Sunday, February 22

Lazy Sunday

We like doing nothing on Sundays. More to the point, we like not having to do anything if we don’t want to. It makes Sunday seem special.

This is what morning looks like around here. JJ loves to do the Sudoko puzzle. He’s laser-focused on this activity. 1-IMG_1595

I, on the other hand, have given up my 40-year relationship with the Times Sunday Crossword because when Merle Reagle took over they became impossible. Who needs impossible. Not me. I cook breakfast. This is what we’re having for breakfast today—California omelet with bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, and avocado. You people who prefer whole grain cereal with nonfat milk and dry toast for breakfast might want to look away. This is a seriously Paleo breakfast. But this will keep us going until dinner, and eating like this is how we lost weight and feel great. Obviously we don’t eat like this every day…but close, we do eat eggs every morning. Have you heard the news? Eggs (and cholesterol) have been exonerated! I’ve been saying this for years: Eating cholesterol has no effect on your cholesterol levels. It’s the grains and refined sugar that cause problems. 1-IMG_1596

Last night we had the “girls” over for bridge. We play bridge with these two every Monday afternoon, but we decided a night game was in order. We all had a good time and will do this again. Ulla, on the left, is playing the hand. Her partner, me, is “dummy”—my cards are on the table—so I can get up and snap this photo while she plays out the hand. Jim and Jeanne are defending the hand. Bridge is an infinitely interesting game and keeps your mind sharp. Well, that’s what they say, anyway.
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I have been playing golf every week on Wednesdays, sometimes more often, with a group from our community. This has reawakened my passion for the game and I am getting some of my strength and stamina back and hitting it like I used to. There is nothing more satisfying than nailing the sweet spot and seeing that ball head for the sky. I love it!

Here are Linda and CB (in red). The three of us all hit our tee shots here. Linda is especially pleased with herself because she out-drove us (hers is the yellow ball). It merited a photo. The guy driving the cart was not having a good day and spent most of the time looking for his ball in the brush. 1-DSCF1401

It has been pretty hazy lately, as you can see. I love this hole—it’s mostly downhill and the ball rolls a long distance.  You don’t want to hit this ball long…it will go off the back and be lost in the canyon. That structure on the right is the Saddleback College golf practice place. I took golf lessons there, way back when. 1-DSCF1402-001

I like this hole, too. It’s a 125 yard par 3. I can usually land the green with a 5-iron if I don’t pull it (left), which happens too often, despite me saying to myself, “don’t pull it.” Left is better than right, obviously.
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Finally, because I had the camera out, this guy stopped by. Roadrunners are common in the desert but you don’t see many of them in these parts.1-1-DSCF1399

That’s all the news for the week!

Saturday, February 14

A Valentine’s Day Love Story

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A few weeks ago I mentioned in a post that my sweetheart and I met under untypical circumstances, and I have been asked to tell the story. Well, today is the day since it is Valentine’s Day and JJ proposed to me on this day. So many things transpired to bring us together and if one thing didn’t happen, we would never have met. The story tells much better than it reads so I’ll make it short.

My mom had recently passed away and I went back to Ohio to spend Christmas with my sisters and sort through our mother’s belongings.

Ohio is where I grew up, so I had many close friends in the area and I had caught the eye of a very eligible bachelor, all of whom encouraged me to move back. Especially my oldest sister, who begged me to “come home.” I wasn’t interested. Ohio winters? Um, no.

I planned to return to California on Valentine’s Day. I had my ticket. My sister’s best friend Donna came by and asked me pretty please if I would go two weeks later because she was going to a conference in San Diego and we could go together and have some fun. Why not. I changed my ticket and went with her.

I went to visit my former roommate in San Clemente, and I asked her if she needed a roommate. She said if she’d only known I was coming back—she had rented out my room two weeks ago.

I knew I shouldn’t have postponed my trip!

So I looked in the Pennysaver, a neighborhood want-ad paper, for rooms for rent. I got a callback from one guy and made an appointment to go see his house that night. I rang the bell but nobody answered. I must have the wrong house, but I had left the paper with his address and phone number back on the dresser. I drove to a pay phone and tried to remember the number. Now, if you know me, you know I am hopeless with numbers, but I remembered this one. Same guy answered, I had the right house, he just didn’t hear the bell. I went back. We talked for a while and he showed me around the house. He was a very nice guy, and he wasn’t my type (or I would’ve run like hell). I said I needed to think about it. He said he’d hold it for me until tomorrow.

I drove home, conflicted about this move. It was a very nice house, but it was in the burbs and far from the beach…not what I was looking for. On the other hand, it could be good a good thing for me to get away from the beach and the beach people. Something told me to go back. I pulled into a liquor store and bought a bottle of sparkling wine, and went back. I knocked on the door, held out the champagne and said, “Congratulations, I’m your new roommate.”

I moved in and my new roommate and I got to know each other. We both had been divorced twice, for about six years, and we liked being single. Neither of us wanted to be in a romantic relationship. Ever. Period. We became great friends—we just clicked—and it wasn’t long before we both felt like we were being hit by lightning, despite our best efforts to fight it.

The story goes on with some funny anecdotes along the way, but that’s how we met. 32 years ago. It’s still fun.

Sunday, February 8

NNTR

Nothing New To Report. A week flew by. I played golf twice. I colored my hair. I cooked seven breakfasts and seven dinners. I decided the best way to cook salmon is to bake it at around 400. I discovered if your Hollandaise breaks you can add a little cream to it and it will come together beautifully. I am still learning things!

I ate potatoes twice. Potatoes are definitely not on my diet. I got away with it, but the party is over—no more potatoes for a while. We continue to eat low-carb and the scale continues to refuse to budge…for both of us.

Asparagus and artichokes are finally in season! Now THAT’s news!

Weather continues to be incredible. But we need rain desperately.

I did not go into the studio once. My creativity went poof. (It comes back.)

I read my book, No Ordinary Time, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It’s very good, it won the Pulitzer prize, but it’s a huge tome at 759 pages. I won’t finish it by book club Tuesday. Not even close. I’m such a slacker.

We had friends Tom and Deborah for dinner last night and discussed what excursions we want to take when we go to the Med in the fall. Jim cooked the best steaks. I marinated them in my F/F* Marinade:

1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup soy sauce (we use tamari because soy sauce has wheat in it)
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, smashed or chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
black pepper
red pepper flakes

I seal the steaks and marinade in a zip bag in the morning. 6-8 hours is about right.

I made my F/F* Salad Dressing:

1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp maple syrup or honey (I don’t really measure this stuff)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

You can change up this basic dressing by adding various herbs to it. Add oregano for a Greek twist, or tarragon for French…you get the idea. It’s pretty good for marinating chicken breasts, too.

Have a great week! It looks like next week will shape up to be just like this one. And that’s just real fine.

*Fabulous/Famous. Of course.

Sunday, February 1

Hello February!

Fun continues. We are delighted with our new digs and our new friends. There is so much going on!

I didn’t accomplish much in the studio except make a mess—fabric is everywhere. I am nothing if not exuberant.

We had a couple dinner parties. Here’s a photo from last night’s fete:
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These are some of Jim’s high school classmates. The two women, Susan and Joan, we travel with. Joan is getting up because she wants to get a picture with me in it.1-IMG_1584
Susan was homecoming queen and Steve (right), was class president. Hey--we hang with the best of ‘em.

Naturally I didn’t take a photo of the food—there’s always too much commotion at serving time. We had rumaki and spicy grilled shrimp for appetizers, and for dinner we had Korean BBQ steaks, coconut rice, and baby bok choy salad with peanut dressing. Joan brought gluten-free chocolate pie for dessert.

Here’s a bummer:1-IMG_1579

The hot tub sprung a leak. Jason is digging out the insulating foam to locate the source of the leak. He found it. Evidently one of the hoses was punctured when the spa was built and has been leaking from day one. He’ll be back to repair the hose and re-spray the insulation. He said he’d make it good as new. It’s always something.

Today we’ll go to the kids’ house for Super Bowl. Tomorrow I play golf at San Clemente (a really tough course), Tuesday we play bridge both morning and afternoon, Wednesday is golf at Arroyo Trabuco, Thursday I rest, Friday we’ll be prepping for another dinner party on Saturday…you can see why I don’t get a lot of quilting done.

That’s all the news. I just might be a little brain-dead this morning.