Taffy's 154 Week Photo

Monday, 28 May 2007 | Pets

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Taffy relaxing on our bed this evening.

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Erin's Senior Prom

Sunday, 27 May 2007 | Family

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Erin attended her Senior Prom last Saturday. She got together with three other couples at a friend's house to take a limo to dinner and the prom. She asked me to take pictures, so I came to capture the moment. It was fun to see them all dressed up and so happy.

Erin had her cousin, Bobby, take her to the prom. It was pretty hectic getting photographs of all the couples and individuals, but I really enjoyed it. I welcome any situation where I can work on my photographic skills. And it's always a pleasure for me to see and capture Erin's joy. I think her happiness is conveyed well in the photograph of her looking out from the the limo.

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I'm so proud of Erin and so glad to be her father. I always enjoy her company. Although it's surprising how quickly she has become an adult, I'm not sad about it. I try to enjoy every phase she is in and not prone to being nostalgic for her fleeting youth.

It was so nice to meet the other parents that evening. There were a lot of cameras in action that day.

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Taffy's 153 Week Photo

Sunday, 20 May 2007 | Pets

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Taffy in our backyard enjoying the cool evening air.

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B&H Photo Affiliate

Saturday, 19 May 2007 | Internet, Photography

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I highly recommend B&H Photo. They are my first choice for Nikon cameras and accessories, Apple computer products, Gitzo tripods, PocketWizards, Lexar memory cards, Tamrac bags and more. I'm a Nikon and Apple guy, but they have great deals on Canon and Windows PC products as well.

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Taste for Two

Thursday, 17 May 2007 | Disneyland, Family, Food, Restaurants

Toni and I had a wonderful evening of food, wine and entertainment last weekend at Taste, an Annual Passholder event, held in Stage 17 at Disney's California Adventure. Stage 17 is the building which housed Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. This was one of the signature events for the Food & Wine Weekends celebration at Disneyland.

There was a wonderful selection of food and selected wines from restaurants throughout the Disneyland Resort including Napa Rose, Blue Bayou and the members only Club 33. There were also offerings from the Downtown Disney restaurants and Chef Jamie Gwen. Jamie was kind enough to pose for a picture for me. Her Meatball Sliders were delicious and quite the hit that night. She talked to each guest and expertly squished down the hefty meatball before serving each slider.

Andrew Sutton recognized me from the Napa Rose Cooking School. He was serving his famous mushroom soup which is to die for. I introduced Toni to Andrew and she was taken with how friendly and down to earth he was for being an executive chef at a famous restaurant. Actually, all the chefs and staff were kind and friendly. It was such a treat to meet them and sample the great food.

The wines were great as well. I really liked the Baileyana wines Michael Jordan, head sommelier of Napa Rose, had chosen for the evening. Toni was enamoured by the XYZin 100 year old wine, made from grapes harvested from 100 year old grape vines. I was excited to meet Michael Jordan since I had heard such positive things about him. He was so helpful. He described the flavors of each wine as I tried them. It was obvious he knows his stuff and loves wine.

I didn't realize it when I made our reservations, but there was entertainment included in the evening. Barrage, a group of musicians playing violins and flutes, guitar and drums, put on a spectacular show. They danced, sang and played with enthusiasm and skill. Toni and I thoroughly enjoyed their performance. I plan to order a CD from the official Barrage website.

Toni was so pleased we got to take our keepsake wine glasses and lanyard home with us. They gave us individual heavy duty bags to place each wine glass in as we left. Those Disney cast members think of everything. We both had a super time and I'm sure we'll try to go again next year if they host the event again.

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Dream Fastpasses for Erin and Jamie

Tuesday, 15 May 2007 | Disneyland, Family, Friends

Erin went to Disneyland for the day with one her good friends, Jamie. I got a call from Erin at work. She was all excited because a Disneyland cast member stopped her and Jamie to announce they had won a prize in the Year of a Million Dreams promotion.

They were both presented with a Dream Fastpass that entitled them to a Fastpass access at all attractions honoring Fastpasses at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure for the day. Erin has always been lucky that way. I'm so glad this allowed her and Jamie to enjoy their day at the Happiest Place on Earth even more fully.

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We'll Miss You, Sheba

Friday, 11 May 2007 | Family

Today, we put our beloved Sheba to sleep. She was thirteen years old. Our veterinarian said her liver had stopped working and Sheba looked very yellow and jaundiced. She had not eaten or drank much in the past few days. When I picked her up yesterday, she was so light. It was as if she weighed nothing.

Taffy kept sniffing Toni's skirt which had the scent of Sheba. Taffy couldn't seem to understand why Sheba didn't come back home. Toni said Taffy was wailing this morning when she left with Sheba. We all miss Sheba very much, including Taffy. It will be hard to get used to her absence in our house. There's definitely a palpable void.

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A Wonderful Day at Napa Rose

Sunday, 6 May 2007 | Cooking, Disneyland, Food, Restaurants

On Saturday, I attended the Napa Rose Cooking School for the second year. The Napa Rose is a wonderful restaurant located in the Grand Californian Hotel at the Disneyland Resort. It's always a privilege learning from Napa Rose Executive Chef Andrew Sutton. He is so passionate about food; I find it infectious.

This class is such a treat for me for several reasons. I love Disneyland, cooking, eating delicious food and cooking. Every time I've eaten at Napa Rose, it's been a memorable experience. The Napa Rose Cooking School is a hands-on cooking class where you learn to make a four course meal, cook in their professional kitchen and eat the meal as you go along.

The first course was Napa Rose Sauteed Diver Scallops with a Sauce of Lemon and Lobster Accented with Vanilla. For each course, Chef Sutton demonstrated the proper preparation technique and answered questions. It's very exciting for me to cook in a professional kitchen with real chefs since I enjoy cooking so much. The scallops were the first of two courses we got to prepare and then eat the completed dish. Most of the ingredients were prepped for us. I seared the scallops shown in the photo above. We also plated the dish, so this is my actual plating you're viewing.

The second course was Napa Rose Roasted Heirloom Beet Salad with Frisee, Watercress, Cider Vinaigrette & Mine Shaft Blue Cheese. The roasted golden and red beets were very sweet and flavorful in this dish. Chef Sutton showed us how to marinate sliced purple onions in seasoned rice vinegar to create pickled onions to accompany the salad. It just takes about 20 minutes in the vinegar to make a tasty compliment. We learned how to make this course, but didn't prepare it ourselves. All of the recipes from the day were presented in a nicely printed full color booklet with pictures, so we can make all of the dishes at home.

The third course was Perfectly Roasted Rack of Lamb. This was the second hands-on dish we prepared and plated. I was pleased with the medium doneness of my chops as you can see from the photograph. I think my plating was good too, but could have been better. The Colorado lamb Napa Rose uses is absolutely delicious. I was a very happy camper eating this course.

The fourth and final course was Napa Rose Wine Country Wild Berry Cobbler with Orange-Scented Buttermilk Biscuit. The buttermilk biscuit that tops this dish was a very wet dough with plenty of butter that flows and forms over the cobbler as it bakes. The orange flavor works very well in the biscuit and the blueberries, raspberries and blackberries were the perfect sweetness with a very fresh flavor. The accompanying scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream was the perfect compliment.

All of the Napa Rose kitchen staff were so helpful and friendly. I want to thank Executive Chef Andrew Sutton, Sous Chef Jeffrey Cummins, Andhi, Siriluck and Bon for their help and instruction. They were all wonderful to work with. Each class member also got to take home a chef jacket. We wore them during the class, making us look like professional chefs. They were very nice, but I must say I like the Napa Rose logo which adorns the real chef jackets worn by the Napa Rose chefs.

I had a great time atttending the Napa Rose Cooking School. Each course was exquisitely paired with a selected wine. I enjoyed the food, the instruction and the friends I made. Now I'll have to prepare these wonderful dishes for my family and friends to enjoy.

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Disneyland Offers eTickets Online

Wednesday, 2 May 2007 | Disneyland

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Now you can print your own Disneyland eTicket at the official Disneyland web site. Just purchase your ticket online and select the eTicket option just like you would at Ticketmaster. Then you can bypass the ticket booth line at Disneyland and proceed directly to the entrance turnstiles where they will exchange your eTicket for a freshly printed real ticket. I'll definitely be using this new service.

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