Well I had planned on posting pictures of Segundo’s two-year dinner and the events of the day but unfortunately or well maybe fortunately we were enjoying ourselves so much that I completely forgot to take any pictures. So instead I shall try to use words to describe it, this will be an interesting writing exercise. Y’all will have to let me know if I succeeded. 😉
The day dawned early here in the Strongheart household. Cecelia and Glenna got up and crawled into bed with me as they usually do a little before 7 a.m. I can’t think of a more wonderful way to awaken in the morning than having two well rested warm snuggly little girls climb into bed with you. Cecelia is usually the first up and she comes into my room, crawls up on to the bed and burrows under the covers. Glenna is a little bit less polite in her invasion. Some mornings she will climb into bed with Cece and I but most mornings she comes in and announces it’s time to get up with a cheery sometimes irritated “Mom!! Time get up!! Peeeez” said to me two inches from my face.
When I groan and roll over Glenna gets mad and proceeds to steal the blankets repeating her plea “Mom!! Time get up Peeez!!” So we make our way downstairs. If I am lucky I had remembered to set the coffeemaker the night before and there is wonderfully aromatic delicious coffee already brewed and waiting, if not then through sleepy eyes I start a pot. The girls follow me into the kitchen, I reach up and grab two boxes of cereal and ask them which one they want for breakfast.
This morning the choice is shredded wheat. I pour two bowls full and add soy milk. The girls sit at the table Glenna in her booster seat and dig into their cereal. I give them each a glass of water having learned that water is the only beverage they want with their cereal. I pour myself a cup of coffee and wander into the living room and turn on my lap top.
Cecelia finishes most of her cereal and puts her bowl on the counter, Glenna who must be going through a growth spurt finishes her bowl, the rest of her sisters bowl and two more bowls full of cereal. Which has been the norm for her lately having 2-3 bowls (regular adult size bowls mind you) of cereal each morning. Thank goodness there was a cereal sale a couple of weeks ago and I stocked up!
The girls are playing in the living room having dumped both of their toy boxes so that they could play in them. Makes me wonder why I even bother with toys since the boxes seem to offer endless hours of entertainment? I checked my email and then started making a mental list of the things I needed to accomplish that day.
Clean up, sweep and mop, vacuum, make pasta salad, spinach salad, akutaq, roast chickens, bake salmon, make lemonade. So off I dive into preparations for Segundo’s 2 year dinner. I boiled noodles, eggs and fish. Fried bacon bits, sliced mushrooms, diced onions, sliced olives. While they were boiling I assembled the spinach salad. Fresh baby spinach into a big bowl, topped it with sliced fresh mushroom and thinly sliced red onion, sprinkled on some herbed Feta cheese, then sliced boiled eggs finally topped with bacon bits. Then it went into the frig to chill. I prepared some homemade vinaigrette to dress it with before serving. I mixed extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and spices and put them in a container in the fridge to chill.
Next I assembled the macaroni salad. Macaroni, boiled eggs, diced onion, sweet relish, olives and shredded cheddar cheeses all brought together with some mayonnaise and salt, pepper, garlic. I garnished the macaroni salad with more shredded cheddar cheeses (I say cheeses because it was a blend of three types of cheddar) and then some parsley to make it pretty. Then into the fridge it goes to chill.
Next came the akutaq. I had cut the two fillets of cod into smaller pieces and boiled them until they were done. Then I cooled them off. When they were cool I squeezed all the water out of them, the more water you can get out then the less fishy taste you have in your akutaq. After squeezing the water out I flaked the fish into a bowl. In another bowl I mixed a nearly equal amount of crisco shortening with my hand until it was soft. I added powdered sugar (usually I use regular sugar but Cece’s respite worker had come to take Cece to the park for a couple of hours and I wanted to get as much done while she was gone as possible.) The powdered sugar instantly dissolved into the shortening greatly reducing the time I had to spend whipping it by hand as I would’ve done with regular sugar.
I then whipped in the fish with my hand. When that was all nicely combined and whipped up I added frozen blueberries, blackberries and diced up some fresh strawberries to add. I combined it all thoroughly and then of course had to sample some to make certain it tasted good. Mmm it was wonderful! Into the fridge it went to chill with the other items I had completed.
So Cece was at the park with her respite care provider. I had packed her a picnic lunch during all of this and she was having her lunch and enjoying some outside play time while I enjoyed a respite from her and tried to get as much accomplished as possible during the time she was gone. Glenna also had lunch while I was making the akutaq and kept begging for more and more strawberries when she saw I was putting them in the akutaq. She finished her lunch and then went up to bed for her nap.
I then took out the two whole chickens I had purchased the day before. I put them in pans and drizzled them with olive oil and coated them with lots of herbs and spices. Covered them with tin foil and back into the fridge they went. Out came the sockeye salmon fillet it too was drizzled with olive oil and spices and slices of red onion covered and put back into the fridge until it was time to cook it.
I then quickly cleaned the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher and took the trash out. When I was walking back from the dumpster Cece and her respite worker pulled up. I talked with the respite worker and learned how their time together went. Thanked her and told her we would see her again on Sunday. Cece and I went back in the house. Cece settled on the couch obviously exhausted from playing hard at the park and watched Curious George. I cleared all the floors and was getting ready to sweep and vacuum when Glenna wandered downstairs after her nap.
I vacuumed the living room having convinced Cece that she had to help pick up her toys. This is not an easy task for her because it’s very hard for her to stay on task and I have to keep encouraging her and directing her back to what it is she is doing because she gets so easily distracted. I moved the chairs and hallway folding table on to the carpet in preparation for sweeping and moping. The girls thought that this was great fun and proceeded to arrange the chairs around the table and making a play dining room for all of their stuffed animals. I finished sweeping and mopping.
It was a little after 2 p.m. and everything was ready. At 3 p.m. the chickens were going in the oven and then the salmon. Our first guests weren’t due to arrive until around 5 p.m. as they were coming straight from work and would be early since the dinner wasn’t starting until 6 p.m. So I was thankfully ahead of schedule. I took a much-needed break and played with the girls.
I gave the girls a snack of Clementine oranges and a banana. The chickens went in the oven, while the girls and I headed upstairs to shower and change. I got the girls dressed, Cece wanted to wear a dress which meant that Glenna had to wear one too 😉 So we were all set for our dinner.
Our first guests arrived. Michael and his wife had come straight from their work at the local tribe. Michael had been Segundo’s AA counselor in Nunam Iqua and a good friend. Segundo was a recovering alcoholic who had been sober the entire time we were together as he had quit drinking a couple of months before we started dating. Michael brought delicious moose soup that he had been slow cooking all day long. His wife Paula made wonderful fry bread!
Paula helped me finish the meal preparations. While we were doing that my sister called and said that they would not be able to make it. When we nearly had dinner prepared other guests arrived including my DV program advocate from the local tribe with her husband and two kids. As we set the meal out on the serving table I took a small portion of each item and placed them on a piece of tin foil. Once I had a little bit of each I got a glass of water and took them outside to give an offering to Segundo as is our custom. I placed the food on the back porch and then sprinkled some water while saying a prayer to Segundo offering him his 2 year dinner and hoping that he would enjoy it as much as we would.
After I finished sharing with Segundo I went back inside and my DV program advocates husband said grace. I had never met this man before that night and when he was blessing the food his words nearly brought me to tears. It was all I could do to keep from crying and was somewhat thankful that Cece couldn’t/wouldn’t sit still and I had to keep her quiet so that I wouldn’t burst into tears.
The table was full of delicious food. There was the moose soup, roast chicken, baked salmon, spinach salad, macaroni salad, fry bread and akutaq. There was strawberry lemonade, water and soda to drink. Everyone loaded up their plates and we all settled in to enjoy our meal. The girls were at the dining room table enjoying their meal. They both absolutely love fry bread and finished not only theirs but kept taking mine too. Then Cece figured out that there was an entire bowl full of fry bread right there on the serving table and I finally had to put that bowl up out of her reach or she would have eaten it all!
Glenna wasn’t at all interested in her akutaq which surprised me but didn’t bother Cece at all because that meant that she got to help her lil sister finish it. Everyone else was in the living room on the couch, the futon and at my desk enjoying their food. The conversation was great. I so enjoyed hearing adult conversation in the house. We talked about all sorts of things. Came to find out that the advocates brother-in-law was probably related to me. I knew him as he had been a translator for me when I had one of the nationwide town hall meetings to address underage drinking while I was running the youth center in Nunam Iqua. It’s such a small world!
So there was lots of great food, great friends and great conversation. Cecelia was feeling a little overwhelmed with so many people around and being pretty clingy. Glenna was being her normal flirtatious joyous lil self. After having such a wonderful dinner Glenna was full of energy. She decided that she needed to jump around the room giggling the whole while. This got Cece going and then the advocates husband joined in and it was quite entertaining.
Michael and his wife decided they needed to head home because they had pets that needed to be let out and fed. They loaded up a plate of food and left some moose soup for us and then bid us farewell requesting that we get together more often. After they left we sat and talked with the advocate and her family and then they decided it was time to head out. I thanked them for coming and sharing this memorial dinner with us and hoped that we’d have them over again.
After everyone departed the girls and I put the food away and cleaned up the kitchen. Then it was bedtime for the girls. I put them to bed and then decided to put my feet up and enjoy a movie feeling I had been productive enough for the day. I promptly fell asleep on the couch and finally roused myself around midnight and wandered to bed.
It was a wonderful memorial dinner. After the night before I was quite thankful that I had friends over to spend the evening with, additionally all the prep for the dinner kept me busy enough during the day that I didn’t have a whole lot of time for sadness nor reflection of the events that had occurred two years ago.
I know that Segundo enjoyed the meal that we shared with him this day. The memories of our brief time together were not overshadowed by his death. Although I know I will never truly stop grieving the death of my beloved husband I will continue to live. I will raise our girls and tell them stories about their daddy. I will be both mommy and daddy in hopes of filling the void that his death has left while he guides us from above and watches over me and his girls.
Rest in peace my love, someday we will once again be together.
Although I cannot share pictures of the dinner with you I can share pictures of our lunch the next day that was made with leftovers from the previous nights meal….