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Archive for May, 2014

Getting together isn’t that hard – End of the Day for May 31, 2014

May 31st, 2014 Comments off

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The summer must be arriving, as we were out for another evening tonight. As usual for us, it was even free! Our friends, Keri and Michael, have been holding movie nights in their backyard for the last several years and we always make a point of going. It is a great evening of friendly conversation, good food and good movies. We jokingly refer to it as introducing Joseph to the most important film canon for the last 50 years or so. Tonight’s film was Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a collection of absurd humor and source for so many cultural references it seems a touchstone, even to the current generation. “It’s only a scratch. Message for you, sir! Go away before I taunt you a second time!” We smiled. We laughed. We repeated dialogue and sang along with songs. We even each had our own set of coconut shells to make the appropriate horse noises.

As I often say, it is the simplest things that can bring the most joy into your life. We didn’t need to spend hundreds of dollars of expensive dinner and drinks, drive halfway across the state or make reservations months in advance. We made lemonade, some of my classic cornflake and marshmallow “shrubberies” and brought along some wine and snacks to share. This is an event that anyone can do. It takes little money, planning or time. It really only involves inviting your friends to share some time with you. You would be surprised how willing people can be to visit, if you only give the a little excuse.

What small event can you put together? Who can you invite to join you? Who haven’t you seen in a while? Pick a date. Give them a call. Pop up some popcorn and enjoy! What a great way to start the summer.

 

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

Photo: Sunlight in dark room #instagram

May 31st, 2014 Comments off
Categories: Photos-Photography Tags:

A walk in the neighborhood – End of the Day for May 30, 2014

May 30th, 2014 Comments off

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Sometimes you just a nice walk in the neighborhood. When you have children, you evenings get more and more constrained over time. At first you don’t want to or can’t leave the child. Then you don’t want to go out because your tired and have so much else to do. Then a time comes when the children get fairly self-sustaining. You can trust them to not burn down the house while you are gone for a few hours, so you venture out to friends or a movie perhaps. Finally, your children are out doing their own things — parties, meetings and, OMG, even dates! This is where stand right now. We find are going out more than we have in years and we are finding it quite enjoyable. It reminds us that we will be empty-nesters in just 2 more years. So, it is imperative that we remember how to live together again, just the two of us.

Tonight, we headed out to the monthly “Ladies Night Out” held in the Magnolia Park area of Burbank. There are already quite a few shops, restaurants and coffee bars in the area, but these events add 5 or 6 areas with live music and about 20 food trucks scattered throughout the 6 block area. Joseph’s girlfriend lives in the neighborhood, so it became an easy “date” for them. We decided to tag along this evening, but assiduously maintained our distance and schedule. We passed them several times on what ended up being our 3 mile walk, but let them have their space and dinner together.

Olive oil

There is something special about closing out an evening — watching the sun slowly set into the west and the evening gather — while surrounded by interesting sights, sounds and smells. We also got to hit up our favorite Italian market, Monte Carlo Deli, which holds the small treats that remind of us our trips to Sicily and our family there. There are these little cookies by Balocco that we had each morning with our breakfast “cafe”, all sorts of pasta and another bottle of Marsala wine for making our new found recipe of Chicken Marsala. It was great to have several reasons to visit the neighborhood and have and “adult” evening to ourselves.

Balocco cookies

When you get to be our age, you have to remember what it was like to be a young couple, unencumbered by mortgages, children and other burdens. It is a bit like learning how to be a couple all over again.  There is a familiarity there, but spending time alone with each other allows you to reconnect to the essence of what brought you together in the first place. We both think this is so important as we settle into this next era of “coupledom” again!

 

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

Photo: Sunset at Charmlee 2009 via #instagram

May 30th, 2014 Comments off
Categories: Nature/Outdoors, Photos-Photography Tags:

Theater and “The Diviners” – End of the Day for May 29, 2014

May 29th, 2014 Comments off

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Cycles come and go and the cycle of a new year of theater enters our lives. We have found out the shows scheduled for next year at Joseph’s school, so — as theater geeks ourselves — we started reading the Fall drama today — The Diviners by Jim Leonard, Jr. The play is set in Indiana during the Great Depression and deals with preachers, water dowsers, farmers and all the aspects of small town life.

While I grew up in a small town in Ohio during the late 60’s and early 70’s, I immediately felt an affinity for this place and time. Change comes slowly to small town America and many of the characters I read in the play echo with the voices of my family, friends and nature across the decades.  My voice and speech immediately fall into the Kentucky/West Virginian accent of my home town. Although, quite far north, New London seems to draw its accents from further south. I often took quite the ribbing from people when I first moved to Los Angeles. It only takes a few minutes of reading the show to fall back into those cadences again.

This play was unknown to me, but is a favorite of the directors at school. I tend to more of a musical theater man, but straight plays still holw a bit of fascination for me, especially those that place me in a familiar milieu. I about a quarter of the way into reading the play and I am already looking forward to seeing it on the stage. It has captured my attention and this is always a good sign.

Joseph and his classmates are reading the play aloud in class, but I find myself reading sections out here at home, too. There is a magic to theater that demands the words be spoken out loud, whether on stage, in a rehearsal hall, in the home or even in your own mind — if that is possible. Perhaps it is the theater training, but sometimes I do hear voices in my head. (SMILE)

Time again for free theater in the park with the Independent Shakespeare Company. Tonight is "She Stoops to Conquer"
Also on the theater front, we have set aside some dates for seeing the annual summer productions of the Independent Shakespeare Company. They are doing Twelfth Night and Taming of the Shrew  this season, as well as an evening of music and readings. The shows are free. You only need to bring something to sit on and something to eat if you wish to attend and I highly recommend you do attend. It is a great evening out every time. Visit the Independent Shakespeare Company’s web site for more information. We are seeing Twelfth Night on Saturday, July 12th and Taming of the Shrew on Sunday, September 7th. Hope to see you there!

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

Noted: ActiviTea tea-brewing travel mug from ThinkGeek

May 29th, 2014 Comments off

ActiviTea tea-brewing travel mug from ThinkGeek

Activitea

A way to steep that’s not too steep 

You wouldn’t like us before our first cup of tea has had time to absorb into our system. We’re downright cranky and irritable about that whole “waking up” business. But once we’ve wrapped our hands around a warm cup and smelled the aroma of our favorite blend, things start to look up. Life just wouldn’t be the same without our caffeine of choice.

The ActiviTea is an elegant way to brew your favorite loose-leaf tea on-the-go. (If you haven’t tried loose leaf tea yet, don’t wait any longer! Be prepared to blow your mind and tastebuds.) Put your leaves in the top and hot water in the bottle, screw the lid on tight, and flip it over. (We recommend you try this the first time over a sink. Just in case.) When it’s done steeping, flip it back upright. Voila. You have one tumbler full of take-it-with-you tea. Remove the leaves and enjoy!

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 “Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.  

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Noted: Raspberry Poppy Seed Bread from Bake at 350

May 29th, 2014 Comments off

Raspberry Poppy Seed Bread from Bake at 350

Raspberrypoppyseedbread

I try *not* to bake quick breads often because I love them so much. My muffin top should probably be referred to as a “quick bread” top.

Mr. E will tell you, I’ve had a long standing love affair with Starbucks pumpkin loaf. He seems ok with it.

raspberry poppy seed bread with lemon glaze from @bakeat350 and @imperialsugar
Sometimes the call of the quick bread is too strong and it must be answered. Such is the case today.

This Raspberry Poppy Seed Bread is sweet, moist, studded with crunchy poppy seeds, and tart raspberries. It’s topped off with a simple lemon glaze.

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 “Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.  

Find more Noted items here

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Noted: 5 Links to Read Before Making Pesto from Food52

May 29th, 2014 Comments off

5 Links to Read Before Making Pesto from Food52

Pesto

Today: Make pesto. Put it on everything. Repeat.

Pesto is one of those handy sauces that instantly upgrades a meal. The combination of bright herbs, fresh garlic, and plenty of salt and olive oil transforms pasta, sandwiches, salads, pizza, and soup. It’s easy to throw together in a pinch, and — if you’re willing to think outside the basil-and-pine-nut box — it’s highly versatile. Whip up some pesto and enjoy it all week long — these links will help.

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.  

Find more Noted items here

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Photo: End of the Day at Moss Beach

May 29th, 2014 Comments off
Categories: California, Photos-Photography, Travel Tags:

Days of Highs and Lows – End of the Day for May 28, 2014

May 28th, 2014 Comments off

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 LIfe is full of cycles and it only stands to reason that if one day really good there will also be more challenging days to come. This is probably one of the most difficult parts of my life as I thrive on balance and keeping an even keel in everything I do. I am easily carried along by the energy of the day, the energy of the moment and I know that, so I try to keep things somewhere in the middle. Of course, life doesn’t work that way. The cycles catch up with you and before you know it it you are riding the rollercoaster.

So today was a bit of a downhill day. I really had no particular reason to be down, but I was tired and a bit overwhelmed with my work. This is always a bad combination and anxiety starts to creep in. I can feel it physically before I notice it mentally. Muscles start to dense, I can feel my face starting to contract, furrows appear in my brow. I only really notice it, though, when I catch sight of myself in the mirror. At that point it becomes obvious, but also very difficult to counteract. Typically I just need to ride the rollercoaster to the bottom of the hill and wait for the climb back up again.

Hanging out!

Sometimes the “black dog” finds you. Luckily, this one was quite cute.

Thankfully, I have never been in the situation where I am stuck at the bottom for any great length of time. If I can notice the feeling and so some things to counteract it, a good night’s sleep is usually enough to being me back into the middle.Mostly it is about recognizing what is causing the anxiety and working to eliminate it from my thoughts. Again, the cause usually isn’t anything dramatic. Just some small thing — or worse, combination of events that weighs me down. I am particularly sensitive to multiple factors. I get the sense of “piling on” one after the other and the cumulative effect is greatly magnified. These are with worse periods and take a bit more time and work to break free from.

That is why I am writing early tonight. I already feel ready to head to bed — if not sleep — and it far earlier than usual. Sometimes I just get comfortable and read for awhile. Then, when I am ready to sleep it is easy to roll over and do so. If I don’t do that, the effort of closing up the house can be enough to wake me back up before I get to bed. Then, I will have to reset the process and chill out for another hour or so before I am ready to sleep.

With the lows come the highs and no one would want to live without those moments. Sometimes we all just have to get through the bottom of the hill and the exhilaration of climbing up the next will find us soon enough.

 

Previously on End of the Day:

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