Thursday, September 15, 2011

Summer in Review

CeLinda and Bill

Greetings Friends and Family: It is officially the end of summer in the Pacific Northwest.   We had 9 days in a row that hit 80 degrees and 12 days this year that hit 80.  Today it is about 65 and misting.   I am a year older and Bill and I celebrated 30 years of marriage this past month: We have been busy planning the big party and so I have not ‘posted’ in a while. We put a lot of energy into the house and yard to make everything look nice for the party, but really the party was a good deadline we really wanted to do a lot of catching up around the house. Last fall we took out four very tall and dying trees in the back yard. We have cleaned up and out most all the beds around the house. We have replaced the insulation in the attic and crawl space and in the process completely cleaned out the attic. Both of us have cleaned closets and given away clothes by the bags full. Bill has put in a water shut off valve next to the house, before this we had to get tools and go out to the street. He also repaired a pipe that froze about 20 years ago and it just hasn’t been very high on the priority list. He is replacing several electrical outlets that haven’t worked well, like one outlet did but the other didn’t, or one outlet was really shaky, that kind of stuff. The weather has been very cool this year. I know all of you around the country find this hard to believe but we have had precious little summer. My birthday, the party day, might have been one of the best days this year. Sunday the day after was even warmer, maybe 83 and on Monday it was back in the 60’s and rained all day.        

Mom and Daughter

About the party: I had the most awesome help, my daughter Tamara and a very dear friend Kelly. We got together 3 times before the party and did planning and made lists and visualized what we wanted for the occasion
n. Then we each had to do list. Mine was big on the food side: I made 15 pounds of ground beef into taco meat and froze it. I took the meat off the bones of 18 chickens and shredded it. I heated and shredded 12 pounds of beef brisket. I made 10 pounds of Mexican rice and about 10 pounds of corn salad. I bought 1 gallon of fresh salsa from my favorite Mexican restaurant and I think we went through almost 400 corn tortillas that day and then there are all the condiments and fruits and vegetable trays also.

Helen made it look so delicious

Tamara baked the wedding cake, a carrot cake and it was absolutely beautiful and delicious. She also baked white cupcakes in case someone didn’t like carrot cake. Who doesn’t like carrot cake? She also baked cupcakes for the children’s area also and got together all the drinks and snacks for the kids. Kelly headed up a team of workers that did the set-up the decorating, heating and serving the food, checking the restrooms, and all of the clean-up. This was a most awesome gift. The last two times I had done entertaining on a grand scale I have ended up in the hospital the next day. The goal of my friends and helpers was for me to get through this party, have a great day and be healthy at the end. One week later to celebrate friendship and reaching that particular goal, I treated the “kitchen team” to the movies, we went to see “The Help”.

I enjoyed the movie a lot more than the book. The book was just painful for me to read with the prejudice and insensitivity towards people because of the color of their skin and just too close personally because of growing up in Texas in the 1950’s. The movie didn’t show as much of that and as painfully as the book did. I recommend going to see it and if you haven’t lived in the south and your one of my friends that says no way, I say this movie and book had a story to tell and it may be fiction but it is also very real.

Tamara, Hannah, Halie, Todd
We have had great times this summer with our daughter and her family, watching sports, dinners together, birthday parties, getting ready for and carrying off the big party, and just hanging out together. The son and his family went to Harry Potter World in Florida and then took a cruise to Alaska with his mom’s family and with the kids doing sports they only made a short appearance our big party and I was feeling just a bit thirsty for more. Then the Saturday before Labor Day we spent the whole day with them, at P and J’s. It was terrific, we sat around visiting and snacking and playing and exploring the 10 acres with chickens and gardens and lots of dogs. Then there was a most awesome barbecue mid afternoon, we all added good stuff to the dinner and everyone picked blackberries and Priscilla made the best “Granny cobbler” for dessert. It was a great day and I was family fulfilled at the end of the day.   

Anne, Chris, Savanna and Luke

Reading: I have finished several books this summer too: “Loving Frank” a story of Frank Lloyd Wright from the voice of Mamah Borthwick Cheney his long time mistress. I did not know this story had a tragic ending and was shocked when it ended. I was devastated. Then I read “The Ditch Digger’s Daughter” silly me, I thought it was fiction and was happily reading on and discovered that it was an autobiography, and a very good true story. I recommend this book, I really enjoyed it. I have started "Twenty Wishes" fiction by Debbie Macomber and now I want to make twenty wishes of my own.   That is really hard because so many things on my wish list have all ready come true:    Bill is retired and we get to play so much more,  my mom is my friend and my mother-in-law likes me,  I have good relationships with and love both my sisters,  my children and their children are well and happy and we have good times together,  I am still able to work and still enjoy my dental hygiene career and hope to for several more years,  I have good friends that all bring something positive and interesting and sometimes challenging to my life but I have never been in a helicopter (that is scheduled) and I have never been in a sea plane.  I want to fly over Mt Rushmore and I want to kayak in the southwestern area of the United States (since I have done the other three corners) and,  well that's good for now. 

I am always open to suggestions for my reading list. My 'books to read list is always long".

Knitting: I am almost finished with my very first pair of socks. Knitting a pair of sock, for an adult foot, probably mine, was a personal goal for 2011 and I wanted to get going on it before the last month of the year. The yarn is absolutely beautiful. It is made by ‘Socks That Rock” and the colorway is called Lunasea. It is a beautiful blend of superwash merino wool and silk and it is the prettiest blues and greens.

Suzanne's beautiful socks
Of course, it took about a month of knitting to make these socks and you would wonder why anyone would do that, until you put a hand knitted sock on your foot, that is made with a beautiful yarn and then you understand. I have been spoiled by my Nashville sister’s awesome sock knitting and was thinking I was never going to get another pair of those lovely socks that I wear a lot. I have four pair and they are my number one choice all of the time. Then she gave me two, count them two pair for my birthday and they are both beautiful and awesome and my sock selection is really multiplying with her two pair and my soon to be completed pair. I am going to be really ready for winter in the footwear department.              

Cooking: I did do the cooking for the food at the big party. Feeding over 100 people a Mexican “taco truck” style meal was cooking for sure. I made a really delicious sweet potato and yellow squash red curry for family dinner a couple of weeks ago. This past week I made a new brownie recipe and if you like those dark caramel chocolates with a touch of sea salt on them then you really need to ask me for this recipe. The recipe came from a web site but thanks to my mom and her advice she saved the day and helped me make the most delicious and decadent chocolate brownies. This week’s family dinner is Mexican, a favorite from my childhood family, Tamale pie.

This past Friday Bill and I went to Opening Day at the Western Washington State Fair and spent the whole day exploring.   We saw cats and calves and cows being milked and chickens and sheep.   Bill ate his share of scones and I had a terrific "fair special" hamburger.  I just love a good hamburger.   We saw all the slicing and dicing displays and ended up taking home a couple of new things to try.   I though I would get a new dehydrator because mine went to the dump in the clean-up but there were none to be found.   Saturday Tamara came by for a nice visit and Sunday Bill took me out to dinner and to hear some really good music and a friend of ours was playing.  Monday Bill and I did a 5 mile hike to Wallace Falls,  it is on the road to Index where we once owned a cabin/B&B.  It never hit 70 degrees and you could tell fall is in the air.    I love it that Bill is retired we are getting used to a different schedule and having so much fun together.    I am not taking a minute for granted.   Life is so precious.   I am attaching a lot of photos this time, I would have put in more but it seems like the uploading side of my blog is tired tonight.     I hope you like the ones that are there.

Thanks for stopping by,  Smiles,  I look forward to hearing from you: