Sunday, February 7, 2016

the guest house

LOL - we always tell our friends to make their reservations early for the guestroom... some winters it is quite booked - other winters episodic, as friends make plans and sometimes need to change them as parents age or children have issues or even our friends face health challenges... that is the thing of getting older.

Last week I went to a lecture/group discussion of issues surrounding end of life choices and having a voice in how we each want our lives to end. This came quite present tonight when our friends arrived for a visit of several days that had been delayed by two days due to the death of our friend's father last week and in quick succession the death of a friend of many decades.  So the topic was quite a natural one to be discussing over our late dinner tonight.

As the professor who led the discussion last week said - medical technology can bring back a body these days but that may be all that is left and what choices do we have in the process- how do we get a voice in our own end of life - not just DNR and Advanced Directives but having "the conversation" so that all our loved ones know our wishes and agree to abide by them. A very interesting discussion with some emotional stories from participants in the "Einstein's Circle" topic gave us some fodder for tonight's open discussion with our friends.

But I didn't actually start to write about death in this post - I started out to write about life. Life's gifts and blessings - which we have in great abundance and one of those blessings is friends.  Yesterday we had a fun afternoon and evening with our friends Barb & John and her 98 year old mother Barbara.  We have become friends with Barbara as well over the last months and enjoy her company so much.  We try to plan extra time before we head out for a social evening with Barb & John so we get a chance to see her.  So after our Rummikub match(es) at home we left Barbara for "kids" night out - dinner and music.

We had dinner at a new place for us and I give it mixed reviews... it is more or less a glorified diner. Maybe if the weather had been better and we could have eaten outside I would have liked it better. I found the staff friendly and helpful and the menu seemed appealing but the food seemed excessively spiced (which is something for me to be saying!) But the object wasn't really the dinner - it was to spend an evening with our local friends before our out of town friends came to stay and their relatives came to stay and schedules got busy with life...

We headed to the concert and as with the restaurant - the musician gets mixed reviews.  He was absolutely charming.  An able musician and quite a good songwriter but his voice was not to my liking- with Dylan-esque slurred enunciation - or perhaps too heavily influenced by Woody Guthrie. A nice evening regardless - relaxing with friends - who as with our friends tonight- we never seem to run out of things to talk about.

so a few photos and a video and then I am off - because the hour is late and we have a lot to do over the next few weeks so I try to keep current....

let's start with the best first- LOL

a cronut dessert with strawberries and cream- this was YUM! (Phil won the ordering on that round)

John & I had the s'mores which had elements that were worthy but the graham cracker was like concrete and couldn't be broken by the spoons we were issued as eating utensils- LOL and the menu said salted caramel but the drizzle was all you got of that ingredient.

Barb won the starter course ordering with the tuna tartare-

Phil said his empanadas were strangely dull and spicy and sweet all at the same time - he found the sweet potato disconcerting in a supposedly duck and bacon empanada-

I liked my meatloaf but found the sauce overwhelmed the nice combination of "four meat"s advertised: duck confit, billionaire bacon, ground beef and roasted brisket.  I liked the texture created by the blend of the meats but as I said the sauce was distracting. Everyone liked the cheesy tots - which were puffy and hot and tasty... John's burger had to be deconstructed to figure it out but he liked it once he got it under control.  Phil had the double dipped chicken (comparing it to Blue Rooster) and he liked it better than Blue Rooster but it still isn't the fried chicken he is looking for. Barb had the fish of the day and was pleased.

Oh they had a cute way with delivering the bill-

Then on to the concert- which did not start on time - even for the warm up act of a local folk singer who is a gal known around here.  She had a nice voice but her songs were on the preachy side - except for one funny one about a guy she liked not liking her, which she sang accompanied by the bar tender lady... LOL- it's a relaxed kind of place LOL.  Then the main act, Mark Erelli, came on and you already have my review- really really charming guy

His Wikipedia entry (edited)- Mark Erelli (born June 20, 1974) is an American singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and touring folk musician from Reading, Massachusetts who earned a Master’s Degree in evolutionary biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst before pursuing a career in music. Erelli has released nine solo albums and three collaborative albums. His self-titled debut album was released in 1999, the same year that he won the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk Award. His first recording for the Signature Sounds label, Compass & Companion, spent ten weeks in the Top Ten on the Americana Chart. Erelli has worked as a side musician for singer songwriters and performed at various music festivals and Erelli's song “People Look Around”, which he co-wrote with Catie Curtis, was the Grand Prize winner at the 2005 International Songwriting Competition. His songs have been recorded by Ellis Paul, Vance Gilbert, Antje Duvekot, and Red Molly.

the truck garage like space where this club is located and a few promos of upcoming concerts-

a photo from his website which is much much much better than the low light photo from my phone-

a video - of the guy singing-

some of the upcoming acts we expect to see/hear

and at each table a promotion for the SFF- which we are really looking forward to!

And finally just one slide from the death lecture - LOL- it wasn't a lecture hall of twenty-somethings LOL even that it is just as important for young people to have this conversation with their aging parents as it is for those of us who doing the aging to varying degrees... but of course at that age we were all immortal... we had layers and layers of protection- parents- grandparents.... life looks different now - as well as a lot more precious with the passing of each day... funny how perspective changes....

so off for a few days to catch up with our friends - the way life moves so quickly, since we were last together - her mother and his father have passed on and one of their daughters (the oldest) has given birth to her second child and another daughter (their youngest) has graduated from college become engaged.... and if those life changing events don't give you pause to think about fleeting time then you aren't paying attention.  I will end with a familiar refrain- GO NOW!!!

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