Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day - A Day Spent Way Out Back

There’s a place in my parent’s yard... beyond the grass, beyond the trellis, and beyond the pool. It’s in the very back corner of their lot, near a persimmon tree. This place is known as “way out back.”

I have to admit, my parents lot is not that big... I mean, we are in California after all... land is quite a premium. But, to my parents credit, their yard is nothing to sneeze at either. It’s a great size... and it’s very well designed. It has hosted many, many, MANY great parties-- and I know many more to come!

Well, enough about the yard. Back to “way out back,” and Mothers Day, of course! When I was growing up we had a golden retriever named Chloe. She was the best dog (and I’m not prejudice, she really was!). Anyway, at night before bed, you’d let her out in the back yard and say, “way out back, Chloe, way out back.” No fail, she’d tromp all the way to the back of the yard, do her business and gallop in ready for bed. Very well trained! No land mines scattered around the yard. Who could ask for anything better, right?

Well, it was on Mother’s Day, EVERY year that my mom said... “This year, kids, for Mother’s Day, I’d love help in the garden...” We’d all groan a little, then try to cop a smile, since Dad was giving us the eye. Then she’d stay... “Why don’t you start in the ‘way out back’ and clean out all of Chloe’s poop... and if there’s time you can plant a flower or 2.”

Oh great.... now that is not fun gardening in anyone’s book, I must say. Somehow, even after year after year of cleaning way out back, I surprisingly like to garden myself... but I don’t have a dog. That may have to wait awhile, even though Chloe was the best dog EVER!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

It's Fiesta Day!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!! I love this “holiday”... I know it’s a heavily Americanized holiday-- and possibly in Mexico they don’t celebrate it nearly as much as our Budweiser inspired society, but I still like the day. In fact, I think a Fiesta at any time of year is just a GOOD IDEA! Why, you ask?

First, I love Mexican food. I could live on chips and salsa (this is not necessarily a good thing...). Tostadas, tacos, tamales, you name it, I love it. I particularly love a good taco salad. My mom always made it growing up, and I’m keeping that tradition by making it for my family too.

Second, I love the folk art of Mexican paper cutting called papel picado. You know what it is... those festive paper flags, cut in all types of shapes. I definitely don’t think those have to be reserved for a fiesta... any time of year they look great!

Lastly, who stays away from a good pinata contest? I know, I know, it’s a bit creepy when someone picks out the head of their favorite character (say, a princess, or Barbie, or animal), and starts WHACKING at it. I say, stick with the symbols... a star, a number, or something that’s brightly colored, fill it with all sorts of goodies and have fun! At your next adult fiesta, try filling the pinata with adult-only trinkets... how ‘bout airline sized plastic liquor bottles, some starbucks gift cards, a little bottle of lotion (plastic, again)-- anything small is great!

Hope you had a great cinco de mayo... filled with chips, salsa and a pinata!