Someone asked me for the chicken sandwich recipe.

I didn't really use a recipe actually, but here's what I did:

1 pkg 'Just Chicken' from Trader Joe's, relatively finely diced
1/4 red onion, finely diced
2-3 stalks of celery, diced
2 spoonfuls or so of mayo (I try to get away with as little as possible)
1 spoonful or so of ranch dressing
1 handful of cranberries
Several dashes of dried tarragon (or fresh tarragon would work too)
Pepper and salt to taste

Green leaf lettuce
Sliced tomato
Whole wheat bread

Mix first set of ingredients together in a large bowl.  Taste it.  Adjust as necessary.  Take 1 slice of bread, put lettuce and tomato on it.  Pile on chicken salad mixture.  Add 1 more slice of bread.  Cut sandwich diagonally, if you're into that.  Eat.  Enjoy.

Laminated List of women I'd marry, if I were 'into' women.

My one-day-late contribution to Pride Weekend

Kate Winslet
: Grounded, beautiful.  Even if I couldn't marry her, I'd just want to be her friend.  If you tell me you think she's ugly I will punch your nuts.

Zooey Deschanel: Adorable, alluring.

Ashley Judd...and Salma Hayek

HAH.  Bet that got your attention.  In all seriousness though, I love Ashley's brains, and she's funnier than people give her credit for.  They should cast her in more rom-coms.  As for Salma, well, I don't think I need to explain that.

Vienna Teng: talented and oh-so-elegant...I love when she gets into 'Cecilia' at around 2:15.

Mandy Moore: not sure if I want to date her or be her.  Maybe hire her stylist.

Julie Delpy circa 1995.  Totally enchanting.

Janeane Garofalo: maybe the one most likely to marry me back =P

Penny Lane: Kate Hudson was never better.

27: A Ripe Age to Experience Your First Hangover.

I assumed I awoke bleary-eyed because I stayed up 'til 2 a.m. reading peoples' Posterouses and leaving comments and writing yesterday's entry.  I was okay, if extraordinarily tired, as I rushed to TJ's and the local Mexican market for stuff to make chicken salad sandwiches.  Got everything chopped up and packed and ready for Big Basin.

On the car ride, I started to feel really sick--pounding headache, twisted-up insides, feeling like my eyelids were made out of silly putty.  All I wanted to do was crawl into bed, and the last thing I wanted was to hike 6 miles in that condition.  I'm lucky I didn't sick myself in the car.  It wasn't until we found a picnic table and I had my head down and my jacket tented over me when someone pointed out that it may actually be...a hangover.  I had never considered this possibility because, a) I have never been hung over in my life and b) I had maybe the equivalent of 2, 2.5 glasses of wine yesterday.

But wait, for someone who gets warm and fuzzy on half a glass of any liquor, and full on drunk on a full glass, I guess 2 glasses, even spaced out over an entire afternoon, was a bit much.  Plus, I probably could have drank more water.

I immediately reached for the Nalgene.  But in the end, what really kicked the hangover for me was eating the big generous slices of watermelon we had brought with us.  Water + Natural Sugar = Amazing Hangover Cure.  After that, and after scarfing the best chicken salad sandwich I've ever eaten, let alone made (the secret lay in the addition of ranch dressing), I felt human again.

So I actually managed the 6-7 miles we hiked through the Creeping Forest Trail and Doole Trail. AND I got to see my very first banana slug!  Two firsts (well, three actually--never been to Big Basin before) in one day.  Not bad! =D

Que Syrah Syrah...Whatever Will Be, Will Be

I had such a lovely day that further cemented in my mind the idea that Sonoma County takes Napa Valley out like the trash when it comes to wine-tasting experiences.  Not that I have ever been to Napa (except for an excursion to French Laundry that set back my food budget a month and a half)--but it sounds like the Disneyland of wine country, where you can pay up to $25 for a tasting.  A tasting!  I will barely spend more than $20 on an entire bottle of wine, let alone a mere tasting.

We went for my friend Vivian's birthday.  After a bit of a late start, we got to Gloria Ferrer and sat down with a nice little suite of wines (They don't do the usual tasting, but you buy individual small glasses).  I paid $2 for 2 oz. of the 2003 Carneros Estate Syrah, "a wine for purists, displaying both saturated black fruit and focused structural qualities...flavors of white pepper, violet and cassis, as well as...spice and subtle smoke notes."  I swear I don't know anything about wines, except I like California cabs and sweet dessert wines, but my friend who markets for a winery told me syrahs are full-bodied like cabs...and I was drawn to the cassis.  We all tried a few sips, and it was so delicious I actually coughed up $19 to get the full bottle.

The second one we went to, Buena Vista, was unremarkable (if overpriced), but had some nice picnic tables where we stopped for lunch we had bought from Whole Foods.

The third and last winery was Arrowood, a favorite of Kevin's and Vivian's, and it truly was the star, not only for the amazing wines (I think there were four I liked--the chardonnay, the rose, the merlot though I usually don't care for merlot, and the wonderful, wonderful Riesling that tasted like good Ethiopian honey wine), but also the lovely view out the back, from the sunny verandah, where we chillaxed and sobered up a bit before heading to dinner.

Dinner was at a really cute, cozy, popular little outfit called The Girl and the Fig, right near Sonoma Square.  Everything on the menu looked so good, but I finally decided to split the mussels in broth, and the half roast chicken, with someone.  We also got a trio of cheeses for the table--a fantastic brie, a robust goat cheese (bucheret?) and a pungent sheep's milk (cambabert?). The mussels were wonderfully satisfying, and the chicken was decidedly underwhelming.  Finished off with a very flavorful lavender-honey creme brulee for dessert.  All in all, a fine day.

I promise, I'm not really as disgustingly yuppie as I sound.  Okay, damn, I guess I am.

Two amazing products you need to try NOW.

This is what I do instead of elbowing my way through throngs of high schoolers trying to watch Wall-E on opening night (which, mind you, I am dying to see).

Amazon MP3 Downloads

I'm amazed that this doesn't get more press/hype.  For those of us who have a shred of moral fiber (just a shred) in us and prefer to buy music legitimately, I don't know why anyone uses iTunes when they can get DRM-free mp3s from Amazon.  Plus, every Friday they put out 5 CDs for $5.  Last week I bought 'Raising Sand,' a collaboration between Alison Krauss and Robert Plant.

And, the Wii Fit

I just went over to some friends' house to play it after they have been raving about it for weeks.  It is so cool.  You stand on this balance pad that can (very precisely) detect where your center of balance is and it guides you through four types of exercises: Aerobics, Yoga, Strengthening, and Balance.  Lots of fun games and things that really--no, seriously--give you a workout.  It can calculate your BMI and set a target BMI for you to reach within a set number of weeks.  Also I learned that I'm quite unbalanced--my right side is much weaker than my left.  I'm considering getting a Wii just so I can play Wii Fit.

How to guarantee a woman will NEVER call you back.

This is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard.  So a friend of a coworker was hanging in SF's Marina district one night.   She was out on the sidewalk trying to hail a cab, when a guy approached and talked to her for all of  two minutes.  She hands him her business card and says "Call me."  These are two ACTUAL voicemails that this guy left on her phone. 

What kills me is that there are real guys out there like this--he's definitely not an actor.  I know I have my favorite quotes--what are yours?

Discipline and Meaning.

I need more of these two things in all areas of my life.  I've been running and running away from the mere thought of exercising discipline in anything, but realized, only recently, that lack of discipline has slowly but certainly sapped out most of the meaning, too.  So I decided finally to try it out, starting with prayer.  If I can handle that, then maybe I can move on to bigger things like career.  And sewing.

Eating, I noticed, and consuming in general, is the one area whose meaning is totally independent of discipline.  All you need, it seems, is an uncompromising passion for quality.

Cooking, however, is not independent of discipline.

If only I could make a career out of consuming.