“When you are so busy working outside of your home, it’s truly important to have the right people to support you. It’s not that you’re too busy, it’s that you need the right resources around you to help you out.”
I won’t ever forget that advice, (given along with a plumber’s phone number). Sue had instantly shifted my perspective. Instead of being completely stressed and focusing on the problem, I quietly began building my support network.
At the top of that list: family and friends.. friends like Sue. She has dispensed many words of wisdom since then… and I truly value our friendship.
A few years ago, as we were driving to a night out at the orchestra, she sagely observed,“It’s really important for me to maintain my friendships. These are the people I want to have in my life forever. I don’t plan to change who these people are.” Family and friends come first, whether it’s dinner, book club, folk club, a glass of wine or a just a cup of coffee… time spent together is always a priority.
Sue and her husband Brian also have a passion for tradition. Every November, our family is invited to their annual Christmas party. At one time their home was filled with chatter and running of little feet, as our children scampered about and sang us Christmas Carols. This year, these children have grown into beautiful young women and men and it was so great to see them dressed up… socializing right alongside us. Our children have been friends going on 13+ years. Phil considers Colby his brother and truly loves hanging out with Brian. Katie, Chelsea and Brittany now attend University together.
Many years ago, Sue and Brian owned a shop in Kensington called “Picnics to Go”. At that time, I worked nearby, frothing cappuccino’s at Heartland Cafe…
Once again, this past Saturday night, Christmas lights shone a welcoming luminous beacon for all of their guests. Every vase was filled to bursting with lilies, willow and fragrant spruce and fir boughs. Lights were dimmed, lively music played and every single candle in their home was lit. I think we counted 54 last year.
Sue is an inspiring gourmet cook with a flair for market fresh dishes that she can spontaneously whip together without following a recipe. This is one of the salads she always prepares for her Christmas party. It’s simple, beautiful… and a tradition. Fortunately it does come with a recipe and it’s relatively simple… and so felicitous in all it’s Christmas splendor.
Sue would tell you that, although it may be winter, there couldn’t be a better time than to be spontaneous and plan a picnic… even if it’s just next to a fire in your home. A little crisp Chardonnay, a salad, music, perhaps a fur blanket… and of course, someone special…
Pomegranate and Feta Salad
(A Year of the Best)
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 1 bunch spinach
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 1 pomegranate
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Mix all dressing ingredients together in dressing container or glass jar. Shake vigorously to blend.
- Thoroughly wash lettuce and spinach and spin to dry, tear then add to your salad bowl. I like to arrange these on a large platter.
- Drain then crumble feta cheese over the salad leaves.
- Cut the pomegranate in half horizontally. Put on an apron and get a small bowl ready. Using the backside of a wooden spoon, whack the pomegranate half vigorously. The seeds will fall into the bowl. Sprinkle them over your salad.
- Preheat the oven to broil. Put pine nuts on a metal baking dish and set under broiler to brown. Watch these carefully as they can burn quickly. Allow them to cool then scatter over the salad.
- Add salad dressing just before serving.