When Life Gives Your Oranges, Buy Cheap Wine and Make Sangria

Friday night I was invited to go do something fun, but I realized that as much fun as fun sounded, if I did it, I would accomplish nothing that needed to get accomplished. I am, at root, a procrastinator. But even as a procrastinator, I had reached a point where if I put off some things any longer and waited til the last minute, it would be a catastrophe. So I went to the grocery store, and then started cooking, and then studied in English and Russian and then passed out asleep before 10 PM. It should be stated like this: TEN PM! YAY! But it's not because I know that I woke up at 1 stinking A to the M and stayed awake for a long, long time. Sleep-you are dead to me. And you are a jerk. So there. 

Saturday I woke up feeling unwell. I love the "not summer" season of Tucson but it wreaks havoc on my sinuses, causing lots of fun and painful annoyances. Mostly in the form of really hard to get rid of sinus pain and headaches. At least Claritin D exists. In all its expensive dehydrating glory.  

I would like to insert a thoughtful commentary on the horrific shooting in Tucson on Saturday morning. There is nothing thoughtful to say. We live in a violent, senseless, horrendous, godless world. No social reform can fix it. It's going to get worse. We just have to wait until God steps in and fixes it. The end. There ya go. Cuddle up to sleep with that thought tonight. Mmmmm cozy. I watched the news in shock and sadness. Eventually turning to annoyance that none of the news agencies agreed on the facts of the situation. I therefore gave up on getting any real information and went to preparing for the dinner I had planned. Here was my first step: 

When life gives you oranges...........

Make Sangria!

The main event was the pasta sauce. Chicken, tomato sauce, green peppers, black olives, and seasonings. In the crock pot. So easy. For dinner I served this with rigatoni noodles, built for mopping up hearty sauces. I also served salad and garlic bread. So unexciting, but really, it's what works. For dessert I broke out a Paula Deen recipe, Gorilla Bread. I love Gorilla Bread. It's walnuts, caramel, cinnamon, and cream cheese stuffed cinnamon and sugar bread balls. It's like Monkey Bread. But amped up. Hence, Gorilla Bread. As usual, it was nothing spectacular or gourmet. Just decent food, done right.

The best part was BY FAR, the guests. Two of my planned guests cancelled at late notice due to illness. They felt bad, which was unnecessary. I felt worse because who wants sick friends? Not me. But the other couple still came. And it was all kinds of lovely. These guests were funny and charming and smart and sweet. They had great stories and since I barely knew them, it was all new to me. It was one of those nights that just makes life better.  It's why I started doing these dinners and it motivated me to keep doing them.

Here's the table setting for this dinner. 

Too dark to really see anything? Oh well. Enjoy the candlelight. 



Sunday some friends who stayed over and I woke up at a leisurely pace. I made them homemade AWESOME cinnamon dolce lattes. SO THERE STARBUCKS!  I brag because I surprised myself. I served them thinking, "They are going to be so grateful and they won't even taste good. Sad." And then I made myself one and perhaps because I had my bar set so low, I was beyond pleasantly surprised by my own handiwork. Then we met up went to Phoenix with a group of friends.  First we went to Grand Luxe Cafe. I took pictures for once. This is the only one I liked of me. Next time I will take photos without me in them and then I won't have this problem. 



After lunch we got to catch up with our Phoenix Russian speaking people.  I love seeing our Russian Phoenix people. The people who pretty much taught us most of what we know. And if they didn't teach it to us specifically, they taught us how to learn it. And more than that, they encourage us. Rejoice in our triumphs and sympathize in our struggles. This post is already ridiculously long but at some point I should really tell you about my Russian people. Like really break it down for you.  Moving on. Than we drove home. We were all in one car. We might have been having a little bit of a sing-a-long. At some points it might have been a Disney sing-a-long. We might all be the type of people who find this to be completely normal behavior.  Maybe. 


I hope that as I type this you are snuggled soundly in bed.