Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Is Ending

I always know when summer is ending when the very last tomatoes are picked from the now brown vines in the garden.  We have been spoiled this year and had a rather nice crop.  Though next year?  No green zebras.  Too seedy.

We eat them lots of ways around here, but my boys favorite (lately) is just to chunk them up and toss them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Nothing fancy about it, but super duper yum.

Speaking of fancy,  I'm finding lots of things tucked into the crevices of the outside freezer...things like a 9 pound (seriously????) pork roast.  

I just slathered that baby with a mix of dijon mustard, garlic and rosemary (and lotsa salt and pepper) and roasted it low and slow all afternoon.  Because we were celebrating Alex's first day of school, I also made his very favorite mustardy mashed potatoes and for that guy that I like so much...some salsa verde.

And the tomatoes from above because it needed a veggie and some color.

No one spoke for the whole 90 seconds it took my heathen males to devour 3/4 of that roast.

Oinkers.  All of them.


My new baby.  Not fancy and not really mine...but having a company car is just totally cool.  The job I was miserable doing last year?  Well, I have hired THREE people to do that same job this year.  So no, I wasn't crazy to feel so overwhelmed, thankyouverymuch.

This year, aside from missing my old boss like crazy, I am liking what I do so much better.  The cool wheels help a lot.


This weekend is a son moving, out with friends, nieces birthday party, basketball tourney, Disney visiting weekend.  There are lots of things on the calendar, but it's looking like we'll squeeze it all in.  

I think 'sleeping in' is a priority, too.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Feeling Homesick

I've been trying to wrap my finger around the way I've been feeling lately and the only way I can describe it?  


I'm feeling homesick.  Or maybe it's just the end of summer blues...that antsy sort of feeling where it's just time to start a routine again, where being lazy just isn't cutting it anymore.  Or maybe it's the seeing of old friends this weekend and wondering if life is easier for all of them...if they came home to an overly lived in house with a squeaky couch and squeaky cabinets and a squeaky dryer?  

The picture below?  Italy, circa 1985.  Two young kids without a care in the world.  I can tell you,  without a doubt, that we were not thinking about a house with a mortgage or children moving away or birds eating all the figs from the tree.

I'm glad we weren't.


Part of it is the fact that I'm feeling disconnected from my real life.  I'm a big believer in the power of girlfriends...yet I haven't had that this summer.  There have been travels and jobs and health issues and I am just missing my circle.  Thankfully, real life begins next starts up, an established work day will begin, bible study followed by lunches out, and a son who I am tired of worrying about all the details of his move will be moved.  Right now it's a combination of worry and sadness...I'm ready for just the sadness.


I think, too, that I'm needing to reclaim my little house on my little street.  It's developed a sort of 'frat house' feeling in the last few months and this mama is done with that.  I'm thinking a little paint and a little shuffling of things from one room to another and a whole lotta retraining of boys on where to put their junk.

There's a girl who lives here...and it's time for them to be reminded of that.

Next week is the week...the week to clean.  Deep clean and organize and purge and file and sort through.  I'm emptying the freezer this week of all the remnants of meals past and starting fresh over, which basically means we are eating some pretty crazy things...but that's ok.  I'm looking forward to the outside freezer door full of homemade chicken stock and spaghetti gravy and  the inside freezer full of muffins and pancakes that the boys can grab and eat on their way out the door.

I'm ready for dinners that cook for long periods of time in the oven and make the house smell so good that everyone groans when they walk in the door.

I'm ready for my house to feel like home again.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Quick Road Trip

Our good friends were hosting a college reunion this past weekend and in total Busch family form, we decided at the very last minute to go.  We hadn't had any type of family vacation ( in college, remember?) and I was itching for some sort of getaway.

I planned the whole thing...rented a van (because even though I drive an SUV, not one of my tall boys fits in the 3rd row anymore and I certainly wasn't going to squeeze back there!), booked a hotel room in San Francisco and dug out the 'only use in an emergency' credit card.

I was excited...excited because this may very well have been our last getaway as a family with Matthew moving this week and all.

And then the night before we were going to leave (and remember...we only planned this two days before) Matthew got a job that was to start right away up where he will be moving to.  Suddenly, we were down to four of us.  Ten minutes later, Alex gets a call to work out with the college team and boom, then there were three.

I cancelled the van rental and the hotel and we cut the weekend away down to the bare minimum.

Oh well.

The 13 year old...well, he couldn't even hide his glee at being an only child for the weekend.  He settled in to that backseat like it was his very own apartment...he had his pillow and blanket and pj's and wifi and snacks and was as happy as a clam.

He is the best. traveller. ever.


We drove 7 hours in order to meet our friends for dinner (where Holly called our old crush and begged him to come...and he did!  And he's still dreamy!), crashed at my sister in laws house (where we picked avocados, somewhat illegally off the neighbors tree) attended a really fun party in a totally cool mansion and then drove home again.

It was fast and furious.

The party?  A big reunion.  Really fun.  The funny thing is...these were all that guy that I like so much's crowd, yet I just finagled my way right into the mix and made them MY crowd.  Typical.

Anyway, it had been almost 30 years since we had seen most of these people.  30 years.  

I blinked and 30 years went by.

How can that be?  

We then turned around and drove back home...only this time we stopped at all of these fun food places...we had cioppino (well, the boys did) that won in a Bobby Flay throwdown and danish pastries from an episode of something or other and bottles of wine from our favorite vineyard.

We stopped and ate the whole way home.

The drive...all 17 hours we spent driving in the last few days, was actually really fun.  Brian is a great traveller and that guy that I like so much and I had many, many hours to talk and laugh and dream and reminisce and sing and contemplate how our lives are changing...changing from a family with three in the backseat to a family with just one.

And you know what?  That's not such a bad thing.  I never thought I'd say that, but watching them grow up is kinda fun.


Friday, August 24, 2012

This Week

This week, my son (the one who is wearing my diamonds in his ears) is happy.  He found a new place to live at his new school and also got a new job (teaching marching band) that starts this weekend.

When he's happy, mama is happy.

This week, I got SCREAMED at by a crossing guard who told me that because I make her stand in the sun (for her 45 minute shift) that when she gets skin cancer she is going to sue me and the company.

I very calmly explained to her (in that voice that grown-ups reserve for talking to children) that crossing guards stand outside in the sun, in the rain, in the sleet and snow and hail and if...IF that was going to be an issue then maybe she was in the wrong profession.

She screamed some more.  And swore at me.  And for the first time in a long time, I was shaken when I got off the phone.  That saying...the sticks and stones one?  Wrong.  Words DO hurt.

That guy that I like so much cheered me up.  Lunch at Lucille's (and yeppers, I had a beer at lunchtime)  was perfect.

This week, I got a promotion.  For reals.  I will no longer be dealing with crossing guards like I have been...I'll be empowering (hopefully!) their bosses to deal with them.   

God is good.


This week that guy that I like so much, who makes a rather pretty garden if I do say so myself, planted lavender in a pot on the front porch because he knows I like lavender.

I like him, too.

This week my car went into the shop and it wasn't pretty.  It could have been worse but it could have been better.  I mean there could have been 7 repairs need that were each over $800 rather than just 6.


This week we picked fig after fig after fig from our tree.  

A little fig, a little goat cheese, a little honey, a little sea salt.

A lotta happiness.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Things I Like

Italian sodas.  Mix a couple shots of flavored syrups with some bubbly water and you have an instant way to make someone smile.

Especially if you use cherry AND lime together.  With lots of ice.  And a straw.

Suppers around here have been eaten in the garden, usually with a mish mash of boys present.  Boy #1 has been trying to see everyone he needs to see before moving in a week, boy #2 has been saying goodbye to one of his best friends (who is leaving for college) for the last few months (or so it seems), and boy #3 is playing on a club team for basketball...a team that practices at 6:00pm across town.

Good news?  He has older brothers who are willing drivers.

So in an effort to have us all sit down together for at least a few minutes, we eat at weird times.  The food though?  Still summery...things like Italian sausage, peppers and onions served on hard rolls and smothered (for some of us) with gobs of italian olive salad.

I've tried making it, but nothin' is as good as this stuff.  Heaven in a jar.  Give me a spoon and a Real Housewives marathon and I'm a happy camper.


Man, I am really going to miss my oldest.  Most of him anyway.  Not the part that is messy, but all the other parts.

His housing has fallen into place, finally.  He's leaving for grad school in a new city soon.  Not on a jet plane, but in an old Honda.  And it's just weird, that's all.  It's different than going away to's more like going away to his new life, which is what he should be doing.

I just hope his witty texts don't stop.  Or the texts where he wants me to know that I'll like someone or something.  Or even the messages asking me to heat him up food.

The ones where he's having a baby?  Those can stop.


Summer is ending.  Life is changing.  Again.  Keeps me on my toes.  Keeps me praying.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Joy In The Morning

I found joy this morning when that guy that I like so much grabbed the empty coffee canister and instead of saying 'where's the coffee?' instead said, 'let's go out to breakfast.'

I. married. well.


I've said it a million times before and I'll say it a million more...I love going out to breakfast.  I love breakfast, period.  Eggs.  Bacon.  Sweet.  Salty.  Doesn't matter to me...I just like it when someone else is cooking it.

And cleaning up from it.

So off we went to our favorite little haunt...The Old Vine Cafe.  The food is organic-y and really, really yummy.  This morning I ordered two sides...and yes, the picture below is of my side orders.  Can you even imagine the size of the full order?

Introducing: a fried green tomato topped with pesto and a homemade biscuit smothered in pancetta gravy.

Seriously...I could eat here day after day.  And I kinda sorta will be...I only ate half, so the rest is for tomorrow.


Once home, after noticing that 2/3 of my houseful of boys were still soundly sleeping, I decided to work for a few hours.  I am choosing to find joy in my job this year after failing miserably at that task last year.

This year two things are making me happy.  #1: a new work cell that I can turn OFF when I am not working and #2: a fancy printer/scanner that can do stacks, rather than having to scan 40 pages one by one by one.

Seriously?  It's the little things.

I've realized that lately...lately I've been choosing to worry and complain and basically see the negative.  Not good...not good at all.  I've also realized that in these lovely summer months, the months without us having to be here or there or anywhere at all, I have NOT ONCE gotten up early and spent a little quiet time with God.

Not once.

How sad is that?  No wonder I feel a little lost.  Have I prayed?  Oh yeah...but I haven't spent anytime at all reading my bible.


Tomorrow morning my alarm is already set.  Set for early o'clock in the morning, before I meet a girlfriend for a 7:00am hike.  I'm choosing to make time for my God.  He's been waiting for me. 


Monday, August 20, 2012

Mama Is Tired Of Hot.

This was just a weird weekend.  

There were many boys around this weekend...mine plus many extras.  It was hot.  The cat peed on top of my hamper (again) and if you've never had a cat pee in your house, well, you're lucky.  It was hot.  Brian's basketball shoes stunk up the house.  It was hot.  The dryer continues to make awful noises and the repairman won't call me back.  It was hot.

All these things contributed to a married fight.  Ick.  I'll be honest...we don't fight that much.  Mainly because I'm married to the calmest man on the planet, who will listen to me rant and rave, raise an eyebrow to me and then asks me to dance, which in turn makes me laugh.


But Saturday night it was hot and we were both a little grumpy and then we said ugly things and it just wasn't a nice time at all.

We did make up and all is well in the land of all males and one mom.  The AC is being run 24/7 and no one will complain when the bill comes.

And NO ONE will complain that the house is too cold.  


Prior to that, I had made a big pot of shrimp scampi, Italian style.

Served over pasta, it is divine.  

Sunday church was lovely...I say it over and over, but we just worship at an amazing church.  I am soaking it all in and am feeling so thankful that we were led there.

And after?  

Holy Moly.

Hole' Mole' has the BEST fish tacos around.  Seriously.  Too bad we were in a rush (that guy that I like so much (again) had audtions for the choir he is not conducting because he is on sabbatical but still needed to be there for them?) because it was so good and we had to gobble gobble and then run.


Once home, Brian was at basketball and the older boys (who stay up all night) were sleeping and I was bored.  So bored that I went to the gym and RAN for an hour on the treadmill.

Aliens have taken over my brain.


So there you have it.  The good, the not so good and then the good again.  

Happy Monday.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Good Eats and Hot Weather

 In honor of Julia Child's 100th birthday, we chilled and popped open one of our special bubbly's and served it with some scallops in pesto.


And while I'd like to say that I slaved away at this appetizer, I didn't.  I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, opened the Trader Joe's package and popped these puppies in the oven until they were hot and bubbly.

I did; however, work at the main course.  Sauteed chicken breasts topped with arugula, crispy pancetta, figs, blue cheese and an incredible warm vinaigrette...the recipe is from Tyler Florence and I can tell you with all honesty, I did not alter his directions one bit.

It. Was. Perfect.

It's been hot here and our AC has been running most of the time, with the exception of our suppers in the garden.  It was so warm last night though, that I was a bit jealous of the cherub tucked under a tree where it was most certainly cooler.

I do like the warm has me day dreaming of pumpkins and hot tea, and cupcakes.

For some reason I have had cupcakes on my brain lately.


Our fig tree is EXPLODING with figs.


I'm making fig jam.  I cannot believe the day has come where we have so many figs that we can't possibly eat them all and get to make jam.  I'll probably only get a jar or two...but still, that's a jar or two more than I had today!


I'm back at work supervising crossing guard programs in more cities than I can count...well, that's not true.  I can count them.  My work cell is not comfy for all the calls I need to make so I borrowed Alex's handset.

I'm telling ya...retro rocks.  Old school really is better.

I'm reminded of that tonight...I accidentally deleted a very large folder off my computer.  It's lost in cyber space.  One click and was gone.

I'm struggling to find the bright light in that situation.

I am finding light in some little things that have been happening in my life this week...little glimmers of light amidst quite a bit of darkness.  Lunch with a my former boss turned friend who is moving next week, yet I am so grateful that she took a chance on giving a stay at home mom a job.  A job that gives me the flexibility to work primarily from home while my boys are in school.  Then there is the friend who prayed with me over one of my boys who just needs a few extra prayers right now.  Nothing major in the big scheme of things but he is moving in a few weeks and starting grad school and nothing seems to be falling in to place as easily as he would've wanted.  And then that guy that I like so much, who puts up with my 'I have no patience for technology' outbursts...fixing what needs to be fixed and then talking in his quiet 'teacher' voice until I no longer hysterical and wanting to jump off a bridge.

Lots of light.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It's Broken Again

That guy that I like so much is a Professor...and not just any Professor.

He's a Professor on Sabbatical.

What's that mean?

For means I get really, really, REALLY yummy lunches prepared for me for the next few months.

I'm sold.


I was craving the smell of cinnamon so I baked up a batch of snickerdoodles.  Before you get overly impressed...I made them from a box, but I did add an egg and some water.  I think that in itself is pretty impressive because when it comes to baking, I am direction challenged.

Back to the cinnamon was lovely.

And this plate of cookies lasted approximately 3.2 hours, mainly because all boys were at the gym when I pulled them from the oven.  Want to extend the shelf life of a food item in this house?  Make it while all males are gone.  Works every time.

Speaking of gone...right before supper there was a last minute plan to go to the pool.  It was hot and even though I like having everyone home for meals, the boys really needed to go and have fun.

Turns out dinners for two in the garden are heavenly.  Quiet music, quiet conversation, quiet chewing of food.

Quiet, quiet, quiet.  Is this what we have to look forward to?  Quiet?

Bring. It. On.


That guy that I like so much, aside form making great lunches, makes a mean sangria.

I'll jot down the recipe next time he makes it and share it because it is so good.  

Today I had lunch #2 of the week out...this time with my besties for a belated birthday lunch for one of them.  So fun to be out and about with them...almost felt like a vacation!

I came home in time to drive Brian to a friends for a sleepover and lo and behold, we found ourselves alone at supper time for a 2nd night in a row.  Matthew is still traveling, Alex was out with friends and so off we went to The Counter for burgers and a beer...not to be confused with last nights burgers and sangria.  What can I say?  It's a burger sort of week.


After, a walk over to Trader Joes where we were tooooo full to buy any food, but obviously we were thirsty.  Or our liquor cabinet was empty.  Or we're having another garden party.

Something like that.

In household news...the 4 year old dryer which cost me $250 to repair last year and then another $450 to repair 3 months ago (and which LG has now denied our claim.  sigh.) is broken AGAIN.


Sounds like metal scraping metal AGAIN.

The LG certified repairman?  He wants $90 to come out and look at it again which means I could have bought a brand new dryer for that money.  Can you see the clumps of hair I am pulling out of my head?

Want to add salt to the wound?

The washer is now making a funky noise.


See the above picture?  Who I am's all for me.

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