Saturday, January 22, 2011

Simi Puppeh Park

Every now and again, we like to change-up our dog park routine. Today, we went out to Simi Valley (the Birthplace of The Katerz) to take advantage of THEIR lovely dog park.

It was a GORGEOUS morning! Kelsey loved it!

Thank you, Simi!

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Minnesotans (and a Monrovian)

Some years ago, I picked up a bunch of bizarre women on the internet. Most of them turned out to be from Minnesota -- go figure! Anyhoo, I've had the pleasure of meeting a few of them in person, and this past weekend, I got the pleasure of meeting TWO MORE! And their creepy spawn!

I do not know what I did in life to deserve friends like these... but whatever it was, I'm so glad I did it. These ladies have changed my life. They are so kind and loving and supportive! What a difference it makes, in the life of a parent, to have other like-minded parents (and/or professional nannies) to talk to.

Oh, and Kelsey likes 'em, too. :-D

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Top 25 Songs of the Decade

For reasons unbeknownst to me, out of the clear blue sky, I recently decided that I simply HAD to craft a list of my Top 25 Songs of the Decade. (This is what happens to you when you're unemployed.) I further decided that this list would encompass the years 2000-2009, as the 2010 songs have not had a chance to gel with me yet. And so, I sat down and started compiling.

This was no easy task. It wasn't easy to remember all the songs that have grabbed me over the years; I studied "Hot 100" lists for each year to help jog my memory. (Not a GREAT method with my personal taste, but a method, nonetheless.) My criteria for inclusion was simple: These are songs that GRABBED ME BY THE THROAT and would not let go. Songs that affected me viscerally. Songs that I really, REALLY loved, and in many cases, STILL love.

Some of these songs, I love simply because they're good, or great, or fantastic, or amazing. In other cases, I love them not only because they're good, but because they spoke to me at a particular time in my life, or they remind me of a great moment in time. (The inclusion of the Donald Fagen song is an example of the latter, as it reminds me of one of the best concert experiences of my life -- the "Morph the Cat" tour in 2006 at Santa Barbara's Arlington Theatre.)

If you think I've forgotten something, please, mention it in the comments! Even as I was typing this up, another song occurred to me, and I had to bump something off the list.

And so, I give you, in no particular order, THE SONGS!

(Please let me know if you encounter bad links.)

1. Linkin Park, "In The End" *
2. Evanescence, "Bring Me To Life"
3. Eliane Elias, "Running" *
5. Simply Red, "Sunrise"
6. Death Cab for Cutie, "What Sarah Said"
8. Drive-by Truckers, "Puttin' People on the Moon"
9. Michael Penn, "Walter Reed"
10. Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready To Make Nice"
11. Death Cab for Cutie, "Brothers on a Hotel Bed"
12. Coldplay, "Lost"
14. Liz Phair, "Extraordinary"
15. James Blunt, "1973"
16. Duncan Sheik, "Days Go By"
17. Art Garfunkel, "The Thread"
18. Sun Kil Moon, "Lost Verses" (possibly the most beautiful song on the list)
19. Midlake, "Branches"
20. Coldplay, "Fix You"
21. Death Cab for Cutie, "I Will Follow You Into the Dark"
22. Donald Fagen, "H Gang"
23. Sara Evans, "Born to Fly" (a holdover from my hardcore C&W days)
24. Vienna Teng, "Whatever You Want"

Maia Sharp, "Home";
Taylor Swift, "Love Story" (if you heard my child sing this at the top of his lungs, you'd love it too);
Jem, "They";
Duffy, "Mercy";
Midlake, "Roscoe";
The Ting-Tings, "Shut Up and Let Me Go"

* These might be my theme songs for 2010.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Placerita Canyon

Today we decided to head up to Placerita Canyon. It's been a long time since we were there! They've been working on some improvements, and the place is really looking great.

Sadly, the recent rains have rendered the main trail from the Nature Center to Walker Ranch impassable, so we were not able to hike that route. Out of necessity, we discovered a new, beautiful trail and hiked it instead. As an added bonus, the local firemen were also hiking this trail. HA!

It was a great morning! I can't wait to return in spring and see all the wildflowers which will undoubtedly have sprouted.

This red-tailed hawk is just one of the creatures that lives at the Placerita Canyon nature center. There's also an owl, some tortoises, and more! This fella is a real beauty, as you can see.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I was excited to see I had a whole mess o'new Euro blog hits! Then I realized people were landing on my blog when they searched the late Gerry Rafferty. ::sadz::

Hopefully people weren't too terribly disappointed in my flimsy little blog post which did not remotely begin to do Gerry justice... :-\

Another interesting tidbit: as you can see at the bottom right in this image from Feedijt, 47% of my blog visitors in the countries shown were visiting expressly for the Gerry Rafferty post. In the U.S., only 8% visited for that post. #TheMoreYouKnow

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


For many years, the words "Katerz" and "wine" were virtually synonymous. I LOVED wine and everyone knew it. I drank it; I talked about it; I studied it; I read about it. For YEARS, I did this. It was my second biggest hobby, after voracious music consumption. I visited wineries all up and down California. I subscribed to Wine Spectator, and was not remotely intimidated by what I read there. (Now THAT's hardcore.)

Then one day... it just stopped.

About a year ago, I realized that I was just not feeling well after having wine, or alchohol of any kind. It was as if my body couldn't process it anymore. It made me feel ever-so-vaguely sick, like I had a touch of the flu.

Undaunted, I kept trying. I was NOT giving up without a fight! HA! I'm IRISH, for Pete's sake! My BLOOD is 10 proof! :-D For a time, I was still able to drink white wine, but I was definitely off the reds. But that didn't last. Eventually, I had to admit that I just could not drink wine anymore.

I'm used to it now. But it still makes me sad... It's like I lost a part of myself. That probably sounds silly to people, or overdramatic. To those people I say: YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVED WINE!

I still hope that one day, I'll be able to enjoy it again. Especially because I'd still like to crack open the 16-year-old BV Georges Latour Private Reserve cab I've been saving for a special occasion...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Blogger is Buggin' Me

I am struggling so much to get Blogger to post stuff the way I want it to post (see my last blog entry) that I'm considering bailing on this blog. The fact is, I don't have as much to say as I used to cuz I get everything outta my system via social media.

But at this point I'm not WANTING to post here at The Siegel Files because every post is a struggle.

I guess I'll consider whether I have enough to say to warrant a new blog. Or maybe I should just start a Tumblr or something...

I dunno. ::shrugs::

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

One of our many winter-break activities was paying a visit to the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park. They recently opened an "Age of Mammals" exhibit, featuring a full mastodon skeleton found just a few years ago nearby in Simi Valley! They also have a cool new DinoLab exhibit, which allows you to watch scientists while they work on items in the collection. And of course there are the old favorites, like the dated but specimen-packed Gem & Mineral Hall.

But one of my VERY favorite things about this museum is the architecture. The original center-section of the building was constructed in 1913, and is GORGEOUS. It's the kind of place where you're missing out if you don't take the time to study ceilings, tiles, and wainscotting.

And once you're done there, you can visit the Rose Garden, or take in an IMAX over at the nearby ScienCenter.

Exposition Park definitely makes for a great family outing for LA peeps and visitors.