Soul soothing and spirit lifting can come to you in many forms - it can be listening to amazing music, a good read, a meaningful movie, creating something, looking up at the trees, sitting by the ocean and more. And then it can come in an even more impactful way...being surrounded by people you care about, admire and feel totally and completely at home with AND in a serene environment. People who don't judge you for any reason whatsover, the ones who take you as you are no matter what. The ones, who although you aren't comfortable with how you look, ...look beyond the physical right to your heart. They soothe your soul and spirit simply by being completely genuine, caring with kindness, generosity of self and in some cases knew you way back when as an adolescent and/or a teenager. The people who, although, you may feel weak of spirit, don't personalize your weak spirit when you aren't completely at your best self with them.
I experienced some of those people this past weekend. I have a friend I knew in high school who was near and dear to me. Sadly as years went by after high school and we all went our separate ways we lost track of each other.....distance and time separated us but not in our hearts. Via Facebook we were able to reconnect. We were able to follow the heartstrings back and started moving forward.. if that makes any sense. Last month he and his partner were in town so another friend I've known since elementary school (and who was also dear friends with him but lost track as well) and I met them for dinner. It was as if no time had gone by......that's when you know it's real! They invited her and I (and our husbands) to their home in the Gold Country which is where this weekend took place. To quote an old John Denver song (I know, of all the people I could quote from but it really does apply) "they filled up our senses."
L on the left is the friend I reconnected with and now I have a new dear friend in J on the right. L was always a person who was kind and generous and fun and everyone loved him! He has not changed. J is warm and funny and they are amazing cooks.
Here we all are outside their magical home. L and his partner J, Bohohandyman (always the tallest). That is M in front who I have known since elementary school and who totally gets me...and her husband G on the far right (our husbands share the same first name) and those are their 2 dogs. Due to the slant where we were standing I stood in the back (of course) and on the wood because I am always the shortest, ha!
L and J live in a home that is filled to brimming with their warmth, hospitality and treasures galore. The exterior surroundings abound with garden and massive cedar trees and everywhere you look there are whimsical touches, more antique treasures, wind chimes, 2 decks with ample space to dine or just lounge. It's quiet....there are birds and deer and well, you get the idea. There is even a horseshoe pit. To say they have loads of space would be an understatement.
This is the front deck... there are strung lights, MANY plants and whimsical and vintage treasures abound. This property was previously owned by L's late parents and became L's and now he and J for the last 6 years together.
I will begin with the food of the weekend in this post - Sense number 1= smell and taste.
BohoHandyman and I arrived Friday evening to warm, loving hugs. (this is the first time they and BohoHandyman met) - they welcomed him like a long lost friend. I was so happy!
They showed us our accomodations in the guest room with it's own bathroom right next to it that sits at one end of the house, like we had our own wing. We got the tour of the house and then sat to chat in the kitchen. These 2 amazing men wined and dined us like you can't imagine!
(sorry the photo is a wee bit blurry) They had the table set so lovely. We were served appetizers of manchego cheese and agave jam(I think that's what it was called, like a gelatin square) on skewers. Delish! Then dinner consisted of French Onion Soup with Gruyere, Seafood pasta and a divine spinach salad. AND dessert and wine. Seriously, what bed and breakfast would serve such amazing gourmet fare!? I was so busy talking and admiring their home that I didn't take photos of the food or a better table photo, but trust me, it was fantastic. They have THE most colorful collection of Fiestaware...OMG!
and the food just kept it coming all weekend....I never eat like this so it was a rare treat to be so gastrically indulgent.
M and G arrived early the next morning (they came in their motor home and there was a perfect place for them to park it right near the house) I was so happy to see them and it was so wonderful that our husbands meeting for the first time got along great!!! M and I come and go in our lives usually via the class reunions but this time, this time we have reconnected more profoundly I think and I so enjoy her company! That was another blessing of this weekend!
L and J were up early preparing yet another feast for breakfast that consisted of mixed fresh cantalope and peaches with a raspberry sauce, apple pancakes, bacon and muffins with many of their assorted homemade jams, coffee and juice. Seriously people! Once again, I wish I'd taken a photo. We had a full day planned so it was definitely a day starter!
(NOTE** my depression and anxiety seemed to melt away the moment we arrived....like a magical aura came over me I cannot describe)
That night after a full day and may I say a HOT day (I nearly got sunstroke) BUT a fun day nonetheless.....we came back and relaxed....at least we guests did. Once again L and J got busy in the kitchen (they wanted no help) and prepared......OMG...yet another gourmet feast.
Once again the table was set with loving care and on each plate was the menu for the evening. Luckily M took food photos so I borrowed hers. I don't know why I wasn't better at getting photos!
The six of us dined and talked and laughed and oohed and ahhed over the entire spread before us.... all planned out and executed as these two do. Their motto is "spoil the guests" and can you tell they follow that and beyond? Sense number 2 = hearing.
Again, I HAVE to reiterate that I felt a monumental shift in myself.....crying was replaced with laughter. Anxiety was replaced with calm. How does this happen? And more importantly will it last because I hadn't felt that way in a good 8 months. Are they magical??? Maybe its them AND their home that carries this magical power. We plan to go back in the cooler weather, can't wait! It should be bottled!
Anyway, I was talking about the food. So after dinner we all sat outside on the back deck....feet up, full from food intoxication. Everyone who hadn't met before getting to know one another even more. Stories to tell. I sat looking out in to the night at one point thinking "how is this possible, how am I feeling so centered right now?" Then L and J were up and at it again, making coffee and then they bring out dessert.....yes, dessert, but not just ANY dessert. An array of gourmet decadence personafied.
In the top mini ramekin is a triple vanilla creme brule. In the lower mini ramekin is a godiva chocolate creme brule. On the plate is carmelized apple cheesecake with triple ginger ice cream drizzled with raspberry chocolate. Are you hungry yet? Needless to say I tasted all of it but just couldn't eat it all.....each bite was beyond belief!
The love and attention that went in to all this mouth-watering fare just overwhelms me. BUT wait, I'm not done.
The next morning, yesterday (Sunday, our last day) ....me in jammies of course.....we greet each other and there is the smell of food cooking. L and J have coffee ready and J is preparing breakfast. Yes, friends, another selection of yumminess. (these guys should be on the Food Network). We guests all sat on the deck with our coffee, waking up, talking about the day before. Soon we were called in to get a plate and partake in a buffet of deliciousness. Once again I borrowed one of M's photos...this was her plate below...I did not have the gravy but was told it was wonderful.
There was luau sausage, cantelope/peach mix with raspberry sauce, biscuits, gravy, scrambled eggs, various jams, gourmet butter and juice. We took our plates and all of us ate on the deck, looking out to their gardens and spaces below, up in to the cedar trees and I just kept saying to them "OMG" almost every moment....for everything!
Pampered, spoiled (I will share gifts in the next post), loved, hugged, wined and dined and hugged some more. (these guys are THE best huggers). BohoHandyman had THE best time and he felt so relaxed and welcomed by them, it warmed my heart my husband finally met the friend I had been telling him about for so long! It's always so gratifying to have people you care so much about like and welcome your spouse too. Sense number 3 = touch.
I wanted to bring them something but didn't know just what and I have only been doing minimal art in that journal.....so I painted them each an apron just as a wee gift to give them when we arrived. BohoHandyman and I have plans to make them something much nicer together for the next visit.
So you can see how this past weekend was "soul medicine" for me. In fact before we left BohoHandyman did something he's never done, he put his hands together like in prayer, did a tiny bow to L and said "thank you for being such good medicine for my sweetie". How amazing is that? BohoHandyman, too, could see and feel my shift over the weekend. (sorry about repeating this over and over but you have to know how powerful it was and how badly I want it to last).
It wasn't until I uploaded my photos this morning that I saw "it" in this photo I took from the deck yesterday morning.
P.S. In the next post I will share where we went and the gifts we received (as if this wasn't gift enough) and more of their home surroundings.
As always I thank you for stopping by my blog and for taking the time to read! XO