Where Is The Brick House?

“Where is the brick house?” asked fellow blogger,  Mark Bialczak, as he approached my home yesterday afternoon.  How can brickhousechick not live in a brick house, right?  I guess my symbolic brick exterior (which protects me from harm most of the time), will have to do.

Mark, who many of you know (and if not, get over to his blog now), his DWK (dear wife Karen) and their beloved dog, Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle stopped by for a visit on their way home from their lovely vacation at the Happy Cottage in Cape Cod.  We had originally hoped to meet at the Cape but our vacation schedules did not coincide.

Mr. B meets Mr. B –

As my readers know, I refer to my husband as Mr. B (brickhouse) when I divulge his dark secrets talk about him but I also refer to Mark as Mr. B.  The other Mr. B.  So it was fun to introduce the B’s to each other for the first time.

After letting Ellie B explore our yard a bit, we headed inside to our back porch to enjoy some snacks and beverages.  I made sure to get the other Mr. B shrimp with a lot of cocktail sauce since he was short-changed on the good stuff earlier in the week.  You can read about his disappointing cocktail sauce story, here.

We sat on our porch chatting away and watching Ellie B explore the interior of our home and then settle into a rather… comfortable pose.

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Please do not disturb…

Mark’s lovely wife, Karen was exactly that. Lovely!  She kept Ellie B (and Mark) in check and enjoyed a glass of wine, knowing her husband would be driving the 3 hours home.   That she was a good sport in agreeing to meet not one but two bloggers during her much anticipated vacation, tells you what kind of person she is.  (Great meeting you, Karen!)

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Mmm…dogs love shrimp too

As for Mark aka the the other Mr. B, I can tell you with all certainty that he is just as sweet, caring and charming in person as he is on his blog.  You can see by the sparkle in his eyes how much he appreciates and enjoys all aspects of his life and how much he looks forward to new adventures. He referred to many of the details I have written about on my blog and could make the connection to my stories after meeting Mr. B and I.  I love that he remembered the time Mr. B had a delivery of manure compost delivered to our driveway the day before guests arrived for my daughter’s graduation party.  Something I have not let my Mr. B ever forget!

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No need to show the other half of this picture…:)

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A little blurry, but worth posting

Thank you, the other Mr. B, for taking a bit of a detour from your trip back to the Little Bitty in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood, to come meet Mr. B and I.  It was our pleasure to welcome you into our humble brick-less house.

Have you met a fellow blogger lately?

Hasta La Vista, 50!

highwaysafetyshop.com

highwaysafetyshop.com

I cannot believe that one year ago,  I was suffering tremendously at the thought of turning 50.  I lost a lot of hair and sleep worrying and anticipating the big 5-0.  I even started a blog to help me cope with this cruel reality.

Truth be told, I had fun celebrating (the parties were non-stop), talking and writing about it.  Was it as bad as I imagined it would be?

 Yes and No.

No, in that I am still here and have enjoyed… oh so thoroughly, not caring as much about what others think of me or what comes out of my mouth.  A stronger sense of freedom has blossomed.

Yes, it was as bad as I imagined it would be, in that a lot more than freedom has blossomed.  My arms have blossomed, my belly has blossomed, my thighs have blossomed as have the brown spots on my face.  In addition, I can see NADA without my readers, my hearing has faded and my breasts have migrated to the deep, deep South, but I digress.

I am more than ready to say goodbye to this eventful (to say the least) year and welcome in new adventures and food  experiences.

Speaking of food, in pure brickhouse fashion, I spent this birthday weekend by the shore with Mr. B, eating some delicious treats.  One being a succulent lobster roll from a very popular harbor café, as well as my favorite deli sandwich made with turkey, swiss cheese, alfalfa sprouts, pesto mayo, tomato and avocado.  Yes, I did.

We also tried a new restaurant which serves the most orgasmic brick oven pizza topped with arugula, prosciutto, pear and a balsamic glaze.  Enough? No. Can I tell you about the juicy pan seared native scallops sautéed with bacon and shallots? Need I say more? I better stop because I am starving, again.

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brickhousechick.com

tablespoon.com

tablespoon.com

 

They looked like this goodfoodfreshingredients.com

They looked like this
goodfoodfreshingredients.com

We also did plenty of walking, laying on the beach, shopping, talking, resting, laughing and planning for the year ahead.

*****A big shout-out to my all-time favorite Washington DC brothers-in-law and of course, BFFs, for the use of their beautiful home.  It was another spectacular birthday getaway in this elegant farmhouse on the coast.*****

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Bring it on, 51!

I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up

 

corebloggers

corebloggers

GONE BEACHING…

 If anyone is looking for me, this is where I will be all week.

Don’t I look relaxed?

If I am able to open my eyes, I will visit your awesome blogs and comment.  If I don’t, it means I was not able to drag my beautifully tanned and incredibly hot body (see above) away from the sun and sand. 

 HASTA LUEGO!

 XOXO

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Getaway With My Husband And Many Of You

courtesy of brickhousechick's husband

Motif No.1 – Rockport, MA -Courtesy of brickhousechick’s husband

Ahhhh.  Who does not love summer getaways?  Even if you cannot go far away or take the whole week off, a weekend getaway can refresh your soul.  And that, it did.  

Child #1 was busy working and participating in a fishing tournament (yes, they exist – that’s for another post) and Child #2, is away for the week with her boyfriend and his family (Ay…).  He is actually a very nice young man and his family will take great care of her (my father is turning in his grave because I allowed her to go, something I would never have been allowed to do at the tender age of 17 – Sorry, Papi, she will be ok!)

I figured I would un-plug from the world for the most part, while away and focus solely on my wonderful husband who needed desperately to get out-of-town (being a town official, let’s just say he gets beaten up down often, since it is impossible to please everyone and it can be a thankless job.)

We “pricelined” our Saturday night stay, bidding low and having our bid accepted and headed out Saturday morning on our little getaway.  I love how relaxed we felt from the beginning.  No rush, no stress – just driving along with no real plan.

If you have not visited the coastal towns of Massachusetts before, it is something you must do.  We often vacation on Cape Cod (I was thinking of my buddy Joe @ http://joedegiorgio.com/ who got to go for two weeks this year) and love its beaches and sand dunes.  

We headed to the North Shore which is just as lovely.  My husband’s favorite beach is, Plum Island (named for the wild Beach Plum Shrubs that grow on the dunes) off of Newburyport.  He is an avid birder and loves the fact that some of the beach is sectioned off to protect the many nesting and endangered, Piping Plovers.

US Fish & Wildlife

US Fish & Wildlife

It is such a beautiful and pristine beach.  We took a little walk and ran into the incredible and only resort on the beach called, Blue The Inn On The Beach.

Blue Inn resort at  Plum Island

Courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce

Even though we had our non refundable Priceline reservation already, we checked out the rates for next time.  At $400/night we decided to turn back around and go sit in our great Rio Beach chairs which by the way, have built-in cup holders – so there!

While relaxing on the beach, my mind kept veering off into blogosphere.  Everything around me made me think of a post I had read, a particular blogger or a blog-worthy picture I could be taking.  Is this what happens when you have been blogging for a while? Your life is forever linked to your blog?

I kept telling myself to STOP.  Focus on your hubby and this beautiful day, brickhouse!  Forget about the blog! But, I looked at the cutest couple with their adorable little girls playing in the sand and I immediately thought of Andy ( aka father of the year) from http://ourlifein3d.com/ and his great vacation pics with his girls.

Then, as I looked in the water and saw a woman on a tube, I remembered the awesome tube the lovely Shannon at 

http://mrsugarbears.com/

got for her weekend getaway.  Shannon’s was a pumped up tube with mini fridge and all!

I kept coming back to my hubby and smiling at him.  At least he thought I was thinking about him!  We were soon hungry (when am I not soon hungry) and left the beach for an early dinner at the local Grille.

I looked at the menu and the only thing on my mind was, what would mama (my awesome friend the nutritionist) want me to order that is gluten-free?  Ay!  This place is famous for its fried clams but I knew this was not an option.  I was ok.  I ordered a lobster salad with avocado and cucumber along with mussels.  Pretty good, huh?  Except that the lobster salad was minuscule and did not even make a dent at my starvation and the mussels although in abundance…did not fill me up either.  PLUS, I could not dip the wonderful fresh smelling bread into the mussel sauce!  AY!  I filled up on the liquid variety on the menu and stayed strong.

Our overnight accommodations were…so so.  We had tried to get reservations at other more suitable places but everything was booked since our trip was last-minute.  The most interesting part about our hotel was that it was a stone’s throw from the infamous,http://www.thegoldenbanana.com/ a gentlemen’s club sort of place on Route 1.  Nothing good ever comes out of staying in a sprawl infested Route 1.  You know the kind.  But, as tempting and tantalizing as it was…we stayed away.

The next morning we headed to beautiful Rockport (and I thought about my friend’s husband who grew up there), a historic little village off of Cape Ann.  Such an eclectic and gorgeous place. An artist’s paradise.

20130804_143353 20130804_133433 20130804_130655 20130804_130223 20130804_123913 and home to

Motif No 1 20130804_141830 A fishing shack that is “the most often painted building in America”.

As we walked around, we saw many signs.

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 I immediately thought of the inspiring Andra, who wrote a nice post about signs, 

http://andrawatkins.com/2013/08/02/i-start-in-the-middle-of-a-sentence-and-move-both-directions-at-once/.

Then I saw another sign for an Inn,

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and how could I NOT think about the talented Peg from

http://pegoleg.com/.  

Everywhere I turned, my blogging friends were there.

I enjoyed the gluten-free treats (and thought of my friend who is also just starting the g/f craziness with me) and did more walking than I probably should have.

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Sans the bread 😦

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Oh yea! Take that – gluten world!

It truly was a wonderful weekend.  And although y’all were not always on my mind during this getaway (wink,wink), I am glad you came along.

We Forced Our Teens to Hang Out With Us

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I’ve got myself some pretty nice kids.  They both have a strong work ethic and have had jobs since the age of 14.  They work at the same market a few miles from our home and are fortunate to be getting plenty of working hours to fill their summer days.

It is nice not to have two sleepy, cranky teens hanging around the house all day long, eating everything in sight, watching endless episodes of Honey Boo Boo and telling me how bored they are.  Phew!

Last Friday, I warned informed them that since neither of them had to work that Sunday, we were going to spend the day together as a happy little family and go to the beach.  How awesome does that sound?  

Well, they both chose not to tell me what they really thought of my great idea (smart kids) and gave me a fake (do we have to go anywhere with you and dad) smile.  I reminded them that since one of them is already in college and the other a senior in high school, our vacationing-together days were limited and that we had to take advantage of the time we had now.

Besides, it was the perfect time for me to debut my new shiny blue skirted bathing suit I so agonized over.  I was going to wear that darn thing if it killed me (which it almost did).

Sunday morning came around and we woke the kids up early (just what they want their parents to do on a summer day off).  I packed up lunches for the four of us.  The bread was a bit stale but I figured the peanut butter would mask the staleness and they wouldn’t notice.

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picturesof.net

We packed the car like we were going to be away for months, in a remote location with no running water or electricity.  We had to make sure to pack our beach umbrella, 4 beach chairs, paddle ball racquets, a cooler, towels, a beach blanket and about 500 different sun tan lotions which had probably all expired.

We were on the road by 8:15 am which is quite an accomplishment considering we had two cranky teens with us and that my aching stiff body normally does not start functioning until noon.

We were not 100 feet from our home (basically still in the driveway) and the kids were already plugged in.  Out of commission.  Unreachable.  Gone Fishing.  One listening to her favorite country tunes and the other, his alternative screaming, guitar smashing and cursing, noise.  It was clear that we were not to have any kind of family conversation or chit-chat during our two-hour trip.

Lucky for my husband, I turned to him and began chatting away.  If he owned an Ipod, he would have been plugged in before leaving the house so he wouldn’t have had to listen to my array of fun facts I like to enlighten my family with, on trips.  I often read to them from brochures about the places we are about to visit and they…so love to listen.

 Two hours later we had reached our destination.  A beach we had never visited but highly recommended by my sister-in-law.  It was one of those horrendous muggy, sticky, mad hot days and we could not wait to freshen up in the water.

For the love of God.  The entire State was there.  At that beach.  We dragged all our beach paraphernalia through the burning hot sand looking for an empty spot.  A gap between the thousands of people already settled in their blankets and chairs sweating away, was all we needed.  After searching for what seemed like 55 hours, we found a little spot.  Not the prime real estate needed to house all our stuff, but we took it anyway.

After getting some dirty looks from our very close-to-us, sand  neighbors, we settled in.  Ahhhh….finally relaxing at the beach.    My daughter decided to lay down on the blanket but could not get comfortable.  My son was mortified when he noticed that her foot was resting on someone else’s blanket and told her to move.  But there was no place to go.  She returned to her chair in a…not so happy mood.  

We have never been in a beach this crowded.  We often vacation on Cape Cod and have plenty of room to spread out.  It was crazy.  We could hear all the intimate conversations of those around us, could actually read their books right along with them and check their incoming texts on their phones.

We decided to go in the water to cool off.  My cover-up hiding my new skirted suit stayed with me while I waded in the refreshing water.  I got stage fright and could not take it off.  I know I would have blended right in among the massive crowd and that I should be over this skirted suit issue, but I kept the damn cover-up on the whole time.

My kids tried to play paddle ball, but it was an impossible feat being that they had zero elbow room.

After a couple of hours, being drenched with sweat and feeling claustrophobic (and the fact that my kids were hungry because the stale bread didn’t cut it), we decided to head home.

But the day was saved.  We stopped at a famous Clam Shack on our way home and had the most delicious fried clams, fries and onion rings we have had in a long time!  YUM!  

After some very fully satisfied bellies, an air-conditioned car and the fact that we were headed home, everyone seemed happy.  There was a lot of chatter on the way home and we even got a Thank You from the kids for taking them on this day trip!  

It’s amazing what eating good food, will do.