Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


November & December - Updated

Mr. E and I are heading off on a South Pacific adventure to visit Australia and New Zealand for 2+ weeks over the holidays as a celebration of our 10th anniversary (1/11/13), so I figured I'd combine the updates for November and December, given that I'll also be posting details and photos from our trip later next month!


Nov. 1: PP Advocates Fund-Raiser
Mr. E and I continue to support PPMM even though I'm no longer working with the agency, and this particular event for the advocacy arm of the PP focused on a short documentary film along with a question and answer session with the film-maker.  Very interesting and informative, and also an opportunity for us to see our farewell to R, who has now moved back to Portland with C.

Nov. 3-4: Santa Rosa
We decided to make an extra wine-tasting trip this month to enjoy the Bubble Room at J Vineyards and also make a brief stop at the Vacaville outlets on the way home.

Nov. 7 & 14: Healthcare Focus Group
I participated in a series of two 2-hour in-person focus groups for a research project sponsored by AHRQ that was examining the perceptions and priorities of consumers/patients in regards to making healthcare decisions.  Pretty tasty food, interesting cohort of folks, and not a bad way to earn some extra $$$.

Nov. 8-12: Visit to Mom!
I took advantage of the fact that CPCA is closed on Veteran's Day to enjoy a long-weekend visit to Mom, since I won't be seeing her over the holidays.  So nice to just have some mellow time together.  And we picked out her new couch - can't wait to see pictures!  I also got to meet her new kitty, Christopher, an 8-year-old tuxedo boy who seems to be settling in to his new home.

Nov. 13 & 16: Lunch at Sapporo
First with A, then with S.  I'm definitely a fan of the food (and prices)!

Nov. 14-19: Mr. E to Chicago & Madison
A trip to the Midwest to see family, friends, and the BADGERS!!!  Too bad the black-and-whites lost...

Nov. 17: Monthly Brunch at Crepeville
We didn't have the whole gang, but we still enjoyed the food (despite the nasty, rainy weather!).

Nov. 20: Celebration of Life for David Blicker
This gathering was a lovely celebration of memories and stories about T's late husband.  We didn't know David that well, really just through knowing T, and it was quite impressive to hear about all he accomplished and the many people that he helped throughout his life.  Truly, a great loss.

Nov. 22: Thanksgiving
I did the Run to Feed the Hungry 10K in the morning, and we spent much of the day cooking down the turkey to make some yummy soup, as Mr. E had cooked the bird the evening before.  We then enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner with mashed potatoes, broccoli, cranberry relish, and squash pie.  Yum!

Nov. 23-25: Wine Weekend
We maintained our tradition of heading off to wine country for the post-Thanksgiving weekend.  This time, we met up with Mr. E's sister and brother-in-law, L & M, to enjoy the activities.  We started with a Friday afternoon tasting at Silver Oak and wrapped up with a "twilight" tasting at Trefethen (also departed with a new wine club membership to the latter...).  On Saturday, we focused on our afternoon experience at the J Vineyards Bubble Room (yes, this was our second time in one month - what's your point?!).  We ended the weekend with our monthly massages on Sunday afternoon.

Nov. 27: Dinner w/ L 
We finally managed to meet up at Firestone Public House for our monthly dinner and drinks.  One of the goals of the evening was to strategise the logistics for our upcoming California International Marathon 4-person relay team.  Due to M's work as a fire-fighter, his schedule tends to be a bit uncertain at times, and it looked as though he might not be able to join in the event.  Over the course of several days, however, we figured it all out...

Nov. 30: Happy Hour w/ S
Although The Press doesn't really have a Happy Hour per se, the menu does offer some awesome small bites and good drink prices, so it still remains a great option.  And the service is always excellent as well!


Dec. 1: Last Monthly Brunch of 2012 & Big 10 Championship Game
We got almost the whole gang together at Crepeville (Mr. E opted out) for our final monthly brunch of the year.  The weather was a bit better, but got much worse the following day... Bleah!

Our beloved UW-Madison Badgers convinced all of the doubters about their right to be in the Big 10 Championship with a decisive win over Nebraska, sending Bucky and the team to the Rose Bowl in January.  Too bad we'll be in Australia and won't be able to watch the game!

Dec. 2: California International Marathon - Relay
L, her partner M, Mr. E, and I formed a relay team for this year's CIM.  Due to M's scheduling challenges, we ended up with a rather unconventional running plan - I did Leg 1 and Leg 2 (13.5 miles in the pouring rain and gusty wind - yuck!); M did Leg 3 (timed) and Leg 4 (to accompany L); L did Leg 4 (timed); and Mr. E did Leg 4 (just for fun).  We all managed to survive the weather and gathered for a great post-race brunch at Waffle Square.  I was VERY sore and achy the next day, however, given the horrible weather and the fact that I haven't run that far in over a year (since the 2011 Urban Cow 1/2 marathon).

Dec. 5-9: Mr. E to Houston (work) and Dallas (friends)
Another trip to combine work and pleasure.  Mr. E will be traveling a bit more in the next couple of months, as he's taking on some additional responsibilities for a colleague based in Ft. Collins (CO) and will be leaving HP soon.  Let's get those trips to Denver on the calendar and accrue miles for other travel plans!!!

Dec. 6: CPCA Development Team Holiday Gathering
My supervisor, V, took her team out to Whole Foods for a cooking demo and "small bites" lunch to celebrate the holiday and all of our work this year.  Such a lovely and thoughtful gesture (and she even made sure that the food didn't include any onion or garlic!).

Dec. 8: T & T
I made the solo drive to Trefethen to pick up our December shipment and enjoy a members-only tasting that included some small bites, most of which contained red meat, so I couldn't really partake, but I did double up on the white chocolate bark with meyer lemon!

In the evening, T came over for dinner, and we spent almost 4 hours catching up and chatting over homemade turkey soup, Trader Joe's bread, and some yummy cheese from Nugget Market.

Dec. 9: Extra Massage!
I tried a new therapist this time, J, who was recommended for deep-tissue treatment, and she was great!  I could definitely feel some of the persistent knots in my shoulders and neck start to loosen, so I'll definitely go back to her for future appointments.

Dec. 14: CPCA Holiday Outing on the Empress Hornblower
The entire staff was treated to a 2-hour lunch buffet cruise on the Sacramento River.  The food was extremely good and - surprisingly - quite free of onion and garlic!  Working for an agency with an Executive Team that sees the value of allocating resources to this type of staff enrichment and team-building event is just SO lovely, and quite different from my previous 7+ years at PPMM.

Dec. 15: Mr. E's V-ball Tourney
The gang decided to have both a white elephant gift exchange and a raffle, and Mr. E won a $40 gift certificate to Chop's - yay!  He gave his white elephant gift away as well, which was a great way to avoid having extra "stuff" in the house.

Dec. 16: Book Club
The final gathering of 2012 focused on the book "Argo," which was only mediocre (I sold it back to Amazon for credit), but the holiday food offerings were quite yummy.

Dec. 17: Monthly Dinner
B joined L and me for our monthly dinner at Hook & Ladder, a new restaurant that took the place of Hangar 17 on the corner of 17th and S Streets.  Great experience!  Excellent service and yummy, interesting food.  B ordered the scallops, L got the daily special burger, and I had the beet (!) linguine.  We were surprised by also receiving an amuse bouche after placing our order, which was a lovely touch.  I decided to order a lemon bar and chocolate cake (for Mr. E ) to take home, and we got another fabulous service surprise when our server brought some vanilla bean gelato for the three of us to enjoy since it obviously wouldn't last in a take-home container with the cake.  High marks all around for this restaurant, and I will definitely return.

Dec. 19: The Press
I got to introduce A to one of my favorite spots as we met for dinner and drinks.  So nice to have developed this friendship with her after she was so abruptly dismissed from CPCA, and she expressed the same sentiment to me as well.

Dec. 20: CPCA 3rd Thursday
Just three of us this evening - V, G, and me - but we enjoyed our wine flights at the new Downtown & Vine across from the Imax theatre, just a few blocks from the office.