Junapalooza

jesssahawl
Jessica in a shawl made by her mother

Erica and I are almost birthday twins, with mine being the day before hers, though come to think of it, several years ahead, too. So maybe we aren’t birthday twins, but we decided to celebrate our June birthdays together with a Junapalooza at the family property on Saturday.

I’m both pleased and embarrassed to report that I didn’t do a thing but show up. In my defense, though, I’m the only one who works at least five days a week (and complains eight days a week about it), and Erica actually enjoys cooking (it’s become a tyrannical chore for me. See the five days a week thing). Sometimes I picture her cackling over her cauldron like a fairytale character.

Erica’s fairytale basket was filled with scented dal and chutney made from her own figs and quinces. She also brought a deeply chocolatey three layer cake covered with Swiss buttercream and sprinkles, which, as Erica said, tasted exactly like ice cream, so it was like having cake and ice cream all at once.

cake

As if that weren’t enough, she also bought a flask of high quality gin, a bottle of pink grapefruit juice, and a jar of handmade lavender syrup, which were all whirled into delightful pink cocktails with the addition of ice:

drink

For those of you who want to try making your own lavender syrup at home, be careful to only put in the flowers, since the stems can make the syrup bitter. Other than that, it’s just water and sugar. We need to come up with a name for this delightful confection. It’s the perfect thing for a summer evening.

When Lichen appeared, he brought his own libation ingredients. He set to work zesting limes (he brought his own zester), and made frozen strawberry margaritas, the glasses rimmed with sea salt, which he also brought. We could drink pink as well as think pink*!

The pink theme continued with a raspberry pie made from raspberries grown on the property and picked that very day, which may be why it was mostly demolished before I got a photo opp:

pie

The pie and cake were preceded by the dal and chutney, as well as butter chicken. Jonathan grilled the chicken on the BBQ before putting it in the sauce Megan made. We also had forbidden rice and Megan’s home-made naan with cilantro and shallots. The garlic and onions in the butter chicken sauce came from the property, as did the cilantro and shallots in the naan. It was all delicious, and it was nice to sit by the fire and talk after dinner, replete with deliciousness.

Jessica and I fantasized about an alternate reality, in which we lived in a mansion within walking distance of a charming village with bookstores, cafes, chocolatier, patisserie, cheese shop, charcuterie, and other essentials. The village would be far enough away that we couldn’t see it or hear it, but we wouldn’t have to drive there. Rain would be “plentiful”, as Jessica put it, and there would occasionally be snow, enough to make snowmen and play in. It would never be hotter than 85 degrees F (Erica and Jessica had just suffered through a day of 104 degree heat – and baked a cake in it). Erica would be the chatelaine and run everything. It would be heavenly! A girl can dream.

A YEAR AGO: Around the house.

*I was shocked to learn that Erica and Jessica hadn’t seen Funny Face, starring Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn, with Kay Thompson, the immortal author of the immortal Eloise books (how I love them!) as a Diana Vreeland character admonishing everyone to “Think pink!” It also has some of the first supermodels from the days when they were stunning: Suzy Parker, Dovima, Sunny Harnett. I think a communal viewing is in order, pink drinks non-optional.

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6 Comments


  1. Boy when you guys celebrate, you do so in style. Everything looks so inviting and must be just delicious. Jessica might be a few years younger than you but she sure acts very much like you. She is stylish, she cooks and thins like a slightly older girl like you.


  2. It’s funny you should say that. When Erica was leaving, she said, “Wasn’t it nice of me to have your kid for you?” 🙂


  3. Angels appear in many different ways and forms during our lifetime, it’s up to us to listen closely and watch for signs of their presence.


  4. What a great read…… I enjoyed your party so much! Jessica continues to be such an interesting and lovable girl & Gosh! she is growing up so very fast.
    Really like the colours of the shawl that Erica made and Jessica models it beautifully.
    How nice to have your party with all your special people around you.


  5. We enjoyed it, too! Erica is already plotting a high tea for next year’s Junapalooza. She is an unlikely angel, but perhaps she is heavily disguised. 🙂


  6. It’s not always how they act and look but the positive effect on people around them, after all, these earth Angels are human still after all. And if I read your blog right, she sure has a positive effect on people around her.

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