Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday Funday

I meant to post this earlier today, but the day proved a bit more frustrating than I previously assumed. The weather forecast promised rain the entire day. I love a day of rain because there isn’t much expectation...I don’t feel like outside workouts or errands beckon. A day of rain calls for my bed, the television, good books, coffee, cooking, and writing. 

During a brief lull in the rain, I leashed up my dog and ventured outside to give Belle a quick bathroom break. I planned to stay on the porch part of my ramp, but, at the last minute, decided to wheel down the ramp and let her sit in the yard for a few minutes. My sister just called so I thought I might enjoy sitting outside, watching Belle, and talking to my sister for a brief time. Well, the comedy that is life had other plans. Let me tell you, all afternoon, I was so upset about this incident and went over it and over it about ten different ways, cried, called my mom, talked to my sister about it, and finally just got over it. And now that the trauma is over, I can’t stop laughing. 

Nothing is easy in my life and everything is like a half-hour comedy show. Just getting out of the door is hysterical. I leashed up Belle, went outside, started down the temporary ramp, made of untreated particle board, which, evidently, becomes quite slippery when wet, and was almost to the bottom of the ramp when Belle saw a squirrel and pulled and barked as if ten machine toting, fatigue wearing enemy combatants were standing in our front lawn. Lately, since we now have a yard and don’t live on a super busy street, bolting after cats, deer, and squirrel, has become Belle's favorite past time. Friday, the wheelchair repair person was here to fix my footrest. He held the door open as he left and Belle crawled under my chair, shimmied through his legs, and bolted out of the door. She runs through the neighbors’ yards, then through the woods in the back, and finally saunters up my driveway as if nothing happened. She looks at me as if I am the crazy one for losing my insides and hysterically calling her name. Today, as she pulled at the sight of the enemy squirrel, she also pulled so violently my chair went half way off of the ramp and I was left balancing in mid-air. She pulled so hard, the leash slid out of my hand and she took off in a sprint. I was about to fall and end up soaking wet in the grass. I am terrified a car will hit her because Belle thinks cars stop for dogs, but holding tightly to my precariously positioned wheelchair was all I could do to prevent myself from eating wet grass. And my sister, who was still waiting and speaking on the speaker phone, that was once in my lap and now sitting on the slippery and wet ramp, said over and over again, “Sarah, are you okay, should I call 9-1-1? Sarah, what happened, are you okay, okay I am calling 9-1-1.”

And I, while balanced on the edge of the ramp, decided to just yell help over and over again. I have no idea why, but I am laughing hysterically while I type this. I know it isn’t funny. I know it was scary. Heck, I was shaking so badly and was so out of my body I was dizzy. But, now, for some odd reason it is cracking me up, in all kinds of ways. So I sat, teetering between a mouthful of grass and the solidity of my chair, while my sister asked time and time again, from the voice on the ramp, what happened, are you okay, and I just continued to yell help, while Belle sniffed and explored, without a care in the world. Luckily, and this is where I see miracles. Miracles are found in the moments people or things or hope or light just show up. Yes, I was in a compromised position, but the shift in perception from why did this happen to me to well it did and now someone is rounding the corner and running up the street to help me, that is the miracle. Bad things will happen, but the love, the light that shines after the clouds, those are the miracles. A very nice neighbor man, who also decided to walk his dog during the rain break, ran towards me. He quickly arrived, pulled my chair to safety, and all was well again. The next few moments are a blur because I was so shaken, but I know I said some sort of a thank you and Belle returned without a care in the world. And my sister’s voice, still coming from the fallen phone on the ramp, repeated, “Are you okay, what the hell just happened? Hey, Sarah, are you okay?” This voice from the ramp, well it sent my shaking and numb body into a fit of laughter. 

And yes, I know it is awful and I might really be hurt if I did fall, but I didn’t fall. I am okay, help arrived, and for that I am grateful. Only today counts, not what might have happened, or what could have happened. The good outweighed the bad and that is what matters. And my dog is unscathed. Dogs get it, life goes on, and we all end up okay in the end.

She now rests, underneath the stove, while my onion soup simmers away, and I write to try and subside this laughter a bit. I plan to make the nice neighbor man cookies tomorrow and write him a thank you note. All is well that ends well, right?

The planned post...
Yesterday, I wheeled down my giant hill and headed out to Ashlea’s house. It isn’t a secret that I love to spend time with Ashlea. We just get each other. As we said goodbye last night, we said thank you to each other for the evening and each said, I should be thanking you for what you did, not you thanking me, and her husband, St. Kyle, said, “Hey, each of you contributed something and that made everything come together so well.”

I am so grateful for Ashlea. She makes me feel like my scars aren’t there and my vulnerability is accepted. She never second guesses my ability, yet is always there to reach something or lend her hand while carrying on a conversation. She is aware of my limitations, yet never makes me feel limited. Her friendship is one of the best parts of my life and spending time with her, as well as her family, always makes me feel like a very lucky person. And her husband, St. Kyle, is a pretty great friend as well. Even though they live a half an hour away, he insisted on following me home in the pouring down rain to help me up my huge hill. And even though I refused to allow it, he sat by the phone and begged me to call him if I needed help. I didn’t, the rain stopped for a minute, and I made it up safely. But, just knowing he was a phone call away, well that is just the encouragement I needed.

And yesterday, Ashlea and I did what we do best. We cooked and crafted. Ashlea just returned from a visit with another friend whose young son was just recently diagnosed with leukemia. Ashlea spent day and night as a rock for this friend, and one day, while the friend was at the hospital attending to her son as he received his dose of chemo therapy, Ashlea stayed home with the baby. And while the baby slept, she turned on Food Network and caught a show that featured a recipe, sent me a text, and decided we should make it upon her return. So, we did. We made a potato and caramelized onion tart. We modified the recipe so much that we made it our own. It turned out so well that I drove home in a food coma and fell immediately into bed. We took pictures and wrote down the recipe we made up and here it is for all of you. It is delicious and I can’t wait to make it again. 

We took pictures of most of the steps for all of you, but because we are Chatty Cathy’s when we get together, we didn’t start taking them until about half way through. Sorry, we just get to talking and lose our heads.

Potato and Caramelized Onion Rustic Tart

One pie crust or sheet of puff pastry (we made our own pie crust because Whole Foods was out of puff pastry, but any already made crust will work perfectly well.)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 or 2 large yellow onions (about 4 cups), thinly sliced (about 1/8 inch half rounds)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Potato (we used Yukon Gold)
4 oz cream cheese, softened (we decided you can really use almost any cheese mixed with any seasoning you like. Herbed goat cheese with just garlic and salt and pepper or plain goat cheese with any kind of seasoning. Grated sharp cheddar or marscarpone or Fontina or Gruyere. The possibilities are endless)
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (there are tons of recipes on line to make homemade)
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard

Prepare or thaw pie crust. It needs to be soft enough to roll out.

Mix 4oz of softened cream cheese in a small bowl with homemade Italian seasoning, mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat butter and 1 tablespoon of the Olive Oil. Add the sliced onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, while stirring occasionally, about twenty minutes or until the onions are a dark, golden brown. Remove from heat.

These are the onions during the cooking process, they will be much browner when done. 

While the onions are cooking, slice the potato. Ashlea sliced them with her food processor’s slicing blade. Slice into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Place the sliced potatoes in cold water so they don’t turn brown.

Roll out the pie crust and roll out into about a 12-inch round and about 1/8 inch think circle. Roll it onto a well-floured surface or a piece of parchment paper. If you roll onto the parchment paper, you can slide the paper onto the cookie sheet from the counter and bake. If you roll it onto a well-floured surface, roll it around the well-floured rolling pin and then slowly roll it off the rolling pin out onto a greased cookie sheet. Spread the cream cheese mixture in an even layer over the pie crust about 1-inch from the edge of the circle. Basically, leave about a 1-inch border.

Remove the potatoes from the water and dry really well with paper towels. Then, toss them in a bowl with the remaining 1tablespoon of Olive Oil and a bit of salt and pepper. After potatoes are tossed in the oil, place an even layer of potatoes, overlapping slightly, on top of the cream cheese mixture. Keep them inside of the 1-inch crust border. Finally, place caramelized onions over the top of the potatoes. Fold over the exposed edge of the pie crust or puff pastry to create a border.

Obviously, our dough is not a perfect circle. We will show you what to do with the excess dough a few pictures down.

See those little balls of dough? That is the excess dough and we put butter on them, sprinkled them with cinnamon and sugar. We should have put them in separately because we had to remove the entire pan after twelve minutes and remove the cinnamon sugar bites. Cooking is always a lesson. They were tasty and worth it, though.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the potatoes are cooked thoroughly. Let stand about 5 minutes until slicing.

We ate ours with a spinach, bacon, hard boiled egg, and red onion salad. We made a homemade mustard dressing. We will try to make the dressing again and record the amounts. We kind of made it up as we went along. I promise to include it once we figure it out.

After a delicious dinner and washing dishes, we decided to do a craft. Ashlea is amazing at holiday decorations, well any decorating to be honest. And since I am not decorating this season because I don’t want to unpack and then pack again for the construction, I am vicariously living through her. She is so good at it, I basically ask for her advice constantly any way. She had this brilliant, yet super simple, idea of a burlap runner for her front entry table. She has the house decked out for fall and wanted a little something else. 

Here is a super simple, but darling bit of a fall decoration idea.

Burlap runner

You will need:
One roll of finished edge burlap. (yes, they do sell this in all sorts of widths. Ash found hers at Hobby Lobby for $9.99)
One spool of wide ribbon. (choose whatever you like, grosgrain, patterned, wire-edged, anything really. Ashlea chose something that works all through the fall season.

Just measure how long you want the burlap. Determine how much material you want to hang over the edge of your table. But, be sure to leave enough to pinch and tie a bow around it. This will make the length of the burlap shrink about two inches. So leave enough. Better to have it longer than you would like and cut a bit off later. 

The plain console table.

The table with just the burlap.

Then, tie a bow with your ribbon around each end. Decorate the table with whatever you want and the project is done. That is it. It seems like a really simple thing, but makes such a huge difference. We just loved how it turned out and especially loved how easy it is. It’s just something fun for fall. 

Tie a bow, such as this, on either side.

And Ta-Da. It's fall in the entry way.

I know not every weekend will be like this past weekend. Not every stumble down the ramp will end so well. But, this weekend was great and I landed safely back on the ground. Hope, it’s always just around the corner.

Happy fall and Happy Sunday, or what is left of it. I’m off to bed and plan to fall asleep while listening to the rain and and wrapped in a blanket of laughter about the run in with the ramp. 

Peace and smiles and wishes for much laughter and hope to all of you.


  1. Way to go, Sarah! Adventure, creativity, friendship, and miracles all in one post! Love it and love you! Great description of Belle causing a crazy time, totally unaware and happily sauntering about, while you are teetering on the edge of disaster with your sister hysterical on the phone and the nice man running to help! Love hearing about your day with Ashlea, and the food and the crafts. What a day! :)

  2. Wow....I ran the gamut between tears, fears, laughter, shock and hunger. That onion tart looks so good! OMG. I am so glad Belle is ok. My dog, Max (aussiedoodle)would be a great playmate to Belle. They are so much alike! Your neighbor is a great person to actually come when you called for help.

  3. Oh my, an eventful Sunday afternoon! I can totally see Belle doing her thing while you are teetering on the ramp. Glad someone came to help!
    As for dinner and crafting Saturday night, I had a blast. We always have a great time together! :) I smiled Sunday morning when I came downstairs to get milk for the kids. The burlap runner was the perfect touch! Ash

  4. I know the fear of having a pet get loose. Our cat; Houdini, saw an opportunity when he saw that the screen door was not shut. It was raining and he ran as fast as he could across the street and into my neighbors yard two blocks away. An older teenage boy saw him while I was searching for the cat. He took his books out of his back pack and stuffed Houdini in it with his head peering out. The boy yelled out, "Is this your cat?" I looked and saw his face sticking out. Since I did not have his carrier, the young man let me take his book bag back to my house to drop off Houdini. I made it back just in time to give back the bag before the bus came to take the young man to school.

  5. Glad all is well with Belle and her talented, funny and courageous mom. You amaze me for being so independent. Love the recipes and photos of Belle. Have a great week, Sarah!

  6. Yummmm. I can't wait to try the recipe. And the decorating looks fabulous! I love how the bows transformed the look of the runner. Very clever. Thanks for all of the fun pictures.


Thank you for commenting. I appreciate all of your words.