Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Kate Spade Cocktail

Start with...
4 maraschino cherries, stems on
4 green stuffed olives on picks
2 lemon wedges
2 lime slices
Add a twist of 1 orange and a zest for life.

Don't forget the cocktail umbrellas!
(must include at least 1 pink, naturally)...

... and serve with a dash of Lilly, of your choice.
It's 151 proof that summer is just a shake away.

'Blended, please': "Lime In The Coconut" - Harry Nilsson

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Name Your Poison...

This bug is bad. Really awful.
If anyone knows me well they know I do not like taking any pills whatsoever. No vitamins (although I will force myself on occasion as I am trying to get in the habit of Omega 3) and no drugs of any kind. I am convinced it must be a past-life thing but I don't care to regress to find out what that is all about.

I just want some relief and being the desperate person this bug has lead me to become, I am now on antibiotics, wishing I would have done more Kegels and have gone through an entire box of Benadryl as I go from the couch, to bed, and back again. My child is convinced I have the swine flu and looks at me very worried. No fever or sore throat so I believe I am in the clear and I am writing so I am taking this as a good sign although I don't have the interest to even click on the J. Crew email ad that came in today with 20% off online purchases so I know all is still not well.
(that was my attempt at some bedside humor)

I am writing with a plea.
What remedies work for you? My mother believed in hot water and whiskey right when she felt a cold coming on but if you took it when the cold had set, it would make it worse. It was the only time I ever saw her reach for the hooch. That bottle of Canadian Club must have been 20 years old if a day.

I would appreciate all motherly advice, old wife's tales and known wisdom should you care to send my way.
Thank you.

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Mama Wants A Brand New Bag ..."

I was sitting at the computer minding my own business and looky what came my way.Pink. Sparkly. Prada. Perfect.

Love it.

I am suddenly feeling so much better.

"Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" - James Brown

Slowly But Surely...

When I'm up and around a bit more....

... and all the laundry's done and the pantry is well stocked again,

I'll be back!

Think "I Will Survive" - Gloria Canor

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

When The Saints Go Marching In

"I pinkie swear....

... that when I am off duty chaperoning and doing this...

... while the musicians are in their all day clinics doing this ...

... and if I feel like a lucky hand might come my way ...

... I might be inclined to empty this...

... and change it in for this ...

... and if I do, I promise
I will give half of my winnings to the high school's Instrumental Music Department.

I am betting someone up there likes a little jazz with the harp playing.

I will report back.

I'm betting on you Satchmo, to bring it on through: "Luck Be A Lady" - Frankie

The Zen of Highway 99 and Ruth

Seems I have been on a circuit lately that I hope has concluded for a long time. Our family has lost two very lovely ladies within two weeks of eachother, or has it been three? It seems closer in time when these things happen. Both were 89 and as the ministers comforted those remaining, they reminded us that they lived their lives well and their time here has now ended. Both lived lives filled with purpose, children, grand-children and recently the additional generation made it's adorable debut.

The service we attended this past Monday was a good distance to travel from home and could only be reached by car. If you are familiar with Highway 99 going up through the middle of the San Joaquin Valley, you will know you have a great deal of time to reflect. Hours of it. It is a road you can't help but wonder where you've been and where you're headed. Like life, it can seem limitless with the end nowhere in sight being flat and straight. It provides ample opportunities though, to veer off and take side trips at your own discretion. You may decide to see where an off ramp takes you without much thought to the destination, or you may choose to take a break from your travels, refuel and charge your battery awhile at a rest stop with the highway still in sight.

The lovely lady we were honoring and celebrating on Monday provided me with a rest stop. Being my husband's aunt and separated by the grapevine and a few hundred miles of almond groves and cattle, I didn't know her very well but I liked her from the moment I met her. She was a farmer's wife. There was something very comforting about this and it put me instantly at ease as we spent the evening talking in her living room.

I wrote a little about her on my side bar where I list what I am grateful for on a daily basis. Since I change this when I create a new post it will soon be gone but I wanted her kindness to last in my writings as it will in my memory.

What I am grateful for today....
... the chance to pay my respects to a very gracious lady who once served me a simple breakfast of cereal with her sterling silver. Almost 25 years later I have never forgotten how special she made me feel that morning.

Thank you, Ruth, for providing me with a gracious moment along the highway.
I am so glad we took the turn off.
May you find peace on your highway to heaven.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Time To Fly The Coop.

This week marks the end of my career that has spanned 21 years. Ironically, it probably began with a batch of chocolate chip cookies and ends with another. This career has taken me on many exotic travels and experiences. I can count the San Diego and Santa Ana zoos, traveling rodeos, numerous trips to Disneyland, a water waste recycling plant at the hour of peak morning sewage production,

the Getty Museum, the state capital and the legislature's floor, the banks of the American river panning for gold at the site of California's gold rush,

Sea World, and many high school stadiums within Southern California among my illustrious destinations.

I have baked, cooked, cut, pasted, taped, copied, stapled, filed, stuffed, sewed, washed, rolled, shopped, schlepped, and organized for 10 to over 1,000. I have provided leadership, encouragement, confidence, confidentiality, first-aid, laughter, creativity, charity, compassion, transportation, and of course, money. There must be more labels but more do not seem necessary as I have not even thought to categorize them until this reflection of my forthcoming retirement.

You see, for my two boys, I have been a room mom for their classrooms for 18 of those years and with the high school graduation of my youngest this is coming to an end.

Seven years of being in extreme active duty for the high school's instrumental music program's booster group overlaps in there somewhere. I helped to establish this non-profit organization of parent volunteers from it's inception and served on the executive board for 5 years - VP for 3 and President for 2. I have been the longest serving member on the board and I am proud of my contributions to the program, support of the teachers/directors and most importantly, I know I helped along with dozens of hard working and committed parents to enrich the experiences of hundreds of student musicians as they passed through the music department.

Entertainment Units Senior Class of 2009

I have met the most amazing people through my volunteer experiences. These fellow parents are the most well-intentioned, giving, smart, and organized individuals I should ever be fortunate enough to know and work closely with.

I have also had to work with two of the most delusional, ill-intentioned, mentally imbalanced persons I hope I will ever have to meet but the trade off has been more than fair in the yin and yang of volunteer life. In fact, it has been exceptional.

I have been dreading the end of my tenure as the perennial volunteer mom. This year being my swan song, my imminent status has been met with a natural curiosity - 'What will you do next year?' and sympathy... 'You'll have to come back and visit because we'll miss you.' Both are endearing sentiments from friends who will continue the scholastic volunteer crusade without me as one day, they too, will face the great unknown of the empty nest.

Before committing to embark on my last school related volunteer sojourn as a chaperone with the school's jazz ensemble to the festival in Reno, Nevada this week, I asked my alto sax playing son if he would mind if his dad and I tagged along to help schlep the last of instruments and amps we will probably ever have the pleasure of schlepping. With him being an 18 year-old man-child we had to negotiate. We will not ride the bus but we can attend.

Didn't tell him we had planned to go anyway and had no intention of a 9 hour trip up and back on the bus and preferred the comfort of our own car. From my years of volunteer leadership I have also learned the fine art of empowering others and the sense of confidence and independence they gain from it. Perceived or real, it doesn't seem to matter as the benefits are the same.
I also use it at home when the stakes aren't very high.

I am a very smart mommy - most of the time.

So this trip will mark the end of this desirable and wonderful career as I get ready to stuff 23 goodie bags for the bus ride to Reno with water, Slim Jims, Doublemint gum, brownies, and Chex mix while I will consciously make a space for the last batch of chocolate chip cookies ear marked for the 18 and under crowd.

This is so sad for me.

I get emotional and teary anyway when I begin to feel the school year slipping away into summer. It always signifies an ending for me, another year in the life of my children as children, gone.

Nature ushers in that distinctive 2 1/2 month countdown. It starts with a few days of spring temperatures then the offshore Santa Ana winds catapults it into the 90's escorting familiar pollen from Arizona and Utah and forcing the sudden display of white things - tissues and legs. The doors slamming inside my house as the windows facing north-east are wide open as they are today signals the countdown has begun and although I am one of the fortunate who is not affected by the pollen, given my awaiting retirement and son's graduation, if I am seen with the symptoms of 'red, puffy eyes with nasal congestion or a runny nose', this will be my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

"You Only Get What You Give" - The New Rascals (I apologize for the short and harmless expletive in the lyrics but I still love this song as an accompaniment.)"My Old School" - Steely Dan

Friday, April 17, 2009

Lilly's Bermuda Bags...Beautiful!

Back at the end of January I wrote a post regarding my love of Bermuda Bags. I was overjoyed when I found that was selling them as a pre-order set of three reversible covers and even more thrilled to see that they were Lilly's Jubilee patterns!

They finally arrived!

First, I was amazed to find them packaged so beautifully in this bright pink box with a vinyl window. It reminded me of a doll box and was so pretty I didn't want to open it! It even smelled like summer in a box.

The scent of the vinyl reminded me of blowing up the first beach ball of the season.

Even reading the copy on the back of the box began to take me away on an adventure and scavenger hunt.

Here are the 3 covers...

...and here are the reversible covers...

...and here's to summer!

Pink Martinis and Lilly = Perfect: "Lilly" - Pink Martini

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Moonlight, Memories & Mr. Martini

Driving home from dropping off college boy at the Long Beach airport to return to Boston a few weeks ago, we decided to head down PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). It was a lovely evening. The top was open on the car, the tunes were cranked up and we cruised the main streets of Seal and Huntington Beaches as we headed south under the stars. We finally ended up in Newport at the pier. For Mr. Martini, (I am loving the use of that moniker inspired from other married bloggers although I will leave 'pink' off of it so it is deemed more manly) the location brought back a wave of memories from "The Summer of '74" and the week he and his friends spent in the rented beach house in Newport Beach after they graduated from high school.

This picture was taken during that week. He is the shirtless stud muffin with red hair. Notice the decorative window treatment. The goal was to completely block the window by the end of the week. This was day 2! Not really. :) This was also the week Mr. Martini and I first met. I came down to see the white shirt guy standing behind him who was just becoming my boyfriend and would be for the next 7 years as one of those long distance NorCal/SoCal relationships. We all went to the same high school but being a year younger than this wolf pack, I didn’t know the shirtless stud muffin with red hair then.

He likes to tell people when he met me I was wearing a blue bikini and was barefoot in the kitchen. This was true and if I had that picture now it would be hanging over my mantel with a spot light.

In the fall, he drove down from college and returned to his first Homecoming. We were talking in Senior Court where only alumni and seniors were allowed to step on the hallowed ground and I was selling him a raffle ticket to win a turkey for a club I belonged to. While I was making my sales pitch in one ear, God was making His in the other. It wasn't until we were engaged that he shared with me he was given this 'knowledge or vision' that he was going to marry me AND he was going to win the turkey (insert obvious duality joke here).
It was a 2-fer epiphany!

He indeed won the turkey and I took this frozen ball of meat over to his parent's house while he returned to college and unknowingly met the folks who would become my future in-laws down the road.

In subsequent years we stayed in touch here and there but our communication fizzled as sometimes those things do for one reason or the other. From time to time his father would ask him, "Whatever happened to that turkey girl?" Mr. Martini remembered The Epiphany but knew the timing wasn’t right since I was still with the white shirt guy and eventually, the stud muffin became engaged himself.

The November after I had graduated from college, we were reacquainted at the housewarming party of the guy with dark hair, on the other side of him in the beach house picture. Mr. Martini greeted me at the door with this overwhelming hug.

Some time had passed since I heard on the grapevine he had become engaged and I had assumed he must have gotten married by now so I jokingly scolded him for not inviting me to his wedding. He said it didn’t work out and he didn’t get married.

He told me he was hoping I would show up and we became inseparable for the rest of the night. I noticed he kept other potential suitors at a safe distance and even pulled doubled duty as a bouncer to one of his frat bros who was relentlessly on the hunt.

The thing back then was to play back gammon and we used this as an excuse to extend the evening. Eventually, he inquired as to how were things going with the white shirt guy and I told him things were iffy and I was going to Utah to ski and spend Thanksgiving with my friend who had graduated with me, and his family. I didn’t divulge that I didn’t skied and that this was a platonic friendship and nothing more.  I suppose I was trying to sound worldly and continental since I was neither only having graduated in June.  To Mr. Martini, this meant there must have been a new boyfriend waiting in the wings and he left it at that.
Still not the right time.

The party ended well after midnight and he walked me out to my car. We parted with a hug and said good-night.

A month later, I sent him a Christmas card to say hello but I was really casting out a line to see if I'd get a bite.

I didn't.

Later, he told me the Christmas card kept the line in the water, so to speak, while The Epiphany was burning a hole in his pocket. There needed to be something else. Another sign to show him the time was right.

Almost every day as he was driving on PCH to a job site, he would pass this obscure little street with my name on the sign. My name is not popular and makes for a very odd street name. This literal sign paired with the divine sales pitch six years earlier, set the hook. In April, he called to make a date. One date lead to another and it became clear to me after a time, I wanted to spend my life with the shirtless stud muffin with red hair instead of the white shirt guy.

I was invited to his wedding after all.

Do you remember, my love? - "Oh, What a Night" - Frankie Valli

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rolling Along Towards Summer.

"To pack or not to pack? That is the question."
For your mid-summer's night get-away.
Amazon-upon-Avon :)

A Little Black Dress of jewelry rolls.
Classic and understated.

I want this.....
Sequin Starfish Cuff $198 go in this.....
...or this.

Can either say "summer" more?
Both Vera. $35 & $48, respectively.

"I'll be right there!" One last peek in the mirror. Gorgeous.

"Talk to me, Harry Winston, tell me all about it!"
A fully loaded jewelry case given to you for your crossing on the QE2 for your anniversary?

An empty one you decided to fill with a few souvenirs from the crown jewels for your extended stay in the Tower of London?

Bon Voyage!

All photos link to the item's web page.

Summer Tunes: "Summer Song" - Chad & Jeremy;
"In The Summertime" - Mungo Jerry

"One Lump Or Two?"

High tea.
Those two simple words evoke visions of crisp white linens, a bud vase with a single perfect bloom, gleaming silver, the aroma of warm, sweet cream scones accompanied by a pool of ruby hued preserves and fluffy clouds of Devonshire cream.
Oh yes, and tea.

When the little bundle of joy has arrived.
An invitation to a "Sip & See Party".
For those of us who prefer to take tea whilst we oogle.
"Thank you, you have been such a lovely hostess. Here's a little something for you".
It includes 16 recipes on washable cards, detailed beautiful photos, tea quotes, entertaining guide, cook's tips, shopping lists and a CD of chamber music to add to the bucolic scene of having tea at the manor.
I'll be Mother and pour.

Tea in full bloom.
Silver needle white tea bouquets.
A garden awaits in your clear teapot.
Just add water.

All photos link to the item's webpage.

Music to nibble your crumpet to: "Tea For Two" - Benny Goodman
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