Posts Tagged ‘food’

Friday, August 5, 2011

So, all good things must come to an end and our second honeymoon is no exception.  Wait!  Did I call it good?  Sorry.  Make that great!

It was so amazing to share this time with someone who I’ve known and loved for years, and yet in the context of a “new” relationship.  It was truly some of the most blessed days imaginable.

Our room was terrific, as always.  All the rooms have kitchens and we always bring a lot of groceries and do a lot of cooking and relaxing while we’re there.  They also have several great restaurants on site, so we took advantage of that as well.

It was extremely hot all week, so when we weren’t indoors, we were usually either in the lazy river or in one of the several swimming pools.  We also went canoeing in the early morning on the lake and took walks in the evening around the resort.

Tonight we drive home and tomorrow morning, we get up early for our 62 mile Tour De Cox.  Today is 365 days – exactly one year from the day we woke up after our separation and started over on the day we had planned to ride our first Tour in 2010.

Tomorrow, after the Tour, we will welcome family and friends from near and far who will come to share our vow renewal ceremony.  After that?  Well, it will officially be the end of the Restoration Tour, but it will only be the beginning of the rest of our lives.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wow!  Our first two days in California have been a blast!

Well, almost.  Our first day was nearly a disaster, thanks to a problem with our bank.

We landed in San Francisco, took a shuttle to the rental car location, and had our bank card declined for no apparent reason.  Turns out, there was “fraud activity in the area” where we were and they had put a temporary stop on all transactions being conducted there on their cards.

We were to meet our PR connections at MacMurray Ranch for lunch and a tour of the vineyards and we couldn’t figure out how to pay for our rental car to be able to get there.  After a number of increasingly unpleasant telephone conversations with our bank, we finally got something worked out and were nearly on time to our first appointment.

Lunch was family style and Kate MacMurray was the perfect host.  The property was magnificent and the highlight was when they drove us to a point high on a ridge, where we drank Pinot Noir overlooking the entire estate.

Our hotel has a nice pool that we enjoyed in the afternoon and we ate at a really cool place in downtown Healdsburg called Spoon Bar where the outside walls are actually accordion doors that they had opened all the way up, giving us the feeling of dining outdoors.  Healdsburg is a great little town with all kinds of great places to eat and drink, especially down around the square.

Today was super busy and fun.  We started off by taking a run down and through Healdsburg.  The early morning temperature in the mid fifties was a very welcome change!

We had lunch at Louis Martini Winery, then visited the CIA – that’s the Culinary Institute of America – in St. Helena.  That and driving past Alcatraz have been the highlights for Ceecee, so far.

After that, it was back to Healdsburg for a tasting at J. Vineyards and winery, and we actually reached the wine saturation point, so we went to a little Brat place called The Wurst and tried a local brew with our dinner.  It all ended with a drive to Sonoma for dessert at a place on their square that I really love called El Dorado Kitchen.  Whew!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

This was supposed to be just a fun weekend in St. Louis with family and friends, but it turned out to have a powerful restoration right at the beginning of it.  One that I didn’t even know we needed until yesterday morning.

We were heading up the interstate Saturday morning and would be getting to St. Louis around lunch time.  We were going to have lunch as a couple before meeting everyone else there later that afternoon.  We were talking about where we wanted to go to eat.

As we talked, I realized that there was one place on The Hill (St. Louis’ Italian community) that I had a bad association with, Mama Campisi’s.  That was the place where Ceecee had gone with my sister when they went to St. Louis without me.

I hadn’t known it at the time, but I realized later that my wife was going to test out leaving me.  It seemed that now, I still would try to avoid that restaurant and I didn’t want there to be any place on The Hill that bothered me, so I told her how I was feeling.

She immediately agreed that we should go there together, then, when we got to town.  We did, and we had an amazing time.  It was slow, and the waitress took extra time with us and we even got to share our story with her.  I had tears in my eyes when we left, but they were healing tears.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Today we took a long ride to Ozark and back.  There are some wicked hills in the country in between, but it’s good for us.  It’s only a little over a month until the Tour De Cox and we still have never ridden 62 miles before.

Once we got back to town, we stopped at Rosati’s, a fairly new pizzeria that is supposed to have authentic Chicago pizza here in Springfield.  We had lunch there, and it was good, but definitely no competition for places like Pizzeria Uno or Gino’s East in Chicago.

Our California trip is all booked and paid for.  We leave nere July 20th and we’ll be there a week!  So looking forward to taking Ceecee to wine country and to see the pacific Ocean.  It’s funny; with her upbringing, she’s been all over Europe, but has never been to California or seen the Pacific.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Got another big surprise today – this one of the good variety!

We were at my parents’ house helping them with some yard work and they brought up the subject of visiting my brother in California.  I mentioned that we’d like to go, but never have had the money.

They said they would pay for the trip and that they really wanted us to go.  They’re going to buy the plane tickets and give us extra for traveling expenses.

My brother lives near Fresno, but we’re flying into San Francisco, so we’re going to go up to wine country for a couple of days when we first get there.  I used to travel to Napa and Sonoma Counties as part of being a wine writer, but I never got to have Ceecee with me.

I would visit wineries and eat in great restaurants, but I always wished she could share that part of my life.  Now, by taking this trip, she can!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Summer of restoration started with a bang this morning.  Literally.

I unexpectedly didn’t have to work at Macy’s and we decided to have brunch with Mimosas at the loft.  When I was opening the bottle of bubbly, the cork shot up and off the ceiling.  We had a good laugh and have spent the day mostly laying around.

I still have to work Monday and Tuesday, then no more second job.  So much to look forward to this summer.

My parents surprised us with a blessing that I’m really excited about.  One of our counselors at school has a timeshare at Big Cedar Lodge where my wife used to work.  They sometimes sell rooms for a good price and they had a one bedroom for August 1-5 and my parents paid for it so we could take a second honeymoon!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Speaking of graduation, we found ourselves at another graduation ceremony this past weekend.

We drove out to western Kansas because my daughter from a previous marriage graduated high school in a small town called Bucklin.  She also had her baby about a month ago and we hadn’t seen him yet, so this was to be our first visit as grandparents.

It was definitely a trip of good times and bad times.

Let’s start with the bad.  During the graduation ceremony, they did this thing that was really cool.  Well, for some people, that is.

There were a bunch of roses on the stage and the graduates could go and get roses and present them to parents, grandparents, etc. out in the audience.  It was a powerful moment during the ceremony, but there was no rose for me.

I shook it off and went to talk to her and see the baby afterward.  My daughter did let me hold Carter, but otherwise pretty much blew me off and it hurt.

My ex wife came over and started trying to talk to me and Ceecee stepped in and told her to back off and leave me alone.  It was pretty cool that she was so assertive in a protective way for me, since she obviously knew I was upset.

The cool part was when we had left Bucklin and were on our way to Dodge City, where my in-laws are. I was thinking about the time I went to Dodge City during our separation and I brought back a Mexican cake and these special marinated steaks that we used to love to eat when we lived there.  Kasey, my wife’s youngest daughter was with us and she mentioned wanting to go to the Mexican store and I looked at Ceecee and she said, “It could be a little restoration.”

It was so amazingly great to be on the same page like that, and it turned out to be really cool for Kasey to be able to share it with us.  Last time, I had gone there by myself and things hadn’t gone well when I had come back.  This time, we were there together on the restoration tour and things couldn’t be better.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We didn’t waste any time on Ceecee’s free birthday pizza this year!

If you belong to Old Chicago’s World Beer Tour, they send you an email every year with a code for a free pizza for your birthday.  It’s good for the entire month that your birthday falls in and it’s not a “buy one, get one” or anything like that.  It’s just a free pizza. and even though Ceecee’s birthday isn’t for almost 2 more weeks, we went today!

Yesterday was 9 months since “the phone call” and tomorrow will be 9 months back together.  Only about three months left on the restoration tour, and then the Tour de Cox and our vow renewal ceremony.  Everything has changed in these 9 months and I find it so hard to fathom that two people who are as happy and in love as we are ever let ourselves get so lost that we thought our marriage was over.

Friday, April 15, 2011

 

Yesterday was an even more stressful day than usual for Ceecee at work.  They tend to get that way the closer to the end of the school year it gets.

I knew she needed something to pick her up and I came up with an idea as the day went on.  She’s a kid at heart, so I decided to let her get out of her “grown-up” responsibilities and just let her be a “kid” for a while.

During my free period on the afternoon, I ran over to the dollar store and picked up some sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and a coloring book and crayons.

After work, we went to this little hole in the wall place downtown that has the best greasy sandwiches in town (yes, we’re not supposed to be eating that stuff) and got orders to go.  then we walked to a nearby park where I gave her the things I bought and let her “play.”

The park is adjacent to the local Double A baseball team’s stadium and we saw that they were getting ready to have a game, so we walked over and bought tickets, purely on spontaneity.  It was a great afternoon and evening of fun, and it just came out of loving her and knowing her so well.  It was simple and inexpensive, but it made memories and reinforced my love and the idea that I will always be there for her.

Friday, March 18, 2011(Day 221)

If you’re going to move, this is the way to do it.  

It’s Spring Break this week and we already brought over a lot of our clothes and much of the fragile and awkward stuff in the car yesterday.  My wife is amazing when it comes to figuring out where everything goes and getting everything unpacked and put up.  

This morning, we picked up the truck and had a few friends (who we bribed with pizza, of course) show up to help.  We had everything moved by about 11:00 when my parents showed up with pizza for everyone.  Soon after, Ceecee had everything unpacked and you truly couldn’t tell that we had just moved in that morning.  

When I took the truck back mid-afternoon, I stopped at the wine store and picked up a bottle of Champagne (as in real Champagne from France, not the fake California stuff).  I also got some strawberries, and you know where this is going….

The day Ceecee left me, when she moved into the old loft, she wanted Champagne and strawberries to celebrate with.  I didn’t understand that then, and I probably never will, but the fact that she wants to share them with me tonight, on the first night living in our new place means more than I can say.

We’re also going to take in our first opera tonight at a downtown theater about a block from our new loft.  This is the life we’ve dreamed of!