Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

There are just some weeks when I just don't have as much to say as other weeks. It doesn't mean nothing happened, it just means I either can't share right now, or I just don't feel like typing. Laughing! It's not that I don't really feel like sharing, I'm just not sure how to put it all together. We had a great week, Mason had multiple auditions, Dave came home, however he came home sick, and that's not so good. And I have real estate going flipping crazy. That's great!!

It's memorial day weekend and that's always a little emotional. I'm so grateful that Dave came home alive, as I'm acutely aware of what it's like when your loved one does not. I have a close friend who's son did not come home from Iraq alive. It haunts me to this day.

As you know me, I would so much rather focus on the positive, and all we have to be grateful for. So with this memorial day, let me say thank you to all who have served and who continue to serve today - both actual members and their families who also serve. Those we have lost, and those who still serve and still place their lives on the line for our freedoms, for the benefits as Americans we oftentimes take for granted. I'm not happy with where our country is today politically, however I do love this country and all it stands for. I love the freedoms that we have, to be able to speak out, the right to vote for who we feel is the right representative of the people, and the fact that this country benefits us in so many other ways. America, you stand for so many great things, may you always serve the people who love you.

Monday, May 23, 2016

New Skills at the Spring Home Show

This last weekend was pretty epic. It was the Auburn Spring Home Show and Mason had a much bigger role at the cooking stage. Not only was he schedule to cook all three days, but this year he was invited to host the stage and the other chefs as well. We normally invite local chefs to bring their favorite recipe and do a cooking demo for the audience. Well, this time, we created Chopped Challenges creating mystery ingredients from products sold at our local farmers market. Our chefs had to draw a card to let them know if they were preparing an appetizer, entree, or dessert. We provided them with their mystery ingredients, set the timer for 30 minutes and they had to make it happen using our pantry and in front of a live audience. This is where Mason came in, as a Chopped Junior Champion, he chatted with the chefs, asked great questions, shared food tips and tricks, answered questions from the audience about his experience on Chopped Junior, he told jokes and truly entertained the audiences. As the weekend played out, he ended up doing an additional chopped challenge when one of our local chefs got sick so that put him at 4 live challenges, one cooking demo with his friend Drake, and he hosted 6 other challenges - Mason was one busy kid! It was impressive to watch Mason grow as a performer from one day to the next over such a short period of time, just three days. He told me at the end of the day on Friday, "Mom, this emceeing job is way harder than it looks, but I'm gonna get good at it, you'll see." I'd say he did! The organizer of the show presented him with a thank you card and a big fat check!

Last week was super busy, Mason did multiple television appearances for the home show, in addition setting up the kitchen stage, and doing his final workbooks for his science test coming up. Oh, and he signed with a talent agent! That was something he's been asking me if we could do, as he wants to expand his horizons and start doing some work that is not cooking related. Of course, as we met with the agents, all they wanted to talk about was cooking and his experience on Chopped! We decided to give it a try over the summer and see what comes his way, in addition to a few things we know are coming down the pike for him in the culinary arena. :)

Dave has been in central California working on Guard retention for the last two weeks and he is excited to be home this week. We are heading into a holiday weekend and I'm looking forward to a long weekend vibe. I hope your week is shaping up to be super great! 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates - So Sweet!

The sweetest gift from Alice
What a wild ride it's been the last 10-14 days! Just going back as far as last week, Dave and I were in hyper speed cleaning mode getting the house ready for our housewarming party on Saturday. There were still boxes to unpack, pictures to hang, walls to finish painting, rooms to put together, the backyard to clean and through all of that, we were still both working, Dave is still in school, and a long list of other minutia that sticks it's nose in to be tended to as well. By Friday night I was pooped out and basically set my intention that Saturday would be perfect - those who could come would come, and those who couldn't make it this time would come another time. The house would be great and it didn't matter what didn't get done. 

Saturday morning my day started early with last minute errands to pick up flowers from Lisa Pilz at the market, a quick trip to the hardware store and then to the dollar store for balloons. My phone started buzzing with people saying they were coming and bringing friends, while later, another texted saying they drank too much Sangria with their lover through the day and were still too drunk to make it! In any case, our first guest showed up promptly at 11 AM and we had people all day until the last guests left at about 10:45 PM. 

What made Saturday so noteworthy is that people showed up to celebrate our new home with us and to tell us how much we mean to them. Every single person who came on Saturday touched me, but there are a few who made a significant impact and think you will agree why. Al and Linda drove from Alameda to see us and celebrate with us. They have been such dear friends through the years and we simply do not see them enough - they made the effort to come to see us. Greg and Heather came with their family and planned the trip to sleep over and go see Mason cook at BerryFest on Sunday. They live a good two hours away as well and it meant the world to us that they finally got to see Mason do a live cooking demo. Not to mention they were also a huge help with dinner and our local friends are in love with all of them! Finally, my friend Alice, who many of you know paid me such a huge compliment years ago when she had been my roommate for 3 or 4 months, she told me, "When I first met you and you were always so positive, I thought, "there's no way that's real" that has to be her office persona. Well, now that I've lived with you, it really is real, you really are that positive and happy all the time!" - that Alice hopped on a plane and flew all the way from Seattle just to come see us and celebrate our house warming with us! SHE GOT ON A PLANE AND LEFT HER 3 YOUNG CHILDREN AT HOME TO COME SEE ME ON MOTHERS DAY WEEKEND! How does someone not feel loved to their very core when a friend shows up to say, "I'm so happy for you and want you to know how much you mean to me." WOW! Now this was a big deal, but it was compounded by the other people who showed up after a super long day and really just wanted to stay home and hang out with their family, and the other ones who worked out rides because they can't currently drive at the moment, and the driver who made multiple trips because her car would not hold everyone in a single trip, and the friend who stopped over early to bring more chips and white wine even though she wasn't planning to show up until later...are you getting the message here? I was overwhelmed with love and appreciation for the friend I have been, and the friend I hope I still am. 

And then on Sunday, Mother's Day, Mason did two cooking demos at BerryFest and he was showered with accolades that when people were done taking photos with him, they made their way to me to say, "Great job mom!" I just feel so blessed and rich in friendship that I don't think I can ever or will ever snivel about what my bank balance shows, or the thing I don't have. I think I would equate this weekend to what it must feel like to attend one's own funeral after living a life of giving to others, you get to know while still living how loved you really are. I'm just so filled with gratitude, for as long as this post is, the words still don't express the way my heart feels. I hope I can keep being the friend to all of you who came this weekend, and even those of you who couldn't make it the way you made me (and Dave) feel this weekend.

Sunday night, Dave made barbecue crab for dinner as he knows it's my favorite and tonight Mason is making me strawberry funnel cakes. I was just too tired to appreciate it last night. How can I feel anything but pure love? I am loved and it's bliss!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Busy-ness As Usual

Happy Monday!

This weekend was busy as usual, but something kind of cool happened for Mason. A few weeks ago Mason was invited to emcee a talent show at a kids fair. He accepted and was so excited! A few days before the event, he got the line up of talent and what they were performing and he took the time to write out clever introductions for each of them. I have a longtime friend who is a radio DJ here in Sacramento and he did several recorded introductions for Mason, and that just put him in a headspace to do an even better job.  I was so proud of him, he handled himself like a seasoned professional. As is to be expected, there were additions to the show and changes and he made notes and wrote introductions for the new talent on the spot. There is always a person or two that approaches me and tells me what a polished and eloquent boy Mason is for only 12 years old, but on Saturday, it was many! There were several people who came just to meet him and take pictures. This is certainly not any kind of huge celebrity, but if he keeps working hard like he did for this project, he will be a real celebrity some day. I've included a little snippet/montage of his performance on Saturday, see for yourself how comfortable he was and why I think he has a career outside of just cooking demos. 

Sunday he had another performance that provided the opportunity to ride a toilet in the Toilet Bowl Races. Mason was one happy 12 year old this last weekend! Of course I have video, but you have to go to Mason's page on Facebook to see it. 

This week, Dave and I are preparing the house for our housewarming on Saturday and of course, Sunday is Mother's Day. Mason and I will be at BerryFest in Roseville where he will be doing two cooking demos at 11 and 2. Yep, it's the crazy, awesome life we lead!