Monday, October 26, 2009

About Last week...

Oy, I am such a bad blogger these days!
I think I might have too many irons in the fire... so something had to give... and unfortunately, my computer time is one of them...
I have been having sooo much fun cooking and developing recipes, taking business courses,
and offering samples to businesses and friends... that it's kinda been like a full time job lately.
Then with Soccer, Football, and Market Night, and all my meal prep... it's just about
a 24 hour a day job...
But I am enjoying myself...
A lot.
Last week was eventful.
My Mama and I catered our local Chamber of Commerce lunch at City Hall, and we sold out of our cookies at Market Night the night before. SOLD OUT! It was sooo exciting!
On Wednesday, one of my fabulous neighbors called to ask for 5 more bags of cookies for her work... AND she wants to start taking orders from her work for all our goodies!
SHE will be eating well from now on... she will get free meals for doing all of that for us to get our name out there...
She works at a huge warehouse.
I also made the difficult decision to resign as Snack Bar Czar for next years baseball league.
It was a long and arduous decision, with me going back and forth on the decision, but ultimately, my family and my business needed to take precedence...
The shopping and stocking that it took, coupled with only 5 people from a board of 12 doing most of the work in the Snack Bar, and my being there waaaaay too much of the time, just isn't conducive to building and sustaining a business...
My kids were thrilled about my decision... I wasn't... I don't quit anything... BUT... I couldn't put my dream on the backburner for 3 months of baseball...
We saw Barry Manilow on Saturday night.
He's like... 105, and can still belt out those tunes...
I swear, he held one note for a good 30 seconds...
It was at the Hollywood Bowl, and Dave Koz made a special appearance...
The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra was absolutely stellar, and we had awesome seats.
An A Capella group called "Straight, No Chaser" opened for him, and they blew us away.
Bill bought us Salmon and Spicy Tuna Roll for dinner at the Cafe on site,
and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
It was such a great way to listen to music. The acoustics at the Bowl are phenomenal.
Like a good girl, I didn't bring my camera, because the rules said we couldn't bring one... but EVERYONE was taking pictures... and it really pissed me off that I am such a rule follower.
I did get some shots with my phone camera... but they suck...
We drove around downtown L.A. and Bill showed me all the buildings he helped build, and how proud he was about the Disney Concert Hall, that is made out of Sheet Metal, and how his Union built it. It really is a work of art.
We are taking the boys to see Mary Poppins there this Christmas.
One of our neighbors died last week.
He was an older gentleman...with Lung Cancer.
It was sad and strange to see his body being carried out in a body bag from his home and placed into the van.
He wasn't a nice man at all... he hated children, and yelled and threatened to call the police on them if they kicked balls into his yard... but in hindsight, now that I am older and a little wiser, having something like him on a street is a good thing.
He was the kind of man that would walk out front of his house with a rifle and confront
any riff raff that crossed his path... kinda like Clint Eastwood, and if they pissed him off, he would probably shoot. Unfortunately, he was a little too much like that (sans gun) with young children...but it was his property, and he was just probably afraid of lawsuits if any of the kids got hurt on his I get older, I am beginning to see his side of things.
It was still sad to see that he passed.
He left behind a wife and child and grandchild.
Bill and I feel compelled to take care of widows.
Bill is the handyman of our next door neighbor who lost her husband 5 years ago, they ask him to do everything and anything, and we are happy to oblige... they are great neighbors, nice people, and they mind their own business.
The bibles tells us to take care of widows and children...
So... if the newly widowed woman will allow... we will offer to do all the things her husband used to do around the yard... our other neighbor alreadys cuts their lawns for them, and Bill will offer to do general maintenance around their home until she moves or passes...
Life is so fleeting.
Soo... that's been the week.
I'm going to go and make some Focaccia now, so I can make the boys school lunches for the week.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

MamaKat's Writer's Workshop 10-22-09

This weeks prompt was...
Describe what makes you want to live a life with passion.
Can I really sink my teeth into this one...
First, let me say how incredibly blessed I feel to have been afforded the privilege of being a stay at home Mama for the last 16 years. I feel/felt like when I had my kids... that was my true calling... to be their Mother, as good a Mother as I could, and that would fill me up.
I was right... it worked... for about 15 years... until I turned 40.
Now... still a Mama, but the certainty that my baby birds are starting to spread their proverbial wings and want to start heading out into the cold cruel (geez, how many more cliches can I fit into this post...)world... I have once again begun to think of ... me.
I'm not knocking the Mama's that want nothing more than to be someone's Mama for the rest of their lives, and be satisfied with that... who am I to judge...
But for me... in this season of my life... I'm ready for MORE!
Prior to being someone's Mama, I had lots of ideas... passions...
I wanted to travel the world...
I wanted to own my own business...
I wanted to be on TV...
I wanted to be "discovered"...
I wanted to dance... for a living... and NOT on a pole, people... get yo mind out the gutters!
My biggest dream? Truly? The one that gets me all giddy inside?
The one that I think about when I have a minute to spare... and life seems tedious and one day just bleeds into the next?...
It's this... Me... and a stage... and a stadium of people chanting my name... waiting for me to come out and entertain them... somehow...
See... the "somehow" part is the part I'm stuck on...
I can't sing... at all...its really bad... think American Idol... the auditions bad...
No one in their right mind would want to see me dance anymore... sheesh...
I can be funny sometimes... but not for a whole set or two hours in a row... even I would get annoyed with myself...
I can't play any instruments...
and I'm not a preacher...
So... you see...I got nothing but the chanting my name part...
But wait... this was supposed to be about "Living a life with passion"...
So yeah...
Everyone needs to get some.
Anything done with a passion just has to turn out well... ya know?
Well.. not ANY thing... but you know what I mean.
I have lots of new passions...
Sales of all kinds... I really love that line of work...
My kids are still my passions... I want/need/have to see them succeed (whatever that looks like for them). They are men... the world is literally their oyster, and I want them to have every opportunity to live their lives with a passion, and to follow their passions (Please God, don't let the passions wear a mini skirt and lead them around by their noses...). I certainly hope they have more lofty ideas about their lives than to just be married and have kids... I hope they have big dreams and even bigger accomplishments of those dreams... I hope marriage is a long way off for them... I want them to LIVE first... like I did. No regrets...
I've sent in tapes to The Next Food Network Star twice in the past... and am going to do it again this year...
I'm going to continue to write my novel and my cookbook, and get them done.
I'm actively pursuing opening a restaurant, I know what I want to do, how I want it to look, and what I will make and sell... I just need the space...
I want to write a column in our local newspaper...
All of these things are on my radar... at the same time.
To me... living a life with passion means doing exactly what you WANT to be doing... with a joy and sense of accomplishment that can only come from pursuing one's passion.
What's your passion?
What does it look like to you?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Our Seventeenth Wedding Anniversary!

The gown is all sequins and lace and pearls... and none of that showed up in any photo...
Today is my 17th Wedding Anniversary!!!
Officially named... "The Sweetest Day" on the calendar...
17 years ago today, I was pacing nervously in my Mama's living room, waiting for my favorite Aunt Maddalena to finish tucking in the stray threads that were sticking out UNDER my gown, because she couldn't have me walking down the aisle knowing I had strays threads...
I was having my nails, hair and makeup done... by ME... because I trusted no one else to do it...
I was getting sweet, cryptic phone calls from Bill, whispering sweet nothings into the phone...
I was unhappy with my flowers when they were delivered... but caught myself from throwing a tantrum and repeated over and over again... "It's about the marriage... not the wedding..."
I remember waiting in the lovely basement of our huge Gothic Wedding church in Riverside,
being doted on by my 9 bridemaids, and waiting for the words... "We're ready for you" from my wedding planner.
I remember getting confused as to which side I was supposed to walk down the aisle on... and crying to my Papa about how handsome he looked...
I remember seeing Bill up there... and decked out in his tux, smiling at me... waiting patiently as I just stared at the gorgeous church and took a moment to savor the day... in two minutes I was no longer going to be a single woman... and that scared me...
My bouquet began to shake... then rattle... until finally the church planner had to take them from me and calm my Papa made a joke that we could just high tail it out of there...
He was sooo joking... trying to lighten me up... He loved Bill, and couldn't wait to hand me off to him forever... LOL!
I remember crying during my vows...
Kissing Bill too long...
and being announced Mr. and Mrs...
I remember needing to have a little chat with Bill about that...
I remember our huge, fantastic, totally Italian reception... without all the overdone stuff... just simple and elegant at the Hilton Ontario ballroom.
I remember our first dance... our meal... and how hard it was to keep all the divorced parents away from each other...
I remember it being all over... and not wanting to ever take my gorgeous wedding gown off...
I looked at it today with my boys...
I couldn't believe how small my waist was... and I thought I was fat... then... HA!!!!
I remember the TRUCKLOADS and truckloads of wedding gifts and envelopes that awaited us at my Mama's house the next morning... and all the people that came to watch us open all of them.
I remember being done with opening the gifts and being giddy about being able to go home to our new home, my first day of living with Bill, and packing for our fabulous week long stay in Sandals Jamaica that evening...
Bill hired a limo to come get us from "our" house and had champagne and flowers waiting on my seat...
I remember christening the limo on the way to the airport!!! LOL!!!
Seventeen years later... he is still my one and only husband.
Sometimes I still can't believe it.
It's all kind of a blur sometimes... with the kids and life getting in the way...
But I love Anniversaries so I can reminisce and relive the day... the beautiful October day...
that "I"... became "we".
Seventeen years, three gorgeous children, 2 houses, 6 cars, lots of ups, lots of downs, some arguements, some scream fests, lots of fun, some tedium, lots of work, lots of laughter, lots of love and forgiveness later... he is still my favorite man...
Happy Anniversary Bill...
I love you more today... than I did yesterday...
Thank you so much for the Manilow tickets...
and for everything else in my life...
You are the best...

Friday, October 16, 2009


I have been cooking up a storm this past week...
I'm testing recipes and developing recipes for my catering, and hopefully future restaurant.
I've made sooo many different kinds of meatballs this week, I have meatballs to last me a lifetime in the freezer...
I had to make bread for my 5th graders "Missions Week" and their country of study this year was France, so Johnny asked me to make
'Pain d'Epi" (bread shaped like a wheat stalk) for his class... so I made three of them.
I made a 2 bean meatless chili this week... twice... and I thought I'd share my version of it with you...
4 cups any kind of stock you like
2 cans of stewed tomatoes or whole canned tomatoes,
squished with fingers to break them up a little.
2 cups frozen corn
2 handsful of frozen green beans
2 cans of beans, white, kidney, black... whatever floats your boat
2 tsp taco seasoniong mix
1 can fire roasted green chilis
1 cup salsa
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
You can add chicken or beef to this if you want...
I add meatballs after the fact...if anyone wants them... I eat this soup meatless because I only eat protein in my midday meal...
Throw everything together in a pot except the green beans and cook for 20-30 minutes... then add green beans so they don't turn grey from over cooking...
Oh yeah... I LOVE adding shredded cabbage to the soup too...before the green beans... with all the rest of the ingredients..
Sometimes I make cornbread to serve with it...
We place a square in a bowl, and ladle over the soup and top with cilantro and crushed up tortilla chips and shredded cheese...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Writer's Workshop 10-15-2009 (Mama)

Writer's Workshop this week is all about either our Mama's or being a Mama... I chose the former.
This is a re post for Writer's Workshop...
This is about my Mama...
Originally posted 5-14-08

Mama. The one on the right.
My Mama.
My wonderful, giving, serving, funny, dry, heart on her sleeve wearing, shirt off her back giving,
loving, Mama.
Today is her Birthday. Out of respect, I will not divulge her age. BUT! we are 19 years apart! ha ha!
She was the second person to hold all my babies when they were born, gave each of them their first bath, and to this day says she wishes she had her grandbabies first.
She was such a great unobtrusive Mama, that I wanted her on my bus for Grad Night, and begged her to attend field trips with us in high school!
We were the house to come to on Sunday afternoons, when she cooked a pot of sauce that could hold a Buick in it. She cooked for our Fohi Football team once a month, and she was known as Mama to the boys too.
She schlepped me to 18 years of dance classes and competitions, bit her nails when I tried out for cheerleading and drillteam, sent me flowers when I made it, threw me a surprise sweet 16 Birthday party, and sent me to Hawaii for my Graduation.
She has cried with me, laughed with me, consoled me, scolded me, loved me, put up with me, rolled her eyes at me, lifted me up when I was down, brought me back to earth when my ego got the better of me, and always, always, always was my Mama, and never my friend.
She helped me see the value of self respect, and taught me to be a woman of substance. She counseled me about the importance of abstinence, and didn't let me date until I was 16, and even then, with major restrictions. She showed love to my friends even though some of them weren't her "cup of espresso".
She is introverted and extroverted at the same time. She loves being around men and loves to tout how she prefers men friends over women friends... (I have yet to convince her that she needs women around her, more now than ever before), she is a peace maker and a lover of clothes. Lord have mercy, she loves clothes.
I am almost 40, and I don't think I have ever seen her in the same thing twice.
Way back when, when I was young, cute and thin, we shopped literally every single weekend, as much for her as for me. My Mother is definitely a girl's Mama.
She always showered me with great, beautiful things, but on one condition... and the condition had many layers. The condition was that I maintained great grades, stayed away from all forms of drugs and alchohol, was trustworthy at all times, and was not promiscuous.
I followed all those rules and was spoiled rotten, and loved every single second of it.
Nope, I'm not apologizing for it one single bit. I was a dang good kid!
She was a pilar of strength for my formative years. She was very involved with our lives and had to have copious amounts of details about everything I did. It really made me feel more loved. I remember hearing my friends say how their parents didn't care what they did, and I remember feeling sad for them. I know they felt sad too.
I truly idolized my Mama, and was grief stricken when I became a woman myself and realized that she, like all the rest of us, was human, and flawed, and didn't rest on a pedestal. But in her strength of character and defiance, she landed on her feet, with grace and dignity, with her head held high, having learned so much from her mistakes, had risen above.
She is MY Mama. I don't like sharing her. So many of my cousins adore her the way I do.
So on this, her day of birth, may I say a little prayer to God to give my grandmother a little kiss from me to say THANK YOU NANA, for having my Mama. She is a gift beyond imagination, a jewel beyond compare, a light that is always shining, and a love that is truly unconditional, because let's face it folks, I am not an easy one to be around, let alone raise, so that makes my Mama a saint!
I love you Ma!
Happy Birthday!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Changes... me no likey...

Life has changed so very much in the last couple of years... but never more so than in the last couple of months.
Change is not something I deal with well... ever.
Just a short 10 years ago, I was starting my very own Pampered Chef business... excited about the possibilities... being my own boss... making my own money, while still being home with my three precious wee ones.
Back then, we could pick up and go anytime we pleased...
Any time Bill had to travel for business, we all just packed up and tagged along.
It was wonderful.
Those days are gone.
Now everything is put on hold for football, soccer, baseball season...
I'm not complaining... I actually do love it... and I don't even mind all the chauffering I do...
it's just all coming to an end so quickly.
Too quickly.
William starts his drivers Ed soon. Soon he'll be autonomous. Soon he'll be making even more decisions for himself. Soon... he won't need me as much as he does now.
Soon, very soon, he'll be in traffic, swerving out of harm's way, rushing in and out of places,
applying to colleges, taking SAT's, dating (ugh!), and becoming even more of a man than he already is.
It's so heartbreaking... and so exciting at the same time.
How did my parent's do it?
How did they let go?
How did they just let me drive all over the place... in such a small car?
How did they let me out of their sight for more than a few minutes?
How am I going to do the same thing with my sons?
I am having such a hard time with all of this change.
Bill went up to his Dad's house today, to take a look at, and assess the 1965 Ford Galaxy we are going to restore for William for his 16th Birthday. Bill traded a 1991 Ford convertible for it about 8 years ago... and I can't believe it's already time to get it restored and cherried out him to DRIVE!
We don't ever want our kids driving small, economy cars. Only trucks and older FULL METAL beasts for my precious boys. I don't care how much gas it guzzles... as long as they win in a car crash... I'm happy.
This thing is a full 17 feet 4 inches long.
It is all chrome bumpers and fenders.
We are going to change out the steering column for one with an airbag, and add a shoulder harness for the seat belt.
The trunk is big enough to smuggle 6-8 full adults into the drive in movies... or the equivalent of 4 groceries store trips...
Bill is so excited.
I am too... sorta.
I would much rather my boys drove tanks to school, at least until I am dead... so they could never be hurt.
I am the most selfish Mama on earth.
We bring the beast home next week, and the work on it starts soon.
I love old cars.
They are made of all metal...
I feel they are safer than anything made these days.
I don't understand parents buying teeny tiny cars for their kids.
It's like buying them a tin can.
Just my opinion.
Gas is a small price to pay for safety.
People pay 10 times more for water bottles than anyone does for gas... gallon for gallon.
Cars mean freedom.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Writers Workshop 10-8-09

The prompt for this week is...
When I look in the mirror, I don't see what everyone else sees.
When I look deep into my eyes, I still see the young girl who dreamed of becoming a professional
dancer, of having multiudes of people clapping and cheering for her.
I still see the naive, starting to come out of her shell, Sandee, who was unsure of herself some of the time, and stayed true to herself, no matter what came her way.
I see the young girl who wondered who her husband would be, what her children would look like,
and whether I would have a career, or raise my kids, or both.
I see a girl who wanted to do everything she dreamed of.
I see a girl who thought it was impossible to fail, if I really tried.
I see a girl who had so many questions, and very little answers.
I see a girl who was steadfast in her faith in God, family and mankind in general.
I see a girl who was also skeptical, wary, and was always looking for the "catch"
I see a girl who, early on in life, knew and realized that if it sounded too good to be true, it most certainly was.
I see a girl who kept her virginity to herself a lot longer than most girls she knew.
I see a girl who felt sorry for other people because they didn't have my awesome Italian heritage, and would never know how wonderful it was to be in an immigrant family.
I see a girl that didn't realize that EVERY heritage is awesome.
Then... with new, older, wiser, keener eyes, I see who I am now...
a woman, not too different from who I used to be.
While so many other women in my life are striving to retain a youthful APPEARANCE, I choose to BE, ACT AND THINK youthfully.
I see a woman who stills listens to music a little too loudly, and loves all the new, "kid" music out these days, as well as the music I grew up loving.
I see a woman accepting herself... right. where. she. is... and is trying to improve her health, vitality, and overall well being by continually being teachable, and continuing to learn.
I see a woman who is over weight, but not overlooked, over accomodated, or overcome by her circumstance. She is. She will be better tomorrow than she is today. It's just the way it is.
I see a woman who is done with listening to other women bash eachother.
I am done with hearing that women "dress" for other women.
I dress for me.
I like to wear black.
Sue me.
If you don't like my clothes, my hair, my shoes, my lifestyle, my career choice, my husband, my kids, my candor, my house, my car, my politics, my belief system, my... anything... take it somewhere else please... I can do without the negativity.
I see a woman who wants to raise good, women honoring, respectable men... who know that showing a woman she is cared for, revered, respected and loved, doesn't make him less of a man.
I see a woman who knows how blessed she is that all her parents and inlaws are alive and well... and really needs to see them more often... just because.
I see a 41 year old, flawed, happy, fluffy, married, work at home Mama, who still dances with delight when no one is looking, loves with all her heart, and is still cynical and skeptical,
still asking "what's the catch?", still dreaming, still believing I can do anything I set my mind to...
with the help of God, family, and my children.
I wouldn't go back to that little girl for all the gold in the world...
She is still here...
She never left...
She just grew up... and found her way.
What do YOU see in the mirror?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Weekend Warrior

Man! Oh man!
What a weekend!
Heck... was a week!
First of all, let me just start out saying that last Wed... was UNEVENTFUL!!!
That's a GOOD THING!
That being said... Thursday and Friday were very eventful.
As most of you Mama's out there know... it is impossible for us to be in two places at once, let alone 4 places at once... so Thursday, between football practices, John's baseball practice at school, Will's Football game, and Bill's pre-op, the day was a logistical nightmare!
But I figured it all out, it all got done, and we ended up that evening at Will's football game.
He played every single minute... offense AND defense... in the heat... and got a personal foul.
Some overgrown maggot got a hold of both of his legs, after a play, and Will tried to shake him off, and the stupid zebra's (ref's) called a foul on Will and not the hanger oner.
Everyone saw that it was OBVIOUS he didn't kick the idiot on purpose... but a foul was called nonetheless.
His coaches were pissed... and I told his coaches to take a chill pill... I told them anyone would have done the same thing if someone had their legs in a choke hold... AFTER A PLAY!
They chilled... he has to do 10 gassers today... and I told William to do them with a smile on his face... gladly... knowing he wasn't being malicious during the game.
Thank God the weather had cooled down about 20 degrees.
Friday was the real day of interest.
Bill had his Vasectomy.
After nine years of putting it off!
Nine years of playing russian roulette.
Nine years of 'taking precautions'.
It's finally all over.
One would have thought that Bill's lips were pulled out ten feet, shoved into his nostrils,
pulled out his rectum and tied into a bow at this neck.
He has been eating Tylenol three at a time every four hours like clockwork.
The ice packs, the complaining, the stories of what that evil doctor did to him and his jewels...
the sheer horror of it all...
Walked withing 4 hours of each of them... only took two Tylenol after each one, nursed a baby, and when I got home did the laundry, washed the dishes, made dinner... all while recovering from hormonal meltdown, and an 8 inch incision!
If I hear... one more time... how sore he is and how much the doctor took out, and how the doctor pulled and how the entire time he wasn't numb, it didn't work, he had to take the pain as is!!!
No WAY!!!
There is definitely a reason we women have the babies.
Our threshold for pain is miles above theirs.
A paper cut sends my man into a state of demise.
A cold is the plague.
A fever is Scarlet Fever...
a zit is a tumor.
They didn't give him stiches... and he was upset about that.
{{the hole is like...1/2 a centimeter... how many stitches would it have been??? one?}}
He was incensed that they "left it open"... to drain.
After hearing that for the eleventyth time... I told him that I have seven layers cut
when I had his children... and I lived... he would live too.
In truth... he has been way better that I thought he would be, but he did seem to be in alot of pain. We had to skip a surprise party on Saturday, because a longish car ride would have been too much... but he is back to work today.
While he was in having his procedure, I met the most fascinating women in the waiting room.
More on them in another post...
All is well... my ear is all better,
Bill has been neutered,
Alex is back home and had a blast,
and I am home alone all day again...
Ahhh... bliss... thy name is work and school.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Alex is gone again...

One of my little puppies is gone for three days...
Alex is in Catalina on a Science trip...
No, this isn't his first time away from home, he's been gone for a week twice before
for Outdoor Education trips in Elementary school.
But the older they get, the more I worry.
Boys are naturally risk takers... and they think it is SOOOO COOL to do things that will
produce a gaffe or a gasp from their friends...
Next year he'll be going to NYC, D.C. and Williamsburg, VA for a Govt. trip.
In addition to exhorbitant tuition, we also get to pay for these trips.
Such fun.
He's been to NYC a few times, so he'll have fun being tour guide I'm sure...
I am NOT the same when one or all of my boys are away from home!
I hate it!
What am I gonna do when they all finish college and move out for good?
I just read, or saw on Oprah maybe... where in India, when one gets married, they all live with each other until death... mom, dad, kids, grandparents...
Sooo... maybe after college, I'll sell everything and move us all to India... or Italy... where the man's family builds and houses the son and his entire family in their own house either next door or above the parents house...
Again... heaven.
I sure hope my boys marry understanding women.
I can't just not talk to my kids for days on end, or not see them all the time.
I need to save up a ton of money so I can bribe, yes, BRIBE my future daughters in law to "see things my way"... if you know what I mean.
That is such a Mafiosa way to be... he...he..he..
My hearing is coming back... I'm at about 80% now.
The ear drops really help.
Oh!!! and I've lost 37 lbs so far!!!
Alex... come home soon... I feel like only 2/3 of myself...