Sunday, May 10, 2009

Time out

I've been sporadic with blogging of late, but this is an official time out for now.

My father who has been ill for many years with what was diagnosed as an unusual presentation of Alzheimer's had a severe decline this last week. He now bedridden and not really eating or drinking. My brother has flown in from San Fransisco. I've been in CT with my family.

It is so heartbreaking.

I am so thankful that mom and dad made it to our house for easter. I am so thankful for having such amazing love in our family.... Everything feels so upside down. We're all sad and numb and tearful and doing our best to make sure dad is comfortable.

When I was little, we would vacation on Martha's Vineyard. My father loved to sail. He would take my brother and I out in the little sunfish individually and teach us some basics. He instructed me on how to deal with a change in wind, how to change the course of direction, how to travel upwind. His large hand atop mine on the rudder he would cue, "Ready about?" Gleefully I'd yell out 'Helms-a-lee!" and together we'd push the rudder away, duck our heads as the boom swung over us and the sail flapped in the wind before filling again with air to pull us in another direction.

Lately, these sorts of memories have flooded my mind and this is one that's stuck. I think because my father always looked so happy with the sun and the salty sea air in his face. I can picture the way his eyes smiled as he gazed out at the ocean or back on shore where my mom and brother would give us goofy waves. That was a perfect time and I like to daydream myself back there, wishing that changing course was as easy now.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dinner Party

We had a dinner party on Saturday with some close friends. It's fun to get the house all ready for guests. We decided to throw a table cloth on the table for this event and I bought some white tulips.

As we were expecting about ten people, we also set up the table outside!

Dear husband was excited because he got ALL six burners going preparing for dinner.

We planned a "pasta bar" dinner with three different serve-yourself pastas: linguine in a clam sauce with clams and shrimp, penne with lemon pesto and salmon, and campanelli with sausage in a garlic basil pink sauce. We also made a big salad and had fresh baked rolls and freshly grated cheese. It was a hit! Here we are with Brian who used his artistic talents to label the pastas dear husband created.
Brian's daughter is Chelsea. She's sixteen and has become a good friend. Here we are before we made whipped cream for dessert. Chelsea is going to both junior and senior prom this year and sews her own dresses for these events-- how cool is that?! I threatened posting this photo to facebook and she made me smile by saying, "Great, I'll tell my friends that that's a photo of me with my cool friend that can do everything." I said, "What do you mean, I can do everything?" She said, "Well, you can drive... you own your house... you can go to bars...." It really made me laugh. (and feel old! ;)
Dinner worked out perfectly-- some of us sat inside, some out. As it was getting a bit nippy, for dessert, (chocolate cake with whipped cream, strawberries, and choc. chip cookies!) we all came inside-- here's a shot of the table: Counter-clockwise from the head of the table: Brian; Anthony's wife, Megan; Dear Husband; Brian's dad, Richard; my piece of chocolate cake waiting for me!!; Brian's daughter, Chelsea; Brian's mom, Iona; Brian's wife, Janet; Anthony.

After dinner we all played Taboo. What a fun game! Here's dear husband and Janet. Janet took her clue-giving very seriously.

Anthony kept saying the keywords that you're not allowed to say. We were all laughing throughout:

I think Brian's parents had a good time with the game. Brian's dad, Richard was really really good at giving clues!

Would you believe the sixteen year old was the first to poop out?! Chelsea! You can see she was winding down in this photo (with her chin on our coffee table). As for dear husband and I, we didn't get to bed until after 1am!!! Unprecedented-- we don't stay up that late on New Years! It means it was a really fun party.
Did I mention that Brian is the architect that designed our house and Anthony is our builder? I am so incredibly grateful to have met such amazing, wonderful friends through the crazy experience of having to rebuild our house... and look forward to many more celebratory gatherings.

I pulled Brian aside at one point and said, "See? Is this totally the vision you had-- here we are entertaining- M's cooking up dinner, but we're all still a part of the party, in this gorgeous open-floor plan space...." Brian said, "Julia, it brings tears to my eyes; I couldn't be happier for the two of you." How's that for a good friend?