Friday, February 22, 2008

Here sit Molly and Lucy absorbed in a reading of Go Dog, Go. Molly is one of my best friends from college and she and Lucy ventured south to visit us a few weekends ago from Seattle. Man, having a 1 1/2 year old in the house with squeaky shoes, a new vocabulary and sweet sweet smiles was so fun, unless you were Avery who was a little posessive of anything Lucy picked up. Molly is a GREAT mom, too. When your friends are good at being parents it inspires you to be a better parent. You can read about Molly's adventures with Lucy here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Long-Awaited Getaway

This is a tree I saw in L.A. over President's weekend. Doesn't it look like someone glued those thorns there? Yeah, they're thorns, not Hershey's kisses. I do not know what kind of tree it was but am guessing Mango or Avocado due to the orbs dangling above our heads.

I really LOVE the smells and foliage of Southern California. So many huge big beautiful trees, so many things growing and emitting lovely blooms, pods, smells, I was in pure heaven. The weather was balmy compared to Oregon. Sun! I saw sun! Blue sky! Both did wonders for me after a few months of Oregon's dark winter. I was so excited to see blue sky I took a ton of pictures of it. Here's an orange tree.

After everything my mom has gone through in the past two months, it was a wonderful treat for us to get away together. We flew in on a Saturday. Burbank's Bob Hope airport is the preferred destination from PDX. It's smaller than LAX, much less crazy and easier for Andy and Meghann to pick us up. When we got in they whisked us off to Pasadena where we walked along the strip. We had some fun in H&M, a store I'd not visited before. I get to be a bridesmaid in Andy and Meghann's wedding this summer and they found our bridesmaids dresses there. Are they cute! After an amazing sushi lunch I tried frozen yogurt at Pinkberry. That night we went to The Edison. It's this really cool bar in downtown LA in a big warehouse. It's decorated in 20's-30's decor, the waitresses dress like flappers, etc. It was such a cool place to just make ourselves at home, chat, munch for a few hours. There we had fancy cocktails and appetizers like sweet potato fries with coconut ranch. There were silent movies playing on huge movie screens, lots of long curtains and little areas of couches, tables and chairs clustered to hang out on. It was my mom's 60th birthday so she had her first round of celebratory dessert....

In the morning we slept in and then took a long walk around Silver Lake's reservoir. My brother made waffles for us for breakfast and I gorged myself on raspberries. My brother's fiance made a terrific red velvet cake for round two of my mom's 60th birthday. Yum! We tried that later when we went out to the ocean to visit Meghann's relatives at a beach house they were renting for a month. They put on a nice spread for us and were really fun to meet.

Monday both Meghann and Andy had to go back to work so my mom and I had a leisurely morning. We took another walk around the reservoir and then stopped for coffee con leche and amazing chocolate croissants at Cafe Tropicale, a Cuban bakery in their neighborhood. I saw Miranda July there and really really wanted to say hello to her and tell her how much I loved her book of short stories I just finished, but I had no nerve. Later that day we got to go to a taping of the Ellen Degeneres show. My brother works there and got us some great seats. That was very very exciting. I loved it. We saw Josiah (American Idol castoff) Giada DeLaurentis (pregnant but with nary a bump) and Ravheem someone...I'm so in the dark about cool hip hop music. We also got to see Reese Witherspoon, a segment they taped that day but won't be showing until next week. Because Giada has new olive oils, herb mixes at Crate and Barrel we got $100 gift cards. WOO HOO! I got to meet Andy's co-workers and see his office, which is adorned with all the crazy stuff fans send Ellen. Lots of freaky paintings. That night we went to Cliff's Edge for a very tasty dinner. They even had my favorite cocktail on the menu: a Cream Soda. (Vanilla Stoli and Ginger Ale). My mom's risotto was TO. Die. For. My pasta had boar in it and was really good.

All in all my trip south was GRAND. Studded with smiles, quality time with family, adventure, and a change of scene, I came home refreshed. Here's a few more pics from the weekend.
The view outside Andy and Meghann's apartment in Silver Lake.

Trying on stuff at H&M with my brother.An evening out at The Edison. Pictured are we three girls: Meghann, Me, My Mom

My mom loves herself some red velvet cake....

Andy and Meghann really clean up nicely.

Did I mention I'm gaga over California's trees?

Here are my mom, me and Andy at Meghann's aunt and uncle's beach house at Capistrano Bay.

See ya next time, California my love!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Why Hello Februrary!

It must be the teacher in me that thinks about Groundhog day each year. I secretly hope that the rodent's predictions mean something, especially if spring is headed our way. Alas, looks like six more weeks of winter, and has it been WINTER here in Oregon, unlike most years. Seeing the sun today is a welcome and hopeful sign. Enough halfass snow and icy mornings thank you very much.

It's been a strange week. Everyone's been sick, and I finally felt it last night. I was watching The Pursuit of Happyness as the illness moved its' way into my bones. Phooey. I'm not planning to let it set me back much, but it has had its' way with both my husband and the girls. Fevers, cranky behavior, some coughing, oh, all the loveliness. I'm out of practice with it because we've been really healthy all fall for the most part.

My mom is doing well, laying low and taking time to recover properly from not just her surgery but the complete experience of being diagnosed with cancer and then quickly having it removed from her body. The process of the sentinel node biopsy sounded so uncomfortable. Needle and nipple shouldn't be in the same sentence. She sounds better each day but I think it suprised her that it would take her awhile to feel normal again. She wasn't ready for guests and we weren't ready to be guests with our germy bodies so we still haven't seen her and hugged her. I hate that but my relief at her being well overrides my anxiety at not seeing her.

The absense of t.v. (we ripped through the Flight of the Conchords) has paved the way for some good reading at night. I would recommend Water for Elephants and am reading a book of short stories by Miranda July that is so quirky and odd but strangely inspiring. Her writing is wowing me.

So Puxatawney Phil says more winter. I will leave you with wishes for winter days spent sipping warm cocoa. I'm not talking regular Swiss Miss either. Try the recipe here.It is heaven in a mug.