Friday, November 28, 2014

Grateful Friday

 Today I give thanks for...

Celebrating my favorite holiday with family yesterday.  I felt filled with gratitude all day long.  I woke to a quiet house and was able to enjoy my first cup of coffee with my cats and my carols.  Miss Bit was next to rise and we watched the parade together.  My Mom loved the Macy's parade and I just know she would have loved to curl up on the couch with us for those 3 hours.  I miss her everyday so this holiday is certainly no exception.  And everyone that I shared the day with is missing someone special...we all have moments of sadness in our happiness.  We made a hearty family breakfast to tide us over until the big feast.  Then coach and I layered up and went out for what used to be our annual Turkey Day run.  Only now we walk.  The fresh air and fast few miles were just what I needed.  It started to snow as we made our way over the river to my dad and step-mom's neck of the woods.  Woods that were filled with so many ruby breasted cardinals that they looked like ornaments perfectly placed on the snow painted branches.  There were red headed wood peckers and a gang of turkey too.  Then the day carried on in usual fashion with football, two beautiful birds (not from the yard) and all the fixings thanks to the chefs of the house, perfectly paired wines thanks to my brother and sil, a trip around the table and down memory lane, a game of poker and a viewing of Elf.

Family and good friends who are my chosen family.  So many blessings in my life in the form of angels on earth.

After work today, I met up with my cousin and my stepmom for a little late lunch at our favorite Italian deli.  I was able spend some quality time with them, and also to give Carol her birthday gift, which I'm pretty sure she loved!

A cozy movie night in with Coach.  The kids are busy with friends so we can watch something R rated.

Baristas who top off my 10 year olds hot chocolate with clouds of whipped cream.  Colectivo has a customer for life in Lily.


DALS and this simple yet delicious recipe for Scalloped Potatoes that is perfect for Sunday dinner.

Lily was awarded 5th grade Student of the Quarter this week!  That is an BIG exclusive deal!  The principal called me on Monday morning to give me the news and to rave about what a wonderful student and person Miss Bit is.  I am proud of her hard work and kindness, and grateful that it is recognized by all her teachers.

One on one time with both my kids last weekend while Coach was off having fun with his father, brothers and uncle in the north woods.

Miss Bit saw me looking at a dress on line and got excited because she thought it was for her.  I was ordering it for another little lady we know. Lily's not much into dresses lately so I have to get my girly fix elsewhere. To say I was surprised that she loved and wanted it is an understatement.  It's no surprise that I ordered her one too. Maybe I'll be a little surprised if she wears it.

Shopping with Mike Wednesday morning.  We had just a couple hours while the kids were in school for half day, but we made lots of progress.  The stores were dead.  Everyone must have been waiting for all the Black Friday deals and I couldn't have been happier than to shop in peace even though there were no door busters or blow out deals.

A movie afternoon.  We picked the kids plus one up from school and went to see The Mocking Jay.  We all loved it.  Only Coach has read the book, but now I don't think I can wait for part II.

Cooking with Lily.  She helped me make my Mom's zucchini dish Wednesday night.  She stirred, sautéed and seasoned, and then eventually she tasted and loved it.  It's simple, but delicious and it reminds me of my Mom because this was always a part of her Thanksgiving menu.  She left no recipe, which left me in a panic, but I worked it out.  Because I wish I had learned more of her recipe secrets and spent more time beside her in the kitchen, I always divulge my own recipe secrets to my daughter along with the stories and memories of each dish.  Plus I write everything down!

I decorated my dining room tree with all my Mom's ornaments, and now I feel close to her every time I walk by it.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

There are things you do because they feel right and they may make no sense and they may make no money and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other and to eat each other’s cooking and say it was good.
 –Brian Andreas

Today it's just that simple: love, share, give, receive and remember that Thanksgiving is a day, but thanksliving is a way of life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I'm experiencing de ja vu.  It snowed into the night, and for all I know, the pre dawn morning too.  The drab decay of what was a kaleidoscopic fall is covered in the softness of fresh fallen snow. Every lonely branch shimmers even though the sun has yet to shine.  I hope it stays hidden all day.  Cloud cover is more forgiving and cozy.  Coffee.  Check.  Candle.  Check.   Carols.  Check.  Dean, Bing and other friendly crooners are keeping me company.  This feels a lot like last Tuesday.  And I feel a lot like Oblomov.  Do you know him?  I do.  I met Goncharov's superfluous man sophomore year in Russian Lit, and he comes to mind more often than I like to admit when passivity settles over me.  This ability I have to channel my inner Oblomov is not something I boast about.  The guy frustrated the hell out of me because he barely left his bed or room for the duration of the novel.  Back then I was stuck in a small, cinder blocked dorm room with a girl I barely knew who often overslept and thus rarely went to class.  Every night she would fight with her long distance boyfriend for hours on the phone. I just knew I would never be Oblomov.  That room was a prison and the bed a tomb as far as I was concerned.  All I wanted to do was escape.  I spent as little time as possible in that room.  I rarely even slept there.

I saw her a few months ago.  I was on my way to church.  She crossed the street in front of me as I waited for the light to turn green.  A rush of memories and feelings washed up and over me.  Through me.  Not just of her, but of that time in my life.  It was what I always imagine it will be like to see my life flash before me right before death only this was but a short, albeit profound, chapter. I always pay attention to the things that happen on my way to church.  They rarely feel random.

That being said, I'm not going to beat myself up for feeling introspective and solitary today.  The scene is perfectly set for hunkering down and holing up.  It will be a pot of wild rice and chicken soup day.  A few chapters day.  I'm finally feeling the chi with The Secret History.  I almost abandoned it after 100 pages when I was still not feeling its grip, and then finally it took hold.  It will be a few projects day.  I may even put up my dining room tree.  It's something I have to be in the right space to take on because I decorate it with all of my Mom's ornaments so it tends to be a mushy endeavor.  That's why it's best to take my time with it when I'm home alone.  Today may be the last quiet day before the holiday storm so today it is.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

2 day pass

it was just ted, lily and i this weekend...
although rarely was it just us.
coach was away hunting in the north woods.
we three stayed home...
although rarely were we home.
the weekend was rather full, but in the best ways.
there was a lot of too and fro, on the go and come what may, but it was all good.
t. bone had plans with friends both friday and saturday night, and a date to workout with uncle b. after church on sunday.
miss bit had a date with admiral to ride, a date with grandma judy to see the lion king and a date with a friend to play.
rose and i almost caught up over wine and cheese on friday.
i cannot tell you how happy i am that she lives so close now and i just know there are more impromptu girl's nights in our purview.
i enjoyed coffee with my aunt saturday morning, lunch with lily and grandma, and then libations for the badger game with my brother, sil and ted on saturday afternoon.
in the first time in the history of ever, ted didn't...couldn't finish his wings.
we all gathered for a little happy hour at the end of the day.
the ladies returned with rave reviews for the show.
lily said it was even better than Phantom, and was especially wowed by the giraffes and the stampede.
coach came home without a deer on sunday afternoon.
he was eager for a shower and to sleep in his own bed.
we grilled pork tenderloin, and roasted some brussel's sprouts and a pan of scalloped potatoes.
then we caught up over family dinner and turned in cozy to be all together again.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

A family night out in the middle of the week for bowling and pizza.

Grease.  The cast was a little underwhelming, but the audience was not.  We sat in the middle of a group of special needs teens who cheered, clapped, and even hand jived their way through the show.  Their joy became my joy, and Miss Bit felt it too.
Dancing With The Stars.  I love this cast now that at first I had little faith in.  I cried through much of this week's show because each couple danced with such beautiful vulnerability.

An hour in the middle of the week with my dear friend Mary.
Rose is coming over tonight to catch up.


Indie and Jazzy Christmas.


My new oven.  It heats quickly and cooks evenly.
Building confidence.  Miss Bit had a bit of a rough time leading up to her swim meet this week with nervous anticipation.  It's her first meet in a long while and it was a bigger meet at a new pool with new coaches.  Not to mention that she was slated to swim back stroke, which is not her favorite.  She need not have worried though. She came in third out of 7 in her heat.  That turned everything around for her - she took first in her freestyle heat- and now she wants to compete in the next meet.
Warmer temperatures in the forecast and a short, holiday week ahead.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Snowy Day Ramblings

We woke up to flurries again this morning.  Lily was extra chipper at breakfast as she watched the flakes waft and dance to the ground.  Ted happily reported that we've had seven days in a row of snow.  He hopes to ski this weekend.  I like snow too.  Edited to say I like snow when I don't have to go anywhere.  Today is one of those days so I'm feeling peace as I watch the snowflakes accumulate on branches and roads.  It does make everything prettier and more pristine wouldn't you agree?  I'm listening to Indie Christmas, enjoying my second cup by candlelight, and thinking about what will get done today all while knowing that nothing is particularly pressing. Today I may even L-O-V-E snow.

Come to think of it I haven't met a kid who doesn't love snow, and I know only a handful of adults who don't groan when it's predicted.  That saddens me even while I understand it.  We grow up and so much in life loses magic and wonder.  Our perspective shifts to see work where once there was play.  Delight becomes frustration, but it doesn't have to.  It won't if we focus on being in the moment.  When we're fully present even the stressful or the mundane can be extraordinary.  Even tasks like shoveling, carpooling (even in the snow), changing sheets and making dinner have gifts to offer.  We just have to slow down to receive them.

It's hard though I know.  Everyone is so stressed out.  And then the holidays push us all to extreme outer limits, but I argue that they don't have to.  Not if we are doing and celebrating from a place of love and joy, rather than bitter or hurried obligation.  I know that there is no getting around certain commitments whether they make us feel all Ho Ho Ho or rather Bah Humbug, but there are many things we can do or not do that will alleviate some of the strain of the season.  Only you know what's important to you...what you need, and I challenge you to make those things the priority.  Perhaps, even at the expense of other things because too much takes the joy out of everything.  It's impossible to be present when our plates are too full so while we do more, we enjoy less.  It's taken me likely half my life, but I'm finally starting to grasp that less is almost always more.

Monday, November 17, 2014

2 day pass

it was so cold friday night that miss bit wasn't even excited for riding.
well, until we got to the farm, which was all but deserted except for admiral.
he was wearing a blanket and waiting in a dimly lit stall.
as we entered the barn he perked up and there is no doubt in my mind that not only does he recognize lily, but he likes her a real lot too.
he nuzzled her playfully and followed her every move.
he doesn't much care for me, but i'm ok with that.
as i sat shivering in the viewing room, i so missed fall on the farm. 
poor little winston didn't dare step off his coir mat lest his pads meet the crisp concrete.
for once i had to go to him, and this once i really thought about taking him home.
of course, i know he would be missed and also missing the mousing life of a bohemian barn cat.
the boys were off with friends so when we got home, lily and i shared a pizza and a solid night's sleep.
acting class gets us out of bed early on saturday morning.
i mulled around stopping here for rolls and there for meatballs for lunch, and i mailed the rest of the kid's candy to the troops feeling all very accomplished so early in the morning.
the first couple hours of every day sets the tone for all of what is to come.
the cousins came over and the brothers took the children to the audubon for a hike before lily attended a roller skating party.
i took a long, chilly walk before the snow started to fly.
the boys spent the night eating pizza and watching the badgers, while lily and i enjoyed grease at a nearby high school.
as full and frenzied as saturday was, sunday was the polar opposite.
we came home after church and sunday school, and we stayed home.
it was a perfect family day of r and r.
we hung out, we lounged, we chilled all without a single apology.
there were no chores or errands or workouts.
we ate football food for dinner like choriqueso for them and spanakopita for us, and cheered on the packers.
we were in bed early and fell asleep with books in our hands rested from the weekend and ready for the week ahead.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Miss Bit returned from a birthday party yesterday with zero minutes to spare.  Her Dad had to stop for gas on the way home and we were cutting it close even without that delay.  We had 20 minutes to get across town for a play.  It started to snow just as we got on the road.  The first snow of the season, exhaustion from an already full day and rushing to not be those rude people who come in after the show has started were almost the perfect turn-around-and-go-home trifecta.  If not for the happy fact that the show was Grease,  I dare say we would have raised the white flag willingly, but the show was Grease, and so we soldiered on.

I made only one wrong turn and we only missed Alma Mater, the opening number.  As the ensemble cast filed out into the lobby, we slid into our aisle seats barely noticed and measurably smugger than when we were 30 minutes prior.  The first act flew by and before we knew it, it was intermission.  I coached Miss Bit to make a mad dash for the ladies room, and I was relieved when I saw that both stalls were unoccupied.  The line snaked around the hallway as we left patting ourselves on our backs.  I think I made the progression right then and there from being smug to being downright priggish.

Act II commenced. We tapped our feet and clapped our hands through the rest of the show.  The very minute the applause wrapped up we exited the theater and ran down the hallway to the doors closest to our car.  Miss Bit and I were the first ones in the snowy, slippery parking lot. We weren't dressed in proper winter footwear, but I did have my scraper in the back.  As I brushed off the windows, my level of self-satisfaction soared.   I turned on the heat and our seat warmers, and started to drive.  We didn't get far though.  We got stuck soon after we backed out of our spot.  And then everyone behind us in the filled to capacity parking lot got stuck too.  Stuck behind us...because of us.

It was just a small hill, but it was coated in black ice.  The tires were spinning.  I couldn't get traction.  To think: it only took a bunny hill and a nanosecond to bring me back down to earth.  Humbled I dare say.  Miss Bit was getting anxious and I'm quite sure the people in the cars behind us were too.  I felt a little suspended in time for a moment as I considered the irony of the situation.  All night I had been rushing and existing in my own little world and here I was unable to move.  Not forward.  Not backward.  It was one of those situations where I just know the universe is talking to me and I best listen.

It was also a poignant metaphor for the way I feel like I'm living life lately: closed off and stuck.

A kind angel of a woman tried to push me.  She didn't even have a jacket.  Another started directing traffic to a route with less of an incline, and I was grateful that I wasn't alone.  I was touched by the way these strangers were there to help us.  I had to reverse and turn around.  We went from first in line to last.  In fact, we ended up being one of the last cars to leave the lot, but I was no longer in a hurry.  I was simply beyond grateful to be unstuck.

Once we were on the open road, Miss Bit quickly fell asleep. I kept us moving forward towards home slowly navigating the slippery roads.  Alone and yet not.

This morning we woke to a world whitewashed.  It's the kind of day that tempts us to just stay home safe and sound.  It suggests we avoid the risks of icy roads and traffic accidents, but I'm thankful that we didn't.  The universe had more to say.  Father Tim is a direct line to above, beyond, within.  His homilies always strike a chord with me, and today was no exception. This morning he spoke verbatim of being stuck, and I wasn't the least bit surprised.  He talked of sticking in our heels, spinning our wheels, digging holes as we live out of fear and anxiety instead of joy and hope.   And, of course, we all know that's no good way to live.  So universe, I want you to know I hear you loud and clear.  And I'm working on it. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November Inventory

Reading A Secret History, Tartt's first novel.  Or about to.  It's waiting for me at the library!!!

Wondering if Miss Bit will make it through the day.  She has been fighting a cold, and woke up feeling punky this morning.  I gave her the option of staying home today, but she told me she doesn't like to miss school because she misses too many concepts.  When the phone rang a little bit ago, it was her.  I thought she was throwing in the towel, but she just needed me to bring her folder that had ALL her work in it STAT. 

Noticing the way my thighs ache after time spent working in the yard this weekend.  Usually, I welcome that kind of pain, but it made me realize that my redundant workouts have been exercising the same muscles at the expense of others.

Watching less.  I've been doing more reading, but have still managed to tune in for Master Chef Junior with Miss Bit and Californication while I workout.  It is edgy and if not for the fact that Hank Moody is a struggling writer, I may have moved on.  I don't know what I was expecting  with that title and all.  Plays again too.  This weekend we have tickets for Grease.

Listening to the freezing rain repel off the window panes.  It sounds like our house is under attack, and has my boys unsettled.  Jazz Christmas on Pandora.  Freezing rain is almost snow so it is a natural choice.  I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas was the first song.  Coincidence?  Or perhaps, plan?

Eating leftover frittata.  Coach has this one mastered.  More takeout and eating out than usual after the demise of our ovens.

Drinking coffee with cinnamon cream, water and pinot noirs in that order.

Dreaming about my Mom more often than usual.  She appears strong and healthy, but I know she is sick.  They are happy sad.  Bittersweet.

Feeling fragile and unpredictable.  Well, more like moody because from day to day I know exactly how I'm going to feel.  Mondays I'm exhausted and uninspired, Tuesdays I'm introspective and enlightened, and on Wednesdays and Thursdays I feel optimistic, energized and focused.  Then by Friday I'm ready to call it a week and retreat.  Saturdays I wake feeling happy and hopeful.  Sundays are always a bit of a wild card. 

Wanting to stop wanting.  This is the season of excess in every aspect of life, and I have a hard time reconciling what has become the commercialization of Christmas with what I know to be the true and everlasting meaning of this season.  I find myself buying too much stuff and giving too little of myself, trying to keep up and quench this insatiable appetite for more more more.  It doesn't feel good or right.

Wearing my new jeans that I love, love, love with suede tennis shoes and scarfs.

Hoping that the new wardrobe of pants we bought T. Bone over the weekend fits for a few months.  He's a head taller than me now at 5' 6" and seemingly growing taller and taller every night as he sleeps.

Thinking that if I agree to some changes at work, my life at home is going to change too.  All of life is give and take.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Enjoying lots of  one on one time with my husband:  a night in Kohler, a date to see James Taylor, an hour while the kids have Sunday school.

Loving the ones I'm with, the way Peanut is curled up beside me as I type, this grey day, our new microwave popcorn popper that works sans oil, the kindness my children show towards others (we're working on their kindness to one another), and the fall we have had especially as winter is on its way this afternoon.

Monday, November 10, 2014

On My Mind Monday

You can look at a picture for a week and never think of it again.  You can also look at a picture for a second and think of it all your life.

~ Joan Miro'
This sentiment can be adapted to apply to anything that deeply touches us: a song, a sermon, a film, a lecture, a book or poem.  It can also hold fast and true to anyone who impacts us greatly: a mentor, a friend, lover or even a stranger in passing.  I devoted several weeks to The Goldfinch, and now I cannot get it out of my mind.  Usually, a sure cure for a book hangover is to turn to a trusted, familiar author.  Saturday morning I cracked open Pat Conroy's South of Broad, which I've been saving since 2009.  Saving for just this kind of sad, seeking moment.  The protagonist, Leo, kept calling back to mind my old friend, Theo.  I just wasn't feeling it so I closed the book and spent the rest of Lily's acting class people watching.  Then I came home and ordered Tartt's first novel from the library.  I've been a stalker ever since.  I keep logging onto my library account only to see in transit. I think it should be available tomorrow.  Whew!  I think I'll shelf  South of Broad until I can give it the attention it deserves.

2 day pass

this weekend was as they should all be: relaxed, restorative, and also productive and entertaining.
as i sat surveying the weekend ahead friday and then looking back at the time passed today,
it dawned on me in moments of panic that this type of go with the flow weekend is in short supply.
the holidays loom large with lists and events and i'm just not so sure how i feel about that.
i am first and foremost a human being, not a human doing.
the constant coming and going wears on me.
i need my downtime, some peace and quiet, and to be able to turn off.
i also need some wiggle room.
it is such a pleasure to be able to say: hey, let's go to a play tonight, or i think we should go out for pizza for dinner, or let's go to the public market for coffee.
there is nothing better than saying: i think i'll just read for an hour or two, or take a cat nap or a long walk.
i don't mean to mislead...i love all of it: thanksgiving, christmas and new years too, but...but time please slow down.
what is the hurry?

minus ted, who was tired from his day off at the trampoline park, we headed to the theatre friday night to see evermore.
it's a dark tale chronicling the mysterious end of edgar allen poe's life.
while it kept our attention, we were eager for the end.
that does not point to a raving review.
that being said, i am always humbled and awed by the level of talent the young actors display.
at the end of a miscellaneous saturday, we met family for pizza to celebrate november birthdays.
happy happy to my amazing mother in law and her amazing son, my husband!
we were up early for church on sunday, which meant we were in our pew with time to spare.
after another day of odds and ends, we gathered at my brother and sil's for a delicious italian feast first beside the roaring (and at times, smoking) fire and then the television to cheer on the packers.
the victory dance we were doing at the end of the game was fueled by much more than the score.
cuz' here's the thing...we all won this weekend.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

T. Bone earned an award for his contributions to his football team.  About him the Coach said, One of the most prideful awards in 2014 is the Hustle and Effort Award.  For this award, you want to find a player who takes pride in his work, someone who not only leaves it all on the field, but learns from his mistakes and makes an effort to get better.  You never have to tell this player that he needs to step it up or to move quickly.  Part-time quarterback, frequent running back and linebacker Teddy W. is more than deserving of this award.

Pasta Bolognese. 

 This little pasta eating pro.

She's quite accomplished at chicken tenders too.  We enjoyed a GNO this week, and it really felt special to be going out for dinner just the two of us on a Monday night.

James Taylor.  Mike and I may have been the youngest concert attendees, but we enjoyed the show immensely.  Especially, his opening number Something in the Way She Moves, and also Mexico and How Sweet it is to be Loved by You.
I finished The Goldfinch, and I'm grateful that I have The Secret History, Tartt's first novel, still to look forward to.

St. Vincent.  Mike and I saw it last weekend, and while we both agreed that The Judge was a much better film, we enjoyed this one too.  I was especially impressed by Jaeden Lieberher who played Oliver, and surprised that Melissa McCarthy didn't grate on me as she usually does.

The comfort of distance.

A start to my Christmas shopping this week.

Evenfall and day break.  None of us particularly love daylight savings, but the lighter mornings do help us ease out of bed on chilly mornings.  Night setting in earlier is perfect for cozy nights at home too.
Kettle chip crusted walleye.
Tickets tonight to see Nevermore at the high school.

Wine and cheese with Jess last night.

A relatively low key weekend ahead.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Goldfinch

A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don't get to choose our own hearts.  We can't make ourselves want what's good for us or what's good for other people.  We don't get to choose the people that we are.

-The Goldfinch

Sadly, I turned the last page of The Goldfinch this morning.  It was long...771 pages long, and yet I wanted longer.  Mine is not a unanimous position, but I feel that more is more where Tartt's third novel is concerned.  I appreciated the Dickensian flair that permeated this 21st century bildungsroman.  Certainly, Theo is part Oliver Twist and part David Copperfield, and Boris bears a strong likeness to the Artful Dodger. These characters felt like old friends; flawed, but lovable, and destined to get exactly what they deserve.  That is signature Dickens.  Coincidence?  Cruel fate?  Is there a difference?  And does it matter?  Either way we trudge on day after day until we don't so we may as well find some joy, beauty, meaning as we toil into descent.  Or rather liberation.  Freedom?  A freedom we will all receive when it is our fate.

The Goldfinch is a polarizing novel.  It seems that readers and critics alike either love it or loathe it.  I am in the yea camp.  To get my endorsement a novel must do four things. It must entertain me, make me think, inspire me and make me feel something about the human character/condition.  It succeeded on every count most likely because I am not usually a classic's consumer, yet I also don't want to waste my time on genre fiction.  I felt that The Goldfinch was the perfect combination of entertainment and education.

Monday, November 3, 2014

On My Mind Monday

Every year we have been
witness to it: how the
world descends
into rich mash, in order that
it may resume.
And therefore
who would cry out
to the petals on the ground
to stay,
knowing as we must,
how the vivacity of what was is married
to the vitality of what will be?
I don't say
it's easy, but
what else will do
if the love one claims for the world be true?
So let us go on, cheerfully enough,
this and every crisping day,
though the sun be swinging east,
and the ponds be cold and black,
and the sweets of the year be doomed.
- Mary Oliver

Oh,'ll be dearly missed.

2 day pass

the special part of the weekend was a trip to the american club.
mike and i drove up midday saturday.
heading north the bright shining sun made farm field after farm field appear perfectly gilded.
we are a few weeks past peak, so most branches are bare and bony, but still the landscape left me breathless.
we made a couple stops along the way on one whim or another.
first for a beer and the badger game, and then for popcorn and a matinee.
we arrived in kohler with enough time to do a little shopping.
and to have happy hour before our 8 o'clock dinner reserves.
we were looking forward to our celebration at river wildlife.
everything about the log cabin is perfect...
the way it's set in the woods, the way you are greeted by a big roaring fire, the dark, quiet intimacy of the tables set in nooks and crannies and, of course, the fare.
we both started with the cider duck soup.
so few ingredients (duck, wild rice, cabbage and cranberry beans), yet rich in flavor.
the salad of winter greens, roasted pumpkin, dried cherries, cranberry stilton and pepitas topped with a warm bacon dressing was just as perfect a combo.
i barely had room for my kettle chip crusted walleye, but somehow i managed.
mike enjoyed his perfectly cooked tenderloin too.
fall back left us awake what felt like early on sunday.
we enjoyed a slow morning of coffee and crosswords, and breakfast in bed before hitting the trails.
it was a warm, sweaty hike sandwiched between the river and blackwolf run.
we shared a great little getaway...just the two of us for 24 hours doing things we enjoy in a place we love.
happy anniversary love.