Tag Archives: birthdays

Celebrating… friendship

It’s been sunny and cool here in Southern California. I spent Saturday with my friend Bonnie in celebration of her birthday, and went to see the Dan Eldon exhibit in Santa Monica. It was small but worth the trip. We had a late lunch at Anisette Brasserie, which was delicious and beautifully appointed. The restaurant was in a renovated bank building, so there were high ceilings, and they’ve imported tiles and different things from France to give it a French “brasserie” feel. We ordered several things off of the menu and shared… everything was delicious… my choice were the mussels, and they were absolutely delicious!

This weekend I picked up a couple of graphic novels… proving once again what a geek I really am. And, proving also that I am consistent in my tastes, I picked up a book that I already had… Rising Stars : Born In Fire (Vol. 1), by J. Michael Straczynski, who is also the creator of Babilon 5 (though I never watched the series… somehow television lost its appeal early in my marriage, since my husband’s viewing habits were mostly limited to sports networks and perhaps the news… and then when Gabriel was born, kid’s networks and the science and/or discovery channels–which I do enjoy). I have Vol. 1, which is a compilation of the first eight comics of the series… there are four more compilations of this sort, which I can never seem to find more of in the comic book stores (but was able to find on Amazon).

Another graphic novel I picked up was The Last One, which was written by J.M. deMatteis and illustrated by Dan Sweetman… the story is right up my alley (and fabulous in my opinion)… it’s about an angel… the last of the “old ones”… still living amongst humans… it’s a lovely story (though somewhat dark and gritty yet filled with hope), and it’s also beautifully illustrated… beautifully lined/penned and colored.

I’m still working on my February chapbook pages… they’re taking a bit longer to put together as each page has eight eyelets attached (which means hole-punching… attaching and setting each of them) and also five “danglies” per page that also require eyelets (for a total of 13 eyelets per page), which then need to be attached to the page with leather string. Me and my bright ideas…

Pssst… plotting a birthday excursion…

Each year my friend Bonnie does something special for my birthday. It usually involves some sort of excursion somewhere and good food. This year I’ve decided to pay back in kind and take her to the Dan Eldon traveling exhibit, which is being hosted at the Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery in Santa Monica and closes this Saturday. Looks like we’ll be getting there just in the nick of time. Now that I’ve got the excursion part figured out, I have to figure out where a good lunch spot would be. Any suggestions?

In gratitude… of friends and celebrations…

My friend Bonnie picked Gabriel and me up today and treated us to a wonderful excursion to a local phenomenon called The Anti-Mall, which is actually a two-part (The Camp and The Lab) outdoor shopping experience separated by a boulevard.

We ate at a restaurant called the Old Vine Café (click on photo above to visit their website), which has a very good lunch menu (and they serve breakfast ’til 3PM!), though we did have to wait for quite a while for a table for three inside.  It was worth the wait, though, as the food was delicious.  We shared the Baby Spinach Salad (Fresh Spinach, Fresh Berries, Pine nuts, Goat Cheese & Honey  Balsamic Vinaigrette), Caprese of Mozarella Buratta (Buratta, Flash Fried Arugula, Grape Tomatoes & Citrus Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil) and a ‘Just Cheese’ Panini (Brie and Cheddar Cheeses served with Tomato Sauce for Dipping).



Everything was delightful… flavorful and interestingly nuanced with herbs, spices and oils.  They obtain their produce from an organic farm in Rainbow (San Diego County) which has a produce drop subscription service that you can sign up for if you are interested.  “The Camp” itself is a place to behold, with very “green” architecture and building materials, and it was a delight to walk through it and discover its gems.

 

After sharing a couple of fabulous desserts, a lovely creamy creme brulé (which isn’t listed on their online menu) and the Cheese Mousse Crepe (Stuffed with a Sweet Artisan Ricotta Cheese Mousse, garnished with Mandarin Orange Coulis), we walked around a bit more and then headed to The Lab across the street for further investigation.  

We discovered a cache of shops on the other side, and I found a pair of convertible fingerless-gloves-come-mittens at Urban Outfitters perfect for my upcoming trip to Western Canada.  The eco-theme was prevalent here too, making use of the “recycle-reuse” genre, with many found-object amalgamations, including a really cool mosaic divider wall.

After a leisurely walking tour of the place, we left for our final destination, the Mitsuwa Market Place, which is a few blocks away.  I was surprised to see such a huge array of Japanese shops inside the  nondescript building, which housed everything from a grocery store to stationery and book shops to toy vendors.  I marvel, always, at the Japanese esthetic, and their ability to marry form and function with such poetic sensibility.

My artsy fartsy side was quite thrilled as well as I scored a European style clip dispenser and a box of clip refills, which I’d almost ordered ages ago from an overseas source in Germany, but balked when the shipping cost was going to cost more than the actual items I wanted to purchase.  I was thrilled that I could now use those funky little clips pulled off of documents received from some of the foreign associates I’d dealt with over time but couldn’t make use of because I didn’t have the gizmo to attach them with.  I left with a bagful of warm, roasted chestnuts for the drive home.  Bonnie is my favorite adventuress to go exploring with… I am grateful to have met her through a previous workplace and more grateful still that we are friends.

 


Surveying horizons…

Another year on the odometer of my life just clicked today. I spent the day cataloguing my books… avoidance tactics, I’m sure, but pleasing to me nonetheless. I figured I could at least gift myself with time, and to do with it what I wanted to, on this day of non-celebration. Pomodoro cooked tonight… Steve paid.

This image kept popping up on one of the web pages, and I thought it a fitting portrayal of how I feel at the moment. Looking ahead toward a horizon that stretches before me, standing somewhat uncertainly at its shores, but determined to move forward to claim the good that awaits.

Tangents… and the journey to my essential self…

So much has changed in such little time, in my little insignificant life… and yet here I am, at the cresting of this new year (and also an approaching birthday) and find that the path that I’d been walking on has summarily disappeared… my marriage is dissolving… I have been fired from my (deplorably boring, yet vexing) job… and I am at a crossroads… a place where I can hopefully reinvent my life in such a way as to be pleasing to myself, but also in alignment with the larger-than-myself task I feel I’ve come here to accomplish.

Oftentimes I feel like I’ve squandered precious time, meandering through what seems like endless tangents on my way to some mysterious, inscrutable place, and yet that is the beauty of it, I think. Every moment that I have lived and experienced has only been wasted if I did not take notice of it, and revere it for what it was. Gathering up pieces of myself, and leaving some behind, as I trudge onward in my journey, I can say that each moment has brought me closer to the essence of who I am… the essential me… and whether arms opened to receive me, or by others was pushed away, each has given me a greater understanding of my Self. And for that I am grateful.

Birthdays… and the boy with the refined palate…

Sweet mercies that my child loves food that is not mainly focused on mechanically pulverized and breaded chicken meat and french fries. He turned 13 today and his meal request was baked salmon, rice and wilted garlic-y spinach/arugula with pine nuts. I love my Calphalon cookware.

Oh… if you are curious about the spinach/arugula dish: a wooden spoon scoop of ghee (clarified butter) and a good dash of olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pan once melted, at medium heat, toss a couple of thinly sliced shallots, a couple of handful of pine nuts and a few cloves of garlic (chopped) into the oil; stir until shallots are transparent; pour in about a half cup of white wine, several dashes of soy sauce, stirring until somewhat reduced, and add a half package each of rinsed baby spinach and arugula, stirring until wilted. Season with salt & pepper to taste. I like to accompany this with yukon gold (roasted) garlic -with a touch of wasabi- smashed potatoes. If you’ve got something in the oven (roast, fish…) you can add a head of garlic (with the top chopped off to expose the cloves), generously doused in olive oil and foil wrapped, to roast along with the meat for use with the smashed potatoes. The trick to really good (and unlumpy) mashed potatoes is to thoroughly mash the potatoes prior to adding any butter and/or milk, unless of course you want it chunky.

And… do as you wish, but I will buy organic produce over “traditionally farmed” produce any day. I may be deluding myself, but I think that there is a good possibility that the flavor of the produce, as well as the nutritional value, is superior in organically grown foods.

Breakfasts, birthday bashes and other revelry

This morning I awoke and headed over to the Gypsy Den in Santa Ana to have breakfast with my pal Kelly Kilmer. Kelly and I don’t get to see much of each other since she lives in West L.A. and I don’t get out much, so when ever she teaches a class at The Art Bar in Santa Ana, we take advantage of meeting up and chowing down on some eggs and bagels together… and the mug of hot chocolate… to die for!

We shot the breeze for a couple of hours and then exchanged birthday goodies… Kelly’s birthday was at the end of October but I missed meeting with her around that time so I brought her giftie along with me to breakfast… she have me my birthday present as well, so we had fun opening and perusing.

The afternoon was spent at Boomers, celebrating Gabriel’s 12th birthday. We tried to have the party at the bowling alley, but by the time I called, the only party package for the day that was available was a 10:30am timeslot. The boys had fun playing in the arcade and running around the park. While they did that, I sat at a table and sketched a gargoyle.Let me elaborate on the significance of the gargoyle. I had my first coaching session with my KMCC coach on Saturday morning. I’m glad I waited to start until after the holidays, since havoc reigned from much of November through the beginning of January. I now am able to re-focus on The Gothica Project, which has lain unattended to for several months now. Bonnie and I decided that I needed to inject some “fun” energy into this project, because I’ve been taking it so seriously and my perfectionism was keeping me from moving forward, and some “Arnold” energy to act as a protective force when I was stalled by my inner critic… so I decided that gargoyles would embody both aspects of these energies, acting both as a protective force, and also, in their “impish” incarnations, embody a “fun” energy. I decided that I would sketch a plethora of gargoyles and they would impishly appear throughout the pages of the Gothica book.

Later on Saturday, my friend Bonnie and I went to an English tearoom in Costa Mesa for afternoon tea. The place is called the Tea & Sympathy Cafe… the teas were very lovely and we had a three-tiered tray of quiche, finger sandwiches and some tiny desserts… one was a chocolate covered petit-four with chocolate cake and raspberry mousse filling which tasted wonderful!

Birthday feasts…

Gabriel and my birthdays aren’t even a week apart, so we went to The Melting Pot for a celebratory dinner tonight. I’m so stuffed I could have been wheelbarrowed home… two hours’ worth of eating… Wisconsin Cheese Fondue… Caesar Salad… Seafood, Meat/Poultry and Ravioli Fondue… capped off with a Bailey’s Irish Cream and Milk Chocolate Fondue. Mmmmm… urp! Delish! A once a year extravaganza. We would have made the Romans proud (good thing I’ve started riding my bike to work).

More birthday wishes


Karoly (a.k.a. “Charlie”) Csicsmann
9/6/1924 – 10/5/1991
POW camp, Siberia
circa 1945-1950

I was a daddy’s girl, through and through, no doubt about that. My dad was many things, perhaps, but he was always a good father to me. He was funny, bawdy, kind, generous, amazingly intelligent, irreverent, enigmatic, patient. It was funny how he could be so blatant about some things and yet much of his inner life remained much of a mystery. As the card to the left shows (click and you will read a note from his co-workers), he was quite something. He taught me to swear in six languages. Instead of getting angry at me for drinking, he’d revel in how I’d drink most of everyone under the table (especially taking pride in the fact that many of them were guys). Like MacGyver, he could fix anything. He would give you the shirt off of his back if he thought you needed it more than he did. Yup, he was something.

Had he lived much past his 67th birthday, he would be turning 83 tomorrow. I miss him… every day. Not a day goes by that I don’t still think of him, it just doesn’t smart as much. I wonder how much longer he would have been around had he not worked in a cigarette factory breathing in the chemicals and tobacco, or smoked Camel plains.