Thursday, March 28, 2013


My girlfriend threw together a happy hour the other night...this same girlfriend is the one who got me hired on in a little part time job four years ago that has blossomed into, well...something a lot more.  We hadn't all seen each other since before Christmas, so it was nice to catch up and hear of all the news...our kids all grew up hanging in the trees of our little neighborhood together and now they are all grown up.  Which means, I guess, that we are too.

When did that happen?

Yesterday I threw a massive, as in 7 pounds massive, frozen pork roast in the crockpot with a bunch of spices and let it cook all day long.  By supper time it was falling apart tender and was served up with some cilantro/lime rice, black beans, tortillas and various other toppings...probably one of my boys favorite meals.  

That guy that I like so much?  Experimented with a new cocktail.  Why?  Because it was Wednesday.  And the verdict?  Good.  Very, very good.

It was nice to have a night at home.  We sat at the table, boys coming and going and sitting and eating and chatting about their days and I just kept thinking about how much I like all of them.  How great they are...not in the 'my kids are perfect' sort of way because that is far, far from the truth but in the 'wow...they are really cool people' sort of way.  I am blessed to have raised them...but I'm also blessed to just know them.

Life continues to be move forward and yet wrap around itself and repeat patterns from the past.  Brian is now in full on training like his brother before him and is eating us out of house and home.  It's almost disturbing the amount of calories the two living here consume...we're back up to five gallons of milk a week, still holding steady at two dozen eggs and showing a slight decrease in the peanut butter department.


Our nephew has been a regular fixture here this semester as well...sleeping and showering and eating and it is so fun to have yet another boy under this roof.  We don't have lots of room to offer but this little roof of ours is on top of a a big, big home...and sometimes when you are away at college, you just need home.  A place to just be.  I love that we can be that place for others...that resting place.

I was feeling a bit down earlier this week...feeling like I never really embraced Lent this year.  Feeling like I'm just kind of holding things together around here.  Feeling like I'm always one step away from falling.  Feeling disconnected from those that I should feel connected with.  Feeling inadequate.  Feeling like Satan has his hand clamped down on my shoulder.

I don't like that feeling.

I began taking some time in my early mornings again...time in the quiet with just me and a big mug of tea and my bible.  I'm reading through the psalms and just spending some quiet time praying.  I am still feeling...I don't know, unsettled maybe?  Not sleeping well doesn't help much either and I'd like to say that those feelings all went away the moment I put my being back into the Word but nope, they haven't.  But once again my body was wide awake 15 minutes before my alarm was set to go segno is what we say in Italian.  A sign.  

Okey, dokey God.  Here am I.  Here am I.  Here am I.

 So today.  Here we go.  I'm always asking my boys for their thankful list and today I'm going to put together my own.  I'm going to seek out the good and take note.  Try not to 'just get through the day' but to savor it and take the time to be thankful for it.  Join me in that?


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I'm Hot. Or Not.

After working this morning...I'm doing two jobs (same regular job and I'm running a pilot program which will be implemented, if successful, next school year) at the same time and yes, it's as crazy as it sounds.  Anyway, after working a bit,  I threw on my tennies and hit the trail.

Along the way I was stopped by an older gentlemen who asked about the purple flowers (lavender) and then commented, with a smile, that I looked hot.  It wasn't until I took off running again that I realized that he meant 'hot' as in sweaty and gross and not 'hot' as in, well, 'hot'.   I was just feeling so big headed and proud that I was running like the wind...wind being relative here as I am sure that my fastest run in still slower than the slowest wind.

Oh well.  Hot or not, it felt good to be out in the air.  Felt good to be music-less. Felt good to just be.

I came home to a crowd of boys who are so happy to all be on spring break and together again.  They headed to the beach and I worked and did laundry.  And blew my nose.  And had a snarky email exchange with my boss.  And a whole 'nuther phone call that just left me sad.  And then a lotta text messages that made me not so sad.  And then I made a HUGE pot of chicken noodle soup and fed everyone who walked in the door while I snuck out for happy hour with some friends.

And wrote one too many sentences that start with 'and'.


No bible study today, but I do have some make up work to do.  It's Holy Week and I am feeling a bit lost...I just can't seem to concentrate.  I'm hoping for a little quiet time today...some time to think and pray and reflect.  Actually, I need to make it happen rather than hope that it will that'll be my main goal of today.  Everything else can wait.


Monday, March 25, 2013

The Weekend That Was

On Friday afternoon at 3:00pm, I received a text from my middle born who asked if the guys could come for dinner.  My answer, as usual, was 'of course!' because, well, I just love all those boys.  At 4:00pm, the text said 'the guys are bringing their families too, ok?' and I just had to laugh.  I mean, what else can you do?


 The house wasn't clean, but then again, it's never clean enough.  Supper, which was going to be baked chicken with pesto pasta on the side, quickly became a huge bowl of pasta with pesto mixed with chicken, pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes with a huge salad and lotsa bread on the side.  

Dessert?  My standard...pizelle's and a tub of nutella.  Nuthin' fancy schmancy but pretty yummy, if I do say so myself.


The garden heaters were put up, the candles were all lit, Frank Sinatra and his pals were serenading us and the evening?  Perfect.  Everyone ate lots, laughed even more and I am still, three days later, feeling blessed.  These families have loved my boy(s) like one of their own and I am so very, very thankful for them.  

On Saturday we recouped...and then cooked some more because it just so happened to be a weekend of parties.  At one point I looked out my kitchen window and the sun was shining so brightly that I threw on my flip flops and walked around our lake.  It was sunny and warm and the birds were chirping and the bees were buzzing and the boats were was the perfect little afternoon delight.


Sunday...we got to see this handsome guy perform his graduate recital.  He's a pretty cool guy with some pretty cool friends...hard to believe that he was once a little shy guy who only wanted his momma.


He wanted 'real' food for his 'real' it was.  Italian beef (20 lbs, cooked all day the day before) sandwiches, veggies and dip, chips and for dessert...a cannoli.  Or 50.  Of which 5 were left.


Monday morning hit hard...and the cold that has been chasing me, caught me.  Oh well.  I've got kleenex and tea and vitamin C...and a partner in crime.  That guy that I like so much caught it, too...not a great week for either of us to be down, but there's not much we can do about it now.   There's a nap in our won't happen until Saturday, but we're both counting down the days.


Friday, March 22, 2013

This Week

Courtesy of my phone...lots of pictures of random things.

First up...I won.  If only this were true. 


Me and my cat.  Cuddling.  She likes to be close to me all the time...and I am just fine with that.

A work meeting?  Coffee with a girlfriend?  

Not sure which, but I absolutely love my new lipstick color.

Me and my cat, yet again.  In my pj's.  Blogging.

20 miles so far this week.  Aiming for 25, so I am on track.  And yes...that is 100 miles a month.

Am I crazy?  Maybe...but it is my quiet time, mostly spent with a girlfriend though sometimes alone.  It's what has been keeping me sane during a big transition I am going through with work and these hikes are very, very therapeutic.

Yes.  This is truer than true.


I was picking up Brian from practice the other day and had one of those freak out moments (see the above picture) when I saw him walk towards the car.  Where did my baby go?  He is looking so grown up and I just can't believe it.

He's a really fun kid...I am enjoying raising him.


Following a long meeting near LA for work, I needed food.  Real food.  Real fast.

Porto's in Downey is on my top 5 places of 'I must have' very, very good.  My ultimate comfort food involves black beans and white rice and fried plantains.  Throw in some roasted pork and, well, all is just perfect in my little world.  

I was all by myself...just me and a really good book.  I used to not like to eat alone but now it doesn't bother me.  I mean, I'd rather be with someone but when a girls gotta eat, a girls gotta eat.

This weekend?  Packed to the gills with fun stuff.  I'm not quite sure how we are going to squeeze it all in, but we will find a way.  Sleep is overrated and can wait until we're older...right?


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Random Wednesday Stuff

I spent all day yesterday thinking it was Wednesday.  

It wasn't. 

But that's ok, because I was disappointed that I had missed church and now that I know that today really is Wednesday, I can still go because I didn't miss it after all.

Follow that?


I've been feeling a little disheveled this house, while clean, feels cluttered.  The laundry is piled up, the kitchen seems to always have stuff in the sink and then there's the boys bathroom.  Ick.  What is it about boys and bathrooms?  Do they not notice the lump of toothpaste in the sink?  

I'm thinking not.

I need a wife.  An organized one.

That guy that I like so much has been not just traveling but has been working every. single. night.  I miss him...we've gone from sabbatical where we were together 24/7 to him being crazy busy at work.  The great thing about professors?  Summer vacation.  The good thing about my job?  Summer vacation.  Our summers aren't big travels, just night after night spent in our beautiful garden.  

I can't stop thinking about it.


In boy news:

Brian is feeling better. 
Alex is huge.
Matthew is just a text message away.

How's that for an update?


Supper tonight, in celebration of there being people here to eat, will be a pork roast.  I'm leaning towards rubbing it with dijon mustard, garlic and rosemary and roasting it long and slow in the oven and serving it with mashed potatoes and some green veggie.  

Gotta make something that makes my houseful want to be home.  Some call it bribery...I call it brilliant.


The above pictures:
1. the best supper EVER.  Broccoli with lemon bread crumbs, butternut squash ravioli with cripsy sage and amaretti, and (not pictured) grilled pork chops with rosemary.  Still thinking about this meal. YUM.
2. Happy Hour.  A German beer in a family glass, salsa from my favorite neighbors and salty, salty chips.
3. Our lemon tree is exploding with lemons the size of grapefruits.
4. Sunday night cookie making with Brian and our neighbor.
5. Brian's famous cookies.  To die for. (not that I ate one, but they sure smelled good!)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Back To Normal

My Monday began early, as usual...but then slowed down rather quickly when it became obvious that Brian just wasn't feeling all that great.  In fact, he was down right miserable.  I shoo'ed him back to bed, settled in to my computer for work and then pretty much hung out with him all day long.

On the sickness scale of 1 to 10 he was probably only at a 3 or 4, but on the 'I need a day to sleep and be lazy and hang out with my mom' scale he was at a 10.  The kids got good (I'd actually say great) grades and so it was a hooky day for the two of us.


I think I can finally say that Spring has reached down and grabbed ahold of Southern California.  The hills are green and the flowers are beginning to bloom and the fig tree is slowly coming to life again.  I've been thinking about what to plant in the garden this summer and cannot stop thinking of grape vines crawling their way up our trellis.    Gotta make that a reality.


The biggest and best part though?  My toes.  They're warm more often than they're cold.  Warm toes do wonders for my overall mood...flip flops equal happiness.

Doesn't take much.

I'm in need of some good books to read...nothing heavy and preferably something in the lighthearted and lovely category.  Maybe a little mystery but nothing overly scary.  Any suggestions?  I'm thinking of taking a trip to Barnes and Nobles tomorrow and just perusing all the displays to see what jumps out at me.   I have a thing for pretty covers and I don't care what anyone can judge a book by it's cover.


Our Saturday and Sunday evenings were quiet this weekend...there were cocktails and dancing and laundry and boys in and boys out and lots of grilled meat.  Nothing says 'it's the weekend' like grilled least according to my houseful.  The more meat, the better.  At least in their eyes.  And stomachs.


The one thing that never got done was the laundry...but then again, when is one ever truly caught up with the laundry?  

This afternoon a girlfriend and I decided that the weather was cool enough that the snakes would be sleeping on our favorite trail.  Turns out the snakes were awake...but luckily when one showed itself to us we were only a few feet in, which gave us plenty of time to scream, turn and run to the other trail.

That in itself was a workout and my heart rate was up the whole rest of the hike.  Me no likey likey snakes.  At all.

Happy beginning of the week, everyone.


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Happiest of Weeks

The end of last week ended up being one of those really, really cool end of the weeks...I mean, ends of the weeks are usually pretty nice to begin with, but this one was just kinda great.  Really, really great.

Aside from that guy that I like so much being out of town...but then again, texting and face-timing and just plain 'ole talking on the phone made that whole situation not so bad this time around.  Plus, he was home before the weekend had a chance to kick into high gear...thankfully.  

I miss him most over the weekends.

The happy's began on Thursday.  I worked and ran errands and the sun was shining and I was texting that guy that I like so much all day and then went on a super hard hike with a girlfriend...and then after the hike, met her and her daughter for a burger at The Habit while Brian was at practice and Alex was at work.

And that's when Leyla, all 16 beautiful years of her, started a conversation with, 'so, there's this guy I have a crush on...' and I, in a not so cool sort of way, gasped and then started to get all teary eyed.

The poor girl didn't know what hit her.  And then I explained that I have been a mother for 23 years and not one of my boys has ever volunteered any information anywhere close to that.  Boys just don't share feelings all that much.  Sports facts?  Yes.  Feelings?  Nope.

My little gasp?  Made us laugh long and hard.


And then later that night, long after Brian had gone to sleep, I was up watching mindless television while sitting on the couch.  In walked my middle born and for the next 2 1/2 hours, into the wee hours of the morning, we talked and talked and talked.  Man, I love that kid.  Lots.  And lots.  He's got a great head on his shoulders and is wise beyond his years and I am so very, very proud of him.


Bright and early the next morning I had a big meeting with my bosses and have been offered an exciting new project.  I really like my current job but am going to be adding on to that for the rest of the school year.   It was such a great meeting...I work alone and so it's easy to wonder if I am making a difference and I guess the answer is that yes, I am. 

I feel honored and excited...and blessed.  

(though ask me in the next few weeks when this project kicks into high gear.)


 And then the weekend rolled around and that guy that I like so much flew back into town.  Our little house on our little street feels like home again now that he's back and all just feels ok in my little world. I'm riding this wave until it crashes...mainly because all waves crash at some point, but for now all is light and bright and calm.

And I am just going to focus on that for as long as I can.  


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Missing Him

Breakfast with that guy that I like so much at one of our favorite little getaway places (Old Vine Cafe in Costa Mesa) was a last minute decision on both our parts...I shuffled some things around and he shuffled some things around and before we knew it, we had exactly 90 minutes to be together.

I crave in a big, big way their sausage gravy and biscuits.  It is unreal and every month or so I have to order's up there with one of the best things in the whole wide world.  What's not to's creamy and salty and fluffy and crispy and YUMMY.  

And not lo-cal.  But who cares?


I'm glad we snuck away for that morning because in the dark of this morning, I drove him to the was early and cold and foggy (so foggy that he sat on the runway for an hour before taking off) and quiet.


I miss him already.

Lots to keep me busy though.  There was a work meeting and then I spoke at a conference and then I hiked with a girlfriend.  Oh...and watched the 'Pope Cam' whenever I had a free moment.  This whole conclave has me missing Rome....oh, how I wish I was there.  

I'm anxious for white smoke to come out of that chimney.


This afternoon?  82 degrees.

Happy, happy, happy.

On my thankful list right now?  Technology.  Love that he's just a text message (and two time zones) away.  Love even more that he'll be back in less than a week.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Being Led

At the crack of dawn this morning I was out of my nice warm bed and on my way to torture.  I'm not sure what time the crack of dawn is actually at, but I was well on my way by 5:10am to boot camp.

Five ten a m.

It was cold.  It was dark.  It was insane.

I had to laugh when my girlfriend pulled up carrying her Starbuck's coffee...I mean, who shows up to boot camp with a coffee in hand?  

A smart one....but let's not go there.  Anyway, boot camp is 40 minutes of torture.  You run.  You lunge. You climb. You squat. You sweat. You try not to cry.

And now, 15 hours later, I am on my couch waiting for my 3rd dose of advil to kick in and trying not to panic at the fact that I have to go back tomorrow morning.  That today was leg day and tomorrow they will focus those 40 long and grueling minutes on another unsuspecting part of my body.

Why go back, you ask?

I have NO CLUE.

But here's the thing.  I do know why.  I feel strong.  And weak, but let's focus on the strong.  I am doing things that one year and seven months ago, when I was ninety six pounds heavier than I am today, that I never even dreamed of being able to do.  Life is good.  God is better.

So tomorrow morning I will get up again and drive to that torture session because it is an incredible feat to even have the guts to register, let alone walk thru the front doors.


But until then...real life stuff.  Work and laundry and supper to cook and watching a son burn stuff (controlled...part of fire school) and bible study homework and the finale of the Bachelor.  I'm striving this week to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground and my eyes firmly set on heaven.  On finding the glory in the ordinary and allowing my Father to lead.  I'm not even thinking too much about following...I'm just concentrating on letting him take the lead.

I am one stubborn girl lately.  I need to let myself be led.

But for now, I am going to sleep...mainly because sleep will bring relief from the agony that my drill sergeant at boot camp caused.


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