Monday, October 2, 2006

Zen & The Art of a Fabulous Weekend

It must be said, before I post anymore, that after leaving my classroom for the last time on Friday my life has felt much better. Though, it was hard to hug my students good bye. They wrapped their arms around my waist so tight it felt as though my hips were going to shrink. When the bell rang for the last time, I was alone in my classroom feeling very nervous.
Taking down the lanterns and gathering up all my folders I tried to persuade the big lump in my throat to either come up and out of my mouth or be swallowed back into my stomach cavity. When all little notes and gifts from well-wishing students were safe inside my bag, I turned off my light and locked the door.

It was over.

The lump remained.

And I went on to have the best weekend of my life.

Mole seems to be the raging trend at Mexican eating establishments these days. Mole is a sauce that simmers for approximately two years in preparation for a celebration. Traditionally it douses a tenderly cooked chicken. Locally, the best selection is at the Red Iguana in Salt Lake. I suppose that is why all Rock Stars eat there after concerting. I eat there because I Wanna Be a Rock Star. But also for their chocolate mole which they pour liberally over my bean burritos. They also have a delightful pumpkin seed mole. (I love you Red Iguana. I am in love with you and I want to have your children.)

I've tried other mole at various restaurants. On Friday night I tried it at Mi Ranchito in Orem. I used to hate Mi Ranchito, but it'’s cheap Ameri-Mexican food at it's finest. There is also a painting on the wall with a breast-baring woman and it's become a tradition of mine to play goalie to Chup's eyes. I asked for their mole enchilada experience. I couldn't tell if the mole was bitter on purpose or horribly burnt. Burnt mole no tanks. I won'’t even touch Burnt Almond Fudge Soy Ice Cream.

El Azteca serves a pretty good mole. One time when I was there, the owner sat down at my table and discussed with me the various implications of mole on a society. He had me read an article in the latest Mexican Cooking Times all about differing moles sprouting from the various regions. I explained to him that his mole was fine, albeit sometimes a little cold and filled with chunks of beef. No gracias.

I've attempted my own mole at home. It cures menstrual cramps. Not kidding. I'm not even Mexican either (I used to be Irish).

Thank you Target for mass producing these Vintage Ts. I've blogged about them before so there is no need to do it again. I am sending you a simple thank you and some of Chup'’s pictures. Call me if you need anything else by way of appreciation.

On Sunday we were invited up to the Love Shack for post-conference dinner with Page et al, and Andrew et al. Chup was invited to bring his camera along to take some family photos. The pictures turned out AMAZING GRACE HOW SWEET THE SOUND OF ALL THE CREATURES FROM ABOVE. (I think that is how it goes. . .)

Dinner served was cooked salmon in a couscous pilaf which consisted of raisins, almonds and shredded mint leaves from Page's garden. In the picture above, my nieces (Lolo, Winnie and Chick) insisted sitting by me during dinner. This little procedure of "who gets to sit by The Favorite Aunt" always makes me feel good. Like getting-picked-first-in-warball-in-the-fifth- grade good. After dinner we devoured Vance's WHOLE WHEAT! pumpkin brownies.

After dinner we all went for a hike to see the sun set behind Timp from a golden meadow across the canyon. Andrew and Vance told somewhat scary stories (NOT scary if you are like, six-years-old, to be certain). When we were headed back across the mountain, we could see the Love Shack in the distance, lit up by orange pumpkin lights strung with care over the front deck. I felt a pang of Sunday Night Anxiety, a disorder which reminds you that the next day is Monday and you have to start earning your weekend all over again. It was easily dismissed however, when I remembered how my new life as a stay-at-home-wife was going to be different.

Cheers to that!