17 February 2010

On The Topic Of Funerals

So here's a Blogstream-worthy post...

My husband's aunt passed away this last week. She had cancer, so it wasn't a terrible surprise (not that it still isn't sad though...). The out-of-state funeral was Saturday and we were unable to attend due to previously made plans. However, when Brent saw his mom on Monday night, she filled him in on the details.

My mother-in-law's most pressing concern for her brother and her deceased sister-in-law? Their "lack of faith"...specifically their lack of a church. The seemingly most important fallout from this was the attendance of about 25 close friends/family. The general feeling from my mother-in-law and later my husband was that it was "sad" that so few showed up.

To me, the most saddest piece of information was not the "poor" attendance but the fact that Brent's aunt had been estranged from her mother for nearly twenty years. The aunt had specifically requested her husband NOT to inform the mother when she (the aunt) passed away. Now, that is sad.

So, this all launches into the ginormous debate about our own funerals. This story reinforces Brent's belief of the importance of joining a church - to have a network of close friends who will come to your funeral when you die. He wants to have a huge funeral, so he knows he was loved and respected. That was his wording.

I'm sure you see the problem here?

He'll be dead. He won't know who or how many respect and love him anyway.

Well, I got into trouble when I told him this. I guess I wasn't being understanding enough, etc. etc. etc.

Frankly, I'm OK with 25 people at my death party...if they are 25 of the most caring, loving, and important people in my life. I'd rather have that than 100 so-so friends/acquaintences. And I certainly don't need a church to usher me into the afterlife (or whatever lies beyond).

But, that's just me. To be honest, I'd like to have the kind of funeral that Rucker Blakeslee had in the book "Cold Sassy Tree"...a big party in which there is dancing and tons of food. Nobody can wear black (specified in Rucker's will), nor can anyone be sad or crying. The funeral-goers, however, CAN tell funny or memorable stories about the guy.

That sounds pretty good to me.

14 February 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

I certainly had a memorable Valentine's Day this year. Most years this holiday has been utterly forgettable - I cannot really remember any VDay gifts or activities from past years.

Until 2010. This year, I took the initiative to book two tickets to a Valentine's Dinner at a local winery. I simply decided to get past the typical protocol bullshit and got the tickets because I wanted to go and I wanted Brent to go with me.

It. Was. Such. A. Blast.

First of all, I knew I wanted coordinating outfits. It sounds cheesy, I know, but I just wanted to do it. I happened to have a cute bright turquoise 50s-style dress, usually paired with a cute black cardigan sweater...so my end of the ensemble was complete. Brent would require new wardrobe pieces. He decked out in black slacks, black button-down shirt, and a bright turquoise tie.

We arrived at Tassel Ridge at 6:30 for an hour of wine tasting before dinner. That was great - we sampled several different wines and noted ones we wanted to purchase later. In between the sipping, we noshed on Brie and bread bits dipped in flavored olive oils...along with about thirty other couples. I noticed another coordinating couple...red and black.

The buzz had kicked in by 7:30...we then sat down to a mixed greens salad, topped with crumbled blue cheese and slivered almonds. Brent claimed he knew I was "wasted" when I said I liked the blue cheese crumbles. I reminded him that this was true blue cheese dressing...not the vile puke Kraft markets. The pairing wine for this course was called "Candlelight". Apropos, no doubt. Fortunate for us that it was a wine we'd sampled earlier and enjoyed.

The next course brought mashed garlic potatoes, beef tenderloin drizzled with an "In the Dark" reduction, and roasted vegetables. The wine here? A dry red called "In the Dark." The food was excellent, the wine was not. However, we are not dry wine-loving people, so that explains it, I suppose. In fact, Brent and I prefer the sweet wines...what Captain the Wine Connoisseur refers to as "pancake syrup". I actually did not finish my food, as I was too busy chatting with my husband over a myriad of meaningful topics. A waitress whisked my plate away at my first pause...which was okay by me. Brent's cheeks were pretty rosy with the flush of wine by the time the molten chocolate cake dessert came around...complete with the Osky Fizzante pink. I did not finish this dish either - it was very rich...it must have been because I am certainly not one to let chocolate go to waste.

After a few more minutes of chitchat and browsing in the wine shop, yours truly (being the more "sober" of us two) drove the ten minutes back home.

It was just so much fun. We felt like adults (how funny!). I will definitely be taking advantage of Tassel Ridge's events again...soon!