Posts Tagged ‘Michael’

Really who doesn’t love a 3 day weekend?  And what a great time of the year to have one too!  The beach is supposed to officially open…. And here’s how it went down.

We arrived a day early as did our friends Joe and Michael, all anticipating a long leisurely weekend with house guests.  Joe and Michael were expecting Lisa and Kelly and Sarajane would join us on Sunday so we could all have our 2nd annual Memorial Day cookout with them.  I was looking forward to lovely afternoon and catching up with the California contingency and Joe and Sarajane hadn’t seen each other in a while.  I bet you know where this is heading…..best laid plans!

Joe called me on Friday morning with disastrous news;  Upon arrival they discovered that their refrigerator had broken down and what a mess!!!  They weren’t sure whether the water filter or the ice maker broke because water was leaking out of the refrigerator through the NEW wooden floor boards and into the basement.  They were able to salvage a few food items and  I said I had room to store them until the repair man came that afternoon.  They tried unsuccessfully to open the freezer and couldn’t – apparently it had filled with water and then froze into a solid block. YIKES!  Well, Joe, Michael, Lisa and Kelly arrived carrying bags of food stuffs salvaged from the iceberg.  Joe expected the repairman in a few hours and so I left them a key to retrieve the food,  and surely Sunday’s cookout all would be fine.  NOT!

The repairman said he couldn’t fix the refrigerator because it had to defrost first; DEFROST? WHERE? In the kitchen?  I don’t think so!  Mind you the refrigerator is only about a year and half old and because they were expecting house guests, the freezer was FULL of food!   Joe left me a voicemail saying the cookout was off, maybe we could make another plan.  Oh Boy….

By Saturday evening we decided that we would all meet for dinner on Sunday evening BUT the iceberg is melting and Joe and Michael have to get it out of the house.  It has to go outside in the yard and Joe thought of  renting a dolly at Home Depot and trying to move it out.  I told him I had the name of someone he should call, actually two people.  I looked up the telephone number of a man and his sons who had helped us move some furniture out of our cottage and moved stuff in that we couldn’t handle.

Thank God, that contact was still valid.  Rafeek showed up Sunday morning with his son and in short order the iceberg a/k/a the refrigerator was out the door and in the yard and wrapped up in plastic.  And now let the melting begin.  I can’t imagine what everything in that freezer is going to look/smell like after a couple of days sitting outside.  

Sunday dawned sunny and beautiful and now that the refrigerator problem was temporarily solved, we decided we would all meet at Joe and Michael’s for a drink before we went out to dinner.  Sarajane was looking forward to seeing Joe again and the renovation of the cottage and Peter and I were looking forward to meeting Marcia, the third houseguest!  

We always have such a good time when we get together with Joe and Michael and Lisa and Kelly are delightful.  Everybody but me seems to be in advertising;  Peter knew many of the players from when he worked in sales promotion.  I enjoy hearing the stories, me, the Mad Men groupie.  

The House guests Kelly, Marcia and Lisa

The House Guests Kelly, Marcia and Lisa

Wine and deviled eggs on the patio and lots of chatter – and off to dinner we go!

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If you have a holiday party invite in the next two weeks, I’ve got an idea for you!  Simple, creative, useful and it will last a whole lot longer than that bottle of red wine.  This one you will need to make ahead of time and by that I mean you just can’t throw it together the day of the party like my other quickie solution to last minute gift dilemma;  Hostess Gift with a Punch! December 8th-Count Down To Christmas 17 Days to Go

Scented Sugars

What a sweet treat!

What a sweet treat!

This gift requires a couple of Mason jars or glass containers which can be purchased at stores like The Container Store, Marshall’s Home Goods or Michael’s.  Of course I think using vintage mason jars (think yard/garage sale) would be really great.     Scented sugars can be used in coffee, tea, batter mixes, well just about anything you put sugar on.  You can use aromatic edibles such as geranium leaves, rose petals, vanilla beans and orange and lemon peel.  When using the lemons or oranges, wash the skin thoroughly, peel the skin and leave it out on a paper towel to dry out a bit for at least a day.

To create these pretty jars layer granulated sugar with the leaves or peel.  Seal in an airtight containers for a few days while the sugars absorbs the scents.  A gift of one or three in various sizes is sure to please and make a very, very sweet remembrance.

Scented Sugars recipe from Martha Stewart Living December/January-1993/1994

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I know I should have started this a few days  ago….really!  It was a pretty harrowing week here, with the conjunction of a million spheres all causing chaos.  Mechanical and electrical breakdowns, I must ask my sister-in-law Juanita, if Mercury is in retrograde.    It’s not quite midnight so let’s count this post as December 4th and counting.  For the next 3 weeks I’ll post an inventive, creative holiday idea.  It could be a recipe, a hostess gift, a kid’s gift, a decoration, just about anything that I think might enhance your holiday season.  Today’s idea comes from REAL SIMPLE and is a Mantle Makeover.  We’re all familiar with the usual fireplace mantle decorations.  This is NOT standing rows of Christmas cards, draping a greenery garland, hanging stockings, pine cones and ornaments or Nutcrackers.  Clear away the clutter atop your mantle and give it this very simple makeover.


A Very Berry Christmas Wreath and Votives

A Very Berry Christmas Wreath and Votives


Elegant, sophisticated, simple and beautiful.  Berry wreaths are readily available in stores like Michael’s and flower shops that carry artificial or silk flowers.  Scatter a few berries around and line up some votive candles flanked by pillar candles.  The two-color theme is very powerful and the choice of the raspberry-mauve berry color adds not only a holiday flair but also a winter seasonal flavor

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It was Sunday afternoon and Peter and I finally headed to the Jersey Shore.  After opening up the cottage and letting some ocean breezes fill the house with fresh air, we set about doing the things you just gotta do when you’ve been gone over a week.  Read Peter you have to mow the lawn, fill the bird feeders, wash the sidewalk and and and…. I put away food, clean linens and laundry, unpacked bags and then decided to open up my computer and there was a Happy Memorial Day post from Joe!  WITH an invitation to stop by for a drink if we were in town. What a delightful idea!

I called Joe to say we would love to stop over, have a drink and take another look at the magnificent renovation/construction that had been done on his house over the winter.  Joe said he and Michael had a couple of friends staying with them and they were going to barbeque and we were certainly welcome to join them.

NOW, you see this is what I think makes a holiday memorable.  Friends are woven into the  fabric of your life.  We didn’t have any plans for the evening and then along comes a delightful invitation as a complete surprise from our friends, Joe and Michael.  What I love about them besides the fact that they are the  most perfect Yin and Yang couple is their generosity  of spirit.  They had house guests, close friends visiting from out of state and without  a moment’s hesitation, they included us in their party! 

I offered to bring dessert and with specific instructions about the importance of chocolate I went shopping.  I happened to be going to Costco and for some reason, this day, the bakery area was a bit shy in the chocolate department.  They had Black and White cookies but those only have some chocolate frosting and that’s only on one half;  The bakery also had shortbread cookies which are to die for but again only half the cookie has some chocolate coating.  Finally I spotted some Red Velvet Chocolate cupcakes.  They were huge and looked good, however, for good measure as the saying goes, I  tossed a bag of dark-chocolate-covered acai blueberries.  I don’t think you can ever have enough chocolate on hand, especially if it’s dark chocolate.

A barbeque at Joe’s is an event!  First of all, there were the guests;  we met Kelly who lives in LA and Austin and is a freelance commercial producer.  She spends considerable time on East Coast in NYC also and as of today is on her way to Prague to produce a Dove commercial.    And Lisa, who lives in Oakland and also works in advertising and has been Michael’s friend for years.  I had the opportunity to sit next to Lisa for part of the evening and really enjoyed talking to her.  Monica who is a neighbor was there and it was good to see her again.  She is a lively soul and has a very cute Yorkie who visits Madison regularly.  Monica, Christine and Rich had dinner plans elsewhere so I’m glad we got there early enough to connect with them all before they left for Taka.

Joe and Michael are among the MOST GRACIOUS hosts.  I want to call it Effortless Entertaining BUT I know it takes a lot of effort to plan and prepare an evening meal with many components.  They work seamlessly together;  one is cooking, the other is filling bowls, one is making drinks, the other is placing dishes and silverware out.  Really it is amazing to observe this culinary choreography!

We drank, we snacked, we drank some more, we ate, we drank a bit more and ate dessert.  Hours had gone by, I couldn’t believe the clock when I looked at the time!  We had to go but hey we were the altacockers anyway!!

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention how perfectly private the patio is now that Joe has redone the landscaping (again).  We were secluded behind beautiful greenery. 

Joel Lugo, Memorial day, Ocean Grove

A Good Host Takes Time To Listen Too!

Lisa, Kelly and Michael

First corn of the season, juicy tomatoes your choice of several kinds of grilled meats. Yummmmm

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