Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thanks for the Help

Yesterday we received a box from Norm's mom that had Christmas presents. As usual, we opened the box, took the wrapped presents out and placed them under our tree.

I am going to go ahead and admit that Cali and Pellet were particularly interested on the packages that came out of the box... for a split second I hesitated putting them under the tree. "Nothing is going to happen" "quit being paranoid" I told myself. So naturally they rushed to the tree to sniff the boxes and naturally I yelled "NO!" and naturally they moved along.

This afternoon when I got home from work, I found this:

Obviously  I don't know what's inside the other boxes, but I'd say that out of all the options, the koozies were the most practical to bust into. Now we can go ahead and give them an early start usage!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dining Experience

A while back I read an article about the difference on "eating out" and having a "dining experience". It basically relayed a message along the lines of when "eating out" you go to the restaurant, eat and move along with your life and when having a "dining experience" you take in the whole meal with all your senses, a dining experience would be one that you would learn from, cherish, and all those good things.

Well, the other day, we went to this place for dim sum. It all started by our friends (and Norm) explaining to me what dim sum was... "oh! like Chinese tapas! got it. let's go there!" so we did...  We walked into a large rectangular room that was intriguingly decorated in Asian decor - the "stage" had painted dragons as backdrops, there were chandeliers throughout the restaurant and the tables had those heavy duty vinyl covered table clothes are are made for easy wiping.  

Two reasons I kept the snob inside of me, well, inside of me and decided to embrace eating there. One was the fact that the friends had been there before and had nothing but awesome comments about the food. Two was the fact that this Asian restaurant was full of Asian customers (I wouldn't eat in a Peruvian restaurant that wasn't good.... you get the point).

We sat down and quickly, Brazilian steakhouse style, servers started approaching our table offering little plates of food that was either fried or slimy. If they mentioned "pork" or "bacon" the plate was immediately off the server's cart and on our table. 

I have no pictures because honestly the food wasn't pretty, but it sure was tasty. 

After we stuffed our faces with pork, bread, slimy textures, fritters and various rice dishes, we walked out paying $60 for four adults.

Although the restaurant and the food is far from fancy, I consider eating at this place not only a dining experience but a cultural one too. I ate chicken feet. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


We are alive.

I think a year of hotel jobs is catching up to us.

It's not that I don't have ideas to blog about... it's just that when I get home in the evening, all I can think about is: putting on my pj's, fixing something to eat, and playing Bejeweled Blitz.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween, White Vinegar & Other Randomness

I have the urge to go ahead and announce to the world (for those who care to read, at least) that White Vinegar is awesome. I think it's so awesome that I unconsciously capitalized it just then (or maybe it's the 50+ hour work weeks I've been putting in writing Banquet Event Orders Where we Capitalize Just About Every Other Word).

I recently discovered a book on the shelf that has a gazillion uses for white vinegar. I have been using it: in the laundry, to clean jewelry, to clean the greasy stand mixer, to clean the soap nasties from the shower and bathroom and to soak the toilet bowl, to name a few. 

Last night I was enlightened... what if I spray the grout with vinegar... sprinkle baking soda (another magical product)... let it soak... scrub... and wipe? I had nothing to loose so I went for it. I have since become a grout cleaning maniac. Just now (as the rest of the kitchen floor soaks) I thought I should've taken 'before' and 'after' pictures of the grout.... then I convinced myself of the fact that taking pictures would be too embarrassing. So just take my word that the clean grout is 5672 shades lighter. 

Tonight is Halloween and the dogs are barking. Cute little children are walking the street in the 20mph wind gusts - sounds like a blast (I just made myself sound "old" just then, but I'm okay with that). I think I'm about to put my ear plugs in and have a grout cleaning party all by myself.

As of tomorrow, we will be landlords (again). We are quite excited!

Cali is learning how to catch the tennis ball. I'll dedicate a post just for that story because it involves videos.

We went to the Georgia National Fair again this year!

And a couple of weekends ago, we found the Mossy Creek Festival down the street from our house!

BEST.FUNNEL.CAKE.EVER. It was about 2.5 inches tall and crispy all over. So tasty!

Now back to scrubbing my floors - can't wait!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Celebrate Good Times

Birthday Day celebration involved a whole weekend! It started by watching this child run a 5K in Macon:

From there we headed to Sweet Auburn Curb Market in smack downtown ATL. The market was so cool, there were produce stands, food stands, bakery stands... it reminded me of the markets in Lima.

We met up with Kerrie and Eric and had lunch at the areperia.... it was delicious. Here's me in action:

Of course we had to have birthday dessert so we went with the craft ice-cream stand. I had the Bourbon  Burnt Sugar and Chocolate..........

From there, we took the MARTA (had to ask for help to figure out how to get ticket...) and went down to Music Midtown Festival along with 52000 other folks to spend an afternoon of music, beer and street food.

We got to see Florence + The Machine, she was amazing. Her performance was awesome.

This was the crowd at about 7:30pm.... it just got more crowded as 9:00pm approached.

Because that's when everybody and their grandmother along with their puppy dog showed up to see Pearl Jam. We didn't stay until the very end because the thought of the massive exodus of 52000 people was a bit scary.

We finished off the weekend not only by going to YOUR Dekalb Farmer's Market, but also by having breakfast at Highland Bakery. This is how my Fried Chicken Benedict ended up.

So with 32 years of life under my belt I head off to see what year 33 has in store!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


We finished off Birthday Weekend with dinner at Mellow Mushroom, when we got there we found out that they had their all-time-best-ever pizza, Holy Shiitake. So we immediately closed the menu and ordered a large:

While we waited on it, we took pictures... we discovered the "burst" setting on the camera and snapped away. These are some of the best. Enjoy!
Pretty sure Norm is crying on this one
And the best for last:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

We Are All Fruit

This past weekend I went back home and it so happened to be Arts in the Heart of Augusta. I remember growing up we would always go to this festival. So many memories came back when we got to the tent to buy a "ticket" and they gave us a pin badge.... when I was young, I would collect the badges and pin them to my curtain.... 

Moving along... the festival revolves around crafts, music, pottery, art and (most important to me) FOOD. Yes, you can find the hot dog stand and the ice cream stand, but the best part is are the International tents. Spain was serving up Paella:

India was serving these delicious things, I ate one

Here is some action of the Masala Dosa being prepared:

 Delicious!! Seeing those pictures makes my stomach grumble.

As we walked around the various tents (Nigeria, Guam, Germany, India, Turkey, Greece, Spain, Philippines, Thailand to name a few) I started realizing that for the most part, everybody serves the same street food. If it's not some sort of meat on a stick:

It's some sort of fried dough:

Which then leads to something so amazing that I'm still working on wrapping my head around it. All these different cultures, all these different application of spices, different flavors, some strong, some more bland, some spicy.... but deep down, the means to getting the end result is the same, no matter what part of the world it's being cooked at.

And with that my friends, I can't help but to quote one of my all-time favorite movies:
Gus Portokalos (from My Big Fat Greek Wedding): You know, the root of the word Miller is a Greek word. Miller come from the Greek word "milo", which is mean "apple," so there you go. As many of you know, our name, Portokalos is come from the Greek word "portokali," which mean "orange." So, okay? Here tonight, we have, ah, apple and orange. We all different, but in the end, we are all fruit.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Edible Associates

The other day we were at staff meeting at work and our Human Resources Director distributed a memo with several bullet points. This was one of them:

True story.

Needless to mention the fact that all havoc broke loose - uncontrollably, people crying and shaking and things like that. Crying and shaking from laughter of course, not fear of cannibalism.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

St. Augustine

For the most part, a 4.5 hour car ride (one way) is not part of a "day trip". Due to circumstances (such as expenses and Norm having to be at work at 8:00am Saturday morning to count inventory), we drove down to St. Augustine on Friday to pick up Norm's car from the shop. Since we had already made the drive, we figured we would spend a few hours in the area looking around.

First off we visit the Cathedral which is located on the main square. 

We walked down St. George Street and ate lunch at Columbia Restaurant. So tasty! And such a pretty place!

Then we continued down St. George Street and came across this, the oldest wooden school house in the  country!

We also came across a store that sold (and provided free tastings) of tropical fruit wines. It was very interesting... we bought Passion Fruit Wine. Because it wasn't hot enough and because we were going to be sitting down in the car for another 4.5 hours on our trip back home, we kept walking and got to the Castillo San Marcos, we didn't pay to go inside, just sight-saw (past tense of sight-see??) around it:

From there we drove to the Shrine of Nuestra Senora de la Leche y Buen Parto - the first shrine dedicated to Mary in the country. It is located on the grounds of the very first mission, which was founded in September of 1565!

Pretty street. Notice the moss is growing on the cables:

After that we stopped for a pastry at Denoel, a french pastry shop, but it was about to close, so we took our pastry to-go and ate it by the park. Before we headed home, we went to see the ocean, didn't swim though, can't go to the coast and not at least see the ocean. It's so beautiful...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Dog Days Are Over

Wow - August came and went and there is not a single post to account for our lives during the Dog Days of Summer.

Webster defines "Dog Days" as:
1. the period between early July and early September when the hot sultry weather of summer usually occurs. 2. a period of stagnation or inactivity

Well, the blog might have been stagnant and inactive, but for us August has been far from it. Starting with:
- had to evict the tenant (long story, call me if you want all of it)
- house still not rented (beautiful 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, fully fenced in, call me if you want it)
- Norm went to Palm Beach Gardens for work
- Norm's car broke down in St. Augustine because the engine blew
- we opted to get a new engine instead of buying a new car, which was lots of $$ but less than if we had bought a new car
- while Norm was gone I stayed home and was a single parent for one week of the two he was gone
- my mom and Juan came to visit for one week, which was very lovely and helpful
- got to see my friend Natasha in Augusta one of those weekends thanks to Pam, who came to the rescue on watching Pellet and Cali when our regular dog sitter couldn't watch them
- being a single parent of 2 furry friends was not fun
- engine didn't come in on time, so the car had to stay in Florida when Norm came home
- Norm and I shared a car for a week which involved lots of driving for both of us
- coordinated the borrowing of a car from our dear friends Eric and Kerrie (shout out!)
- work has been very busy and dramatic (long story again, call me if you want all of it)
- which has resulted in long days for both of us, specially for Norm
- Norm's car was finally ready so we picked it up yesterday (went to St. Augustine for the day)
- on the way back, right as we passed Cordele on I-75, Norm got pulled over going 19 over... in a construction zone.... (for those of you who are unaware, as we were before last night, law enforcement is quite strong in that area, so if you ever find yourself traveling through there, you've been warned).

So, as we say in Spanish "Agosto cerro con broche de oro", look it up, I'm having a hard time translating it.

I'm happy August is over and now we can move on to Birthday Month!

Here are some pictures of the dogs when Norm was gone.... Pellet would wait for him by the garage door.... it was quite a sad site:

When I would come home, they had been so lonely, that they would be attached to my hip. Here they are sitting right up against the chair I was sitting on:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Jam Packed Weekend

Norm's mom came to visit this weekend! And part of her visit involved a trip to Atlanta to pick her up and have dinner with Norm's brother Tipp and his wife Alice. We met for dinner at Brick Store Pub... delicious food and lots of beer to explore.

No, Norm and I did not plan the purple/lilac matching outfits.... The next morning we got up and drove down to Lane's Orchrads and tasted all sorts of peachy things.

Came back, fixed lunch. Pork Loin Step #2 (no picture of step #1... sorry):
Step #3:
Step #4:

Melissa fixed her awesome cornbread fritters


Pellet & Cali hung out and enjoyed family time!

Then we headed downtown Macon for Bragg Jam 2012. Bragg Jam is a music festival, this year it consisted of 46 bands and 12 venues.

We got to listen to all sorts of bands, this one is a Dixieland Jazz Band - they were so fun!

This one was Lydia Loveless with a rockstar bass player in the background:

Our favorite was Little Tybee, they were so talented, the venue was a small art gallery so we were right next to the band AND they had an overhead projector on their stage!

Somewhere in between all that, we sat at a table window-side and entertained ourselves by people watching. Then we headed back to Terminal Station to listen to The Grapevine, they had one heck of a party going on. Norm and Melissa never pass the opportunity to shag:

Happy Weekend!

Family Picture 2016

Family Picture 2016

Family Picture 2015

Family Picture 2015

Christmas Picture 2011

Christmas Picture 2011

Family Picture 2009

Family Picture 2009
Thanks for reading! Come back Soon!