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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Sojourn Begins

Yes, we were gone for awhile . . . and here's what we did!

On April 13th, Howard, Anne, and I landed at LAX around noon,
picked up Alida and her husband Josh at their apartment in Los Angeles,
and off we went to Oceanside,
somewhere down there in the Golden State, near San Diego.
My grasp of California geography is pretty sketchy.

In Oceanside, there's a gorgeous beach, and a long fishing pier,
 the most delicious Thai food I ever tasted, and - 

-- best of all -- there is Josh's family.

The last time we all saw one another was at
Josh and Alida's wedding, back in June 2011.  
(Longtime followers of That Old House are now screaming,
"No! No! Not another wedding post!")

Josh's Mom keeps backyard chickens, beautiful Rhode Island Reds,
and now I find myself Googling "keeping backyard chickens"
when I am at the computer.  My Mom kept chickens; it's in my DNA.

Josh's Mom, and his Aunt Sue who once owned a cafe,
put together a beautiful brunch for us on Sunday morning.

 Coffee, champagne, fruit, yogurt, breads and pastries, cheeses, even my favorite
California breakfast: Chilaquiles, made by Alida. 
Confession: This is a picture of my breakfast last year at Cha Cha Cha in Los Angeles' Silverlake neighborhood,
just blocks from Josh and Alida's apartment.  Cha Cha Cha is where I fell in love with this Mexican dish.
I forgot to get a picture of Alida's version.  Too busy eating and chatting.
How adorable and creative is this?
And the scones?  Incredible.  What diet?

I also learned a valuable life lesson:
that Spicy V8 juice makes an excellent Bloody Mary.  

We had a grand time visiting with our daughter's in-laws.
Of all the people Alida might have ended up marrying, she married a
great guy from a wonderful family, and we could not be happier.
That we truly like his parents is a fabulous bonus.
Anne, Billie, Elizabeth & Zech, Josh & Alida, and Howard.
Mocha and Bella in front.
Thank you, Billie and Greg, for your hospitality, and the charming company of Mocha and Bella;
we didn't miss our own dogs as much with yours to play with.  
Billie, your Green Thumb and what you have done with your gardens has inspired me!
I hope it won't be another two years before we see one another again.
So on Monday morning, it was goodbye to Oceanside,
and hello to Las Vegas.
Yes, folks . . . the innocents from New Jersey were let loose in Sin City.
Our adventures with high stakes gambling
and glamorous showgirls in tomorrow's blog post.
Loose women and high livin'.   -- Cass

Monday, April 29, 2013

Life is Just a Bowl of Onions

I've been away.
Really away.  Even when I was not.

My last blog post was written on March 20th, just after I contracted a stubbornly persistent infection that resulted in pink eye.

So, where have I been? 

 At first, pretty much just home, trying not to bump into walls, 
and not wanting to go out in public with my really awful,
horrible, no-good-looking scary red movie-alien-lizard eye. 
 My gift to you - no pictures!

Using the computer was almost impossible.
I could not see to read, or write. 
My (short) emails and text messages
from those weeks were quite hilariously unintelligible.  

Did you know that cooking with blurry vision and no depth perception is a challenge?   It is pretty funny, though, as you carefully sprinkle herbs or salt into a dish . . . only to discover you have sprinkled them right next to the dish, and your counter top is perfectly seasoned.  

As for using sharp knives . . . don't.  Step away from the Henckels.  Ditto a gas stove.  Danger, danger.  Loading a dishwasher has its own delights, as you try and get the dishes actually in the machine.

Thank goodness for a daughter who is an excellent cook.  

This is Maddie.  We visited her.
We did not eat her.  She is our friend.
I pride myself on never being bored, but even I have to admit that March-into-April was . . . boring.  I missed blogging, and reading your blogs.  I missed getting out of the house!  I missed driving.  I missed wearing makeup.  My antiques booth became bedraggled and nearly empty.  And there's something particularly galling about being even slightly incapacitated by an ailment as ridiculous as pink eye.

As for poor dear That Old House, what can I say?  She needs a total spa day, or more likely a spa week (month?), to make up for my neglect.  If anyone is interested in opening a Dust Bunny ranch, I can supply you with the start-up stock.  Cheap.  

And now, the good stuff.

Yes, Gilda in her Easter Dress is definitely Good Stuff.

Gradually my right eye improved.  It is almost back to normal.  

I wore sunglasses in church on Easter, and amused daughter Anne by wearing my reading glasses over the sunglasses, but by then at least I could - pretty much - read more than a few words at a time.  I think I got most of the words to the hymns right.  Most.
Then, on April 13th, early in the morning,
Howard, Anne, and I boarded a plane at Kennedy Airport
in New York, and ran away to sunny California.
Which was cold and cloudy when we arrived.  

That's Howard in the pink shirt.  And he is freezing.

More on that, and loads of other stuff, in future blog posts. 

I have lots of photos to sort through.
Lots of stuff to catch up on.

There's an old saying that Life is like a Bowl of Cherries.
Really?  A Bowl of Cherries?  Pshaw.
I think it's more like a Bowl of Onions.

You can let them make you cry,
or you can whack them up and cook the heck out of them,
and make something beautiful and delicious.

We are back home!
And I am back to blogging.
Love to you all . . . Cass (who has missed you!)