Monday, January 29, 2007

Meet the Family - Karen!

As Karen's husband it is my extreme privilege to introduce to you the world's greatest wife. Although Kip would say, "Like anyone can know that Napoleon," I do have unique insight in this area and though I haven't met every wife I find it hard to believe any her equal. It's probably as much, though, that she is perfect for me. For me to be married to her speaks mightily of God's grace and provision. There is no way a guy like me deserves a wife like her. She is a serious P31 woman that blesses me tremendously.

Karen is such a faithful friend to me. She loves her whole family with true sacrifical love...and believe me it takes a lot of sacrifice to love us at times! I could go on about all of her amazing attributes but I think you probably get that I love her. Her only character fault is that she married me which was a serious lack of judgment on her part. She really doesn't make many mistakes like that. In fact our motto is, "I'm (Rich) smarter, but she is always right."

As you know from her posts she loves food. She knows quite a bit about cooking and is a great cook. Now this is a great blessing to me even though it make me great in size.

She also dabbles a bit in collecting depression glass which I'm sure she will post on soon. In fact her ebay User ID is chronic depression glass. Speaking of ebay, she buys and sell a lot and not just for pleasure. Much of it deals with finding the useful things for our life. Her knack for that and other web-based activities has earned her the nickname from me of "E-Wife".

Luv ya Babe!

Meet the Family - Brady!

Brady & Dad on January 1, 2004

Our family’s story would not be complete without telling you about our oldest son Brady. Brady was born May 11, 1989. Brady died and went to Heaven on January 5, 2004. The story of how God worked in his life and our family’s should be an encouragement to all. Karen and I are privileged for the gift of God that Brady was, and accept all that happened as God’s good and perfect will. We are satisfied with what happened. We are also privileged to have a child that’s made an impact on so many people.

We, as a family, are so happy for Brady that he is now in heaven. When it became fairly evident that Brady wouldn’t be with us too much longer, our family began listen to our pastor’s taped series on Heaven. Although he didn’t know it at the time, I wanted to give Brady an audio brochure of the place he would spend eternity. We didn’t quite get to finish the series but I’m sure he now knows the ending.

I want to tell you a bit about my son, as I said, to give an encouragement.

In the summer of 1999 Brady began experiencing seizures in his sleep. As a part of the diagnosis for what was later determined to be partial/benign epilepsy, he underwent a routine CAT-scan. It was from this scan in November of that year that cancer was discovered in his brain completely separate from the seizures. By God’s providence we were able to begin what was to be a four-year treatment. Immediate surgery to remove the tumor was followed by over a year and a half of radiation and chemotherapy. At the end of that time, Brady actually went into remission for about a year. However, tumors were again spotted along his spinal cord and into his brain. This began another two years of treatments that included high-dose chemotherapy, experimental intrathical chemotherapy in Washington, and he later embarked on various different chemotherapies and experimental drugs. The toll of all of this treatment was very hard on Brady’s body. He had part of his lung removed to treat a bout of pneumonia, and in the end became platelet and blood-transfusion dependent. His body became too weak for any additional treatment and there were no more medical options to save his life. For some time it became very evident to us that any pain of losing Brady was overcome by the pain of seeing his body suffer more and the joy of knowing he would be with his God in heaven.

Above - The kids at Walt Disney World

I will say that never once did Brady complain about his trial, nor was he angry, bitter or express self-pity. He trusted in his parents and his God. He came to accept his cancer as his lot. A friend of mine said that Brady had a heart of a lion. I like that because it gives a great picture of the great quality that the Lord gave Brady-that of courage. Those who knew Brady and the trials that he went through can appreciate the definition of courage and how it describes Brady:

Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Some of the synonyms mean mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship; firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty; an ingrained capacity for meeting strain or difficulty with fortitude and resilience; temperament enabling one to hold one's own or keep up one's morale when opposed or threatened; firm determination to achieve one's ends, and; implications of stubborn persistence and unwillingness to admit defeat.

During his struggle my boy had a strength and resiliency that is a model to me. I am proud of my son for how he handled himself through his trial.

Brady truly was wonderful to be around. He delighted us with his smarts, maturity, and incredible sense of humor. He was very independent. He had many interests in spite of his limitations. If fact he often times said he didn’t have enough time to do all he wanted. He was always productive and kept himself occupied. Some of his interests and favorites were:

Jeopardy. He would often times come up with the answers to the most obscure Final Jeopardy questions. I remember one time he got the answer to who was the first baby girl colonist born in America. How did he know this? Because, he loved to read. He read everything from “Star Wars” to the The Battle for the Beginning. From the “Lord of the Rings” to books about the Lord of the universe. He knew a lot because he read a lot.

He especially loved history, and read the Business and Sports sections of the L.A. Times everyday with breakfast. He followed sports. Peyton Manning and the Colts were his favorite. Whenever Peyton was falling behind, Brady would put on his rally Peyton Manning jersey to cheer them on.

Drew and Emma loved their brother. Brady praised Emma’s homemade cookies and Drew and him spent endless times rapping sports at bed-time in their bunks.

He liked to buy and sell on ebay.

He was a meticulous and studied stock picker. He once figured he’d make a huge killing on an X-dividend stock and came to me and asked for only $8K to invest. His uncle finally convinced him that if anything sounded too good to be true it probably was. But overall his account gained 50%.

He was sustained physically with his love for, and the high caloric qualities of In-n-Out burgers and Starbucks Frappuccinos.

One of his biggest joys was his little cousins: Austin, Luke and Vance - and he was never bothered by them even when he was feeling ill. He loved to give them what toys and candy that he could.

He also loved Grace Community Churchand its ministries from cubbies, to Big AWANA, to Juniors, to Student Ministries. It was a physical struggle just to get here sometimes but he was determined to do it. He was especially fond of his high school bible study. He essentially hadn’t grown since he was 10 years old yet he had no qualms of going and being among the Amazon senior girls!

While we were watching him decline physically over time, we really watched him grow spiritually. He seemingly always told the truth and was passionate about justice. He was long-suffering and generous. He took his walk with the Lord seriously and was consistent with his personal time with the Lord in prayer and meditation. He didn’t worry about his life or the future. He was what every parent should want for their child - chosen and saved by God.

I would like to address the thought that no child or parent should have to go through this. Everything we have is by God’s grace in giving us what we don’t deserve and His mercy in withholding that which we do deserve. There are no guarantees for tomorrow. We do need to redeem the time we’ve got. But this life is not all there is. Suffering is part of the human experience. If the goal of life is to be like Christ we need to be willing to live a life like Christ who suffered unto death. The great part though that as Christ rose from the dead to Heaven, and through Him we might also live forever with Him.

I always thought it interesting that Brady was treated at the City of Hope. In a real way God does use the acts and affairs of men to accomplish His purposes and in this way we did have hope in the care Brady was receiving would give him physical life.

But there is another hope. It is one that is more than a wish. It is longing for with the guarantee of obtainment. My son was not perfect. As a child he was extremely stubborn and prideful. But he came to a point in his life that he realized he was just like everyone else and needed the forgiveness of sins from God through the work of Jesus on the cross. Brady’s faith and trust was in God. And his hope was in heaven to come. His hope has been fulfilled.

We were so blessed that many people prayed for Brady and for us. People we know and many more that we never knew. The main reason we pray is to give God glory. One of the marvelous guarantees Jesus gave us was, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it”. That amazing promise had a reason, and it was not merely for the benefit of those who asked. Rather, Jesus said it was “that the father may be glorified in the Son”. The reason we pray is so that God can display His glory. That is why we know we receive form Him what is best for us and what glorifies him most. We know that in the answers to all those who prayed for Brady over the time of his illness God showed His glory.

Psalm 103 says,
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all you iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies.”

It is truth that the Lord blessed us in answer to prayers regarding Brady. Look at all the benefits he gave Brady right out of this passage: forgiveness of sin when Brady placed his trust in Jesus, freedom from all sickness and death in heaven, abundant mercy and everything he ever truly needed. If anyone ever prayed that Brady would be healed-please know that now he is. If anyone ever prayed that Brady would be comforted-please know he experienced God’s grace, mercy, and lovingkindeness daily.

My Favorite Restaurant

While on the subject of food, I thought I'd share about my favorite restaurant here in L.A. I thought long and hard about sharing this little secret, but I can't keep it to myself. There are certainly a lot of restaurants here in L.A. and I'll admit, I don't frequent any big name places. I found this place on the internet one day when Rich wanted to try somewhere new for dinner. When we walked in, we knew we had found a gem. Since we found it around 5 years ago, it's really kind of like our special little place.

The restaurant is called Off Vine, and is located "off Vine" on a small sidestreet, Leland Avenue, in Hollywood. I'm not a big Hollywood fan or anything like that, but I do enjoy the nostalgia of the city on the ride there. It's the ideal place to go if you have tickets to a show at the Pantages. In fact, when you sit down, the waiter will ask you, "theater?" which means they will pay careful attention to the time you need to leave to make your show if you are going. It's such a dud when you have to answer "no" which is most of the time for us. However, in April for my birthday we are going to see "Wicked" and I can't wait to answer "yes! theater!!" You can leave your car at Off Vine and walk to the Pantages, if you don't mind walking down the street in Hollywood!

The unique thing about Off Vine is that it is located in a old Craftsman Style home, which sat vacant for years before being turned into this charming restaurant. It is a two story, shabby/elegant kind of place, with a neat front porch . Parts of it are downright run down but it all adds to the charm (like the upstairs bathroom with the creepy tub and shower curtain). The interior is small and quaint, with funky turquoise decor. It is usually dimly lit with candlelight and on cool nights they have the fireplace going. They decorate for Christmas and it's extra charming. They have impeccable service and delicious "California comfort" food. My favorite is the Chicken Marsala and Rich usually gets a steak. The menu is very creative and changes often, and you can't go wrong with their fish specials. You don't want to miss the chocolate souffle for dessert (order when you order dinner). I think it's very reasonablly priced for what you get(dinner for two is around $50-60). It's the perfect setting for an intimate dinner, whether with your spouse or dear friends or family. They also do a fabulous weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. One thing to know is that you must always have a reservation to get in.

I hope you get a chance to enjoy it!

Recipe Keeper!

Welcome to a new feature on the blog. I call it "Recipe Keeper!" As you will see, I get pretty excited over adding a new recipe to my recipe folder (more on that later- not just any recipe makes it in). That said, you may not see this feature too often, but when you do you can be sure I heartily recommend you try the recipe. It's a "keeper."

Besides recipes, there will probably be a lot of talk about food on my blog. This is mostly because I love to eat and I get excited about food. I am what you call a "foodie". For those of you not familiar with that term, it means you are enthralled with the whole process of food --from the scouring of cookbooks, to being a food network junkie, to enjoying planning meals, preparing food, and of course eating it. I'll admit it is a bit abnormal to be a foodie, but you just gotta go with it if you are one.

I have a small kitchen and I am actually a very simple cook. Italian cuisine is my favorite to cook. The chef who most inspires me is Giada de Laurentiis and I make her recipes quite often. She uses the most wonderful ingredients in the simplest preparations. And today's "Recipe Keeper!" is from Giada. It is her pot roast. She actually calls it Stracoto, which in Italian means "overcooked." I have always wanted a good pot roast recipe, but never had one. This is the best pot roast I've ever had (just the smell of it cooking will send you). I served it with polenta, but it is also good with mashed potatoes. Click here to get the recipe, and I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Meet the Extended Family- My dad

Here's a photo of my dad, Steve, with my sister Suzanne and I. Isn't he cute? He is 65 years old and has about 10 gray hairs. He's a very 'young' dad. Every so often I'll be out with my dad, and people will think I'm his wife. I'm sure that's a reflection on him looking younger, and not me looking older!

Here's a bit about his background. He came from a family of three boys, and he is the youngest. He was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. His father, Papa Charlie as we called him, immigrated to the East Coast through Ellis Island from Hungary as a young teenage boy. His family returned to Hungary, but he stayed on. He married my grandma Bernice in 1929 and they were married for 62 years. Papa Charlie was in the unfinished furniture business, and Grandma Bernice (Burr-niss as Charlie pronounced it - we don't know why - everyone else pronounced it Burr-neice) was a homemaker and never even learned to drive. I could tell all kinds of stories about my grandparents, whom I adored - but I'll probably do that on another post somewhere down the line!

My dad was a sharp student and served as student body president as well as editor of the school newspaper at Lennox High (near Inglewood). He probably could have had just about any girl on his arm (he was quite handsome as well, I might add), but from age 15 or so only had eyes for one girl - my mom, Wanda Brooks. She was a longtime family friend, spunky and cute, and they married in 1961, at the ages of 20 and 19. My mom worked as my dad finished college, then stayed home to raise my sister and I. My dad went on to a long career in banking. Now, he is an auditor and works as much or as little as he likes, which is nice. My parents were married for 44 years, before my mom passed away unexpectedly from heart trouble in November 2005. My dad's first thought when he lost my mom was, what will I do without her? It has been very hard and he is very lonely without her. They had a wonderful life together filled with many many good times and fond memories.

The joy of his life are his grandkids - my kids Drew (Butch) and Emma (too-cute hunny-bunny sweetheart lollipop picklepuss metal-mouth too-stinky-trash-can), and Suzanne's boys Austin, Luke, and Vance (known collectively as "the wrecking crew"). Austin and Luke somehow escaped getting a dreadful nickname (unlike my kids), but Vance is branded "little Stevie Cinco" (5th grandson- middle name Stephen after my dad). My dad enjoys taking his grandchildren on vacation one on one and spoiling them, and he does it often! He and my mom also have taken every single one of their grandkids to Disneyland! Below is a photo of Luke & Papa last summer in Las Vegas at the M&M store...Luke made out with a giant bag of candy!

Some things to know about my dad, in no particular order of importance: he's a cancer survivor; he once impulsively bought a brand new convertible Porsche without telling my mom; he makes the best latkes on the planet; he loves to read; he travels 40 minutes to buy the best rye bread and sends it to my aunt in Alaska; he loves the pickled green tomatoes I make him from my garden; he likes to hang out at the "cigar shop"; he loves a wide variety of music; he loves extra aged gouda cheese, wine, and desserts with bananas; he drives a new silver toyota RAV4; he enjoys travel and cruises; he is a great gourmet cook yet likes dining out; he loves the color red; he has a fish named Frugly; he's a whiz on the computer and has breakfast on Sundays with his "computer friends"; he loves the Ciopino at Scoma's in San Francisco, getting fresh crabs at Redondo beach, and pretty much any seafood; loves kittens but hates cats; has a hot sauce collection; likes to people watch; and is very generous to those he loves.

I have fond memories of the things my dad and I have shared, such as going to the zoo on Saturdays as a child, family vacations, and him walking me down the wedding aisle, and enjoying him have a special relationship with my children.

I think I'm a lot like my dad (good and bad!), and I think I look like him (wavy hair, big eyes).
I'm thankful to have a dad who has always loved me and taken such great care of me. He always wanted the best for his 'girls' - my mom, Suzanne and I.

Friday, January 19, 2007

He did it!

It's a very exciting day today for Drew. He got his driver's permit! I'm so proud of him!!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Meet the Extended Family - Harasick Side

We are very fortunate to live nearby all our family members. Today, I thought I'd profile the Harasick side of the family, which consists of Rich's mom, Dottie, his older sisters Jamee and Kristen, and Kristen's family - husband Dave, son Jordan & his wife Lindsey, daughter Amy, and son Kyle.

One of the family's traditions is celebrating Christmas together. The above photos are from our Christmas celebrations this past year and years past.

Dottie, going strong at 86, still lives in the same home in Glendale that Rich grew up in. She and Rich's Dad, Frank, were married over 50 years, before he passed away in July of 1998. She was a Longaberger consultant for many years (first one ever in California), but now leads a simple life of reading, and doing crossword puzzles.
Jamee, the oldest, has been a school teacher at Grant Elementary in Los Angeles for over 25 years and keeps busy with various organizations, such as PAHA (Polish American Historical Association) and GHS reunion committee. She loves tradition, and vacationing in Palm Springs.
Kristen , the middle child, is a busy homemaker as well as taking care of her mom's yard and other things for her. She met her hubby while a student at UCSB. Dave is a mortgage broker for commercial real estate who works from "the cave" (office under the house). He's an all around good natured, fun loving guy. He loves home improvement projects.
Jordan is finishing college at CSUN and wants to be a teacher. His wife, Lindsey (they got married last June) just graduated from APU with a degree in Graphic Design and is currently employed with Otis elevators. Lindsey is so sweet and such a welcome addition to the family! Jordan is a talented guitarist.
Amy just returned from 2 years at SDSU and is now a deaf studies major at CSUN. She has many interests, such as humanitarian help and missions. She is a real sweetheart! As you can see, Emma bears a strong resemblance to Amy!
Kyle is in 9th grade at La Canada High School who earns amazing money walking dogs for rich people in La Canada.
We have a lot of laughs together as a family!

Meet the Family - coming soon

Rich will be posting the remainder of our meet the family series. He is going to profile me, his adoring wife, and Brady, our son who passed away in January 2004, at age 14, from brain cancer.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wednesdays at Dad's - thinking of Mom

Since my mom passed away in November 2005 at the young age of only 63, I have gotten into the routine of going to my dad's house on Wednesday mornings. I bring his clean laundry, take the dirty laundry home, clean the house and water the plants, and sometimes bring a pot of soup or something I've cooked to him. He always remembers that I'm coming, setting his laundry basket near the door and leaving me cooking magazines. Sometimes he is there but most of the time he is working. Sometimes we get the chance to go out to breakfast together, which I really enjoy.

I have to say that this time just started out as me wanting to serve my dad and take care of him in some of the ways that my mom did. I didn't want him to have to learn to clean house, or do his laundry at this stage of life. He's always been great in the kitchen so I didn't have to worry about him in that area. But now, the time has become sort of a special time for me. I can't help but think of my mom when I'm making her side of the bed, or cleaning the bathroom or kitchen she decorated. Basically, the house is one big reminder of her, and I could easily allow myself to be very sad that she left us much too soon. However, I have purposed to make my time at Dad's one where I can recall sweet memories of her and to thank God for the special mother He gave me. We had a great life together, and I am thankful for her tender loving care all my life. I am indeed blessed to have had a mother like her and she is close to my heart at all times. Above is a picture of her in Alaska. She and my dad took Drew there for 10 days to celebrate his 13th birthday.

Our 20th Anniversary

Rich and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage this May. We love to plan a trip to take to celebrate each year. In the past, we have enjoyed trips to Kauai, Maui & New York. (a photo of us in New York is below.) This year, we have chosen The Lodge at Torrey Pines , pictured at left. It is on a beautiful cliff in La Jolla, and it is done in Craftsman style decor.

One reason we chose this resort is because it is close to the place we got engaged - George's at the Cove restaurant. So, you can bet that we'll be celebrating our anniversary dinner there! Rich surprised me by flying me to San Diego for dinner on September 28, 1986, took me to George's and asked me to be his wife. (Well, it wasn't a total surprise we were going to get engaged, because we had already picked out my ring, but I didn't know when Rich was going to pop the big question.) That was one of the happiest days of my life.

I just want to say that I thank God daily that he gave me Rich. His love for me is an outpour of his love for Christ and his obedience to Him. He takes such great care of me and loves me even though I'm a pop off. I'm positive he's my "soul mate" (Kip - Napoleon Dynamite).

Monday, January 15, 2007

Meet the Family - Drew

Welcome to a synopsis of Drew.

He was born Andrew Scott Harasick in July 1991. His first nickname was Andrew Snott because of his chronic runny nose. He then went on to be called Ood-iss, Drew-fish, and Drewey. Of course, he would not like to be called any of these nowadays so if you really want to embarrass him, you know what to do. He was the snuggliest toddler you ever did meet, but getting a good night kiss from him these days is a major ordeal.

Above you'll find some of my favorite photos of the boy. On the left, is him Skim boarding in Carpinteria. Top right, here he is dressed up for 70's Roller Disco night through High School Group. Cool afro wig. Bottom right, he is shown with Rebekah Brooks in Yosemite, a couple of months after her adoption from Haiti. That photo just melts my heart!

Drew's about 5'10 1/2" and weighs about 140 lbs. It's really nice to weigh about the same as your kid, especially when he is about 7" taller. I eat lots of veggies and whole grains, have nonfat lattes, exercise and do weight training. He eats chips & cheese sauce, washes it down with soda, and plays video games for exercise. Nice.

One thing you gotta know about Drew is that he's a pretty funny guy. His father and I are still in the process of training him that certain things he thinks are funny are not funny to the general public or to us. But he still keeps us in stitches.

Right now the big thing in his life is getting his driver's permit. He tests this Friday. He has already been behind the wheel in driver's training, and thinks of himself as a good driver. Since he completed his driver's education course, he has been liberal in pointing out to me all my driving errors... in a most respectful manner, of course.

Some things that Drew enjoys are: video games, skim boarding, dirt bike riding, basketball, air softing, white bread, white flour pancakes, white flour tortillas, and any food devoid of nutritional value.

I love him with all my heart!

A little about Emma.....


Since my mom is doing these "about the family" posts.....I thought I should do my own! My name is Emma Leigh Harasick and I'm 13 1/2 as of Christmas Day. I recently got braces and I am still getting used to them! As I'm sitting here, there's a wire poking me! Hehe.....hopefully it will all be worth it in the end. I only have to wear them for 12-18 months, so, that's kinda nice. Above is a picture of my best friend Kaitlyn Guyle and myself at Disneyland. (I'm on the left) That's one of my favorite places to go. We have so much fun. Our family and theirs have year passes, so- we get to go about once a month! When we're there, we get to go off by ourselves, which is such a blast. We have our little "tradition"....when we're there, we always get a soft pretzel with cheese sauce. And once we're done, we go back and buy an extra cheese sauce and just eat it plain. No joke, it's probably one of the best foods (I hope there's cheese sauce in Heaven). We've been best friends for about 6 or 7 years, and we've had sooo many laughs about Jennifer Jane (no....I'm not telling what that's about), DAVE!!, and "smart one". hehe.....
Well, I guess I'll tell you all a little about myself- I'll do that by doing a little list about my likes and dislikes:
-hanging out with Kaitlyn, or any of my
friends (JJ's 4ever!)
-getting a hair cut (there's
just something about
-eating my mom's corn chowder...
its the best around
-doing make-up
on myself or others
-going shopping at the mall
or online
-Going to our church
(Grace Community),
going to our Junior High
ministry (Xchange)
- reading
- watching old movies-or new-
just anything romantic!!
-babysitting.....i currently babysit
for the Hoyers, and maybe the Crawford
-driving a go-cart!! Whoo!
-Scooping our "poo-poo" hut
(you do not want to be in the room
when i do it! It's horrible)
-studying for a history test
-doing the dishwasher, and when
there's food left over from the day before and
its just sitting in the sink, and i have to wash it out-
I'm probably going to throw up one of these days!
-cleaning the bathrooms
-waking up in the morning (before 7 am)
-hiking (taking a walk is fine)....I have no idea
how people do that for's beyond comprehension.
Well, there's a little about myself. I hope you didn't fall alseep....I'm still learning how to make these things funny!
More later.....
posted by,

Sunday, January 14, 2007

"The Porch"

Before continuing with our Meet the Family posts, I thought it best to go off on a little tangent regarding "The Porch" as referred to on the last post about Rich. The top photo above shows the "before" photo in mid-2005, and the bottom photo was taken today. If you click on the photos, they will supersize.

As you can see by the before photo, we had a small little porch with decaying posts and a small little roof over it all. Not even enough room for a single rocking chair. My favorite feature was the non-working if anyone would ring it anyways even if it did work. You would never want to stand on that porch unless you are the type of person who enjoys spiders dangling overhead. When we put in our grass, we purposely left an area unlandscaped for the project that we would fondly come to know as "the porch.''

However, right when Rich was about to begin the project, the sewer line from our master bath to the main collapsed. After receiving repair quotes from plumbers equal to the budget of our entire porch, Rich decided to "do it himself." This is because, in his own words, "I am too cheap and I know I can do it."

Rich had no idea how much fun this would be. The job included him crawling under the house with a jack hammer to bust a hole through the house foundation. You can be sure he wore his special orange jumpsuit for this. It's pretty gross down there with all the rat corpses.

This plumbing work actually turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise, because as we later learned the foundation of the porch would have required re-aligning the sewer pipe anyhow. The work was much easier to do without the porch being there!

Rich then demo-ed the existing porch and roof, and dug for the footings with a mini backhoe and bobcat (i.e. big boy play toys). This created a massive pile of debris which was dumped by the garage. We were rewarded by leaving it there until springtime when it sort of became its own little weed garden. Quite lovely (Not! It's gone now).

The next step was pouring a concrete foundation and stem wall. Then, Rich framed the floor joists and laid down the IPE floor (which is a Brazilian hardwood similar to Mahogany). So, as Rich reminds us, the porch is actually built (It's the rest that needs to be done).

Then came the summer hiatus. Too much camping, too much hot weather. Project on hold.

Happily, the project is now being resumed. As you can see from the current photo, the stucco has been removed and the next step is the wiring and insulation. Then, siding will be installed. Rich just ordered the siding this past weekend, which means we are making progress!

For those of you who found this essay on the porch tantillizing, you will be glad to know that I will be doing frequent updates of the porch right here on the blog. Pretty exciting, I know. Bet you can hardly wait for the next one.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Meet the family - Rich

Here's Rich fishing last summer in Big Bear. He really does enjoy fishing, but unfortunately he went fishing at least 3 times last summer and didn't catch a single fish. Maybe you ought to try Velveeta as bait, hon. Drew would gladly finish any leftovers.

But he is a real outdoors kind of guy. The year before last, he climbed Half Dome in Yosemite with Drew, and he loves to go on hikes here in Shadow Hills, taking along Missy or Olive. He just discovered that he really likes dirt bike riding, and he and Drew dream of getting a pair of Hondas someday.

Rich's spare time these days is spent working on "the porch". This has become kind of a joke between us. Let's just say there have been a few unforeseen delays. Someday, I look forward to sitting on the finished porch in a rocking chair on a warm summer evening. Hopefully I won't be a granny rocking a grand-baby by then. Just kidding Rich, I know you'll finish it up this year! (if not, we'll have to 'hire that done.')

Thursday, January 11, 2007

First Post

I've really enjoyed going on some neat blogs in the past year, especially Girltalk and Scott Frankfurt's blog. Lately, I've been entertaining the idea of setting up a Harasick family blogspot, if but for no reason except that we would have a cool online journal. And when I found out how easy it was to set one up (I did it by myself -seriously), I decided to go for it. I hope the whole family might enjoy posting! Since we love living out here in Shadow Hills, I decided to name our blog after our community's motto, "Country Living... Shadow Hills." I also posted one of last year's favorite photos of us on our trip to Maui.