All I Want For My Birthday

happybirthday5Back in March, my friend Songbird Lauren sang happy birthday to her “adopted” mom and my friend, Biker-girl Michele. It was beautiful, I cried.

Biker-girl Michele and I cycle together – she’s a part of my biker gang:)

Lauren is an incredible singer. Her voice is powerful, her personality is big and I just love her to bits.

happybirthday7I’ve spent years listening to her on stage. She’s incredible.

happybirthday10And I’ve spent years photographing her on stage. She’s also very photogenic.

happybirthday9I love my girl Lauren.

After listening to her sing Happy Birthday To You to Biker-girl Michele, I told the husband, “All I want for my birthday is to have Lauren sing Happy Birthday to me.”

happybirthday4Last May, I was sitting around the dinner table with Songbird Lauren again. This time it was Michele’s husband Gary who was the lucky guy to be serenaded.

happybirthday3He was overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed. I may have cried – again.

happybirthday1Someone save that kid in the pool!…

Last weekend, we had a little birthday party for me. It was so much fun and guess what happened?

A few weeks ago, the husband and I were sitting at our dinner table and without any warning or explanation, he blurted out, “I can’t take it anymore! I have to tell you the surprise! Lauren is going to sing at your party!” That was how the news was broken to me and it was the best news a girl could have.

happybirthday2She had an accompanist – and it was beautiful – just beautiful.

happybirthday8I was overwhelmed and felt so honored. And the other best part is that the boy flew in for the weekend for the party.

happybirthday6I should have died Sunday night because my life was just complete.

Happy birthday to me . . .

I’m A Fig Thief

Repost from September 2, 2010 – For dear Neighbor Corinne. The fig tree that Neighbor Corinne gave me is now about six feet tall. It didn’t produce any fruit last year – nor does it look like it will this year. But I know – as surely as I know the sun is going to come up tomorrow – that it’s just a matter of time until we get fruit again.


 

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I have been in fig heaven for the last few weeks. Figs tarts have dominated our diet. I’ve eaten them for breakfast, brunch, lunch, snack, dinner and midnight snack. However, figs are not free. For some reason, I continue to do things that are embarrassing so I pay with a bruised ego.

Then I turn around and the tell the world about it.

Anyway…

My friend Neighbor Corinne has a couple of fig trees (bushes?) in her yard. Last year I went to her home to pick some and I fell in love with the fresh fruit. This year was another banner year. They were beautiful.

So one early morning, the dog and I dropped the girls off for their field hockey practice and I drove to the beach. On the way home, I stopped and picked a few figs from the tree in her front yard.

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I told her after the fact and she was very sweet about it. In fact she said I should go to her back yard because they were bigger. So without ado, the next early morning, the dog and I took another trip to her house and I helped myself to the tree in her backyard.

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Fig tarts, here I come.

I told her afterward and she seemed okay with the fact that I was skulking around her house at 6:30 in the morning.

So now I’m thinking it’s not her fig tree. It’s mine. It’s there to satisfy my fig fetish.

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Last weekend, I did it again. I dropped the girls off for their field hockey practice (those poor girls) and the dog and I made our way to Neighbor Corinne’s home to skulk. The dog started to protest about being left in the car.

“Shhhh…,” I said, “You’ll wake them up.”

Needless to say, I should have listened to the dog. I think she was saying “Don’t do it, don’t do it.” A part of me still feels like a thief even though in my mind, my tree was at their house. It’s that little voice in your head that you should always listen to.

Later that day, I logged into facebook to tell her I was at her house. Only to find that another friend of hers had schedule to go the next day to pick figs. I read the message over and over again…eeekkk, the figs were gone.

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I debated in my head what to do. The easiest thing was to not say anything. But that would have guaranteed a lifetime of guilt and sleepless nights being visited by the Ghost of the Fig Bushes. Scrooge has nothing on me when it comes to a guilty conscience.

So I wrote – “ummm…ladies…I’m so sorry but I picked a few this morning. I just came on to tell Corinne and I saw this. Yikes, I wish I checked earlier. I promise to let you know BEFORE I come next time Corinne. I feel badly. There are still quite a few left by the way. Oh man…”

Something’s just not right me with.

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I saw Neighbor Corinne the next day and she gave me a hug which made me feel so much better. I reciprocated by giving her a couple pieces of fig tart.

I will post the fig tart recipe after I’ve healed my bruised ego.

By the way, months ago Neighbor Corinne gave us a planting from her fig tree. It was a short little guy but now has grown to about three feet tall. We planted it in our a yard a couple of weeks ago and it’s doing fantastic. I hope it will bear fruit next year, and Neighbor Corinne will never again have to worry about the fig thief.

This is my very public apology.

The Pool

pool1I’ve had a wonderful weekend of outside living. We have been able to enjoy our backyard and our pool more this year than in the last several years.

When the kids were small, they loved the pool. When they became teenagers, they were bored with the pool because it’s only six feet at the “deep” end, we didn’t have a diving board and there was absolutely no diving allowed.

Booorrriingg.

We threatened to bulldoze it end if they didn’t swim in it. Now they have friends who come over and “hang out” by the pool so once again, it’s become a little bit fun.

This year we had someone else come over and clean up the backyard – which left us free to truly enjoy our own backyard. The husband is really grateful that he doesn’t have to spend an entire day cleaning the yard and pool which frees him up to do other things, like help me host parties.

On Friday we had a poolfull of little ones – just like the old days.

pool2And then on Sunday we had a yardfull of friends and family. It’s great to enjoy our own backyard once again.

For all of you in the landscaping business, thank you. You have no idea who much we appreciate your work!

I hope you all had a wonderful, tropical, if not so relaxing a time on your weekend!

Camp Linens

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The boy is coming home tomorrow. I am so very excited. So many kids have been going to camp this summer that it made me think of the good old days – when my kids went and had the best two weeks of the year.

Happy Friday everyone – I’ll have all kinds of photos next week!


Repost from 7/7/2010

The boy left Sunday for summer camp. It’s his fourth year and he is always excited to go. His mother however, never really gets used to him being gone. I’m going to be a mess when he leaves for college.

I didn’t drive him this year. The above photo was from last year. He forgot that fact when I was packing his bed linens.

He said, “Are you going to make my bed when we get there?”

I said, “No buddy, I’m not driving you remember?”

“Oh,” he answered, “I forgot.”

He forgot….maybe he thinks I’ll always be there to make his bed. I hope he misses me a little bit.

Stormy Weather

withus6The boy has been in North Dakota all summer. I saw this weather photos on his photo stream and I realized how volatile the weather up there can be. That, along with other extenuating circumstances has delayed his certification to his instructor training so week after week, he waits.

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We would ask him how things were progressing and he said that he was taking another strategy – one where he wouldn’t tell anyone the specifics because it’s too much pressure.withus4To which I became indignant, after all, we’re waiting impatiently too. But I understood.

But there is a silver lining around the storm clouds . . .

withus1The husband is throwing me a party this weekend! The boy is coming home for it, whether or not he’s done at school. He will have to go back the next day, but so be it. At least I’ll get to see him for a couple of days.

Summer is fast disappearing and I really think he would be having a good time in North Dakota if not for this certification hanging figuratively over his head. Poor kid.

Makes me think of the song “Stormy Weather”. He’ll be home for good all in due time . . .

 

7.17.15 Bier Bitte

7.17.15It’s Friday! It actually felt like Friday two days ago but it’s finally here!

We visited a little micro-brewry this week and I loved their signage. So direct, unequivocal, and simple. You can’t miss it. I am a lover of wine and rarely drink beer anymore, however, I do like Weizen, Hefeweizen, Weissbier, or wheat ale and this place has a very tasty one!

Enjoy your weekend bitte.

The Car Files

I wasn’t going to do this . . . but I have to. The last two months have been full, I mean full, of car trouble. It has been so full of car trouble that it’s almost unbelievable but it’s real, so real. carflies3When we were in North Dakota to visit the boy in April, I noticed that every time I went over a small bump, I felt like all the doors would fall off and I would be behind the wheel sitting in the frame of what used to be his car. So we asked him to bring it into the garage and get it fixed, which he did. He was also driving to Montana and we didn’t want him to break down in the middle of nowhere North Dakota on the way there. After the initial maintenance, he had to bring it back a week later because they forgot to put in a bolt. 

Cost of a new strut – $1100
Cost of followup maintenance – $0
Peace of mind while he drives to Montana – Priceless

But I had no idea that this would be the beginning of a long stretch of car woes.

carfiles2The girl has been doing her share of driving. On top of going to work every day, she is also running errands for me, like taking the dogs to get groomed, so her car gets a fair amount of use as well.

One day while driving to work, she called and said the battery light was on. Being the enterprising girl that she is, she googled it and correctly identified that the alternator was faulty. I took it into the shop and yes, she was right.

Cost of a new alternator – $430
False sense of security – Priceless

A week later while on a long cycling ride, I checked my phone and saw six missed calls and at least 12 texts from the husband (who was on a trip) and the girl. From what I gathered, the girl broke down and was trying to call but I didn’t hear the phone. Because I wasn’t available, the husband called Neighbor Bill who went to pick up the girl and Sydney-girl. The girls drove the limping car to a Macy’s parking lot where they left it and went shopping while Neighbor Bill was on his way. Never let a shopping opportunity go to waste.

That incident cost us the price of a tow and a week of shuffling cars while the girl’s was in the garage. Upon investigation it was found that one of the connectors of the new alternator (the one that was just installed) was loose. It was rectified and we chalked it down to bad maintenance again – it happens, and sometimes it can happen twice.

Cost of the tow – $26 (our insurance company picked up the rest of the tab)
Cost of tightening a loose connector on a brand new alternator – $46
Having two cars between three people who have to work for a week – Priceless

One day last week the girl called me to tell me that the car sounded “funny”. I drove the car to Valvoline to get the oil changed, thinking that perhaps that’s what it was. While I was at it, I had it thoroughly maintenanced.

Cost of oil change, new transmission fluid, new power steering fluid, and new radiator fluids – $450.
False sense of security – Priceless

By now, I was ready to put all car maintenance behind me but it wasn’t to be.

Two days later the girl called me to say that she was broken down again, this time on the way to church. It was a Sunday, on the 4th of July weekend. Every single garage within 200 miles of Washington DC was closed. I was already at church and I left to get her and Sydney-girl and found them standing on the side of the road in their cute Sunday dresses. The cost of the latest fix is as follows.

Cost of a new compressor and belt – $780
Cost of a month of car maintenance – lots of frustration, fears, and tears

carfiles1The next day, I apparently ran over some sharp items and I took my car into Mr Tire and was told that I not only had one puncture, but two.

Cost of a new tire – $218
Cost of weariness – a shortened life

And today – the husband’s truck would not start for some reason. So I drove him the airport in the wee hours of the morning. I was tempted to have a glass of wine – but it’s only 7 AM.

Cheers!