Friday, June 29, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Roxane and I met through the Bates family. She had been a neighbor of the Bates and she was from a dysfunctional home. The Bates took her in, and Delphine was instrumental in Roxane's conversion as well. So, it is like Delphine is the spiritual "Mom" and we are her children. One thing that has bonded my heart to Delphine's is that she, too, has suffered the loss of one of her sons. Tyler was just 21 when he died in a diving accident in Hawaii in 1992. Having the understanding support ofshe and John during the loss of Brady was such a comfort to us. Roxane and her husband Don have also been dear friends for many years, and we lived in the same small apartment building, "Club Verdugo" as newlyweds many years ago. They have four boys, ages 7-17: Clay, Cole, Cody and Carson.
Like I said before, these ladies are like family to me. They have encouraged me, taught me, and been an example to me. I thank God that he has given me these precious ladies as dear and beloved friends in Christ.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
This year, we decided it would be fun to take each of the DeShong boys to Disneyland for their birthdays. We have yearly passes, and in the spring go about once a month, usually with the Guyles and the Dempseys. We started in March by taking Luke, then Vance in April, finishing with Austin early this month. Each got to go in their birthday month. While they each seemed to have a great time, it turned out to be more of a gift for us, since we made so many wonderful memories!
The boys had been to Disneyland once before with my parents, but were each about 4-5 years old then, and didn't remember that much. It was fun to see how each of them reacted to the different possibilities of Disneyland. For example, Vance could have just walked from one food stand to the next and would have been completely happy just eating and not even going on any rides. The first thing on his list of things to do that day was to get a big, round, colorful lollipop and he made this wish known from the get-go. Luke was initially extremely apprehensive about going on anything at all, but by the end of the day, he would go on everything - and with gusto! His face would be lit up with excitement when he came off a ride! Austin walked around bright eyed all day, almost in a daze, taking it all in. While he enjoyed many of the rides, I really think he liked picking out his souvenir best of all! While they each had different reactions reflecting their own unique personalities, there was one thing they all agreed on - Space Mountain was awesome!
Friday, June 8, 2007
It started with the Apple Pan article we read in the L.A. Times Food section. They highlighted the restaurant because of its 60th anniversary. I highly recommend reading the article (click above) as it is very interesting. Being foodies and liking to experience things that are a part of our city's history, we were compelled to go. So, we decided to stop on the way home from our anniversary trip in La Jolla. I know, I know...not the most appropriate way to end a weekend full of luxury and gourmet food, but it sounded really fun!
We arrived around 2:00, so the place wasn't too busy. When you enter, you feel frozen in time - sometime in the 1940's or 1950's. That is certainly the last time they changed the decor. The photo below shows some longtime employees. This photo does looks old but it really isn't. I found it on some guy's website and it was taken recently.
We sat to the left of the old fashioned (working) cash register. Note the burger on the counter!
We got a seat fairly quickly. There is no hostess - you just hover over someone who looks like they are about to finish. As soon as the people get up, you quickly slide onto the stool. The place is a U-shaped counter with a small open cooking station in the middle and a waiter for each side.
We were just finishing up our fries when the burgers appeared. No plate - just wrapped in paper and smacked down right in front of us. Rich asked for another order of fries and the waiter disappeared without a word, returning in seconds with another perfect, hot order of fries. Now we were truly baffled. Rich concluded there must be some guy in the kitchen whose sole responsiblity is listening for the word "fries" to come out of a customer's mouth, just waiting to pounce.
The Apple Pan burger - it's a beautiful thing.
We then tasted the burgers...YUM! The bun was greasy and crisp. The meat was juicy and actually had flavor - what a concept! It also had real cheddar cheese, a cool, thick stack of iceberg lettuce, pickles, and a delicious ketchup/pickle relish spread. No tomato. No onion. Yup, they decided 60 years ago that these items were unnecessary to the Apple Pan burger. And you won't miss them.
Like I said, this was a juicy burger, and it dripped right down my face. No worries -the waiter was very sympathetic to my plight. There was a napkin holder right in front of me, but nevermind that. Whenever the waiter zoomed by us, he grabbed a napkin out of the holder and handed it to me personally. I found that to be extremely amusing. Here he was, running like crazy to serve all his customers, yet took care of me as a mother would her child. And you better wipe your face when he hands you a napkin, believe me!
The second we had devoured the last delicous bite of burger, the waiter appeared and said very matter of factly, what kind of pie? He didn't seem to be asking us IF we wanted pie, but what kind, which makes you feel rather obligated and defiant if you were to say no. However, we were stuffed and politely declined. He did look a little disappointed in us, however, he quickly whipped out the bill and seemed to expect immediate payment. Basically, if you're not going to have pie, you're done -leave. So, we paid, got up from our seats, which were immediately taken by waiting customers. The whole experience must have been only 15 minutes top.
The Apple Pan was not just a great meal, but a great experience. Maybe some would say it's just a burger, but I like this kind of place - it had a story. I figure, if a place has been around this long, it must be good. And I wasn't disappointed. I must say that I've had a craving for another Apple Pan burger since we left!
Emma & Steph
Top of Vernal Falls - we hiked it!
Fun in the river
Contemplating the view
There is so much to do in Yosemite. Fantastic hikes, bike rides, dips in rivers...but you have to spend some time just sitting in a camp chair soaking it all in as well. We come home sore and exhausted from all our activity - but it's well worth the pain!
We had quite a group this year - the DeShongs, Berggrens, Tubbs, Brooks and Hoyers. A total of 28 kids ranging in age from 4 months to 16 years old! As we took hikes or rode the tram, we were asked "what group are you?" and "is this a school?" It was so much fun to fellowship together with such wonderful families.
There were so many pictures to choose from...so I decided to make a separate blog just with photos...see above entry...enjoy!