Thursday, March 29, 2007

My Friends


Janice's over the top French onion soup!

This is a foodie post. No. It's actually about love, and play. Or, really it's about friends and laughter... Last night was Mom's Night Out. We are well in to our tenth year of monthly dinners and exchanges of love, laughter and support. I've posted before about the fabulous meals we serve, and the generous spirit that circulates in our special group. Funny, I was certain that I've written about how MNO started. Having the archives labeled is such a blessing, because I was easily able to look back and see that I never did explain where and when Mom's Night Out began...


Josie and Belinda

Once upon a time Belinda was meeting a lot of interesting women, and including her friends, she realized there was never enough time to really enjoy an uninterrupted and pleasant discourse with any of these friends and would be friends. She knew a number of women living in her town, with children of the same age and she wondered whether these women would like to meet regularly, leaving children and daily responsibilities at home. Belinda sent off invitations to her friends and acquaintances for dinner and a craft in her home. She jokes now that her menu may have scared off a few of the prospects; she served alcohol, cooked the main course with alcohol and the dessert too, coincidentally called for alcohol. Bottoms up! Some of us were nursing babies and others were craft-phobic, but something clicked and we fell easily in to conversations and exchanges about child-rearing, good books, good recipes, schools, vacations, and connections. We probably each had some doubts about how we would find the time to get out of our busy homes and lives and meet every month.


Maria

Belinda invited her neighbors Anne Z., and Josie. She knew me from when I was a neighbor on the same street. She was friends with Karen through a shared baby-siitter (gee, I hope I'm getting this all right,) and Karen suggested inviting her friend Yanina. Linda knew Belinda from their Colorado days, and Linda invited her neighbor Anne L.. I thought Jola would love to come join the fun. Later, Linda introduced us to Janice, who was very eager to join us, and then Janice and Anne L.'s new neighbor Maria came along. Most recently Linda invited her new neighbor Vera.


Last night's hostess, Janice

Is that everyone? Some have come and gone, some drop by on occasion, and we are by no means an exclusive group. We love meeting new people. Well, to make a short story long: Belinda's idea worked. We meet every month in a different home. The hostess makes a ridiculously sumptuous feast and lays out her best dishes (sometimes borrowed, sometimes mix and match: it's all good!) We have seen each other through some very sad and challenging chapters, and we have enjoyed many celebrations too. Lately we are sharing our experiences with having first time drivers under our roofs, and Josie has already seen her first son through the college applications marathon. We have a lot in common and we have our difference too, which is one reason I think we enjoy and benefit from each other's company. The unique perspectives, the varying strengths and insights make for a rich network of caring and loving women.


Anne and Yanina

Last night we were in Janice's home. We were all asking, "What was she thinking?!" She is raising three very busy children and she works too, then she decides to make this elaborate feast for us, worrying about getting the house clean and weeding the yard! We were served 3 different appetizers... delicious! Maria and her girls made the phyllo brie delicacies. Anne helped set the table. Janice's son Nate ironed the table cloth; go Nate! Janice was busy grilling fresh halibut, making salad, and preparing asparagus. She served the halibut over a fresh mango salsa. She served us French onion soup, that filled the house with the loveliest fragrance. Don't forget dessert; Janice never does. She served biscotti, and pretty dishes of chocolate and vanilla ice cream covered in fresh raspberries and infused raspberry sauce.




Yanina and Karen

We always insist that we'd be thrilled with pizza on paper plates. Somehow, no one ever goes the easy way. I think we enjoy giving our best to our friends. It's a pleasure cooking for and serving such an enthusiastic and appreciative group.


Linda


Jola

Janice, you dear. I had a wonderful evening, thanks to you. You know you could have ordered pizzas, or set up a Burrito Bar. I know you fretted about your yard; all I saw were these amazing masses of flowers. I love the snapdragons. I am hosting in October. I'm sure I will panic about house cleaning and menu options. I will threaten to break with tradition and serve everyone mac and cheese with turkey hot dogs, but I may know what you were thinking, when you went out of your way to do your best for us. It feels good to honor our friends and show them how much we care about their happiness and health, through the good food we prepare and share, by the fresh cut flowers we set on our tables and the thoughtful touches we add to the evening. It feels good extending our love, because MNO never fails to give us more in return. More laughter, more love, more courage, more faith, and more support. Thank you Janice. Thank you to all the women who have served and cared and shared in MNO.


Yanina and Karen


Maria

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