Thursday, September 29, 2011

Embraced by the Family Home

Yesterday Ron and I arrived for a visit at Mom’s home in Manchester, NH. This is a very special place. To the casual observer, it’s just a modest mid-century ranch-style house. To us, “1070” is a family treasure.

The house was built in 1952 by Mom’s parents, Barbara and Frank Roberts. Along with help from my Uncle Jerry and Barbara’s carpenter father Carroll Powers, they turned their long-time dream of owning a home into reality. Board by board and shingle by shingle, they created a home full of love and happiness. Over time, it became a magnet for friends and family – both unscheduled drop-ins and planned vacations.

When we were kids, many of our vacations were spent as guests at 1070. The four of us slept on cots in the basement. It was a little creepy, so we compensated by telling stories and giggling ourselves to sleep. In the morning, Grammie would make biscuits from scratch. Grampa would play the organ full blast, we would collect acorns from the yard, Grammie would weave charming stories about fairies in her garden, and assorted extended family would pop in for visits. It was always wonderful. There are many, many memories ingrained into the walls of this home. The spirits of Frank and Barbara are here.

Today, Mom and my sister Althea share the home. Our parents expanded it in the early 90’s, converting part of the basement into a family room with a fireplace, adding a master suite, and renovating the kitchen. But the bones of the original house are intact…the exterior that blends into the wooded lot, the wide, golden pine paneling in the living room and all the way down the hall, and the beautiful windows that welcome in the sunlight and cool breezes.

I’ll always feel at home here.

1070 Living Room.
(photo by Althea Haropulos)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day at Wrigley

Nothing like a day at Wrigley
Last gasp of summer
Sun-soaked diamond
Winds blowing out
Taunting big bats

Loved our day at Wrigley
El rumbling past Addison
Home run, Byrd!
We sing in the seventh
Take me out

Cheered this day at Wrigley
Garza was the man
Sweet late season win
Spilled beer forgiven
Go Cubs Go

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Farewell to Prescott (for now)

What a great summer it has been in Prescott!  We have a few more treats planned for today (a Ladies golf event) and tomorrow (Happy Hour and dinner at the club), before heading for Chicago Saturday morning.  My heart is full and my mind’s eye is reviewing all the fun we’ve had with friends.  I think the best way to share that is via some photos from the past few months.
One of the many beautiful mornings from our back patio.

"Tee Party" on the golf course.

Ron and friends at the Labor Day weekend Luau.

Celebrating the Spirit Cup with my partner Elin.
Fall Festival Prescott Pops concert at Talking Rock.
(Photo courtesy of Janet Cameron.)

One of our friendly hummingbirds.
Already looking forward to being back in November.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Good Friends, Good Food, Good Times

Last night we had friends over to dinner. We enjoyed the preparation, the company, and the food. Ron and I planned and executed the menu together. It’s fun to have time to make this kind of meal on a week night!

Here’s the menu for the evening at Chez Bailey:


Proscuitto Pillow
Proscuitto stuffed with herbed goat cheese, radish, & red pepper jelly. Served with a dash of basil oil.


Caprese Salad
Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, & basil leaves. Drizzled with extra virgin olive oil & fig-infused balsamic vinegar.


Fried Trout
Panko-encrusted trout filet with lemon & capers, served with a side of lightly sautéed zucchini.


Berries Jubilee!
Raspberries & blackberries flambéed in Grand Marnier, tumbled onto sponge cake, accompanied by mango sorbet.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Spirit of the Spirit Cup

Last week I played in Talking Rock Golf Club’s annual ladies’ invitational golf tournament, the Spirit Cup. My handicap is high, my partner was a stranger to me, and I was pretty bound up with trepidation about the whole event. But I had set myself a goal to compete this year, and I am pretty stubborn about meeting my self-imposed goals.

The biggest hurdle in my mind was whether my partner and I would be compatible. After playing a practice round with her last Thursday, my concern was quickly dispatched. Although a much better golfer than I, we got along famously, enjoying the course, the beautiful weather, and each other’s company. She has had quite a bit of tournament experience, and I appreciated her knowledge about the formats (Best Ball and a Scramble), and the finer points of the rules and regulations.

On the first morning of the tournament, a party atmosphere reigned. The theme for the Spirit Cup was “Wild, Wild West”. Carts were decorated accordingly, and the creativity was impressive. We had several stagecoaches, a saloon, a jail, and a chuck wagon, among others. Some ladies had coordinating golf attire, or even costumes such as pigtails and Indian feathers, ponchos and six shooters, and saloon girls with feather boas.

Both days of golf included 18 holes of play, with 9 holes of a Scramble, and 9 holes of Best Ball. These formats take a lot of pressure off us lesser golfers, as your partner can save you if you have a bad shot or a bad hole. Of course, you still want to feel that you have contributed, which I did – hitting some good drives, some great pitches onto the green, and a few really good putts to close out scoring on holes. My intimate knowledge of the geography of the course was also a big help to my guest, who was unfamiliar with it.

We played respectably, and could hold our heads high as the top teams went on to the high-pressure Shoot Out for the championship. The Shoot Out drew a gallery of club members and guests that moved progressively from the 14th hole to the 18th, where the champions were determined by a Chip Off after a tie between the finalists on 18. Congratulations to Kim Dornan and her guest for their big win!

The trophy presentations were accompanied by food, drink, laughter, and hugs, among a large group of happy people. As the sun set, washing Talking Rock with golden sun, we relished our celebration.

I am most pleased that I pushed myself outside my comfort zone to take on a new challenge and have a wonderful new experience. My hope is that more of my golf buddies will take part next year in this event that is a great confidence-builder.