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Friday, December 31, 2010

Heather and Teej
















Love you two!

I Love My Family

May your holiday have provided the same kind of love and strength that mine did.



Not to mention the incredible food. Food is such a comfort - and when it's THIS good it's an art form.
It may not be such a good thing that we love to eat so much.

Mother's secret homemade rolls, stuffed tenderloin of pork, the best potatoes gratin ever, roasted carrots, fennel, and parsnips, mac and cheese (gratuitous next the the taters - really), apple, cranberry, walnut jelled mold, praline pound cake, apple cranberry pie, cookies and ice cream and fabulous wine and munchies. 


Kenny takes after his namesake - my father - and sleeps it off.



Sara and I shoot each other simultaneously while Lexi looks on.


Harley kisses Heather. "Just a leetle one my pretty! Your breath - it is delectabuhls!"


My girl loves her aunt.



And thanks for all the therapy and love Mom. I will see you soon. May 2011 bring you and yours love, balance, grace, challenges and joy. Mine will probably involve lots of cardboard. Again. If it brings me much closer to this bunch, I'll suck it up and deal.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Weary But Moving

Leaving for Floriday soon - not as soon as I planned, as usual.

Oh Mom - I can't wait for your hug!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Freezing

I MUST stop starting the day with a smoothie after a long walk in below 30 degrees. Teens tonight.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

No Whining

In a family of foodies, picking just one tale to tell is a daunting task in itself. Family gatherings often take on the aura of competition like Iron or Top Chef. My sister married a musician whose culinary exploits with grills and turkey fryers are as legendary as his ability with anything with strings. But no matter how skilled any of us are in the kitchen or on the deck or lanai, eating out is always a much loved adventure.

One Valentine’s, TJ decided to take the light of his life to a favorite Italian place not too far from their home. This wonderful restaurant has a little bit of highbrow elegance and drama along with much more affordable wood-stove cooked pizzas and pressed sandwiches. To accompany the delightful food, the wine list and microbrews are equally democratic in scope. In spite of the selection of dramatic veal and fish dishes with fabulous sauces on handmade pasta they decided to keep this outing affordable and selected pizzas and salads. After all, it was his treat and he was a musician.

Since they were celebrating the feast of lover’s TJ suggested that they forgo their normal beer with their pizza and get a bottle of modest red. After squinting at the list, he’d left his reading glasses at home since they adding nothing to the romantic occasion, he made his selection and handed the menu back to the effusively complimentary sommelier.

“Extremely bold choice, sir! Excellent vintage. I am positive you will have no regrets with this selection!”

My sister and brother-in-law were puzzled at the over-the-top treatment they immediately began to get from their always excellent staff that seemed to have been triggered by the sommelier. Their salads were fabulous and the individual pizzas were perfection and the wine was awesome, fruity and bold and smoother than they were expecting. The staff never let their glasses empty, both the wine and water seemed endless. They could have existed for several months on the selection of homemade breads and rolls that were instantly replenished.

It began to occur to my sister that the service was beyond anything they’d experienced at this neighborhood eatery. She shrugged and blamed it on Valentine’s Day and the romantic souls that lover’s of good food everywhere seem to share. After all, the passionate spirit has a way of touching every aspect of life.

While they lingered over coffee, too replete to consider the tiramisu or homemade gelato, unusual in our family, their waiter brought TJ the bill. He blanched. My sister says she watched the color actually drain from his face. She was afraid he was ill. He handed her the slip of paper. The total price for their meal was close to $400. Without his reading glasses he’d selected a wine that cost over $300: he hadn’t noticed the final zero. He was under the mistaken impression that he’d selected a $35 bottle of wine.

Suddenly the coddling of the staff, despite my sister and her husband’s casual attire of shorts and t-shirts, was disturbingly clear. My sister whipped out her credit card and paid the bill. TJ left the tip. She gave him a nice case for his reading glasses so he remembers to take them when they go out. She also assures him to this day that the absurdity of the situation and the pleasure they both get from telling the story, make it worth every penny.           

Friday, December 10, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Walking

It's been harder to get my butt out of bed and on the course in the morning lately. It's a combination of a month off for sickness and how dang cold it's gotten lately. It's aggravating to have to spend so long getting dressed - and dressing the hounds (they hate coats more than cold weather, but they have no fur so it's not negotiable).

Plus we have to start really early to be done and off the course when we're supposed to be because goodness knows I am not fond of walking on the streets and sidewalks. It's boring. And I don't walk just for my physical health and for the dogs ablutions (potty!).

We start on the 13th green - where we live - and then go 14, 15, a street stretch that equals another full fairway, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 then the clubhouse and development entry then 10, 11, 12, and all of 13 again. The course is just over 6.33 miles so we're probably doing 3+ miles - and that makes sense since when I'm moving at a good clip it still takes over an hour - usually an hour twenty. And my most comfortable speed seems to be around 2.5-2.8mph. When it's cold, I'm sure I'm pushing 3. When the dogs are togged I often feel like I'm dragging them at least the first mile. There are 6 foot bridges (OK, golf cart bridges) over streams and lakes (big pond in one instance), and on mornings like this the soles of my Teva's stick to the frosty wood. I feel for the pups.

All this is meant to give you some background - or a point (or many) of reference when I describe what we see (or hear since a good bit of the walk is before dawn).

On 14 for several mornings lately it's been sounding like there was a parrot in the top of a pine - I assumed it was a hawk of some sort until this morning. Who knew. Owls squawk.

The dogs and I stood (they sat - it's their job when we're not walking) in the middle of the fairway instead of on the cart path and listened. There was squawking. Lots of squawking at regular intervals. And finally hooting.

After googling owl calls it appears we have a Common Barn Owl (they screech and squawk and these mp3s sound most likely) or perhaps a Great Horned Owl - more likely to perch in the top of a pine tree. I haven't seen the culprit yet. And I haven't found a Great Horned squawking like a parrot.

Just over and behind a small hill before the tee on 15 was a large buck - not twenty yards from us and the cart path. We had a short convo - I did all the talking while he just stared - then he took flight. It's a good thing the hounds are small or Boris could have pulled me onto my face. He gets great pleasure from chasing the deer but he doesn't get to be off lead until the top of 11, and daylight, so mom can see where he is.

No sign today of our buddy, Bubba, a handsome gray tabby who lives at the top of 11 today. Like most smart felines he was probably inside on the upholstered furniture instead of vole hunting. If he is out, he always comes running for a good petting session when I call him. He's even so used to the dogs that he's lost himself and rubbed up against Boris - who ignores him. Now Lexi wants to be his friend. She really wants a kitty of her own and my bunch will have nothing to do with her. Bubba feels the same way. poor Lexi.

At some point I'll make room in my pocket for the camera - I'd love to get some footage of Boris and the "get this coat offa my butt" dance.

One more thought - steel cut has ruined me for instant oatmeal.