Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year time

A Note From Laurey

Oooh WEE! 2009. Amazing. The news is filled with gloom and doom. There is a tension in the air. What is going to happen? How’s it all going to turn out? What’s to become of us?

I’ve just spent a lovely few days with my family in Kentucky. We have the three sisters, for starters. One sister has one daughter. That daughter has a husband and together they have one son and one daughter. Those children are youngsters: The son is 2 ½ years old and the daughter is 10 months. They, to me, are the future, the light, hope, love, fun.

One day one sister and I went to take care of the little kids. My niece and her husband had plans for their day: returning things that weren’t quite right, going out for a quiet dinner, and then taking in a movie. We, on the home front, were baby tenders.

When we got there, Jones, the 2 ½ year old, was on his way to his nap. Seeing us did not make him any more excited about napping than he had been before we got there, which is to say, not very excited at all. But with some encouragement from my sister, who acquiesced to his requests and went to his room and sat quietly with him, he was sound asleep soon after.

That left Bailey to roam around freely. She tottered from table to sofa to chair to, occasionally, no support at all. Without Jones’s concerned attention, she was able to touch and play with every single things she encountered: his cars, his puzzles, his games. She poked and chortled and sputtered, laughing and happy.

After while she, too, went off to nap land. My sister and I settled in for an afternoon of travels with Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel, both of us nodding off on our respective soft couches. The kids slept. We did too.

Later, almost 3 hours later, everyone woke up. Diapers were changed and then everyone ate. I got to deliver tiny spoonfuls of turkey and vegetables and rice and milk to Bailey while Jones picked up his chicken, poked it onto his fork, and put it in his mouth by himself. Kids full and cleaned, my sister and I ate a bit, helped by the little ones.

Games, play time, and then bedtime came. Rachel and Dustin came home, calm and happy and relaxed. Store exchanges done. Dinner good. Movie fun.

Lucinda and I bundled up, drove home, played some of our own new Christmas games with Heather, who had spent the day alone nursing a cold, and then went to bed.

All that day no one mentioned an economic downturn or unemployment numbers or daily sales or prospects for the future. The future, solidly and dependably, was in those two little babies. I have their pictures on my computer, on my desk, and in my thoughts. With them, all is bright. Happy New Year to you and yours. Thanks for being a part of this little world that we are creating here at 67 Biltmore. Thanks a whole lot.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Taking a deep breath

September 27, 2008


Ooh it’s a quiet day around here. We’ve had a gas shortage and, though the lines have stopped and the supply seems to be back, everyone is spooked and is staying home. Maybe they’re getting their yard work done. It’s certainly time.

I kind of like these quiet days. I have a list of things to do and, frankly, the list is longer than the available time. A quiet day means few phone calls, few interruptions, lots of space and peace for me to plug along, checking things off, getting organized.

I’m now back from my New Orleans conference and, as happens at these things, have a long list of things I want to do, need to do, might do. Today is a good day for that too.

I must say, I had some extraordinarily memorable bites and glimpses and snips of this and that in that city. Things there were kind of quiet too, but that just left more room for those of us who were there. It was bustling enough, but roomier than I’d seen before. We went there specifically to help our colleagues in the culinary world. They’ve been hit hard but watching them and listening to them was a revelation to me.

A dear friend of mine is a blues singer and one of her favorite songs is “I’m Still Here,” a Sondheim song from Follies. “Good times and um times, I’ve seen ‘em all and my dear, “I’m still here….” I have been through those good times and bad times. We all have. But I have never had every single thing I own carried away by flood waters. I have never had to leave my home and I have never had to be completely out of contact with everyone I love and care about. These women have. But there they were, cooking and sharing and being so lovely and so gracious. I was heart-stopping. Life changing.

So make a point to go to New Orleans. The food is SO good. Go to Dooky Chase, where 85 year old Leah Chase is still at the stove cooking authentic Creole du Coleur cuisine. Go to Bayona for Susan Spicer’s offerings, go to Commander’s Palace, go to Lillette and have some of Beth Biundo’s fabulous panna cotta, go to MiLa and have anything that the two young chefs make. Go to Café Adelaide’s Swizzle Stick Bar and ask Lu to make you a “Sunset on the Rocks.” Go to Rock ‘n Bowl on Zydeco night. Dance. Laugh. Cavort. It’ll do you good.

I’m glad to be home. And I also can’t wait to go back.
A weekend is not nearly long enough.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Today's note - September 7, 2008

September 6, 2008

Oh what a grand day it has been. A perfect day. Just perfect.

My day started with a quick stint as “delivery babe.” As soon as I had dropped off the coffee and muffins and fruit and scones, I scooted over to the start of the “Lap Around the Lake” walk.

I showed you a couple of snaps of the morning. Today, in a way, was the day I first made any big public declaration about being a cancer survivor. I mean, it’s not a secret, but I’ve never really made a big speech about it before.

I think I told you that I’ve decided to ride my bicycle across the United States next year. Well, actually, it is in this “age” year of mine, but in the next “calendar” year. I’ll do this ride while I am still 54, my golden year, as I’ve noted – the year when my age and birth year match. What I might not have made very public is that this ride is really about early detection of ovarian cancer. I’m one of the very few, very lucky ones because I DID notice that I didn’t feel the same and my cancer was caught in stage 1. This is almost unheard of with ovarian cancer.

I’ll raise money and ride and speak as I travel across the country. The ride will be a big personal, physical challenge. And it will also be thought-provoking for me. I’m alive. Many are not.

After I finished speaking I zipped off to the market, bought a couple of huge buckets stuffed with fresh, beautiful flowers, and brought them back to work.

“Delivery Babe – round 2” followed. I took hors d’oeuvres off to a memorial service for someone and then lunch to a group who are here visiting gardens in the area. I’m not always “delivery babe” but I do like getting out and today was so beautiful I didn’t mind at all.

I got back to work, visited with a bunch of people in a delightfully full café, and then, finally got a chance to catch my breath a little bit and arrange the flowers for tonight’s party. The phone, meanwhile, rang and rang and rang. Zip! Whip! Whoosh!

“Delivery Babe – round 3” finished off the day. Now, yes, FINALLY, the newsletter is getting written. My sister just showed up. The guests for the wedding reception are drifting in. The saxophone player has started. All is humming.

And I’m going to go have a beer.

I’m so thankful to be alive.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The big tomato

That's where the blog link is hidden. It kind of just drops down with a bit of a thud at the moment, that is, if you find your way here via our website. ( Kind of clumsy, handmade, odd. Not so bad. Perhaps we'll refine it. But then again, it is sort of tomato season around here so, well, maybe it could become tomato sauce if it dropped hard enough. Silly stuff. And, I digress.

I will put the larger articles from my e-mail newsletter up on this blog. But if I put them up NOW, they will be in a curious chronology, not accessible by the actual date of writing, but by the date of posting. Hmm.. I'm not completely well-versed in all of this yet, but I'm sure it'll come over time. One thing IS sure, and that is that the blog is working.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The First. The trial

Here we go again.

Still struggling to learn how to achieve my desired end. Let's see if this works.