Tag Archives: Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Pies for so many reasons!

7 Mar

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Coco and Alex, meet their host sister Lucka

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur and for good reason.  First my daughter , Alexandra, decided to come home for a brief visit before she began her new job (with Warby Parker!) and then my son, Coco, surprised me one night with a knock at our front door (he and his Dad were in cahoots about this).  So, for about a week I was back in Mom mode (my favorite place) and let a lot of other things go.  Well, except for pies.

While she was home, Alexandra mentioned that she wanted to stop at her (and our) alma mater, Southern Oregon University, to visit with her adviser, Rene.  A perfect occasion to bring along a pie!  The ingredients – apples, butter, flour, and sugar – came together quickly and as it baked we got ourselves ready.  Soon we were heading over to the university on a beautiful day.

Alex with pie at SOUAlexandra with Apple Pie

We were thrilled to find Rene (and office manager, Kathy) available to visit for a few minutes and they seemed happy to see us as well (or was it  the still warm pie?)  Alexandra is one of Rene’s first legacy students.  He was a professor to her parents (Emile and I) twenty plus years ago and then was her professor as well.  He still recalls seeing us carry her to school in the baby backpack.   Thanks for everything Rene!

Alexandra with Rene and Kathy

One day during the week I noticed that my friend, Margie Cicerrella, was featured in  the local paper.  Margie is retiring after many years of working as a children’s librarian.  Margie has been a driving force for literacy and among many other things spearheaded  the “Welcome Baby Book Bags” program – a program designed to promote language development in infants by giving new parents a cloth bag filled with board books.  For that alone, Margie deserves a million pies!  But alas, all I could do was bring her this one – a sweet potato and pecan pie.  Thank you Margie for all the wonderful work that you’ve done!

P1000559After a fun-filled week with Alexandra and Coco (cooking together, seeing plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and singing along to Coco’s guitar playing), sadly, they both had to return home. The first day after they left I must admit that I felt pretty blue.  Fortunately, I had agreed to teach a friends’ troop of girl scouts how to bake a pie (and share my story of giving away pies) that very afternoon.

At first, I was a little nervous but the girls were simply delightful.  They listened to my brief talk and then the kitchen was a flurry of flour, pie dough, and pumpkin pie filling!  Lots of questions were hurled at me, but I managed to answer most of them, and at the end of the afternoon, the counter was filled with pies.  There’s nothing like making pie – and helping kids learn to bake – to fix the blues!

P1000584The last pie I made this week was for the family of an old friend who succumbed to cancer a few days ago.  My heart aches for her husband and children and bringing them dinner and a pie felt like a way to ease their pain… and I’m sure my friend would love knowing that her family was cared for in this way.

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“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” —Alan D. Wolfelt

Day 323: The Ashland High School Nordic Team and a few surprises from my friends

23 Feb

Apple Pie

Yesterday I had a few pleasant surprises.  In the morning I received two phone calls from friends asking if I was going to be home.  They both said that they were just going to  “drop something off.”  Hmmm… I wondered, what could that mean?

A short time later the doorbell rang.  There at the door was my friend Donna.  She handed me a box and said “Happy Birthday!”  What?  “But Donna, today isn’t my birthday…”  She looked at me and smiled and said, “I know that… it’s my birthday.”  Donna reminded me that last year I had made her birthday cake… and this time she wanted to share a special treat with me.  She calls it “Lemon Posset” and it is absolutely delicious! It tastes like lemon curd mixed with whipped cream…  really incredible.  What a delightful way to celebrate her birthday!

A short while later, the doorbell rang again.  This time it was my friend JoAnn.  She had brought with her a brown paper bag which she then handed to me.  Inside were many of the ingredients for making one of my favorite treats, Pecan Pie.  JoAnn said that she wanted to do something to support my pie journey and sensed that I really liked making Pecan Pies…  which is true.  What a wonderful gift and how generous of her to go shopping for me!  I am very grateful for her thoughtfulness.

The last surprise of the day came in the afternoon when a friend called to offer us tickets to “The White Snake” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  It was a great show and a nice way to end a day of surprises.  And just when I thought I’d received more than my share of blessings, this morning the doorbell rang.  It was my neighbor Jae offering me tickets to another show at the festival!  How lucky can one person get?

With so much goodness going on, it just seemed right to share some of my good fortune… in the form of a pie of course… with the Ashland High School Nordic Team as they prepare to compete at the State Finals this weekend.  I send them all my very best wishes for realizing their personal bests and creating some very happy memories.

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Charles Dickens

Day 303: El Caballo

3 Feb

Pelicans along the shores

Today we awoke to a beautiful sunny morning and before we went anywhere I wanted to prepare my pie.  Today’s pie was for our friend Dale, who is known by a nickname here in Barra de Navidad.  Somewhere along the line someone mentioned that he looked a bit like the famous Mexican actor named Alberto Rojas who is affectionately referred to as “el caballo.”  Ever since then Dale became “el caballo” to his friends in Barra.

The pie that I was making for “our” el caballo was a version of a pie made in Ashland, Oregon.  It is called Dick Hay Pie in honor of Richard Hay who is the principal theater and scenic designer for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  Dick Hay Pie is made with three main ingredients: peanut butter, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate.  Since I had brought peanut butter and chocolate with me,  I went out to purchase some ice cream at one of the local shops.  Once I got back to the apartment I made a chocolate cookie crust and let it cool while the ice cream softened up a bit.  Then it was simply a matter of sandwiching one thin layer of peanut butter between two layers of vanilla ice cream in the crust.  It was topped with a heavy drizzle of chocolate and then the pie went back into the freezer for about 8 hours.

With the pie taken care of, we decided to take a walk along the shoreline.   We saw more of the damage from the recent hurricane.  We also saw hundreds of pelicans in the area.  Watching them fly, dive, and land on the water made me think that’s what birds must have looked like in the age of the dinosaurs.

After our walk we met up with our friends and took a boat across the water to Colamilla for lunch at one of the restaurants along the shore.  I love that these restaurants are built on the beach, the floors are the sand,  and that the ocean laps on the shore just a few feet from the tables.  It is so relaxing!  This restaurant even had a few hammocks installed should someone need to take a short nap before the boat ride back to town.

Alberto Rojas, El Caballo

This evening we all met up and had an impromptu celebration at the hotel for el caballo’s birthday.   We sang Feliz Cumpleanos and toasted his health.  As we cut up the pie we found that it was so rich that one nine-inch pie was more than enough for 14 people!   I encourage you to make one of these pies for your next special occasion… it is easy to make and so delicious… and definitely worth it!

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons. Ruth Ann Schabacker

Day 199: Jim Amberg of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

22 Oct

Tonight my daughter and I had tickets to see August: Osage County at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. My daughter, Alexandra, worked as an usher for OSF for a few years and met some really nice people while she was there. This evening we prepared a Mixed Berry Crumb Crust pie for one of those people, Mr. Jim Amberg.

Jim is the Access Coordinator at OSF, and that means his work is to make the experience of attending the theatre open to everyone. Accessibility goes beyond providing ramps and seating for those in wheelchairs. It includes such things as providing sign language interpreters, audio description on demand, or as in the case of tonight’s performance, open captioning. In addition, OSF provides thousands of assistive listening devices for those with moderate hearing loss.

This past summer, Jim and audience services manager, Radawna Wallace, were selected to receive a 2011 John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Award for Emerging Leaders. The two were honored for their work adding services to assist audience members with disabilities. The criteria used to select the award recipients is as follows: Recipients are selected for having sustained accessibility efforts over a significant period of time, demonstrating either an individual or institutional commitment to the inclusion of all people with disabilities.

Alexandra always spoke very highly Jim and tonight I was delighted to bring him a pie to recognize his sincere consideration of others and his unfailing devotion to his work.

Day 170: Friends

23 Sep

As you know, my daughter Alexandra came home a few days ago. Since then, we have had a wonderful time catching up and just enjoying her presence. It is in some ways as if she was never gone, but of course she was, and I am so happy to have her here again.

In the past few days, Alex has had the chance to connect with a few friends that she hasn’t seen in several years. One of those friends is Kerry, a woman that my daughter used to work with at a retail shop and also at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. They maintained a bond across the many miles that separated them – and that is a testament to their friendship.

In comparison, there are a number of people who were unable to keep in touch and that says a lot as well. As a parent, I am so grateful to those friends who have made the effort to stay connected because I know how much it meant to Alex.

Perhaps it’s the Mama Bear in me, but I still find myself wanting to hug the people that are kind to my children and wanting to shield them from the rest of the world. Does that protectiveness ever go away I wonder?

This afternoon I made Black and Blue Berry Lattice topped pie for Kerry. It is a delicious (if I do say so!) way of saying thank you for being such a good friend.

Day 75: June Nineteenth

20 Jun

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free.

Juneteenth is a day on which honor and respect is paid for the sufferings of slavery. It is a day on which we acknowledge the evils of slavery and its aftermath. On Juneteenth we talk about our history and realize because of it, there will forever be a bond between us.

On Juneteenth we come together young and old to listen, to learn and to refresh the drive to achieve. It is a day where we all take one step closer together – to better utilize the energy wasted on racism. Juneteenth is a day that we pray for peace and liberty for all.

(Juneteenth.com)

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) hosted their annual Juneteenth Celebration today on the Green Show Stage. They describe it here on their Facebook page:
OSF’s Juneteenth celebration contains history, song, dance, monologues and poetry, all to highlight African-American artists who have been inspirational from the 19th century to the present. A wide range of OSF artists will perform. The show will include a house band and performances by Kimberley Scott, Charlie Robinson, Peter Macon, Kelvin Underwood, Kevin Kenerly, Gina Daniels, Isabell Monk O’Connor, Rodney Gardiner, Kenajuan Bentley and Alonzo Lee Moore IV, to name just a few.

Juneteenth is a truly powerful event – the OSF actors and other performers are incredible and I am delighted that we honor this day in Ashland in such a special way. I am more than a little embarrassed to say that I did not know much about Juneteenth until attending one of OSF’s Juneteenth performances several years ago. I am thankful that I am more aware now.

After today’s performance the audience was treated to a pot luck barbecue with food prepared and served by OSF employees. I wanted to contribute something to this celebration and so I baked two brownie pies. I also made a donation to the Juneteenth Fund which awards scholarships to African American students who would like to participate in OSF summer programs. If you would like to donate as well, I am sure that donations will still be accepted – just include the words “Juneteenth Fund” on your check.

Thank you!

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