I spent the evening learning how to play Texas Hold 'Em and it was loads of fun. I've been wanting to play ever since I got hooked on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Show Down (note that I'm not interested in watching real poker players in tournaments - for me it's all about the goofy celebrities). So when some friends invited me over to play, I dug my car out of the icy snow mounds on my street and off I went. I ended up being the chip leader when we called the game, so I won the prize of some yummy Lindt chocolate truffles! Definite incentive to play again.
Had a lovely Solstice gathering hosted by my friend J. who had recently lost his partner. He had asked us to all light candles dedicated to Brigid for health, hearth, and healing the night before and I was glad to do so. His place looked magical with dozens of candles all sparkling helping to keep away the darkness and bring back the light. Since it was also the last night of Hannukah and Shabbat we lit even more candles and said prayers, which fit very well with the theme of the evening. Hosting this dinner was part of his own healing and I was very happy to be there for him. We had delicious cheese fondue for dinner, with green apples, bread, and turkey ham for dipping. Then we played a 6 player game of Seafarers of Cattan, which was a lot of fun, but ended early by mutual consent so that we would have time to enjoy the dessert, chocolate fondue. We dipped cheesecake, strawberries, poundcake, bananas, and orange slices and discussed the many other yummy options available for dipping (I was sad that we didn't have double chocolate oreos for the ultimate chocolate buzz :-) S. found the pickle on the tree and received the pickle prize of a lovely moon fairy. The second pickle prize of Lindt chocolate was sent home with me to be given to puzzld1 and M., who unfortunately could not make it this year. They were both missed by all. Despite the difficulties that he has been facing, J. made this event a celebration with his chosen family and friends and I think it was really good for him to have done.
Actually, I'm feeling much better following my unpleasant bout with food poisoning or whatever. It is my backyard that has been diagnosed with the dreaded LEAF ROT!!! My friends, D. and E. came down to look at it and noted that the grass blades in the shade had fungal spots on them, while the ones in the sun had all gone brown. They noticed that the roots still held firm and that there were some new green shoots, so they don't think it is too far gone. Apparently, leaf rot is most common in hot humid weather and it prefers healthy new grass (like in my yard) as opposed to crab grass (which is in most of my neighbors' yards). So this explains why my yard has turned brown and everyone else's is still green. E. recommended that I water the grass in the mornings and see what happens. In the worst case, we will reseed, but he thinks that it will recover with a little care. In the meantime, he identified a number of fast growing plants as weeds or tree saplings! and we worked hard at cutting them out (some had reached 6 feet in just 3 weeks). In thanks, I took them to lunch at the Italian place in Manayunk and then we walked around a bit and had dessert at Ben&Jerry's. I had a "Jamaican Me Crazy" which is a pineapple sorbet with passionfruit swirls. I asked for a chocolate cone, which gave the clerk pause until I explained that I was the sort who would dip pineapple into chocolate fondue :-)