Posts Tagged ‘friends

06
Feb
08

Just a Few Birthday Pics

Didn’t really have my camera handy for most of my birthday weekend, but thought these two photos were fun.

Birthday Bunch

Katie, Rob and Taylor (taking the photo) and Julie (in back) before we popped over to Talbott Street to catch the Ladies of Legends! Awesome show, as always. Why is John not in this pic?

Tiny Birthday Cake

Julie drove down from Cleveland to help us celebrate and joined me for a Spa Day on Saturday. She loaned me a sparkly tiara to wear (only around the house, I promise) AND she brought a cake that Lori sent with her for my b-day! Isn’t it incredible? It was a pre-show snack as well breakfast and brunch the next day.

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22
Jan
08

A Ghost in Winter

John and I stopped in Saturday night at Lara and Frank’s house for dinner and to play with their Wii. Lucie, their five-year old, smoked me at bowling, but she made my Mii avatar look much thinner than I am in real life so all was forgiven.

Food 025

Lara’s style is traditional with a twist, so this Louis Ghost Armchair fits right nicely into their house, as I’m convinced it would in almost any space. And I’m always amazed by how comfortable this chair is. Fun and elegant at the same time, too.

Also loved all of the light and mercury glass in the living room, which adds much needed sparkle during these dim and melancholy winter months.

Food 027

Since the glass pieces are holiday decorations, there was some discussion between Lara and Frank about how much to leave up and for how long. I’ll go ahead and weigh in by saying I think they should keep all of it out until taxes are due.

19
Dec
07

George’s Holiday Letter

We love our friend George. He goes to our church and works downtown so I run into him frequently, which makes me happy because he’s really nice, and he’s hilarious in an Alec Baldwin meets Charles Nelson Riley sort of way (I mean that as a compliment). His would-be motto for Indiana is “A person could always do worse,” which is such an endearingly Hoosier way of seeing the world.

I especially look forward to his holiday letters, which are never the usual “Jennifer pledged this fall” kind of stuff. I hope he won’t mind, but I thought I’d post a snippet of this year’s letter because his honest stories about life on DeQuincy Street where he lives, are in part what Good Home is about:

Let me say I do not have any qualms calling 911. I have done it before, and if the pattern holds, you can bet that I will be doing it again before the holidays are over. This is a stressful time of year, you know, and for the past couple of years the neighbors haven’t been handling it too well. After I sent my last letter a couple of years ago, I was going out to my car to go to a party, and a woman started screaming at me from behind a bush:

“Help! Help! Call the police!” she shouts. “My boyfriend’s jumped me, and he won’t let me back in the house!”

So yeah, I take her advice and call the cops – and when I go back out, he’s also outside.

“B—-, you can go back in the house if you want,” he screams at her, “but you better be prepared to f—–‘ die!”

“Um, excuse me?” I yell, plate of brownies in my hand, “We don’t talk like that in our neighborhood!” Pause. “We don’t act like that here!”

Pause, as he takes it in.

“Have I ever caused you problems?” he asks.

“You haven’t in the past,” I say (a lie, because he has indeed caused me problems by not cutting his grass and by generally failing to maintain his property). “But you’re causing me problems now by screaming the F-word up and down the street and threatening to kill people. Now if you’re going to act like that, just take it inside! Just take it inside because we’re not going to put up with it!”

At this point he drives off, I drive off, and according to the neighbors, three police cars show up. I don’t know if he ever got busted for it, but he must be following my advice because we haven’t heard a peep from him since. 

Merry Christmas, George! You’re one of the reasons we here in Indiana could always do worse.

14
Dec
07

IMA Holiday Open Greenhouse

Old Friends

A trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art Greenhouse as a Christmas tradition? Yep. The Greenhouse is open for business year round whenever the museum is, but two Thursday evenings in December the Greenhouse folks, like my friend Lynne above, roll out a therapeutically warm and life-filled holiday welcome. You can pop into the final Open House of the season next Thursday, December 20 (free, open till 8:00 p.m.). It makes a great date night venue.

Warm Greeting

I love the subtle details. This year simple candles burning in the snow were at the gates. In the past, it was red fabric lanterns with tea lights inside.

If you think an emphasis on nature limits your color palette to sage and brown, the Greenhouse staff is ready to blow your mind. I’m thinking about buying this metal tree and all of its ornaments for our house so I can make it through the February and March blahs.

Aviary Tree

Ornaments

If you look closely you can see the guitar player through the window.

IMA Greenhouse

I’ll always need a plant and a smiling-person-pick-me-up to brighten my spirits when winter is bearing down on me. Sue, Lynne, and the Greenhouse crowd always hook me up with both.

Pretty

Oldfields, the IMA’s American Country Place era estate of which the Greenhouse is a part, is open for free that Thursday, too. The grounds are lit so that you can enjoy the gardens at night. Cold as it was outside, winding through the endless luminaria trails was a calming way to end a typically wild December day.

Oldfields Formal Garden

On the Grounds

On the Grounds

13
Dec
07

Booze and Cookies 2007

Linda (John’s mom) said she thought the cookies this year were the best ever, which is high praise. It wasn’t the largest number of cookies we’ve ever made at Booze and Cookies* (I think about 32 dozen came out of the oven), but having fun is probably a better measure of success. As long as we have enough to munch on during the party and a few left over to have with coffee for the next week, I think most people are happy.

It was fun walking around seeing the random acts associated with baking – like Jennie putting the boxes together.

Shellin' Snicker Bars

Lori, a first-timer brought a peanut butter dough to wrap around small pieces of Snicker bars (what Jennifer and Jennie are doing here. Jennie prides herself on making perfect spheres). The final result was a warm, soft, chewy wonder. To prep them, the candy bars had to be unwrapped and cut. We referred to the process as “shelling the Snickers.” It was a porch activity.

Team Kifle was full of brave, new folks this year, but Lora, Scott (can’t see him here), and Katie were naturals. Rob (aka Titanium) added his cool to the dough from a distance.

Team Kiefle 2007

BTW, we tried using a tortilla press to flatten the Kiefle dough, and it worked pretty well until we broke the press and had to go back to smashing by hand (more fun anyway, imo).

The Arkansas and Ohio contingency changed into Griswald-ish Christmas clothes mid-party and ducked outside for a surprise caroling at the door. When someone came to get me for the show I was so overwhelmed by kitsch my knees buckled and I nearly swallowed my tongue. Look at how ‘neck J.’s leather hat is, especially nice with his beard.

Ugly Sweater Carolers

Red Shoes

I have to say Felley’s festive bell choir vest (above) is a close style second though. Even funnier to me is that the vest actually belongs to Jennie. She has to wear it during bell choir performances at her church (You know some sweet woman made a whole set of them.)

Normally the party starts around 12:30 and winds down around 5:00. But this year Tommy snuck back into the kitchen around 5:30 and started Date Cookies and Kolaski, two cookies that haven’t worked out too well for us in the past. Clever Tommy figured out a key ingredient was missing from the recipe (butter), and this time they turned out great!

Beating Kolaski Dough

John and J. pitched in to help Tommy, along with Jennie and David in the kitchen. We ended up with two great bonus batches. In the picture above it looks like Tommy is gold-bricking, but I can testify that the man was baking up a storm, especially once he got his second wind. We may not have made the most cookies this year, but I think we can safely say that we baked as long as we ever have.

My favorite action shot of the day:Happy Baker

*B and C is actually its unofficial name. John’s mom refers to it as “The cookie bake.” It started with John’s mom as she baked cookies for her family. Her three sons were home from college one year. As they helped her in the kitchen, the boys mixed a few cocktails to liven things up a little and, voila! The cookies got even better.

06
Dec
07

Holiday Friends Arrive

Street Clothes

This year we had special guests come by car and by plane from Arkansas and Ohio to be a part of Booze and Cookies (actual event post coming soon). Some of the out-of-towners came in a few days early so we could get some visiting in.

And when these friends come, they never arrive empty handed – Lori and Felley brought mountains of food, including Miss Judy’s (Felley’s mom) cinnamon rolls (Jennifer called them Crack Rolls)  so I wouldn’t have to do all of the cooking.They brought fun paper dinnerware so I didn’t have to wash as many dishes, and even my favorite Caldrea dishwashing liquid and counter spray (Patchouli and Green Tea) and cutlery (Jennie read on my blog that I’d lost my paring knife). 

Jennie and J. talked two other friends, David and Jennifer, whom I only knew through David’s blog, which I love to read, into coming with them. They are so fun! And I’ve heard of host gifts before, but I teared up a little when they pulled THIS out of their bag.

Claire Painting

They took a downloaded picture of Claire from my blog and gave it to an artist from Box Turtle Imports and Gifts on Kavanaugh in Little Rock to turn into a painting. I told Jennie later that Jennifer and David were a joy to be around, but even if they’d turned out to be complete turds, that gift would have kept the welcome mat out for them (I know, love for sale, but try to tell me you would feel any differently).Visiting

Once we got everyone settled in, we had time to make a trip out to Duane and Todd’s and to stop into Country Friends (Julie had never been and wanted to go). I feel sure that the people who work at CF must whisper under their breath, “him, again?” whenever I walk in the door these days. Here’s that holly I talked about but didn’t photograph last weekend (not much left).

Good Holly

And I loved these vintage “Maggie’s Memories” collectables.  I bought the little Santa Clause.

Sweet Stuff

If I didn’t already have a front door wreath I would run to CF to buy this one. It is simple but inspired and would look great at either a traditional or a rustic entrance, and the price point was awesome – $59.00 I think (don’t quote me).

Christmas Wreath

Julie made the big retail score of the day with this 19th century crazy quilt that she’s going to back with velvet and make into a wrap.

Sold

Julie, send me pics when you get it finished. Our house isn’t big, so every bed and sofa was filled. We even had a pallet on the floor (after some discussion we realized that either northern folks don’t sleep on the floor or they have another word for it. Can anyone from Indiana confirm or correct me on this?). And our neighbors opened up their garage apartment for us, too. It must have seemed a little like camp, but with the exception of Jennifer and David, all the rest of us had slept in close quarters together before on church youth retreats, choir trips or even at actual camp.

I was wishing I’d hung out a little with Practical Pat when she was cooking huge breakfasts for Lori, Julie, and Jennie and the rest of their clan because I was slow! But never bored. One morning while I was cooking I could hear David, whose roots and accent are pretty heavily Ozark, sporadically yelling “PAAY-pur!” in the living room. Jennie brought a voice activated Brain Age game with her, which was keeping him entertained as he tried to predict as quickly as possible what would counter rock in a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. But he couldn’t get the game to work so he kept yelling “PAAY-pur” louder and louder (turns out it was in instruction mode).

Chocolate Gravy and Cinnamon Rolls

David (aka PAAY-pur!) using one of Duane’s Chocolate Gravy Pitchers.

From then on, any quiet moment would be filled with someone randomly yelling “PAAY-pur!,” which is just the kind of joke that this group is happy to take way too far. Fortunately, David understands the value of a good laugh whatever it costs.

02
Nov
07

Lobster Lovin’ Lara Party

Lobster Ladies

My friend Lara (on the right above) recently left her job at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, so we had a little “growing away” party at our house with part of our old museum crew.  Lara is a creative writer, education technology designer and a great mom, so she deserved a special party. 

I made pizza, but didn’t have tons of time to do anything creative. Thankfully my friend Wendy swooped in toting a humongous basket of Lobster Party: two live lobsters, patterened aprons (that in the right room would make for some wicked fun wallpaper), matching chef hats, and her own giant pot for boiling the red ones.  Lora brought two bottles of wine that she and Scott made(!) and an awesome salad that her high school son threw together (isn’t there a lucky spouse in his future?). Jane brought the perfect almond shortbread cookies, just the right mixture of chewy and crispy. 

Celebrating the Kill

The Buddh-ish ones among us went to the other room when the live lobsters were plopped into the pot of boiling water (The squeamish did not included John, obviously, since he enjoyed playing with the deceased).  Not only did Wendy bring the lobsters, but she brought the know-how that goes into mining every bit of meat out of them. She’s no novice. Wendy actually does lobster prep demonstrations in schools all over Indianapolis. Kids in town see her at the grocery store and scream, “Lobster Lady!” (in a good way, not as an insult)
Lobster Queen
  Being a true Mainer, Wendy was so focused on prying out every piece of meat possible that she could not be bothered to look up for a photo.  I was a little worried that she would be so busy she’d forget to eat, but I do think she finally sqeezed some chow time in, too. 

Lara is much beloved. Not too many people can say they had fresh lobster prepared tableside at their goodbye party.