I make a mean stew, really. I have few things I'm actually good at - I can knit well, excellent at baking, I can grow zucchini likes nobodies business AND I read like a fiend. This is not really bragging as the list of things I am NOT good at is a rather long and extensive list. If it was actually written down it would most likely cover a few pages. But I digress - I have made stew for years and yesterday was the perfect day. It was the last day of hunting, cold, rainy, damp and uncomfortble. It's not hard to make, just time consuming - stew is one of those dishes you don't want to fool around with too much. I dredge the meat in flour, brown it in oil and on high heat, add broth and seasonings. Once it starts to boil I throw in a full can of beer, turn it down and simmer for two hours. Turn it up, add your pototoes and carrots,cook on medium for half an hour and you're done. Over the years I've learned to streamline it a bit, I use little potatoes that don't need peeling and cubing, baby carrots that you can just dump it. Even though I don't eat it, there is nothing that smells better than a steamy stew on a winter's day. David and his friend Rich had their last day of hunting so it was a perfect time - and it was finished with pumpkin pie of course. Speaking of pumpkin pie we had a great Thanksgiving of course, as we do every year we did the trek to NJ to see our friend Ray. He is a creature of habit, but so are we - like a good stew, there is comfort in routine, isn't there? We ate at The Stack of course, a few trips to the book store, we sat and had coffee around Ray's table. We did take a side trip to Wegmans, I did not like the Poconos but that is one of the three things I miss about that area. The other two are The Knitter's Edge one of the biggest knitting stores I've ever seen and of course my old job and co-workers at the pediatric office in East Stroudsburg. But I digress - Ray enjoyed our visit as did we, we also did Home Depot and AC Moore - none of which seemed to be on the Black Friday hit list I might add. On Friday David did a few minor repairs, I picked up the trash in front of the house, we had one last meal together and off we went. It's a bit hard being so far from him - we have been friends with Ray for about 35 years, he used to come visit up quite often. During the warm weather we would see him every other weekend, every home we've bought has had a room for Ray to stay in. Where ever we landed he would be along for the adventure - we drove many a backroad to take pictures, did festivals and exhibits, ate at every restuarant you can think of. Back further on Long Island when Mikio and Setsu were alive we ate dinner out Saturday nights, brunch every Sunday without fail. We had other people come to eat - Alex, Ann, Pam, Pat ,and it would go on for hours. We spent many a meal discussing artists, politics, debating everything under the sun and then some. Both of my boys to this day can hold thier own in any political debate - what good days they were! I wish Ray lived closer, but we'll take what we can get, we are truly the keepers of his past - and ours.