Monday, May 9, 2011

La vita e meglio con la pasta

Yes, it's true. Life is better with pasta!  In preparation for our European vacation - which is happening 1 week from TODAY! - we prepared a homemade pasta meal!  Pasta alla vongole - a la Bon Appetit magazine.  It had an Italian theme this month, and we just couldn't say no!

The prep was fun, and the eating was even better.  What a great way to gear up for our trip!  Viva Italia!



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Giving Thanks

Have you read Emily Rose's blog?  No? (smack, hit, punch upside the head).  Why????  It's amazing.  In all seriousness, though...

She blogged about a wedding she attended this weekend where the couple used the same reading she and her husband did when they got married, almost two years ago.  I remember her amazing wedding, which reminded me of ours - again, to use her sentiments - not in a selfish way.  But because witnessing and experiencing the love of others makes you value you and cherish your own more.

And so, I was then reminded of our own wedding vows and promises. Ours was an Apache Marriage Blessing, and some wise words from the man who knows it all - Dr. Seuss...


Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be the shelter for each other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be the warmth for the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before. Go now to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your life together. And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves.  When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship – as they threaten all relationships at one time or another - remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives - remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight. 

And - in the words of everybody's favorite childhood author...

Congratulations!  Today is your day.  You’re off to Great Places!  You’re off and away!  And will you succeed?  Yes!  You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)  Kid, you’ll move mountains!  So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!  Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way!

I remember my father reading this to me, and then, a mere 25 years later, our dearest friend incorporating it into our marriage ceremony.  Life is circular in so many ways.  Celebrate love, wise words and marriage.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fujii Weekend of Yes

This is one of those weekends where I get a taste of what normal people might do on a weekend - people who don't have work to do literally every single day.  This was one for the books people, and truly evidence of living my New Year's resolution.  You have to follow the goals you set for yourself - mine just happen to involve doing more fun things, eating good food, and enjoying more good company.  Pretty darn tough.

This weekend was full of amazing things, and all of them things that nourished my soul.  Friday started out in the afternoon with "Firebirds at the Firehouse" - something the administration puts together for us at school, to help us unwind, etc.  I have never gone to one, and this Friday, on a whim, I decided would be the day.  My friend Alyssa joined me, and we arrived to two tall towers of beer, and some yummy appetizers on the table.  I enjoyed hanging with people outside of FHS, and not talking a whole lot about FHS, either.  My good friend who is a dean, is the champion of asking random "get to know you on a weird personal level" questions and he had some doozies.  We randomly discovered that he and I were the only two people at the table who took two showers a day, every day, and only used shampoo at night.  Pretty high quality information.  It was fun, and a very relaxing start to the weekend.  While there, I received a text from my husband that his Saturday Master's class had been canceled.  I knew it would be a great weekend!

Saturday we woke up with the whole day in front of us - we had only anticipated having 1/2 of the day to do something fun, but his class being canceled opened so many doors!  We decided first and foremost, to honor a promise we had made earlier in the week, which was to go to the gym more often.  We signed up for a membership to 24 hour fitness in December 2009, and last spring I think was the last time we went.  Yikes....don't tell anyone.  A five month spree.  Hmmmm....  So anyway, we went to the gym.  We also went last Saturday, but were so freaking sore for the rest of the WEEK (yes, the whole week, I kid you not) that Saturday was the first time our bodies could handle going back for more!  

So much good fruit!!
Then we went to our favorite store (Costco) and picked up some beautiful summer berries, and veggies for the week.  I made a kick ass fruit salad of grapes, strawberries and blueberries.  I can't wait to dive in.  The only thing it needs is maybe a bit of pineapple, which I may have to go back and add.  I love summer and all of the berries it brings.  I could seriously live off of fruit salad.  So good.  We also used some of said fruit to make sangria.  We made this a few weeks ago when we visited some friends, and we knew it would become a summer staple for us.  Check out the recipe here - it's so refreshing, and such a perfect companion on a warm summer night with friends.

Letting the ocean roll over him!
When we got home, we decided to take Taiko (the world's more awesome dog) to Fort Funston, so that he could go swimming and wear himself out.  This place is so great - our friends, the Rose's introduced it to us, and we have been meaning to go back for some time now.  I love that Taiko can be off leash, and that it's a good walk for us as well.  The waves are pretty rough, but since our dog is so badass, he totally owned every retrieval of the ball and had no problem powering right through.  Mike and I were also pleasantly surprised at how mature Taiko is now, and that he actually listens and acknowledges the fact that we are calling his name.  The last time we went to Fort Funston, he didn't give a Funston about us calling after him.  He was free and on a mission to ignore us and be a hedonist.  He has grown out of that, thankfully, and minds us fairly well.  This is also coming off of a morning where Mike started working on a new trick with him - crawling.  He is such a smart guy!  
My two favorite guys

This kid's ready to play!
Clear skies!
We also took advantage of being in the city, and connected with our wonderful friends, the Roses.  We usually have a pretty difficult time finding parking when we go see them.  They live in the Haight, and in a pretty active and fun part of it.  So, there are always events going on.  But, wouldn't you know, we found a perfect spot a block from their house.  It was an impromptu gathering, but so great and relaxed.  They have been working on revamping their backyard, and we were able to sit down, and enjoy it with the puppies running around (Taiko mostly trying to lay down and rest since he was already tired from the beach!).  We had yummy snacks and enjoyed our sangria that had been marinating for a few hours.  The weather was PERFECT, and a short visit with amazing friends was just what the doctor ordered.  

Taiko - pooped after his day at the beach!

Sunday morning started with bellini's - and a bit of work.  I had to say yes to SOME work, or I wouldn't have my head on straight for Monday.  We enjoyed the sunshine and hanging out with the pup before we got ready for the BEST part of the weekend.
Taiko - still pooped the next day...

We have known for a few months now, that our wonderful and dear friend, Riki, would be proposing to his equally wonderful and dear girlfriend, Gina.  They have been together for years now, and are a match made in perfection.  She's been working in India for a year, and today he went to pick her up at the airport, armed with a beautiful ring, their families and of course - champagne.  We were lucky enough to be waiting for all of them at Gina's favorite restaurant, Fresca, for a surprise celebration.

We arrived early to have drinks at the Noe Valley Tavern with some longtime friends, and got to walk around the neighborhood a bit beforehand.  What a cute area.  Lots of cute shops and eateries.  I of course, scouted out a cupcake place in the neighborhood - and you can read more about my MayDay tasting on my other blog, Cupcakin'.  

Once we made it to the restaurant, it was a great hours-long celebration.  Their families took some beautiful pictures of the entire event, and so we got to relive it and hear the wonderful story.  The look of surprise on her face was priceless, and I'm so glad that they have it captured for forever.  It brought me (and Mike) back to our own wonderful engagement day which happened almost two years ago now!  We were able to capture it on film, and we watch it every now and again to remember what an amazing moment it was!

The food was AH-MAZE-ING.  So good. Crab, shrimp and cream cheese wantons - enough said.  What a special night.  While it's always mind blowing and fun when great things happen to you, it is pretty freaking incredible when something this exciting happens to your close friends.  To be in that space where there was so much happiness, celebration and just pure enjoyment of life - THAT my friends, was a weekend ended with perfection.  

From Left: Matty, Riki (Groom To Be), Gina (Bride To Be) Paul, Husband
So, in the style of a new friend, Caroline, here's how to have a great weekend:

Have drinks with colleagues
Nourish your body
Play with your dog
Grow in the sun
Eat good food with better friends
Celebrate an engagement.

Such perfection, in fact, that I sit here, at home, on Monday, at 11:42 a.m.  Didn't go to work.  My body was so amped up and over relaxed, that, ironically, I needed a day off.  And, I said yes to that.

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