Sunday, February 7, 2016

Band of Brothers (and da' Sisters)

It had been far too long since we'd all met up at one place.  With elderly parent care issues, some of which got beyond complex in the last couple of years, with some of us unexpectedly ending up as mostly sole caretakers, jobs, children, animals etc, it had been well over a year, since we'd all gotten together.  I was finding it hard to just juggle writing and marketing my books,  Dad's care and expenses and a demanding new job, having to greatly reduce contact with a lot of bloggers, barely having time for even close friends. Fortunately the majority of them understood and let me step back and breathe for a while, as I did them.

Sure, my closest friends and I had all seen each other singularly, sometimes out and about, a quick coffee or lunch or pizza with a few of us and there were always phone calls.   But it just seemed that time slipped away, and as Midwest Chick put it so well- it's time to get the band back together!~

We came wearing our finest (casual) wear.

And for the ladies needing the right jewelry. Midwest Chick had a Leatherman tread. so you always have your allen and box wrenches and screwdrivers on hand.

We met at our favorite meeting place -  the usual gang from the North, Og and Mrs. O., Og's Best Friend since childhood, M, the original named Partner in Grime (seriously I get to hear ALL the stories about Og growing up) known as M. to MY Partner and I, Mr. B.and  Midwest Chick, M's little brother Rich couldn't join us from Southern Indiana but he will soon. (And yes, I AM going to call you "Grandpa".)

We meet at a restaurant that's about not  super close but is an equal drive from all of our houses, the perfect point in the middle of friends scattered across two states.

The Warsaw Inn. in Lynnwood IL.  My husband's cell phone camera doesn't do it justice but I was not going to risk losing a perogi or being rude and holding up the line trying to balance the big Cannon camera so it stayed home.
 It's all you can eat Polish Food.
You start with the homemade (and I mean like your Mom made, not a bread machine) bread and honey butter and soups, then move down the line of pastries and salads.
 The hot bar has several varieties of perogies in butter, blintzes, cabbage rolls, potato pancakes
Just when you think you've got everything you need, there's the stuffing, real mashed potatoes and gravy, beans, fried chicken and sausages. It's spotlessly clean, and they keep the food filled up so it's hot and fresh.
And at the end (not pictured as that plate was FULL and the camera needed to get stowed), the owner, a beautiful woman who runs this place while a well oiled machine, is there to carve some roasted beef or ham off the bone.

The  friendly and attentive waitress kept the coffee and drinks coming and most everyone made two trips, a little last bit of a favorite item and some of the wonderful pastries, cakes and cookies (frosted brownies, I HAD to have two)
It was good to just be together and share stories - at one time there was a conversation going about M. being in the bathroom with a stripper, while Mr. B. was telling a tale about disrobing in public with one hand, while with the other he got the mouse out of his pants, and of course there's the story of Harold, who has to live out in the barn because he doesn't get along with the rest of the family. But none of the blue haired ladies around us gasped as these were true stories of simple country household misadventures and all of those silly everyday things that when shared with friends, take on another level of humor, given this group.

Too soon it was time to share hugs all around and head home. We made sure our waitress got a very generous cash tip, as we'd stayed a while with many cups of coffee and seconds on dessert and we gathered our coats, But first, since I'd not seen her during the holidays and had to mail her her Christmas gifts, some things from Midwest Chick - best friend, confident, and fellow blaster of bowling pins. Moving up here was bittersweet because it was far away from two people who mean a lot to me, Roberta, always a source of wisdom and wonder and Tam who has been my dear friend since long before this blog came to be, but getting closer to these friends - made it all worthwhile.

The first gift made me smile - my favorite hot sauce from a favorite band. Scoville Brothers of Valporaiso IN, making great music and hot sauce for several years.  This is the only brand of hot sauce I'll use in Range cooking.

 She got me two of the Singing Smoke, the one I use the most and was lowest on (I still have some awesome Heavy Metal Heat Ghost Pepper sauce left) and a NEW one.  Cowboy Crooner which I can't wait to try (after I listen to their new song with my free download).
 Then a mug that matches my favorite hat.   Cunning!
 What's this?   It's an antique book - Robin Hood to be exact.
 But it has been MODIFIED!
 It's a purse!  With hardware to open and close and a fabric center that matches the cool antique look of the book.
Midwest Chick made me a paracord strap for it so I can carry it as a strap purse in addition to a clutch purse! It's reflective to, so if I'm carrying it in poor light, I'm easier to see.
And as they say on TV - and there's MORE!  Some awesome handcrafted shampoo and conditioner from Toadstool Soaps on Etsy.  Sweet Orange Chili Pepper  - this smells AWESOME.

And of course - the gift that says I love you my friend - a big package of Amish bacon from Beef Mart.

Which for years, many of you thought was a euphemism.

Some things, and some people are worth going out of your way for.  Thank you, my friends. We'll not let it get that long between gatherings again.


  1. Taken out of context the mouse story sounds nasty.....

    But it wasn't.

  2. It was wonderful to see you. We do need to get together far more often. it has been so bad I have started spending time with my imaginary friends again.

    Mmm. Brownies. Mmmm.

  3. I'm lucky to live in a Polish neighbourhood, where the pharmacy's phone greeting says, "For English, press 2".

    That's after you get past the words I don't understand.

    Perogies and cabbage rolls are SOP, with Żywiec beer to wash 'em down.

    You chose well!

  4. Id give quite a lot to be part of that group. Hope you had a fantastic time B,

  5. It's bad enough you had me salivating for Taylor Street the other day, but now you have me salivating for Milwaukee Avenue! What's next, Pilsen?
    Is there no end to your evil?
    I may have to take a road trip now (but I'll wait till summer).

  6. Glad y'all could all get together! And that crowd must have been interesting (to put it mildly)... :-D

  7. Sounds like a good time was had by all! I only hope nobody was counting calories.... :)


  8. Sounds like fun! I miss the old Blogmeet days.


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