Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Favorite Mistake...

Allison returned last night from her week-long adventure in New York City! Tonight we met so we could catch up and so I could hear all about it. We decided we might as well have a pedicure while we were at it...(ooh, my feet are sooo soft!)
My toes, (I chose the polish that matched my sweater!) and Allison's...
We walked over to Ruby's for dinner and I had this DELICIOUS salad full of apples, dried cranberries, big chunks of blue cheese and candied walnuts! Yummy!
Afterward, we went back to Allison's house, which was re-carpeted while she was out of everything is stacked up in her hallway! I especially loved this area of the house! I SO love that she is such a reader...just like me! Must have been all those "Little Golden Books" and "Berenstain Bears" books we read before bed all those many years.
Allison's trip to Kenya this month had been canceled because of the violence occurring at this time. She was truly disappointed and is still very much hoping to move there for six months or so this July. Tonight she shared so deeply with me her love for the people that she has grown to know over the last four years in Kitale. She said that July might be the perfect time to go over...that she could be there to help re-build, to assist them in getting back to normal.
She said, "Mom, I just want to go hold those little kids who must be so confused and afraid." (Yeah, I couldn't even TYPE that without tearing up!) She is certain that God is calling her to Kenya...and, I gotta admit, I'm praying that she is allowed to go.
Allison is one incredible woman. There's no mistake about that.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A whole new season ahead...

From 1958 to 1961, while waiting for Dodger Stadium to be built, the Dodgers played their games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This March 29th, in honor of their 50th anniversary in Los Angeles, the Dodgers will play ONE exhibition game at the Coliseum against the World Champion Boston Red Sox!
And guess who's got tickets? Oh yeah! I am SO very excited!

There's a brand new season up ahead! It's a fresh start, a new's full of anticipation, excitement and hope. And I think it will be one that was absolutely worth waiting for!
...and it should be good for the Dodgers too.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

On the street where you live...

This was "DiLallo Land" for so's still hard to believe that it's not home anymore.
Throughout my childhood, I lived on the same street, in two houses, directly across from one another. Though my family only lived there until 1997, the whole street still feels like home. I stood in that street tonight and was overwhelmed with incredibly joyful thoughts...There are so many events that went on in these homes and in this street! Prom dinners, swim parties, birthday celebrations and baby showers. Years of Thanksgivings and Christmas Mornings and fourth of July firework extravaganzas. I remembered many trips to the neighbors' doors to borrow ketchup or sugar or an egg or two...
The neighborhood was built in 1965 and, for the most part the homes have been occupied by the same families for all those years. Several families are original owners. (They paid $19,000 for those houses) These families are all still very close friends of the DiLallo Family...
I attended a gathering tonight for our friend, Jerry, who was married to Chris, and lived on our street forever. Sadly, Jerry died of cancer last week.
So, here's the story...
This is the house my parent's bought in 1965...we lived here until 1970, when we move to the home directly across the street. "Ann across the street" has lived here since then. I babysat Ann's children, Erik and Dawn-Rene who are now in their mid-thirties and are now my friends.
Lenee, right, is Chris' sister and baby sat for me and MY sisters for years and years.
On the left is her beautiful daughter, Hope.
Leslee is the middle sister of Chris and Lenee...she also babysat me and my sisters.
My mother actually babysat Chris and Leslee and Lenee in the very early years! She went on to take care of ALL of THEIR children at one time or another! My mom had an especially close relationship to Jerry's son Jim, who, unfortunately, also died a few years ago. My parents' home was the one where everyone gathered. No matter what time of day or night, there would be something going on in the DiLallo household. All the neighbors knew this was a safe place to be. And, more days than not, there would be someone sleeping on the living room couch when we woke up...someone who needed a place to stay for a few days...or more.
My parents' home has always been a real home. Lucky me.
And...this is Jerry and Chris' son, Justin. My mom took care of Justin for years too! I walked Allison and Justin to kindergarten and they were in school together through high school.

The one thing that ALL of these people said to me over and over last night--most with tears in their eyes-- was, "I love your mom...she has always been there for us."
I assured them that she certainly truly loved each of them too. And she really does.
So the kids I babysat are now in their late thirties. And the girls who babysat me are now in their late forties. Something magical happened on this street...cause we are now all the same age! But something far more amazing than that has been happening on that street for years...
The blessings of true, deep, long-lasting friendships and years of really living life together.
That's the real magic.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hop on Pop!

Here's to my dad--call him Pete,
He's also a blogger, ain't that sweet?
My kids call him "Pops"
That makes him feel tops
And now for some old ones--such a treat!
Check out my dad's blog HERE
Love you Pops!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Family Ties

The perfect ending to a FANTASTIC weekend...
dinner with my sister Gina and our mom and dad.
We were not celebrating anything in particular... Our toast was "To life and its great surprises!"
And I was, once again, reminded of what a blessing it is to have my family around the corner.
Gina and Kelly Clarkson and I had a bit of a dance fest after dinner...
But Allison has warned me to never post pictures of me dancing again.
The photos taken of us tonight reminded me of why.
And of course we had an incredible meal! Manicotti and salad and lots of bread...
I baked some cookies and my mom brought this gorgeous chocolate cake.
I ate a sliver with a good Chianti...
(I couldn't resist that one)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Flash Forward

It's amazing how the love for your kids doesn't change one bit...whether they are 3 or 23...
I LIKE my kids so much too...they are such great people!

Just for Courtney...

My dad, my sister Sarah and sweet Elijah

Thursday, January 24, 2008

These are the good ol' days...

My friend Alanna joined me for dinner tonight...Split Pea Soup and home made biscuits. We had so much to catch up on...and so much to celebrate! Alanna and Jared are now engaged and will be married on May 16. She shared all the fun they are having planning the upcoming wedding! We laughed and talked and enjoyed our time together so much...just like we did in the old 'Crave' days.
One thing's for sure...the best is yet to come!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

You look good...for your age.

This comment used to really bother me. People (usually under 30) find out how old I am and sure enough they say, "You look good--for your age..."
What exactly does that mean? That since I am 44 I look pretty good, but if I was 34 I would look really crappy? What is my age supposed to look like?
Obviously, I know it is meant as a compliment, but lately I have tried to take it as an opportunity to educate these kind, younger folk. I gently let them know that there is really no need for the qualifier "for your age." "You look good" is completely appreciated on its own!
And then, of course, I DO thank them...
cause, no matter what...I am totally grateful for the compliment.

To me, "old" is always fifteen years older than I am.
Bernard M. Baruch

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Can't touch this

...but, along with donuts, potato chips and candy bars...
I can dream about it.

I voted today!!
For quite a few years now, I've voted by absentee ballot. It's always been so convenient, especially with my uncertain work schedule. But the best part is that it gives me a chance to sit down with the ballot, read through and even research information on the propositions.
Absentee voting has allowed me to be much more educated about who and what I am voting for.
I would highly suggest it.
Either way, be sure to vote!

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Name Game

Today, while Allison and I were out and about, we stopped into Starbucks for a beverage. Allison ordered her drink and the Barista asked her name. She replied "Allison."
Now, I have to ask you, is this a unique name? Is this a name that is out of the ordinary? Some name you have never heard before? Granted, I have seen various spelling of the name: Alison or Alyson or even Allyson...Do you know what was written on her cup when her beverage was ready?
ALICE if it were two words even!
I should not be surprised. Though I don't frequent Starbucks, a few of the times I have been there I have received my beverage with
written on it...yeah.
Julie is one of those unique names too...

In Living Color

This is my mom and dad on their wedding day, June 16, 1962
(I swear my mother still does that face)
Thanks to the wonders of technology, I have been able to take the slides from their wedding day, clean them up, adjust the color and convert them to digital.
My parents' wedding photo album is in black and white and I had never seen their wedding day in color!
Until now...
I wore this same dress in my wedding 20 years later
(No, I did not wear the crown...)
The wedding party...(I swear my dad still makes THAT face!)
I have looked through my folks' wedding album dozens of times over the years, yet never had any idea what color these dresses were! Always have LOVED those giant Gerbera daisies. (And the AWESOME hats!) The ring bearer is my cousin David who is an anesthesiologist today...
I love that these pictures make it look as though they were taken recently, yet these poor slides had been trapped in a tray up in a closet for 45 years...
They have finally come to life.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I get by with a little help from my friends...

Elisa and I met for lunch at Nordstrom Cafe over at South Coast Plaza today...and did a little shopping! I trusted Elisa's opinion on a couple of new shirts (I'll bring them to show you tomorrow, Allison just to make sure they are OK!) I literally tried on TWENTY SEVEN dresses and bought a super cute little black one for the Montage Anniversary Party next month!
Tonight I met my Aunt Angie and cousin Lynn down at (the restaurant formerly known as) Javier's in Laguna Beach for fantastic Mexican dinner! I had amazing lobster tacos and, though I ordered a Diet Coke, our waiter knew me from Montage and brought me a delicious BLUE Margarita!
Nothing better than an enjoyable (and productive!) day with good friends.

Happy 8th Birthday Sunny!

Love you Sunny Bun Bun...Hope it's a GREAT day!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

If I could turn back time...

These two books arrived on my doorstep today! I have heard and read so much about each of them.
I am REALLY looking forward to reading and applying the ideas and advice from these brand-new REAL self helps!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Afternoon Delight

Today at our staff meeting, the Catering & Conference Services team was treated to a sampling of the NEW appetizers and hor d'oeuvres available at Montage. This is, of course, an important part of the continued learning process at Montage.
And OH my goodness, are they phenomenal! Among other things, we were served prosciutto-wrapped melon, cheese-filled endive, lobster corn cake, spring rolls, lamb-filled mini-pitas, and (in my opinion, the most amazing one of all) the Monte Cristos!
And to drink--a delicious (non alcoholic) pomegranate punch.
Gotta tell ya, I love learning at Montage.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Allison & Dillon & Ben & Jerry

Allison invited both Dillon and I to dinner at her home tonight...
Dillon was to bring dessert...and boy did he deliver! Yum!
Allison made us a "waga-mamma" style pasta with chicken and broccoli and two hot loaves of garlic bread...absolutely delicious! Allison has become such a great cook!
Dillon is one definitely of our dearest friends...
It's been TOO long since the three of us were together...
It was such a treat to have some time to catch up!
Thanks Allison!

...and a little time with Nana...

On the way out to Allison's house, I stopped by to visit my Nana...
She had cataract surgery this week, so I brought her some tulips!
She looked great and said that she felt really good too.
Hang in there Nana!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

For whom the BELL tolls...

After checking out my blog this morning, Brian, Travis and Andrew--three of our amazing bellmen at Montage (and also three of the greatest guys I know!)--created their own blog!
Check it out HERE