Monday, December 20, 2010
The irony is that Uncle Bud's own sleep walking, sleep talking and worst, sleep texting, is a constant hurdle in our life as roommates.
Such was the case with Family Dinner Series Week Nine.
The Sunday before the dinner, Bud texted me to verify that we were on as usual. He then asked if I wanted to invite anyone, or if he should invite his coworker who had previously joined us for Week Two. I told him I would like to invite Adam and Frazz, so we could also include our mutual friend Gold who would be flying to his winter gig in Utah the following morning. Bud texted back that my plan sounded good. He would invite his coworker and his coworker's new girlfriend to the following week's dinner, Family Dinner Series Week Ten.
But throughout this whole conversation... Uncle Bud was asleep.
Which is how, Boys and Girls, Family Dinner Series Week Nine turned out to be the most EPIC FAMILY DINNER EVER serving me, Bud, Gilbert Hoss, Bud's Coworker, Bud's coworker's girlfriend, Adam, Frazz and Gold.
Nothing warms a winter night like a full house!
Well... a full house, and some party toasts.
I could only be grateful that I had already made a massive chicken cider stew the night prior. Supplemented with bread, salad, and the most amazingly garlicky spinach artichoke dip ever, the meal was more than hearty enough to satisfy the entire table's appetites.
Conclusion? Any family dinner that starts with champagne and ends with a jigsaw puzzle is a success.
Conclusion #2? Somebody take Bud's phone away while he's sleeping.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
The office is a rarely used room, so earlier tonight I took it over as the space to organize all my Christmas gifts. Well, just now, I opened the door to add a treat to the pile and for about a minute I was convinced the room was inhabited by the ghost of Christmas Future.
I realize how stupid that sounds, but when you live in the middle of nowhere and you open the door to a dark room and you hear clattering and sleigh bells... what else do you think?
I should probably get used to it.
After all, my house in "the middle of nowhere" is right down the street from a horse farm that hosts holiday themed carriage rides. Clattering is actually horse hoofs. And sleigh bells? Well, they are just that.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Musical stars align: River Tree Arts brings Maine Academy of Modern Music to Kennebunk - 12/16/10
All in the family: Local actors star in 'A Christmas Carol' at City Theater - 12/16/10
Sunday, November 28, 2010
What up, Hoss?
We had invited one of Gilbert Hoss's friends, but she bailed at the last minute. In fact, she also bailed the week prior. I guess she didn't understand that an invitation to the barn's Family Dinner Series was a highly sought after item, not to be jeopardized with naps and sickness.
You're a very nice girl, Blondie, and I genuinely enjoy spending time with you. But... you are officially off the Tuesday night invite list.
I had a craving for pizza. Not wanting to make my own, and also not wanting to order in, I came up with a Pizza Casserole on the fly. Layers of tortilla, cheese, pepperoni, and grilled veggies. As usual, the boys loved it but honestly, it reminded me of something you eat as a snack in front of football... not a real dinner. Luckily I had some salad and bread on hand to balance things out a bit.
Conclusion? Anything with pepperoni and cheese makes for yummy late-night leftovers!
For Family Dinner Series Week Eight the boys and I went all out in preparation for our most special dinner guests yet. My sister, brother-in-law and two-year old niece Hopper.
Instead of our usual crackers and humus, we snacked on baked brie. Instead of root beers and waters, we indulged in some wine. And in ultimate contrast to the previous week's meal, we had bourbon marinated beef and chicken kabobs, salad, spicy rice, and garlic rolls.
The meal was delicious but most entertaining was little Hopper, who rejected her sassy seat in favor of a grownup chair and spent most of the meal dancing in a crouched position.
"Hey! We have three rules at family dinner," Bud told her. "No hats, cell phones off, and no shaking your bum at the dinner table!"
Usually Uncle Bud has the ability to scare Hopper silly, but the fact that his cell phone rang a minute later, followed quickly by Gilbert Hoss's, must have convinced her that his threat was empty. The bum shaking continued.
Conclusion? The best family dinners often include real family.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Bartender: Yeah, I know, I already heard.
Me: What? How? Who did you hear from?
Bartender: Let's just say a little robin told me.
Uncle Bud: Uh, that was me. And I am neither little, nor bird-like.
Friday, November 19, 2010
I purchased my car, with the help of my parents, in 2002, shortly after I secured a full ride to a small college in Maine. Paying 90% of the cost of my used car seemed like very little compared to the cash my parents put up for my older sister and younger brother's private college educations.
They felt they were making out like bandits.
I too, felt I was making out like a bandit. I had a car! A lower-case, no issue, no payment car!
But the thing about my Car is... it's a volkswagen. No wait. A Volkswagen. Capital V.
Do you know who should own Volkswagens? People who like tinkering with cars.
Do you know who likes tinkering with cars? Yeah, me neither. Not me. That's for sure.
And making the issue exponentially worse, is the fact that while I am not a bad driver, bad things do tend to happen to me while driving.
(Did you see that? That there was called Creative License.)
The list of... issues... I have survived since acquiring my vehicle is... extensive. There was the time I broke down on the Maine Turnpike in a snowstorm and got stranded at a Dunkin Donuts with a rapidly dying cell phone the day after Christmas. There was the time I spun out of control a mere 100 yards from my own driveway and popped two tires on my way off the road. There was the time my clutch gave out on the first stretch of a trip to Vermont and I ended up stranded at my boyfriend's friend's mother's house for the majority of what was supposed to be a wild spring break. Oh, yeah. And there was the time I drove into a building. Different car, sure. But you get what I'm saying.
So... yes. Some of the time the incidents have been at my own fault.
But others? Others have just been Issues. Capital I. And better yet, Continuing Issues.
Like the fact that in order to start my car I have to quickly jerk the steering wheel to the left while turning the ignition to the right. Or the fact that wet weather, despite having installed a brand new distributor cap, still causes my car to require an ample amount of silicone spray before (maybe) starting. Or how about the fact that only half my dash lights up, except for sometimes, when suddenly the other half lights up, and the unexpected brightness of it on a dark ride home is enough to send me into a tailspin. Or there's also the fact that my clutch is lagging.
Let's just say that every time I call my parents at an unscheduled time, they ask what is wrong with the Car.
Which is exactly why I am excited to report that I got a new job. While I do not plan to write about the job (Welcome. You're Fired.) I will say that the pay associated with the position just may be enough to get me approved for a car payment. And as sad as I will be to kiss my little periwinkle whip goodbye, I am very much looking forward to my only car Issues being MY issues.
Oh, right. I mentioned Mexican dip.
Let's just say that not only am I a girl who has trouble keeping a car on the road, but I am also a girl who 90% of the time is transporting a dish of homemade dip. The two qualities do not go well together.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
One, childhood meals make the best family dinners.
And two, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs.
After Uncle Bud requested I make "Pasta and Veg", a staple from our younger years, I called Mom.
"I don't think I even have a recipe for that," she said. "I think I modeled it after something from Bertucci's. It was a fake!"
She told me to get some pasta, parmesan, chicken broth and garlic, and run with it.
I instead found a recipe that included all of those ingredients, and ran with THAT.
The recipe called for one pound of pasta, and because my Tuesday schedule was a little unpredictable (do we all have jobs that are affected by Election Day?) I decided to cook it off the night before. I cooked it, drained it, and tossed it in a bowl with a small amount of olive oil to keep it from sticking. As I wrapped it up, in walked Uncle Bud.
"That's it? Seriously?"
I tried to tell him that a pound of pasta was all the recipe called for but to no avail.
"Bridge. I could eat that by myself."
I doubled the recipe.
Well kids, if anyone wants any delicious pasta with grilled veggies, chicken, and a garlicy cream sauce, come on over. Uncle Bud and I both brought it for lunch every day this week, I froze a big container of it, and I still have some left. Oy vey.
Conclusion? One pound of pasta will feed three people. Especially when appetizers include kielbasa. (Thanks, Alias.)
Friday, November 5, 2010
"I'm melting! I'm meeeelting!"
If my barn had a voice, it would sound just like hers.
"I'm leaking! I'm leeeeaaaaking! I'M LEEEEAAAAAKKKKKKING!"
I really hope this rain stops soon.
It's bad for my barn, it's bad for my car, and frankly, it's really bad for my bangs.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
The girls do not amuse him.
"You guys are arguing over who gets a Bentley when Bridget and I have to argue over who has to buy toilet paper!"
Pretty sure they can't hear you through the TV there, Bud.
And pretty sure none of them have ever had to worry about buying toilet paper.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
I sent a quick text to Alias informing him of the Mexican theme. He brought over some chips, salsa and taquitos for appetizers while I cooked a Mexican Lasagna and mixed up a Taco Salad.
When I realized I had chosen Mexican for the night that our guest roll included a one-year old, I became skeptical, but man oh man did Hailey hold her own. That girl is not afraid of spice! And luckily, as godparents to a one-year old of our own, Uncle Bud and I had a sassy-seat already set up at the dining room table.
Conclusion? No one, not even a one-year old, can say no to a salad with Doritos in it.
By the time Family Dinner Week Four arrived I had fallen into a financial hole so deep I almost boycotted our weekly tradition. Instead, Bud and Alias went shopping and cooked a delicious meal of grilled chicken and steak, spicy rice, and a side salad to rival all that came before it. Then, while I sat on the couch and felt sorry for myself, the boys even set the table!
Conclusion? Whining will, every once in a long while, produce results.
Luckily I got my motivation... and some of my funding... back for Family Dinner Week Five. Uncle Bud had requested an old family favorite from our childhood called Seven Layer Casserole. He even promised to put aside his OCD tendencies that require him to only eat one type of food at a time. Casserole, he wanted! And a Seven Layer one at that.
Conclusion? Do all childhood memories come coated in cream of mushroom soup? YUM.
Stay tuned for more Family Dinners! Perhaps featuring some new guest stars? Alias is already here every night... we're quickly becoming that family with nothing left to talk about...
Friday, October 15, 2010
"You're looking at it. Me and this chick flick."
"No, seriously, what are you doing?"
"Oh, seriously? Seriously I was going to bust out some abs so I can look more like Ryan Reynolds. Have you seen that guy?"
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The definition of "Family" is "an even distribution of responsibility" after all......
For Family Dinner Week One, we invited Frazz and Adam for a delicious feast of Thai Peanut Noodle Salad and a mix of Beef and Chicken Kabobs, marinated in a Soy Ginger Sauce.
For Family Dinner Week Two, we invited one of Bud's coworkers who shall, for public school working reasons, remain nameless.
[Side note: Bud's Best Friend has also chosen to remain nameless (some people are not as keen as I on having their lives published on the Interwebs), but he has yet to choose his alias. And so, Bud's Best Friend, you are from this point forward to be called "Alias". Until you put down that Xbox controller and think of something more creative.]
Anyway, for Family Dinner Week Two, I prepared a Red Bliss Potato Salad with Peas, Green Peppers, Red Onion, and a Honey Dijon Vinaigrette, along with Turkey Burgers Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Bacon, topped with Spinach and Tomato. FROM SCRATCH.
Conclusion? I made three red-meat eating boys LOVE turkey burgers!
Not, bad, kids. Not bad at all.
The Family Dinner Series fits in with two of the goals on my Mission: Life List, which I will share more about soon. Those goals?
1. Cook more adventurously.
2. Eat more adventurously.
Care for some photographic evidence?
Week Two's ingrediants! I went shopping with a $40 budget, and spent $49. Not terrible.
Turkey burgers in progress! My first time working with ground meat, and I stuffed it! High five, me!
Cooked to perfection on the grill. Way to rule your role, Uncle Bud. Nice work to you too, Alias.
Hey! Boys! Want to be on the blog!?
Stay tuned as the Family Dinner Series continues!
Monday, October 11, 2010
In Kennebunkport, on the other hand, Columbus Day is a very special kind of holiday. Exodus Holiday #2.
Exodus Holiday #1? Labor Day.
Exodus Holiday #2? Columbus Day.
Exodus Holiday #3? New Years.
On Labor Day we lost our so-called "Summer Residents". Today, we lose our retired summer residents, the snow birds / beach bitties that are bound for Florida, the Bush family, the entire extended Bush staff, and Bush Secret Service (plus families).
Yesterday, driving through the Port was stop and go at about five miles per hour.
Tomorrow? We fly.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Anyway. I wrote a preview of the show for the Coast Star and tried to have a little fun in the process. Check it out!
Holy Entertainment!: It takes a community to produce this 'Godspell' - 10/7/10
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
"I'm going to buy a wii tonight."
"You're buying what tonight!?"
"I'm going to buy a WII tonight. I'll need something to do here."
Monday, October 4, 2010
My life without deadlines, it turns out, is chaos.
For my first assignment back, I met Helen Revis-Rose, a local Kennebunk-er who just published her first book, Brave: A Memoir of overcoming shyness.
Shy no more, Kennebunk author shares her story - 9/29/10
Check it out!
Thursday, September 30, 2010
This morning I had the incredible opportunity to sit down and talk with one of the two girls who spent their childhood living in my barn. Among a slew of coincidences throughout our chance meeting, came one that struck me as particularly funny:
My name is Bridget Mary, and I live in this girl's former home.
Her current home is a duplex, of which she and her husband rent out half.
Her tenant's name?
I am not even kidding.
Now if only I could have coincidentally mowed my lawn and weeded my gardens before her arrival!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
I have the best bedroom ever. It is huge. And the only room in the house in which the ceiling was build ABOVE the beams. When means I have this neat, sort of... gambrel ceiling, that slopes up from the wall behind my bed, and then back down to the three closets that face my sleeping area.
But in any case.
I know my rodents... and the volume of the scratching has lead me to believe the animal to be a squirrel. But, with no long visible scratches on any of the closet walls, I'm thinking it is probably more likely a chipmunk. Whatever it is, it is much too loud to be a mouse. And frankly, has too big an appetite.
Because when I opened the closet this afternoon, this is what I found:
One of my favorite scarves ever - and a cashmere JCrew one that has matching gloves no less - has been destroyed!
Oh, rogue chipmunk. You think you're so clever? Game on, buddy. GAME ON.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Uncle Bud has a solution.
It would beat that $30 push mower...
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Although... the timber framing in that bedroom does look familiar...
Friday, April 23, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
Monday, February 8, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
West Hartford Parade Fundraiser
February 6, 2010
I have been attending this yearly fundraiser for literally as long as I can remember, so I am assuming that a lot of you here already know who I am. For those of you who do not, my name is Bridget Burns. And while I have stood before you many times in the past, it was usually in preparation to dance a two-hand reel. Tonight, I stand before you in recognition of my parents, this year’s town marshals, Greg and Norine Burns.
While most people learn their heritage from their parents, my older sister Morrigan and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly claim full credit for our family getting reconnected to our Irish roots. You see, it all started one day when my sister came home from nursery school and announced that she had told her teacher that she was Chinese, and I, was Japanese. Mom and Dad took this as a sign that they weren’t doing enough to educate us on our family history, and the next thing we knew we were both enrolled in Step Dancing classes with Sheila Stevens and the Shamrock School of Irish Dance.
Step dancing opened doors for us that we never expected. My sister and I have performed Irish dance everywhere, from the floor of the State Senate, to a parking lot in New Jersey where we joined hundreds of other dancers in an effort to enter the Guinness Book of World Records. Step dancing has connected us with everyone from cast members of Riverdance, to President Reagan, to Jim Moriarty, host of the hit (though now defunct) cable access TV show, and radio program, the Irish Hour.
It was also through our involvement in dance that our parents became familiar with the Irish American Home in Glastonbury, which of course lead to their participation in the Central Connecticut Celtic Cultural Committee and it’s annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.
While Morrigan and I joined our dance school’s contingent, our parents – the new young couple on the West Hartford Parade Committee – marched with the Hoseys, Morans, Stauntons, Murnanes, and Bernie Reilly-Duffy. And of course, Liam.
It may be hard to imagine looking at him now, but my “little” brother Liam was so young when my parents marched in their first parade, that he couldn’t actually march. Instead, he was in a snuggly. Later, able to sit up on his own, he rode the parade in a wagon. A few years after that, Liam appointed himself head of the West Hartford Parade Float committee, and from that point forward managed to be a pivotal character on many an Irish-themed design, built mostly in our own driveway. In fact, now that I think about it, in all of Liam’s years “marching” in the parade with Mom and Dad, I’m not sure he’s ever actually marched!
While I do not remember everything from my parents’ early years on the West Hartford Parade Committee, I do remember getting really excited to go over to Pat and Bridie Moran’s house. Partially because I thought it was so cool that someone actually went by the nickname, Bridie, but mostly because I knew she would send us home with a bag of her delicious scones.
I also remember helping out at the annual Colleen Pageant. Morrigan and I loved to get dressed up in our matching Laura Ashley jumpsuits, to go onstage and hold the Waterford Crystal Question bowl for Colleen contestants like our own Mary McGloin. Of course by the time we were old enough to enter the pageant, it had switched to the more gender-neutral scholarship competition - much to Morrigan’s relief and my own tiara-loving dismay.
And of course I can’t forget all of the hours spent peeling vegetables in preparation for the Club’s corned beef and cabbage dinner. I supplement my current career as a writer, by helping out in a small kitchen down the road from my house. So… thank you. Without you all teaching me how to efficiently peel potatoes at such a young age, I might not be quite as gainfully employed as I now am!
In fact, Liam also has you all to thank for his current employment. When applying to be a carpenter’s apprentice, Liam was asked if he had any experience framing.
“Oh yeah,” he said, recalling a past float. “I framed a pub on a trailer bed once.”
“How about roofing?” the carpenter asked.
“Yeah, we thatched the roof,” Liam replied.
Since moving away from West Hartford, eight years ago, I have gradually pared down my Connecticut visits to around six annual trips. The first three are obvious: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. The second three? The Festival, the Fundraiser, and the Parade. I think the fact that these three events now reserve the same recognition as national holidays is a clear reminder of how huge a role this community has served in our upbringing.
A lot of you here are probably aware of the fact that my parents plan to eventually retire to their vacation home in Kennebunkport, Maine. What you may not realize, is that this parade is one of the biggest factors still holding them to Connecticut.
Sure, they will miss their careers in the West Hartford public school system. And of course they’ll miss their historic home that they have spent so much energy restoring and keeping up. And it goes without saying that they will miss their extended families and all of their other friends. But… I have a strong suspicion that the Irish Club, and the community that comes with it, is what they will miss the most. Frankly, their Maine-based social life is looking pretty bleak without it!
An old acquaintance recently asked me where everyone in my family is currently living. I explained that Morrigan and I both live in Maine, with Liam scheduled to move there this coming summer, and my parents headed up sometime after retirement.
“Wow, that’s so funny,” the acquaintance said. “That you all ended up in the same state.”
“It’s not that funny,” I responded. “We’re ridiculously close. If we didn’t all end up in Maine, we probably would have all ended up somewhere else.”
And I guess this is where we come full circle. Because the fact is, while we originally got involved in all of these Irish activities – dance, the club, the parade – in an effort to reconnect with our roots, in the end we really just grew closer to each other. Our heritage bonds us, and even though my sister, brother, and I have all moved away from home, and even though our careers have taken turns we never expected, the one constant that remains in our lives regardless, is our family.
I guess that’s just the blessing of being raised in an Irish household.
We love you, Mom and Dad! Congratulations!