Tuesday, September 8, 2009

End-of-Summer, Happy Birthday, Thanks-for-Everything Dinner

For some reason, this round of bad news (fifth? sixth?) has been much harder than all the previous ones. In fact, I felt so bad, I asked Supergirl #1 to postpone a planned visit. I hated to do it, but I just didn't want to see her while I felt so low.

Instead, her dad (Bro 1) came down for a visit on Saturday, to offer some much needed -- and much appreciated -- moral support. Along with some tasty tomatoes, this is the dahlia he brought from his garden! My photo doesn't do it justice; it is buttery yellow and every bit of eight inches across. If you've ever been to a dahlia show, this is exactly the kind of flower the pro's are all trying to produce.

Taking advantage of his "strong back, weak mind," (his words, not mine) we shopped for a new microwave. My old one died suddenly and I quickly realized that I cannot live without a microwave oven. Well, I could, but it seems so barbaric. We enjoyed a Mexican dinner and a Red Box movie, The Caller. Some of the complex plot twists eluded me, but Bro says I napped through the first half. Sis & her beau came for a quick brunch Sunday morning, and then Bro 1 departed northward for a parental visit before heading home to Chicago.

On Monday morning, I realized that my chores were done and my house was still relatively clean... so I decided to ask the Hoodies over for an impromptu end-of-summer dinner. Since it was very last-minute, I expected about half to attend, but -- surprise! -- everyone was up for it, and dinner for five or six became dinner for ten. (Four others were out of town, or they surely would have attended, too.) I whipped up a potato salad and a delicious Mediterranean tuna salad. It had celery, capers and toasted almonds, and instead of mayo, some fresh lemon juice and "EVOO." All the hoodies' contributions were great, especially Mary Ann's Rustic Tomato-Basil Tart, direct from Stir Crazy's favorite recipes. And, oh by the way, our modest bachelor buddy revealed that it was also his birthday, so I quickly declared it his birthday party.

It was fun, but a bit tiring, and by the end of the evening, I was just about cross-eyed with exhaustion. I think this was the first time in two years that I've hosted almost all my neighbors. It was nice to finally reciprocate, after enjoying their hospitality so often. I know that everything they do for me is done without ever wanting or expecting anything in return. Even if I wanted to somehow repay them, I would never be able to do so. Still, I was grateful to offer a gesture of gratitude, even on that very small scale. Thanks to awesome family and friends, my crappy holiday weekend, on the heels of yet more crappy medical news, turned out to be pretty good.

PHOTOS - Top: The Dahlia That Ate New York, via Chicago. Middle: My modest fleurs du jour, zinnias, cosmos, and the last of the daisies. Bottom: From my one pepper plant and six tomato plants... this year's total harvest.

No comments: