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Dining Divas

No doubt about it: my sister's no slouch when it comes to a meal. A few months ago, following a visit to a vineyard in Connecticut, I'd mailed her a choice bottle and then suggested she get some "nutty" cheeses to complement it. I'd be in town later that summer and thought it might provide some good relaxation opportunities.

I suggested kaskeval and manchego. And, my sister duly went out and got the same.

Then she got more.

And more.

And more.

The end result? A spread fit for a king…or a queen, depending on your gender. We ended up with two bottles of wine, one red to complement the white I'd previously shipped over. I had to email my sister to get all the names, since I'd forgotten them. She said:

The cheeses we served were: smoked Swiss and mozzarella, Kashkaval, Manchego, Port Salut and Stilton. The spreads were cheddar/bleu and pimiento.  Raw veges were cauliflower, asparagus, gherkins and red pepper – served with bleu cheese and French onion dips.  Crackers were sesame cheddar, cream, mini toasts and olive oil tortas.  Champagne grapes, Hungarian salami, summer sausage and two bottles of wine rounded it out.  Great leftovers

Ngah Ngah! And, it was good. So good, I took some pictures of the table she set. It was as beautiful as it was delicious:

Thanks, sis!!!

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Pictures from Thanksgiving

Ooops. Just pretend this was with the prior post. Clicked the Save button too soon. Here are some pictures from Thanksgiving:

Brother-in-law Eric (foreground) and husband Aram. Eric is the father of Benjamin and Samuel, pictured a bit later.

Aram and Eric's dad, Bill, in the foreground. Whole lotta' empty plates, aren't there? Aram's looking pensive in the background.

My nephew, Benjamin, being a VERY good boy!

My other nephew, Samuel, with his mom – Eric's wife – Jessica. He was a very good boy, too!

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Hello, muddah, hello, faddah…

I had my very first Skype web chat with my parents this morning, and it was great. I've had Skype for years and have a friend friends I web chat with on a semi-regular basis. This was the first time I've done it with the folks and I can guarantee it won't be the last!

What's a Skype web chat? If you have a web cam and instant messaging/voip software like Skype, you can see the person you're talking to on video, live as it's happening. You can do this on a bunch of different IM services, including Yahoo and MSN. I like Skype, though. It's kinda the grand-daddy of them all.

It was wonderful to see my folks – along with my brother and sister-in-law – on video. They live about 500 miles away and our visits are limited to a few days here and there at specific times of the year, particularly Christmas. We have another way of communicating and I'm very happy about it.

Hi, mom!!!!!

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Enter Cute Kid, Stage Left

Okay, I've been moaning and bitching. Time for a break. Just finished up a rather depressing session regarding the $$$$$$$$$ health insurance coverage we're going to need to buy…on our own. Kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario.

On the more cheerful side, my mother-in-law shared some pictures of my newest nephew, Samuel. I'm not partial to the "cute baby" thing, except for this guy. He smiles and laughs a lot. That's got to count for something.

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Visiting Home

I spent this Labor Day weekend with my family. I'm originally from Western New York and was born in Buffalo, NY. I've lived in Boston for a long, long, time but the rest of the family is still in that area. My parents and sister/brother-in-law live in the comfortable suburb of Kenmore, NY and my brother/sister-in-law live in Southern Ontario. Buffalo is right on the Canadian border and it's a relatively short hop, skip and jump to places like Niagara Falls or Fort Erie, Ontario.

I've been running around a lot lately and appreciated the chance to just stop and relax for a little while. We're a pretty close-knit family so visits are pretty important occasions.

I talked, visited people, relaxed and ate. My parents are having their house re-decorated so I got a chance to see that project in-progress. Very nice! I'll see the finished product this Christmas, when my husband Aram and I go back again.

My sister, Bette, and brother-in-law, John, live about a block and a half away. My sister is an investment broker and John owns a high-end furniture refinishing business. They do well. Bette and I both share a passion for gardening and cooking and can spend hours gossiping about this, that and the other thing.

And what was the most interesting and fun thing we did the day I got in? Ready for this? We played a round of miniature golf! We did that all the time when we were kids and I suddenly got hit by a nostalgic desire for a round of 18 holes past windmills, around corners and under bridges. No kidding – we had an absolute blast!

The fellow in the Australian-looking hat, by the way, is my 87 year old father! It was a hot day. At one point my sister-in-law, Penny, got a hole-in-one. We practically fell over ourselves whooping and laughing. At one other point she knocked the ball over the fence and into the parking lot. This was definitely not a game of skill. We just had good old, down home, fun.

Isn't it nice to be silly every now and again? Actually, we have another date for indoor miniature golf this December when I come back!

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