Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Can't Decide...

For walking around DC.

Cute or Eleanor Roosevelt-ish?

I know, the dichotomy is extreme.


Tailgate Cocktails!

Last week I wrote a post on tailgating and I loved reading your experiences! Please send more comments of what you do to make game day special even if you are watching from home. They are so much fun to read and I love having you share! :)

Can you believe it's October tomorrow?
To honor our fall weather I have chosen warm drinks that you could make ahead and put in a thermos and bring along.
I hope you find one you like.

So many USC touchdowns, so little time to try them all in one game!

Texan (or Trojan or Tennessee...) Tailgate Cocoa


4 oz. of light rum, silver tequila or Kahlua
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half-and-half
6 tsp. of sugar
1 oz. semisweet chocolate chopped into small pieces
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate chopped into small pieces
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cinnamon sticks


Prepare this the morning of the event, storing and then serving it out of an insulated container at the tailgate site.

The morning before leaving for the event:

Mix milk, half-and-half, sugar, finely chopped chocolate and brown sugar all together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Do not bring to a boil, but allow chocolate and sugar to melt and dissolve until they get hot. Reduce heat. Place half of this mixture into a blender and mix to a frothy consistency. Pour this back into your pan and stir in the vanilla extract.

Steve's Cider House Special


8-10 oz. spiced rum
8 cups apple cider
Juice of one large orange
Juice of one large lemon
3 tbs. brown sugar
4 whole cloves
4 whole allspice berries
3 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise pods


  1. In a large pot add all the ingredients except for the spiced rum.
  2. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes or so.
  3. Add rum and keep warm over a low heat or pour into an insulated container to keep warm.
  4. To keep your cider potable to nondrinkers, do not add the spiced rum to the pot of cider. Add 2 oz. of rum per cup afterward.
And one for when you get back home ~

Positively Warm Apple Pie


6 oz. apple cider (heated)
2 oz. Tuaca liqueur
Whipped cream
Pinch cinnamon and nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick


In a glass coffee mug or heat-resistant goblet, combine your heated cider and Tuaca. Top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Add cinnamon stick.

What drinks do you take to the game with you?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Trad Guy

I've always been a sucker for a guy in a pair of khakis, a long sleeve RL button-down shirt, tasseled loafers, a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers and the scent of Polo. This package is classic and timeless. This is Mr. P. M. and I have been raising two boys to fill his Sperry Top-Siders to continue the tradition.

These three men have been ideal participants simply by possessing a Y chromosome which means they will wear practically anything that I bring home as long as they don't have to go to the mall to shop for it. Being of the conservative persuasion has also made this easier. Growing up my boys would never wear anything with a 'poser' label. No Tony Hawk. No skull and cross bones sprouting wings making them look like a biker gang had infiltrated the lunch line. At times it was challenging, this dark and gloomy junk is everywhere. At times they might not have been dressed uber cool and trendy but they always seemed to know who they were and there was comfort in that.

After years of tutelage in classic styling where I believe good taste resides my glorious plan of preppy world domination through one pair of madras shorts at a time has unfolded. Son1 has been wearing a polo shirt to class every day of his college years and son2 even donned a polo shirt and his madras shorts to make his first impression on his campus a few weeks ago. His favorite shorts are those from Murray's on Nantucket.

The boys are lookin' good.

All this brings me to tell you about a blog that I look forward to reading every week. It is called The Trad. John is an eloquent writer and male fashionisto (is that a word? I have tried to make it masculine) of the traditional style of menswear. You will never find the word 'preppy' in his text but you will know the look. Tin Tin, as his moniker read before he came out of the J. Press closet with his identity, faithfully writes an article every Friday called The Friday Belt. He pairs two of his favorite belts, one from his vast collection and the other, 150 proof, another vast collection I am starting to gather. However, it is very clever tie in. I had no idea so many belts existed - of both varieties. The Trad can be a knowledgeable source of men's traditional clothing history and always just plain entertaining. The photography is exceptional. Like the liquid belt he romances with such polish his posts can have a bite at first but ultimately go down smoothly and leave you with a warm glow and satisfying after taste.

It was last week's post that gave me the inspiration to needlepoint a belt for each son. John called them folk art and I agree. Since this post is already long I will save that and the resources I found for later this week.

In the meantime my morning belt awaits ~ that of 8 oz. of pure mountain spring water and a heaping tablespoon of psyillum husks. One woman's poison...

In preparation for the USC vs. Cal game this weekend and to solicit good mojo the USC fight song remains.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Tailgate Time!

I LOVE all things collegiate not only because I am a USC alum and proud of it but all things collegiate were indoctrinated in me from birth. Orange County is Trojan Country although those from that other school across town and which must not be named would have a different opinion. As I tell anyone my favorite teams are USC and anyone that is playing UCLA

However, after spending this morning googling and checking out websites for collegiate needlepoint belts which will be another post this weekend, I have to admit by the sheer mass of collegiate items available to southern colleges no one seems to do tailgate better or celebrate the season as do the fans in the south and I raise my foam finger to them in respect. They are #1.

Look at these awesome tailgate finds from Janice Crain Stationery that I have never seen before. Click on Collegiate Items on the side bar. I've seen the Tervis tumblers with the team logo but insulated collapsible picnic baskets? Very cool.

They can also be monogrammed.

Napkins that stand up in your team's jersey for your tailgate table scape.


Taking your meat and pride very seriously.

No putting a little shrimp on the bar-b here.
No sirree (shiska) bob!

And while the opposing team is getting their just desserts you can have yours too because winning the game was a piece of cake!

North Carolina cake pan

So enjoy your college game this weekend and I hope your team charges to victory unless your team is Washington State.

Here's my favorite wings recipe from the Steel Magnolia herself, Paula. These wings get an additional flavor boost since the wings are seasoned before they are cooked.
They are truly incredible! Enjoy!

Uncle Bubba's Wings


  • 3 pounds chicken wings
  • 1 1/2 cups hot Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Cajun spice
  • 1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Oil, for frying
  • Buffalo Sauce, recipe follows


Combine hot sauce, and Cajun spice, pepper and garlic powder. Mix well and cover wings. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep sided pot to 350 degrees.

Remove wings from marinade and drain off excess moisture. Add wings carefully and in batches to hot oil, it splatters. Cook until crispy about 10 minutes. Serve with dipping sauces.

Buffalo sauce:

8 tablespoons softened butter

8 tablespoons hot sauce

Combine butter and hot sauce. Whisk until blended.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ding Dong Ditch!

Did I ring your door bell tonight with a
Back-to-School Mom's Basket?

I just thought it would be fun to surprise you!
I hope you'll think it's fun too!
I saw a few things and they reminded me of you. It all started when I saw this cute bushel basket at Michael's for 40% off! How could I resist?

When I saw this...
"Just Say No To The Sign Up Sheet"

pad and clipboard from Preppy Paper Girl I knew it had your name on it. I loved volunteering at school and I know the work continues thanks to your generous spirit but being in the trenches together as we had been for years and years we sometimes felt like the saying on the napkins, didn't we?
"I'll have a caffe mocha vodka Valium latte to go, please."
Amen, sister!
But knowing you could use some time to relax on your own, I put together some spiced tea for you to enjoy and placed it inside a cup whose saying we can both relate to -
"Strive for excellence - not perfection."
Easier said than done for us!
Of course, I had to put my additional two cents on the tag with the instructions of how to make the tea. Something only we would understand.

I made some Titan Cookie Mix for you to bake some school spirit and have the aroma of something delicious baking when your boys walk through the door. I got this idea from Bakerella and blogged about it here. I hope your boys think the cookies are as yummy as mine did. I put a picture of the school's mascot on top of the jar and used m&m's in the school's colors, did you notice?
I made Collegiate Cookie Mix for the mom's of new freshman this year too. Cal, Dominican and U of A. It was so colorful! But we all share the same THS spirit!

Go Titans!!

I sure will miss our Friday night gab fests on the bleachers and as I said in my note, my Titan Tush Cush is in the Smithsonian waiting for yours to join it in a few years.

Have a wonderful and successful year to all our parent volunteers who make such a difference to our schools by their commitment and dedication.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Once A Mom Waiting For The Phone To Ring...

Welcome to college.
Son2 has the flu. :(
They are requesting many kids return home to stop the spread.
The first week of class. Ugh!

I had just finished talking with him on the phone and was listening to how horrible he sounded and how miserable he is feeling today. So hard to hear. Anyway, being at work I turned my attention to retrieving the the phone messages from our service.

One read:
Trying to get a hold of your wife.
Your son
had a bathroom accident and needs a change of clothes.


What you see in red is what my brain read first.
Then my heart started racing!
Then the other stuff kicked in...
This is weird....
I realized this was a message for an employee.

I had a good laugh and almost had an accident myself!

Note: The daycare incident was taken care of and everything was fine.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Joe Wilson Moment

The incident with Joe Wilson brought to mind my own moment of disclosure from years of calculated deceit.

It involved a loaf of bread.

When my boys were very young and I hadn't gotten to the store to buy another loaf which was running low for the PB & J sandwiches and knowing no one liked to eat the heals of the bread I concocted a story. I told them it was the baker's piece and it was so special and yummy that he saved it for himself and no one else could eat it. Amazingly they both bought it and every slice of bread was eaten and not only that but the baker's piece was even requested.

Jump forward almost 20 years when we were reminiscing one night and I said something like ...'and remember all the sandwiches with the "baker's piece" (air quotes) and how you would eat the heals of the bread?' Suddenly my 21 year-old's face looked as if he was 3 years old and I had told him there was no Santa. He said, "You lied!!" I said, "What?" He said, "You lied to me! I feel so foolish. I can't believe you did that!" I was completely caught off guard by his reaction and shrugged it off with a smile and slight laugh and said, "That's not true!" I knew this was not a matter of slice preference and although we were years away from worrying who got the baker's piece the fact was I had purposely deceived him and I was being called on it!

I feel badly to this day believe it or not.
I had never lied to my children before or since that I can recall.

I think some parental secrets are better kept until one's a grandmother.

Santa is another story saved for another time. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

"The Lush."

This is a primo martini.
It's called The Lush and I had it last weekend.
So yummy!
Very simple:

Raspberry Vodka

I asked the bartender for something similar to a Cosmo and this is what he recommended. I hadn't heard of Tuaca but it was gooood! The bartender described it as a caramel colored vanilla based liqueur. I had never tasted either ingredients before so I was game. It was made in front of me so I can only tell you amounts by what I saw.

Fill a standard mixing glass with ice. Pour the vodka 2/3rds from the top of the glass. Fill the rest of the way with the Tuaca. Shake and pour. Serve with a lemon twist and a chunk of dry ice.

Such entertainment!
I am a sucker for dry ice in a cocktail.
I just love the fog and the tiny perfect circles that float up into the air.

Enjoy the weekend! Cheers!

"One For My Baby" ~ Frank

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Yes, This Clutter Does Make My Butt Look Fat."

I am feeling better today. Yesterday was difficult.
The reality of no children in the house hit me hard. The transition alone can make one think of their mortality and getting the results of blood work done the week previously didn't help. Sign me up for anything with a little heart on it that says no trans fat, no sugar, no salt, no taste and no fun.

My day began waking from a deep early morning sleep to the phone ringing. Mr. P. M. sat on his phone on the way to work and speed dialed home. He was hoping it didn't go through so he quickly hung up. I answered the phone to hear a dial tone. I immediately went into 'someone must have died' mode as I always do when the phone rings and it is still dark. I *69-ed to find out what happened. Assured all was well I fell back to sleep to dream I was having a heart attack and couldn't remember how I had gotten to the hospital as they were conducting tests. The doctors were murmuring about my partial obstruction. I woke up breathing fast, my heart pounding and my chest hurting. It was hard to shake this.

I decided to text son2 now that we added it to our phones. He was busy doing community service and would call me later. I wrote son1 an email asking how his week was going. We hear from him once a week in the obligatory Sunday night call to appease his mother but once in awhile he will return an email which this time he did on the same day. Oh joy! I just felt so detached from everyone. I had my first time-delayed cry but it was not the release as I had needed. It was too short and superficial to have been therapeutic. I can't seem to fully tap into my feelings and I'm waiting for the break point of the numbness to wear off.

I have to move on to a project that has a pending time limit. Besides working on my internal health numbers we are consolidating two business sights and relocating them into one. We basically need huge spaces so the conditions of a nice office are not necessary so we thought it best to bring it to our house.

It is past the snowball effect - it's an avalanche! I am fortunate we have 2 offices at home, mine and everyone elses. We are not touching mine. The general office includes family files, my crafty junk and just stuff I don't know what to do with but wanted to keep along the way. Going through everything right now is overwhelming. I have so much stuff that is from my 'active mommy years' and kid based and I feel doing this now would be too sad and could throw me head first into a deep childless funk but it has got to be done.

Thinking I was perhaps making more out of all of this than need be, I began with small steps and went to purge the linen closet upstairs which would be innocuous. I came across the first baby shoes of my first born. I closed the cabinet doors and walked away. I am too sentimental to do this alone. I need reinforcements.

My friend recommended a book ~ It's All Too Much, by Peter Walsh.

I haven't seen his show on TLC, Clean Sweep and I do not watch Oprah so he is new to me. I pride myself on my organizational skills but when life is busy I become a stuffer and stacker. I'm hoping Peter will be able to help me look at the contents of my closets, cabinets and files without so much sentimentality. I purchased it last night with Dan Brown's new book.

One chapter I am bypassing though - Kids' Rooms.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless (sort of) Wednesday...

I found this in a gift shop this past weekend.

Was thinking about spicing up the ol' marriage ...

"Spice Up Your Life" ~ The Spice Girls

Monday, September 14, 2009

College: On A Scale of 1 To 10 - 2009

10 = :) ............... 1 = :(

and somewhere in between = :/

Anxious to leave and get on the road
by 7 AM:

Note: It is 9 AM

Son ~ 3 :/ ............... Mom ~ 9 :)
Really. What's the hurray?

Dorm Room:
Note: Signed up for the Math & Science dorm in a double.
Assigned to a different dorm in a triple.

Son ~ 6 :/ "I'll make it work."
Mom ~ 3 >:(

Finding out the third room mate decided to move to an apartment leaving a good possibility of leaving it a double:

Son ~ 9 :) ............... Mom ~ 9 :)

... but with all that furniture:

Son ~ 6 :/ ............... Mom ~ 2 :(

Room mate:
Note: Seems like a nice, considerate boy. Even though he arrived much earlier than us he waited until son2 arrived to talk about the lower bed. Son2 graciously offered to take one of the higher bunks.

Son ~ 9 :) ............... Mom ~ 9 :)

Sunday report from son:
Note: He is signing up to be his 'wing representative' because "I'd like to get to know people and I enjoy talking to new people."

Son ~ 10 :) ............. Mom ~ 10 :)

Dorm room report after first night's sleep:

Note: The room is in a noisy location and the fan does not work.

Son ~ 7 :)
"I'll get used to it and to the high bed too but I am so close to the ceiling I can't sit up on my bed and read."
Mom ~ 2 :(
I find the RA within minutes after arriving and have him put in a work order to fix the fan.

The RA lives in the room next door.
Son ~ 7 :/ .............. Mom ~ 10 :)

Monday AM phone call before we meet for breakfast then leave for home:
Note: Son says he is exhausted from the night before of playing cards with his wing mates, playing Frisbee on campus, watching Star Trek and going to a pep rally.
Son ~ 9 :) ............... Mom ~ 5 :/

Over all report card of maternal emotional state at this point:
Note: Good. Better than expected.
Waking up to this for the past 2 mornings has helped tremendously.
A view from the bed:

At this moment you could not see the hills and seaside town in the distance but both came into view as we laid there and watched the fog burn off. I think the town should be called Brigadoon. It magically appeared and remained in the slightest haze as if to seem in a dream.

Mom ~ 8 :) .............. Dad ~ 10 :)
If Mrs. P.M. is happy then Mr. P.M. is happy.

View from the outside the room:

The waves crashing on the shore with cool morning fog rolling in.
We shared our morning with quail, a squirrel, two blue birds and two Adirondack chairs.

Picking up son2 and taking him out to breakfast:

Note: Mom is looking for all subtle signs of physical and emotional well-being and stress. Reminds him to take his vitamins and to get plenty of rest.
He assured me he would.
I choose to believe this.

Son ~ 8 :) Such a good boy. Mom ~ 8 :)

The Good-bye:
Note: "Make it short and sweet" - request of son2

Son ~ 9 :) ............... Mom ~ 9 :)
Strong hugs all around but no tears and not even a quivering lip in sight.

When your child is happy all is good!

Son ~ 10+ :D
Note: I turned around for a second and missed the best picture of all~
son2 kicked up his heals and clicked them together.
At least Mr. P.M. saw it.
I gave the moment an added '+'.

"He's A College Boy" ~ Billy Murray

The PINK Plate Special...

"How many for the Pink Martini party, this evening, Miss?"

I've rented the entire room just for us!

I had a friend who once said our neighborhood was so obscenely decorated during Christmas it looked like Santa had thrown up. I guess you could say Cupid had the same digestive problem but I LOVED IT! How fabulous is this? This was taken during the morning but can you imagine how magic it is at night??

The Rose Parade meets The Rat Pack Era.

A tiny secret stairway to pink heaven!

He must hang in my office and be my
Patron Saint of Blogging Illumination!

They must know pink martinis!

My nose was pressed to the glass!

"Anyone care for dessert?"

"Make mine to go, please."

Friday, September 11, 2009

T Minus 24

Everything is laid out on the dining room table and ready to be packed for the college drop off this weekend.

Last night son2 and I ran a few errands.
I went with him to his hair cut appointment so I could get my bangs trimmed. We were tripping over eachother. Both of us announcing why we were there. I consciously try not to always take the lead when I'm with my boys but sometimes maternal habits are hard to break.

Our second stop was to pick up 200 copies from Staples for work. As we were headed back to the car he told me I gave the sales clerk the stink eye because she was going to charge me after Mr. P. M. already paid when he dropped off the CD. I said, "Really?" He said, "Yeah, you looked at her like she was an idiot."
I probably did.
He was embarrassed.

Next, we hit Kohl's in the adjacent shopping center for underwear at 9 PM because he had put it off for so long. I saved him the indignity of shopping for underwear with his mother at 18 and preoccupied myself in the jewelry and accessories department across the aisle. Funny though how using your parent's plastic is never embarrassing. Knowing when I was needed, I was thumbing through my wallet and came across pictures of him in soccer when he was in kindergarten and Little League when he was in first grade with his 2 front teeth missing. I shared them with the girl behind the register because I apparently was on a mortifying parental role and decided to run with it. He turned a shade of crimson I didn't know we possessed as humans.

As we were walking to the car and he opened the door for me he said ... "2 more days, Mom... 2 more days. You are really making it easy for me to leave." He then let out a whoop into the night air that could have triggered a car alarm and then said, "Let's go get some frozen yogurt."

I think my work here is done.

I shall return next week with a much lighter load on the car.
I wonder how heavy my heart will be?

Have a beautiful weekend.

"He's A College Boy" - Billy Murray
1910 Edison Cylinder recording

We'll always remember where we were.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Last Dance

With my Tri-Delt reunion this weekend at USC and being unable to go, Lady Kate sent me this photo of us.

It is not that old to be sepia tone but it was taken in the late 70's.

I am the one who looks like the Cheshire Cat on the left.

Funny, I don't remember her being there.
I remember my date. Bill.
I was totally enthralled with him. He was the most gorgeous boy I had ever dated and I couldn't believe he was with me. Bill and I had an off and on I-don't-know-what-you'd-call-it thing going on for my sophomore year while I lived in the university owned apartments.
We were stairwell mates.

His hair was much longer than my boy friend who worked at Disneyland where there was a strict policy of no facial hair and the haircut had to be above the ears. Bill walked around his apartment without his shirt and wore a silver watch directly on his wrist. He smelled like Irish Spring. He blasted Boston from the moment his classes ended on Friday afternoon until Sunday. During the weekend his companions were cans of Coors and anyone who dropped by but by Sunday evening everything was quiet with him leaning over his books at the kitchen table with his Texas Instruments calculator keeping him company.

I didn't know what to do with him.
I was Ivory soap and disco.
I had never seen my dad or brother without a shirt not tucked in. They went to a barber whether they needed to or not. Bill confused me at nineteen. I don't think he knew what to do with me either but sometimes I had an idea.

At the end of the year I had decided my apartment life had run its course and I wanted to live in the sorority house if I was going to make deeper friendships and embrace the Greek experience. Lady Kate and I became room mates and life long sisters. This picture was taken the spring of that year about the time when Bill's room mate, Don, told me I could have had Bill if I had slept with him. I opted for one last fun party and the memory of him telling me I was a good dancer.

Bill is married with 3 kids, lives in Australia and is a CEO of a huge company.
I am still a good dancer.

"My Favorite Mistake" - Sheryl Crow

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Need A Facelift!

...for my blog.

I'm cleaning house literally and figuratively and need a change.
I love the look of so many other blogs out there.
My problem is two-fold, since I love so many styles it is difficult for me to commit to just one look and I don't know how to do anything technical.
So I remain stuck.

Does anyone have any ideas?
How do you add nice spacers between posts?
I want to add more pictures after I learn how to scan them.
How do you make a collage?
Where do you find all these fun widgets to use?
How do you make nice boxes or frames around pictures in the sidebars?

I have found nothing in the Blogger help forms.
My 200th post will be here before I know it and I thought this might be a fun goal for me to work on.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tote Bags, Pink Martinis and Procrastination.

I am preoccupied with escapism today ~
anything to keep my thoughts off of son2 leaving home next weekend and the last of the list to pull together that I have been putting off.


I do know one thing~
I am finishing my day with one of these:

Remember, if it's pink and has a parasol in it
it has got to be good!

Pomegranate Martini

7 parts Citron Grey Goose Vodka
3 parts Lemoncello
heavy splash of Pomegranate Juice

Shake, shake, shake with ice.
Shakin' your booty is optional but almost unavoidable.
Serve with a twist and an attitude.

*Recipe courtesy of Hanna's in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

I have a couple trips planned east this fall and although I love my cotton totes, fall just says leather to me.

I am using this as an excuse to finalize my search that began in August. So far, I like the Town and Field Tote from L.L. Bean. The sturdiness of the leather will also protect my camera and for $129 and Bean's unconditional guarantee I figure I can't go wrong.

Reviewers lavish their praise here.

From the web page:
Classic styling, premium materials and dependable L.L.Bean construction make this handsome tote well suited for your business and leisure needs. Made of full-grain leather with attractive leather trim, it has ample room for a camera, guidebook and sweater.

Briefcase-style interior helps you stay organized: zippered center divider secures important papers or travel documents, built-in organizer holds pens and credit cards, low-profile pockets keep your cell phone and other accessories close at hand. Brass hardware and full-grain-leather handles and bottom. Fully lined with durable cotton twill. Zip top. Comfortable over-the-shoulder-length handles. Cotton twill lining.

13½"H x 21½"W x 6½"D. Imported.

I am also making sure Mr. P. M. does not turn into Terry Bradshaw in Failure To Launch. He has threatened turning son2's room into 'the naked room' since there is an aquarium in it.

We are dismantling it





"Shake Your Booty" ~ KC and the Sunshine Band (I apologize)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Uh-oh. Fire.

I woke up this morning to the smell of fire. This is an autumnal ritual in SoCal. It is not the quaint thought of burning leaves or a bonfire which are punishable acts by death in the southland and let's face it, no one picks up their own leaves around these parts or even owns a rake. The smell of smoke in the fall always means something bad. Always. No doubt you have seen on the news this past week the devastation the tinder box hillsides offer to an arsonist. These beyond comprehension individuals seem to come out from under the rocks from Sept. through early Nov. Knowing a couple LA firefighters as we do and hearing their stories makes them deserving of being every little boy's hero.

Currently helicopters and water tank planes are buzzing around my house. We have evacuated before when the boys were small. We could see the flames peek over our cul-de-sac hill of scrub brush and watched as the glow became brighter. The car was packed and we were waiting instructions from the bullhorn. It was a surreal night.

A few years ago when son2 was in middle school they evacuated over to the high school where son1 was then had to evacuate the high school. For a time I didn't know where my children were but I trusted they were safe. I can't even imagine the logistics nightmare that was for the district's transportation system but everyone was contained and I didn't hear of any panicking. All kids were safely home by the early evening although now I don't recall how this happened.

I find people are very odd when the homes of their neighbors are threatened. They like to go down to the golf course and watch the action at the pond. The helicopter hovers and ripples the surface of the water, the bucket dips in, fills and takes off dripping. It is a side show. Little kids sit on their daddy's shoulders. A hill can be on blaze up to the edge of the road and they will stand across the street and watch. But what is even more Californian, they will drive over to the street to watch the hill burn creating unnecessary congestion and difficulties for the firefighters. How do I know this? Because the roads are usually still open and passable and it always seemed to happen at the time to pick up the kids. There are only three ways out of my community. When we moved here 20 years ago there was only one for thousands of people. I have often thought what would happen if we had a mass evacuation. I guess the one with the biggest Hummer and 4-wheel drive Suburban would win.

Have you ever asked yourself what would you take with you? When I had this opportunity, yes opportunity, to evaluate what was truly important in my home it surprisingly wasn't much. Knowing we are in an extreme fire zone I had prepared before with storage containers from Target to act as a 'grab n' go'. It's where I archive our life together as a family. It's home to our wedding and honeymoon pictures and the pictures and negatives of the boys growing up. When we were packing up that night I tossed in a couple hanging pictures into the car thinking wherever we landed it could possibly be for awhile and would look more like home to see something familiar on the wall. I made sure I had the boys' something cuddly and whatever was of comfort to them.

As I've started and stopped writing this post over the last couple of hours, I don't hear the drone of the air traffic as when I first awoke. Evacuation is really an out-of-site-out-of-mind sort of thing but I should probably re-evaluate and organize what I would take now. It would still be very little - the picture box and a full sweep of any framed photos. I wonder what the boys would want from their rooms? I would take the cuddly stuff again but this time it would be for me.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Spiced Tea & Autumn. "Mmmm."

With the windmills of my mind on Autumn this week how cute are these mugs from Crate & Barrel, one of my Happiest Places On Earth?

Paired with Halloween Hot Cocoa...

... or make your own spiced tea ~

  • 2 cups orange flavored drink mix (e.g. Tang)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup instant tea powder
  • 3/4 cup lemon-flavored instant tea powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  1. In a large bowl, combine orange drink mix, sugar, tea powder, cinnamon and cloves. Mix well and store in an airtight container.
  2. To serve, put 3 teaspoons of mix in a mug. Stir in 1 cup boiling water. Adjust to taste.
Presentation idea: Put the tea mix in a small cello bag (lollipop pop size would work well) and place it in the mug. Tie the bag with orange and yellow ribbons or raffia and add a cinnamon stick and colorful fall leaf in the ribbon knot to top it off.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Late Wordless Wednesday...

It's for real.

"Not that there's anything wrong with that..."

Oh, the puns I could make!

My Mid-Life Crisis...

She's sexy, fast and shiny and can go from zero to boiling in a matter of minutes.

She's never been test driven and is in her original condition. In fact, I have never actually seen her since once she was delivered and parked in our garage she has never been taken out of the box. She sits on top of the wooden palette longing to come inside.

It's a long and sorted story.
One that required a full downstairs remodel to be placed on hold to begin a business and now with 2 in college that remodel will probably be taking another back seat.

It is my goal to get her in my kitchen this year or part ways and set her free.

Thermador Professional Series
48" 6 mega-BTU gas burner/griddle top
Dual fuel range.

I am looking for a good home.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The First Day of Autumn

Today begins the official first day of Autumn in SoCal.

At least for me anyway.

September marks the beginning of the hottest month of the year for us.

For the past week we've had to run the AC at night.

Eventhough I have been out of school for many years, butterflies return to my tummy like the swallows return to Mission San Juan Capistrano a few miles south from us. As a mom I transferred all my educational anxieties of a new school year directly to my children.
Every Autumn I stress ~
'Will any friends be in their classes'?
(elementary school)
'Can they get the classes they need'?
(high school)
'Will they get the 'good' teacher this year'?
(elementary, high school & college)

Maybe the butterflies won't migrate to SoCal this year.

Nope. Right on schedule.

The sky is yellow with smoke from the fires miles away.

Although the Santana winds do not blow through until late October or November I am already looking forward to their energy and baptismal.

Halloween candy has made its debut in the grocery stores.

I am always tempted long before the night arrives.

Although there is not one leaf in sight that has turned amber or crimson the craft stores are ablaze with fall colors and faux pumpkins.

Last year someone stole my pumpkins right off my front porch.
Not once but twice! Boo hoo!

I have taken down my strings of bistro lights.

No more backyard parties planned.
I am in mourning.

Orb spiders are increasing in size and are everywhere.
They are known for their beautiful detailed webs.
The morning sunlight reveals circles of diamonds that have been caught in them overnight as children discover them on their walk to the bus stop.
They are the best decoration for Halloween.

I hate spiders.

We have said good-bye to son1 to return to college and we will not see him again until Christmas. I have that empty feeling today that will last until I hear he has returned safely to his dorm room.

Time for another diet plan.

Hope springs eternal.

How does autumn arrive for you?

"Autumn Leaves"
~ artist unknown
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