Archive | May, 2011

Day 47: Remembering Dick Cottle

24 May

Dr. Richard Cottle came to Ashland from Kansas in the early 1950’s.  He was a lawyer who practiced law for more than forty years.  He was a municipal judge in Ashland as well as a city councilman. He was named Ashland Chamber Man of the Year. And many people know him because he was a member of the Firehouse Five and the Easy Valley Eight.

I first met Dr. Cottle when I took Business Law at Southern Oregon State College. He loved to tell the story of how I would always complain that the law was not fair; and he would reply, it may not be fair, but it’s the law. That was a hard lesson for me.

Over time, Dick Cottle became a friend and mentor to my husband and me.  We got to know his wife and his children and their families; he became a friend to our children as well. We all felt special to be included in his group of family and friends.

Apple Almond Pie – given to Dr. Cottle’s family on the first anniversary of his passing

When I told Dick the lawyer jokes that I knew he never laughed; instead he seemed to shake his head in disbelief.  “How did things come to this?” he seemed to be thinking. Well, I hope he knows that I really was just trying to make him laugh.  I will close with one of those jokes.

A man and his young daughter were walking through a graveyard observing the varied gravestones when they ran across one that read: Here Lies a Lawyer and a Good Man.  The young lady thought a moment and stated: Look Dad, they buried two people in this grave!

Or maybe just one great man. We miss you Doc.


DAY 46: Ellie

23 May

Mushroom, Spinach and Pepper Quiche

Quiche. It is such a fun word to say. And I love the company name “Love and Quiches” for it seems to say it all. Today I decided again to make a quiche. As I drove up the street, I thought about who might appreciate a quiche. As I passed Ellie’s house, I knew immediately who I wanted to surprise with a savory pie. And as luck would have it, as I was entering the grocery store (to buy ingredients for the quiche), Ellie was exiting. I tried to casually ask if she ate dairy products – for that is a pretty large component of quiche. When she said “yes” I knew I was on the right track.

Once I got home I began prepping the ingredients – cutting the mushrooms, sautéing the vegetables, grating the cheese, rolling out the crust. I thought you might like to catch a glimpse of the process:

Late this afternoon, I made my way to Ellie’s house and delivered the quiche to her and her family. It was a tangible way to thank and acknowledge her – for her gentle, caring spirit, for her willingness to share her music, and for her support of our community. We are so lucky to have her in our midst.

Day 45: Supporting a friend

22 May

Last night I was at Paschal Winery where my friend Darte’s art work was being shown. There were other artists there as well and the event was well attended. I was able to talk with Darte for a little bit but she was being sought out by others and I found myself walking around the gallery on my own. As I was walking around, I found friends there that I did not expect to see.  One such friend was a woman who I had met many years ago. We talked for a moment and then she asked, “So what have you been doing lately?” It was the perfect segue for me to talk about this project.  I took a few minutes to explain what I’ve been doing for the last 6 weeks with pies, quiches, etc.

My friend then asked if I would consider requests for pies. “Of course” I said.  For to me this project  is not about the pie.  It is about offering thanks … acknowledging effort… recognizing love.  I do these things with food, because that is what comes natural to me.  But what is most important is the feeling conveyed.  I want people to know that they are valued, that they are important, that I am grateful for their efforts.

My friend suggested that I honor her son and his wife.  For the past year, they have been through a very stressful period. I was glad to accommodate her request, and I took this opportunity to offer her son and his wife a small gift of a quiche. I want them to know that they are loved and that their tremendous efforts are recognized.

Day 44: Karen

21 May

Yesterday I got an email from my friend Karen telling me that she was going to have a yard sale on Saturday. If you know anything about me, you know that I love yard sales. I don’t know when this habit began, but I love to find something at a yard (or estate) sale and breathe new life into it by using it myself or by giving it to a friend.  I think reusing things is an honorable trait and by doing so we help to conserve resources and also reduce what we send to the landfill.

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

A few years ago I met Karen at one of her yard sales.  She had a dress for sale that another woman got to before I had a chance.  As the woman considered the dress I watched and hoped and waited.  Luckily, the woman decided that the dress was not becoming to her and she set it down and I was able to take it home. It is one of my favorite dresses and I felt so fortunate to find it.

I’ve gone to a few of Karen’s sales over the years and in the course of that time we have become friends.  When I heard that she was having this latest sale I begged to be let in early with a bribe of scones.  Karen then welcomed me to view her sale a day early.  And since I know that she is very busy – and preparing to move to Portland – I asked if I could bring her a quiche.  It is a simple gesture to thank her for passing on many of her treasures to me.  I offer my sincerest thanks and I wish her the very best in this move and always.

Day 43: Jamie

20 May

Today was a busy day but I had planned for that… and early on I knew that I wanted to make a pie for Jamie.  Jamie is the mom of my son’s friend Taylor, and they have been friends since fifth grade.

It ‘s kind of funny that we are both the parents of (nearly) 18 year old children but we are from somewhat different generations. I guess what matters most is that we care about our kids and we are willing to do all that we can to help them.  It is really nice to know that there are other mom’s looking out for my kid.

Frittata in iron skillet

That was the case when I was growing up.  Seems you could never step out of line before someone noticed.  It didn’t matter that your Mom was somewhere else; if there was a Mom in the neighborhood, chances are that you were in trouble.

I don’t think that that was a bad thing.  I think kids need to know that there are folks looking out for them – and that those folks are willing to call them out for doing something that is not right.  We’ve all heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a child.”  How many of us really subscribe to that motto?  How many of us are willing to love a child that we did not birth?  Our children need to know that they are loved for who they are  – and it helps if they hear that from people that aren’t their parents.

Tonight I want to offer Jamie my thanks for being another parent to my son.  She has helped him most by accepting him for who he is.  And for that I am most grateful.

For Jamie I made a “special” pie because she is gluten intolerant.  Today she received a sausage and spinach frittata.  It is a small token of my appreciation to her for her willingness to support my son as he journeys to adulthood.

Day 42: Karen O

19 May

At one point today Karen O entered my mind and I thought that I might surprise her with a pie.  And then I thought that she might appreciate a quiche more because she is a very busy woman and might need help with dinner.  As I prepared the vegetables I thought back to when I first met her and realized that I have known Karen for more than 25 years. She was a friend of my husband’s and became my friend as well.  Though we don’t see each other often, there is never a distance between us.  One of the things I like most about her is that when she asks you a question, she listens to the answer.

About ten years ago, my daughter, and a group of girls, took a course with Karen that helped them navigate the transition from being a “girl”  to becoming young women.  At the end of the course, my daughter and I participated in a Mother-Daughter weekend that Karen organized.  There were about 8 mother/daughter pairs at the workshop.  It was an emotional weekend for many of us – for our little girls were now stepping into the realm of womanhood.

I appreciated all the effort that Karen put forth to make the weekend special.  She had arranged for yoga instruction, arts and crafts, meals, and live music.  As darkness fell at the end of the second day, we were shown a labyrinth and told that we all were to walk the labyrinth and when we found our path, we were to exit.  One by one women and girls entered, walked and exited the maze.  When it was my turn, I began walking and kept on walking.  Finally my daughter, who had already walked the maze, came up behind me and asked me why I was still walking.  I told her that I could not find my way out and she stepped in front of me and told me to follow her. She then lead me out of the maze. It was one of the highlights of the weekend for me – for I felt that we were not just parent and child, we were becoming friends.

I want to thank Karen for all that she has done to recognize the importance of coming of age rituals.  In this modern world we tend to overlook them and they are too important to ignore.

 I forgot to take a picture of the quiche I made so instead I am posting a picture of me with my grown up daughter in Copenhagen last December.

Day 41: Gayle

18 May

When my daughter was about a year old I wanted to start working a few hours a week.  I began to look around for a daycare provider with whom I felt comfortable leaving her. By some miracle, I was referred to Gayle.  I think that that was one of my luckiest moments.  I called Gayle and she told me that she would only take children aged 2 and older, but she invited me to stop by for a visit.  While there, I noticed that the children in her charge were all actively playing and seemed to get along. Gayle engaged my daughter in a conversation and decided that she could take her into her care.

A few weeks later, when I went to pick up my daughter, Gayle told me that she had bit another child.  “Oh no.”  I thought, this is when Gayle tells me that my daughter can’t come back to daycare.  But it was only a few moments later when Gayle said,”You know, he had it coming.  He was tormenting her and she is too young to use her words to tell him to stop and so she bit him.”  We were not kicked out but I did have to have a talk with my daughter about not biting.  And I know that my daughter loved her time with Gayle.

Several years later, after a move to Portland and back, I was looking for a daycare again, this time for my son, and thought of Gayle.  By some strange miracle, I found out that we now lived just one block apart.  I brought my son over to Gayle’s and he seemed at home right away.  What I forgot to mention is that Gayle has a Master’s degree in Art and she has created some incredibly beautiful works of art – sculptures, paintings, drawings.  Imagine the lessons that the children in her care received!

One day my son brought home a piece of construction paper with tiny bones glued to it.  I asked him about it and he told me that the bones were from a bird.  I then asked where the bones came from.  He told me that they came from an owl pellet.  What is an owl pellet?  It is the dried remains the owl has excreted (the bones and other things that it could not digest). Wow.  I was so very happy that Gayle was willing to find owl pellets and break them up so that my son could find these bones.  I can (almost) guarantee you that he would not have learned that lesson from me!

Tonight I brought Gayle an asparagus and pepper quiche.  I thought she might appreciate a dinner since she spends so much time looking after other people. I am so very grateful that she was there to be a positive influence in the lives of my children.  We were lucky indeed.