Posts Tagged Amy

Friends, Family, and Furry Friends

5 November 2009
There seems to be a direct relationship between the level of stress in my life and the amount of time I spend in the kitchen each day.  Looking at my To Do list this morning, I realized that I had carried one item from one list to the next for weeks: “Lemon-Sage Wine Mustard.” Yeah. I’ve been talking about making and canning the mustard for over a month now, and today I decided it had been put off long enough.  As I started prepping the ingredients, I happened upon 9 lbs. of tomatillos that had gone undiscovered in the crisper.  One more week and they’d be more suited for the compost pile than for eating, so suddenly the mustard seemed to once again be less of a priority.  Out came the cutting board, and I got down to business cooking the tomatillos for freezing (they need to be cooked before they’re frozen!).  Of course, while taking the first batch of tomatillos out to the freezer, I noticed 2 heads of cabbage. OH MAN! Those would be bad by tomorrow or the day after, and I can’t stand the thought of losing any of the produce that I have left, plus, Ed (Mom’s husband) LOVES my pickled cabbage.  So the mustard got bumped again.
By the time my friend Amy showed up to visit, I was in the middle of cooking tomatillos, pickling cabbage, and soaking mustard seeds in wine.  The kitchen was a disaster, but Ellie Graye was in bed napping.  Having Amy there really helped me to relax and took my mind off Frankie.  I was so happy to have her sitting there, watching and chatting while I was working that everything took three times as long, but I really didn’t care.  As I smelled my way through my adapted kimchi recipe, she reminded me, “Don’t forget to write that down.” If only I had stopped at the moment and done exactly that!  Far too frequently I use a recipe as a “base” and then add what my nose tells me to, but forget to write it down, so I have to figure it all out again the next time I make it.  Such is the case with this batch of cabbage — I know I added ginger when the recipe didn’t call for it, but there was something else I threw in there at the last minute that I just can’t recall!
Starting the fermenting process
Despite having the distraction of Amy, I still managed to get everything done – and I enjoyed myself as I worked!  She cracks me up! As she was leaving she commented, “Wow. I just sat here and did nothing while you made…you made…MUSTARD!?!?!” I giggled, realizing how incredibly odd that sounded – and how much more odd that would have been when I was living in LA.  But somehow here at Deer Park it just has to be that way; my Hollywood life seems so distant!
It’s sweet and yummy and unique!

After Amy left, I braved the wind and the rain, and went out to check on Frank who seems to be doing a lot better.  I’ve ordered new hay that I will pick up tomorrow (they’ll give me 10 bales free since they want to keep my business, and are pretty sure their hay was dry when it was baled).  I’ll super inspect it, and move on from there.  I’m feeling hopeful today about his prognosis; I’m not sure I have a reason to feel hopeful, but I definitely do.  
Ellie Graye was, as usual, non-stop.  She’s constantly moving, constantly learning, and constantly full of energy!  She’s got so much personality!  Her “thing” today revolved around her pajamas: yes, her pjs. She decided that she wanted to wear them like a cape – arms only, no feet!  It was a riot.  The entire day she wore her pjs like that, sometimes holding the feet in her hands, other times letting them drag behind her like a second set of legs.  It really was comical to see.
Whenever the phone rings, whether we’re in the car or at home, Ellie’s eyes light up and she says, “Papa!!!” or “DaDa!”  She loves talking to him on the phone.  She’ll smile and say, “Hiiiiiiiiiiii” and then hug the phone or blow kisses.  I finally had the camera close by to capture some of the cuteness.  She’s definitely daddy’s little girl!
*note the dress under the pjs!
Ellie’s Uncle Colin came by this evening to visit and catch up.  It’s been quite a while since he and I have spent time alone together, so it was extremely nice to have him around to chat with.  Earlier in the day I had started bottling a few of the infused vodkas that have been brewing since June and July, so he did a taste testing of the Spiced Wild Plum and then the plain Wild Plum.  As usual with him, the Wild Plum won – he says the Spiced Plum tastes a bit like pie.  I made him chicken tikka masala, and served it with Trader Joe’s Flatbread.  I hadn’t had Indian food in ages, so I was happy to pull out the recipe and have a scrummy yummy dinner.  

Mommy MUST have been tired, because the TV was on!!!

Scrummy Yummy, Delicious!
Uncle Colin, Boots, Jax and EG played for ages, until Ellie hit that over-stimulated, over-tired mode, and took it out on Boots.  She’s at that stage where she understands but is testing how firm my rules and boundries are.  She stopped just before hitting him a third time, looked at me, then BAM. She hit him.  So, off to bed it was!  
Boots is definitely having some health issues again.  He’s extremely guarded with his kidney area, and is acting a bit out of sorts.  He’s needy and cranky, and just isn’t his usual bubbly self.  If he’s still not feeling well in the morning, I’ll have to consider taking him in.  Ugh. My animal situation is ridiculous!
Ok. I feel sleep coming on – I’m not even going to bother editing…  
The struggles of life make the good times all that much more enjoyable, right??? 🙂 

Happy Halloween

31 October 2009
After hitting the sack after 2 am last night, 8 am came as a mighty shock. You see, on the farm, whether you’re out all night, whether you’ve slept or not, the animals don’t give a damn.  They still need to eat, still need to be cleaned up after (though I can’t say the stalls got cleaned today), and still need a thorough look-over.  Stumbling out to grab the keys to drive over to the barn (there was NO way I was walking 1/4 mile to the barn), I surveyed the damage of last night’s party.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be, but definitely was going to require some attention.
The horses seemed happy and fine, though Frank’s swelling just won’t go away and Avdou needs to get out BADLY.  Thankfully, I made it out there just before the rain started in full force.  I pulled down our “glowing ghosts” that now look more like melted ghosts, and headed back inside.  After sorting through a few things, I found a gift that my friend Amy had brought to the party, and I’d set aside and forgotten about – more decorations for the most fun holiday of the year! Thanks, Amy, for the gift – I love them!
I tried to catch a few more hours of sleep before heading to pick up Ellie Graye at my mother’s, but I got stuck uploading photos here! 🙂 Well worth it, though, as I had been getting lots of requests for photos!  At least I was laying in bed when I was uploading them!  That’s resting, right?
I peeled myself out of bed around 1 pm, and began the process of cleaning up – the SLOW process.  I found that I was much more comfortable with leaving things just where they were than using any energy to straighten things.  As time creeped by, Jeffrey joined in the endevour, and things seemed to get done a bit quicker at that point.  Our only goal? Making the living room halfway safe for EG – the rest is waiting until tomorrow or Monday.  And oddly enough, I’m ok with that.  It’s obvious I’m tired if I’m ok with things not being “in their homes.”
I think my tolerance for disorder is because I’m still on a high from last night.  The culmination of hard work really does give me a bit of an adrenaline rush. Last night, as I was looking around the room at all the smiling, laughing people who were mingling, chatting, and meeting new friends, a feeling of overwhelming satisfaction settled over me.  I really do love, love, love providing the forum for people to truly enjoy themselves.  I believe entertaining and hosting go so much deeper than just “throwing a party.”  I also think that anyone can host a great party with the right instructions, elements, and details in place.  I’ve thrown so many fun, successful parties in my life, that I realized that I’ve “got it down.  Still, it was incredibly satisfying to be standing in the living room at 8 pm, putting the ice into the punch, looking at Pilar and realizing that everything was done, in place, and ready for the onslaught – and I didn’t feel one ounce of worry or stress! One of these days, I WILL help other people and use that knowledge and skill.  One day, I will pursue creating Scrummy Kits – my party planning guides;  I just need to find the time. HA.
We picked up EG from Grandma and Bah-Pa’s at about 3:40 this afternoon, then headed down to Bridgeport Village to meet up with the Radiches and Simmons for some Trick-Or-Treating with the kiddos.  Ellie was enthrawled with all the kids and all the people, and was just so busy (yeah, I know. She was a bee after all).

Auntie Amy greeting Little Miss BumbleBee

That’s Will behind the mask!

Zac (AKA Brown Craig)

Mia – we love this little girl!

After hitting up a few stores for treets, we headed over to grab some dinner together at California Pizza Kitchen. We did our best to keep Baby Ellie occupied, but had a few “toddler” moments that were a bit challenging for me to keep a good attitude through!  Once we were outside and walking again, she was in good spirits, and excited to be seeing so many new things!

Mia helping keep Ellie entertained!
We hit up a few more stores on the walk back to the car – that’s when EG got the hang of the “Look-Cute-Smile-Get-Candy” thing.  Apparently the AT&T store was her favorite…she walked in, grabbed a candy, left, then promptly turned around and went back in for seconds!  The staff loved her!
She was already double fisting, but went back for seconds!

Walking and eating her chocolate

Nothing like a little chocolate face!

 Now we’re home, and I swore I wasn’t going to write…but here I am, one more day recorded!


I used the pulled chicken that was left over from the Hannibal Lecter heads to make quesadillas, and WOWZA, that’s a make-again!