Saturday, December 22, 2012

Brazil Grill - Our Tradition

Last year we decided to begin a tradition, which we continued tonight.  A few days before Christmas we travel to Portland to have a scrumptious dinner at Brazil Grill.  If you are a meat lover - you'll think you've died and gone to heaven! 
The meats are all served at your table by "roaming gauchos".  They wander around the restaurant with various cooked meats on swords and they carve the meat right at your table.  You begin at the salad bar (but why fill up on salad when a veritable meat feast awaits you!) and when you return to your table you turn what looks like a hockey puck from the red side to green.  Green let's the gauchos know you would like to be visited with the various meats.  When you want to "rest", turn the puck over to red.  Tonight we dined on: 
Marinated Prawns
Chili-Lime Pork Loin
Marinated Chicken Legs
Bacon-Wrapped Chicken 
Marinated Lamb
Linguicia Sausage
Beef Tri-Tip
Bacon Wrapped Beef Filet
Mustard Beef Sirloin
Beef Sirloin
And we ended with a sweet treat - which is AHHHH-MAZING!!!...Roasted Cinnamon Pineapple. 
Of course, we probably just HAD to partake of a Caipirinha - or two!  (Brazilian cocktail - think yummy - and kind of like a margarita but with sugar cane rum - and better!)
 Happy beginning of the Christmas weekend!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Given with Love

When I visited my Aunt last month she passed along some beautiful treasures to me.  I'm saving some of them for my Christmas table - but last night I used some of the gorgeous glassware when entertaining our friends for dinner.

In the 1960's my Uncle bought these gorgeous purple hued glasses trimmed in gold for my Aunt.  He purchased them at auction; they were from the 1920's.

There are five glasses for each place setting.  I only used the water and wine glasses last night.  I have a beautiful service for 10 people.

The occasion last night was our monthly Dinner & a Movie with Kerry & Dodi.  We take turns at each other's home every four or five weeks.  Last nights movie was the Alfred Hitchcock classic "Vertigo".

Since "Vertigo" takes place in San Francisco, I chose a "surf & turf" meal; tri-tip with Bearnaise sauce, twice baked potatoes and Argentinean Red Shrimp.  We began with Shrimp & Corn Chowder, a green salad and Sourdough Rolls. Dodi made an incredible assortment of appetizers, with warm brie and we enjoyed a couple "Cable Car" cocktails. Those were QUITE yummy!

Of course, while the food was delicious - the company was excellent as always.  And, I was so thrilled to be able to use the incredible gift from my Aunt - who love tremendously!  I feel that I've been entrusted with a treasure - that will cherish forever!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

American Idol Concert

We really enjoyed American Idol this year.  We voted for Phillip Phillips EVERY week.  Just love him and were really happy that he won.  And, although we have watched AI every year - we've never attended one of their concerts.  But, because we love Phillip so much - we just HAD to get tickets when they came to Portland this week!
We had really great seats and thoroughly enjoyed the evening and ALL of the performances.  Got some great photo's and video's.  Here are a few of my favorite pic's from the evening.
The top 10, minus Phillip.
The top 4 - Joshua, Phillip, Jessica and Holly
Joshua, backed up by Erika, Deondre and Elise

Phillip singing "Volcano", with Jessica singing backup 

The Guys

 The Girls, minus Jessica
Our boy - Phillip!  He was so wonderful!

We had such a wonderful evening!  Thanks to my fabulous husband for getting the tickets for us to enjoy the concert together.  Can't wait to see Phillip perform on his own in the near future!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Class of 2012

Last night we celebrated the graduation of several of John's friends from High School.  It was a lovely ceremony honoring the 59 graduates of Salem Academy.  

We were sitting a little too far away and the lighting wasn't ideal for my photos to turn out well - but here they are anyway.

~ John and Justin ~
I wish I could have taken more photos of John and his friends after the ceremony, but things were rather hectic and quite crowded.  There will be time this summer to snap some candid shots of these boys I've grown to love and consider a part of our family!

Congratulations to the class of 2012.  Hard to believe, this time next year it will be my baby graduating!  He'll not be happy that I just called him "my baby"... but, that's a Mother's prerogative.

Here's a better photo of Jake

~ And one last photo of Jake and Justin ~

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Afternoon in the Vineyard

Richard and I had an opportunity for a little wine tasting today.  We visited Piluso Vineyard and Pudding River.  Both quite tasty and we may have brought a bottle or two home to enjoy this weekend - and beyond.  But, the added bonus was that we know the owners of Piluso's and got to enjoy their company along with their daughter Tracy and my BFF, Adrienne.  

Richard snapped this photo of "us girls".  It was really nice spending a little time with them and enjoying such delicious vino!
Here are the links to the vineyards:

At Piluso we really enjoyed the Tempranillo and Blanc de Noir.  Both deliciously YUMMY.

At Pudding River I was pleasantly surprised to find a scrumptious Viognier.  We don't usually see this varietal in the Willamette Valley.  So, this was a treat!  I also loved the Chardonnay Reserve; totally buttery and creamy.

It was a beautiful little jaunt into the country to enjoy two wonderful vineyards - time together with my hubby - and getting to see friends too! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Birthday Celebration

Richard celebrated his birthday in style this year - with TWO parties.  

On his birthday we celebrated at our favorite restaurant, "Rudy's".  Richard's sister Kelly and her husband Jay joined us to celebrate the birthday boy.

On Cinco de Mayo we had friends over for a combination Cinco de Mayo / Birthday celebration.  I took photos before the party, and of Richard blowing out his candles... but somewhere along the line I completely forgot to take photos of the party itself.  Well - guess I was having a really good time!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband who I love so very much.  He's loving, charming, handsome, kind, generous and keeps me laughing.  I love you Richard!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An Adoptive Child's Journey

I recently posted on Facebook that I had made contact with my birth family. If you’ve not been “following along” – I was adopted when I was 3 weeks old.

I grew up really well adjusted and quite comfortable with the fact that I had been adopted. My Mom and Dad always told me how special I was… that I was wanted and chosen. They had lost their first daughter to cancer and were unable to give birth to more children. Being parents was extremely important to them – regardless of how that child came into their lives.

I was taught from an early age that love made a family – not blood. My father explained it to me like this… “Cindy Lynn. Blood doesn’t mean anything. I wasn’t blood related to your Mother and I would have laid down my life for her.”

That was my Dad. He always had a way of bringing things into perspective and boiling them down to a simple concept.

So because of the outlook I was raised with, I never felt a need to search for my birth family. And, in fact, until I was in my early 30’s I was under the impression my birth parents were deceased. And, even if I had felt the need I would have never actively searched for my birth family while either of my parents was still alive. Somehow it just felt like a betrayal to them. I know that may sound silly – but it’s how I felt, and to some degree how I still feel.

In 2009 I stumbled upon my birth Mother’s maiden name while doing genealogy research on This caused Richard to begin researching, without my knowledge. In June 2010 Richard discovered information about my birth Mother on the internet. I wrote about the discovery and my agonizing over whether or not I should contact her. You can read that story HERE and the update to my decision HERE.

Unfortunately, while I was waiting for a “sign” – something to tell me it was the right thing to do to contact her – she passed away. I remember Richard calling me at work and telling me, “Your Mother is dead.” I was confused. When he talked about my Mother, I thought he was talking about my Mom – Sylvia Porter. Well, of course she was dead – she died in 1986 !! Then it dawned on me what he was trying to say. My window of opportunity had passed. I waited too long. My birth mother had died and I never got the chance to tell her thank you. To let her know what an incredible gift she had given my parents. I was never able to let her know that I had thought about her all those years – especially on my birthday – and that I loved her for the choice she had made.

After waiting a couple of months I decided to contact my birth Mother’s younger brother. I wrote to him on Facebook and explained who I was and why I thought she may have been my birth Mother. At first he was surprised and didn’t believe me. But, after several messages back and forth he was very kind, welcoming and answered questions that I had. I knew I had a half-sister and asked if he thought she knew about me. He said he didn’t think she did. I told him that perhaps it would be best not to tell my sister about me. I was worried that this news would upset her, and affect her memory of her Mother in some way. So, we let things lie.

A few weeks ago I received an email from my Uncle and he said that he thought it had been long enough and wanted to tell my sister about me. But, he wanted to be sure I was OK with that and to ask whether or not I would be open to having contact with her, if that’s what she wanted. I answered, “absolutely”. And, then I waited.

Exactly one week later I received a Facebook friend request from one of my nieces. I knew exactly who it was when I quickly accepted the request. She wrote to me right away to ask if I was the Cindy Mulligan that had contacted her Uncle Bob. I said YES, I am. She replied, “I am your niece!!!!”

That day was a flurry of excitement and A LOT of Facebook and email messages between my niece, my sister, and me. And that night, my sister called and we had a wonderful conversation that was 50+ years in the making.

I find it interesting to know that all these years I was correct about so many things. Not things that I could really have knowledge about, just that I FELT. I always felt that I was a “secret”; that no one in my birth family knew about me. That for whatever reasons my birth Mother could not tell her family about the child she gave up for adoption. I was correct. I always thought my birth Father’s name was Luis. Now, through my sister doing some “digging”, we find that his name is, in fact, Luis.

For me - having lived all these years never knowing anyone I was blood related to; no one that really looked like me – this is quite a turn of events. In many ways I am so very excited to have a new family to get to know and to open my heart to. And in other ways I’m still processing this information and trying to figure out how I fit into all of this. You would have thought I would be prepared for it. I guess I wasn’t. My friend Carol asked me if I felt in some way MORE complete than I felt before. I answer her – NO. I almost feel less complete. Because I was always so well adjusted to my circumstances and being “Cindy Porter”, I am working my way through these new feelings of identifying with my new family. Somehow, this has found me feeling pulled in two directions. No one is making me feel that way – or doing that to me – it’s just how I feel while processing these new emotions and the entire situation.

I can tell you that I am excited to have a sister. We’re still getting to know each other and I believe we are both enjoying that experience. I’m really happy to have two beautiful nieces and two grand nieces. Just like a new friendship – these new relationships will take time. I look forward to getting to know my birth Mother through their memories. And I want them to get to know me too. To know my life to this point; how I was raised and the great love that I still have for my Mom and Dad – even though they’ve been gone for so many years.

Anyone that has known me for any length of time knows how important family is to me…. regardless of whether it was created by love – or by blood. And so – the saga continues…

Here are a few photos for you, if you don't have access to my Facebook page:

A side by side of my Mother and me

My sister and me

My mother and me at about the same age - 7 or 8

My mother's wedding photo in 1962.  She was 22 years old.

My niece, Jennifer

My niece Julie and her family

A side by side of my grand niece Kelsie on the left and me on the right

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ringing in 2012

It's just another New Year's Eve... Which means fun and merriment with our neighbors/friends - who are much more like family.  We celebrated with fabulous appetizers and drinks at Kerry & Dodi's house, followed by  a delicious dinner, fun and games, champagne and cheers all around as 2012 began.

Here are some views from our evening!

~ My Tablescape ~

~ We played a little game with quarters... passing money back and forth around the table... too fun and a whole $6 at stake for each game. ~
 ~ Next we played B.S.... a fun card game where you call each other out when you think they're fibbing about what cards they are placing in the pile.  Cindy won, Alyssa came in second and then Dodi.  There was a lot of laughter during this game! ~
 ~ Apples to Apples was next.  Always a crowd pleaser ~
 ~ When we play, we say whatever cards you won describe you.  Here are our descriptions for the night... Hmm, my cards say I'm crazy!  What do you think?? ~
 ~ The guys waiting for midnight ~
 ~ Alyssa, Kerry & Dodi ~
Wishing everyone a prosperous and Happy New Year!
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