Saturday, January 31, 2009

You've got to have friends

My lonely post has been top of the list for toooooooo long. I get it. I just haven't had a whole lot more to say. And Ross is gone again. He left on Monday and won't be back for another week.

The good news is that he will be bringing both his parents back to their home before he returns. His dad has been through a course of radiation and will be allowed back home. And his mom is lucid and gaining weight and strength. They say she can leave the nursing home late next week. Ross will get her settled in and come back here on Saturday or Sunday.

It's pretty great -- and surprising -- that they've both made such a recovery.

When last I wrote . . . I told you about ordering pizza for the Friday night group. Well, they deserve better than that. So I cooked! (I wasn't entirely sure my cooking would be better than Pizza Hut, but I was willing to try.)

Since I don't get Friday's off, I needed something I could make ahead. I was in the mood for black bean soup and I found a great recipe online, along with complementary cornbread muffins.

I made the soup on Wednesday. Fortunately, we have a practically empty fridge downstairs to store it in. I had to make the muffins when I got home for work . . . and I had a meeting that ended pretty late, so I was in the middle of preparations when the first people arrived. Roupen and Shirley began setting the table immediately. (I was worried about doing that the night before, because I thought the dogs would pull everything on the floor.) Todd and Linda came next and finished making the muffins. Anita brought a salad. Donna brought something else. Others came with dessert offerings. Peter and Kristy came all the way from Argentina!! (They just got back after being gone several months.)

It was a more than full house. We kept adding place settings until no more place settings could be added. There were 14 of us!

I think everyone had enough to eat. We were on seconds when we ran out of soup. One lonely, little muffin was my breakfast this morning.

There were dog adventures, too. Soup was spilled and I got a snarl when I pulled a dog away from the clean-up. The door didn't completely latch after I said goodbye to one guest and Slick got out long enough to snarl at a nice dog in our front yard. (I had the presence of mind to yell, "Do you want a cookie?" and he came running back in.) The dog's owners couldn't have been more gracious. I couldn't have been more mortified.

In short, a wacky time was had by all.

I think we'll have to do it again next week.

Photo is by Kevin Dooley. Found on Flickr Creative Commons.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I was a little lonely.

Ross is gone. He's in Tennessee right now to help his parents, who are both ill. He left on Wednesday to visit a client in Atlanta. Since he was partway there, he just went up to Tennessee.

I don't do very well when he's gone. I stay up too late. I'm not very productive.

But tonight our Friday night group rallied round -- even though our chef wasn't here. Ross was cooking for his dad and the nephew who has been taking care of the house while Ross's parents were in the hospital.

I ordered pizza and made a salad.

We talked about a lot of stuff. I think I did most of the talking. When I'm alone here, I talk to myself too much. I hope I got most of it out of my system.
The first night Ross was gone, we had a weird wind storm. Storm may be an exaggeration, but it was definitely eerie -- like Halloween should be. Clouds scudding across a night sky. That sort of thing. I also could have sworn I heard footsteps IN THE HOUSE! This seriously got my heart pounding.

Last night, no wind. But a very quiet house. And then . . . FOOTSTEPS! I start talking (to the dogs, of course) hoping to let whoever it is know there's someone here. Hoping they'd leave. Yikes!

Tonight, I'm busily preparing for the arrival of the group and when I see Slick jump from a chair, he sets it rocking and I hear . . . what sounds exactly like footsteps, unless you know it's the rocking chair.

The photo is from Flickr Creative Commons.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Taste in books

I love books about food.

I have read quite a few backstage at the restaurant books, like Kitchen Confidential, by Bourdain and Heat by Buford. I like Ruth Reichl's memoirs about being a restaurant critic -- especially Garlic and Sapphires. I've also read any number of wine books. Yes, wine is food.

And, of course, cookbooks make great reading. I confess I like the ones with pictures most. But the Best Recipe books that are heavy on explanation are the most helpful for cooking, if you really want to go so far as to try making the recipes you read.

Ross bought me a terrific book for Christmas. It's Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. (By the way, I'm using my new gecko bookmark in it -- thanks, Nita and Ted!)

Unfortunately, da boyz like food books, too, and ate the cover while I was out the other day. Very upsetting.

Ross and I have spent a couple days now picking books to keep and packing them up for the move to Mexico. We're keeping more than any two people can read in a lifetime. But choosing (or chewing) books isn't always about logic.