Archive | March, 2012

Day 353: Happy Birthday Aaron!

24 Mar

Today is the birthday of my nephew Aaron.  He lives on the eastern side of the country and so in order to get it to him today,  I had to mail him a pie two days ago.  And since I have not figured out how to mail a fruit pie (and likely won’t before this project is over) I chose to mail him a chocolate chip cookie pie…  much like the pie I sent to my cousin Darren a few weeks ago.   It is more or less a big cookie… but hopefully one of the best cookies that he has ever had.

My husband and I moved away from the east coast shortly after Aaron was born and we did not get to spend much time with him as he was growing up.  His Mom, Amanda, did send us many pictures so that we could see how he’d grown, etc.  The photo above, was one of those pictures taken at school, and it was tucked up in with other photos in our hallway for many years.

Last year Aaron married Emily.  Unfortunately, we could not make it to the east coast for the wedding but we saw many of the beautiful photos of the wedding and the new couple taken by Aaron’s brother (and photographer) Christopher… none of which I can get my hands on at this moment!  Luckily,  Amanda sent us a photo of the newlyweds, taken with her last summer.  You can see that cute little Aaron has become quite a handsome man.

Aaron, we send you our best wishes for a very happy birthday… and wish you a wonderful year to come!

Family faces are magic mirrors looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.
— Gail Lumet Buckley

Day 352: Beth and Jerry

23 Mar

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

We have known Beth and Jerry for many years.  We met them when we first came to Ashland because Beth and Jerry were friends of our friends, Ron and Kathleen.  Beth and Jerry were so welcoming and accepting of us – a newly married couple coming to Ashland to go to school and perhaps find our path.  I still remember how they agreed to be interviewed by me for one of my business courses…and how gracious they were.  If God himself gave you directions, you probably wouldn’t find better people than Beth and Jerry.

What has been so amazing to me is that from the time that we were introduced, both Beth and Jerry have treated us like family. And for a young couple moving into the area, that meant quite a lot.  If they had had any challenges in their lives, they did not let us know about them.  They always were happy to see us and always asked about our children.  They were the relatives we never knew we had; and have always been grateful for.

Tonight I called Jerry to ask if I might bring him and Beth a quiche.  He was not at home so I had to leave a message.  A little bit later, Jerry called to say that a quiche would be most welcome.  And so tonight I delivered a Spinach, Onion, and Mushroom Quiche to Beth and Jerry.  I want to thank them for the friendship that they have extended to us… and to thank them for being the lovely persons that they are each and every day.  We are lucky to have them in our community.

“Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”  George Elliot

— George Eliot

Day 351: Linda (and Chuck)

22 Mar

Apple Blueberry Pie

When I think about my life, I realize that it is mostly a collection of memories that are held together by tiny threads.  This tapestry of memories is not something you can see, but if you could look at it, you would learn a lot about who I am and what is important to me.  

Here is an example for your to consider.  A few years ago, a long-time member of our Rotary club passed away.  The club members were told that there was going to be a service for him and if anyone wanted to help with food or anything, they should call Linda as she was coordinating the event.

As I had already committed to working in the Rotary garden that morning, I knew that I could not attend the service, but I called Linda and asked if she needed any help afterwards.  When I reached her, she said that she didn’t need any food so I was off the hook.  I told Linda that I wasn’t offering food, but I could come and work in the kitchen if she needed any help there.  She seemed a bit surprised, but told me to show up and introduce myself and she would put me to work.

The next day, after helping in the garden, I went home, changed into “presentable” attire and went to meet the crew in the kitchen at the Methodist Church.  When I arrived, I found a bunch of ladies  arranging food on platters, clearing trash from the dining room, and washing dishes.  I met Linda and then got busy wherever I was needed.  After a while, I asked to take a turn at the dish sink.  The little old woman who’d been washing, stepped aside, and asked  me what church I belonged to.  I told her “the Presbyterian Church on Walker.”  She watched me working for a few minutes and then asked, “Have you ever thought of becoming a Methodist?”  It still makes me smile to remember that moment.

Linda and her husband, Chuck, are wonderful members of our community, and they always are giving of their time or talents.  And because they would never expect it, I brought them an Apple Blueberry Pie today.  My guess is that they will share it with some of their employees… but I hope they enjoy a bit of it for themselves.  They most certainly deserve it.

What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us: what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.  Albert Pike







Day 350: Helping a Friend

21 Mar

As sometimes happens, I was thinking about my pie of the day this morning and was thinking about a certain location.  I had not yet begun to make the pie when my telephone rang.  It was a friend and she asked if she could recommend someone for a pie… or perhaps a quiche.  The person she wanted to recommend was someone I knew whose family has had some challenges lately.

Once I heard about the situation, I jumped at the chance to help.  I asked what kind of quiche might me appreciated, and she told me that a Quiche Lorraine would be most welcome.  And so, of course, that is what I made.  I sauteed the onions, cooked the bacon, and grated the Jarlsberg cheese.  When all of that was done, I rolled out the crust, placed the cheese, bacon, and onions inside and poured the custard over it all.  Into the oven it went, and in about an hour, it was done.

Tonight, before I delivered the quiche,  I thought about how I might feel in my friend’s situation, and so I put together a small salad, some homemade dressing, a tiny bit of cookie dough, the quiche, and a bottle of wine.  I want this friend to feel totally supported and know that if help is needed, it will be there.  Isn’t that what friends are for?

Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.  Cicero

Day 349: Chet and Donna

20 Mar

Apple, Date, and Pecan Pie

Many years ago, I attended an afternoon party held at the home of a lady from the Ashland Rotary Club.  My husband was at work and he had suggested that I go to the party to meet some of the other members of the club.  However, once I got there I realized that I didn’t know anyone and felt a little bit uncomfortable. I think I was hanging out by the food table when Chet came over to me and said something like, “Are you famous?”  It was a silly question but it made me laugh and helped me relax and enjoy the party.

For the last few years,  I have spent time with Chet, Donna, and other Rotarians at the Rotary Garden.  It’s been such a great experience growing fresh vegetables for the Ashland Emergency Food Bank – and the camaraderie that develops as a result is pretty special too.

Last year at the garden, Donna told me that she had been inspired by my pie project (See Day 177).  I was honored that she was moved to do something nice for someone that she had never met… and she seemed delighted too!

Last month, on Donna’s birthday, she brought some of her special Lemon Posset to my house.  It was incredibly delicious and I loved that she included me in her birthday celebration.

Today I brought Chet and Donna a Dutch Apple Pie enhanced with dates and pecans.  I want to thank them for welcoming me way back then… and also for their continued friendship.  It means a lot to me.

Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.
Muhammad Ali

Day 348: Kristian

19 Mar

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Today is the day that my daughter’s boyfriend finally reached Ashland, Oregon from Copenhagen, Denmark.  He left Copenhagen on Sunday morning at 5AM… which was 8PM Saturday our time.  His first flight took him to Newark, New Jersey.  Not very exciting as far as destinations go, but Kristian is a brave soul and decided to take the train into Manhattan for the day (he had an 8 hour layover!)  He made it to Times Square, the Empire State Building, and Central Park.  He also walked along Broadway and saw Madison Square Garden.  Imagine doing all that on your first day in New York!

Kristian’s flight from Newark to Portland, Oregon was at 8PM… and with the time changes, he arrived in Portland at about 11PM last evening.  We’d arranged for him to spend the night in a hotel near the airport.   His flight to Medford wasn’t until this evening at 5:30PM and so he took time today to explore downtown Portland.  He visited Powell’s Bookstore, walked along the waterfront, and visited a few of Portland’s finest breweries.

Finally, Kristian boarded his flight to Medford at 5:30 PM this evening.  And at just about 6:30 we met him at the airport.  It is lovely that he has come to see our little part of the world… and we are very happy to host him.  Tonight, I gave Kristian a Chocolate Pecan Pie.  I want to welcome him to our town, to our home, to our lives.  And I want to wish him a very happy visit to the west coast of America.

Copenhagen, Denmark


Day 347: Matt

18 Mar

About a week or so ago, my friend Connie (Day 264) sent me an email asking if I would consider giving a pie to the man who was the Head Coach of the Snowboard Team at Ashland High School.  This man had been her son’s coach and she really thought highly of him.  Connie told me the coach’s name, that he worked at the high school in Health Ed, and might also work at a restaurant.  That’s all I needed… or so I thought.

When I called the high school, I was told that Matt was not working there this term.  I left a message on an answering machine in the gym, but never heard back from anyone.   Then I called the restaurant only to find Matt has not worked there in a while.  If I was to give Matt a pie, I needed help finding him, and so I wrote Connie again asking, “Do you have Matt’s number?”  And she did, and since it seemed unlikely that I would be able to surprise Matt,  I chose instead to just call him and spill the beans.

Matt listened as I told him my name, a little bit about my pie project, and that Connie had suggested him for a pie.  Matt thought it all sounded great… only trouble was that he was out-of-town at the State Meet with the Ashland team!  In fact, he was riding the chair lift as we spoke.  We agreed that I would bring him a pie when he got back in to Ashland and he thanked me.  And then he asked, “What did you say your name was again?”  I told him, “Karen Amarotico.”   “Karen!”, he laughed,  “It’s Matt… remember?  We worked together at Geppetto’s!”  Then it hit me… “Oh!  You’re that Matt!”  I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but I still find it strange that this kind of thing seems to happen a lot these days.

I knew Matt would likely be on his way home today, so this morning I began to make a pie for him.  Looking at all of the apples on my counter, an apple pie was the logical choice… but it needed something extra.  And so after thinking about it for a moment, I chose to make Kick-ass Apple Pie.  It just sounded like the kind of pie a good coach deserved.

When I contacted Matt, and arranged to deliver his pie today, he told me the good news:  Ashland High boys and girls teams each won the Oregon Interscholastic Snowboarding Association’s state championship Saturday!  This was printed in The Oregonian, “Coach Matt Faurot said he had “a pretty strong feeling” his squads would end up on podiums. His teams were talented, deep and, for the most part, injury-free all season.” You can see the rest of the article here.

Congratulations to both of the Snowboard teams!  And Thank you, Matt for your tremendous efforts, for sharing your skills, and helping the kids succeed.   Are you sure your name isn’t spelled, “Far out?”

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”  Vince Lombardi