Birthday Cake, aka – if you DO have a flame thrower…

Billy icing my birthday cake

Billy and Lee offered to host an early birthday dinner for me, since I will spend my birthday in Europe. We decided to combine the dinner with our regular Twenties and Thirties Design Team evening.

Misty, Brian, and their boys, Don, Lindsay, Eric, Daniel, Lee, Billy and Liam were all there. Misty made some fantastic appetizers: asparagus fritata, potato fritata and cheesy poofs (not their real name, but we have to go with the South Park reference). Billy and Lee cooked spare ribs. Lindsay and Don made a lovely spinach salad. We all took turns holding Liam. Don was the only person who got caught on film! He had a great time holding Liam, and actually said to Billy, “Why didn’t you all have a baby sooner, this is great!”
Don and Liam

Billy let me pick the kind of birthday cake I wanted. I picked chocolate cake with Italian meringue. Because the meringue is not strong enough to support cake layers, he added chocolate ganache between the layers. It was amazing! He actually used a flame thrower to finish the top of the cake.

Canoeing on Lady Bird Lake

The All Saints’ Twenties and Thirties Group went canoeing on Lady Bird Lake on the same day as Daniel’s First Birthday Party!

We had the perfect size group.  Just enough people for three boats.  Joey and I had a kayak.  Don, Misty and Ewan had a canoe, and Brian, Robert and Greg had a second canoe.

We started on Barton Creek, and headed down toward the lake.  We turned upstream, since it is nice to have the current working with you on the way home.  We paddled a good way upstream, but were forced to turn back downstream before we reached the MoPac bridge, because there was a regatta going on further up stream.  We got to watch a few of the crews warm up and turn around.  It is amazing how fast they go!

After our paddle around the lake, we rested in the park and spent some time visiting.  Misty and Brian were smart enough to bring water, and we relaxed together awhile before we all went on our way.  It was a fun way to spend the afternoon!

New Year’s Day

Yesterday Joey and I hosted our tenth annual New Year’s Day party.  A great group of people showed up!  We ate hoppin’ john, bean soup, and sausage balls (aka meat cookies).  Dad, Asher, Laura and Joey decorated the garage and side walk with chalk.  The Etheredge siblings were all present, and our nephew Daniel was charming, as usual.  Chiara played with Elanor.  Lee and Billy brought their friend Melissa, who talked physics with Dad, and then discussed opera with Laura and Alissa!  We finished the evening with a round of Apples to Apples.  In short, it was a wonderful day, a perfect start to 2009.

Episcopal Church Women Annual Meeting and Retreat

CIMG2760 Many of you know that I was president of the Episcopal Church Women at All Saints’ Episcopal Church back a few years ago.  The last year of my tenure, our church hosted the Annual Meeting of the Diocese of Texas Episcopal Church Women.  The meeting was well received, and everyone had a great time.  It was a really tough job, and I was glad to take a break and relax once it was done.

Apparently people sat up and took notice of the job I did as Annual Meeting Chairperson, because this past spring I got a call from the president of the Diocesan ECW, Anne Hart, asking me to be a Communication Chair for the Diocesan ECW Board of Directors.  My job is to manage communication to the Diocese of Texas newspaper, the Episcopalian, and work on the ECW website.  I had to think long and hard, but in the end I decided that my skills are very well suited to the job.  The officers of the Dioscesan ECW are elected and installed at the Diocese of Texas Episcopal Church Women Annual Meeting and Retreat.

CIMG2764 I asked some of my friends from church to join me at the retreat so that I would have moral support, and the pleasure of their company.  Misty, Lee, and Lindsay agreed to attend with me.  They enthusiastically voted for me on Friday night during the business meeting, and then they stood with me during the installation on Saturday morning.

We went to three great workshops together.  We attended a fun workshop called, “How can I keep from singing?” with Brother Gallagher of Holy Cross Monastery.  We sang until we were horse, especially Lindsay!  We also met a most flirtatious monk, Brother Bernard.  He wore a habit that looked like jedi clothing.  We were pretty sad we did not get a picture!  He joked and laughed with us the entire time we were together.

We also attended Elizabeth Gibson’s workshop on labyrinths.  Elizabeth gave a wonderful presentation, and I think all of us were moved by our labyrinth walk.  I could not stop thinking about how lucky we are to have such a fantastic, creative person sharing her ministry with All Saints’!

The retreat was held at Camp Allen.  The facility is superb, the food was good, the setting was magnificent. The weather was cool, but beautiful.  Misty, Lindsay, Lee, and I took a couple of great walks through a small part of the grounds.    We could not have asked for a better weekend!

TnT trip to the Blanton Museum of Art

The All Saints’ Episcopal Church Twenties and Thirties decided to take a trip to the Blanton Museum of Art as a group.  Most of us had never been there before, despite its location right in the middle of Austin.

We saw lots of great art.  Misty found an engraving with a chubby Jesus.  Lindsay was terrified that she might meet the same fate as St. Agatha, but happily she is still intact. Trenton found a car that he could connect with.  Joey found a penny.  Jeff, Trenton, Joey and I got lost in a bunch of yellow noodles.  Fun was had by everyone.  After exploring the museum, we wandered over to The Dog and Duck for some dinner and beer.  It was really a fantastic evening!

Party at Don and Lindsay’s House – May 2008

18-Don toasts the end of the semester Don successfully finished the semester, and Lindsay had a birthday.  Double reason for a party!

Joey and I met many of Lindsay’s high school friends, which was great!  There was a shark piñata, but not for long!

Check out the pictures to see the shark’s sad fate…