a dining oasis

Married now for decades…decades…that sounds like a really long time, doesn’t it? Well, yes, 31 years and more is a long time to love and be loved and be stuck together like the old married folk that Bill and I are.

So what about Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day?

Really?

Truthfully, as an old married lady, I haven’t thought too much about it as Love Day was approaching. But my darling husband, on the other hand, was thinking about it a lot. Again, just when I think I know him and can predict almost anything about him he goes and does something like this.

I hate when he does that.

I love when he does that.

He does too because, yes, he loves catching me off guard.

So let’s get dressed up and go somewhere really nice for a Valentine’s dinner?

Around here?

Well, there is an oasis?

An oasis?

Yes, an oasis in the dining desert that is Manteca. It says so right here in Yelp.

So it does. Well, okay then. It’s a date.

And we waited this week for date night to finally arrive.

Ah, the romance of anticipation!

And…

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes, indeed Ernie’s Fine Foods & Spirits truly is an oasis in the desert that is Manteca’s dining offerings of endless fast food restaurants, taquerias and chain restaurants.

The appetizers, the 5 onions soup, the grilled to perfection steaks, the lobster, the spirits, the wine, the service, the ambiance all perfection.

But Bill impeccably dressed in his grey suit and me in a jersey column dress were definitely overdressed because this is Manteca.

Still, good food, good drink, great uninterrupted conversation…this was good. This was very good. My darling husband definitely hit this one out of the park.

We shall be back, Ernie’s!

blogtography 2014 edition

What a year, really! Ups and downs, ins and outs, milestones, laughter, tears, fears, celebrations, goodbyes and lots and lots of pictures to remember the memories made along the way. Here are fourteen because it was 2014.

car rides, spicy food and serious conversations

stopping the motion

homework help

promping v. 2014

because everyone was personally victimized by Regina George

I’m with you kid, let’s go

searching the crowd

for the daddy I love

all we really need to know we learned at dance competitions

inclusion, exclusion, privacy, the 1st day of school, and, sigh, picking the battles

life as the plumber’s wife

are you that blogger?

photo dump: walkabout edition

Santa nails it

Just fourteen moments of 2014 captured and blogged. Let’s not even begin to discuss how hard it was for me to choose.

And one more…

Early Sunday morning Buster said goodbye crossing over the Rainbow Bridge peacefully in his sleep. He was a good dog, a very good dog even if he was notoriously camera shy literally walking away almost every time I came around with my camera.. For 12 years he was a big brother to Daniel teasing and playing with Daniel in the way that only brothers do. He was a loyal companion to Bill. A playmate for Zoë. A fierce protector for us all guarding against every UPS or Fed Ex delivery truck and short bus that stopped at The Big Top. Buster’s passing indeed cast a pall over our family circus. He is missed and will be missed always and forever.

Okay, wipe your tears. Go hug your fur babies, your babies, family, friends and lovers. Happy New Year to us all! May 2015 be filled with happiness, kindness, love and much more laughter than tears.

 

 

 

the most drama of the season

Zelda is willing to wear this humiliation that is her jingle bells collar because of the laser pointer and greeens and catnip that were also in her Christmas stocking.

Until she became tired and annoyed with it and tried to rub it off.

And that, boys and girls, was literally the most holiday drama/trauma that happened during The Big Top Christmas 2014.

I’ll take it!

I wish that I had taken more pictures. I should have. I didn’t. I might have to turn in my mamarazzi card for that big holiday fail. I could say that I was just too busy taking in the sights and sounds around me. That’s partly the truth…mostly…when I wasn’t trying to stay awake after working all night that is exactly what I was doing.

But I did manage to capture this little bit of wonderful.

Finally, the boy has some of Ellen’s underwear!

Santa nails it

Yes, it’s true that my nearly thirteen year old son believes still. It’s a fact that everyone, LOVES because…isn’t that the sweetest thing? Of course everyone hasn’t seen his letter and wish list to Santa.

Y’all are lucky!

Just focus on the sweetness of his innocent belief in Christmas magic. I’ll stress about that wish list…of which I had to tell him to STOP adding to. So to distract him, we visit the Big Guy in Red at Dell Osso Farms. Pro tip: this is THE BEST Santa in the Central Valley…no bells and whistles and spaceships and light sabers, no massive line with an endless wait time. Of course, today is Christmas Eve so it is too late for you all this year. But next year…

This guy, he’s the real deal with the twinkling eyes and the merry, rosy cheeks. He’s very photogenic too. He LOVES to talk to the kids and he has the time too because there isn’t the massively long lines with endless wait times. After Daniel carefully explained everything on his wish list, including where to buy and retail price, Santa made that observation that Daniel’s wish list is a very impressive wish list.

Indeed.

Do you like surprises, Daniel?

Sometimes.

Well, Daniel, I think that I want to surprise you this year. I am certain that you will love it come Christmas morning.

And with that, Daniel smiled his biggest, happiest brace-faced smile and warmly hugged his jolly friend in red.

That will do Santa.

That will do.

checking out in Target

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How’s your holiday shopping/decorating/wrapping going?

Yes, we have just six (OMG!) more days to go but don’t stress…too much. Unless you haven’t started at all and plan to hit the malls on the last Saturday before Christmas.

Don’t.

Ask anyone in retail.

Just don’t.

Me, I have no plans to be shopping this weekend. Perhaps then I will get the stockings hung by the chimney with care…after the Christmas recital.

Of course this means I need to finish up getting a few gifts more and stocking stuffers now.

Hello Target!

And as I work my up and down practically every aisle, mentally ticking off my list, I pass more than a few people slumped and slouched over their carts. It’s not a good look. It makes my back hurt just looking at them.

Oh.

Wait.

I’m slouched and slumped over my cart too.

No wonder my back hurts.

Standing up straight as I push my shiny red cart, I continue to work my way up and down practically every aisle.

The struggle.

The struggle is real.

If you’re still scratching your head over what to gift me, the girl who doesn’t have everything, a massage would be perfect…absolutely perfect.