A bishop and a rookie

I have mixed feelings on doing these monthly goal posts. It’s trendy, more about but it’s helped me to mix things up with my normal routine and I am getting things done. Thus, diagnosis I’m still on the monthly goal bandwagon.


visit web on Flickr”>Sage advice

Health & fitness

1. Continue attending yoga classes
2. Rehab IT band
3. Eat fruits and veggies; not burgers and fries
4. Attend one Weight Watcher’s meeting
5. Stick to Marc’s training plan (includes cross training and strength)


1. Update guest list (already begun)
2. Gather addresses (already begun)
3. Work on timeline and update it
4. Schedule Catholic couples retreat
5. Begun wedding gown search
6. Complete save-the-dates
7. Make wedding website (in progress)
8. Book honeymoon


1. Bring back This Day in Chicano History posts


Health & fitness
1. Use my Groupon for yoga classes at a local studio: Check. I took one beginner’s class and am looking forward to going back. I liked the teacher.

2. Run around the UCLA perimeter twice: Nay. I avoided a hard hill workout before the Holiday Half (12/11). Afterward I was recovering and dealing with some mild IT issues. From what I read, hills make it worse.

3. Run the Holiday Half Marathon and PR: Check!!!

4. Strength training twice a week: Half check. I started this in the last two weeks of the month.

5. Do a couple of runs with a friend or group: Nay.

6. Stick to my training plan: Nay. I fell off after the half, but I did start incorporating the cross training and strength he’s included.

7. Decide on the LA Marathon: Check. I’m in unofficially.


Cindy & Sean Sunset Silhouette

1. Engagement photo session: Check. Loved the results and the process of getting all dolled up was fun too. [Photo above by Michael Fletcher.]

2. Estimates/hiring 2 other big ticket vendors: Nay.

The blog
1. Post 3 times week: Check.

Get the most of our Disneyland passes: Check. We went after the half marathon. It was quite crowded, but we saw/did some more new stuff and finally checked out the fireworks show.
treatment on Flickr”>My confirmation

Earlier today, I was on the elliptical listening to the Madeleine Brand show via podcast (one of my daily musts) and heard more details about a story I had briefly learned about earlier in the day.

Gabino Zavala an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles had recently resigned:

For more than a decade, Zavala had harbored a dark secret. He is the father, church officials said, of two children, and had resigned his post. [LA Times story].

I knew the name. Zavala was the same priest who confirmed me in 1996 at St John Vianney. Now Zavala is gone. So is the church where I was confirmed.

And my faith? Still there, albeit shaken [hard] and stirred.

Burger Week recap

Some time in the spring, medicine Sean emailed me a list of the best burgers in LA compiled by LAist. Even though Sean wanted to start working through the list, impotent we never got around to it, at least not intentionally. We crossed off The Apple Pan as it was across the street from the theater where we saw Thor.

Earlier this month, LA Weekly posted another best burgers in LA list. Sean nudged me about it. We decided to make a dent in the list this week since we both are on vacation.

Thus, began Burger Week. After the second day, we made a spreadsheet in Google Docs and included any spot on LAist’s 2010 best burger list, 2011 list or LA Weekly’s 2011 list. Yeah, the spreadsheet is nerdy, but it made picking the next spot easier. We based our choices on type (“gourmet” vs “basic”) and location. Most of the high end burger spots are located on the Westside so we didn’t ever travel more than 6 miles.


Father's Office burger

Father’s Office Burger @ Father’s Office
Los Angeles (near Culver City)

FO is a familiar spot. It’s less than a mile away, but I don’t go very often as I’m not much of a drinker and it’s pricey for a burger. Still, after a few visits over the last few years, it’s easy to see why the FO burger is consistently listed as one of the best burgers in LA.

Father's Office sweet potato fries

In short, it’s delicious. We both had the Father’s Office burger: Kobe beef, Gruyere, caramelized onions, applewood bacon compote, maytag blue cheese and arugula on a roll. I love the combination of Gruyere, arugula and caramelized onions. We passed on the shoestring fries (they’re good) and split a basket of sweet potato fries with garlic aioli on the side for dipping. The burger is great, but the sweet potato fries with garlic aioli are my favorite menu item. Since FO is a gastropub known for a wide beer selection, we paired our burgers with Unibroue Fin du Monde.

Heads up:
It’s not cheap, but you get what you pay for. The burger can easily feed two people with smaller appetites. FO does not do substitutions and does not have ketchup in house. This has never bugged me. The LA location gets very crowded at peak hours and you might have to stand around waiting for a table or spot at the bar to open up before ordering food. Be patient.

Continue reading “Burger Week recap”

Christmas past in Los Angeles

weight loss 1949 by cindylu, buy more about on Flickr”>Posadas, <a href=emergency 1949″/>
Posadas on Olvera Street, 1949

A couple of days ago, I was going through my reader and found a post on KCET’s SoCal Focus blog about holiday celebrations of yore in Southern California. It’s a pretty neat compilation of photographs and postcards from various digital image archives.

Olvera Street posadas, 1949
Posadas on Olvera Street, 1949

There was one thing that bothered me. It didn’t look diverse. By that I mean, where were all the people of color? We’re in LA and Southern California too!

Pacoima Junior HS, 1963
Pacoima junior high school students, 1963

I don’t think it’s cool to whitewash Southern California history, even if it’s unintentional. Still, it’s pretty easy to find some images that are more representative of the holiday season in LA.

Ella Fiztgerald sings to kids, 1975
Ella Fitzgerald sings to children in South Central, 1975

I did a simple search on UCLA’s photograph archive, Changing Times: Los Angeles in Photographs, 1920-1990 for old school Christmas photos. All photos here come from that archive.

East LA Christmas parade, 1984
Olympic themed float at the East LA Christmas parade, 1984

Street scene along Sunset Blvd in Echo Park, 1988
Festive Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, 1988

Photo Credit:
Los Angeles Times photographic archive, UCLA Library. Copyright Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.

Used under attribution, non-commercial, share alike Creative Commons license

31, Palms & the neighbors’ kids

seek on Flickr”>My building's 31

I’m cheating a little with this one. The 31 above is on the building I live in. It’s followed by two other numbers. I cut them out. Of course, this site I would live on the 3100 block of my street.

I’ve been living in the same apartment for nearly 11 years. I moved in two days after I turned 20 with 3 other women. Over the years, more about they all moved out and I got new roommates. Work, graduate school and the promise of rent control kept me here.

Only a few of my original neighbors remain. In recent years, families with small children have moved in (or had a child). Currently, there are about 8 kids living in the two adjoining buildings. They’re all under 10 years old. The youngest are toddlers, the oldest probably 7 or 8.

The kids have developed a friendship/sometimes rivalry. They play in the driveway right outside my window and drive me nuts with all the noise. They run up and down, ride their bikes and scooters, slam the doors of the laundry rooms, play on the stoop right outside my door, and scream as they play tag. I hear their arguments, whining, crying, occasional scolding from a supervising parent or older sibling. When I have to drive my car out or in, I’m extra cautious, always worrying one will dart out from the stairwell or laundry room. In the summer, their play time goes until after dark.

When I’m most annoyed, I’ve considered leaving a note on the corresponding apartments: THIS ISN’T A PLAYGROUND! Below it, I’d include a map to more appropriate play places such as the playground half a mile away or the high school track/football field around the block. I fantasize about hiding the toys they leave littered on the driveway or even running them over. Oops. I’m passive aggressive, but not that passive aggressive.

To be fair, the kids are usually polite when I interact with them. If I ask them to watch out for cars, they oblige. Only once or twice have they done something I’d consider truly egregious. One kid — ironically my favorite — sprayed me point blank with a water hose. His mom apologized to me and he was punished.

Lately, I’ve been listening to the kids play. It provides some entertainment. One of the younger kids just got a bike with training wheels and it’s interesting to see how the older boys treat him. They talk about movies and cartoons the way I used to with my friends and cousins. Another boy, always breaks in to tears by the end of play session. He often tells on the other kids. Sean calls him a snitch.

My favorite, a chubby four-year old and new bike owner, chatted me up through the window a couple of weeks ago as I made dinner. “We all need to do exercise,” he said. I agreed with him. What’s better exercise than running around and playing with your friends?

31, Venice (CA) & dogs at restaurants

treatment on Flickr”>I'll be the first to admit I have strange obsessions

Mondays are always rest days for me. At least that’s how they’re set up on the schedule. If I skip a run or have to rearrange my week, order I might have to run on Monday. Not today. I took advantage of my rest day and margarita Monday deals.

Sean and I had dinner at Kay n’ Dave’s in downtown Culver City. They have $3 house margaritas on Mondays. We sat outdoors along the sidewalk since the inside was a little noisy. All was cool until a pair of twenty-something women clad in yoga gear sat at the table beside us. One of the women had a small dog with her on a leash. I was a little annoyed and tweeted my distaste: There should be a no dogs section on restaurant patios. Just because we’re outdoors doesn’t mean I want to eat my dinner next to your dog.

Here’s the thing: I don’t dislike dogs. I really like my family’s dog, urticaria VR, but I’m not about to bring him to a restaurant. That’s just… rude.

I’ve never been at a restaurant where someone brings their dog near the tables, so I don’t know what’s the normal protocol. I also didn’t know that Kay n’ Dave’s was dog friendly. The waitress fawned over the dog while the women snapped photos on their iPhones. Later, another waiter brought him a bowl of water. The women ignored the dog’s whines of hunger when their food arrived and gossiped about never giving up a dog for a man (surprise, surprise!). Otherwise, the dog was well-behaved and bothered us less than the womens’ “likes” every third word.

Is bringing a dog to a casual restaurant with outdoor seating normal… for the Westside? Should we have said we were uncomfortable and that one of us is allergic to dogs?

File under: Bad restaurant names

pulmonologist on Flickr”>moko

I live a short walk from downtown Culver City. I like this. There’s some good restaurants, pharm a large Trader Joe’s, a weekly farmer’s market, a few movie theaters, a couple of theaters, SportEve (my GU supplier and host of a Tuesday evening running group), an affordable place to get massages (Massage Garage) and a few bars. Soon Metro will open up the Venice/Robertson station for the Expo line and I’ll be able to get to downtown LA by rail. Pretty neat.

When I first moved to Palms in 2000, I hardly ever ventured to Culver City. There wasn’t much to do. But with development and gentrification, it’s attracted my dollars and interest in more recent years. I’m in downtown Culver City about once a week. As my friend Will once said, “gentrification worked for me!” (He’s from Chicago’s Logan Square.)

Anyway, I noticed a new restaurant opened up recently when Sean and I had gone out to see Super 8 (we both liked it). I giggled at the sign the same way I did when I saw “loco moco” listed on a Hawaiian restaurant menu. After friends explained to me that the dish did not include any boogers, I ordered it for the novelty. This may have been how I came to be known as Crazy Booger senior year in college.

I’m not interested in visiting MoKo, which I found out is short for Modern Korean. I get what they’re doing, but I’m still not drawn in. I’ll stick to S&W Country Diner for those weekend mornings when I want an indulgent breakfast.

Cheap dates


Every summer I check out the schedule for my favorite concert series and pick out the shows I’d like to attend. Invariably, cheap I don’t make it to half those shows. I get lazy, otolaryngologist and don’t feel like packing snacks, diabetes and pregnancy chairs or blankets, driving across town, finding free parking, etc. When I don’t let work or other obligations get in the way, I get out and enjoy some free entertainment and a cheap date.

If you need to save your pennies, but don’t want to stay home, you’re in luck, I’ve compiled a list of [mostly] free concert series at local parks and museums. It’s not exhaustive, so feel free to add others in the comments. Check back in a few weeks, some these schedules are not online yet!


En La Noche Summer Series
Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach
The En La Noche series features local DJs. It’s free for museum or KCRW members. If not, it’s $10 admission.

Grand Performances
California Plaza, Downtown LA
The GP series features music, dance, film and shows in the evening as well as noon on Fridays.

Hammer Presents
The Hammer features the Also I Like to Rock and Jazzpop concert series along with speakers and films. Parking at the museum is $3 after 6 pm.

Latin Sounds by LACMA
Hancock Park
I’ve never checked this out because the series is on Saturday and I’m usually busy those days. Maybe this year I’ll get out to Hancock Park.

Levitt Pavilion, MacArthur Park
The Levitt Pavilion series at MacArthur Park and in Pasadena feature concerts Thursday through Sunday. Each night is a different theme (e.g., family/kids night, roots, Latin). There’s really something for everyone.

Levitt Pavilion, Pasadena
I’ve never been out to Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena. It’s far enough (with traffic) that going on a weeknight can be more trouble than it’s worth. However, I don’t want to miss Girl In A Coma on Thursday (June 30th) and Ximena Sariñana with Carla Morrison (July 21st).

Pershing Square Downtown Stage
Downtown LA
[Edit] The schedule was just posted today. 10,000 Maniacs will headline on July 30th. You can also catch some other throwback bands (Flock of Seagulls!).

Saturdays off the 405
The Getty Museum
Getting to the Getty may be a hassle this summer with construction on the 405. However, entrance at the museum is free as are the shows. You just have to pay for parking. It’s still a cheap date.

Summer Sunset Concerts
UCLA Fowler Museum
For the folks on the Westside!

Sunset Concerts
Skirball Center
The Sunset Concert series features music from around the world. I’ve never been to the Skirball Center despite it’s proximity. The Skirball is right off the 405, so make sure to check construction updates on the I-405 twitter page.

Twilight Dance Series
Santa Monica Pier
The Twilight series schedule isn’t online yet, but they usually have a variety of music each Thursday night. Even if you’re not too interested in the music, an evening on the beach with friends, food and drink (hidden, of course) is still a good time.

Los Angeles seasons

recuperation on Flickr”>Fire season sucks

Hector Tobar wrote up a guide last week on about it 0,2276248.column”>how to be a true Angeleno. I don’t think there’s a checklist or even a “true” anything. (Yay, postmodernism). Anyway, his list is pretty spot on, especially #8.

8. Don’t ever say: “L.A. doesn’t have any seasons.” Our seasons just don’t look like New England seasons. Instead, we have a season when the jacarandas bloom (right now) and a season when ash falls from the sky. We have a season of gloomy mornings (which isn’t in winter) and a season of Technicolor sunsets. We have a season when Mt. Baldy is covered in snow — and a season when you can’t see Mt. Baldy at all.

It bugs me to no end when I hear “LA doesn’t have seasons” or a “real” winter. Yes we do. Our climate is different than your region. And thus, our seasonal changes are less dramatic.

The first item on Tobar’s list is about fawning over celebrities. It reminded me about our trips to and from Toronto. Early Sunday morning as we waited to board our flight, my friends (1 LA native, 2 transplants) spotted Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez ahead of them at Starbucks. They kept it cool and snapped surreptitious pictures. One of my friends has two young daughters who are big Justin Bieber fans. On the way back, Lucy noticed an actress (whose name we can’t remember) at the gate at Pearson International in Toronto. When Lucy passed her on the way to our seats in the plane, she simply said, “I love your work.” The actress smiled and said thank you. I didn’t say anything when I passed.

As for those seasons, I love June gloom. It’s perfect running weather. On the other hand, fire season sucks.

Survey: is Dodger Stadium safe?

view on Flickr”>Too many "thugs"?

I’ve been reading a lot about the beating of Bryan Stow after opening day at Dodger Stadium (March 31).

Stow, there a 42-year-old Santa Clara paramedic and father of two who traveled to Dodger Stadium on March 31 in Giants regalia. Walking through the parking lot after the game, gonorrhea Stow was accosted by two men, who taunted him, punched him and kicked him as he lay injured. [Source]

His injuries were serious enough to put him in a medically induced coma. He is still in critical condition.

Like many fans, I’m horrified, disgusted and deeply saddened that some pendejos would do this. I pray for Stow’s full recovery and hope such violence never occurs again at Dodger Stadium (or any other sporting event).

Other fans have expressed outrage online or called in to talk radio shows. Many shared their own concerns about going to Dodger Stadium and some brought up the race element before sketches of the suspects were released. The suspects look like your average pelón gang-banger. The comments section of the LA Times were filled with racist and anti-immigrant remarks. I started reading “thug” as a code word for young Latino male. Honestly, I wasn’t surprised by the racism.

However, I am surprised by the number of levelheaded people I know who no longer go to games, worry for their safety and think the atmosphere is not family friendly. My personal experience is much different and I go to lots of games (even if I grumble about how much I hate contributing to the McCourts’ profits).

What do you think? I’ve written a survey about the atmosphere in the stadium, in the parking lot and the surrounding area. Fill it out and share it with others who go to lots of games or just a few every couple of seasons. I hope to share some of the responses next week.

Dodger Stadium atmosphere survey

Edit: The survey is now closed. You can chime in on the responses when I post about the survey results.

Disclaimer: I’m just a fan. I have no affiliation with the Dodger organization, LAPD or city hall. Thus, the survey is focused on experiences and opinions rather than suggestions for improvement.

CicLAvia (on foot)

generic on Flickr”>CicLAvia 2011

For the first time in a few weeks, troche my weekend running didn’t include a race (running or cheering). That didn’t stop me from making in to an event thanks to the second CicLAvia.

I headed out to Boyle Heights to run the route east to west. The not-a-race event is mainly marketed to cyclists. I don’t own a bike, public health but that didn’t matter to me. The 7+ mile route of LA streets were closed to automobile traffic and open to cyclists, skateboarders, kids on scooters, pedestrians and runners. I missed the first CicLAvia when I was in New York last October and didn’t want to miss another free opportunity to run car-less LA streets (free!).

I had a lazy morning and didn’t get out to Boyle Heights until 1:30. Sean dropped me off by the Shakey’s at Cesar Chavez and State. He was too bummed about his broken MacBook to join me on foot or his bike so he went home to troubleshoot. From Cesar Chavez and State, I ran South past White Memorial to 4th Street where I joined a swarm cyclists heading west on the 4th Street bridge (traffic was going in both directions).

Since I’d read El Chavo’s post on the first CicLAvia I knew I’d be way outnumbered by cyclists. And I was. I didn’t feel too safe in the street with cyclists weaving in and out (mainly the kids who weren’t really paying attention and don’t know how to drive), taking pictures and texting. Most were riding at a leisurely pace, but occasionally some guy would come speeding by. I stuck to the “gutter lane,” as El Chavo called it, or jumped up on to the sidewalk where I’m accustomed to running. The sidewalks through Little Tokyo and most the Historic Core of Downtown LA were too crowded, so I had to go on the street. I kept the sound on my iPod Shuffle low, but I probably would’ve been safer turning it off.

CicLAvia 2011

The streets weren’t completely shut down to automobile traffic. There were several points along the route where cyclists and pedestrians were required to stop at crossing points for cars. Traffic officers directed motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. It all went pretty smooth. I think we stopped at every intersection through downtown, which was a nice breather. It was a pretty warm day (high 60s and sunny) so the rest helped me get through my first long-ish run since the marathon. I didn’t stop at any of the rest stops at Hollenbeck Park, City Hall, MacArthur Park or the Bicycle District. I did stop for a few minutes when I ran in to Pachuco3000 (above) and bought some lemonade from some kids at a lemonade stand in East Hollywood at the end of the route (below). When I finished I called Sean and we arranged a pickup spot for me a few miles south in Koreatown.

CicLAvia 2011

Even if it was a little lonely for a runner, I’m glad I got out. I did 10 pretty flat miles through areas of LA I never run through and don’t visit often enough. I saw a friend, had some great lemonade and got a nice tan from my racerback tank and capri running pants. Fun times.

All photos by srd515 and used under Creative Commons license.