Inspired by Stu Mills of CBC Ottawa Radio One, who has vowed to air a pumpkin story daily until Halloween, I’ve decided to [try and] write my own little segment of the Twelve Days of Pumpkin. I shall endeavour not to post too many pumpkin pie recipes, but make no promises!
On the Twelfth Day of Pumpkin …
The Twelfth Day of Pumpkin happened to fall on my Dinner Club tonight with my lady friends (“Mom! They’re called gal pals, now!” says my daughter). Though we might meet more often by happenstance, we plan, organize, negotiate, swindle and bribe so that we can meet for dinner for sure every other month. Since September 2004, we have been gathering to eat, drink and be scary. Over those seven years, the menus have varied almost as much as the hairstyles. Our members have fluctuated far less.
Seven years ago, I was a mother three young children. I’d move mountains to make sure I didn’t miss this dinner (which really means I’d work extra hard to find a competent sitter but my definition of ‘competent’ relaxed as my options waned!). My kids today are much more self-sufficient, but I am no less reliant on this group of women. The mountains we move are less likely due to childcare issues but rather due to other commitments and responsibilities. Yet somehow we all still manage to pull it off. Somehow this gathering has remained a priority for all of us. I can honestly say the unconditional support of this group of women has helped me parent through the carefree friendships of pre-school to the complicated relationships of high school. I doubt our sagas are over.
Though the first few gatherings were fraught with high Martha-like menu expectations, we have occasionally succumbed to take-out. I won’t say we don’t care what we prepare or eat, but as the years have passed, what we eat takes on less importance as with whom we eat!
Now. Lest you thought I had completely steered off tangent, tonight’s meal was finished off with a delicous pumpkin cheesecake with a ginger crust. AND … I snapped this quick shot of our adorable table décor for your pumpkin pleasure.
[in-duhlj] verb, -dulged, -dulg·ing.
–verb (used without object)
1. to yield to an inclination or desire; allow oneself to follow one’s will (often followed by in ): Dessert came, but I didn’t indulge[oh – but I did!]. They indulged in unbelievable shopping sprees [or rather spa treatments].
–verb (used with object)
2. to yield to, satisfy, or gratify (desires, feelings, etc.): to indulge one’s appetite for sweets [‘ahem, or the spa’].
3. to yield to the wishes or whims of; be lenient or permissive with: to indulge a child [which we did!].
4. to allow (oneself) to follow one’s will (usually followed by in ): to indulge oneself in reckless spending [or reckless eating].
It had taken weeks of planning and considerable preparation, but, with the help of www.meetingwizard.com, several trips to LCBO and the grocery store and more than one phone call to the Deerhurst Resort spa, the day had arrived. My bag was packed, the cooler was filled, plenty of food in the house for the family I was abandoning, and as much laundry had been done as possible before my dryer kicked the bucket for good. I went away for the weekend. I went away for the weekend without my kids and without my husband. Just a weekend mind you … less than 48 hours actually. But I went away for the weekend. My companions were six other women whom I’ve known my entire life (sister and cousins) to a some I’ve now known the better part of twenty years (my sisters-in-law), and the most adorable 8-month old (my newest cousin) that I had the delight to meet for the first time.
Like many of my soul sisters in attendance this weekend, sometimes I cram so much into one day that I feel like a vicious hurricane cutting a swath of achievement and productivity. Then other days, that same schedule can leave me feeling besieged and exhausted. When the dust settles, I wonder if perhaps there lie the tender balance of marriage, motherhood and mid-life. Sigh. It’s probably much more simple: some days are just better than others. I read somewhere it takes both rain and sun to make a rainbow – such is the metaphor of Life!
After a full day at work, the four-hour drive on a two-lane highway was exhausting and I was hyper-vigilante about moose throughAlgonquinParkright at dusk. As I walked through the door of the condo, feeling a little less than refreshed, I was quickly ambushed by warm hugs, a cool glass of Pinot Gri and the aromatic smell of a warm meal certain to be seasoned with laughter. Rain + Sun = Rainbow. It was a great start to the weekend.
Upon waking up Saturday morning, It was immediately clear that the weather would not cooperate. Mother Nature clearly has something a girls’ weekend. While the rain made the run my sister and I undertook as part of our training for the Ottawa Half less than pleasurable, our wet misery evaporated quickly in our hedonistic spa treatments. An afternoon spent in pure indulgence (see definition above). Rain + Sun= Rainbow.
By the time, I returned uber-relaxed, happy hour was underway and the scent of simmering dinner wafted through the condo! What is better than dinner after a glorious afternoon at the spa? Dinner that someone else made! The baby now asleep, we seven women sat around the dinner table for the better part of four hours celebrating (and occasionally griping about) our health, our history, our husbands, our children, our careers, our homes, our loved ones, our futures, our summers, our travels, our weekends, our hobbies, ourselves. I felt privileged to be part of this auspicious group of seven who had gathered yet again to celebrate ourselves.
The feeling of pure contentment and relaxation lingered upon my return… dinner was an easy spaghetti and salad, the grocery store had closed, and best of all – I remembered the dryer was broken. No laundry today! Rain + Sun = Rainbow.
See if you can pick out the new me …[heh, heh … not]
Notes to self:
Clean underwear – check!
Groceries done – check!
Cooler packed – check!
Wine packed – check!
Running gear – check!
Spa wear – check!
Laundry done – check!
Cell phone – check!
Cell phone charger – check!
Gas topped up – check!
Coffee for the road – check!
Map – check!
Hotel phone number for hubby – check!
Reading book – check!
Tabloid magazines – check!
Extra food in frig for kids – check!
Extra food in pantry for kids – check!
Alert neighbours of my absence – check!
Number for pizza delivery – check!
Emergency procedures reviewed with family – check!
Summary list of kids’ activities – check!
School homework overview – check!
Sunglasses – check!
Sun roof open – check!
Open road? Check!
Kiss, kiss, kiss, kiss.
See you Sunday!