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the lazy days of summer ...

I've been back from Atlanta a week and feeling out of synch. Settling back into my daily routine after being away from home for a couple of weeks or more is always a struggle. I made a mental note of stuff I want to do: update my blog, read my friend’s blogs, answer emails, organize and label the photos of my recent trip but so far I've only accomplished the first item on the list and made a small dent on the second.

Before updating my blog, I wanted to check out what my blogging pals have been up to. For the past few days I've been staring at my Google Reader. It tells me that I have missed reading more than 200 blog entries. I have slowly begun to take a peek and have enjoyed reading about on-the-road blogging, after trip blogging, trip planning, Salad Samplers, about Thailand, about music and shrines.

IMG_5439_2.jpg I also wanted to thank everyone for your thoughtful birthday wishes for my mom and son. My husband and I hosted a very animated birthday party for Pablo the day before taking off for Atlanta. Needless to say, waking up early the following day to catch the flight was dreadful but we made it. My mom's birthday celebration at my brother's house was wonderful, with cake, wine and a lot of little ones running around. Afterwards we all went to a Mass in honor of my mom, while she stayed at home, quietly resting after all the commotion. The day ended at Scalini's, an Italian restaurant in Atlanta.

I'll come back to the blogs and leave a comment soon but first I must get ready for leaving again. This one is a short trip, only four days and within our home state. My husband and I are going camping with our two kids and daughter-in-law to the Arizona high country. Weather in the Valley of the Sun has been a real scorcher and we are ready for some greenery and cooler weather. We will set our tents in the Ponderosa Campground, located in the Tonto National Forest. We don’t have much planned other than hiking, checking out a nearby lake, and possibly going to a goat farm in Payson which my daughter recently visited and says that they make the most delicious fresh goat cheese.

And speaking of goats, I want to share a photo of a very special goat. Last month Annie blogged about her visit to the Goathouse and Cat Refuge in Pittsboro, NC. I commented that I had a pet goat when I was a child. I mentioned I had a photo of me and Pepe where I pretended that he was my pony. I recently found the photo at my brother’s house. I'm about four years old and wearing my PJ's. I was very fond of Pepe and looking at him now, I can see that he was very young. I wonder what he thought about having a wild child as his human. On the second photo, it looks like I'm choking him but I'm sure he was fine and breathing after I let him loose. He probably ran away from me, as far as he could.



Today, July 23 would have been my dad's 90th birthday. Per family tradition, we will have a Mass in his memory and I, along with my brothers in Georgia and Florida, will make my dad's all-time favorite dish: black ink rice. Some of you might recall that last year I posted a photo of the dish. Since we're going to be on the road today, I made the rice yesterday and ate it for dinner. Tonight I'll toast my Dad with his favorite drink: Vermouth with a splash of lemon.

Here's a 2002 picture of my Dad and me taken when my parents were living in Woodstock, Georgia.


Comments (14)

I wish you could see how big I am smiling at those photos of you and Pepe! Just adorable. I think you should have those made into notecards. You are so cute and so is he (and I love the PJs!).

It's wonderful the way you and your family are remembering your dad today (and I love the photo of the two of you; he looks like such a nice man).

Hope you all have a wonderful camping trip in cooler and greener pastures. Hope you make it to the goat farm!

A beautiful post, Maria.
Good to have you back.
Your photos with the Pepe the goat are just adorable! You both looks just so cute!
I like your photo with your dad today and I like how you honor his memory on his birth days.

Have a great time camping!


Wonderful photos. I also love goats. One of my sons had not only an imaginary friend, but also an imaginary goat named Jeffrey living in his closet.


Oh, Maria, that is a sweet picture of you and your Dad. And a nice remembrance for his 90th birthday.

And I love the goat pictures! Such a sweet-looking little goat!

Barb Cabot:

Have a wonderful trip camping. I loved the photos of you with the goat and also of you with your dad. How blessed you were to have two wonderful loving parents.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Maria, what a beautiful post. It sounds like you had a wonderful time spending time celebrating your son's Birthday and your Mom's 90th Birthday in Atlanta with your brothers and other family members. I enjoyed reading about your family celebrations and traditions and how you continue to honor your father's memory on his birthday. Your childhood photos with Pepe is soooo adorable! I'm sure Pepe didn't mind giving you a ride. :)

Thank you so much for sharing all of your wonderful family photos with us. I'm glad to hear that you had a great time spending time with your mom, brothers and family back in Atlanta.

Your camping trip sounds like fun. Enjoy and have a great trip.


Sis; WOW, Pepe and you!!!. Do you really remember him???
BTW, we had a great time here with you and Ivan, and I forgot to tell you, that I love you very much!!!
Fratello Mguel


Maria, those are great pictures of you with the Goat.How lucky to have such a special pet.The picture with your Dad is very sweet too. What a nice way to honor his memory. Hope that you enjoy camping.


Oh my goodness Maria, I love those photos of you! Both the one of your adorable little self with Pepe and the beautiful photo with your dad. Take care :)

Thank you all for your comments and your kind words regarding my dad’s birthday.

Annie, Pepe was cute, wasn’t he? I’d give anything to have a pet goat again. We went to the goat farm and my daughter and I played around with the cute young goats. We took lots of photos and couple of videos which will get posted soon.

Candi, thank you for your welcoming words. I’m glad to be back although I feel so guilty for not blogging much lately. I hope to soon start blogging regularly.

Amy, an imaginary pet goat named Jeffrey?! That sounds like a good theme for a children’s book. :)

Nancy, he was very sweet-looking and I remember him as being very gentle.

Barb, thank you for your kind words.

Kathy, thank you for your comments. You are always so thoughtful and sweet. Being in Atlanta with my family was wonderful and so was camping with my husband and kids. We enjoyed the cool weather, did a bit of hiking and spent time by the fire just relaxing. I don’t recall much about Pepe but he sure had to be a gentle goat to allow me to play with him as seen on the photos.

Hey fratello Michelangelo, of course I remember Pepe! How could I not? He was my first pet!
I also enjoyed being with y’all and look forward to my next visit.
Anch’io ti voglio molto bene, caro fratello.

Sheri, I loved having Pepe as my very special pet and camping was a lot of fun.

Anne, the photo of me and my dad is one of my favorites. You must have returned from your trip to Newfoundland. I can’t wait to read all about it!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Maria, Welcome Home! I'm so glad you had a great camping trip with some cool relax time with your family. I wanted to come by to say Hi after reading your comments on my blog. Totally loved reading this wonderful entry again and looking at all of your family photos. I also enjoyed reading your additional comments. Family and childhood memories are the best.

Take care and have a great day today.

Oh Maria, I am so sorry to hear about Spice. I know how hard it is to say goodbye. I'll be thinking of you and your daughter and the rest of your family. Blessings to beautiful Spice.

Thank you, Annie. I read your comment to my daughter Polaris and she very much appreciates your kind words. Spice is such a sweet kitten. He's like the patriarch of all the cats we've had.

I know what you mean about staring at your Google Reader. Mine was 1000+ when I got home. Obviously I read too many blogs. I managed to get it down to 300 but now it is back over 400 with work starting. It is so hard to catch up but I am trying. I appreciated the time you took to comment on all my blog posts.

These photos are wonderful! I also love goats. You looked so happy with your goat as a child. Cool pet to have! Love the photo of you with your dad.

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