Monday, July 27, 2015

Another Successful State Fair in the Books

We wrapped another successful year at the California State Fair. Mason did three demos instead of two as someone cancelled and they called to see if he could step in. It worked out! Mason did his first demo from the outdoor kitchen in the garden and the last two from the kitchen stage inside.  The impromoptu demo was especially fun because nothing about it was planned. Mason got to go into the State Fair kitchen and just find some ingredients to whip something up. He made a mixed berry and waffle parfait. His scheduled demo later that day was the same recipe he did for his very first cooking demo, Funky Spaghetti. All in all, it was a fun time.

On Saturday, Dave and I had the opportunity to go see the 1980s band 38 Special at the fair, it was really a fun date night. Sunday was a get-caught-up on all the stuff around the house day. It's almost time for Mason to go back to school, and not just any school, but the start of middle school. But before we get back to school, we have a few more summertime adventures coming up. I'll share more later! Have a great week.

Monday, July 20, 2015

When Things Settle Down a Bit...

Have you ever said that, "When things settle down a bit I'll be able to..." I don't know about you, but things rarely settle down enough for me to plan some whatever thing I think I can't do now. The fact of the matter is, if I want it to happen, I just need to put it on my calendar and there you are, that is why I'm so busy.

Mason asked me the other day what a mid-life crisis is, it went like this:
Mason: "Mom, what is a midlife crisis?"
Me: "When people get to the mid part of their lives, they start to feel like they didn't do what they wanted to do and maybe they feel like their time is running out to do what they dreamed they would do with their lives. Usually there is plenty of time if they would just get creative and take action."
Mason: "I think I am having a young life crisis."
Me: "Really, why?"
Mason: "It feels like 2015 just started and now it's half way over. I feel like I'm not doing enough to make my life the way I want it. What if I run out of time?"
Me: (laughing!) "Mason, you are only 11. Though none of us know when our time will come, just live life like you have your whole life ahead of you and I bet you will reach your dreams and far beyond."
Mason: "I don't know mom, 2016 is coming up fast."
Who the heck is this kid? I'm still shaking my head at how deep he is sometimes, because most of the time he his laughing about the word "erector" - you know, it sounds like...

My point to all of this is that Mason is so much like me, I want to say yes to everything, too. I want to learn new things, try stuff that looks like fun, go places I've never been and in general, I want to experience everything, well, almost everything - the fun stuff for sure! I'm glad he has that same sense of adventure but at the same time, I'm not sure feeling like you are running out of time at just 11 years old is so good either. Busy really is a choice, but for me, I choose to be involved, I choose to make a difference, and I choose to live every day to the fullest. So if we are overdue for a coffee, lunch or night out, let's get it on the calendar, there is no sense in waiting until things settle down a bit - they won't!

Monday, July 13, 2015

It's State Fair Time!

It's Monday again...not that that's a bad thing, it kind of just is what it is, right? Actually, us Partaks have a busy next couple of weeks coming up. Mason is cooking at the CA State Fair tomorrow and the following Tuesday, Dave is headed out of town to the east coast for vacation and I am busy with real estate and all of Mason's antics. In addition to a busy cooking demo season, Mason is wrapping up his swim team experience and football is starting practice tonight. I love the physical conditioning football provides so I told Mason I would train with him, while he is at practice from 6-8 each night, I will take my yoga mat and do sit ups, push ups, stretch and walk the pond. Maybe with can both get in better shape.

I had one of the best real estate experiences of my career yesterday. I have a couple who are retired and looking to relocate form S. CA to our neck of the woods. They have made it known that they do not text or have smart phones so we have been building an awesome relationship via the telephone. I have been looking at properties and sending them photos and I commented that I wished I had an extra phone that I could send them so we could video link via FaceTime. Not 2 hours later I got a call that the wife looked up how to do it on her Mac and in one more hour I was in Nevada City walking them through a prospect real time! They felt so empowered and I was tickled to show them how awesome technology can be. Now they can "see" the homes they want to look at all from the comfort of their living room. Isn't this the coolest story?

Now I'm off to set my week up so little to no tasks fall off my plate. Have a dynamite week and Happy Monday!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Happy 4th of July with Honors!

Happy Belated 4th of July! We had a really lovely holiday weekend, jam packed with good food, great friends, fireworks and fun! 

Dave had Friday off and we had a low key family day. On Saturday, Mason cooked at the Napa County Fair early in the day so we just made the trip there and back to get home in time to enjoy our small town 4th of July celebration. Steve and Ro were in town and Mason was set to receive the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award for his work on his school kitchen. The presentation left a little to be desired, but holy cow, the awards he received were stellar! He received a Certificate of Recognition from Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, two Certificates of Special Congressional Recognition signed by Doug LaMalfa (member of Congress) and Tom McClintock, a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Auburn, a Certificate of Recognition from the State Assembly signed by Frank Bigelow and another from the Senate signed by Ted Gaines, and finally a plaque engraved with his name rom the Auburn Chamber of Commerce. I didn't even know what to say when I saw all of this, except, "Good for you Mason!" It made me think I need to start writing his resume now so I don't have to remember all of this when he tires to do it later. I think it will be interesting for his future employers to look at his resume and say, "Really? You started working when you were 8 years old?" The answer will be a resounding, "Yes!" Dave and I are very proud of him, but you all have to know, for all he's accomplished, he is still 11 years old and mostly a huge pain in our butts! Laughing!

It was a great holiday and now it's time to get back to work and school. Mason is still swimming and it looks like he may go back to playing football. We'll see. For now, I'm looking forward to seeing Julie and our high school friend who lives in Italy tomorrow for some fun in the sun with all of our kids. Additionally, Mason and I have two Park Pass and a Picnic episodes to edit and post - stay tuned!

My motivator for today is something I heard a fitness trainer say and it resonated with me, "If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you." Yep, I need to challenge myself physically as I feel a need to improve (change). Happy Monday!

Monday, June 29, 2015

30 Year High School Reunion

Welcome to Summertime!
Indeed it is hot, hot, hot! We have been in the high 90s and this week we're looking at 100+ temps every day. I know some people are really suffering and not liking it, but I love it! I love to be outside when it's hot and I can be at the river, I love to be outside in the late evening when it is still toasty, but not hot...oh yes, I love this time of the year. Do you? 

This weekend was jam packed! We started the weekend off with Dave's birthday and friends who came into town for dinner. Dave and Mason headed to San Rafael early Saturday morning for a gaming tournament while I stayed home and prepared to go to Vacaville where my 30 year high school reunion was happening. I had no plans to go to the actual reunion but I had the pleasure of spending Saturday evening with eleven year old Victor from Italy. 

My girlfriend from high school is here with her son and he needed a date. We made pizza, played with Legos and all in all had a great night. On Sunday Dave and Mason went to the NASCAR race while Julie hosted a more informal reunion at her house. Dave dropped in on their way home from the race and Mason got to meet Victor and spend some time getting to know him. It was a busy weekend and to say we were all very tired come Sunday night would be a gross understatement. 

Today it's back to the grind of work, work, and work - you know, job, house, school, kids, swimming for Mason and getting ready for several cooking demos for Mason in July. He is cooking in Napa on July 4th and at the State Fair on the 14th and 21st. At our local July 4th Family Fun Festival, Mason will be receiving the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award for his work on his school kitchen, Senator McClintock will be presenting the awards, pretty cool, huh?

Having taken a trip down memory lane this last weekend I realized that I'm really pleased with where I am as a woman and my family life. I have an awesome husband and son, great friends and I will never take that for granted. There was someone this weekend who really screwed me years ago and it bothered me to be in the same room with her, really bothered me. It bothered me because I don't want to have to be in the presence of people who do not have personal or professional ethics - as least so far as I know this to be true. Of course, we live our lives in the presence of those people, but for the most part we don't have personal experience with them. I think being able to revisit our high school days can be a really good thing if for nothing else, to be able to recognize that we're doing okay, and in my case, far better than expected. Happy Monday!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Happy Monday!

Yesterday was Father's Day and Mason and I did lots of things to make Dave's day special. We let (even encouraged him) to sleep in, set him up with his favorite breakfast of chicken fried steak, country potatoes and biscuits & gravy, in addition to cards and balloons. My favorite part of the day was that he took a nap, he has been working so hard that I know his body and spirit needs the rest. 

We have plans today to venture out for our next installment of Park Pass & a Picnic and Mason is totally excited that Dave is coming along. We realized in post production that the spot Mason and I visited, the Oregon Creek Day Use area was not the spot we were actually looking for, so we plan to revisit that today and see if we can find the granite slab water slides! But the park part of our adventure today is Malakoff Diggins State Park, this state park is preserving the largest hydraulic mining site in CA, this will not only be fun, it will be educational! If you haven't seen our first few videos, I'll post them at the end of this post and you can always go to to see them as well. I edited these first few videos, but I think Mason is going to take over with this one, so let's see what he's learned in the technical department.

I'm going to go pack our picnic and we are heading out, one of the things we are learning is that it is better to get an early start, not only to beat any crowds, but we give ourselves a cushion just in case we come across some gem we didn't expect - more time to explore! Have a great Monday and take time to be kind, smile, say a pleasant hello to someone you don't know, or send a text to someone you haven't heard from in some time. Big smiles and lots of love! Kathy
Video One - American River Confluence

Video Two - Oregon Creek Day Use Area

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summertime Plans

Happy Monday Friends!

I love summertime but it's a challenge between work, keeping Mason busy and out of trouble and making memories as a family. Dave's summer is a little less complicated as his work is constant and his fun is mapped out and planned in (gaming tournaments, NASCAR, and his trip to the east coast for a game convention). I put Mason through what we called "Video Editing Production" summer camp in which I gave him the same hand outs I was given in my college classes and hoped to teach him what I know. Well, he learned it alright! He produced his first video in minutes. The other thing we decided to do was to take more advantage of our CA State Parks pass, we are going to try to visit some of the state parks within 50 miles of where we live and Mason will v-log about it (v-log is a video log, or a blog that utilizes video vs all text). The idea is called "Park Pass & a Picnic" and he and I will both review the parks with visit and also share what we packed for our picnic. It's a creative way to spend some time together and also use video skills, camera skills, build memories and get to know more about all the state parks in CA have to offer. The park pass is only $125 and it's good for the full year. My thoughts also include the idea that with a park pass and some creativity using what you already have in your fridge/pantry, you can have a day out with your kids for a relatively low cost. Sure, as we head out a bit further and reach that 50 mile one way trip, fuel will factor in to the bottom line, but more than the cost, I'm looking at the value of the summer memories Mason and I are making. Today we are off to Oregon Creek in Nevada County, Mason found this one while searching for swimming holes. It is marketed as a park that has beautiful granite slabs and natural rock water slides...we shall see and we'll be posting our video reviews this week. 

Dave is at annual training for the Guard and I think this is his hardest two weeks out of the year. He works 7 days a week from sun up to well past sun down. It sucks, there just isn't any other way to say it! He will hopefully be home late Friday and with Mason swimming on Saturday, he will have the house to himself to relax - I hope! There is the possibility he will have to go into the office on Saturday, I'm keeping my fingers crossed, it doesn't happen that way, but who knows with the military. Speaking of Mason swimming, Saturday was his first swim meet, it was the time trials in which all the kids needed to swim each of the events to set their times. Mason has never done the butterfly stroke but he watched the other kids and got in the pool when it was his turn and did it. I was so proud of him! He did two laps and he didn't quit. The other boys were nearly finished when he was just starting back on his second lap but he didn't quit, he didn't resort to an easier, more familiar stroke, he swam the butterfly stroke all the way to the end. I don't know if I would have stayed with it, but I'm really proud of him that he did. Have a great week and always know, you are stronger than you think you are, try to eek out just one or two more of whatever it is you think you can't do.