Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Real Live Date

 That guy that I like so much have been on two different ships this semester...he is working so many, many long and not always fun hours and has a new to us teaching schedule where he can't even sneak away for a lunch and/or a hooky day.

It's not been fun and I have missed him.

Friday I spent FOUR HOURS on the phone straightening out an issue with the 'eye are ess' that ended up being straightened out in the first place (whew!) and pretty much had hit my limit with what I could handle that day, so when that guy that I like so much called to check in (we may not sneak away for lunch dates but we do sneak in phone calls) I told him I was ordering pizza for supper and taking a bath and that even the ordering pizza part was going to be a stretch.

His response?

We need a date.  A real live date.

Can we get an AMEN?

We hopped in his cute car and drove to the Spectrum, because that's what people around here do on a Friday night.  Parked the car and headed to PF Changs, put our name in and began to stroll to pass the time for the 45 minute wait.

While strolling?

We stumbled on a new restaurant...Cucina Enoteca.  

A moment of silence please.

It's a funky sorta warehouse-y sorta urban-ish place with a really cool vibe.  They had a wait, too, but asked if we would like to sit at one of the community tables they had...and that guy that I like so much, being that guy that I like so much who talks to everyone anyway, said sure thing.

It's a wine store with EXTREMELY affordable buy the wine at cost and pay a simple $8 corkage fee, which is such an amazing idea.'s the food.  We sat at a long table and watched the pizzas come out of the wood grill and the the chefs tossing fresh pastas...oh my word.  

It rocked.

So there we sat, just the two of us at a table with bunches of other people and while we chatted briefly with others, we sat and had a long, long chat...just the two of us in a room full of people.

Man, I've missed my boyfriend and man, was it nice to get away.  

We ate tapenade and squash blossoms and zeppole and a beet salad and a pear/gorgonzola pizza in that big warehouse, but it felt like it was just us.

I sure do like him.


And after?

The Hunger Games.

Having just read the book last weekend (both of us), it just seemed appropriate.  So good...though not sure I would get it if I hadn't read the book.

And then we drove home to our little house on our little street.  Today we are back to real life...I have a banquet meeting, he has preview day and tonight we have a dinner to go to.  Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and we'll be back at two different churches in two different towns, but then we'll meet up at Alex's basketball banquet.  Monday?  Back to work.

But last night?


And call me if you want to go that restaurant...we'll meet you there.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Not As Planned

I had grand plans for my day today...plans of getting a pedicure and a haircut and maybe even buying a new pair of jeans.

And when I woke up and turned on my phone at 6:00am it was as if all was not right in the crossing guard world.  Lots of people calling in sick (11),  locking their keys in their cars (3) and then having to rush out and deal with an accident in the field...and my morning of happiness turned into dealings with the police department and incident reports and phone calls.

Oh well.  That's how the wind blows.

I did manage to mop the floors and clean both bathrooms and catch up on laundry so while it wasn't the day I had planned, lots got accomplished.

And then at 5:15pm, I ran out of my house and into a very happy Happy Hour with my girlfriends where I ate the most amazing sweet potato fries ever (at JD Schmids), drank no fewer than 3 diet cokes and talked for two hours without coming up for air.


My youngest has changed so much in the last few months...gone are all signs of babyhood from his body (and his voice!) and he is now 4 inches taller than me.  FOUR INCHES.  After twenty some years with a little squirt in the house,  I am now realizing that he is no longer a little squirt but a full on teenager. 

When he grows up he wants to be a boss.  No self esteem issues with him.


More changes?

Brian is all set for next year...we've settled on a high school for him (same one as his'd think it would've been an easy decision, but it wasn't) and he's feeling ready to move on from middle school.  My oldest chose his grad school, traveled and spent a day there yesterday and I am thinking he is feeling a peace about the end, it kind of fell into his lap.

Still in the planning stages?  The boy in the middle.  He's graduating high school and has three plans...all good, yet all different.  His path will be a little more untraditional (but not in a bad way) than that of his brothers...but then again, his path has never been 'traditional', so why start now?


These pictures?

All found on my camera.  Here's the scene:  Two boys plus a friend.  A pan of warm brownies, cooling on the counter.  A mama who runs to the store for milk. She comes home to all the edges of the brownies...on the whole pan, missing.

Apparently they weren't too worried about being caught because they documented the crime.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Needing A Nap

Church on Sunday morning had me in a bit of a funk...not church itself, but the act of getting myself there.  I'm just feeling lonely, I guess, without that guy that I like so much along for the ride...or even listening to the same sermon that I am, though Alex has proven to be a very good 'gospel discusser' on the drives home.  

I'm the wife of a church worker so being alone in church is nothing why am I pouty?  


We all met up at home and the rain started pouring down....sheets of water were falling from the sky.  Glorious.


A hunk of panetone, a few strawberries and a big mug of english breakfast tea.

And then, because it seems that everyone is talking about it, I started reading The Hunger Games.  I was thinking it wasn't 'my' kinda book until I got to page 2 and was hooked.  That guy that I like so much is reading it too...though gone are the days of reading a book together,  each of us on our own side of the book holding it up in the middle.

Never thought I'd say it, but I love eReaders. 


Needing something bready I decided to try my hand, once again, at making biscuits.  I make great hockey pucks, but following a friends advice and using bread flour they came out light and fluffy.  Amazing.

I made a simple honey butter to go alongside (stick of softened butter, 3 T honey, 1/4 tsp cinnamon...mixed together) and just imagine:  a rainy afternoon, a houseful of males, a plate of warm biscuits and a dish of sweet butter.

All that was missing was snorting.


I love how one simple day can set the tone for the whole taking a true sabbath seems to just make everything run a little smoother.

That being said,  there's not a whole lotta sleeping happening on this very, very early Wednesday morning.  Brian has a tummy ache, so we're up watching a movie at 3:00am.  Poor guy.  I'm thinking we'll be sticking close to home today...and maybe a nap.



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why I Can Never Be A Food Blogger

I love weekends where we don't have much going on...they're rare, so I try and just breathe them in when they happen.

Saturday night?  Nuthin'.  Absolutely nuthin'.

Just me, that guy that I like so much, and a couple of boys.

Add in a bottle of champagne and some left-over olives that our friend Bulent made...cracked green olives with loads of lemon and olive oil and garlic, well,  there's no better way to celebrate a 'there's nuthin' on the calendar tonight' night.

For reals.

The daytime was spent cleaning the backyard (a 'storm' was moving in) and doing laundry and watching some basketball...but the night?  

Just me on my stool with the newest Bon Appetit magazine.

In our backyard, we have the most amazing lemon tree that grows lemons the size of softballs...they're big and ugly and have super thick skins and are so juicy.

Homemade lemonade with these puppies is a dream because they are the perfect blend of sweet and sour.

So usually, as I am sitting on my stool having a cocktail, I consider being a food blogger...the kind that takes step by step pictures of these great meals that they are making, rather than half eaten plates of food like I normally do.

And then I start cooking.  And talking to boys.  And playing Words with Friends on my phone.  And continuing my sip-age of my champagne.

And then I am done cooking and my vultures are all hovering and then it's all gone...unless I remember after a bite or two to take a picture.

Food bloggers...I am a little jealous, but it's so not my gift.  


One of those recipes that I make often because all my boys like it, it's easy and I always have all the ingredients on hand...including the massive lemons from my little tree.

Chicken Piccata

4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless, pounded thin)
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
olive oil
1/2 bottle white wine (I usually use a cheap pinot grigio)
juice of two lemons
1 T butter
2 T capers (I use more like 1/4 cup)
Linguini or spaghetti

Put flour in a shallow bowl and season well with salt and pepper.  Crack eggs into another bowl and season well with salt and pepper.  Heat approx.  2 T olive oil in a large non-stick skillet, dip chicken first in flour, then in egg and add to pan.  Saute until golden brown on each side, remove to a plate.  Add wine, lemon juice, butter and capers, stir all together until hot and bubbly.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add chicken back in and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Serve over pasta (or rice).
Feeds 4 normal people; I double this when I have all my boys home.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Matthew's Recital

On Friday night, Matthew had his Senior Recital.

Because he is a Senior.  In college.

Wasn't he just 12, like yesterday?

I hadn't heard him play in a while, so I was pretty excited.  

All those lessons?

So worth it.

And then panic set in...not at the fact that Matteo was performing, but at the fact that he asked his younger brother to introduce him.  The younger brother that doesn't speak in public.

And when the younger brother, all 6'2" of him, went out on stage and said, 'I am Matthew's little brother...', was awesome.  And then Matthew played so beautifully and there were so many people there to support him and then his dad accompanied him on a piece and then I realized that the whole night seemed to go by so very, very quickly.

And I love starting sentences with 'And...'


After, my niece Sophie played her own little diddy on the organ...she's going to be on this stage in a few years.  


My role...the reception.  No pictures because there were SO MANY people there, but let's just say that I dug out all the silver, brought lots of goodies (some homemade, some store bought), a few pretty tablecloths and passed it all off to my sister-in-law who makes everything pretty.  And that she looked gorgeous!

Thanks, Joanna. 


Someone came up after and commented on how great Matthew was and then something to the effect that 'it's your good parenting that got him here.'

Ummm...I disagree.  

(even though they meant well by that statement...)

God gave him the gift.  Matthew made the decision to work hard and grow that gift.  We had nuthin' to do with it...can't make a kid love trumpet lessons (or a sport, for that matter) unless they want to love it.

Next up?  Graduation.  Then he and his gaggle of trumpets are heading to grad the fun isn't over yet.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Around The House

A quick 'schools done for the day' snooze.

A late night 'let's eat every left-over we can find, plus a box of lucky charms' brother bonding time.

A girlfriend lunch, catching up with old friends.

Also...a house that smells a little off,  laundry piles in the hallway, a sick husband, a little warming trend that makes me (and my toes) SO happy, a recital reception to plan for Friday night (guess I better get to that!), and yet another new book to read.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dealing with Grumpy People

It was one of those days where everyone I came into contact with us was grumpy.  Grumpy emails.  Grumpy phone calls from crossing guards.  Grumpy youngest child.

I switched my phone off and headed to my hidden hang out...Nordstrom's Cafe.  I love that place soooo much and even though I have never bought anything at Nordstrom's (I know, shocker), I do love to hang out in their cafe.  And their bathrooms...or lounges, as they call them.  I used the very last of a gift card I had gotten for Christmas, ordered myself my favorite berry and fig salad and enjoyed every second of not having to deal with grumpy people.

It was lovely.

I think people are partly grumpy because it has just been SO cold here.  I mean, frigid cold.  So cold that all the baby figs on my tree shriveled up and fell off...but somehow, thankfully, the azaleas in the backyard didn't get the message to stop blooming.


I've been reading Psalm 139 every morning this week when I get up in the cold and dark for work.  I love that it makes me feel less alone...and that I am here, in this little house on this little street, for a reason.  That I am part of God's great plan...though I still wonder sometimes what that plan is.  To keep house?  To cook and clean and launder things that need to be laundered?  

Is that enough?

Sometimes I just think too much.

(Sometimes?  Who am I kidding?)


And then, last night Matthew came home to pick up some things and together, at 10:30 at night, he and Alex did a pretty thorough sweep of the refrigerator.  I sat on the couch, watching them stand in the kitchen and talk and laugh to each other while that guy that I like so much grilled up some bread and slathered it in olive oil...which they all inhaled in record time.

It was one of those moments where I this why I was knit together by God?  Maybe it's not about the 'keeping of the house'.  Maybe it's teach these boys to have a relationship?  That by me being loved, I am able to love them (so much) that they will, in turn,  love others?

Could it be that simple?

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Feast Like No Other

Every time I think back to this weekend I just end up laughing.  Hard.

It was cold and rainy and windy and on Saturday I spent all. day. long. reading the last of the trilogy that I started on Tuesday and it was worth every. single. minute/hour/day that was invested in it.  

Around 5:00pm I hopped in the shower, donned my stretchy pants and we headed around the corner and down the street to our friends beautiful home.

We were invited for a feast.  

(My finger somehow found it's way into almost every picture I took.  Sorry about that.)

Alev is Turkish, Bulent is Cypriot (is that how you say 'from Cypress'??) and together they have the BEST stories of life in faraway beautiful lands.

And together they prepared a feast.


So. much. amazing. food.

Plate after plate of what I am now claiming to be the best meal I have ever eaten.  

The cheese.  The olives.  The eggplant.  The lamb.  The 'Idon'tknowwhatyouarecalledbutIcan'tstopeatingit' thingy's made with phyllo dough.

I'm getting all teary eyed just thinking about it.

We ate and ate and ate and drank and drank and drank and laughed and laughed and laughed.

These boys?  Best friends since forever ago.  

And the dessert?

More phyllo delicious goodness.  More wine.  More laughter.

Tighter pants.

Alex was SO nervous all night...usually when we are all together it's because the boys have been caught doing something, so all evening he just kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Kinda fun to see him squirm.


We rolled home late (or early, depending on how you look at it) and I have to admit,  the next day is a bit of a blur.  I'm sure it happened, but can't tell you much about it...though I am pretty sure it involved a nap.  And some advil.  And no wine.

That meal though?  Can't.  Stop.  Thinking.  About.  It.


Friday, March 16, 2012

A Run Down of my Week

This week:

The baby (does he still look like a baby?) had what I think will be his last band concert ever.  He's moving on to greener pastures...or rather, wooden pastures.  He's trading in his french horn for a basketball...too hard to do both in high school next year (both are year round with lots of weekend commitments...gotta do homework in there, too!) and he sorta lost steam in the musical world this year.  

Ready for my moment?  At his concert (which I was at alone because that guy that I like so much is quite literally working 60 hour weeks currently) the band director, after the band (have I mentioned that it was a middle school concert?) played a particular rousing rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, stood up and kinda teary eyed said 'every time they play that it transports me to a different place...' ...and I LAUGHED OUT LOUD.

Middle school bands transport me somewhere else, too.  Just not sure it's my happy place.  Just saying'.


I had a free one hour massage this week, thanks to the fact that I referred a patient to my chiropractor.


I'm more than willing to refer others if it means another morning spent being pampered.

My car had a massage, too, though I had to pay for hers.  Fortunately I was in the heart of Santa Ana for work and it was $30 cheaper than my I sprung for lunch for her and I too.  A quart of oil for her; a salad from Boudin for me.

Thanks to a juicy recommend, I am reading a rather ummmmm, interesting new trilogy.  

The house is a wreck.  Boys are hungry.  Laundry is piled up.

And I am so engrossed that I don't care.  
(It's currently #1 on the NY Times best seller list and COMPLETELY inappropriate.  COMPLETELY.  Now excuse me while I go finish the chapter...)


Confirmation for Boy #3 is wrapping up.  Whew.  He had a mid-week meeting, so up to Long Beach we drove for church, stopping at Chik-Fil-A on the way.  Yum to both the food and the extra time alone in the car with one of my boys...and yum to mid week Lenten services.

I love this place (and it will always be our 'home'), but I am ready to be worshipping under one roof with my family again.

And yesterday?  I was invited to come and 'give a talk' to a class at a major university (go Bruins!) in LA on blogging followed by a question and answer period.   There were four of us bloggers there and what they failed to tell me was that it was for journalism students (an auditorium FULL of them)...journalism students who got to read blogs all semester for a grade.

I so wanna take that class...pretty sure I'd have passed that one!


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