Otay Farms Market

I’ve wondered what would bring me back to my blog.  I should have known it would be a good food experience.

I went to Otay Farms Market today.  I’ve driven past it a few times a month since I was a little girl, perusing the thrift stores with my dad, but I’ve never gone in.

I’m not even sure why.  I knew the minute I walked through the door, that it was the kind of place my dad would have loved.

The fruit and veggies are plentiful and well priced and there’s an intoxicating aroma of fresh baked goods coming from the back.

Along the way to the bakery shelves, there is a Mexican style deli complete with fresh guacamole, a variety of salsas, spicy jalapeno carrots, and a selection of other interesting lunch fixings.

I will definitely go back for a meal from there one day soon.

Today however, I only grabbed some pears, a bag of plums and a tall, sticky-looking coconut macaroon.

And tortillas.

Fresh, piping-hot-off-the-stone tortillas.  (Insert glee over upcoming food deliciousness here.)

The bag of them was so hot in fact, that I couldn’t hold it in the palm of my hand.  Instead, I had to dangle it from my fingers by the teeny bit of plastic above the twist tie.

After a quick glance at the rest of the store, I paid and left.  I tossed the tortilla bag on the seat next to me and was all set to drive away, but those tortillas had already filled the van with an amazing aroma.  I had to eat one right then, in the parking lot.  Isn’t that the rule with fresh food?  Eat it on the spot?

I ripped open the bag, rolled one quickly to avoid burning my fingers, and then took a bite.  It was really good.  So good.   So fresh.

I started my car, left the lot and headed home.  But that aroma was still there.

I grabbed another tortilla from the bag.

I was about to take a bite when I remembered the See’s Candies Dark Chocolate Almond bar in my purse.  I ripped open one end, broke off a square and tossed it inside my rolled up tortilla.

The chocolate started to melt on contact – just enough to easily eat, but not enough to make a mess.

I took a bite and immediately felt happy.  And then quickly sad, because no one was there to share that amazing moment.

Fresh, hot tortilla with See’s Chocolate?  If I go to Heaven one day, that’s what I will eat there.

Absolutely.

And I probably won’t ever buy tortillas at the supermarket again.

I am changed.

♥♥

Flowers and Jars and Other Good Things

Just some little things today…

Flowers and Jelly Jars

We go through a lot of strawberry jelly in our house.  The jars make the sweetest give-away vases for flowers from our yard.  This little bunch went to the teacher at open house last night.  The chocolate mint tucked between the roses is the happiest “mistake” in our yard.  It smells soooo good.

Bamboo

On Saturday, I went to Ranch 99 to get a new sun hat for our beach day with the boy.  I had no cash in my wallet and the hat didn’t cost enough to meet the minimum charge amount, so I came home with three stalks of bamboo too.

The bamboo focused my Monday thrift store visits to a search for the perfect jar.  This is the one I chose.  It’s huge.  HUGE.

Batik Stamp Bonanza

A few years ago, I discovered this beautiful batik stamp in a box of my husband’s collectibles.  At the time, I had no idea what it was.  I only knew that I loved it.

Husband isn’t completely sure just where it came from – maybe something from his departed grandmother – but it started an obsession for me.

I look for reasonably priced ($8 to $12) batik stamps wherever I go.  I’ve been lucky enough to find a couple at the Rose Bowl Flea Market and to receive a few others from a friend.  I also have two from Anthropologie.

There are plenty of very high-priced batik stamps in the world, but half the fun for me is stumbling onto a bargain.  Maybe that’s why it filled me with such joy to find an entire lot of them priced together in a clearance sale on etsy.  Woohoooooo!  Now I just have to figure out how best to display them.  For the moment, they occupy a big wooden bowl on my table.  I think my favorite is that curvy floral on the top right.

 

Ooo la la buttercream…

I am so excited by the arrival of my latest purchase from The Good Cook book club.  Meg Ray is my new hero.  Cake for breakfast – I love this woman!  Can’t wait to visit one of her shops in person someday.  I’m aiming for the Ferry Building location in San Francisco.  Wanna go with me?

Corner Cupcakes

Speaking of sweets…

I finally caught up with the Corner Cupcakes truck.  Yippee!

I ordered a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and another called a “full house,” which was the most divine combination of lemon cake, lemon curd, and lemon buttercream laced with toasted coconut.  There was coconut somewhere else in there too.  I’m sure of it!  Deeeeeelicious.  And kind of melty.  It was hot yesterday.

The chocolate cake was very good, but I am not a huge fan of the extra strong vanilla flavor in the buttercream I chose.  I prefer a mere hint of vanilla or none at all, so next time I will just order a different frosting!  There will be a next time because there is much taste bud joy in that truck.  I am excited to try other flavor combos.

All of this reminds me to ask if you are as happy-dancing-footed as I am over the pending arrival of Nothing Bundt Cakes in Mission Valley.  Yes?  Yes!  It will be nice to have one closer than Del Mar or Poway.  Maybe we can all go together on opening day.

What little things are cheering your life this week?

I hope you’re having a Happy Wednesday!

♥♥

Jonesin’ for the Jig

The little boy is enamored of arms.  For months now, he has been fascinated with freckles and veins and moles and anything that sets an arm apart from the one next to it.  He likes to study these things.

Mostly, it’s kind of charming.  He is gentle and sweet and genuinely interested in the differences between us and himself.

Sometimes though, it’s sort of annoying.  My arms are not my best feature, you know?  I don’t really want him to point them out in public, much less unexpectedly reach his hand up my sleeve and shake them.  😐

To combat this unwanted activity, I started pulling him close and threatening “if you jiggle me, then I tickle you!”  It stopped him about three times. 

Now he has, in fact, used the word “jiggle” to nickname my arm.  And his dad’s arm too. (Though dad’s doesn’t actually jiggle.)

Funny, right?

Um…well…no.  No.

Okay, it’s a little funny.

A few weeks ago he came up to me, his eyes full of love for my fleshy underarm, and he said “Thomas hug the jig?”

Seriously?  I don’t even get the rest of the word, now?

My husband and I both laughed, but I don’t know.  It just sounds wrong or something, doesn’t it?

Well, whatever, that’s what he says now.  My arm is “the jig.”  More specifically, the squishy, unfit, underside of my upper arm is called “the jig.”

Oh, and “tickle puff.”  Sometimes he just calls it “tickle puff.”

The thing is…

the boy has eyes for other arms too.

He just likes to hug people, you know?  He sees their bare skin and he smiles.  He is fascinated and wants to wrap himself around them and just hug.

Most of the teachers and aides who know him at school are fine with his latest obsession.  None of them seem to mind this extra attention from my smiling boy.

The other parents?  Well, I’m not so sure about them.  I don’t think any of them would be troubled by an accidental nudge from a stray kid, but fawning adoration of a specific body part?  I don’t think they would be too welcoming of that.  They don’t know him.  They don’t know that he’s harmless and sweet.

Every morning as we stand in the line for his classroom, my son eyeballs the arriving parents.

It’s hot in August and all those mamas have on tank tops and spaghetti straps and short sleeves.

My son is fascinated.  He smiles, he laughs, he looks, he really wants to hug.

Today, one of the moms I’ve never met (and whom I’m a little put off by, actually 😐 ) showed up in a strapless sundress.  Oy.  She sat at the picnic tables with the kids who were eating breakfast.

Nothing happened, but only because I never took my eyes off of my son.

He skipped up to the tables, deftly weaved between the other kids and was standing next to strapless mama in about two seconds flat.

Her back was to him, so she never knew that she almost got an arm squeeze.

I called him back before he did it and tried to explain that he couldn’t hug just any jiggling arm.

I don’t know if my words made sense to him or not.  I’m guessing not, since I’ve told him this same information every day for several weeks and nothing has changed.

We get to school, we stand in line, and the boy starts jonesin’ for some jig.

Watch this space…

Next month, he’ll have a new obsession.

Sweet potato.  🙂

As I typed this, he wouldn’t leave my arm alone.  Just now he asked me “Thomas hug the jiggy?”

Thank goodness!

I got some letters back.  😀

P.S.  Those pix above are from our weekly IHOP visit.

P. P.S. Husband is making little changes in the yard this week.  I’ll post a few pix in the next day or two.  For now, look what I brought in to put on the counter.  I love, love, love the bright orange.

Happy Tuesday!

♥♥

9th Birthday Pictures

The Doll

The boy was very excited about his new doll.  He held her sweetly and seemed proud to pose with her.

These two pix are my favorites:

It pretty much went downhill from there.

The Cake

The boy chose a Happy New Year theme.  He liked the clock and all the colors.

It has only taken me nine years to figure out exactly what kind of cake to order:

1/4 sheet of chocolate AND
a 1/4 sheet of white,
both with white buttercream filling,
frosted & decorated together as a single cake.

It’s not as pretty later in the day, but both halves taste really good.

The final improvement over last year’s version was the omission of the fruity filling.  The sliced strawberries do that sliced strawberry thing and look kinda scary the next morning.  Blech.  😕  They had to go this time.

This year, his name was even spelled correctly.  Thank you, Vons bakery manager lady!

There’s a ton of it left in the kitchen.  Wanna come by and have a slice?

The Helium Balloons

I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is to me that we didn’t get a single photo of the helium balloons.  😦  I thought they were magical.

Our front room has a 24-foot ceiling.  Sounds grand, but it’s really more problematic than anything else.

Every year, the balloons head up there and are impossible to get down when the kids want to play with them.  I’ve never really liked tying the balloons to chairs or anchoring them with toys or weights, so this year I paid extra to have twenty-foot ribbons.

The balloons floated skyward as usual, but the long ribbons (two dozen of them) dangled down and made a little rainbow ribbon forest that we could walk through.  It was very festive and I am determined to do it every year from now on.

The floral department was NOT pleased with my request.  Right from the start, I even offered to pay more and they still gave me crap.  Then they called me at home to give me more crap.  World ribbon shortage or something.  Annoying.  Small minded.  Not service oriented.  Whatever.

It’s funny to me that the skills I’ve built advocating for my kid spill over to stuff like this.  Heh heh.

The Other Balloons

The husband blew up a zillion extra balloons to leave outside the boy’s door the night before the party.  This is what he woke up to:

The front door was like a vacuum.  Every time we opened it for a new guest, the balloons were sucked out at lightening speed.   The scramble to retrieve them was funny, but rather unsuccessful.  Many met their ends on the porch or lawn.  It was kind of a nice icebreaker for our friends and family though!  😀

Miscellaneous Other Birthday Photos

Happy Birthday Party, Little Boy!!

P.S…

Dumbest thing I did at the party?

Putting the pizza boxes on top of the piano.

The “protective” towels made it worse.

Jenifer, don’t look.  😦

Anybody know a good piano restoration service?  😐

♥♥

Tiramisu, OCD, Pennies & Pasadena

Sweets for me and my sweets

There’s tiramisu in the fridge again.  (Insert contented happy dance here.)

It’s such a mess to make, but so worth the effort and the cocoa dusted counter tops.

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate grout?

It’s everywhere in my home and nowhere in my dreams.

And this evening, my grout is cocoa powder brown.  😐

But like I said, there’s tiramisu in the fridge again.

And it’s the good kind.

The almond kind.  

It’s not the rum kind.

It’s this kind.  🙂

OCD and then some

The little boy is going through an increased phase of obsessive compulsive behaviors again.

He has some of these behaviors all the time, but every month or so they intensify for a while.

It makes us tired.  And frustrated.  And teary.  And sometimes really, really mad.

He will insist we do things for him that we haven’t done since he was a baby, or ever.

Tonight, for instance, he called me to come into the bathroom as he was finishing his shower.

“Mama, pull the plug?”

I’ve really never pulled the plug for him after his bath time, but suddenly, he is desperate for me to do it.

When I refuse and explain that it’s his responsibility to pull the plug, he starts a tantrum.

I leave the room.  😐

He has also started asking us to push him or carry him everywhere again.

THAT makes me lose my mind.

I sit at the dining table with my cereal and he wants me up so that I can carry him three feet, from the kitchen to the couch.

I ask if his legs are broken.

Sometimes, he gets the point.

Sometimes, not so much.

And just now, he was standing in the kitchen with me.

He was waving a cloth napkin in his hand.

“Mama put the napkin down?”

He wanted me to take it from him so that I could put it on the counter.

Um…

no.

You get the picture.

Exhausting.  Exhausted.

Penny for your thoughts.  And your patience, please.

Before we weened ourselves away from the little boy’s private psychologist, we got one last piece of great advice.

She suggested we offer him a penny every time he waits patiently at a red light.

Until we started doing that, he would absolutely freak out in the car.

He doesn’t like to wait.

He doesn’t like things he can’t control.

Traffic + his being in the backseat with a limited view = intersection of all anxiety, mine and his.

I’ve written before about being pelted in the head with McDonald’s toys, having my seat kicked, having my ear drums pained by sudden blood-curdling screams, and having papers and magazines torn to pieces.

All because of red lights.  Or pedestrians.  Or bicycles.  Or buses.

Being in the car pretty much sends my kid into the deepest recesses of his autism.

Or at least it did, until we started the pennies.

Now, things are usually okay.

And this week we took the pennies to Vons and threw them into a CoinMaster machine.

$16.00.

Unreal.

He bought another nightlight.  😀

Pasadena Partners

In the wake of some marital strife – no, you don’t get details – I have concluded that the husband needs a fabulous weekend like I had in Pasadena.

I suggested it today and though we do have a lot on the calendar in the next several weeks, I think it will work with some creative planning.

So, husband, start thinking about all the guy stuff you wanna do.

I will help with reservations.  🙂

And that’s all she wrote.

Happy Thursday.

♥♥

Rose Bowl Flea Market Purchases

I buy ribbon and rickrack everywhere I go.  This pile of generous bundles cost only $10 total.  I love the blue with the red and white.  They’re kind of fitting for the season, don’t you think?  😀

I also buy Little Golden Books.  I got these three and the colorful little book below for a total of $3.00.

The Little Small Red Hen book was wrapped in a plastic bag when I saw it, so I knew it was probably badly damaged inside.  I was right.  There are pages missing and others torn, but I love the colorful cover and there are a few additional color plates inside that charm me anyway.  And really, the title is so sweet.

I’m not sure I know what to say about these next items.  I collect buttons and dominoes, but the buttons aren’t the greatest specimens and those two dominoes are all I got – not a set.  Don’t know what I was thinking.  Guess I don’t care since it only took $2.00 from me.

Arthur Burdett Frost’s Br’er Rabbit has been in my dreams for months.  I saw these twin reproduction art plaques of him at the market in January and have been wanting them ever since.  Now, they’re mine!  I’m glad they were near the exit.  Once I had these heavy boys to carry, I turned into a complaining nightmare.  “Oh, my aching back!”

I bought this bag to put them in and it made a big difference!

This bag is HUGE and made of super lightweight fabric.  I wish I had bought more than one.  😐

I also bought our initials.  Each ten-inch letter is cut from thin metal, then painted.  I’m not sure where I’m going to put them yet, but I am sure I will buy another letter or two every time I go to the market.  The guy who makes them just tosses them all on the ground and people walk on them and kick them aside to find the colors and letters they want.  All that rough handling gives the letters a good scruffy salvage look to them.  He makes smaller and larger versions and there are also numbers and some funky three-dimensional flowers too.

I can’t wait to add more to my collection.  I feel an art installation brewing, maybe for the wall to the right of my stained glass window??  You know, this wall:

Can’t you just picture it with a sea of letters swirling about like the curly waves in the window?  I can!

Last, but not least, here is the teeny bird I bought at Goldbug.  He’s very sweet, but extremely difficult to photograph.  My friend got one just like him, but with less of the green patina.  I love him.

I feel like I’ve forgotten something.  I will check my treasures and let you know!

Oh, I also bought four magazines on this trip.  Four.  Because this was MY weekend and I like magazines.  Woohoooo!

Happy Monday!

P.S. I forgot to mention that I also went to Mignon Chocolates.  I have to confess, I am a diehard See’s Candies loyalist, but I would happily eat another of Mignon’s Amaretto truffles if I had to.  😀

P.P.S.  The little boy seems pleased with my one and only purchase from Lula Mae this time:

♥♥

#15 – Things I sorta already knew…

but learned again this week:

  1. Accidentally cracking off a chunk of your tooth kinda hurts and immediately makes you feel anxious, paranoid and kind of depressed.
  2. Sometimes a little humiliation is the best motivator for getting a project finished.  😳  You know, like when the air conditioning guy comes to your house and tells you he has to go into the attic and you suddenly realize that he’ll have to stand on your sewing table in the hallway to get up there and you remember that you started cleaning up your sewing stuff, but you never finished and your stuff is sitting in piles all over the table and the floor and the nearby counter?  You know, that kind of humiliation.  “Oh, sorry Mr. Air Conditioning Guy, don’t mind the mess.  I’m sorting my sewing area this week.  Sorting…you know…present tense.  Because I was definitely gonna finish.  I mean, who leaves piles of crap like this everywhere?”
  3. I am tall.  And heavy.  And I have bad feet.  I can NOT wear cute shoes.
  4. The little boy likes to rip things into tiny pieces.  Hey, Grammy and Grandpa Bud, do remember all of those cardboard blocks you assembled on Christmas morning?  Yep.  Shredded.  😐
  5. If I buy a new packet of sewing needles every time I reach for one and can’t find it quickly, then I will eventually have enough sewing needles to last 100 lifetimes.  And if my mom does the same thing in her sewing years and then she gives all of her sewing stuff to me, then I will have enough needles to last 200 lifetimes.  Maybe more.  Seriously?  What were we thinking?  Anybody need some sewing needles?  Or elastic?  How about some elastic?
  6. The slim price mint chip ice cream sandwiches are really good.  😀  Really.  Good.
  7. Fear of the knife gets you stabbed by the fork.  And sometimes the grapefruit spoon.  Grrrr.
  8. Ribbon makes me happy.  Organizing all of it brought me immense joy this week.  It also taught me that I never need to buy any gold ribbon again.  Ever.
  9. I actually do like blue cheese.
  10. I am in denial over the teeny hole in the back of my favorite purple t-shirt.
  11. I am very interested in the royal wedding, but you would have to pay me an awful lot of money to make me watch it live at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.  Seriously?  I’m asleep then.  I love my DVR.
  12. While my interest in general cookbooks is waning, my passion for books about chocolate is growing in exponential proportions.  Next on my wish/hit list is Small-Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers by Debby Maugans.  I was all set to join the The Good Cook again, but they don’t seem to carry this title anymore.  Double drat!  Might join anyway…
  13. Biscuits from a cardboard tube will do in a pinch (like when you break your tooth and don’t want anything crunchy), but then you mostly just want to barf them up and start your food day over.  😐
  14. When properly fed, the little boy lives in a world of joy, surrounded by interesting shapes and fascinating colors and remarkable sounds.  He jumps and squeals and laughs and TALKS and sings and enjoys life more than I ever knew to.  He is the cheeriest creature I know.
  15. Our oldest cat does not do well without us, even for a few nights, even with visiting friends seeing to her needs.  Really, it’s flattering, even kind of reassuring to some of my mothering doubts, but I worry about her.  She’s old, you know?  How many more times can we leave her before her little nervous system just can’t take it anymore?  Pretty puddy.
  16. There is no substitute for a chat with an old friend.  Nothing calms, energizes, inspires, challenges, comforts, or fits quite as well.

Happy Thursday!

♥♥

Rainbow, Coronado, Dr. Seuss, Llama & a Geyser

It rained a lot last week.  I had to drive in it a couple of times.  This was the gift for my efforts:

Monday before last, I took the little boy to Coronado.

We went to our favorite park and then walked along the bay to the Coronado Cupcakery.

The plain white cupcake was just as good as I remember, but our to-die-for selection this time was a chocolately blob of goodness with a cheesecake layer on top.  And chocolate chips mixed in.  Oh my.

You’ll have to get your own.  I’m not sharing.  🙂

The boy had some fun, but he ran out of steam pretty fast.  It was late in the afternoon and he wasn’t really his best.

I tried to climb up the side of an old wooden play structure.   I didn’t make it.  😳  I lost my footing, scraped my palm and came home with a fat black bruise on my shin.  Fun.

It was a cold, clear, and beautiful day.  The bruise was a small price to pay for that view.

Yesterday, the school held a chalk festival to put some steam behind literacy week.  Each classroom was given an illustration from a Dr. Seuss book and tasked with recreating it on the sidewalk.

The kids all worked really hard and clearly had a great time participating.  Our class did a page from The Cat In The Hat.  The little boy helped to color in Thing 1 and Thing 2.  😀

Oh, and speaking of Dr. Seuss and kids and literacy and all that, the little boy read two books to me this week.  Two!

He read Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman and Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.  He read them out loud, with very little assistance.

This is huge.  HUGE.

My son doesn’t like to read books to me.  He generally becomes annoyed if I try to read them to him.

This time, he selected the books and he wanted to read.  WANTED.  TO.  READ.

Be still, my book collecting heart.  ♥ 🙂

This morning, we saw a geyser on the way to school.

Someone drove her minivan over a hydrant.  😦

The water pressure was kind of shocking – forty feet in the air.  You could see the top half of the geyser way above the buildings.

It spewed for over twenty minutes.  All that precious water just flowed into the street.  Sad.  Chaotic.

The traffic was a little dicey at the usually empty intersection.  The little boy didn’t seem to notice the red lights.  Hmmm, maybe I can arrange for a geyser every morning.

On Monday, I drove Mom and Lou out to Simpsons Nursery.  Lou is a llama whisperer.   He got some great pictures.

Sweet.

BIG.

Charming.

We also picked up a couple of Yellow Jasmine vines.  They are really fragrant.

Can’t wait to plant them.  😀

That kind of sums up the last ten days or so…

That, and a bit of marital strife, a couple of tantrums, a tad of depression, a crock pot full of delicious potato soup (thank you, Traci!) and some 80’s music.

Yeah, that about covers it.  😀

What did YOU do this week?

♥♥

Rose Bowl Flea Market and Pasadena

I met two friends at the Rose Bowl Flea Market yesterday.

It was a long day and the weather was chilly, but we had a great time!

One of my friends knows the market like her own backyard, so she played navigator.  That worked well for me, because I got turned around at the end of just about every aisle.  😕

We shopped for hours, saw very few things twice, and still didn’t cover even half the venue.  The Rose Bowl Flea Market is BIG.

The parking is free and plentiful.  The 9:00 a.m. general admission is only $8.00 and worth every penny.  You can pay more to get in with the early birds, but my friend cautions that sometimes vendors are still unpacking before the regular crowd gets there.

Deep in the rows, there is a lady who makes caramel apple muffins from scratch in her own kitchen and sells them for $2.00 a piece.  My friend buys one every time and raves about them, so I was happy when the three of us arrived at her booth well into the morning and still found three muffins left in the basket!

They were really delicious – sort of an angel food cake with a center of brown-sugared, tender, appley goodness.  Yesterday was nothing, if not a thoroughly delightful food day.  More on that a little later.  😀

Another vendor sells art plates from old books.  There are stacks and stacks, black and white as well as color, as beautiful and varied as the people who buy them.

The bibliophile in me grimaces at the dissection of what were surely amazing whole volumes, but I appreciate the art in the single leaves and I couldn’t go without this page:

Not far from the front entrance, there is a vendor who sells colorful tablecloths from Provence.

French linens are very cheery, usually made well, and have always appealed to me, but they are typically out of my price range.

I stopped at this booth because she also has a table full of batik stamps!  Woohoo!  I chose this one for my collection:

I also picked up this teeny little rabbit for my blue and white family:

a tiger clicker for my son:

and a small gift for a friend. 😀

As always, there were a few things I regret leaving behind.

Most of those were slightly out of my price range, but are regular items that I could acquire with better planning on a future visit.

Some were unique items I just wavered on and will absolutely never see again.  I guess that’s okay.  If I waver, then they’re probably not meant to be mine.

On our way to the exit gate we stopped by the food vendor area to say hello to my mom and Lou, who had also driven up for the market.

They arrived after we did and were taking a quick break, but were heading back in for a little more shopping after we headed out.

Departing from the Rose Bowl was an adventure.  😐  I lost my car, worked up a sweat looking for it, and finally had to call my friend to enlist her navigator instincts to find it.

Then I sat sheepishly behind my wheel and watched as she deftly moved a giant traffic barrier by hand just to get me pointed in the right direction.  So embarrassing.  😳  Funny, but embarrassing.

At least this all helped me to warm up after being so chilled by the cloud cover.

I followed my friends into Old Town Pasadena for a little more shopping and some late lunch.

My favorite store this time is Lula Mae.  Teeny, charming, colorful and packed full with “gifts of wit & whimsy” –  this is definitely my kind of place!

My friend and I both left with Andy, the Black Sheep:

I love him.  He is made of cast iron and weighs a LOT.  Don’t ever wanna drop this boy in my tiled house with my bare broken feet nearby.  Oy.  Gotta find just the right place for him.

I was amused when I got home to find that Lula Mae had wrapped Andy in French Fry tissue.  So funny.

From Lula Mae’s clearance bin, I picked up this hand-stitched house ornament:

and this cloth Tooth Fairy bird:

I love the idea of this, but I will probably just hang him from my Christmas Tree since we have something else for our son’s Tooth Fairy exchanges.

I rounded out my Lula Mae purchases with two yards of wired chenille ribbon.

I have a definite weakness for pretty ribbon, especially when it has a drastically reduced price.  🙂

That about covers my purchases for the day, but the treasures I brought home also included two amazing gifts from my friend.

She gave me this spectacular chair:

and this gorgeous, charming butter dish:

I am in love with this big Sun Lion.  In love.  The colors, his face, his swirly handle tail – all of him.  In. Love.  Thank you, Leighann!  😀

And the chair.  It’s beautiful.  😀  In fact, it’s officially the nicest thing in my house.

The most unusual shop we visited is definitely Gold Bug.

I’m not sure the merchandise is my taste exactly, but it is very intriguing and I wish I’d stopped in on a slower day and hadn’t felt so claustrophobic.  It’s a very small shop and there were a lot of people in it.

If you’re in the area, particularly on a weekday, you should definitely stop by.  It’s unique and has a lot to look at.

For our very late lunch we went to Mi Piace, one of my favorite places in Pasadena.  Wait, have I been anywhere else?  Who cares!  Mi Piace is really good.

Unfortunately, they were completely out of the Butter Nut Squash Ravioli with browned butter and sage.  Big, disappointed, collective sigh.

We buried our sorrows in good hot garlicky bread chunks served with balsamic and olive oil.

I ordered Fettuccine Alfredo with julienne vegetables. It was priced a too high and would be more enjoyable with a small green salad (priced separately – grrrr), but it was extremely good.

For dessert, I ordered this Mi Piace Special:

It was three layers dark and white chocolate mousse and cakes, topped with black and red raspberries and accompanied by a beautiful puddle of kiwi and strawberry coulis.

My only complaint with this dessert is that it came with that completely white, unripe, unappealing strawberry.  I would have left that off the plate.  I just pushed it aside.

I devoured the rest of it, feeling only mild guilt for denying my husband any leftovers.  They wouldn’t have kept on the three-hour drive home anyway, right?

My friends and I parted company shortly after our meal.  I headed south and they headed back to the high desert.  We all had a great time and I can’t wait to do it again.  Maybe in March or April??

Love you guys!!

P.S.

The best moment of the day was when Bob Harper from Biggest Loser (or his clone??) finally left his table facing ours, so that we could relax and eat without his fitness guru-ish-ness monitoring our mouthfuls. 😦

The worst moment of the day was the insane coughing fit I had on exiting Lula Mae.  😳  Mortifying.  It was the kind of thing that makes strangers pull their kids in close and flee.   Embarrassing.

The stupidest thing I did was forget to bring water into the market.  $5.00 per bottle if you want to buy it there.  Ugh!

The smartest thing I did was bring my big purple purse.  Not super attractive, but it’s lightweight, cavernous and durable – perfect for shopping!

P.P.S.  While I’ve been typing this morning, the little boy has been stapling paper and drawing scenes from his computer games…

wearing my two oversized sweatshirts at the same time…

eating cheetos…

and being very sweet.

I sure love this little boy.  I missed him yesterday.

Gotta go play now.  Catch you tomorrow.  Maybe.

Happy Monday!

♥♥

Rain, Rain Won’t You Stay?

It’s not quite 7 a.m.

I’ve been up for two hours and have already driven my friends to the airport, gone to the grocery store and fed the cats.

It’s pouring rain and it’s windy.  The roads are wet and dangerous and I could have done without the jackass taxi driver who decided he needed our lane more than we did, but we survived, and it was nice to see the world as it was waking.  I love the rain.

(PPH, thank you for your instinct to save us.)

Now my friends are on their merry way to Christmas in the South of France and I am safely back in my own little home with the fat, happy kitties and the sleeping family.

I am surprised that the little boy didn’t wake up when I moved the car in and out of the garage.  The big metal door is right under his room and it’s not that quiet.

Last night we drove thirty miles in the rain for my nephew’s 8th birthday party.  It was totally worth it.  Kids are so funny when balloons and pizza and Pump It Up are involved.  Kudos to my sister-in-law for making it happen and for giving out the Pump-It-Up treat bags – these toys are great!

We built some extra time into our trip and stopped at Nothing Bundt Cakes on the way.  I know I’ve mentioned this place before, but it’s worth mentioning again.  And again.  And again.

I always think I’ve surely sampled the very best bundt they have to offer and then they offer me a sample of something else.  This time it was the white chocolate raspberry cake.  Oh.  My.  Heavens.  Scrumdidilicious.  Is that a word?  I bought one of those and two of my husband’s favorite, the chocolate with chocolate chips.

After tucking the bag of little cakes safely out of my reach, we headed for the party.  We were thirty minutes early.  To kill some time, I took the boy over to Walter Andersen Nursery across the road.  He didn’t want to go until I told him we could look at the Christmas Trees.  I think he might have driven himself after that.

I love wandering around nurseries at the holidays.  There are bright red flowers and cheery green trees and lots of wreaths and miniature trains.  The ornaments are just half price and the employees all seem full of joy and kindness.  I asked for the minimum yard of fresh pine garland at $1.99 a foot.  The clerk gave me two yards, charged me for one and slashed the price of that to just $1.50 for the lot of it.  Amazing.  The little boy picked out this huge beautiful glass acorn ornament for  just three bucks.  We love it.

We didn’t venture out into the yard of plants and flowers but the view of them in the dusky rain was magical.  The smell of the Christmas trees was intoxicating and caused us both to pause at the door a moment before skipping on through to the other side of the indoor showroom.  Not a bad way to spend an unexpectedly empty moment in a very busy week.  Next year, I might just schedule it in on purpose.

The party was a good ending to the little boy’s day.  He jumped in the bounce houses for an hour and a half, nibbled on a slice of pepperoni pizza, poked at a piece of birthday cake then turned to me and said “are you ready to go?”  His question was a directive.  He wanted me to ask him.  I did and we went.

Settling down after that sort of outing is little bit tough for us both.  The boy was up and out of his bed two or three times before finally crashing around 9:30.  That’s really late for him.  When I last looked at the clock, it said 12:35.  😦  Just four hours of sleep.  Early to the pillow tonight for sure!

Happy Tuesday!

P.S.  What’s on your agenda four days before Santa gets here?

♥♥