Hello Stranger….

Hello blog – it’s been a while….
So since I last wrote, the bajillion inches of snow melted, Spring was sprung and Mother Nature decided to give DC a Summer that was as bad as the Winter.

Here’s a mini recap of what went down the past few months….

In my professional live, I have gone thru 2 quarters of fundraising and we’re going into the 3rd quarter with only really 3 weeks with congressional members in town. As a result, it will be a feeding fundraising frenzy. I will be living it up in the call room dialing for dollars so if I sound a little crouchy, it’s because I’m trying to disengage the phone from my ear….

I did manage a trip to the San Francisco Bay area in June. It was delightful just for the sheer fact that I escaped the brutal heat and humidity of the swamp that is called DC. DC was disgusting and I was so thankful when I saw that the temperature at SFO was a breezy 65 degrees. To think that only a few short months ago, we were shoveling snow every few hours so that the tree in the backyard wouldn’t break….

Since the work schedule was so busy, I decided that the best way to see friends and family was to have a few gatherings with them. As a result, I co-hosted a Kentucky Derby party with a twist. I invited friends to bring a homemade hors d’oeuvre appetizer so that we could have a “derby” contest by asking the participants to vote for the top 3 appetizers. People were game and we had 10 contestants. Here are some of the entries:

The winning appetizer were crab and cheese bites; 2nd place were shrimp sliders; and 3rd place were bacon wrapped shrimp and scallops skewers.

Along the way, I also made a few traditional Kentucky Derby dishes. A burgoo stew (which basically has the kitchen sink it – corn, okra, shredded chicken, beef, succotash, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage, you name it – it’s in there!) and a few other traditional dishes (a dip that included green food coloring!)

At the end of May, I decided that I wanted to be whisked away to Tuscany. Too bad, I didn’t plan that excursion far enough in advance so I brought Tuscany to me. A few glasses of prosecco, Italian soda and we were all speaking w that lilting accent. Some folks thought I was going to break out in song. I have taken voice lessons in the past and my copy of the 24 Italian Songs and Arias was sitting in the living room on top of my keyboard. Not this time!!

Although my work schedule prohibited me from doing as much traveling as I would have liked, I was able to jet off to Chicago to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday. We had a fabulous time staying at the Blackstone near Grant Park. We also got the opportunity to see old friends and explore the great boutiques in Lincoln Park as well as eat our way thru some of the fun restaurants that Chicago has to offer.

One of the more interesting items was the Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder Restaurant, where we tried the Pizza Pot Pie.

It looked like an upside down mushroom!

To give myself a break, I decided to go paddleboarding. Now all of my surfing buddies would be appalled but I think paddleboarding is an excellent way to relax. I had never done it before and the only time I’ve ever really seen it was when I was out in the West coast while surfing. When I was a kid, I would go out to the Chesapeake Beach area and since it’s so convenient to DC, I decided that it would be a great place to try out paddleboarding.

I spent 2 hours along the waterways that lead into the Chesapeake Bay. While I was on the water, I got to see baby crabs, jellyfish, and all kinds of fish. Not to mention the beautiful marsh that is part of the landscape that is home to birds and all other kinds of animals. It was nice to be away from the city as well as see and hear nature all around. I may not have been shredding but it was nice way to start the weekend and clear my mind.

A couple of weeks ago when it hit 100 degrees multiple times in a week, I decided to plant a small potted herb garden. I must have been crazy because every time I’ve potted a plant – whether it was lavender, herbs or a cactus, it has died on me. I have warned friends to not have me in charge of watering their plants while they are gone because they take the risk of not having any plants survive during my watch! Amazingly, my herbs are thriving! I already used the chives, basil, rosemary and thyme. I don’t want to jinx myself but it’s quite possible that this time, my herbs might make it thru the summer!

This weekend is my 20th high school reunion.  CRAZY that time has passed so quickly.  I stay forever young in my heart and mind because I constantly remind myself that we are always evolving and learning new things.  We choose to make our own path everyday.  Trying something new keeps everything fresh for me.  People sometimes tell me that I am brave to try new things and maybe in a way, I am but it’s not so different to try something new when you a little older or if you’re just at the beginning of your journey.  I’ve just been around the block a few times.  Adventures will cease if you stop playing.  So with that, I’m off to abuse my kitchen!

Cheers!

MXM

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