Jane Austen

Yay!

I’m going to see a play.

A real theatrical production called “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.”

Can you tell I’m excited?

It’s the “sequel” to “Pride and Prejudice” and is set in Victorian England.

Guess who I’m going with. . .

No, not Barbara or Michelle.

Or Tejas.

I’m going with my mom.

That’s right!

Because we both are Jane Austen fans and there’s nobody I want to see it more with than her.

Of course, knowing me as well as she does, my mom just had to ask –

“ARE YOU DRESSING UP?”

Ha!

She knows me TOO well.

Of course I would love to (and I scoped out Natasha’s Attic for costume ideas), but walking around downtown San Jose at night in Victorian clothing is not something I’m eager to experience.

So we’ll skip the costume.

But I will wear a nice dress!

Of course, no trip to downtown would be complete without a visit to Café Stritch and their live jazz music.

Woo hoo!

I’m seeing Jane Austen reimagined with my mom!

What could be better?

Raclette!

My parents gave me a nice little check for my birthday.

I proceeded to buy a very fancy raclette grill from Amazon:

Tejas’ ex-girlfriend Yvonne once served me a raclette dinner and I WAS HOOKED!

So I got all the groceries I needed from Whole Foods, including about $40 of raclette cheese.

I bought about 10 different kinds of cured meats including pancetta, sopressata, and calabrese.

Yum!

I also bought a bunch of picked foods – everything from tasty little cornichons to spicy pickled green beans.

I even bought Bubbies sauerkraut, which was an unusual choice for raclette, but one which I thought my family would appreciate.

Since my dad is a vegetarian, there was no cooking raw meat on the grill.

We used it only to melt the cheese into a pile of gooey goodness.

We poured it over toasted bread, new potatoes, pickled food, grilled veggies, and cured meats.

We added sauces like lemon basil, honey mustard, and teriyaki.

And boy was it all yummy!

I even bought two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc for everyone to sip on.

The only disappointing part of the meal was that my youngest son missed it because he was at a friend’s house.

My eight year old nephew declared that it was THE BEST MEAL HE EVER HAD!

And, quite honestly, I had to agree with him.

But I literally fell asleep on my bed, in my street clothes, with the lights on thirty minutes after dinner.

Nothing like a full belly to rock oneself to sleep, eh?

Here’s a pic post-meal (I totally forgot to take one before we gorged ourselves).

A BIG THANK YOU TO YVONNE, who taught me everything I need to know about raclette and introduced me to it so I could introduce my family to it!

Mwah!

 

UPDATE:

We LOVED raclette so much, we had it a second night and I managed to snap a pic before we devoured it.  YUM!

Say cheese!

My birthday present to myself is actually a present for my family.

Months ago, when Tejas was dating Yvonne, she made a FABULOUS raclette dinner for us.

Raclette is a special cheese from Switzerland/France that becomes super gooey when heated.

It’s very tasty and is served over pickles, boiled potatoes, grilled vegetables, cured meats, etc.

I nearly died and went to heaven when Yvonne made it for us.

Now, I’m going to attempt to make it for my family.

I bought my raclette grill from Amazon for like $120.

I then proceeded to buy meats, cheese, vegetables, and sauces from Whole Foods to the tune of $200.

I know.

I overindulge.

Then I get mad when my boys complain because I put so much effort and money into making a nice meal for the family.

This meal is perfect because while my dad is a vegetarian, he does eat cheeses and I imagine he’ll love eating raclette cheese poured over various pickled green beans, cornichons, potatoes, and grilled vegetables.

I’m hoping the novelty of cooking their own food at the table will encourage my boys to enjoy what is an unusual meal for them.

Considering all the different meats I bought, there should be something that appeals to them – prosciutto, sopressata, calabrese, pepper crusted roast beef, black forest ham, pancetta, mortadella, and more!

And then there’s the sauces: green goddess dressing, carrot-ginger miso dressing, teriyaki sauce, madras curry sauce, lemon basil simmer sauce, and honey mustard.

So cross your fingers and pray that everyone enjoys the meal.

Lord knows I will be disappointed if they don’t.

Doing the splits

In retrospect, it was probably unnecessary for me to do the splits in the garage.

It was already a rager of a party.

But my splits were joined by others’ splits and before you know it, EVERYONE was doing the splits.

And by EVERYONE, I mean all two of us!

LOL

I have no clear recollection of what I drank or how much.

What I DO remember is the nasty little hangover I had the next morning.

I drove myself home, crawled into bed, and slept for the next 4 hours, pretty confident that I was dying.

As it turns out, I didn’t die, my headache went away, and I was left voraciously hungry.

Just so you know, I didn’t IMMEDIATELY remember that I did the splits.

No.

I was walking around wondering why my legs were so sore when the memory came flooding back to me.

Falling over while doing the splits in front of Halloween party guests.

Here’s the pic to prove it. . .

One Lucky Baby

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!

I was born first to Paul and Sherri, two teenagers living in Sonoma. They accidentally conceived me in a treehouse during their eighth grade year in school.

Sherri was sent to live with her aunt and uncle in San Jose to await my birth.

I was born on November 2nd. I was a forceps baby and I came out with a banged up, scratched up head (see pic below) but no worse for wear.

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender(1)Alice and “Mario”, my parents, got the word that I’d been born and I’d be joining my 5 month old sister Lisa. My dad got to the hospital and looked at his itty bitty newborn daughter and declared that I looked like a frog on account of my legs stuck out sideways.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 4.19.46 PMI will forever be grateful to Sherri and Paul for putting me up for adoption. I was lucky enough to meet them when I was 22 and they have been a part of my life ever since.

IMG_7821Nothing pleases me more than explaining to people how lucky I am to have two sets of parents who love and adore me.

I am one lucky baby.

Happy Birthday to me!

Blogging

write2-copyIt’s funny.

At least *I* think it’s funny.

You see, I’m a blogger so everything I experience is an opportunity to write something about it:

  • Kissing ex boyfriends in RVs at SoulFire.
  • Taking a dip in the hot tubs with men of questionable repute.
  • Peeing my pants in a onesie costume because I couldn’t get it off in time.

It’s all fodder for the blog. Even the stuff that makes me look like a nut case.

Sometimes I wonder how my friends and family REALLY feel about this blog.

Oh, of course to my face they like it and encourage me to write.

But really, deep down, how do they feel about being WRITTEN ABOUT and READING THE INTIMATE DETAILS OF MY LIFE.

There’s a saying among us writers:

If a writer falls in love with you, you never die.

write1There’s another saying though and it goes something like this:

Don’t piss off a writer. We’ll DESCRIBE you.

IMG_9378

I just want to publicly thank all my friends and family who put up with me and this tacky blog – whether I’ve given you a nickname or not.

Every time I write about my friends and family, I do it with love and respect and of course a HUGE dose of courage that they’ll be okay with what I write.

Thanks to them for putting up with me.

It takes a good sense of humor.

Butterfly

So.

I posted “I’m my own f*cking problem” mere hours ago and already I’ve been deluged with responses from people basically saying YES.

Now.

Just so you know, even though I am right, it still hurts to hear it from family and friends.

I’m feeling a little raw.

Not a soul told me what a lovely person I am and that they’re thrilled I’m not going to exploit my sex life anymore.

No one told me to go easy on myself.

Not that I expected anyone to, but it would’ve been nice to hear a positive message.

I reached out to my friend Rob to tell him I how I was feeling.

Sad.

Sheepish.

And as it turned out, the universe gave me EXACTLY what I needed.

“Stop. That was Michelle 2.0. You are evolving into Michelle 3.0. You learn from it and become better. A butterfly cannot spread its wings and fly if it still believes itself to be a caterpillar.”

Oh man!

I’ll admit, I almost cried.

Rough times, my friends.

I’m having some ROUGH TIMES.

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My not so empty nest

On August 12, 2017 I drove down to Paso Robles and got my oldest son situated in a beautiful Mediterranean-style villa.

He was signed up to take three classes – two Criminal Justice classes and one Biology class.

Not too hard, if I do say so myself.

On October 5, 2017 this same son showed up on my doorstep.

He had quit college and wanted to move back home.

In case you didn’t calculate yourself that is 53 days.

My son lasted 53 days at college in luxury accommodations.

Now, you might think I’m disappointed in him.

But you’d be wrong.

My oldest is very young for his age and I’ve always thought that he needed more time to mature before tackling the challenges of being an adult.

I welcomed him home and fed him without reprimanding him or grilling him.

I did however advise him of my expectation that he will find full time employment.

This I do feel strongly about.

As soon as I finished school, I was given three months to find a job in my degree field.

Same thing goes for him.

He has a high school diploma, it’s time for him to find out what jobs are open to people with high school diplomas.

I’m at a little bit of a loss for what he should do.

On the one hand, I want it to encourage him to go back to school and get a degree.

On the other hand, I want it to have potential to become a career for him should he not go back to school.

Suggestions?

FIRE!

My birth family lives in the North Bay.

Specifically the Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park, Windsor areas of the North Bay.

And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the North Bay is ON FIRE right now.

It has officially become the WORST FIRE in the history of California fires, surpassing the 1991 Oakland Hills fire.

I knew there was a fire when I left to go to work, some 90 miles away from the devastation.

I could smell it in the air.

I assumed there had been a fire locally until my friend Barbara texted me, “I hope your family is safe.”

What?!

I called her immediately for an explanation.

“Santa Rosa is on fire,” she told me.

I immediately hung up and began texting and calling my relatives.

It took a while but everyone was safe. . . except my birth mom, who I couldn’t reach.

Finally my sister got in touch with me.

It didn’t look promising that our mother’s house was still standing.

She texted me a photo later.

Charred remains of a building.

I immediately started crying.

Mom’s house!

Oh no! All the memories! All the gatherings! The golden nuggets of life that intersected at that home!

10 minutes later my sister told me it was a picture of her school and MOM’S HOUSE IS STIL STANDING.

I went from the depths of despair to the wings of angels in a moment, only tempered by the fact that so many people in the North Bay have lost their home and belongings.

I texted my mom that I loved her and she texted me back.

Coverage is spotty but for the time being, EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY IS DOING FINE.

Hug your loved ones extra close today.

They are our biggest blessings.

Santa Rosa Fires

I have two lovely sisters. One I grew up with and is my best friend, the other I met when I was 22.

One lives in Reno, the other lives in Santa Rosa.

I was desperate to get in touch with my birth family while fires were raging in Santa Rosa, Napa and Sonoma.

My sister was the first person to respond.

She told me that our mother’s house was likely burned to the ground.

I was heartbroken and yet I didn’t cry. . .

. . until she sent me a photo of a gutted building.

I burst into tears.

All I could think of were lost memories. The history that house contained. How special it was to me because it was where I reunited with my birth mother’s family and met my stepfather and his enormous family.

I cried and cried.

I forwarded the photo to my boys and my family.

I sent it to everyone who mattered to me to let them know that the house was gone.

10 minutes later I got a message from my sister.

It was a picture of her school and MOM’S HOUSE IS STILL STANDING.

From the depths of despair to the wings of angels, I was lifted up out of sorrow and so thankful for this miracle.

How blessed are we?

The house survived. All my family survived. Their pets survived.

What more could we ask for other than to mitigate the suffering of those who did lose everything in the fire?

I could KILL my sister for letting me think Mom’s house had burned, but I’m just too happy that my family is intact to stay mad about anything.

Really at times like this you realize that we all have each other and that’s all you really need to be happy.

God bless the families who lost property or loved ones in the fires.