involved.  (For example, there is a part that involves spinning rings high up in the air and at one point one of the guys was running on the outside of the ring, way up in the air, and he started jump roping up there and then his foot got caught.. oh my goodness I almost lost it.  He didn’t though, he got his foot loose and kept on going without missing a beat).

I absolutely loved the show, totally thought it was worth the money, and definitely recommend it!  However, I do have two negatives.  First,   some of the clown parts (where it was just clowns being silly rather than any acrobatics going on) dragged a bit and were a little boring to me.  However, most people were laughing the whole time, and those little comedy breaks are probably necessary to keep the masses from having heart attacks due to watching all the crazy acrobatics!  Second,  I probably would not take my children to see Kooza.   I didn’t see any kids when I was there, and I’m not sure if it was because of the price tag ($60-$130), because of the time of the show I went to (8pm on a school night) or because other people knew it was more of a show for adults than for kids.  It wasn’t super adult themed (a la Zumanity),  but quite a few of the clown scenes had sexual/potty humor.  Granted, kids might not even get it (kind of like I never noticed any of the sexual references in Grease when I was a kid and was shocked when I watched it when I was older!).  And it wasn’t really bad, there were just several times where I thought “wow, if I had kids and brought them to this without knowing what it would be like, I would be a little upset.”  Kind of like when you watch a PG kids movie and there is a cuss word in it.  You expect it to be completely kid friendly and it’s like “whoooah where did that come from?”

Another perk of seeing the show was that it was right down at the pier in Santa Monica.  Despite having lived in the L.A. area for almost 3.5 years now, I had never even been to the pier until a week or two ago.   I drove down early to miss traffic (although whenever the 405 is nearby trouble will ensue, and sure enough I hit traffic on the 10 for miles leading up to the 405 exit, but it was completely clear the moment I passed 405).  Another perk of getting down to the pier early was that there was actually parking available on the pier!  So instead of parking somwhere else and taking a shuttle or walking back up the pier after the show, I got to walk right to my car in about 2 minutes 🙂  Plus, the view down there before the show was BEAUTIFUL!  I captured this shot on my iPhone:

kooza

Prior to the show I accomplished two tasks.  First, I beat the friend I was meeting by about an hour and my bangs have been driving me CRAZY.  So I googled nearby salons and found one .5 miles away and called to ask if I could come in for a bang trim.  I went to Studio 1452, and I really liked the girl who trimmed my bangs.  We talked hair color for a few minutes too and I’m seriously considering driving down to SM for my next hair appointment and trying her out.  About 15 minutes and $10 later, my bangs were finally out of my eyes again.  Hallelujah!

Second, when my friend arrived we grabbed dinner at Rusty’s Surf Ranch on the pier.   It has mixed reviews on Yelp, but we decided to give it a try because it was so close, and they have a great happy hour.  The decor inside feels a bit like a “hole in the wall” beach cafe kind of place, but it’s very fitting for its location.  I ordered the veggie burger for dinner and it was DELICIOUS.  Veggie burgers at restaurants have been very hit and miss for me so far since I converted to vegetarian, and I’m pretty sure this one was my favorite so far.  I will definitely be going back for more!

That’s all for now.  My cruel body has me up earlier than I wanted to be, so I’m going to go for a walk.  I want to join a gym, but next week I’m going to Vegas for a couple of days with some girlfriends, and then the day after I get back flying to North Carolina for about a week, so I’m going to wait to sign up until I get back.

Speaking of walking-  I’ve figured out that my walking experiences in downtown L.A. are much more enjoyable with earbuds in (with or without music).  Everyone thinks I’m listening to music, so nobody bothers me.  I like it that way.  Another thing about walking… I don’t mention being tall on here very much,  but sometimes walking alone is very frustrating because I notice people gawking at me a lot more when I don’t have a friend walking with me that I’m talking to.  It’s so frustrating.  It’s like, yes, I know that I am ridiculously tall for a woman, but leave me alone already!   I do really love being tall, but sometimes (probably similar to a celebrity) I really wish I could go out in disguise.