First weekend in June and good friends Stu and Janel roll into our little town with kids Grant and Freya
It’s good to see them. And they always manage to create an awesome vibe wherever they go. Fun, smart and well-read, there is always good conversation and laughter when spending time with them.
Freya is walking now.. Amazing progress since I last saw her. For me it is fascinating to watch her fearlessness, as she tackled our stairs, applying her tried and true technique of going down backwards on her belly. Her balance and confidence is amazing.
I watch from the perspective of someone who has re-learned to walk and it’s scary, that first step is the hardest, hoping and praying that the “bad” leg will hold my weight. It’s a strange thing to observe yourself being so thoughtful in undertaking a task that used to be so thoughtless. So I marvel at young Freya and how she approaches learning, maybe there is a lesson for us too. And I think it keeps coming back to problem solving and applying your learning to the next set of similar tasks. We watched Freya learn foot placement while grabbing the hand-rail, back-tracking to re-step and give herself more standing room on the next step up as she moved relentlessly forward, never giving up.
Stu loves to cook and he is very accomplished – from the very simple to the massively complex his food is always delicious. For many years we cooked together, planned our meals and shopping by email. Last few times I’ve been an enthusiastic eater not really helping as much with preparation. This time I helped a little bit more but my greatest participation was still in the enthusiastic eating.
Cataplana of seafood – jumbo shrimp, clams, cilantro, spices, white wine all combine into a delishiousness with a lovely gravy that is fine for dipping baguettes or some other crusty loaf. We’ve largely forgotten bread these past five years that I’ve been gluten free but we will slowly reintroduce where it makes sense to the meal and only if we can source some good quality bread. Probably at Loaf, the local bakery in town.
But back to dinner. Dave prepared some rib-eyes using the sous vide method, then finished them off on the BBQ at high heat. Perfect every time!
Wecaramelized some walnuts and I prepared an arugula, field mix salad with goat cheese,walnuts and a light vinegarette. To be clear,I mixed and washed the greens, janel caramelized the walnuts and added crumbled goat cheese, Stu made the vinegarette and tossed.
There was not much wine as everyone sympathetically joins me in semi-abstinence. I feel like a teenager again as I tell myself to make good decisions – it’s hard, but the consequences of bad decisions are too dreadful to contemplate for me and the folks that love me.
But we did have a splash of Riesling with the first course and a lovely Beaujolais with the steak.
I love weekends with these friends – happy shiney people, laughing. Stu was up early preparing a brisket – slow oven baked with carols, celery and onions in red wine.
Janel prepared breakfast – French toast and leftover steak served on a bed of arugula with a side of home-made guacamole, prepared in the Rick Bayliss fashion, it’s a party favourite. All I had to do was rise, wash, dress and sit down,eat and say thank-you. Which I do from the bottom of my heart.
It was a beautiful day and as is our custom, everyone split off to spend the day the way that they wanted. Dave headed to the Media Room, Stu the hot tub, and later baby-sitting and finishing the brisket, Grant playing and teaching me Konami Duel Links.
It’s fun but consumes over a gig on my iPad mini so it must be deleted soon to make way for more kindle books. (As an aside: The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin was a fantastic read for just $1.99 on Kindle from Amazon.)
I played games, read some books and began making some chicken broth from the carcasses I’ve frozen from the many roast chicken dinners we have had in the past few months.
Freya zoomed her way through the day, hanging with everyone except Roop who would quietly pop up beside her, his funny wee face making her shriek in surprise.
She’ll get used to him, he quietly thinks to his handsome pug self, they all come to love wee Roop and he knows his future holds many cuddles and perhaps a treat or two from this wee girl. He smiles up at her and then trots to the safety of his bed by the window chair where he can watch her undisturbed for a few hours and maybe catch a snoozle in between. Sadly he looks up at these happy peeps and fondly remembers the days when he was at the centre of all that fun, love and laughter. I’m sorry Roop. Next time , more cuddles for you, I promise – Shannon will be here in July and she loves you lots!
And when everyone is gone, its just our little family alone enjoying each other and our little corner of the world, where Roop and Dave enjoy their happy place together every night.