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Week of Joe, 2009

Posted by joeabbott on November 16, 2009

guggenheimOn our birthdays, Suzanne and I celebrate for more than just a day … we recognize the “Week of”. Meaning, for the entire week we celebrate as if each day were our birthday! Excessive? Heck yeah! And delightful!

Usually we get\give little gifts each day, have special meals, or just treat each other with a bit more consideration. With busy lives and demanding jobs, this sort of thing gets lost and it’s a nice time to reconnect.

All that said … this is my week!

We started on Sunday “just because” and for my treat I’ve asked for all my favorite meals. Which means Suzy’s doing a lotta cookin’! She’s a great cook and spends the time on extra steps, uses fresh ingredients (lots from our herb garden), and prepares the meals impeccably. The results are wonderful.

HeaterSo far this week I’ve had the best pork chops ever, chicken Kiev, and one of my all-time favorites, BBQ ribs. I could detail all of the meals but let’s just consider the ribs.

They start with getting a specific cut of pork rib and then spending time in the kitchen removing the rib “sheathing” or something like this. This step strips away a part of the ribs that keep them from being fall-off-the-bone delicious. After this they marinade for a day in a concoction containing mustard and some other goodness. Now  I wouldn’t normally have expected “mustard” to appear in the rib sauce, but that’s what she does. On the day of, the oven is turned low and she adds a bunch of tea leaves to the bottom of a pan. Suspended above the leaves on a cooling rack are the ribs in a foil “tent”. This goes into the oven and it essentially “smokes’ the ribs and imbues them with a deliciousness that’s hard to beat.

Platter_HandlesAfter all this, you pull them out and I sink my teeth into them!

While the food is the highlight, I can’t deny getting a present every day is a lot of fun. On the first day I got a small Lego set that allowed me to build the Guggenhiem Museum from New York City. Talk about a neat little model. The next day I got a space heater for my wood shop … oh, delight! That’ll keep me working through the cooler months! And then last night I got another woodworking treat: platter handles so I can build some serving trays from my shop!

As I said earlier, it’s excessive but it’s a nice break from spending all our time and money on the cats. 🙂

And I suddenly realize that rather than post, I’d saved this as a draft. Well, you get a peek into the rest of the WoJ (Week of Joe).

Let’s see, you got the meals and gifts through Tuesday.

On Wednesday I enjoyed lasagne. Yeah, it’s a simple comfort food, and yes, Suzy does it up right. Homemade sauce, herbs and tomatoes from the garden, and even homemade ricotta cheese! I think this started when we made butter a few weeks back. It was more than just churning some whole milk for a while … you mixed a couple varieties of specialty milk together, let it sit a couple days, then salted to taste, churned to develop the solids, and you pour off the liquids, “wash” the butter mass, and there you have it. We have pretty much had that sort of butter since … the freshness is amazing and it’s delightful. Well, the ricotta cheese was a lot like that.

Like that in that it wasn’t terribly involved, you just had to do it. The taste wasn’t fantastically different but the fresh taste was. Hard to remember a better batch of lasagne but fitting it should be served up on my week.

That night’s gift was a Cybercube. Probably not a household toy (yet) but I saw it somewhere and really thought it would be cool. Esstentially, it’s just a bunch of little round magnets. But you get a bunch of them and they behave quite uniquely in a large group. Suzanne got me the “7×7” version and I have a hard time keeping from playing with it.

ThursdayI had the day off and we stayed in town. I got a 90 minute massage and who cares what happened after that! Seriously, though, it got better. I needed a pair of shoes so we went to Kohl’s or something like that. We’d done a big shopping trip earlier in the week (for all the eats we’d need) and out of the Safeway machine pops a $30 coupon for Kohl’s. I had no idea what gimmick was involved but I was ready for anything. And, don’t you know, there was none! I picked up a $50 pair of Nike’s (Just do it!) on sale for $40 and, after the coupon, I walked out of there with $10 shoes! That alone made my day!

Anyhow, that night we had homemade teriyaki. Oh, my! For those that are used to getting skinless chicken breast covered in some sweet sauce you should try homemade sometime. We don’t even get ours out anymore … that’s how good the Suzy’s is. She starts with thighs because they’re more tender and juicy. Then bones them but leaves the skin on. They get broiled for a delicious, crisp skin and tender meat. Add a homemade sauce that isn’t just a syrup and I’m a happy guy. Fabulous.

For my gift I got a t-shirt for Abbott Bait and Tackle. For an old Minnesota fisherman (and what Minnesotan isn’t?), it was perfect. And it complements my Abbott University shirt quite nicely. 🙂

The next couple days are a blur. We went out to a place called Cave B Inn at Sagecliffe. Yup, pretentious name but what a place. We have been there twice before and every time have really enjoyed it. We get the “cliff house room”: a modern bungalow room with sweeping views of the Columbia Gorge, quiet as anything, and a spacious floor plan. It is just really nice.

So, we moved in and setup home for a short while.

We had dinner at their restaurant and, as they’re attached to a winery, Suzanne got the wine pairings and allowed me to smell them. I don’t drink but don’t mind the smell of wine. Quite interesting, actually. We both got the same thing: started with carrot soup, enjoyed a pork chop (one of the best that wasn’t cooked at home), and I finished with creme brulee … Suzy had the fruit and cheese assortment. But that was a nice way to end a leisurely drive and our walks around the grounds. That night, I dived into the rest of the gifts from Suzy. Or so I thought.

The first item I opened was a red blanket or throw. Perfect. I don’t mind having the house cool but enjoy a light blanket … and so do the cats. So, we have lots of little throws about but the cats do tend to claim their own. And my last one appears to have been taken by Spencer. I could toss him off but we could just as easily get another throw. And so we did. Call that Friday’s gift.

For Saturday she got me a double whammy. At our visit to The Puyallup Fair this year, I bumped into an artist by the name of Charley Harper. He’s been around a while but it was my first meeting and I love his stuff. So clever and interesting. Suzanne got me a book of his art that I’ve been paging through since. Wonderful wonderful stuff. She also found me a 72 tile game of “concentration” using images from Charley Harper. Another wonderful gift! My memory isn’t great so this is a fun way to play at getting better.

In all, I was spoiled absolutely rotten. Add to all the excess of the above the fact that my mother sent me out some eating treats, a little book I’ve had my eye on, and a lantern to remind me of Trout. I could hardly want for more. Oh, I’ll be doing a special bit on the book my in-laws (Steve, Julie, and David) got me. It’s an awesome book.

And that was Week of Joe. Delicious and over-the-top. I proclaimed it “Best WoJ Ever” and then Suzanne reminded me of the great time we had last year when my mother came out! Hard to tell which was better but I don’t have to … I can just enjoy both!

Oh, did I forget to mention that when we got home Suzanne slipped me one more gift: a Porter Cable Router I’ve had my eye on. Will the excess ever cease?!? 🙂


4 Responses to “Week of Joe, 2009”

  1. Chantal said

    Homemade butter and ricotta cheese! Suzy – you are amazing! I love the platter handles gift and the awesome element book. Very cool. Now the Cybercube – what do you do with it? Try to build a cube as the magnets pull various ways?

    Thanks for sharing about your fabulous week. It was fun reading about your birthday and I sure am glad it was as special as you Joe.

    Love ya – your sis – Chantal

  2. […] I wrote about we “week of plenty” (as I’ve begun to think of the Week of Joe) previously, so I want to just consider the […]

  3. […] Anyhow, I suggested The Elements as it looked to be a beautiful book, you could get it for about $20 on Amazon, and it was one less birthday gift someone had to worry about getting me. Well, it was given to me (thanks Steve, Julie, and David!!) and I couldn’t have loved it more. It was a stand-out success … just beautiful. I wrote about it during the 2009 Week of Joe. […]

  4. […] 23, 2010 About a year ago, albeit a bit more timely with respect to my birthday, I posted the Week of Joe, 2009 entry. In it I detailed all the wonderful gifts I received for my 46th birthday from my wife, […]

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