Monday, July 28, 2008

Weddings ...

On Saturday, I went to a wedding, and this Sunday, I'll be going to another. (It's a pretty good excuse for eating sweets!) I have one good friend getting ready for a wedding, and John and I keep muttering about one. Weddings are in the air!

So the wedding I went to on Saturday was very enjoyable. It was at Wieden and Kennedy, which is an awfully appealing space for the offices of an advertising agency. The champagne was exceptional, and the food was acceptable--the coconut cream cake was a real standout, although somehow the lemon bars tasted like soap. I was very inspired, at least on the food side of the party equation.

Most weddings involve dancing, and this one was no exception. But the remarkable thing was that my friends Molly and Steve tried to teach me some swing dancing moves, and Steve said that I have a natural talent. He said I should take lessons. He said this twice! Wow. The nicest thing anyone has ever said about my dancing was "stop." I feel like a new woman.

John has heard me boasting about my natural talent at seven times now. And he hasn't hit me over the head yet!

Monday, July 21, 2008

10 years ago

So I saw this on Shayna's blog, and who can resist this kind of thing?

Compare your life now to what you thought it would be ten years ago:
Ten years ago, I was just beginning my senior year of college (a melodramatic and ridiculous time in my life!). I imagined that I would have gone to school for a degree in Literature and become a professor at some tiny liberal arts school in a petite college town. Or maybe gotten a degree in ESL teaching and gone to work for an ESL department in a tiny liberal arts school. I would write in my free time and travel on school holidays. I would have had several heart-wrenching romances, and of course my students would secretly pine for me, but I would remain free and single, removed from it all.

Nowadays, I live with a man I love and, like my left leg or liver, couldn't imagine being without. We are raising my 5-year-old daughter (my big oops and life-shaking event), who predates the arrival of the true love. I work at a job I sincerely enjoy and will probably keep for many years, without interest in promotion or change, because it is handy, fun, and doesn't expect too much for me. Oddly enough, it is at a children's museum, a place I wouldn't have set foot in for less than $20 in my previous ten-year-plan. I garden a lot, but my big joy is writing. I have written two novels, each lying around in half-edited chunks, and I have a handful of short stories and poems sitting on editors' desks around the country. Wish them luck for me, okay?

In the next ten years, I would sincerely like to live in the country with two or three alpacas, a dog, some chickens, bees, and lots of compost. I would like to be able to grow all the vegetables and fruit that I eat in a year. I would also really like writing to be my day job and market gardening be my part-time love. Also in ten years, I would really like to be surviving Fiona's teen years without too much pain and insanity.

Hey, I dream big!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Family Friday movie night

What does it say about me that I can't watch Pocohontas without crying?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Peanut Butter Brownies

I made Peanut Butter Brownies the other day. I have now eaten approximately 3000 calories worth--just today. I'm glad I sent a bunch home with Erin, or I might triple in size. Which brings me to the question: Why the heck are home-baked goods so darn tasty? Seriously, when I make something myself, I can barely stop myself from eating it. Is it because I am a genius cook? Or is it a weird psychological compulsion?

I better turn my family loose on those things tonight and hope they can save me from myself!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Fine Dining!

Last night, I had a truly remarkable experience: one of my friends took us to the restaurant where he recently started as the pastry chef (Genoa, on Portland's SE Belmont St). It's the first time I have ever enjoyed a multi-course, prix fixe dinner, and we spent *4* hours working our way through the magnificent experience. Each course was a jewel of flavor and visual appeal. It was lovely.

Today, my stomach is in rebellion, since we enjoyed the cheese course heartily--and then the guys in the kitchen brought out dessert. All the desserts, just for fun. It was the first time Daniel (the pastry chef) had gotten to see his work in action, and he was just so very happy. We had to try all seven of them, and then nibble on our favorites. Which was probably a little too much dessert, but what the heck! After a couple glasses of wine and some port, what's a little too much dessert?

The best thing was seeing this incredible staff working together with such enjoyment and respect. Since we were with Daniel, we got to meet everybody, and they were all really nice guys, and all very proud of their work. It just made me smile.

What was the best? Hmmn. . . the melon & mint sorbet amuse bouche was perfection, the carrot soup with cumin and creme fraiche was stellar, the morel mushroom risotto took speech away (and the fennel salad garnish with that dish was particularly breath-taking), but the clear winners were the carmelized onion and gorgonzola ravioli (WOW!) and the basil and black pepper tartoufe. (Daniel helped make both of those dishes.) Wow. Wow. Wow!