Last weekend, Matt and I flew out for a quick East Coast trip to finalize some wedding details.  We had very little time and a lot to do.  Unbeknownst to me (am I allowed to use spelling bee words?), Miss Effie and the bridesmaids cohorts planned a fabulous bridal shower (and bachelorette that evening) for me.  Saturday was my only free day in Connecticut, and Mike Zannetti called me the week before to make plans for “lunch”.  I should have seen something coming, as Zannetti NEVER calls me and have we really become 80 year olds that have lunchtime engagements and won’t make nighttime plans?!  But I was so focused on all the wedding stuff that it didn’t even strike me as weird, even when I walked into Mike’s house that day and saw favors on a table in the sitting room.  I just thought it was more of Mike’s mom’s stuff that Mike was selling or throwing out.  Why would I think there was a party in the other room?!  I was shocked–not the screaming or crying kind of shocked…just jaw dropping silence sort of shocked…I have the hardest time getting people together, especially now that I live on the West Coast, and this was perfect.  My grandma Josephine was there, with my aunt Mary Anne.  My mom flew up from Florida, Ally, Lauren and Kaitlin (my cousins) were there, which was amazing, since I haven’t seen them in, hmm, maybe four or five years, and I used to spend every weekend with them growing up.  My godfather’s wife was there (it’s been 10 years since I’ve seen her).  Newly engaged Erica was there, along with 7 month pregnant Amanda, and of course, my bridesmaids (Abbie, Abbey, Roslyn, Effie).  There was so much to say to everyone and so much FOOD to be eaten.
What more could a girl ask for? Good company, food, wine, and the giant stuffed swordfish hanging over Michael’s mantle.  There were some games and some card/present opening (which wasn’t too girly, which is always my fear with all that overwhelming estrogen in the room).  The best gift was a recipe book that was a compilation of pictures and recipes from a lot of people (friends, family, soon to be family).  I’m happy Amanda put her rhubarb coffee cake recipe in there.  She made it for the shower and eating it once was NOT enough.  I will post the recipe to share.   I think there just aren’t enough rhubarb recipes.
After the shower, Eff, Roz, Abbie and Amanda took me to the mall to get a makeover (I’m such a girl Image) at Aveda and Roz bought me all the makeup they used so I can look better than my personal attempts and failures at using the makeup.  The girl who did me up had a gold tooth, so I was a little worried about what she was going to make me look like—but no worries, I was really happy with what she did and now everyone can look forward to seeing me all painted up in September.  Plus, I get to cross that off my list of wedding to-dos.
I can also cross off the picnic location, which will be described in detail on the wedding website.  FYI, we’re having a picnic the day after the wedding, about 20 miles south of the wedding location.  It was a productive but fun weekend and I am so lucky to have such wonderful beautiful people in my life.  It makes me want to start a commune and make all of you live on it with me.  Any takers?

PS. If anyone has pictures from that day, I’d love copies.  The only pics I have are when Matt was allowed to join us in the evening.

Amanda’s Rhubarb Coffee Cake Recipe

You didn’t ask for it, but here it is!  Thanks Amanda for the recipe!

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Mix together:
4 c rhubarb
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 c vegetable/canola oil
2.5 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
Spread into a 9×13″ pan and bake for 1 hour.
I’m not sure how much it serves but these things always freeze well.

Lorren is married!

Photo to come….
A few months ago, I got an email from my UConn roommate, Lorren, that she was getting married to some guy named Kevin. I can’t believe that I’m the first of my friends to get engaged (except for Raney, but she was engaged when I met her) and it seems as if Matt and I will tie the knot after everybody else does. We are enjoying a long engagement. Anyways, this post is about Lorren: so she got married in Connecticut at the end of May and mentions in an email to me that her man is from Spokane and they’re having a west coast reception as well… Matt and I high-tailed it to Newman Lake to see a girl that I haven’t seen in over four years! Matt, growing up only an hour away, knew a whole bunch of people at the party–apparently small towns in eastern Washington really are that small. They had a really nice reception-I think there were more people there than will be at our wedding. Lorren’s cut her hair short (it used to be to her butt–she let me cut it for her once, and one inch turned into three…needless to say, I’m only allowed to cut Matt’s hair now) and she wore her wedding dress at the beginning of the party. It was beautiful! I will post the picture when I get a chance to. Her husband, Kevin, wore his army dress blues and the coolest army hat I’ve ever seen. It was like a cross between a cowboy hat and and Indiana Jones hat. He flies helicopters and apparently they arrived to the party in a friend’s helicopter. Quite in style! They changed outfits and there were some great toasts. The weather was perfect, the five cakes were all good (I tried them all)–I think my favorite was the Vanilla Cake with Lemon Curd. It was so great to catch up with her, she’s been busy putting her time in with the army and living in Austria. I think they are back in Germany now, as Kevin continues with the army, Lorren is applying for grad schools. They are so happy together and a great match. I’m so glad that this girl found a good guy–there are few of them out there. Salud!

The salad without end

There is something quite sublime about walking in the backyard barefoot to pick my lunch.

This is my second summer gardening in Seattle.  Once again, my tomato plants are big wimps and the okra has all died but two in the windowsill (one is covered in aphids).  I’m still trying, but my big champions this year are radishes and salad greens.  The radishes I didn’t even plant.  I got a bunch of random plants a few winters ago from a woman in Burien who needed to thin out her wild garden on a steep hillside (talk about a green thumb–her soil was all rocks).  I promptly forgot what she gave me and I planted them all last summer, didn’t want to pick them and let them go to seed.  The magical radishes went to seed, overwintered without a problem.  The also withstood the tiller this year and I now have somewhere in the vicinity of about 20 radishes growing randomly in the garden.  I never buy radishes because they usually taste gross and old in the market.  But so lovely is the crisp fresh taste of a just-picked radish.  If anyone needs some, please stop by.
Also, I never bothered with growing salad greens or lettuce before–somehow it just bored me…yes, I’m a vegetarian that is bored by salads and veggie burgers.  It’s just so generic and overdone.  I’m excited by salads only if there is an interesting dressing or other components such as toasted nuts, avocado, cheese–anything besides leaves in a bowl.  I bought some mesclun seeds and planted them every few weeks and they have grown faster than Matt and I can eat them.  This is a good thing because I’m experimenting with salads and eating my greens more than ever before.  I’m even experimenting with salad dressings, but don’t have any that I really love as much as balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  So if anyone has a small patch of dirt, I recommend planting some mesclun–the seed packet is about the cost of a bag of mesclun at the market, but it will keep growing, and growing and I still have more seeds to plant.
I will post a good salad dressing when I find one I like.  Picky, picky.
Please share one with me if you dare.

I’m training so I can join the circus

Hooray! My first blog entry and I get to share my new passion. I’ve been taking aerial classes for the past few months and just performed in my first show. I was worried I’d be nervous or pee in my leotard while hanging from the rafters…but turns out only the anticipation was scary. I LOVED being on stage and doing my thing. I was in the group piece at the end of a two hour show…so hopefully people were awake to enjoy my tutu power. It went really well, considering we only had one group practice where all 7 of us were there together. Maybe I liked it so much because it was so physical and I could concentrate on my moves, rather than remembering my lines and stage location. Acting was fun, but I think I enjoyed the community much more than all the other stuff. I was much more at home doing the aerial routine, and I wouldn’t have been there if it hadn’t been for Matt and his primo birthday presents. This year it was seeing Cirque du Soleil (awesome) and getting a home-cooked meal every Monday night so I could actually make it to aerial practice instead of getting lost in the kitchen for two hours cooking and forgetting about practice alltogether. Special thanks to Alyssa, a girl who can hang by her toes on the trapeze and still smile. She held me by her toes and didn’t drop me, as well as being present for my moments of utter frustration.
But no circus for the summer, my teacher is travelling with Circus Contraption and can’t teach classes. I’ll miss it, but it’s a good excuse for me to stop so I can try to lose some of this muscle mass in my shoulders because I don’t fit into my wedding dress anymore. Silly how that works. I guess it’s a summer of chocolate bars and sunbathing.