Monday, November 1, 2010

FND: October 2010

I just had a great idea: instead of trying -- then failing -- to blog every Friday Night Dinner, I'm going to do a monthly recap. I'll post the menus and guests and the photos that are worthy. And if I don't get everything right -- heck, if I get nothing right -- I'm OK with it.

So, here's October's proof that FND happened three and one-half times:

October 1 - Chick, Pauline, Steve and Gretchen for grilled shrimp apps with lupino beans, and outside for cod over lima beans, potatoes and asparagus. Gretchen provided Little Miss Cupcakes for dessert.

October 8 - Chick, Pauline, Sharon for grilled shrimp and humus nachos then outside for Eddie's famous pallella

October 15 - low key with Chick and Pauline for pork tenderloin over raviolli in a cream sauce.

October 23 we hosted the Oenophiles Fall Wine Dinner at Sunflower Cafe, so FND for 10/22 was cancelled per tradition. The food was difficult to photograph, but here's a shot of the scallop with baby watercress.
October 29 we had Chick, Diana an Jim over for pre- and post-Halloween party parties. Not an official FND,  but Eddie made guacamole, spinach and mushroom quesadillas and beef tacos. Uh, no post-worthy photos.

That was quick and painless! I think I might be able to do this. So look for some posts of previous months for awhile to catch up.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Windows in the News

Here's an example of how small an island Galveston is:

Chick has been coming to Friday Night Dinner for years and, on many occasions, told Eddie if he ever wanted to sell his house to give Chick first dibs. Chick lived on the Strand before the big Galveston downtown restoration over 20 years ago. He bought the third floor of the Magale Building built in 1870, and he grew tired of climbing the stairs. So when Eddie and I bought our home, Eddie sold his 2-bedroom bungalow to Chick.

Little did we know, while we were making wedding plans and moving into the new house and Chick was moving into Eddie's house, Eddie's brother, Kevin, was buying Chick's loft. See? Small island.

Kevin has wonderful plans for the space, but lots of demo has to happen first. He's been cleaning out the place for awhile now, and recently decided to see what was up above. The ceilings are 13 feet, but he was thinking of raising the fourth floor attic for another six feet. That's when he came across the windows: more than a hundred windows many of which are at least a century old, crafted of old growth woods no longer found.

Now we're learning that this section of the Strand was known as the hardware district, and the Magale Building was home to a sash window and door warehouse. Instead of moving out the windows years ago, it must have been easier to hole them up and build in an attic.

Stashing the sashes then has resulted in finding a historical treasure now, making for a newsworthy story. In addition to being on the front page of the local paper, the Houston ABC affiliate also did a segment on the windows.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Part of a Conversation from Last Night

Topic: Negotiation Skills

Veronica: Well sweetie. You know what the means. In that respect, I'm liberal.

Eddie: I have another word for it.

V: What? Weak?

E: No. Foolish.

V: Weak. Foolish. Liberal. What's the difference?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

FND: 10.02.05

* friends * Steve & Gretchen weren't the only ones to skip the President's Ball (although last year we had a great time!) Instead they joined us and Chick for FND. We shared ski and scout stories. Their son, Sean, is an Eagle scout, and Steve remains active with the Bay Area Council's fundraising campaigns.

* food * The menu was a little convoluted (wow, I spelled that right the first time!). Eddie discovered these cute dim sum-type appetizers that are wrapped up in phyllo and tied with a bow of leek. And since it was the last FND before Mardi Gras (Vendredi Gras?), Eddie made a luscious batch of beef stroganoff and we had another King's Cake for dessert.

* fun * Gretchen is so funny. She works on Saturdays, and she drinks beer, even brings her own. And as an avid runner, she does a good job of watching her consumption. So much so, we woke up to a fridge of beer, but it's O'Doul's! She needs to come get her "beer" before we pour it down the drain!

Friday, February 5, 2010

FND: 10.01.29

Better late than never....

* friends * My yoga buddies, Vanessa and Patty, were our recent guests for Friday Night Dinner. Vanessa just celebrated her 40th birthday, and she invited me and Patty and several other friends to enjoy relaxing pedicures then a very fun belly dancing lesson at Yoga Haven. Patty, ironically, lives right next door to Chick. She moved in about a month after Eddie moved out of his other house and Chick moved in. Small world!

* food * Eddie went with an oriental theme tonight: tuna on a new soy cracker he found that looks like a mini rice cake but tastes much better; and gingered salmon with peanuts and cilantro.

* fun * Although there was no belly dancing, I think the girls had fun! Who wouldn't!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Here comes the Sun (Salutations)

National Yoga Day was last Saturday, but that's OK because Yoga Haven in Galveston is celebrating it tomorrow. I hope to be there. Read more about it in The Galveston County Daily News.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

FND: 10.01.15

We hosted the first Friday Night Dinner of 2010 with old friends and in Mardi Gras style.

* friends * Last Friday night, after a pedicure and belly dancing birthday party with girl friends, Eddie met up with us at Club 21. Before I found my seat, I found a familiar face. Martin Benoit, Mr. Everything at Lamar University when I was there years ago, had just moved to Galveston. Friendly as always, it was easy to catch up with him quickly and share our stories of how we each made it to Galveston. That next Sunday, while at church, I turned around and there was Martin again! Our paths has crossed twice in two days. He was destined to be a FND guest! And for old times sake, we invited Wanda, who we missed at New Years.

* food * Appetizers were smoked salmon on toast points (below) served in the lounge. For dinner, Eddie made pork tenderloin in a marsala sauce with a mushroom risotto, green beans and stuffed tomatoes.

Dessert was a delicious marzipan-filled King's cake from Randall's (yes, Randall's!). And wouldn't you know it, Joseph got the piece with the baby!

Then surprise! Diana texted and wanted to come over, so she stopped by for awhile.

* fun * I think Martin really enjoyed himself :-) At one point he said that he was looking forward to a home-cooked meal, but he didn't expect the level that Eddie delivers. He was impressed. But the best memory was the look on Martin's face when Eddie presented him with a to-go container filled with another serving of pork and goodies! Martin actually was giddy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

2009: The Year of the iPhone

I can't, in all consciousness, note 2009 without mention of the iPhone, more specifically, my iPhone, my constant companion. I can't think of a device that has changed my life as much as the iPhone. And I can't wait to see what the future technology will bring. That's the feeling a device like the iPhone can evoke. Once the light goes on illuminating the possibilities, you understand that this device can replace your computer and will be a significant tool in your daily life.

I'm almost lost without my iPhone. Just yesterday, Eddie and I went to lunch and I left my iPhone in the car to charge. In our conversation between ordering our food and getting it, we needed the iPhone no fewer than two times: to check the weather in Llano, TX for Joseph's camping trip this weekend, and to start a packing list for our upcoming ski trip.

Checking email, texting grocery lists, alarms to get to school on time, identifying a song on the radio, listening to my favorite radios shows and podcasts, finding a restaurant, tracking traffic, locating the nearest Hobby Lobby, checking flight status, looking up definitions, texting photos on the fly, reading Shakespeare, watching's all on my iPhone. And don't get me started on the social media stuff!

And I'm sure I've only touched the surface of what this device can do with the hundreds and thousands of apps launched and updated daily. The iPhone certainly has affected my life, and I like it!

Monday, January 11, 2010

2009: The Year of Yoga

Although I took my first yoga class in 2008, my practice was interrupted by Hurricane Ike. I started fresh in January of 2009, so now I've had a full year of yoga. And now I can share some of the ways I believe yoga can help you in everyday life, and to live every day:
  • Flexibility & Strength - Yoga has many aspects, but for me, initially, I started yoga as a gentle way to move into a physical fitness routine. The self-paced, non-competitive nature of yoga allows you to jump in at any level. And as you build your practice, you will experience a continuous improvement in your flexibilty and strength. But this applies more to every day life than any other exercise I've experienced. Better posture, improved movement, greater energy are all physical effects I have experienced because of yoga.
  • For all bodies - Last week, when I had to climb under rafters and over air ducts in my attic, I was thankful for my yoga. Think of all the occupations and situations that require physical flexibility, strength and balance. I understand men have shorter hamstrings, for example, and other differences that limit their physical flexibility. I wonder how many occupational injuries could be avoided if those with physically demanding jobs embraced yoga. And for those who have injuries already, yoga is the gentle way to build strength and flexibility and ultimately lessen the pain of injury. My primary instructor's philosophy is to live a long, pain-free life. Yoga helps to keep him on that path.
  • For all faiths - Yes, the chanting is different, and there is a bent toward "the light within." But yoga does recognize a Creator, and for someone with a well-formed conscience, yoga can enhance the spiritual experience. There even are programs, like Yoga Fit, that have no spiritual component and instead focus on fitness. But As a Catholic Christian, I use yoga to help me strengthen my faith by increasing my awareness of my connection to God and others in addition to improved fitness.
  • For all ages - I admit: My body has changed, especially since turning 40. But in some ways, I feel better than I did at any other age, thanks to yoga. I hope to grow old continuing my practice of yoga. (It sounds much more appealing than Sweatin' to the Oldies or Sit & Be Fit!) And I would recommend yoga to people of all ages. I encourage Joseph (11 years) to do a few stretches in the morning before school. Who doesn't like a good stretch? Yoga is a series of stretches that helps you keep that great feeling for much longer.
  • Awareness - This is the area I need to work on the most. Every time I do yoga, I get more out of it than the time before, because I have taken time to listen to my body, empty my mind, and focus on being aware. But many times while doing yoga, my mind does wander to thoughts, ideas, things to do, even topics to blog about. In our 21st century lives, this is typical. But yoga offers an age-old remedy to help you reach the timeless goal of awareness.
These are just a few broad reasons to try yoga. Everyone will have their own list of benefits, and these are just the ones that come to mind today. But if I were to sum up what yoga does, it would be this: Yoga lifts you up while grounding you at the same time.


Friday, January 8, 2010

2009: The Year of Chick

Eddie's dear friend, "Chick", is the reason for Friday Night Dinners. FNDs started, oh, about 1989 on Sundays with Eddie making the dinner and Chick bringing the wine. Today the roles are the same, but now the dinners are celebrated at the end of the work week. Being the CPA that he is, Eddie calculated that some time within 2009 Chick attended his 1,000 Friday Night Dinner. Unable to pinpoint the exact day, we decided to celebrate the milestone the entire year! And for our New Year's Eve party, I identified ~130 FND photos from 2009 , including shots of Eddie's culinary conquests, to display on the big screen. Below is the show.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy Blue Moon New Year, Part II

Summer was off to a busy start with a trip to Arlington to attend GASC and to bring Gregory for a week of Camp Invention. Grandpa and Pauline came to Galveston to bring him back, so that led to a FND with Bert & Holly. Joseph started the Junior Lifeguard program. Then the Hugger family met up again for Sr. Mary V's jubilee.
In July, Eddie and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary. I continued with improvements to the Houston house, slowly but surely. Joseph competed in Beach Fest as part of Junior Lifeguard and placed in two of his three events. But the big event of the month was Eddie's 30th high school Reunion with his friends from O'Connell.

Most of August was consumed with the ramp-up of Joseph's new school. Because it's a new program, a full week of orientation was held so all students were ready to hit the ground running on the first day of school. I was at the school every day to help any way I could and ended up serving the year as PTO president.

The Paws Gala was so much fun! Canceled last year because (duh) of Hurricane Ike, the main fundraiser for the Galveston Island Humane Society was held on the first anniversary of the storm. In true Island style, the anniversary was commemorated with a big party! Eddie and I made it to Austin for a fraternity mini reunion and to watch the UT/Tech game with Ted.

Eddie was guest cook at the re-dedication of the Shultz kitchen and wowed everyone with his paella. My sister, Jennifer, and her three kids came to visit and among other things enjoyed a day of fishing with the guidance of our friend, Arthur. We hosted the 30th Anniversary Oenophiles Wine Dinner, this year at 901 Post Office, where they served the pink champagne on ice. Then it was my turn to celebrate a high school reunion. And - finally - my house went on the market!

Well, November surely has the fewest photos. There are the obligatory FND photos (this one taken outside), which I've surprised myself with my consistency. I think there are few event photos because the house was in minor turmoil while a new floor was installed in the kitchen and sun room and Eddie got a new tv and sound system. We've been in the house for a year-and-a-half, and we're still moving things around! Speaking of: I soon get a contract to lease my Houston house! Now the real work begins: moving!

Joseph became a member of Boy Scout Troop 123 this fall, and every December the Troop goes to the Texas City Gun Range for a day of shooting. Joseph and Eddie had a great time of gun safety, good aim, and male bonding. Joseph hit his first round of skeet and impressed everyone by hitting the first pull! For the first time in my life, I spent Christmas away from my Hugger family. This year we stayed in Galveston and celebrated Christmas at home. Christmas Day was spent with Eddie's family now that parents are back in their home. And the year ended with a final move-out from my Houston house. Hooray!