It has been quite a year. And here is the best thing that happened during my 58th year on this earth. The birth of this darling nugget. It snuck up on me. It wasn’t something that I gave a lot of thought to– after all, it wasn’t up to me! But what happiness my granddaughter has brought to my heart in the past five months. Oh, the places we will go and the things we will do, my Little Pumpkin.
The rest of the year in numbers. In no particular order (that would take too much organization on my part):
2 Brad Paisley concerts, thanks to the BFF and her Boss, pit passes no less.
3 Wine and Design classes, with friends, colleagues, and students.
3 trips to the mountains. Boone, Brevard, Blowing Rock, Table Rock, Grandfather Mountain, Spruce Pine.
Too many macarons to count. Made by me, my students, local bakeries, bakers in Paris.
1 visit to the grotto of St. Bernadette near Linville, NC to pray for Mama Mildred’s health.
1 hug from Buddy Melton during intermission at a Balsam Range concert in Cary with Arles Lucy. I kind of snuck up on him during intermission. To quote Childhood Friend, who plays guitar, “Damn fiddlers get all the hot girls…” Flattery.
If you are interested, here is their latest video for “Something ‘Bout That Suitcase” one of my favorites from the Mountain Voodoo CD.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/225107197″>Something 'Bout That Suitcase –Dedication to Fans</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user4482073″>Mark Skoultchi</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
2 trips to France with ACIS. January and March. On the new non-stop flight from RDU-CDG. I love this, Delta. Please, please, please keep it around.
1 dinner at La Tour Eiffel 58.
2 visits with Vincent at le Musée d’Orsay.
2 Duke football games. I didn’t bring them luck. They lost both. Sorry, Coach Cut.
2 trips to the beach. Sunset and Carolina.
2 sons, 2 women, 2 dogs.
Many, many beautiful roses.
2 outings to the Rooftop Bar at the Durham Hotel.
A few glasses of North Carolina cider, even a visit to Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone.
1 cemetery visit in Paris to find Lafayette and pay my respects (with a beautiful rose bought at an outdoor flower market near La Madeleine).
5 friends, French and American, in France with me. Actually, there were 6, but AP isn’t pictured with me. Oops. I experimented with making memes just for him…
Way too many baked goodies. Is there such a thing as too many?? Ask the Ex-Ex.
3 reunions. One with my 2016 France trip group, one with 4 classmates from high school– Harris High Class of ’76, one with my first class of 7th graders, celebrating their 30th reunion (the same night, Son #1 celebrated his 10th and Son #2 his 5th).
There is so much more I could add. I had a very full year. New friends made. Old friendships strengthened. A few friends and relatives lost. Adventures. Family love and a bit of heartbreak. All of the intangibles that make another trip around the sun so very worthwhile. Here’s to the beginning of year 59.
For Son #1’s senior chorus performance, he asked me to perform a song with him. We chose the Jimmy Buffet / Martina McBride duet Trip Around the Sun. Enjoy.
I made Blueberry Skillet Cake last week. A good use for my iron skillet (it will be the subject of an upcoming blogpost) and the fresh blueberries I had in the refrigerator.
Cowboy Skillet Blueberry Cake
from a tea towel purchased at Fort Robinson State Park Nebraska
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Combine in a bowl and stir a little to mix:
1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. granulated white sugar (I cut this down to 1/2 cup)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
In a separate bowl, whisk, then set aside:
2 large eggs
1-1/4 c. milk (I used buttermilk)
In a 10″ iron skillet, melt:
8 Tbsp. of butter
When butter has cooled, add to egg mixture and stir. Add this to dry ingredients and mix well.
1/4 tsp. lemon extract
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 blueberries (you can use any kind of fruit and change up the flavorings, if you feel like it- depending on what is in season or what’s in the freezer; I’ve used apples & cinnamon, cherries & almonds, peaches)
Pour into cast iron skillet.
In a small bowl, combine, then sprinkle on top of cake batter:
1/4 c. sugar
zest of 1 small lemon
Bake 25-30 minutes or until cake tests done.
Bon appétit! Here’s to many more trips around the sun for my friends, family, and moi! Keep breathing! Grabbing my toes like this would be fun… but I think that I will leave that to Nugget.