Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A special Valentine Tuesday Thirteen with a Pancake-a-palooza on top

First, let me start with this:

Special Valentine Pancakes my hubby made for the kids.

Happy Valentine's Day!  For this special Valentine's Tuesday Thirteen I thought I'd list the 13 things I love, aside from the obvious like GOD and Jesus, my hubby, my kids, E and K, family, friends, reading, baking, cooking and of course, chocolate and LA Food Show! Some of it may surprise you, bore you and even disgust you.  That's okay.  You're going to read it anyway.  Here you go:

1. Canned coconut milk.  The full fat stuff, not lite (less processed, people).  Why? When I add it to my smoothies it makes it nice and rich.  And it's full of good fat.  Also, if you stick an unshaken can in the fridge for a few hours or overnight and then gently open it (without shaking!) you have coconut cream at the top that you can have with fresh fruit.  I usually have mine with berries.  I whip it with a hand mixer for a few minutes to make it fluffy.

2.  When it rains, a lot.  Not what SoCal calls a storm.  What San Francisco calls a storm.  Though, my body needs the sun.  I recently had blood work done that indicated I have a vitamin D deficiency.  Good thing I'm not a vampire.

3.  Fresh mango with chili powder and freshly squeezed lime.  I craved it the whole time I was pregnant with my daughter.  The dried ones at Trader Joe's wouldn't cut it so my hubby had to get special fresh ones through a co-worker.  He barely made it through the door before I had my hands on them.  It was one of the few things I could keep down during that particular pregnancy.  That and cranberry water (an ounce of pure cranberry, no sugar added juice mixed with 10 ounces of water ), which I find ironic since my daughter has her bladder issues.

4.  When my daughter gives me a makeover with her pretend lipstick.  That's the only tool she has, so she uses her hands and pretends to apply everything from them.

5.  When my son comes running to me after school with the same excitement he's had since he started preschool.  He always has a smile on his face.

6.  My husband's laugh.  It's about the only emotion he ever shows.  Ever.  Robot!  Inside joke...he gets it.  If you happen to get it too then we should be best friends!

7.  Eating Paleo.  I know that may not be news to you, but sticking to lean (mostly grass-fed) meats, fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts has really made meal planning for me much easier.  Besides, when eat off Paleo, I can tell the difference immediately.  Try it for a week.  Three days even.  It will change you.

8.  Working out.  I'm not trying to lose weight, I'm actually very comfortable with my body.  I just love the feeling I get when I've completed a workout, especially a kick butt one!  I love to feel how strong my muscles are when I'm lifting heavy weights (not 5 pound weights, come on).  Try it, that will change you too.

9.  Freshly washed linens on the bed.  Every time I change them I can't wait to crawl in.

10.  Playing Scrabble.  I'm good, not great, but I'm competitive and I will destroy you.  Just kidding.

11.  Books.  All kinds of books.  I think I single-handedly kept Borders in business longer than expected because of all the books I purchased for myself and the kids.  I'm a cookbook hoarder.  Who am I kidding, I hoard all sorts of books.  Thank goodness for my Kindle.

12.  Dancing.  Pre-marriage and pre-kids, my girlfriends and I couldn't wait until the weekend so that we could "hit the clubs".  I LOVED it.  I love dancing.  I forget how much until I happen to hear a song on the radio and I start bobbing my head and my hands are up in the air as I sing along.  I'm enjoying myself until the car behind me honks and I have to put my hands back on the steering wheel so that I can get a move on instead of my groove on!

13.  Foot rubs.  I know most people would go for a full body massage, but for me, someone who is always on the go and runs several miles a week on top off doing various strength training exercises, I carry my stress in my legs.  So, I guess it should be that I love foot/leg rubs.  I'd take that over a shoulder or back rub any day.

That's it.  I'm sure there's more, but I just don't have that kind of time!  Happy Valentine's Day everyone.  Sprinkle a little love on everyone you meet today.  They just might need it.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

We Love L.A. Food Show!

Dear L.A. Food Show team,

You will be missed.

Some of you may or may not know that my son was born with Williams Syndrome, a defect of the chromosome #7.  People with Williams syndrome often have developmental delays, medical problems which can include cardiovascular and kidney disorders, and learning disabilities. On the flip side, they usually have excellent verbal abilities, friendly and endearing personalities and a special love for music.

Many of you have shared and experienced my son's friendliness when I started taking him there at the age of 3.  At that time L.A. Food Show was one of the very few places we could take him where he wouldn't have a meltdown.  We would go every week on Thursday as a way of kicking off the weekend after hours of speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and preschool during the week.

We began to learn your names and you began to learn his.  It quickly became his (and my) favorite place.  Having lunch there became as much a part of our routine as all the therapies he had, except this visit was my therapy.  I didn't realize how much until I learned you were closing.

Taking my son there was my break from the worries of having a child with special needs.  It was a break from hearing about how he was doing in each of his therapies.  It was an hour surrounded by familiar, friendly faces instead of doctors.  It was the only opportunity for me to have some sort of adult conversation that did not include discussions about what other therapy was needed but had to be approved.  There were no assessments done during this time so that a report of his progression or regression could be written for the required services.  Unbeknownst to you, you had all become my pseudo-support system and my son's friends.

When my son started school full time our Thursday visits sadly came to an end.  When I became pregnant with my daughter I knew I would bring her to L.A. Food Show for regular visits, just like her big brother.  However, that did not come to fruition as I had hoped.  My daughter was born with a tethered spinal cord and although she had surgery to release as much of it as possible, it resulted in a paralyzed bladder.  My husband and I were now the parents of two kids with special, but different needs; one developmental and the other physical.  Circumstances and schedules beyond our control prevented me from having regular weekly mommy and daughter lunch dates.  Still, we went when we could, and it was always an enjoyable experience. 

I know this all sounds so melodramatic, but this is coming from a San Francisco transplant who had a great dislike for Los Angeles.  We've been here 10 years and it took me 4 years to finally find my footing in this overpopulated metropolis and to fall in love with it.  Out of all the places we dined at while getting to know the area, the Food Show was the only place I felt comfortable; the only place where we didn't have to deal with staff that didn't care how they treated the customers because they were just doing this until they got their big break into the "business" (I laughed the first time I heard it referred to that way because I had no idea what the person was talking about and it sounded ridiculous to me).  It was the only place that served not just a variety of food, but a variety of GOOD food and we weren't surrounded by pretentious people (employees or customers).  It was and still continues to be the only place to treat my family like family.

Today we will go in there to say goodbye.  We will bid farewell to those familiar faces that we know and love and to those behind the scene that we never had the chance to meet, but are thankful for as well.  My kids, now 10 and almost 4, will give you hugs and kisses.  If I had the money, I'd keep you open.  If I win the Lotto, I'll open you back up.  I know I may not get the same people staffed there, but I'll make damn sure that they all have the same kind of professionalism, attitude, friendliness and courtesy that you have shown my family.  I'll also make sure the Chicken and Waffles are just as good.

Thank you, each and every one of you, from the bottom of our hearts.

We wish you all the best.