Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Visit With Matteo

We took a drive an hour or so south the other day.  I love driving south...miles and miles of ocean along the freeway.  Miles and miles of cars, too...but hey, you can't have everything.

The reason?  Matteo, who for 7 years marched in a drum and bugle corps, is now an instructor for a drum and bugle corps.  After paying for years and years, they are now paying him to sleep on gym floors and eat food out of a truck kitchen all while traveling the whole US of A and competing.

He's the guy in the middle...and it was really cool to see him in that role.

He had a night off so we picked him up and brought him home for long enough to eat, do laundry, repack and hit the road again.

But first, because he's a weirdo, we went to Target for some supplies...including mustache wax.  This kid has always marched to his own drum...I mean, hello?  Plaid shorts and striped shirts which, gulp, he makes look good...but the 'stache?  


I blame his father, who played Nintendo so much when this kid was a baby that now we have a boy who resembles Luigi.  Yep...this one is on the patriarch of our family.

For the record...the kid says he's going to keep growing it and growing it.


We drove him back the next morning and once he was dropped off, we asked Siri for 'great breakfast in Oceanside'.

And, by golly, she hasn't steered us wrong yet.

This place, The Beach Break Cafe, rocked.  Oh my...not many places I'd drive an hour to eat at, but this place I would.  We ordered the banana crunch french toast and the corned beef hash...that hash?  

To. Die. For.

I then made that guy that I like so much take me into the huge veterans thrift store down the street where I scored an adorbs black skirt and an Ann Taylor blazer for a grand total of $11.



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Almost Vacation

My first day of summer vacation...well, technically it's not until Wednesday but I had worked really hard to be done with everything so that I didn't really have to work today and tomorrow, was not much of a vacation.  I ended up handling problems at work and finishing up some last minute stuff but tomorrow afternoon it will officially be vacation when I meet with my boss and hand off my work phone for the summer.

I did, however, nap in my napping chair in the garden.  And made supper for my neighbors, who yesterday threw a party for 60 and were absolutely exhausted.  It felt good to bless someone else...we seem to be blessed by others so often that it felt good to pay it forward.


My summer will be spent blessing my home.  I think 'blessing my home' sounds better than cleaning all the crud out that we have collected and stored and don't ever use.  My plan is to handle one room a week and another blessing?  Not too many rooms in my little house on my little street, so it's completely doable.

I keep getting distracted, things like a beignet mix.  If I can't go to New Orleans, well, New Orleans can come to me.

My shop is closed now and even that feels good.  I had some last minute orders to finish up and now,  I'm thinking, it will be quiet.  Quiet means I have time to get organized again, fix the email problems I've been having, make pretty things for some people that I love.

Love that.

 Still thinking about the Cyprian food we had last night.  Fried chicken with this pasta with shredded halumi cheese and mint.


 This afternoon, in between a nap and the cooking of supper (sausage, peppers and onions with cacio e pepe on the side), I sat in the garden and had a bit of beer.

On a Monday.

At 4:24pm.

But you know what they's always 5:00 somewhere.

After supper?  A cappuccino.  I love a good cappuccino, with one sugar please.  If I'm feeling fancy, a sprinkle of cinnamon.  In all honesty (sorry, honey), I like them best in a cup with a saucer...but hey, I'm really not picky.

Tastes the same...just looks pretty.  

And now...I'm off to sleep.  


Monday, June 24, 2013

Our Anniversary Weekend

This weekend, I slept.  And slept and slept and slept.  I'm tellin' you...I made up for months of sleepless nights in the last few nights.  Friday, I napped.  Saturday, I napped.  Sunday, I napped.

I napped and napped and napped.

And now I can say, without a doubt, that I am human again.  And human feels good.

Friday was my last official day of work, that guy that I like so much's last day of work, the first day of summer, the longest day of the year AND (deep breath) our 27th wedding anniversary.

I donned some super cute, break my neck sort of shoes and we went to one of our favorite restaurants for a dinner that we seriously can't afford but oh well.  Life is short.   We ordered a bottle of wine way out of our price range and savored every single drop of it.  Seriously a great wine and an incredible meal in an incredible setting.  The sun set and we sat for hours.

We tried, hard as we might, to remember all 27 of our anniversaries.  And failed.  I'm sure they were memorable though!


This salad?  Roasted beets and tempura artichokes and arugula and horseradish cream.  And flowers.  

Seriously amazing.

Saturday...I slept.  And then did laundry.  And slept some more.  And then ate proscuitto and melon.  And then dozed in the garden.  

It was glorious.

Sunday was church.  And then a nap.  And then a supper celebrating Leyla's 17th birthday.

The food...oh my.  Fried chicken with pasta and halumi cheese with lots of mint and dill...all the flavors of Cypress in one dish.

I want it for my birthday, too.  

I love these girls.  Last week we were dancing the night away under a disco ball...tonight we just laughed and laughed and laughed.  And then laughed some more. it possible to laugh too much???  

No, I don't think so either.


I'm feeling rested, which is a great place to be on a Sunday night.  Tomorrow I have a few little bits of work to finish up and on Tuesday, after a meeting with my boss, I'll be done and officially off for the summer.

I can taste's that close.

Brian begins basketball tomorrow, so our summer routine begins tomorrow too.  The great news?  Basketball doesn't begin until noon, which leaves us mornings to be lazy.

Love that.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

I Made It.

In celebration of...well, in celebration of the fact that I love See's chocolate covered cherries, I bought a box of chocolate covered cherries.  It's the little things you know.  Besides, one of these puppies a day makes me very, very happy.

And if mama is happy...all are happy.


Good morning little street.  I've enjoyed watching my neighborhood come to life in the early, early mornings these last few months...and I am now going to enjoy waking up when normal people wake up for the summer.

I made it.  I worked hard...really, really hard (I'm using lots of double words today...have you noticed?) and my project is over.  Well, by the time you read this it will be.  It was fun and challenging and I enjoyed most of it...and learned a lot about my management style in the process.

More on that later.

When I was a little girl I began collecting frogs but over the years, they slowly got pushed out of the way.  I love when your past meets your present...and this was a lovely and fun and thoughtful present from my cousin Tim.

Makes me super, super (another double!) happy when I'm cooking.  


Another blast to the pal Bob.

I love me some Bob, that's for sure.  His music is...awesome.  So is my boss, who pays for my sirius radio.  

Grad night at our school is over the top and fabulous and while I didn't have a graduate this year (after having three last year), I did have friends whose kids were graduating and so I worked from 8-1:30am. And then had to work at 5:30am.  Those dark circles under my eyes?


Also earned?

A double espresso.  It helped...sort of.  i was literally nodding off at my computer this morning.


A friend of ours owns a cheese shop (Vin Goat in CDM) and every month or so they do a sunset harbor cruise.  Wine and cheese and charcuterie (which means salami and stuff...I just learned that word, too) all while on a yacht.

Fun, fun, fun.

Triple word...because it was more than just fun, fun.  

It was...dreamy.

Perfect weather, fun people, great food.

In boy news....Brian's last day of school was today.  Hooray!  He pulled it together after missing all last week of school (so much work to make up in one weekend!) and has a whole weekend off before starting basketball on Monday.  But first things first...pancakes for breakfast tomorrow morning!


Monday, June 17, 2013

The Party of the Year

Brian got his very first high school yearbook on Friday...he's #25 in the picture.  The name listed?  His BROTHERS.  Nothing like being the 3rd child.


Saturday night was a celebration for my friend Alev.

It could very well be listed as the party of the year.  There's still a few months left to this year, but since it's going to take us that long to recover it's looking pretty good that this will remain the party of the year.


There was a disco ball.  There was a microphone.  There were speeches and a taco cart and dancing all. night. long. and laughing and yelling (the good kind) and it was just a great, great party.

It felt like the parties of my childhood...which makes me laugh.  People dancing and eating and drinking and sleeping and grown ups and kids in every nook and cranny.  So very, very much fun.

And no, I have no clue who this was.  At some point in the night my phone was taken over by one of my boys and the pictures are hilarious.  As for the videos?  Locked away until I'm old.


Sunday was quiet.  Father's Day.  Matthew came home for the night and played in church and then we all, the 5 of us, went for lunch.  Supper that night was the ultimate man york strips, smashed potatoes, huge roasted asparagus.

And then, in perfect end of the weekend fashion, we sat in the garden while the neighborhood made cookies in the kitchen.  The music was great outside and they were laughing that.


As for Michael?  Well... he already knows that he's a good Dad.  He sees it in his boys and the kind of men they are becoming.   

I love this Sunday tradition.

I didn't want it to end...and soon, it won't have to.  It's the last week of school and summer is almost here.  My last day of work is Friday (well, actually next Tuesday...but the big stuff is over on Friday) and Brian's last day of school is Thursday.  I've promised the kids pancakes on Friday morning...though I'm thinking they are all going to sleep in!

Today I'm heading out for a morning hike...a nice long one to get myself back on track from this weekend and then cleaning this little house on this little street.  The fridge is empty, but Costco can wait for a few days...trying to think what to have for supper.  Probably pasta of some fact, I'll probably make a pot of gravy and some meatballs.

Sounds like a plan.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

To Alev

Friendships are an interesting thing.  Some come on quickly while others take their time to develop and after awhile you kind of wonder 'what took so long?'

That's the story of me and Alev.  Our boys met in Kindergarten.  I like to think it was the very first day of school but I have been told (by them) that their friendship didn't begin until the Halloween parade at school.  I, personally, like the whole first day of school my story they were these lost and lonely little boys on that first day who sat criss cross applesauce next to each other by the teachers rocking chair, each of them comforting the other while tears flowed down their round little cheeks because they missed their mama's so very, very much.

I like my story, so I'm going to stick with it.


As their friendship grew, Alev and I eventually met.  The boys would play at my house and they would play at her house.  Let's face it, the boys played constantly...before school, after school during school.  In fact, by the time they were in first grade, they had told everyone that they were cousins...not because they looked alike (obviously) but because their mom's did and were sisters.

Our friendship was slow to blossom...not because we didn't like each other, but because life was just busy at that time.  Over the years, though, just like our boys, our friendship grew and grew.

Well...what really began to happen was our boys discovered the fun side to life and began to, ummmm, express themselves in ways that were, well, exhausting.  They ruled the school (that would be each school they attended over the years) and they knew it.  

And that is how how our friendship began....out of necessity.

It wasn't that we didn't like each other before, but now it was different.  We didn't just like each other...we needed each other.

These boys of ours...well, they were always digging themselves into one hole or another.  It was...crazy.  From getting in trouble at school to getting tickets for jay walking to school (which still makes me livid.  Come on...they got tickets for going TO school???) to barely passing choir in high school to, well, it was always something with them.   But the beauty of it was that our two families started to become one unit.  I mean, we were sisters after all.

The thing about Alev is that she never judged.  She loves my boy...or I should say (plural) boys.  Loves them like they are her own.  She sees the good in them and because of that tries constantly to lure them away from me with her delicious cooking.

I'll forgive her...she feeds me, too.


Over the years we've laughed and worried and prayed and cried and yelled and then laughed some more.  We've sent thousands (millions?) of texts to each other and kept each other up to date on the shenanigans of 'thing 1' and 'thing 2'.

My Italian Grandmother once told me that the best kind of friendship is the kind where you want to be better, to do better, to live better, to love better.  That you should like yourself more because of the qualities your friends bring out in you.  
So, to my friend Alev, on your birthday...thank you for making me laugh.  Thank you for being a safe place for my boys.  Thank you for being such a great cook.  Thank you for for being such a great wife and mom.

(And, for the record, I'm not going to say thank you for being such a great work out partner because frankly, you are a pain in the butt when we hike...what's with the always walking one step behind me???  You are SO stubborn!)

Thank you for being my friend.  I like me best when I'm with you.

Happy Birthday from me...and my houseful of boys.

Tonight...well, tonight we are at Alev's surprise birthday party and this is my speech.  Kinda long (sorry about that, but oh well) but she's worth it.


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