Friendship

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A new coat for Juniper, in one of my favorite colors (teal!) and with a useless and utterly adorable faux fur hood. I feel sort of lame buying her such things, but our girl’s genetics did not prepare her for our weather, and so I must or watch her shiver.

A couple of Greg’s favorite eats: red chile and chocolate cake! I also tried my hand at pupusas because 1. I never had, and 2. They are filled with cheese. A duh if ever there was. I also like them because they are far easier than homemade corn tortillas. I know my way around the kitchen, but dang, do I have a difficult time keeping them from sticking.

I made his favorites, not just because I love him, which would be enough, but also because my best love had hernia surgery last week. He deserved extra special treatment!

It was a nice role reversal, with me the one waiting and hoping and uttering every little prayer the surgery would be as uncomplicated as the doctor had foreseen. Thankfully, it was.

He was and remains a good patient, utterly silly while the drugs wore off, rejoicing in the complex flavors of ginger ale and saltines (the best ever), wielding them like precious metals, giggling (and grimacing – ouch my tummy hurts!) and making me do the same. It only took a few days before he could walk at his normal pace on our Juniper jaunts, but he’s still got a way to go in terms of pain. Please think good thoughts for him.

Makings for a rhubarb apple crisp on our regularly scheduled dessert day (Sunday). As I peeled the apple in one long go, I thought of how I marveled at adults who could do the same when I was a child, how it seemed so impossible to keep the peeler going, going, going. How lovely it is to learn and grow and mature, the impossible made simple and everyday. Life is a wonder…

We spent a wonderful, laughter-filled evening with the cousins Wednesday, at the super fun downtown Holiday Stroll. We love our time together!

We also love Colorado Springs! It’s a little weird, but it’s beautiful and full of heart. There were stands with free hot chocolate and cookies, while Santa (no photo, sadly), carolers, and a brass quartet strolled along with us.

We even got lucky a second time at Jack Quinn’s, scoring one of the special booths for a delicious dinner beforehand. I got my favorite Blarney Stone, and Greg is showing his goofball side with dessert. I love him so much!

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Hello friends! Happy day after Thanksgiving to you! It was a non-traditional feast for us this holiday, celebrating with our cousin Zach. We enjoyed each other’s very fine company, along with margaritas, guacamole, green & red chile, pork & three kinds of wee sweet tamales. All made by yours truly, which was quite the endeavor! I started on Tuesday, so I wouldn’t be a manic maniac Thursday.

Grandpa would be super proud, especially noting the pork to masa ratio, as he nearly always lamented a lack of meat. It was my first time making tamales on my own. The last time was in high school, helping my mom. Much thanks to Tamales 101 for all the history (did you know they were among the first MREs?) and helpful advice! Greg and I decided that they’re the best we’ve ever had, which is wonderful, when Moreno’s and La Choza set such a high bar.

It was also the first time we’d ever had sweet tamales, more out of necessity than forethought truth be told, because there was SO much masa. Seriously. I didn’t have enough ingredients to fill them savory style, even when improvising with green chiles and cheese. I flavored the masa with vanilla and sugar in one batch, cinnamon and sugar in another, and sugar and chocolate chips in the third. You’d think our resident chocoholic would have been most excited about those, but he was dubious. They turned out to be our favorite, which was rather sad, as I made the fewest of them. Next time! The chocolate laden one is our final incarnation, made with leftovers and a sauce on the fly this afternoon. Delicious.

Finally to Zach’s creme brulee! It was egg nog flavored and muy muy delicioso. He and Greg did a fine job on the brulee portion. FIRE!

Oh, and here is my “recipe” for margaritas – my favorite in the land. Make a single glass or enough for a party. The sparkling water makes it slightly unconventional, but it is muy potente without it. Besides, bubbles are fun! If you are lucky enough to have some prickly pear syrup on hand, add it to your liking and be glad. The flavor and color are fabulous.

  • 3 parts sparkling lemon, lime, or lemon-lime sparkling water
  • Two parts tequila
  • 1.5 parts lime juice, fresh squeezed or bottled
  • One part orange liqueur (I like Gran Gala)
  • 1/2 part agave nectar
  • salt

Stir everything but the sparkling water together in a glass or pitcher, and taste to see how you feel about it. Add whatever it needs before adding the water. Sometimes the lime isn’t as flavorful, and I end up having it in equal proportion to the tequila. Maybe you like it sweeter. It’s your margarita. Do what you like! Another way I let go of convention is by adding salt directly to the glass. Salting the rim is a major pain. Sprinkle some nice sea salt in, stir, and taste. Add more, if you want. Enjoy!

With all their favorite flowers in full blossom, our hummingbird friends are in a frenzy, with Rufous, Calliope, and Broad Tails zooming for garden domination!

New mushroom sculptures – aren’t they sweet?

Breakfast delights: biscuits, jam, sausage gravy, and, of course, coffee!

To riff on the famous Jaws line, I think we’re going to need a bigger table…

a hungry fritillary (I think) on the orange echinacea

We’ve also been hosting swallowtails, monarchs, admirals, mourning cloaks, sulphurs, cabbages, and just as many moths that I don’t know what to call. If only they weren’t so camera shy.

My favorite companions in one of my favorite places!

Gooseberries! These are from the neighbors, as our bush is just getting its legs. I made jam, of course. So good!

 

 

 

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Took a step back in time today, to visit Glen Eyrie Castle, the home of William Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs. Though we all know my Native American ancestors had a bit of a jump on him! It was a rare treat, as every room of the castle was available for viewing, including each of the guest rooms. We had two stellar and knowledgeable tour guides, and oohed and aahed over details grand and small.

As you can tell, I was most intrigued by the views, imagining quiet moments wandering from gorgeous window to window, conjuring the supreme quiet of every season: a drift of snow, froth of new green, arc of azure sky and rock formations and evergreens at every turn.

We ended our tour with a very British high tea, with that pretty salad, wee sandwiches, biscuits, and scones and equally good conversation. Thank you, Cori (front and center), for the marvelous suggestion. Happy Birthday to you!

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