Making Time Stand Still

Let’s talk family. My family is pretty awesome with a good sprinkling of crazy for added interest. I would encourage  you to celebrate the crazy in your life in all it’s glory. Take a deep breathe in and say “Thank you God for the people you have blessed with me with however different, silly, loud, eclectic, batty, nutty, off-color..without them life would be so dull. Without mine I wouldn’t have this amazing post. Thank you family for being so uniquely you!
Yes, I’ve been absent from this blog for another month but that’s because I’ve been busy living it up, going on trips and visiting family! After my last post from Cincy I almost immediately left for California for a couple weeks. My sister flew back home with me and brought little MacDizzle with her and they stayed for a fun-filled 8 days. The last week or so I’ve been finishing up adoption documents but that is all for another post.

Let’s just focus on my first few hours after I stepped off the plane from SFO in this post. I arrived around noon and my Sis picked me up so we decided to FINALLY go visit my Grandpa Lee  at his house in San Mateo. I probably hadn’t seen him in a couple of years and he had never even met little Macaroni girl! He always has an excuse for us not to come but we were determined and so we did. This post is all about the mausoleum which is his home. My dear Gramma Lillian, whom he called ‘Doll’, died when I was nine. The house is almost exactly the same as the day she passed away and there is a gold mine of conversation pieces my friends. I truly feel like this house was and is well loved. It’s contents are authentic to the people who inhabit it. They were not pretentious or buttoned up tidy people. They were an animated couple who loved to eat and drink and have their good friends over to do both all the time. Politically correct was not a term they were familiar with and swearing was as comfortable as the full length night gown my gramma lived in.

The very first photo with Mac and her Great Grandpa upon their first meeting!


When we first arrived she was looking around so confused and somewhat terrified. I don’t blame the kid…you’ll see why when you scroll down. I wish I would have taken a better photo so you could see the giant tapestry hanging above my sister with a life size California bear.


These photos have been above my grandpa’s fireplace since 2000 when I graduated high school. All things considered, relative to the rest of the house, these are still very new. Don’t know what’s up with the coat of arms


Ok, so here’s a good one! These scary wall-mounted heads are located by the full bar set up in the family room. They spit at you when you walk by…yes that’s right, they spit. There’s a string you can pull and it makes the eyes roll back even more creepily and it laughs at you.


I’m not sure which one is worse? I call them Hanzel and Gretel. They are so awful I kinda love them and I grew up with these bad boys so they are sentimental eye rolling, spitting mounted heads. I think they are from the 70’s.


There are, shall we say, very eclectic signs posted all around the bar area and family room. I think of my 8-year-old self reading these signs like it ain’t no big thang.


Martini time is the Hughes and Hankins family honored tradition. When my brother, sister and I were small we called it “olive and onion time”.  Skewering all the cocktail garnishes was a fun game and thus cementing my love for all things pickled and garnished. I still snack on those damn onions.


My grandpa must have been playboy of the year in the 30’s? Haha. Parents today would probably not let their children set foot in this house filled with phallic things and foul language. Those were the days.

The “Oh Shit” cat has always been one of my favorites.





Look closely…didn’t think this blog was X-rated did you?


Their yard is quite the departure from the inside. It’s lush with fruit trees like these oranges. He also has a really cool cherry tree that we would get sick off of eating so many.


We picked an orange for Mac but she wasn’t a fan. I think she is too used to canned mandarins.





What I think I’m really fond of at their house is the humor. Everything is an opportunity for a joke, especially the bathroom!


This is a photo of my great grandmother who was a Zigfield Folly girl. That’s about all I know about her. I just let my mind run wild of all the Great Gatsby stories she must have had.


And here’s my Gramma Lil. She was a woman who did what she wanted and loved what she did until the end. Smoking and drinking I’m sure were the direct cause of her young departure from this earth but it made her happy. At least I can thank her for being the reason today I neither smoke or drink. She would definitely call me a party pooper.


My mom is the naked baby in this photo. What a happy family!



Some how she got away with wearing kimonos and night gowns as legitimate day time wear.


Everyone needs this kind of bathroom accessory don’t you think?


Gramma loved everything Asian. All these figurines are still on display in the dining and living room.







Moving on to the kitchen area: My grandpa said I could take all the cookbooks I wanted! I was so happy at this offer I practically started to cry. I’m obsessed with cookbooks as you know but doubly obsessed with my grandma’s cookbooks and anything that has old notes in them. I shipped a huge box of them back home and it cost a pretty penny but so worth it. I even shipped boxed sets of recipe cards that I’m pretty sure were subscription based. There are tons of them but I need to come up with a creative way to put them to use.


Well, hello there random thing hangin on the door which has no purpose at all…are you a pot holder? Stop staring at me!


And hello there Mr. Chicken hanging upside down above the sink.


Everyone should have such a potholder collection! A good mix of cute and inappropriate brings balance in life.


Hmmm, the better to eat you with my dear? This is sitting underneath his coffee maker and it scares me, a lot.


This scares me too….I think my mom made this in the 80’s. Can’t be too sure. It could have also been one of her fabulous garage sale finds.


You know I want all of this stuff for my house because it’s all so awesome and weird. Some of these Asian pieces are probably worth quite a bit.


Yes! An elephant flower pot!


These zebra, snakeskin or whatever chairs are the bees knees.


Ceramic cat, bowl of plastic fruit and a floral sofa. Genius.


Jonathan Adler has nothing on this lamp.


My grandpa still sleeps in this bed. The ruffles make it.


These hanging fake plant things must have been all the rage because they are in every room!


Hey look, that’s me. Aren’t I cute? I was 4 in that picture.


Another hangy thing. What is this? It’s made of shells and in the spare room/office.


Oh look what time it is! Olive and onion time! Actually I’m just holding my dad’s martini for the photo op. Wa wa wa.


My Uncle Ronnie, yes he is wearing a shirt with Mickey Mouse on it. Ronnie still lives with Grandpa and will until the end of days. I have extra prayers for Ronnie.


Ronnie killed this fox (I think he said it was a fox) which is lovingly adorning my grandpa’s vintage slot machine. Those two things totally go together.


Oh, too much sharing? Sorry.


Mac is afraid to venture down the hallway…


so we went outside for a quick roll down the hill out front. That hill always entertained me as well!


While the men of the house enjoyed some more martinis. Cheers!


Then we got hungry and there was only one place to go: Fernando’s! This is a Mexican restaurant that my grandparents went every Wednesday to drink with friends at the bar and eat chile rellenos. My grandma loved them, my mom loves them and I also completely love chile rellenos. It must be hereditary.


When we were little and picky eaters we always got tortillas with butter on them and rolled them up into little cigars.

This is the free happy hour plate….they gave us three of these!!! I almost couldn’t fit in my chile relleno.


Then for dessert I went into this place which as been there a very long time but I never went to before. Their cannoli’s were the best I have ever had and I got a a whole box to take back to Monterey with us and ate one for breakfast over the next 3 days with my morning coffee.



How’s that for a walk down memory lane? I hope you were entertained by my quirky family. That was only Day 1 of my trip, there’s so much good stuff to write about that I can hardly write anything at all! Check back in soon!

My family to yours,