Archive for May, 2009

And the celebrations just keep on coming….
May 31, 2009

cupcakes from Cupcake Company  are required...

cupcakes from Cupcake Company are required...

Ok, let’s count ’em up for May, shall we?….The lovely Jennifer’s birthday, my sweet(and beautiful) daughter’s college graduation( I should add here that she asks why Jennifer is “the lovely” Jennifer” and she is the “sweet” daughter…yes she is also lovely…), my son’s wedding, and yes, this weekend, another occasion. My daughter’s birthday. As you might imagine, I was a little behind the ball on this one…it took a pleading, ok begging, phone call Friday to The Baltimore Cupcake Company on Fort Ave. in Baltimore to order plain vanilla and key lime cupcakes. I know it seems like cupcakes from anywhere would suffice….but these absolutely delish real butter cream icing confections are the best I’ve ever tasted, and it’s a b-day tradition for my daughter.  And you’ll be happy to know they weren’t served in the plastic tray….come on!

Present wise, she sweetly said, “Oh Mom, I know you’ve been spending a lot on the wedding…don’t worry about my birthday..” Very considerate, but I knew however, she didn’t really mean that…and I wouldn’t do that to her.

Ray-Bans....always classic....

Ray-Bans....always classic....

The one thing she had wanted, she got….some Ray-Ban sunglasses with tortoise shell frames. Classic and stylish, they should last a long time, and have 100 % UVA protection. And just seeing the Ray-Ban leather case, always reminds me of my Father, who was given a pair of aviator sunglasses by my Mom, just before he went overseas in WWII. I wrote about it in a post on  Hamilton’s Habitat from a couple of years ago….such a sweet love story. And as usual, my Mom called the day before my daughter’s birthday, because that’s her Alabama birthday….she was actually born at 12:30 in the morning, but in ‘bama, it was 11:30 pm…so my little Mommy calls to wish here happy birthday on that day. I love it.

Oh, and my birthday is next week, and I don’t care. No cake, no candles please. Just a peaceful day will be fine.
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New York Wedding….part 2…where did I put my wallet?
May 29, 2009

Ok, let’s see, where were we? Oh yea, Friday night party…check. I forgot to tell you a minor inconvenience/major flip-out that happened on Thursday. I discovered my wallet was on the lam. Yep, as in gonzo…missing in action…a disappearing act. Where did it go? Where was it lifted from my bag? I literally have no idea, but there were a couple of hours that day spent canceling credit cards(luckily I only have 2 plus a gas card-which someone did try to use), but I have to get insurance cards replaced, and my driver’s license(which is done-I’m not driving illegally)….But on a weekend where I need a charge card…that thing was almost on fire…it had taken a holiday. Luckily my daughter got in later that day and gave me back my Mastercard, which she “keeps for emergencies” (like lip gloss on sale at Rite Aid). And we moved on…really, what else can you do?

5823The wedding ceremony on Saturday took place at Jefferson Market Garden in Greenwich Village…it belongs to a library that used to be a the women’s detention center…a great, Victorian gothic, red brick building, where women inmates used to shout from the windows at friends and visitors below! It has an exquisite garden, especially this time of year, huge rose bushes in bloom , along with peonies, allium, and mock orange. And amazingly the weather held….and in a garden wedding- a little important.( And a later addition-I forgot….this was the garden in which Miranda on Sex and the City got married…episode 88…small point of interest…but in that episode you can see how pretty this garden is, if you have it.)

Me and the groom-Mona in background!

Me and the groom-Mona in background!

A lovely young cellist named Mona that we found on Gigmasters,what a great site, provided some lovely music. The cello seemed an appropriate choice, because my son took lessons and played for quite a few years.

Wedding cake time....

Wedding cake time....

Dinner afterward was at a small(all restaurants in the village are small) place called The Market Table….it was where my son proposed to the lovely Jennifer, and it was a such a great choice for dinner. The food totally rocked it.  Mikey Price is the chef/owner…and the man can put some unbelieveable food on the table. And he did. We ate from a smaller version of their dinner menu, so you can get an idea of what the food is like. Pancetta wrapped porkenderloin with banana fingerlings? Amazing.  There was a small wedding cake that Jennifer’s fabulous Mom Jill insisted on(even though the adorable couple said no, we don’t need it), and I’m glad she did. It was the perfect touch on a perfect small wedding dinner.  everyone poured(literally) into taxis…no driving in nyc…and blissfully floated back to where we came from. As the lovely Jennifer’s Dad said, “On a scale of one to ten, it was a 25!” I couldn’t agree more.

Back from a Big Apple New York…
May 28, 2009

The adorable couple say I do....

The adorable couple say I do....

Wow, where to start?  My last post  was NYC loft party day....the beginning of a busy, crazy, lovely weekend….those of you who are wedding veterans will know of what I speak….it all goes by so, so fast. Friday night got things kicked off….I was going for a Southern-esque theme with the food….chicken pot pie(took two big white bake dishes to Eli Zabar’s and they cooked them, covered with pastry!), pulled pork barbecue, corn bread, potato salad with green beans and cherry tomatoes, slaw,  sweet potato chips, and homemade dill pickles after a Zabar’s antipasto board, cheeses, shrimp and crudite, and we ended with a Smith Island cake that I had ordered from Sugarbakers in Catonsville(it is sinfully good with chopped up bits of Recee’s Peanut Butter cup in the filling), and tiny jewel like fruit tarts. A young woman my son knows helped with the catering…she’s just starting out in the catering biz…and I would have been lost without her….and Zabar’s!

I think all of you would have liked the loft we rented(off of my beloved VRBO, natch)…it had the perfect party space, AND we stayed there as well, so it was a good deal. I loved the financial district section of Manhattan…very close to the Seaport, lots of little businesses around and a great little panini place down the block.  Great night…great place. The news is calling….more tomorrow!

I’m in New York…giving a party!
May 22, 2009

container from Chelsea flower market....

container from Chelsea flower market....

You know how sometimes it seems an event will never come, and then all of t sudden, it’s there. I mean, It’s here. My day started early this morning, at the flower district in Chelsea…getting that cute little odd bark container you see in the picture. I then bought the curly willow and greens of some sort to fill it with, and scented geranium at the base…smells divine. And I have peonies, and deep blue hydrangeas….it looks pretty in here, I’m not gonna lie to you. People have been delivering tables and glasses and plates and food all day long. I should want a nap, and could probably use one, but I can sleep later, right? My son is getting marrried this weekend.

Picture of the table, minus the food!

Picture of the table, minus the food!

I really shouldn”t be writing a blog post, but I wanted to share a little of the joy with all of you who read this blog…it means a lot to me that you do, in ways that I can’t even quantify. It’s like a famiy I don’t get to see, but I know they’re there, all the same. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers is playing on the ipod…..can you feel it? I’m in New York at a pretty apartment,….there’s a party tonight….and my son is marrying a young woman I already welcome as my daughter tomorrow. All is well. I hope all of you have a blessed weekend too.

Keeping up with the details…
May 19, 2009

My wedding detail notebook...

My wedding detail notebook...

Right now, that’s what my life is all about….keeping up with a myriad of details that are all spinning like plates in the air(no, not waiting to come crashing down-that would be negative thinking)….and hopefully weaving them all together into a tapestry of bliss and happiness. This little notebook in the picture is the keeper of the details right now. One of my sisters-in-law gave it to me years ago, ostensibly to journal about my travels…it’s filled with quotes about travel, the first of which is “The world is a book and those who do not travels read only a page.”  I’ve never written a word in this journal until now, when I realized I neede to consolidate my flotsam and jetsam notes scribbled here and there.  Now, it tells me what I need to do today, what I need to do tomorrow, and the next day and the next. The list of things I’m carrying with me to New York is a little staggering. But I’m like that when I travel anyway…so for a wedding party, it’s just that much worse.

Why, you may ask am I carrying things instead of buying them there? Well, why on earth should I buy a couple of big vases, when I already have two, just begging to be used? And why should I pay a premium for wine in the big apple, plus 9% tax, when I can buy it here and take it? Look, my Momma raised a girl who doesn’t like to throw her money away….and I can’t change now. It’s been hard enough, using caterers. I usually do it myself, but I know in this instance I cannot. But it’s hard, giving up that sense of control.

Deb Weiner said to me, “Well, of course you’re taking it all with you…after all you’re going to a third world country!”….and I realize, anything can be had in NYC, but….I’d just rather take it with me. The thought of a turtle carrying its shell on its back comes to mind.  And the lovely Jennifer laughed at my keeping a paper notebook, instead of something computerized. I just like my notebook, though my computer has done most of the work.

A sea of green graduates..or are they?
A sea of green graduates..or are they?

Here’s a picture from graduation last Friday….my daughter is down there(and this was only the school of Humanities)! The woman sitting by me had thought to bring binoculars, so I got see her up close while she waited her turn across the stage. Wow, that is a big sea of green. And here is the odd, very non-green thing about this graduation….the kids didn’t rent their gowns, they had to buy these polyester sacks..for about 40 bucks. So, what happens to them later? They are no doubt thrown away. Why on earth, don’t they rent and reuse them? Soooooo wasteful….I’m gonna write a letter of complaint to the university right now!!

And here’s quote from the journal that makes me feel more courageous about everything….by Rhiannon Paine. “Other travelers brave rapids, scale mountains, walk on the moon. I drove across London(NYC for me), on the wrong side of the road, on the wrong side of the car, without insurance, in what began as a drizzle and became a downpour. It may have been my finest hour.”

It’s graduation day….
May 14, 2009

Wheeee...its over!!

Wheeee...it's over!!

I wrote about my daughter in a post couple of years ago… (can it be that long?), about how high school doesn’t define you, and that even kids who have had difficulties  in middle school or grade school, whether they were the nerdy kid everyone made fun of, or a popular girl who had problems no one could see, or a kid that had learning disabilities that made him feel dumb….there are better times ahead. You too can go to college..there’s one for everybody…and create a new life for yourself. High school doesn’t define you.

And I wrote in particular about my sweet daughter, who had her own struggles in high school…I have the report cards to prove it. Those were complicated times for all of us. But tomorrow, and here’s the hope for all of you out there with kids who are struggling…. my girl graduates from college tomorrow.  I’m so proud of her. Because even though she struggled there too, I kept telling her…”You just need to get through and get your degree. You just need to get through.” And she has. And she has come out on the other side perhaps wiser than kids who easily sailed through school. She knows what it’s like to have to tell your parents you have another bad grade, what it’s like to really have to dig down deep and work harder, she knows herself better, I think, than kids on whom the sun shines all the time. Though it would be lovely to be one of those kids.

So to my daughter who will no doubt read this…she and her friends read my blog….(Her friend Heidi said the other day, “You got a whole sentence in your Mom’s blog!”, meaning that I’ve been a little wedding obsessed lately.), I salute you my daughter. When you could given up , you didn’t. When you could have justifiably been surly and mean, you weren’t. ( not much..) One day you will pass along to your daughter the lessons you have learned…the things you have dared to try…sometimes failing, but you tried. You are intelligent, funny, beautiful…and such a sweet spirit.  I have no doubt made many mistakes raising you, but you forgave me. As Maya Angelou said, “Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you’ve been thinking. You may find a new solution.” And you somehow always did that. You may not see me in the crowd tomorrow, but you’ll know that I am there….watching… another proud mother.

A tale of mice, and lamb…
May 13, 2009

Spotted: Spotnips!!

Spotted: Spotnips!!

I have finally found Baby Girl’s favorite mice…not real ones, though I think she loves these because they remind her of the real thing. And yes, she has seen one, close up. So these little toy mice, while expensive in my book…about 7 bucks for a bag…they provide her with so much unmitigated joy, that it’s worth the splurge.

What’s so special about these? For starters, they have feathers for tails! And they are covered in real fur! And they rattle when you shake them! I can only imagine that they sell a lot of these in France….because on the back it says….”Vous avez fait le choix par-r-r-fait!” And a lot of other French stuff, like “pour le securite’“….oh just let me say it in English…to ensure safety,  your pet should be supervised when playing with toys.  They’re kidding, right?  Maybe not, but once this sucker gets on the floor…you try to take it away from B to the G(Baby Girl’s rock star name). I will be her favorite person tonight.

Lamb headed my way....

Lamb headed my way....

And I started to buy some lamb chops…I love lamb, but then I remembered …a bushel basket of lamb(no kidding) is headed my way from the Eastern Shore. A good friend has a neighbor who raises lamb for…well, you know. To eat.  My friend wrote that if it mattered to me, they are raised very happily and healthily, which only makes me feel worse, but yes, it does matter to me.  I will for certain have to find someone to share the lamb, as I don’t have that much room in my freezer. lamb chops, anyone?

Garden Glory….
May 12, 2009

The pink flower in foreground are coral bells from Brenda,,,

The pink flower in foreground are coral bells from Brenda,,,

Wow, I can’t believe how everything looks sooooo good right now in the garden. The grass is emerald green, a climbing hydrangea is (finally ) loaded with blooms…I waited years for this. Some iris(or flags as a British friend always called them-shoutout to Brenda in Christchurch) are loaded and ready to pop.

Peony buds..and there are lots more!

Peony buds..and there are lots more!

And yes…the peonies..the glorious, glorious peonies I planted two years ago, a Home Depot special for $11.99, are all back and waiting for June. Sigh, happiness all around.

It really is too bad it’s all downhill from here. I know, just enjoy it’s beauty…but beauty is fleeting..there’s no botox for hydrangeas. And if you look a little closer at the brilliant green grass(the least environmentally green thing you can grow,byw), there is a bumper crop of clover mixed in, but I refuse to use poison on it…not with my kitties and other people’s kitties padding gently over it. So, it can stay. And hey, a little imperfection, just makes the rest of the perfection that much better, r at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

And someone had asked, Susan I think, if my hydrangeas had survived. Yes. I am happy to report they all are back, with lots and lots of blossoms..will they be their original blue, as when I bought them in Rhode Island and packed the back seat of the car with hydrangea plants to haul them home to Maryland? Or will they be tinged with pink? Don’t know, don’t care. They live!!

So, the garden is for the moment, good… all good. It’s breezy, like me. And thank you for all the kind thoughts about my Mom…she is out of the hospital, a little weaker each time she goes in for another bout of pneumonia, but hanging in there…she’s “sticking around“, as she calls it. She too wants to see another spring, another summer. And she wants to witness, though not in person, her grandaughter, my wonderful daughter graduate from college this Friday(yes, another big event in May!), and to see pictures of her grandson…my son..getting married in New York the following weekend. So there’s a lot to live for. For all of us.  Including a lovely garden, even if will look very different this August.  Gather ye rosebuds while ye may…Old Time is still a-flying, and this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying. Robert Herrick wrote that poem over 300 years ago, but the sentiment is timeless. Beauty is fleeting, life is fleeting, gardens are fleeting. And the last stanza of the poem could be for my son…who took the great poet’s advice…..Then not be coy but use your time, and while ye may, go marry. For having once lost your prime, you may forever tarry.

Wedding-mania!!
May 7, 2009

Ok, we’re two and a half weeks and counting folks….a little less, actually. But I’m good, I’m breezy, I’m cool.  But it is, ummmm,  getting down to it time, if you know what I mean. I finally got an email back from the caterer, who had some suggestions on food….which sounded a little complicated and would take up waaaay too much space for so many….dishes. Simplify, simplify. When I went over the suggestions to my husband, he replied, “Chick menu“…..I protested that no way was that a chick menu, he said, “There’s no hunk of meat there “.  I gently explained that a hunk of meat really wouldn’t do, because this not a sit down dinner where people can carve said hunk of meat at a table, with a knife and fork. Things need to be fingerable and forkable. Period.  And really, chicken pot pie is not chick food…comfort food yes, but not girlie. Is it? Anyway, we agreed on adding some pulled pork barbecue, since this kind of a Southern soiree….there will be cornbread, and Smith Island cake, and stuff like that, so barbecue will be fine. And I woke up in the middle of  the night, thinking about it….again. Oh, and if that’s not enough, my Mom, who turns 89 tomorrow, is in the hospital again….I may have to fly down.

Anyway, on a lighter note, I offer to you one of the funniest wedding commercials I’ve ever seen…every time I watch it I laugh out loud. And it’s not even nervous laughter! I don’t think….Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMxtNj5Vyos&feature=related

A potpourri post…Elegy, Samos and Pork Roast…
May 6, 2009

They still have this price today!!

They still have this price today!!

OK, I never told you how my pork roast turned out last weekend, served at the end of swine flu fever week…. I went to the supermarket down the street and found a 5 pound bone-in loin roast, get this, for $.99 a pound. Crazy. I rubbed it down with crushed garlic, some rosemary and plenty of kosher salt, and followed a different roasting recipe, called Aristos(Greek for “the best”-a sentiment with which I would concur) that I found on Williams Sonoma, that starts the roast out at 475 degrees…for 20 minutes…yikes! Don’t forget to turn on the exhaust or  you will have a smoky kitchen….I didn’t have the figs, but it turned out spectacular anyway. For 5 bucks.

 

 

Ever had taramosalata??

Ever had taramosalata??

And perhaps it was prophetic that it was  Greek recipe…on Saturday friends called to see if we wanted to go out for dinner, to Samos, the famous Baltimore Greektown eatery just off Eastern Avenue(my first visit, believe it or not). They don’t take reservations, it’s byob, and be prepared for a wait if you go on a Saturday night. And wait we did…about an hour, but it was a happy wait….the 6 of us stood around and shared a bottle of wine, and had little cocktail catchup hour. Samos has legendary Greek  food, and you can watch the owner and chef Nick, busy, busy busy at the stove. We had some lovely taramosalata(fish roe, potatoes, olive oil)…olive tapenade,grilled lamb chops, moussaka(which I have learned a few years back is pronounced mousse-ah-ka‘, not mousse-ah‘-ka). For dessert, Galatoboureko….don’t ask me how to say it…a rich cream custard in phyllo…unbelievably good. It was just one of those great evenings…with longtime friends, everybody relaxing after a long work week…oh, I didn’t mention, the prices at Samos are extremely gentle on the pocketbook….I think the lambchops are the most expensive dish at $22…most  are much less.

And last but not least, Sunday was such a dreary soggy day(not aristos), a movie in front of the fireplace seemed about right….I watched Elegy on demand on Netflix….starring the always luminous Penelope Cruise(she is gorgeous), and the always powerful Ben Kingsley. About a man who is disconnected with almost everyone, until he meets her. It’s an interesting flick….and the first time I have watched an on demand netflix film….so easy.