On Thursday night, my cousin Chris was visiting New York from foggy London town.  He’s been living in London for almost 10 years, but manages to sneak back to NYC every year or so to visit the fam.   And then a few days later he remembers how certifiable his family is and he runs back across the pond.

For example, without fail, each and every time my Dad sees Chris, he says “Hey Chris! Tut tut Cheerio!” Even if I tell him, 30 seconds before Chris walks in, “Dad, do not say that ‘tut tut’ thing again, please.”  He still says it.  Every time, without fail.  For ten years. I can’t make this stuff up.

And we wonder why he moved to another country.

After the ‘tut tut’ scene, I cringed as we ducked into Fig & Olive for some dinner.

We started with 3 olive oils and rosemary bread.

We also ordered two crostinis to share: the Mushroom, Truffle Artichoke, Scallion, Parmesan and the Salmon, Ricotta, Citrus, Cilantro.

Poppin’ bottles.

For my main, I ordered the zucchini blossom and goat cheese ravioli.

They were little pillows of heaven.

We were also celebrating two birthdays!

We had a good time. Enough time to persuade Chris to stick around for a few hours.

I take that back. After Chris saw Dexter take this pose, he booked it (my cross eyed face wasn’t the winner).

After dinner, Chris and I hopped in a cab uptown to a new to me bar, ABV for another round.

I had no idea this gem was just ten blocks up from my apartment.  I will definitely be back, ABV.

I strolled home a little while later, taking my time, and enjoying the newfound blocks of the upper upper east side.

Friday after work, I jumped on the train home to celebrate my Dad’s birthday. Dex picked me up, and we went to heaven Whole Foods to pick up dinner ingredients.  Since we had dinner out the previous night, I thought it might be nice to cook dinner in.

First stop, cocktails!  My brother, who is now apparently a bartender, made me a limey-minty drink.

As a starter, I made my everyone some blistered Shishito peppers, as first introduced to me by Bridget.  I spotted them in WF, and immediately started piling them into a plastic baggie.

For dinner, I made thai lettuce wraps. I maaaaay have put tempeh in them.  I told my brother it was chicken, and he ate it.  Also, I caught my Dad sneaking forkfuls of the leftovers, so I’m going to assume they were edible.

After dinner, it was time for some presents…

…one of which, included this mask I picked up at a paper store in San Francisco. As soon as Kathleen and I found the masks, I knew I was giving one to my Dad.

I know. I can’t.  It’s so creepy. So perfect.

After having a competition for who looked the creepiest in the mask, I pulled the apple pie out of the oven.  It’s my Dad’s favorite, so apple pie birthday cake was a no-brainer.

I collapsed on the couch for a little while, and then met some buds out at the bar.  I stayed out way too late for what I was scheduled to do the next morning.

Communion photo shoot!  I was able to steal a little of Sean’s energy to make my night of no sleep a little easier.

Solis, Sean’s sis

Sean’s Godmother, Karin, and her absurdly adorable daughter, Marlena.  I was Marlena’s age when Karin met me.  Getting old… it’s weird, isn’t it?


We partied after the service at Ernesto’s.

And then some bully pushed poor Sean’s face into the cake…

After the communion I did a little BBQing, where I drank the most delicious beer I have ever had.  Who else has had this? Why has no one brought it to my attention!? I’m mad at all of you for not telling me about it.

I drank, danced and ate the night away.  There was also a hockey game in there somewhere.  GO RANGERS.

I was exhausted, and crashed hard that night.  Who do I think I am, and why do I insist on staying out so late?   I got up the next morning, and jumped in the car with the fam for Mother’s Day brunch.  It was buffet style, set on a large deck overlooking the Hudson. I forgot my camera at home and pouted in the second half of the car trip there after realizing.  Must have been all the sleep I’d gotten that kept my memory so sharp.

We had some freakishly beautiful weather that came out for Mom.

Mom, thanks for hemming all of my dresses, keeping my accessories in check, listening to me whine, and for putting up with that lunatic of a daughter son husband.  I think I’ll keep you.

(No, Dexter is not that tall.  Or maybe I should say, I am not that short. Optical illusion on the tilted deck.  Sneaky, Bro. Reaaaaal sneaky.)

We got home, and my cousin Lori (and her family), and my Grandma came over to upload all of the photos I had taken for her son’s Communion.  We relaxed on the back deck, while sipping on some iced tea.

As I scrolled through the photos for my Grandma, I had to put every ounce of energy I had into trying to not look like I had just been hit with a tranquilizer gun.

I practically fell up the stairs to my room, and collapsed into bed.  I needed that nap like a newborn baby. I’m getting old.

After my tranquilizer wore off, I stumbled down the stairs to learn that Indian food was on it’s way for dinner. Perrrfect timing.

Dessert was some vanilla frozen yogurt with a blueberry compote I assembled with the help of the microwave.

I had such a hard time leaving home at the end of a weekend like this.  Being able to spend time with my family and friends, eating good food, and drinking the best beer in the world, made it feel like a weekend that fell out of the pages of a fairy tale.

And that’s where I came full circle, to the biergarten post from earlier today.

As I sat on the train I thought, Hmm, nope. Haven’t drank enough beer this weekend. 

Let’s be real, going to bed at an early hour would have been weird.  I can sleep later, right?

This has been the longest post ever.  I’m going to bed. Finally.