Loving my Valentine

I don’t expect that on Valentine’s Day anyone will be spanking me with dog or goat-skin whips in order to increase my fertility this year, because although some may find that entertaining, I wouldn’t.  I’m thinking that the MoH wouldn’t like it much either, since he’s my Valentine, and I his.

We’re more about simple things and goofiness like emails that come as soon as I sit down in front of my Mac because he’s figured out nearly exactly when that happens each day.  Some people think that after two people have been Valentines for 25 years that there might not be too many more surprises, but I’d say they’re wrong because I’ve been surprised four times this week and it’s not even Valentine’s Day yet.

The first email said…

On the first day of Valentine’s your true love gave to yooooouuuuuuuu….

Something sweet under a pillow very near by.

Chuao Chocolates

He knows I love Chuao chocolate.  Love.  It.

On the next morning, just as I was wondering if there would be a second day of Valentines’ and whether I qualified for it the second email came…

On the second day of Valentine’s your trule love gave to yooouuuuuuu….

Your true love gave to yooooouuuuuu

Something stinky that thought it was going to watch TV but ended up in a dark cave.

Let me know if you can’t figure that out.

Now, I don’t know about you, but since I’m sort of stuck in all things food on most days, I thought of a very nice piece of cheese.  I know.  But the MoH knows me and clearly he was enjoying himself with all of this Valentine’s Day revelry, so I went with my first instinct and checked the cheese drawer in our fridge.  It’s pretty dark in there these days since I haven’t changed the light bulbs that have long been burned out, and I supposed you could consider it a cave since…well, okay, maybe not so much, but still.

Regardless, there was no package in the cheese drawer, so I went down to the laundry room where it is actually quite chilly and is stinky, too, since that’s where the cat box is.  But no present.  And then the garage where the second fridge is, but nothing was there that I didn’t recognize, so upstairs to his closet to see if I’d neglected to do his laundry.  But no.

So he sent me a second clue…

Stinky generally means it means bad, but maybe it just has a strong fragrance.

See clue 1 and then you were close with d) the garage fridge.  And you will have to open up something to find it.  And no it’s not in the trash cans.

I ventured back to the garage fridge and opened the butter box and found a bag of peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets with a $1.00 tag on them thinking, “He must have forgotten that he was going to do this riddle scavenger hut thing and ran into 7/11 on the way home…Or wants to get rid of me feeding me tainted peanut butter snack products.” Hell.  When it comes right down to it, peanut butter isn’t high on my list of special things unless it’s in the form of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup that’s been in the freezer for a while.

So I sent him this… Nuggies

And then he sent me this…

So hmmm, I said you were close but that is too close.

What used to have a TV in it, is now in the garage and has a cavernous opening that you can close that sits next to the trash cans.

It starts with an A and ends with an R

Poor things, sitting waiting for someone to find them.

: )

And so I venture back to the garage and open our old armoire to find these thinking that this is all so much fun.  Yes, the presents are nice, but I love this goofy, romantic man I’m married to who has taken the time to do all of this for me and in between meetings is keeping up with it all when I still haven’t decided whether I’ll change my clothes or not.  Or combed my hair.
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This morning, I hadn’t yet opened my email because I was focused on other things.  But no sooner had I opened my email and the MoH’s latest arrived…

Are you sitting at your computer waiting?

Sweets,

Have you already rifled thru the house wondering what treasure your sweet husband has left for you??

So here we go.

On the third day of Valentines your true love gave to yooooouuuuu.

A piece of plastic and a folded piece of paper.

But before I tell you where it is, it looks like you have a headache and need an aspirin.

Now I had already emailed him about what I was preoccupied with — our son, the RTR, who is somewhat absent-minded on most days.  The night before, he’d been talking about spending the weekend with his cousin, and we have a routine where my sister-in-law and I meet half way to their house and drop off whichever boy is doing the visiting.  I was worried that the plans weren’t in stone and that he needed to talk to the carpool driver about not picking him up after school today, or whether he’d packed a bag for the weekend.  I  needed to figure out Plan B and realized that the MoH and I could go out tonight and maybe see a movie or something.

With a barely recognizable rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas oddly coming from my pursed lips, I opened the MoH’s most recent email …

There’s no need to fear — Underdad is here.

I reminded him to tell M that he wouldn’t need a ride
I asked him about the bag and he said there would be time to come home
and pack it after school (then why do you need to cancel the ride?)
3pm at the halfway point is correct
See my last e-mail regarding your last question.

This makes me smile since my fat butt was still in bed sleeping this morning when all of this was going on.  The MoH was the Mom of this family for many years while I was working, so he’s good at organizing details about who should be where and when.

Today’s riddle was very easy since I knew where the aspirin was even though I rarely have headaches.  This is what I found… More Presents A gift certificate to shop in a favorite store and dinner at my favorite Greek restaurant.  Guess I’ll have no excuse to wear sweats.

With Valentine’s Day still not quite here, I’ve collected quite a few Valentines from my Valentine.

And because I’m a sap, the best part has been all the fun.

He makes my heart go flippety-flop.

The Things We Keep

Yesterday I tackled the garage, and although I’m far from being done, I’m satisfied with the progress I’ve made.  It’s  a jumble of items you’d expect to find in a garage: a fairly recent deposit of my kitchen overflow;  remnants of our recent construction;  boxes expelled of Christmas decorations waiting for their return;  and my son’s truly unbelievable collection of crap.

Son's Crap

Not exactly a glamorous way to spend the first day after the holidays home alone, but pleasant.  I popped the garage door open to let in the light and brisk air realizing that if I had an attic or basement, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy either of those or my less than friendly neighbors as they passed by on their morning walk, furtively avoiding my gaze and the greeting perched on my tongue, just waiting for an opportunity to be human.   Ever the optimist am I.

I think the reason I avoid organizing our garage or anything else in my house that collects pieces of our lives over time, is that I’m forced to think about the memories attached to every item I handle.  It isn’t that I regret those memories — it’s more about having to accept the time it adds to the task, and the mood I’ll need to wallow in when I’m finished.

My thoughts wandered from annoyance with my son for keeping what resembles a rat’s nest wherever he goes, to flippant defiance:  What if I printed our address in craigslist in the “free” section and just left the garage door open to  the inevitable riot?  Instead, what I’m left with this morning are what lies between, like thoughts about boys growing up who were never interested in playing sports, but did to indulge us.

Old Trophies

 

 

Old Toys

Thoughts about school and career, and where all that knowledge and understanding goes when one is done with it.  Of an old house and all its poignant memories.   Of grandmothers and Martha, old friends I should call or write, and school kids I will never, ever forget.

Beauty lost to function and sentimentality to practicality on many counts during my purge. Copper pieces that have gleamed in the morning sun and cast sparks of light on my dining room wall for years are in the discard pile.  Decorations for Valentines Day and Easter that used to liven up the house when the boys were little also ended up in the pile along with a huge bag of stuffed animals I haven’t opened in years.  If I see them, I’ll have to think about who owned which and at what point in life.  It’s sort of leaning against the discard pile, not quite a part of it, and not quite separate.  Is there a child’s stuffed animal heaven somewhere I haven’t heard of?

Old Bunny

But there are things I’ve not quite decided to let go of, and If they’re any indication of who I am or what I’ve been, then I’m as odd as I’ve always thought I’ve been.  As odd as the stack of Martha Stewart Living magazines that seem to be about much more than the paper they’re printed on.  What does one do with that many magazines sitting, collecting spiders and bugs with too many legs to count?  Do I get one out each week, leaf through it, cut out what strikes my fancy and toss it to get on with the next?  There’s something about a sharp pair of scissors cutting along a perfectly straight line and thinking through one’s life.

Ferd, a giant bunny, sits in a corner on a stack of coolers.  It’s not a very dignified place for something that reminds me of how simple love can be if we allow it, and how easily life can be taken for granted, or lost if we’re not careful.

And these bottles?  I dug them up in the washed out area of an old dump near one of the last places my grandmother lived.  It was in the middle of nowhere — one of those places people used to go and then forgot about after the freeway was built.  The bottles aren’t valuable, but I like their varying shapes and embossed surfaces, each a slightly different tint than the next.  She was like that.

Junk Yard Bottles

Or a bag I packed the day I left my job, nearly two years ago.  It’s moved from one side of the garage to the other, but I haven’t unpacked it yet.  But I might blow the dust off the silver bar that used to sit on my desk to remind me that others see us quite differently than we see ourselves.

Career in a Bag

I’ve done quite a bit of thinking since finishing my work yesterday, and realize that as much as I got some exercise and fresh air, I’ve only moved everything from one side of the garage to the other.  It’s more organized than it was, but it’s all still sitting there.

It’s only been sifted.

Friday in my world.

Welcome to my Friday Follies. I figured it was a great way to cover what competes for attention in my brain. You know. In case anyone is actually interested. And since Friday is only so long, I can’t exactly include my entire list.

Question of the Day/Week/Month/Lifetime: Would any of the unthinkably serious crap that is taking place in the world right now be happening if women ruled? Seriously. Clearly, I’m not opposed to men in general. I’m quite fond of four of my own, all of whom are quite pleasant humans. But I will never, ever understand what possesses some to be so consumed with a desire for power, that they destroy what and whomever lies in their path. It makes absolutely no sense.  I would say, “Nuke ’em ’till they glow,” but Greenpeace would revoke my membership and I’d have to take my sticker off my Mac.

Now I’ve heard everything: BBC News is reporting today that we can now blame the obese for the planet’s energy woes. I can officially expect the BBC to pick up some of the crap I write since they have decided to bring attention to this illustrious study and call it news.

For the shopper who has everything and can’t resist yet another… um…thing: The ultimate cake server. My VBF handed it to me unopened the other day on our morning walk saying she didn’t want it. I think it was something she received at a dinner party? Lo and behold, a wonder of design revealed itself after I was done fighting with the packaging. Just chuck the magnetized heel, and you’ve got a swanky brushed stainless cake server that may or may not fit in your utensil drawer. My VBF is sooooo getting this back.

For summer travel plans: Consider Paradise your destination. Palm trees, fish tacos, an excellent ball park with a less than stellar ball team, and no more spine-wrenching plunges into bathtub-sized potholes! An end to days of signs warning of sewage spills at the bay? Standard & Poor has finally given our fair city an acceptable bond rating again. We will now get to use plastic to pay for street repairs, faulty sewer lines and broken water mains. Party on! Maybe they can also do something about our pump prices?

My gentle menfolk: I am willing to act like I’m somewhat interested in anyone who can convince me that a person interested in the arts needs to take advanced mathematics. But I think I’ve heard it all before. The RTR will be bypassing pre-calculus for statistics as a junior next year since it’s the lesser of two evils and he has to take a third year of math. The MoH has concocted a bribe — monetary — if the RTR can squeak by with a “C” in Algebra II and Spanish. He does have an “A” in PE, however, which is huge when one considers that actually moving his now more than 6′-tall lankiness is not something he enjoys. And that he has a swim coach who makes the entire class do 45 laps — yes, that would be 45 — to compensate for kids caught sneaking into the locker room early. Maybe the RTR needs to swim with me this summer. And pigs will fly.

My Tiny Paradise:

I saw this guy early this morning when I should have been sleeping in. My VBF had an early appointment so I didn’t have to stumble out of bed at dawn’s crack to walk. Do you think I could actually sleep? Um. No. So of course I got up and thought…Hell. I can take macro snail shots while enjoying my coffee! He looked so cute, I couldn’t bring myself to chuck him over the wall into the early morning traffic. Which probably saved me a law suit now that I think of it. Gawd forbid that I hit someone’s Maserati with snail guts.

On the menu? Feh. I never have a menu. But my friend Gina always does. *sigh* In my next life, I’ll be as organized. Our meals are all mushed around in my head with all this other crap I think about. But I have finally edited the photos from our latest dinner party featuring Rick Bayless’s Mexican cuisine and will be getting around to doing that mammoth post today. And I’m thinking next week is going to be Indian…Tiki Masala, anyone?

Me & my mom: Things are great! We’ve only had 3 arguments, 5 disagreements, uttered 49 sighs of exasperation, clucked our tongues 89 times, and been disgusted with one another once or twice. Don’t get me wrong — that’s all normal — at least it has been since I was In High School. We have our laughs and snorts, too. We’ve been on a few field trips, (Wally World, Target…) have drunk umpteen gazillion pots of coffee, analyzed the state of the human condition at least 14 times, moved my bedroom around, and jeered each other’s candidates with gusto. Her cat finally ventured down the stairs by herself today to be greeted by my hissing pretentious attack cat, and the doggo has stopped following my mom up and down the stairs, realizing her favorite person isn’t going anywhere. Her hips thank her. The dog’s. Not my mom’s.

I’d say that’s enough folly for a Friday.

Don’t you?

I feel so much better now.

San Diego Chargers WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Legal Celebration of Game!

In spite of completely ROTTEN refs and Peyton Commercial King Manning, the Sunshine Boys have won. Without L.T. and without their first string quarterback.

Clearly, the MoH and the RTR are not very happy…Bwahahahahahaha!

Of course the carnage on the field is allowing the New Cheating England Patriots some glee in anticipation of their supposed perfect season and Super Bowl win.

But.

The fat lady has not yet begun to sing.

Just wait.

Cheaters never win, Bill.

Smile.

The head has cleared, my throat no longer feels like the tunnel of death, and I can sort of tell that there are things on Earth that don’t smell like s*ot.  Sorry.  I just can’t spell it.  It’s disgusting.

But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say Happy New Year to you all.  I tried to make it around to your blogs and hope I didn’t forget anyone.  Well, it’s not exactly like Santa trying to get around to all the giftees in the world, you know.  But still.

It was nice “seeing” you again and reading about what you’ve been up to even if the MoH is now in bed, I’m up alone, the T.V. that Best Buy has still not delivered parts on is blaring, the RT is snuggled in his bottom bunk unfortunately not as much on the mend as I, and well…

…I’m not sleepy.

Must have been all that decadent lounging on the sofa and in bed for two days with Kleenex sticking out of my nose.

Hopefully you’re smiling.  And if I can wish anything for you, it’s that.  That you’ll smile as you head into 2008, believing that good will happen when you least expect it.

Imagine what could happen if you did expect it.

See you soon.

Cheers to You, Family, and new Gaming PCs.

So we made it to Virginia and after a few days of very grey skies and a refreshing chill in the air, it totally warmed up to near 60 degrees and then rained. Sheesh. And today?

The freaking sun is out. What’s up with that? You would think that when you fly across the damn country for the holidays at least it could pretend like it was going to snow. Feh.

That list I made before I left had to get done or we wouldn’t have been able to get on the plane. So no problem there. When the shuttle driver arrived at the front door to collect us, the house was decent, the presents for the older boys were snuggled under the tree and as an added bribe to them to take care of the house while we were gone, we had the RT open one of his presents we couldn’t take…a gamer’s computer (HP Pavilion Elite) with a 22″ flat panel monitor and a humongous graphics card (XFX GeForce 8800 GT XXX) and I have to swagger around a bit when I say that even though I have absolutely NO idea what I’m talking about) that had to have its own power source (or some kind of a fan thingy installed). We had it installed before we left the store (Fry’s Electronics, thank you very much and NOT BEST BUY Bwhahahahahahaha Losers…) by a sales/tech guy who was completely cool, talked the entire time he was putting it in and answered everyone else’s questions at the same time — including “The Wife” on his cell a couple of times regarding being home on time for a change. The guy works 16 hour days. Amazing. We came home with a fist full of rebates I now have to complete so we can actually have a few checks in the mail at some point in the next century. I’ve done them before and I swear we never get anything out of them — most likely because I forgot to cross a “t” or dot an “i.”

Now the cool thing about this computer is that it also functions as a TV, so that helps us out a bit in the area of ensuring that we can all be in separate rooms watching different programs and never see each other ever again. Trick. AND (drum roll…) now neither the MoH or the RT has to use my Mac. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT.

Seriously. It’s mine, mine, mine. ALLLLLLLLLLL mine and they don’t get to TOUCH it.

EVER. So I’m sure the two older boys (okay, so they’re men, but you know how that goes when you’re the mom, right?) are enjoying it while the RT is away. And you can imagine the RT is sweating a bit because he had to leave it at home and is now stuck in this female infested house for the holidays. My sister does have a Wii, though, so people have been having a blast with that. I haven’t succumbed, but most likely will tonight after a couple glasses of wineski.

Enough of that nonsense.

So I just wanted to let you know we were all alive and well, have celebrated my mom’s 70th birthday in true style (there wasn’t a fancy dress in the house…) and took some photos I’ll have to try and share later. Totally hilarious. Oh, and “we” constitutes my sister’s family (husband and two younger daughters) her oldest daughter and her boyfriend (who left Monterey, CA to live here instead and are holed in upstairs indefinitely..) my mother (who’s living in the basement sort of indefinitely, but actually more like temporarily…) a dog, and three cats who all have to be kept away from one another. Oh. And us. Quite the household.

Today, more lists are in order — but they’re the lists I’m good at that include miles of ingredients and a sequence of what to prepare in which order. With one last trip to the grocery store (there have already been two…) we’ll be ready to hunker down for a fun night of dessert making, toasting (instead of the roasting we did to my mom last night), and preparing for our holiday breakfast and then dinner later.

The MoH and RT are out today with my seester doing the turismo thang in D.C. I’ll venture out on Wednesday (which is our wedding anniversary) and make like a tourist myself. Maybe I’ll even twist the MoH’s arm a bit for a swanky dinner or something.

In the meantime, I sincerely hope you are warm, doing what fills your heart — regardless of what it is — and that you are healthy.

Thanks for visiting my little space in the Bloggosphere so often this past year. You have helped to take me from the exhausted, burnt out, frazzled, and completely flattened person that I was, to a person who laughs much more than she used to, and who has also recovered something she thought she’d lost for good — writing.

YOU ROCK!

Brain Malarkey Cooked for Us

Screw the memes I have to do. (I really WILL do them. I promise. And my fingers are NOT crossed behind my back.)

But the MoH and I had the perfect recipe for a Monday. We went to our local cook’s haven, Great News in Pacific Beach and spent the evening with Brian Malarkey.

What?

You don’t know who Brian Malarkey is? Feh. Where have you been? He was one of the finalists on Top Chef this year, and the recipient of Chef of the Year from the San Diego Restaurant Association. Of course he should have won Top Chef, but that’s beside the point. WE got to enjoy his magnetic personality, sense of humor, and great cuisine tonight. Here. In Paradise. It was so worth it. IMG_5180.JPG

The sky was clear, the air clean, and the Pacific stretched as far as the eye could see. That orange glow was shimmering just above the deep blue horizon. Gorgeous. But a tad cool. Okay, so about 50 degrees F.

But I forgot my camera. So how convenient that we were an HOUR early and I could whiz home to get it and then slide into my seat and look forward to a couple of glasses (well…three if you count the one the MoH didn’t quite finish) of Two Buck Chuck. And the MoH says after the class, “That was pretty good…what was it?” “Koolaide,” I replied, “and you’ll be sorry in the morning.”  The MoH does not imbibe.

IMG_5172.JPG The menu for this cooking class was “Asian Inspired Malarkey.” Brian is the executive chef at The Oceanaire here in San Diego. Of course, we seemed to be the only people in the audience who hadn’t eaten there, but that’s because we’re busy paying taxes. We love to eat out, but only do so on special occasions during the year. Actually, we thought we’d enjoy The Oceanaire before this Monday’s class, but time has gotten away from us lately. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to improve our record in that department, getting out to try local food more than we do. I know. Quite the novel concept. Where would San Francisco be without all those Food Bloggers sampling local faire? S.O.L.

Ahem.

The menu Brian and his right hand man prepared for the 50+ group this evening was lovely:

Kumamoto Oysters on the Half Shell with an Asian Inspired Mignonette Kumamoto Oysters on the Half Shell with an Asian Inspired Mignonette

Sesame Crusted Big Eye Tuna with Ocean Salad and Micro Wasabi Sesame Crusted Big Eye Tuna with Ocean Salad and Micro Wasabi

Shiitake Mushroom and Ginger Soup with Bean Sprouts and Cilantro Shiitake Mushroom and Ginger Soup with Bean Sprouts and Cilantro

Japanese 7 Spice Petite Filet Mignon with Ginger Butter Japanese 7 Spice Petite Filet Mignon with Ginger Butter

Green Tea Ice Cream (from a local vendor whose name I regrettably did not get)

Y.U.M. Truly. We’d never had oysters before. Clams, yes. Mussels, yes. But oysters? Um. Nope. So this was big. And I appreciated what Brian had to say about them because the information helps when you slurp something live into your mouth and do notice the slightly briny “Mermaid’s Kiss” with a hint of cilantro as you swallow the creature and smile.

I did not get a stripe on my arm for this accomplishment, but I FEEL good. DAH-duh-DAH-duh-DAH-duh-DAH.

The Ahi Tuna? Oh. My. Sesame seeds all ’round and seared and then sliced and served with a compound butter. Goodness. I love Ahi this way. But what really made it was the “ocean” salad we waited for while Brain took questions (mostly from the MoH) about his Top Chef experience. The seaweed, thinly sliced and plated under the ahi was perfect. Fresh . Crunchy. Amazing. Totally. I have seared ahi with sesame seeds, but would never have thought to have the seaweed. Who knew? Delicious. It has to be THE reason why I’m a morsel and not a lithe waif. *Make a note to strike the Barefoot Contessa like I didn’t already know this.* Just kidding, Ina. Could you send me a pound of buttah, please?

IMG_5174.JPG And Brian’s Top Chef experience details were interesting, too: He didn’t get to speak to his wife for FIVE weeks. They take away your wallet, your keys, your cell — everything. And then, if I’m getting this correctly, they send frequent letters reminding you of your obligation to remain silent on the outcome of the show. With respect to the filming, each day, there’s either a quick challenge, or a main preparation. In Brian’s opinion, the only quick challenge that mattered was the one that took place at the French Culinary Academy (I’m sure I’ve gotten this incorrect). And speaking of culinary academies in general, in his opinion, those interested in his line of work would be better served volunteering for a few hard days with a chef, then signing on to work in that kitchen (if you passed the chef’s scrutiny) and learning from the ground up. You’d earn money as you were learning, as opposed to paying nearly 50K going to an academy. Sounds good to me. Maybe in my next life since I’ve essentially learned by trial and error, reading, by example, and anything else that counts for the last 40 years or so.

Other points of interest in the evening: Brian recommended many local places to find great ingredients, and fresh food. I did know of a few, but a couple I can’t wait to schlep to are San Diego Coffee, Tea, and Spice which concocts the spice mixtures Brian used, and Specialty Produce which is where the chefs in San Diego get their goods. Now how could I have NOT known about this? Unbelievable. I’m there this coming Saturday.

News at Eleven.

Anyway…it was a lovely evening. The worst part about it was the ending, and finding out that it was still Monday, instead of Friday, which would have been perfect.

An early birthday present for the MoH with more to come later in the week.

What’s up with these December babies, anyway?

Gluttons.
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