I cannot recount how many times the past two days I've looked at T and told him how fortunate we are to have the friends that we do. Losing Nikki was such a sad experience to go through. Any pet owner knows that it's like losing a part of yourself and a part of your family. In many ways it's more difficult initially than losing a family member because your pet is with you 24-7.
During the past 48 hours we've been showered with kind and love from near and far. Fellow bloggers have left the kindest of replies and emailed which means so much. Our local friends have been amazing. We've had beautiful flowers and cards delivered to the house, delicious (comforting) foods and treats dropped off and many, many hugs. We are truly blessed to have such kind and caring people in our lives.
A few weeks back we'd planned a dinner party at our house and given the untimely loss of Nikki it was too late to cancel. Under normal situations the preparing, cooking, cleaning etc.. involved in hosting friends can be stressful to say the least. I'm a perfectionist and want everything just so-so. But there was something healing and comforting about preparing for last nights get together. As I cleaned, shopped and cooked it brought a peace to me. Every little detail was like a self-hug to myself. I felt embraced by a project of nourishment and beauty which is just what I needed.
The Dinner Party:
I was so brain dead yesterday morning that I had no idea what I was going to cook. So I called my mom and said "let's go shopping" and as always wont to shop she agreed. We went to a home store and I found some funky little white canape/bread/dessert plates and a dozen white hotel-restaurant napkins. The dinner plates I was trying to match are from IKEA and are the kind you see in trendy restaurants. About 16" round with a 2" flat lip and a 1" deep flat bowl. I'd bought a set of the coolest multi-use glasses which are clear with white/frosted geometric shapes from top to bottom so my white theme was set. I wanted the candles, food, flowers and personality of the guests to be the color.
For the meal I made a chicken and sausage gumbo. I was going to do a stuffed chicken dish but when I read that the temperature was going to drop to the 30's I knew a hearty stew type meal was more appropriate. I took great care in sauteeing the meats and veggies. We're always watching calories but for the night I threw all thoughts of low-fat weight to the wind and cooked with real butter and rich ingredients. The rue for the gumbo was rich, smooth and heavenly. I made homemade garlic biscuits which I brushed with butter and they were lighty & fluffy. The salad was crisp, fresh and full of all sorts of finely chopped/torn ingredients. The finale was a rich chocolate cake made with butter (of course) had a bottom crust of pecans and coconut. And the cake itself was dotted with globs of sweet, gooey, buttery cream cheese. It was sinfully good if I do say so myself.
Our guests were an older couple and another gentleman we through them and adore. Ramone and Louis are from the "old Cuba" as they like to say. They were born into affluent families & raised in a country rich with history and have been friends for many, many years. Louis's partner of 25+ years, John, is a delightful man with a Southern Baptist background who like myself escaped the church relatively unscathed. Any time we get together we have wonderful conversations and many laughs., But last night was unique. Whether it was the fire going in the fireplace, the music, the glow from the candles throughout the house, the good wine & food...something was just extra special. The laughs were fuller and the conversation more animated. It wasn't forced to make T & I feel better it just "was" more perfect than usual. Perhaps I was just more receptive to emotions and open to feelings I'm not sure. But it was a perfect evening leaving me even more aware of how blessed we are to have the life we have.
I've been off the schedule for work for the past few days but I return this afternoon and I look forward to it more than ever. Somewhere in the loss and sadness of the last few days I've found a desire to live each day and appreciate each day a little more than the last. That said, I've got a hundred things to do before I go into the office so I'm off.
Wishing everyone a beautiful Sunday and sending out hugs.