Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Week of Summer Vacation

DFJ’s birthday always happens to fall on the week right after school ends. There is a downside to this: making birthday plans on the last week of school is an added stress to the craziness of the week. The upside: we get to celebrate his birthday and the beginning of summer for me, which means that it can turn into a week-long affair.

Last week was my real summer break because I started teaching summer school this week (so far it's going good...). It was a special week and I feel like it was too good to keep to myself, so allow me share it with all of you.    

I pretty much just laid back and relaxed… made chocolate-cherry panini for breakfast, got some reading time in, wrote a blog post, made birthday week plans, did a little bit of packing, and ended the day with a quick workout.

Made DFJ some special blueberry buttermilk pancakes (recipe from Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food), eggs, and bacon for breakfast.

Took DFJ to a golf course and even played 9 holes with him. It was my first time and although I was extremely horrible, we both had a great time.

Dinner at Tagaris Winery. Great atmosphere, good food, good wine, and a handsome date.

Happy Birthday, D!

DFJ and I went on the Manhattan Project B-Reactor tour. This was the facility that produced all the Plutoniom-239 for nuclear weapons used in World War II. The reactor core was impressive. It is a powerful machine that converted uranium into deadly plutonium-239, built by hand on the site by brilliant scientists, hardworking manpower, and support staff. However, it is very sad to know how many lives were destroyed by this plutonium used to power the atomic bomb that was exploded on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945.       

We had this pancake sandwich for lunch and took naps. Then we signed the lease for our new apartment that we’re moving to in a couple of days. Yikes! I have not fully packed yet and so not ready for cleaning two apartments.   

I went on a long walk while on the phone with my mom and headed towards the gym to go to my friend, Roslyn’s, Sh’Bam class. Dang, she’s good! I had so much fun! After getting some dance exercise I did some quick weight-lifting and walked back home… that was when I listened to my voice messages and found out that my friend, Tuck, passed away. Devastating. DFJ met up with me on the walking path and we walked some more… I was in a state of disbelief. We then went to Baskin Robbins to get some Baseball Nut, Tuck’s favorite ice cream flavor. He and I planned on getting together for some ice cream this summer, but now I will have to settle for enjoying Baseball Nut with memories of him.

We had another easy day… I made some phone calls to get more information about what happened to my friend. Workouts and baking are always great therapies for me during sad times and distress. So, DFJ and I went on a run and I took my sweet time baking one layer of his cake when we got home. Early that evening, I went to Happy Hour Yoga at my studio and enjoyed a nice, juicy class.  

I started the day right by baking the second layer of DFJ’s cake and leaving him to take it out of the oven to go off to a great yoga class. Right after class, I went to the Farmer’s Market and bought some delicious goodies… radishes, beets, onions, zucchini, peas, cherries, and eggs. When I got home I did some paperwork organizing and more packing. Ugh! This is only the beginning and it seems like it will never end.

In the afternoon, I made two different batches of frosting for the cake. Then we prepared for a night of pizza, beer, and cake by going on a quick run and circuit workout before meeting up with great friends to celebrate DFJ’s birthday.

We went to Ethos Bakery, owned by my friends Angela and Scott. This bakery is something else… check out that huge wood-fired oven and the mouth-watering pizzas. Everything was delicious! Each time I go to Ethos for pizza, I am reminded of Angela’s passion and genuine concern for quality and what good food should taste like… fresh, local, homemade, organic, and wood-fired! 

The cake… I used a pizza stone as a cake stand and pitched toothpicks around the cake to put the foil tent over so the cake is well-covered as it travelled from the apartment to Ethos. Obviously, I need to invest in a cake stand and a cake carrier. The cake was delicious nonetheless and everyone loved it. Recipe share coming soon!

DFJ and I hiked the Manastash Ridge. It was a killer uphill all the way to the top! I do not remember the last time my butt was kicked this hard on a hiking trip. When we got to the top, it was well worth all the effort because the view was gorgeous. We walked along the ridgeline trail for another mile just because. It was quite a long way, but it was lovely… desert lovely. Snacks were enjoyed under the shade of a big tree with the sounds of birds chirping everywhere around us. Hiking on the steep downhill was scary… I chose to walk on the weedy and bumpy off-trail because I am deathly scared of tripping and slipping to my demise. When the savior off-trail tracks disappeared I was left with no choice but to take careful steps down the scary, sandy trail… with some crab-walking going on. If you could’ve seen me, you would’ve thought I was the most pathetic looking creature. What is it with me and downhills?!?

We drove to the pit and enjoyed an hour of floating in the water and basking in the sun, and hang time with family friends and their beautiful little girls. Then I was off to my friend, Hayley’s, bridal shower. It was lovely and I am so proud of having a wonderful friend like her. Kevin is a lucky man!

We hung out with our friends’ little girls for a little bit before heading up to Bill and Sally’s for a nice Father’s Day brunch. The rest of the morning was spent visiting and catching up on what’s going on. Bill and Sally are very dear to me and every now and then I reminisce the good old days of living in their farm.    

This was the highlight of the visit… Sally’s super-cute parrot who believes that Zoe is her Momma! Can you believe how well-behaved Zoe is? She just lets the parrot cuddle against her and has no thoughts of devouring her, whatsoever. Such a sweet, sweet dog!

When we got home, the rest of the day was spent planning for summer school lessons, blogging, cooking, and reading my latest book.  

Do take note that this week is not a typical one… it sounds too wonderful to be true, doesn’t it? I savor these moments in my life… being with special people that I love, making food, eating good food, getting a good workout, and putting all my worries aside for the time being. 

The passing of my friend last week reminded me how important it is to take time to let the people you love and appreciate know how you feel because you never know what could happen tomorrow.     


  1. This sounds like such an awesome week! You definitely spent a fabulous amount of time just living life and enjoying it. Perfect.

  2. Look at that cake! Wow! And the pizza looks phenomenal. What a great week!

  3. That does sound like a great week. Even though there was a tragedy, you seem to be living life to its fullest. I laughed when I read about you crab-walking down. Don't worry, I've been there. That is what my downhill always looks like.
    And what a birthday! What a lucky guy!

  4. Well some people I can see had a great time. So good for you both to have sometime to relax and enjoy yourselves!


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