September was also the month for our annual cancer benefit dinner. Several years ago, a group of close friends and I cooked and hosted a dinner for six to raise money for cancer research. This was our sixth or seventh year?? One of my friends is an oncologist nurse, (she was a dear friend before she saved my life!) and she sells the tickets at her clinic. The winner gets to invite five friends and we do all the cooking. It is a fun way to reach outside our box and cook a fancy, delicious meal! This year our theme was A Night Under the Tuscan Moon. I was in charge of the salad, Roasted Beets with Grapefruit and Goat Cheese, from Urban Italian, Homemade Focaccia, from Artisan Bread Every Day and Sweet Basil Ice Cream with Honeyed Roasted Pine Nuts from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream. The group we cooked for was so fun and we had a great time and raised some money for a very worthy cause!
|Picture by Chris Vermehren|
2. Reading: Again, just like last month, I picked up a book at our local library that I could not put down. Portrait of An Addict as a Young Man by Bill Clegg. Lucky for me it was pouring rain the morning I picked it up to start reading. I finished it late that afternoon. This book is not for everyone, it is heartbreaking and I cried off and on throughout it. Anyone who knows someone who has struggled with any kind of addiction however will find it powerful reading. I think those who don't understand addiction might find the writing a bit obscure and somewhat self indulgent. But I felt that indulgence fit so well here, as addicts are self indulgent and often so caught up in their addiction nothing else matters. It is well written in prose that bounce back and forth between Clegg's addiction to crack cocaine as a young man, and his childhood, which was full of humiliation and trauma from his father, and a mother who just let it happen. I think something else that might turn some people off is the fact that this guy had it all. He had a great job as a literary agent in New York, flying from here to there to attend big meetings, while sneaking off to smoke crack in the bathrooms of airports, and hotel rooms. Struggling to make his tailored suits look right on his body, which was wasting away, and trying to make it all work. With enough money to make his slow decent into hell a good one, he struggled for years, in and out of rehab always with the support from those who loved him, until finally he just gives up. Anyone can tell you, addiction is not prejudice it hits all walks of life, every race, gender and class. Heartbreaking yes, but like I said, I could not put it down.
3. Gifts: I had so many wonderful gifts this month. Jordan came home safely. We found the perfect house to rent in Richland. And I found this great source for wonderful food in the Tri Cities. But I think the best gift of all was Emily and Ryan's wedding. Emily is one of seven children. Her mother Anne and I homeschooled our kids together, (in fact Anne is still homeschooling her last two, while mine are all grown up!) and I love every one of her kids! Our families are very close. The wedding was beautiful as was Emily. Her sister Claire made all the dresses, her brother Todd and my son Brandon made the beer. Her father Roger, made the goat cheese, from the goats her mother raises. Her brothers Tim and Johnny raised the pig, which was slaughtered and eaten. And as I said above, several of us made cupcakes. It was fun to have a vested interest in the festivities that started their lives together. I know they will be happy and have wonderful adventures together! With most of the kids grown and off to live their busy lives, we seldom get everyone all together any more. Here they are, minus Justin, who could not make it. Mine are the two bearded guys in the back! Welcome Ryan, you are a lucky man.
|Tim, Claire, Jordan, Ryan, Emily, Todd, Hannah, Brandon, Katie, Johnny, |
I love these kids!