Monday, February 11, 2008

La Noche Mexicana

After the recent success of introducing Mexican Train to the CPH international crowd, I decided that we needed to organize another game night...this time complete with a Mexican theme.

Let's be honest...what other way is there to start a Mexican fiesta than with a shot of tequila?

I made salsa, guacamole, quesadillas, and sour cream chicken enchiladas. Let me tell you, finding all the ingredients was no easy feat as a raced around town to numerous stores looking for cream of chicken soup and ended up having to improvise, thankfully I was successful!
Thanks to Nikki for a fantastic desert to finish our meal in style. By the looks of it everyone was a huge fan....

And of course...the main event: the Mexican Train competion. Grant and Nikki were newcomers to the game and though Grant struggled at first with the concept of not showing your dominos to the entire table, he quickly caught on and decided that a fort of privacy was the way to go...

We decided not to try and beat the previous record of playing until 5am, and instead only played 5 of 13 rounds...but have no doubt that we will complete the game soon. The preliminary standing are:

Nikki: 57
Sylvie and Grant: 67
Christy: 107
Daniel: 120
Virginie: 166
To be continued.....

Marion E. Parker (Nov 1908 - Jan 2008)

I traveled home about a week ago for my Granny's funeral, and while it was naturally a sad event as we mourned the loss of a loved one, I am so thankful that the day was definitely more focused on celebrating the life of an incredible woman.

Marion Dolittle was born in Grayslake, IL. She was a farmer's daughter who rode her pony to school, where there are numerous stories about her spunky nature...including punching a boy "behnid the privy" because he was picking on the girls. She went to Beliot College and then headed to a small farming town in Western Illinois during the Depression where she taught English, History, and Biology even though she was only liscenced in Biology. I don't think I truely comprehend how amazing that is...that 80 years ago when very few women were going to college, especially not those from farming communities, and then that same woman moved away from home during one of the darkest times in our nation and actually recounts her memories with fondness.

Kelly and I snowmobiling with Granny in Dec 2004...she was 96!

From there she went back to Grayslake, married my grandfather, raised two sons, and impacted a community in a way few people do. She was an active member of the Civic Club, PTA, Booster Club, Elections Board, Historical Society, and many more organizations throughout the years. She loved to entertain, cook, dance, go to costume parties (in creative outfits made by things she found around the house), and play bridge. She was the grandmaster in Grayslake's Centennial Parade a few years ago and I really don't think the community had anyone else as qualified to do the honors - she invested her life in that city and was so proud of it. Fishing up in Northern Wisconsin a few years ago

I find myself incredibly fortunate to have had so many great years with a grandmother who was so healthy and full of life for all but the last few months of her life. I loved going up to her house to play in the cornfields, play dress-up in her "famous" closet of old dresses and jewlery, ride around on the tractor, cook (my favorites were smooshing the tomatoes for soup and making applesause), and play cards. She taught me to work hard, to not take myself too seriously, to be humble, to always be honest, and to never miss a chance to to invest in others.

Playing cards in August 2007

The funeral was packed with people whose lives she had impacted just as strongly as she had impacted mine and it was great to be able to share stories about the different ways we knew her. Though she will be deeply missed, one can't help but smile and shake their head a little when they remember the life of love, laughter, and mischief of Mrs. Marion Parker.