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Celebrating Life

Who needs a blood moon and a lunar eclipse anyway? Me, that's who! It was not to be however, due to last night's complete cloud cover over Central Florida. I was hoping that by early morning said cloud cover would have dissipated, and I'd at least be able to see the super moon. Waking up before five this morning, I eagerly went out back to nothing. Clouds everywhere you turned. After Mr. Bruce took off for the airport, this photographer thought, well, if the night sky was to have been so dramatic, maybe the early morning sky would do the same? I drove over to the closest field I could find off Conway Road to watch the sunrise.
The clouds were good for something anyway! I waited patiently..
Siri told me the sunrise would be at 7:16, and so it was.
So, that was the start to my Monday. How about yours?

Last Friday, September 25, would have been our Mom's 90th birthday which Maureen and I celebrated over lunch at Smashburger. Our Mom loved a good burger and milkshake.
If you've yet to try Smashburger, I highly recommend that you do!

Quarter to five on Friday, during a driving rainstorm, I picked Bruce up at the airport. Here's something that perhaps you've not tried before, a little secret I learned from my sister Carol. Pick folks up at Departing Flights because they won't jump all over you for parking your car! Works like a charm. Arriving home, Baxter, as you can imagine, was delighted to see him, as was I. After going without a good night's sleep for almost all of the twelve days he was gone, it wasn't long after supper that he took to the couch.
And who can blame him?

Saturday morning, after getting his expense report done, (well over $3,000 for the hotel!!), we got the yard done, because not only is it what we do on Saturday, but we were having guests in the evening. Our friend, Cathy, decided it could be fun to have a progressive dinner, so, after much planning on her part, we did. We began the night at Cheryle and David's for champagne. The gardeners found their way outside to commiserate on plants.
Cathy, in the black and white dress, meted out the dishes we were to prepare from a Cook's Illustrated Menu Cookbook. Needless to say, the recipes were complicated! As well, she and Bunker (khaki pants above), went to ABC Liquors with said menu for wine pairings, aided by the "wine guy" there.
Next up was our home where we had appetizers, including a terrine made by yours truly, Prosciutto wrapped asparagus made by Roxanne, and caramelized onions with goat cheese and crackers, made by Cheryle. Before we ate a thing though, I took a group photo outside.
Well, I guess some had their wine already, didn't they?

My dish was a first for me, in fact, I tried something like it in the past that was a wreck. This time, after consulting with Pam, I froze it between each layer of ingredients. Called a Pesto and Sun Dried Tomato Cheese Terrine, it actually turned out just fine. Because a big bunch of fresh basil is hard to come by this time of year, I made the pesto with arugula, and folks seemed to like it. Making pesto was a first for me as well.
Turn about is fair play because once, while over at Bill and Roxanne's for a party, I begged to turn on the tv so I could finish watching Jordan Spieth win a golf tournament. Saturday night, Bill asked for the Florida football game, so who was I to turn him down?

Once the sun went down we all converged on Bunker and Cathy's lovely home where they'd set up tables poolside for the main dish of Beef Stew Provencal served over noodles brought by Lisa and Oren. I just counted the ingredient list for that stew--17!! I told you these were complicated recipes!
Bruce is paying our wine bill which was a very reasonable $11 a person.
Pat made the salad which again was crazy complicated, requiring her to special order Belgian Endive. Everything was delicious, including the french bread from the East End market bakery. Did I mention that wine was served with each course? All very good. In case you are worried, each pour was small.

Ending the evening on a sweet note, we walked the three doors down to Pam and Glenn's house. Pam made a scrumptious, albeit crazy time consuming, Chocolate Caramel Walnut Tart ,which I made sure to photograph for posterity. She claimed she is not making caramel again any time soon!
In case you are wondering about her rooster in the middle of table, I suspect she bought that during the two years she and Glenn lived in New Zealand. Looks like a magazine doesn't it?
She's serving Roxanne, as Cathy patiently waits her turn. Just how full do you think we were? Very full! It was such a fun evening we can't wait to do it again, albeit, or at least the cooks agree, with somewhat simpler recipes! I now have fourteen wine glasses, so that part is taken care of.

Following Saturday's busyness, Sunday was a quiet day indeed. We went to church again so that Bruce could decide what he thought, and pretty much either rested, ate, or watched golf. Yup, Jordan Speith did it again! He is a boy wonder.

The day was a mix of sun and clouds up until around 5PM, then some rain fell, and those pesky clouds never went away. We went to bed early. I may have not gotten any photographs of the celestial phenomenon, however others sure took some wonderful shots in this link. Don't miss it!

Finally, this week at the restaurant, there are still challenges awaiting Bruce, but food is being delivered which is an exciting milestone indeed. Stay tuned...

Celebrating life in all its fullness,

Gail

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