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Eating and Drinking

The sunflowers continue to open, and in one instance, there are multiple buds on the same stalk! That, I presume, is not at all the normal way of growing; perhaps it must be because it is from the bird seed? Then too, the stalks are a little wimpy. How one of the stalks broke with a new bloom on it is a mystery to me, however, I did bring it inside for a little of that glory.
Well, I would be remiss if I didn't mention an extra special night of food and friendship over at Pam and Glen's lovely home. Pam made more delicious dishes than I can remember, and it was a wonderful way to end Sunday. We were welcoming our friend Pat home from her long holiday in Europe.
Pam is in the black. That is Lisa and Bunker in the foreground who are both pictured here with Catherine.
Even though the party was for her, Pat brought some picture worthy salads that were as delicious as they were beautiful.
Although I thought the white on the front salad was sliced onions, turns out it was fennel, which I now know that I like. Both really simple, both really good.

Unbeknownst to me, Dave and Michelle had given Bruce a gift card for his birthday to a place we'd never been--Santiago's Bodega Restaurant. Attempting to lighten his load a bit, Bruce cleaned out his briefcase on Monday morning, and found the card, asking if I wanted to go there Monday night. As you know we are never ones to rush into using gift cards as this one was two month old! Located on Virginia Drive, the menu is Spanish tapas, and the crux of the matter is this--we can't wait to return. It is hard to restrain yourself in a place like that because all of the menu items looked yummy, however, we managed to do so, and even found room for desert:
Croissant donuts with a bourbon cream topping on a berry sauce. With my cup of hot tea, it hit the spot! Then, the next morning Mr. Bruce took off for Tyson's Corner where the restaurant is coming along nicely, albeit with the usual setbacks. It is a very difficult project and everyone is feeling it about now, however, when it is completed, I know how proud they will be. Tuesday the executive chef came to visit and liked what he saw. As an example of an unexpected problem, the large carpets, made from 100% wool, are hand made in Nepal and have a European fire safety inspection included. But, does that work in the States? These are the kind of things that wake Bruce up during the night because gathering the information all takes time. His favorite saying is that he wants to get in the end zone, and I've no doubt he will!

So, while he is working super hard, his wife is lollygagging. I have read two books while he's been gone, so there's that. And, more importantly, I can recommend them both. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf is short and sweet, written while the author was dying of a fatal lung disease. When I say short and sweet I mean that it is only 179 pages long and just oozing with goodness and light. I had been working on this one, Everything I Never Told You for about a week, but with all the eating and drinking, I hadn't gotten very far. Well now I have, and it is also beautifully written. The first one I stumbled across, the second one I heard about on the Diane Rehm show aired on NPR. Both are family stories, but come to think of it, aren't all stories family ones?

As I type this our friend Catherine is back in the UK, arriving at her home on the Isle of Wight this morning. To wish her bon voyage, or until we meet again, Cheryle, Catherine, and I went to Hillstones Tuesday evening to both eat, drink, and watch the sunset from the dock. Catherine is mad for sunsets!
It all started innocently enough with Cosmopolitans all around. The sunset did not disappoint, the air was cool and the laughs were plenty.
The food not so much. Because artichokes are out of season, they did not have it on the menu, the dish C and C particularly wanted to order. Maybe after the second drink we finally got some appetizers which were anything but hardy, and certainly not enough to soak up the alcohol. Then, I believe it was Catherine, ordered a THIRD round!
By now, of course, as is it's want, the alcohol had dulled our senses, and we happily drank them. This much I can say, I slightly remember that we were the last ones there, the clean up inside was occurring, and Cheryle expertly drove us home. How she did so, I don't know.

It is not my practice to drink until drunk, however, that night I did, and it will be a cold day in hell when I do so again! Somehow I took care of Baxter, falling into bed and sleeping like a dead woman. A little after seven the next morning Baxter woke me, and I stumbled out of bed. Literally! Oh my gosh, I felt so terrible, there are no words! Although I did the best I could to accomplish some things, it was an uphill battle all the way. So long to Catherine and excessive drinking!!!

Up to this point in the summer we have not had serious humidity, but it sure has come on with a bang of late. Every morning the door looks like this,
taking several hours to clear. That is exactly what happens to my camera lens when I take it from the air conditioning inside to the outdoors. I usually forget, and try to take a photo right away, which turns out like this:
A gauzy effect...

One thing I heard yesterday before leaving the house on my bike ride was the sound of tree guys. Where were said tree guys? At the end of our street removing three gigantic oak trees at the homeowners request. This should be illegal!!!
This home is one of the least well kept ones on our street, but at least it had magnificent oaks going for it. Until now. What are they thinking taking down healthy trees that took 50 years to grow so tall? Grrrrr....

Finally, they are having a celebration of Matt Stromberg's life on August 1st. Angela is doing fairly well, or so she says. Time will tell now, won't it?

Swearing off Cosmos,

Gail
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