Monday, July 29, 2019

Dumpling Dinner Delight ~ 7/27/19

Dinner events offered at our church's charity auction are always popular and this one was no exception. From well-known local chef, Billy Norden, this dinner consisted of a nine course dumpling extravaganza that also included a 45 minute set of live music by musicians extraordinaire, Paul and Julie Wesselink. The bidding was fierce but there was no way this one was getting away from me.
Gathering the eight additional people for this party was not a problem; everyone was eager to ante up for this experience. But then scheduling a party involving fourteen people was not something I was looking forward to. Surprisingly it went well. July 27 it was, and the day arrived.

Mara Norden was Billy's able assistant and server, and the two of them set to work in the kitchen.
Our first course was lemongrass chicken dumplings in lemongrass soup. Oh my. We knew we were in for a delicious evening.
Being a beautiful night, we were set up outside. The sauces were on the table along with chopsticks and dumpling spoons.
And the music was playing.
We switched seating between courses so everyone got to talk with everyone else over the course of the evening, thanks to a suggestion from our meal hostess, Mara :-).

Here are the other courses in order of presentation:

Beef and Black Pepper Potstickers
Pork and Shrimp Shumai
Steamed Bao Pork Buns
Spicy Chicken Yuzu Gyoza
Thai Shrimp Shumai
Vietnamese Beef with Watercress and Pickles Red Onions
And then came what I considered to be the masterpiece of the evening, Pork and Shrimp Soup dumplings. Soup dumplings are not easy to make and Billy did it (watch Ugly Delicious season 1, episode 8 on Netflix for more soup dumpling info). They are difficult to make, tricky to eat, and were a real treat.
Our last course was dessert, Mochi Ice Cream and it was a chewy delight.
Over the course of the evening, this Calvin College Art 101 object, now kept in the guest bathroom, became the subject of conversation so here is the story. Nothing I made in pottery as an 18 year old pleased Professor Jensen but when I created this, he accused me of having someone make it for me. Big sigh and no bitterness at all. Segue back...
Our food tonight was exquisite, a wonderful variety of flavors and textures. We all appreciated the work and talent that went into its creation. The music enhanced our evening and really 'classed it up' as one person put it :-) It was a joyful gathering of food-loving people who enjoyed being with each other.

We moved away from our dining tables and back to the circle where we began our evening, to end our evening.
Cheers to a wonderful night and to everyone who participated 💗

Friday, March 15, 2019

RIP AliCat ~ 3/15/19

We found you about ten years ago when you were pencil-thin and paranoid. You finally left the garage and your cat house after three months and continued to be a sweet and weird cat who ventured forth only when the weather was nice. You loved the sun but you loved your heated cat house the most.
Smokey eventually accepted you, although not as an equal, and you tolerated your secondary position well.
You didn't like being handled and going to the vet was a paralyzing experience.
Last night you barely reacted when I brought you your treat as you lay in your little house and we feared the worst. This morning you were gone. We will miss your sweet, strange, and wonderful little self.❤

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Siblings Visiting Ancestors, Helmus and Teune families ~ October 31, 2018

Forest Home Cemetery, Forest Park, IL

We first visited the resting place of our mother's parents. Both of them passed away long before any of us were born.
Their parents, our great-grandparents, also rest in peace nearby.
There were other relatives we could have looked for but no one was quite sure where to look.
Before we stopped our 'Helmus' search, we spotted some 'Teune' gravestones here, Henry (Hendrik) & Ida Teune. Henry was the son of Jan, who was Johannes' older brother. (Johannes is our great-grandfather and his grave was found in our next stop.) More interesting is the grave here of Jacob Teune, one of Henry's sons. When we saw the year he died, we assumed it was in the war. But our geneology-studying brother informed us that Jacob was killed during his armored car robbery attempt. This makes his tombstone epitaph all the more interesting.
Henry and Ida had five other children and we found one more in the next cemetery. Before we left Forest Home, we visited the historic Haymarket Martyr's Monument. The martyrs are not relatives by blood but by spirit.
Here is a link to a complete Haymarket Monument summary:

Mount Auburn Cemetery, Stickney IL

Another son of the aforementioned Henry and Ida (and brother of Jacob) was found in the 'Teune' section.
We were looking for more directly related family members, however, and found our great-grandparents on our father's side, Johannes and Grietje (John and Grace).
The daughter, Alice, while listed on this side of the gravestone, belongs to the parents on the reverse side with Daniel (son of Johannes) and his wife Alice, who also lost a baby Daniel. The baby grave sites are always the saddest.
Vader Johannes, and yes we joked about the 'Vader', had nine children and we found another one of his sons nearby, Herman (Harm).
But the son we were looking for was Edward because he is our grandfather. He died in 1968 so only the older siblings have clear recollections of him. He was married three times; his first two wives died but he and his first wife, Helen, had six children, the youngest of whom was our father.
When I was young, our parents frequently took us to visit family graves (usually on Sunday afternoons) and this gravestone of my grandmother used to freak me out since 'Helen Teune' was my name. But visiting this grave with my brother Ed now was so much more meaningful, namesakes and look-alikes :-).
We then visited our parents' grave, Rose and Garret.
All five of their children were there together and I know they would have liked that.
Before we parted ways, we found two more graves to which to pay our respects, two sisters of our father, along with their husbands, our beloved aunts and uncles.
There are other cemeteries to visit and more respects to pay but this afternoon was time well spent with family.