Yes, that’s where it all started in our kitchen in Chicago, What?! you may ask, “I thought you moved to Houston”? That’s true, and my last post was from that kitchen that I designed…you may recognize the Venetian pendants. I was just starting to get back into cooking and writing when we decided that Houston didn’t suit us for the long haul, so we decided to move back to Chicago. Fortunately, we had taken the beloved house in Chicago off the market for the winter and the Houston market was HOT . . . the house sold without even being listed. So, I mobilized and went back into moving and redecorating mode. I called my painter and arranged to have the house painted and some bathrooms wallpapered with the extra from Houston (who did that measuring??) while the artwork was off the walls and the and the house empty. I ordered some new fixtures for the Houston kitchen and took those Venetian pendants down again and brought them back to Chicago to complete the refresh.
Before the movers arrived to pack us up, there was some FUN with FAMILY to be had . . . we headed off to Sonoma and Napa for a badly needed vacation to give the batteries a little recharge before the move. It was Dennis’s brother Brian’s 50th birthday and I called my sister-in-law Nicole to arrange for them to meet us for a weekend in Sonoma as a surprise. We almost pulled it off until the very last minute when Brian and Nicole pulled into Williams Selyem 3 minutes before us . . . Brian looked at Nicole and said “this has Kristina written all over it” and then the gate attendant asked if “all 4 in their party” were there. The jig was up. After hugs and and a few tears, we settled into a great couple days of great FOOD and fabulous wine.
Back in Houston, it was time for some FUN with FRIENDS before saying “see you later” (not goodbye). Some of my Cape girlfriends came for a visit (at least we had a few people see that fabulous house) and we played golf with my Houston peeps. Prizes from our mini tournament were all from Ktina’s Kitchen (to which Janece exclaimed, “hey, are you cleaning out your freezer?”, well sort of, but Thai curry pastes, Thai peanut sauce, meatballs & sauce, sourdough bread and a great bottle of wine, you could do worse). Everyone was a winner since the two foursomes tied! Seriously!
Then it really was time to clean out the freezer . . . we gathered the great friends we were reunited with and the new ones we made for a leaving party since we never did get around to a house warming. I cooked up all of the meats in the freezer in various sauces: Duck with Asian Marinade, Chicken Satay with Thai peanut sauce, Thai Peanut Noodles, Mango Salsa, Pork Tenderloin and Chicken with Chipotle Marinade, Guacamole (recipe coming). We cracked open some great wine and christened the house before it all went into boxes and on a truck a mere 10 months after moving in. A few last “see you later” dinners with the Whelans and the McKays and the Houston chapter was over.
Meanwhile, back in Chicago, the painters had just about finished and the movers arrived to return our belongings to their original home. In some ways it felt like we had never left, but in other ways it was like we were starting over. Once everything was delivered on Saturday, and all the extra furniture that wouldn’t fit into our vertical house safely ensconced in 3 storage units (everything IS bigger in Texas), it was time to get into serious GSD (Get S*** Done) mode. We rolled up our sleeves, enlisted our trusty household assistant, Barb, and got to work unpacking and reorganizing so that we could head to the Cape for the summer and relax.
When the painters returned on Monday to paint the stairways as they knew there would be bumps & scrapes from the movers to touch up, one of the crew looked at the boxes in the kitchen and remarked in Polish that we would be unpacking for a month. Since Barb hails from Poland she understood him perfectly and retorted “just watch us”. By noon the entire kitchen was put away . . . the artwork was hung up on Wednesday and we were headed to the Cape on Thursday morning, arriving at lunchtime on Friday just in time for our first cup of chowder and the Memorial Day weekend welcome back party at Hyannisport Club. The light fixtures and those boxes of books could wait, it was time to connect with our FAMILY and FRIENDS and enjoy some FUN! We had earned it.
Relax we did and I crashed. I’m like a shark, I have to keep moving or I sink, and sink I did. They say moving is right at the top of stressful life events, and we had just done it twice in 10 months. I’ve moved a lot, and while I’m good at it, I don’t like it and it does not get easier. I was exhausted and my system needed a reboot. My head was spinning as I thought about what was ahead and I became anxious about the unknown. I was busy with our 18 Hole Ladies at Hyannisport, so I just couldn’t find time to write (too much FUN, too little time). I did lots of cooking, as the kitchen is where I retreat to in times of stress. The “Help Desk” was always open for questions on how to do something, there were sessions on making sourdough bread, tutorials on making Caesar Salad, Thai Curry with Chicken, Chicago Steak Nights, etc. I just couldn’t concentrate to sit at the computer and write. It’s now 18 months and TWO summers later and I’m feeling ready to get it re-started. I’m grateful for the encouragement of those who have prodded me to get back to it, the compliments that you enjoyed my previous posts, and the comments that you missed them. I have lots of material in the bank from the hiatus, so I hope you’ll stay tuned and follow along. Again!
Oh, and that sourdough starter is alive and kicking! It has traveled from Chicago to Houston to Cape Cod, back to Chicago, back to the Cape and now safely back in Chicago!
Here’s a peek at some things I’m writing up to whet your appetite.