Monday, November 26, 2007

First Baby Shower

Not FOR me but BY me :) I threw a baby shower for friend Julie who is expecting over Christmas! I made my first ever "diaper cake" and had a good time baking. I made cranberry almond scones, raspberry crumble coffee cake, ham sandwiches with cream cheese and capers and had cheese and fruit. Julie is one of Ben's classmate's wife. Our guests were Ben's classmates so the conversation wavered between babies and Anglo Saxon. Ha. Baby Johnson acquired some good loot, including a demon deacon outfit.

Still behind..but catching up

I feel that being behind is beginning to be my life. I'm always behind on charts, housework, yardwork; I can' t even comprehend that I am supposed to be Christmas shopping!! In any case, about a month ago Ben and I had a little escape from our business in Winston to the Smokies. I could have never left. I do love mountain towns. We shared a condo overlooking a river in the mountains with another couple (who actually just invited us along). There was a fireplace in every room and jacuzzi tubs and Sophie was able to trot along the river leash-free which is a rarity for her. If you are ever out this way and want a recommendation for a romantic getaway in the mountains-this place is perfect.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A little behind the times

Last month I turned the corner on 28. I decided to do something I'd never done before on my birthday which is take the day off! It was sooo wonderful except that I did have to carry my pager for my nurse to get ahold of me; we usually have to find someone to carry our pager/answer pt queries if we are on vacation and I didn't want to have someone do this just for a day. Anyway, I spent the day relaxing and preparing our house to host our small group in the evening. I found a recipe for a pumpkin cake online and was greatly inspired to take it on. The idea is to take two bundt cakes and stack together in the shape of a pumpkin, cover with orange icing and, voila, instant pumpkin. Well, my bundt pans were less than cooperative so I ended up with a slightly lumpy-Charlie Brown like pumpkin, but the taste was not bad. I mixed pumpkin and cream cheese for the icing.
Just before small group, Ben took me to the Zevely House restaurant, which I have been drooling over since we moved here and drive by every Sunday on the way to St. Paul's. It's an old house, renovated a little with a backyard garden/patio. We dined on scallops and brie and nice red wine. Ben seemed to be in a hurry, which I thought was a little odd but didn't spend too much time wondering.
On the way home I panicked a little as we were getting close to small group time and I didn't want them to have to wait in their cars and when we turned onto Madison I saw a few cars and this worry was confirmed. We drove in the garage and walked quickly up the stairs, and opened the door into the kitchen where I heard "surpise."! Ben had invited all of our friends from my work and his program along with our small group to surprise me! It was so fun I forgot to take pictures! There were pumpkins for carving and hot carmel apples and pumpkin beer and champagne! It was a splendid time, all organized by Ben.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Buy local

I have been passionate about supporting local businesses for a long time and one of the reasons we moved to this particular part of town was its paucity of chain restaurants and stores. I was shopping for a friend's birthday when I happened upon a place called Gotham Park in downtown Winston. It is a beautiful store, far of out of my range and then some; imported-from-europe soaps and dishes and furniture. The most charming part of the visit was spent talking with the owner. I bought a gift that was small, in comparison with all that the store contained, and he spent about 20 minutes carefully wrapping the gift in brown tissue paper that he pulled from an antique dresser, placing it into a crisp white box and tying with a rich dark chocolate ribbon, chatting with us all the while. The contrast between this other much more well-known places of shopping was so stark and this purchase seemed so meaningful. The only problem with many locally owned shops is the steep price range, which is fair for the owner but often limits my ability to partake of their goods. I have come to realize that quality is far superior to quantity, and if my walls are more bare and my closet skinnier because of it, so be it.