Family Traditions: The 10-Year-Old Trip

So Superman and I started a tradition years ago that he would take the kids on a “10-year-old” trip when each of them turned that glorious age.

It started with Ricky, of course. It was originally meant to be to give dad and son time for serious talks — about growing up, important things, time to connect. Chris thought a road trip was perfect. So he asked Ricky where he’d like to go, and Ricky said Oregon! (?) … Okay. … We weren’t sure where that came from, but it was a nice long drive, and would be perfect for a road trip. Ricky was a big sports fan, even back then, and decided he’d love to so see the Oregon Ducks play, so that was the plan — a weekend road trip to see the Ducks. They had a great time and were gone for two days. But Chris admitted that Ricky seemed to get a little “homesick” for the rest of us by the end of the second day.

When Rene came into that exciting new decade, Chris asked where she’d like to go. Less a time for “serious talks” now, the 10-year-old trip started to become simply be a rite of passage, and some fun time to bond with dad. Rene chose … Carmel! Excellent choice. Beautiful place. We had recently gone there on a family trip, and Rene fell in love with the little seaside town. She had been especially smitten by the fact that dogs are allowed all over in Carmel — in restaurants, in stores. So that’s what Chris and Rene did. They even tucked in a trip to the Monterey Aquarium. But he said that Rene, too, seemed to get a tad homesick by the end of the second day.

So this year is Nate’s big year! We wondered where he would want to go. To Oregon like Ricky? to Carmel like Rene? Maybe to another seaside place he loved? He contemplated Arizona — he loves sports like his brother and thought about maybe going to see a football or baseball game there. He thought about some beach towns. Thought about some national parks. But then — in a decidedly typical Nathan move — he surprised us all. Nate wanted to go here: Continue reading

Surfer Dudes, Resolutions, Camellias and Chicken Paillard …

Sometimes wisdom comes in the form of a 6-foot surfer dude in a Hawaiian shirt. …

Such was the case with me when I got the best advice about New Year’s resolutions I’ve ever received.

Come over to Health Bistro and read my post about who the surfer dude was, and how to make this New Year’s resolution be the one to truly come true

Also, don’t forget to check on the update in my Camellia Watch 2010: They’re blooming!

And don’t forget to stop by and say hi to Dave. If you ask him nicely, he might even post some of his cool recipes on my blog as a guest poster! I’ll photograph the steps and we can all learn along. … (Chicken paillard with basquaise sauce, here we come. …)

The Acardemy Awards 2009

Well, I have to admit, I didn’t think I was going to get many cards this year. Superman didn’t either. He thought we’d receive maybe 5 or 6 to barely cover our little card-holder wreath. We both assumed most of our friends would resort to Facebook greetings or e-cards or online photo scrapbooks. …

But we forgot about people like my mom, and Aunt Rita, and Shirley.

We forget about all our older relatives who barely use e-mail, let alone Facebook. We forgot about all our friends who take great pictures of their kids and/or vacation travels and truly know how to showcase them. And we forgot about my girlfriends and cousins who still love to make cards by hand (creative, all of you!). And I guess we just forgot that some people (we consider ourselves part of this group, despite our love for iPhones and netbooks) just like to run out to the mailbox, still in with that old-fashioned feeling of anticipation. . …

So, much to our delight, here’s how our card holder looked after all:


And here are the winners of the 2009 Acardemy Awards:

(The 2008 winners, including Bookclub Barbara, Aunt Betty, and Valencia Libby, are here.) Continue reading

Traditions: Saturday Salsa

DSC_0822It’s a bunch of tomato-y goodness: peppers, onions, tomatoes, tomatillos, serranos, cilantro. …

But it’s more than all that.

It’s tradition.

It’s fall, it’s football, it’s baseball, it’s beat-up-coffeetable, it’s watching TV from the floor, it’s Sunday brunches, it’s gold bowl, it’s Saturdays, it’s Sundays.

It’s Superman’s salsa.

He’s been making this concoction since we got married or so. He started putting it together himself, then kept adding and refining until he got it just right – just the right number of Serrano chilis, just the right amount of El Pato tomato sauce. And now it’s perfect.

He makes it every “big game day.” So he’s been making it a lot lately (as our Angels are in the playoffs, our UCLA is playing again, and pro football is back on every Sunday).

He gets up on Saturday mornings, throws on some shorts, runs across the street to the supermarket and gets a million of those little vegetable baggies and fills them up with all the secret ingredients. The supermarket checkout lady knows him, and knows he’s the guy who buys tomatillos, because no one else is sure what tomatillos are used for. Continue reading

Your Favorite Things About Fall …

004Fall is my favorite time of year.

I actually suggested to Superman that we get married in the fall, because it’s always been my favorite. (He agreed.)

I love the way the air feels at that time: The air goes crisp. The light gets thin. The sun casts everything in a deep orange right before sunset, and a smoky fireplace scent starts filling the air.

Of course, all this can change on a dime here, and we’re suddenly in 90-degree weather again. And sometimes those smoky scents are coming from our annual wildfires, not fireplaces, which is always a scary thing.

But, overall, fall in Southern California is glorious. Nothing beats a day when the air is cool but the sun is shining like crazy.

Here are my 10 favorite things about fall.

  1. Pumpkin-flavored anything
  2. Fall-scented candles (pumpkin, apple spice, banana bread, clove, maple, etc.)
  3. Leaf decor: on candles, on centerpieces, on candlestick holders, on wreaths — I just love leaves.
  4. Candy corn
  5. Al Michaels’ voice announcing football from the living room
  6. Halloween and all that goes with it (kids’ costumes, neighborhood parties, pumpkin-carving)
  7. Weekend day-tripping to somewhere we can pick apples or pumpkins
  8. Thanksgiving and the relaxed feel that holiday has retained
  9. The fact that it’s always our anniversary around Thanksgiving, and going somewhere that always feels holiday-festive
  10. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade — I totally look forward to this every year, and the whole household knows that I finally get control of the television for these few hours per year.

Man, I could go on all day with this. … I think I could easily do 50, but I don’t want to bore everyone. And I’d love to hear yours — tap in below and tell me your favorite things about fall. Is it anyone else’s favorite season?

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