Monday, October 26, 2009

IAFN - Atlanta, Georgia

This week at the Scientific Assembly of the IAFN had been one of learning, hilarity, and poignancy. And of course good food! The course work was good. I attended many lectures that invigorated me and gave me ideas that will stir up the pot on our arrival back home. There were over twenty INSANE here, a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) from INdiana! It was great to have their company here, to wallow in old friendships, to get to know some people better and to see the dedication of this group of nurses from all over the state! After corresponding with one guy from Indiana, for years, but whom I had NEVER met, finally I have a face to put with the name! We all enjoyed the freedom of not being in call, I think. Some enjoyed it ore than others! We laughed (and of course I sniffled too) at our IAFN board and staffers preform the Vagina Monologues. Then there were the tears that nearly fell as an award was bestowed posthumously and it made me think of my friend Joanne WIlson. It made me tear up. I had to think of something other than the fact that the last time I really got to sit and chat with her was at the Assembly in MInneapolis Minnesota. I remember of talking about her decision to step down from her director level job, to be a staff nurse and more present mother. Of her mothers living with them, of her fears and how good it had been. I remember talking about my personal woes of the time and her support.

Joanne was the coordinator at St. Vincent's Center of Hope, she was my mentor and my friend. She was a cheerleader to us, encouraging when we were afraid, always telling us that it would be easy. Often it was not, but she gave us the courage to forge ahead. She always was a never ending bringer of bagels and somewhere we have lost sight of that, a fact that has ( So, I am informed) been detrimental to the attendance of our SART team. She had a smile that was purely Joanne and occasionally I catch a glimpse of it on another face and am reminded of her. I have to confess that I have not removed her for my outlook at work, just for the occasional reminder of seeing her name.

The best food i had on this trip was a place called Wild Fire, while the food was good the wait felt endless on both visits in spite of the reservations! I must admit that the manager tried to alleviate the pain with a cocktail! My special of the day, Beef wellington, was a delight a medium rare filet with a lovely mushroom topping, baked in s puff pastry ensconced in a fabulous sauce, that and a glass of their house wine made me feel lie human again!

The hotel was the Crown Plaza Ravinia and it was a lovely experience, set amidst five acres of woods, there were lovely pathways accompanying creeks, fountains, trees and critters. It was a small breath of peace in the middle of a huge city.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

October Roads

Last evening I sat down on my couch to a whiff of a lovely rose scent. I had picked a bouquet and they have lasted almost a week. I wonder if there is any philosophical concept there about the old and longevity and beauty present in this experience! I breathed in their beauteous scent and simply enjoyed it. I got up this morning to let Lucy and Sofi with her tail so long out for their morning ablutions. Lucy had had a sleep over with Sofi and they were both firmly awake! I was greeted at the door by a firm covering of frost on the chaise on my back porch and thought to myself, “those roses in my living room are my last roses of summer!” I am never ready for the cold, nor for winter and yet it comes every year, each year with more rapidity. Once again, Mother Nature is saying “Voila” - here it is again.

Drinking a delicious cup of cafĂ©-au-lait and reading my morning “Fodor” board, I encountered an entry about an apartment in Paris that was “everything they were looking for”. I followed the link and saw photos of a 2 bedroom, very neutral apartment and I thought to myself “you did not see the apartment I stayed in”. It is beautifully decorated, sports all the creature comforts and it is a very comfortable apartment that is also in a safe part of town! I have not ever seen photos or been in an apartment in Paris as nice as the one I stayed in this past summer and plan on inhabiting again for a week in February! I thank the owner of the Cour Damoye apartment for her hard work, passion and generosity in sharing her space with us travelers. AND it is a heck of a lot more economical that the one the lady showed in her post! True it is a one bedroom and this one had two, but the cost of the apartment was over double as well!

I visited my Aunt in Kirkland, Washington about this time of year a few years ago; she took me to breakfast on the way to the train station. The cute little place she took me, NOT a chain, had pumpkin pancakes on their special fall menu; they were wonderfully pumpkiney and served with whipped cream. It was like sinning by dessert for breakfast. I decided that I wanted that experience again and started a recipe search. While I encountered several I have yet to try (that is for later this morning when my overnight guest gets up) I also encountered a recipe for Creamy Pumpkin Pasta. Once in my head I wanted it all week long and this past Thursday evening I prepared it to my great oral delight! IT was everything I had hoped and more! A wonderful creamy sauce with sausage, (it recommended Italian turkey sausage and here in my “progressive” corner of Indiana it was not to be found!) full of pumpkin flavor over wheat pasta. It was a singular treat to myself! It was pretty, flavorful and filling, while probably bad a hell for me. But then…….. well I won’t go there. So here is the recipe for the pasta if you try it let me know how you like it. I will admit up front that I did not create this and that I am only sharing it with you. The recipe is from a blog called, in which she also recommends to serve it with apple crisp and artisan bread. I had a “you bake it” baguette from Kroger which makes lovely garlic bread and that was my meal with a glass of white wine from a small little vintner in Sonoma called Imagery. This wine is a nice crisp white that is lovely and accompanies many meals well and lasts longer than most whites in the fridge. That longevity thing is a big plus for me! She suggests an apple crisp, but I am something of an apple crisp snob and I think the recipe my mother used THE BEST!

This weekend is full, Bonfires, birthday celebrations, preparations and more, but I think all roads should all begin with pumpkin pancakes!

Oh Yes, the recipe from Momma Advice:

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Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12

Today is October 12, 2009.  It is the anniversary of the arrival of the advent of my little brother, it is the birthday of  a student in the SANE class in which I teach.  It is fall, there is no denying it here in the Midwest.  It has become cool; long sleeve weather.  The trees are glorious shades of peachy red or deep maroon/purple.  And those leaves are falling, falling on the ground, into my pond, gutters, or occasionally flying through the air. They lay on the ground, sometimes creating their own little whirling dervishes.  Crunchy, soggy or springy, they scatter or pile up for us humans to step on, maybe shuffle through, leaving the bouquet of fall.  My day today was 0800 to 2200, so I took a quick break to go home and let my little Lucy out to potty and sneak a quick puppy smooch from her.  As I opened the deck door the rose bushes in my back yard beckoned me to visit.  I could not resist their call, and so out I waltzed with Lucy to inspect the determined bushes.  They still display a lovely array of yellow, pink, peach and red.  Further seduced, I went back into the house for a clipper to  bring a few in, just in case there is another frost tonight that will take them all out.  As I  cut, the sublime aroma of a rose wafted up to my nose, calling me to pull it closer and closer until in that moment I was inhaling a little corner of heaven, right there, right then.

Lucy, Grasshoppers and Fennel

Saturday I had a couple of hours on a glorious fall day to do some quick work in my garden.  Out I went to pull out the old vegetables plants in an area that should have had leeks, fennel and lettuce growing and flourishing but which had become overgrown.   SO overgrown, in fact that to my amazement, the cosmos from last hear had sprouted and were growing, probably too late to bloom though.  I was pulling weeds, fast and furiously.  They were sliding out of the recently moistened dirt like I was pulling them out of butter.  Weed pulling does not get much better.  Out came the decapitated broccoli and cabbage, the pepper plants that had a few premature babies, and moribund tomatoes.  Bending, straining and pulling at the weeds and filling the garbage bin, all of a sudden I got to those baby cosmos plants and to my great joy, rather than cosmos, there was the fennel I had planted in June.  The fragrance of anise rose to my nostrils.   Those Leeks, Lettuce and Fennel seeds were sown with great hope of continuing the flavor of my most recent trip to France.  I had lamented to more than one person that none of the seeds I had sown on my return, had “come up”.  Yet here right in front of me, sending their phermones wafting up to my olfactory organ were the winsome lacy fennel plants that I had desired.  Not ready to be enjoyed and maybe destined to go back to the earth intact in their pristine growth.  I delighted in them, breathed them in, and cleared out around them, hoping that they might still grow into a plant that I can enjoy before winter sets in.

Eventually I had to move on and as I continued I discovered a had a partner in my work, no help really, just a casual observer. A lovely olive green guy I quickly and not very creatively named Jiminy.  He was climbing around on the fence  and I took a gratifying few minutes to observe him climbing around on the foliage and wooden fence when al of a sudden I was inspired to fetch my camera and record these moments , Jiminy and the fennel.  He was hard to capture on film, swinging from tiny branch to branch, climbing on all aspects of the fence.  The fennel was a much easier proposition, as I posed beautifully for me there mounted in the dirt, waiting for me to discover it. 

Now that I had my camera in hand I decided it time for a Fall shot of Lucy.  She is not as enraptured by my imprinting her image on film as I.  She did, however, pose nicely for me on the deck rail so that we could have the backdrop of the cambient dogwood tree.  I could tell that she felt that it was a rather risky proposition as she did a good job of posing for me.  Good thing, as not posing would have resulted in a long drop for her.   (Seriously, I was right there with a hand out!)   I captured her feelings so well, a shot of her being coy, gazing off into the distance, a profile and one being, well simply, done. 

Lucy, Grasshoppers and Fennel, yes they all add joy to the simple act of gardening in the cambient season of Fall. Cambient, what is that you ask?  Well, dear readers, it is a word that I think we should all add to our vocabulary, simply  put it means changing and comes from Spanish.