Posts tagged ‘Alexandra’
I know. You’re sick of Christmas and would like it (and all the leftover pine needles and credit card bills) to take a flying leap into the way distant future.
But I’ve got pictures and this blog show must go on. In not one, but three parts. Some of you might prefer waterboarding, but I have a soft spot for the holidays, so here goes…
We have hosted a lot of Christmases.
I can remember a year that we trekked down to Borrego Springs and pilfered a free tree on Christmas Eve, and one that we spent in San Francisco when a very young Daniel fleeced us all at poker, but other than that, I think Santa has found us right here, wrestling with the biggest turkey we can find every year since we first hosted the holiday in 1979.
That’s a lot of Christmases and a lot of turkeys. This year’s bird weighed in at thirty pounds!
This was a holiday filled with gratitude for me. Gratitude that Thanksgiving was on the early side this year and gave us an extra week to prepare. (Could someone please make a Constitutional Amendment along these lines?) Grateful that our faith allows us to celebrate Christmas in a deeper way than candy canes and red poinsiettas. And I was especially grateful this year, now that both boys are out of school and on their own – to have Taylor and Daniel home for Christmas. They hadn’t been here for a whole year!
This year’s only glitch was that poor Taylor fell sick about twelve hours after his arrival and the scourge did not lift until the morning we took him to the airport. He looked so bad that Aunt Gail wouldn’t let him near his usual domain of mashing the potatoes for Christmas dinner.
This meant more work for Daniel and Chris. And Gail’s reward for banishing Taylor from the kitchen was that she got three-layer-jello unmolding duty. She did it perfectly – guess who now has a lifetime kitchen assignment!
We had what has become a traditional Christmas Eve dinner at Ca Dario after going to church. Their rib-eye steak with canellini beans is killer.
Taylor was just barely well enough to sit up on Christmas morning:
I was patting myself on the back for coming up with those Furbys until Daniel took this year’s prize for creativity. Not only did he bestow the turkey hat upon the CE, he also came up with this gem:
Alexandra and Andy stopped by on Christmas Day and we took a break from shredding and cooking for a lovely winter walk with the dogs.
Phyllis and Gail hosted a lovely post-Christmas dinner. We enjoyed wonderful food and a blistering game of hearts in memory of Uncle Delbert.
As Christmases go, it was one for the books, or at least the blog. I hope yours was as merry and bright as ours!
More to come…
Very hard to believe that our Alexandra is 30!
Her friends and family kept her so busy with celebrations that I think she barely noticed the decade shift. I was lucky enough to be invited to one of the fetes; a tour of Madame Ganna Walska’s Lotusland in Montecito.
Alexandra’s dear friend, Claire, was visiting from Korea, and her mother, Carolyn and mother-in-law, Nancy, along with Pamela, Alexandra and I all bundled up on a damp June-gloom morning for our Lotusland visit. Tours are highly restricted, so you have to plan your Lotusland experience well in advance.
Lotusland is the magnum opus of opera singer Madame Ganna Walska. Her keen eye for wealthy husbands and real estate enabled her to purchase the 37 acres in Montecito for $40,000 in 1941. After divorcing her sixth husband, she turned to garden therapy in a big way and created a legacy that mirrors her larger-than-life persona – singular, eccentric and flamboyant.
The walking tour takes about two hours and since so few visitors are allowed at a time, you feel as if you have Lotusland all to yourself. It is a vast and astonishing place – very definitely worth the visit!
Afterwards, we went to lunch where Alexandra reigned over her subjects. It’s good, indeed, to be the queen!
Happy birthday, Alexandra – it only gets better from here!
Taylor turns 25 today. At 6:46 pm, to be precise. I’ve always figured it was because he wanted to be here in time for dinner as he is a boy who loves a good meal.
The world is SUCH a better place with him in it.
A few pix from his first birthday:
Tay Tay, I hope you have the happiest of birthdays. And I also hope that your friends tease you mercilessly over these pix
We gathered Wednesday night for two big good-byes: Victoria leaves tonight to start a Masters program at USC. And Daniel and his long-time friend, Hannah (they met when they were 3!) left Thursday morning on a two-week trip across the US to Boston. They made it to Arizona by Thursday evening, and to Alamosa, Colorado Friday night. I didn’t hear from them last night so they may have been without phone service (or, as I lay awake for hours worrying last night, either lying near-death in a culvert or being held hostage by marauding drug lords, take your pick…)
They’ve started a hilariously well-written (no, I’m not biased because I’m his mother) trip blog at
We feted them all with (what else?) a spaghetti dinner al fresco Wednesday evening. Which means that French chef Ashleigh made an Italian dinner for our German/Irish/Scandinavian family and hers (French/Irish as far as I know) with guests Hannah and her brother John (French/English?) Alexandra (Scandinavian/French) stopped by to bid the travelers farewell. Gotta love what passes for the melting pot around here.
Safe travels to all of you! We love you and will miss you! xoxoxo
Somehow I missed getting a photo of Marie-Christine. Maybe that means we need to name a chick after her…
Yesterday was Father’s Day, and, in addition to being splashed all over the blog (thanks for all the nice comments!) the CE enjoyed a lovely brunch and reveled in the phone calls from all the far-flung kids. Julia brought fresh-baked banana bread and Victoria made a pie and some amazing artwork, so it was a very sweet day.
Just a run-of-the-mill birthday, or so I thought. As they stack up, they seem less like a collection and more like, well, old age, I guess. I was planning to be happy with the gift of tyrannical tv remote appropriation (anyone up for an NCIS marathon?) but someone (not naming names, but Victoria comes to mind…with assistance from Ashleigh and the CE) stopped just a chicken feather short of declaring it a national holiday. And now, with not one, but two, birthday dinners and innumerable gifts later, I stand before you, another year older and woefully behind on writing thank-you notes.
Victoria and Ashleigh worked for hours and hours and hours on the second birthday dinner. The food was so amazing I want to go back and have it all over again!
It’s much easier to age when you’re lucky enough to have such wonderful friends and family around. I think my college roommate, Anne, summed it up best with this card:
Poor Soho. For her, it’s just another day. Hey, at least she’s not stressing over a tax deadline, right?
As many Polloplayer readers know, we celebrate Soho’s birthday with an every-other-year party. On the alternate years, we make a donation to DAWG’s pit bull spay and neuter program. Yes, Miss Tart is a philanthropist. You expected less?
There has been some confusion over exactly how old Soho is, and like any woman of a certain age, she is not talking. My records show she was born April 15, 2004, which makes her, in dog years, yikes, 49! I guess we need to start treating her with a bit more respect.
Before anyone calls the ASPCA and cries animal cruelty over a skipped birthday party, let me assure you that Soho will have a happy day. At least one walk, perhaps a car ride, and, most definitely, a birthday pizzle stick. And she did have a few celebrity sightings earlier in the week:
Victoria, who has cooked for us for the past two years, is busy preparing for the MCAT test and has handed off the baton – or spatula, as it may be – to her sister Ashleigh, who just returned to town. Ashleigh just happens to be a professional pastry chef – poor us! Note to the CE: call the carpenter to widen the doorways…
We invited Dave and Karen, Granny, and Alexandra – just returned from a trip to South Korea – to join us for Ashleigh’s debut in our kitchen. Pot de creme all around! Yum!
It’s sunny and 70 degrees here today, although I see that those poor little eagles in Decorah, Iowa, have snow in their nest this morning. Hang in there, East Coasters! Spring is just around the corner!
Yes, it’s the dead of winter, the East coast is buried beneath snow, Egypt is erupting in worrisome unrest and that pesky hawk continues to swirl overhead in hopes of a taste of chicken tartare. But for the moment, let’s put all that aside and focus on the REALLY important event of this week: Taylor’s 24th birthday!
Where the years have gone I have no clue, but it seems like just yesterday that my dutiful first-born son arrived ON his due date with his mile-long eyelashes and changed my life forever for the better.
Sweetie, this is for you:
And just to put the icing on the cake, so to speak, Victoria’s birthday was also this week and we were lucky enough to score an invite to her beautiful birthday breakfast. Nothing like lounging in the sun on the patio of the Four Seasons while the rest of the country is up to its ears in icicles. Many thanks to Michael and Marie-Christine for including us.
Last night the celebration continued at Alexandra’s cozy new abode, where she hosted an elegant little dinner party. Dessert was an amazingly decadent French concoction of chocolate, hazelnut, praline and macaroons in honor of Victoria’s birthday. A food crime of the highest order but worth every caloric bite!
In other news, blog correspondent Catherine sent this photo just to remind Hope and Autumn that there are much more clever and hard-working hens out there than them:
And lastly, but by no means least, friend Carly sent a photo of her new dog, a rescue lab aptly named Murphy S. Law after he was consecutively diagnosed with Parvo, then Pneumonia and then Bordatella. He’s healthy now and very, very lucky to have landed in such a loving home.
It’s that time of year again – cold, cold, cold! Wait a second – that would be EVERY time of the year here in coastal southern CA, wouldn’t it? Winter, high temps in the 60′s; summer, high temps in the 60′s.
Summer clothes remain stowed deep in the closet; I sit at the computer swathed in a sweater and wool socks. How I long for that 100 degree weather in NYC that everyone was complaining about. Just to prove I’m not making it up, this from yesterday’s LA Times:
Speaking of northern climes, here are two stunning photos that Emily sent from her recent trip to Iceland:
We braved the cold and ventured out to see Inception Monday night with a crew of young friends. The movie was an edge-of-your-seat serpentine stroll through the subconscious. Leonardo DiCaprio with furrowed brow, Ellen Page in her Juno outfits but sans the snappy comebacks, a smoldering Marion Cotillard, and a subdued performance from one of my favorite actors, Cillian Murphy. Remember him as the creepy bad guy from Batman Begins?
The movie was fun, but having dinner with Daniel, Hannah, Victoria, Alexandra and her friend, Rick, (see, Rick, I told you you’d be on the blog!) was even more fun:
Daniel returned to NYC on Wednesday to enjoy the city for a few weeks (and the warmer weather!) before he heads to South Korea to visit his friend, Amber. It was so nice to have him home!
Granny mentioned that the chicken blog has been a bit short on chicken updates lately, and the girls agree. We brought them crickets this afternoon to atone for our negligence.
While we were at the pet store buying crickets, a volunteer with B.U.N.S. (Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter) http://www.bunssb.org/ was on hand with a darling young rabbit who is seeking a home. You can only imagine how quickly the CE ushered me out of the store after he spied me in deep conversation about bunnykeeping.
We acquired a new addition to our chicken decor collection this week. Granny’s friend, Edie, brought us an egg box – I can’t tell whether it’s a reproduction or an original, but either way it’s very cool, and has a wonderful likeness of Amelia on it!
And there was another acquisition this week: I bought an ipad! My friend, Tara, has one and showed me the “Words with Friends” app that allows you to play a virtual Scrabble game online. Had to have it! Of course, the next day I saw a Wired magazine article entitled “iPad Owners Are ‘Selfish Elites.’ Critics Are ‘Independent Geeks.’ “
According to the article, ipad owners are “six times more likely to be “wealthy, well-educated, power-hungry, over-achieving, sophisticated, unkind and non-altruistic 30-50 year olds.” As unflattering as that portrait may be, I have to say I am thrilled just to be considered in a 30-50 year-old age group. Hopefully, that is not the only part of the profile I don’t fit in…
Meanwhile, instead of endeavoring to be more altruistic, I’ll be brushing up on my Scrabble skills so I can be worthy of a game with Tara!
The CE continues to cool his heels, so to speak. He’s had his appointments with the two surgeons we’ve been told are tops for performing the procedure he needs, and he is now deciding which one will wield the scalpel. Interestingly, each doc has a slightly different approach so it’s not as straightforward a decision as we would have expected. In either case, however, the CE is looking at two months on crutches, one of them with a full cast. Yikes! The dogs have not suffered in the least - they’ve enjoyed runs on the beach and lovely walks with some of their favorite friends.
One thing is for certain: the upcoming surgery means we won’t be visiting NYC anytime soon. A disappointment, for sure. Victoria painted this city scene for us as a surprise – it will be our consolation until we’re able to see the real thing.
Just to prove there IS life with two less-than-abled folks running the show, here are some pix from our weekend: