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From My Perspective 
May 20, 2011 8:20 pm 
Updated: Jun. 4, 2011 5:08 pm
The weekend of May 14, 2011, found fourteen AR peeps making our way from seven different states to the beautiful home of mauigirl in Las Vegas, Nevada.  There are stories to be told and--when we get together again (because we will)--to be recounted.  It is amazing how fearlessly we were willing to enter into each other's lives, for the most part unknown to each other before.  It is a tribute to the honesty of the sharing we do on The Buzz!  I have to tell you that the cab driver who took me to meet up with Magnolia Blossom and LadySparkle was worried at first when he overheard me say to Magnolia on my cell, "How will you know me when you see me?"  He couldn't believe I would go to meet up with someone I'd never "met" in Las Vegas!  How could you ever really explain to someone that you really did "know" these people?!

I'll skip to the chase and give you my impressions of our cast of characters, starting with the hostess but then going to alphabetical order. 

Mauigirl is a most incredible friend, hostess, and cook.  Her artistry is only outdone by her total generosity.  Not only did she provide all the food in a most beautiful home, but the tables (rented along with chairs) were all professionally appointed as if by a master, her little flipflop albums serving as centerpieces.  You have probably seen the blogs done by Chef Luigi that prove what I have to say.  Her genuine, loving personality shows through in all the photos.  I thank you, mauigirl, from the bottom of my heart!

ARElizabeth is our sweet and gentle corporate headquarter envoy.  She is our Gwyneth Paltrow look-alike who has the grace of a star.  She came laden with gifts from Allrecipes--orange shopping bags filled with aprons, coffee mugs, scrapers, and bag clips.  It was like Christmas in May!  She took photos and interviews and spent time acknowledging each one of us individually.  A gem!

Baking Nana is like the salt of the earth.  The impression you get from her when you read her posts on the buzz is what you get when you meet her in person.  She answered mauigirl's call for help earlier in the day (mauigirl knew exactly the right person to ask), and she was a big help.  You just know when you meet her that she is the Real Deal!  You will not be surprised to learn that she brought some rolls for the Kalua Pig that we had with dinner.

Cady,  xraybarb's teenaged daughter, is an intelligent young woman who is well-grounded in poise.  She will be graduating this month from high school, having put four Advanced Placement tests behind her now.  She was working on an essay comparing and contrasting three Robert Frost poems in her "free" time during the weekend, and I can only imagine it was full of insight! She reminds me of Scarlett Johansson.

Candice brought with her goodies she made using Oregon hazelnuts!  I was so happy to have those cookies to soak up my coffee on Sunday morning!  Candice is a sweet, thoughtful person who is easy to talk to.  If I lived closer to her, I'd definitely join her book club!  She is one of those people you really want as a friend!

Cathy Myers was delivered to us by her dashing husband, Randy.  When Cathy enters a room, you can't help but smile as she oohs and ahhs over each and every individual (you just have to experience her presence!).  She is one of those special human beings who makes you appreciate everything around you.  And Randy's sangria----well, you'll see it soon on AR!

Christine-NICU RN is Candice's daughter, a true testiment to the fact that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  She has recently joined AR, and you'll be seeing more of her as time goes on.  Talk about an easy person to talk to!  She was interested in everything anyone had to say!  Good job, Candice!  Nice to meet you, Christine!

Cooking Up A Storm is a newbie to us, but will we ever be so happy to have her comments and expertise.  She's kind of busy right now cutting and chopping as she begins her new life in Las Vegas to attend Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.  Since she just moved to Vegas and got "friended" by our own mauigirl, we'll be seeing her!  We'll all be better for knowing her!

Keri is our special person to acknowledge because of her upcoming plans for marriage.  I think she loved the pots and pans we gave her!  We all know Keri from her posts on the buzz--she has shared her life, her hopes, and her dreams for herself and for every person and little animal.  When you meet her, you will know that the person we hear from is exactly the person she is! 

LadySparkle is exactly what her name says!  She is a sparkle!  When you meet her, you know that you have met a real person who totally envelops you with her honesty and straightforwardness.  She gives from her heart--and we all have a dishcloth personally handcrafted by her as a reminder of this!  Her sense of humor and open heart will remain with you forever!

Magnolia Blossom is a gem of a person who I found to be a real adventurer!  She is a person to depend on, the one to plan, the one to drive, the one to guide!  When I first made my plans to visit this group, she held out her hand to me and offered time and space for me.  We made our walk around the Strip on Saturday--totally ignoring all those little "business" cards on the ground offering experiences we don't really want to talk about!  :)  She "lei'd" us all, too--you'll see the photos!

Mis7up has those gorgeously big eyes that almost twinkle with mischievousness!  Her little Southern accent adds to that, too!  And man! can she ever take good photos.  If you've seen Chef Luigi's photos, you will know that really she is the one behind that!  She is always volunteering for helping someone, and never fear because she will follow through for you!  I don't know how she does all that she does.

Rachel U is ARElizabeth's sister who came to help out with everything.  She says she is a lurker on The Buzz, but you wish she would opt in a little more!  I don't know what Elizabeth would have done without her--if only to carry in all those AR bags for everyone!  She is one of those quiet ones (an observer), and man! does she ever have good clothes!  :)

Xraybarb is a rare prize of a gal!  Not only is she gorgeous, but is she ever funny!  She'll keep a party going forever with her wit and conversation!  You will be forever happy when she is around!  She brings with her that good quality of humanity and down-to-earth honesty!  Talk about wit!  It's easy to see how well she's done over the years when you see her daughter, Cady.

That's it!  Aren't I the lucky one to have met these fine people?  When you see them on The Buzz, I hope you will know just a tad more about them.  They are wonderful people, and I'm better for knowing them.

Kudos go to Trishie (we got to talk to her--she sounded like she was next door!), What's for dinner, mom?, and to Avon---they all sent special gifts to share.  Be sure to read all of Chef Luigi's posts! 

Thanks for letting me bend your ears for a bit!  I hope I didn't leave anything out!

May 20, 2011 8:36 pm
Marianne-You didn't talk about yourself. I'll start; you are the kindest, gentelest soul! I enjoyed every minute I got to talk to you. You have a quiet fierceness about you that I just love. Thank you for the kind words. I will treasure them and our trip to meet all of you.
May 20, 2011 8:46 pm
Christine, you beat me to the punch. I was going to say that she forgot to mention that I think, she is one of the nicest most down to earth, wished she lived next door, loves lemons as much as me kind of a person and I just know someday....SOMEDAY.....I'll get to meet her too.
May 20, 2011 8:48 pm
***she forgot to mention herself*****I need to proof read just a bit more. Nothing like making this kind of grammatical error about an English teacher.
May 20, 2011 8:58 pm
Avon-I so hope you get to meet this super neat lady. It's a value to call her friend!!
May 20, 2011 9:00 pm
Well, you both beat me to the punch. Marianne, you've so very adeptly described all these wonderful ladies to a tee. I love them all. I truely enjoyed talking with you and learning that we have much in common. I know if we lived anywhere near each other, we'd belong to the same Book Club. Thank you for coming and giving me the priviledge of meeting you.
May 20, 2011 9:44 pm
Marianne, what a gem you are. Thank you so much for this blog. I can just imagine what the cab driver was thinking! Everything I have ever warned my children about..... Tee hee. This is different though because we DO know each other. We just had not met in person. I still cannot believe it is over! Wow, I miss my AR friends, we really should be neighbors! Hugs to you, Marianne and yes we will do this again.
May 20, 2011 11:08 pm
Miss Marianne, you beat me to the punch. I was going to do a similar blog on Monday. You already described the peeps perfectly. I would describe you as a warm, thoughtful and elegant blonde. You are a true beauty and a gem to treasure always. I look forward to many more get togethers with you and all the ladies. I think they are all keepers and I still feel privileged to have them in my home. Loving aloha to you and all our peeps......smiling:)
May 20, 2011 11:43 pm
Sounds like you all had a complete blast!
May 21, 2011 5:08 am
Thank you so much for YOUR kind words, Christine, Avon, Candice, Baking Nana, and mauigirl! I consider myself VERY lucky, indeed!
May 21, 2011 5:10 am
Ken, you'll have to meet up with us someday. It'd be worth your drive down this way. We'll be doing something this summer.
May 21, 2011 6:28 am
Oh Marianne! Your "descriptions" are so much more... you gave us qualities and insights that have left me feeling as if I spent the weekend with all of you wonderful ladies too! :)
May 21, 2011 6:33 am
And in a way you did, Wfdm! Your daughter's little kleenex holders left us in awe! We spent a lot of time talking about those! A ten-year-old sewing--let alone making those corners--is a real treat for us!
May 21, 2011 6:47 am
thanks for the character reviews, Marianne:) As I was reading this, I kept thinking, she had to be a teacher, English teacher, one who loved to give out assignments for book reports. She has to hate my poor grammar and spelling errors:) Great bit of info on each of our gals.
May 21, 2011 6:59 am
Thanks, rng! I DO drive my family crazy, but on the Internet I easily overlook grammar and spelling errors---I don't hold judgment! My own two kids (one even a teacher) can't spell worth a darn!
May 21, 2011 7:38 am
Wonderful insights Marianne. Thank you for the kind words. I'm sure we are all looking forward to the next get together. What a great group of ladies!
May 21, 2011 7:56 am
CUAS, how are you doing with school?
May 21, 2011 9:20 am
wow I'm at a lost for words
May 21, 2011 1:13 pm
Oh Marianne (I love you). . .let me tell you about Marianne, she's BEAUTIFUL!! (no really, movie star gorgeous) graceful, sweet, soft spoken, and you will never forget the kindness in her eyes. She's a one of a kind sweetie. Thanks Marianne! Your perspective is PERFECT!! ?
May 21, 2011 1:21 pm
You are way too sweet, LS! Thank you!
May 21, 2011 8:28 pm
Here's Marianne's walking buddy checking in. Lady Sparkle and I had such a good time with her. Neither Marianne nor Lady Sparkle cared when I made a "wrong turn" (darn GPS, sometimes it's just a step behind). Marianne described everyone perfectly and they in turn have done so also. Looking forward to meeting with everyone again. To anyone that has an opportunity to meet an AR member, just DO IT!! Yes, I'm yelling! You absolutely won't regret it. You already "know" them from here. They really aren't strangers. I can honestly say that there wasn't a stranger in the bunch in Vegas.
May 21, 2011 8:50 pm
You are so right, MB. Hey, my hubby was just telling me I should change my name to something exotic just to match all you guys! Like Seal Beach Mama or Wowie Powie. He's funny. He loves all the nicknames! And there I am---just as straight and unimaginative as can be!
May 21, 2011 8:56 pm
Not straight and unimaginative. I just keep humming the Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons "Marianne". Not everyone has their own theme song.
May 22, 2011 6:31 am
Well, I go back to the days where "All Day, All Night, Marianne...down by the seashore's sifting sand...."
May 22, 2011 7:27 am
Thank you Marianne for this blog. I feel as though I too have met all of you wonderful ladies!
May 22, 2011 7:40 am
A Fab morning Miss Marianne to you! I would rename you Lemon Lime! You love them and if a friend was to ask what to do with them, you would know exactly what to say!! Your description of our family at such a great event, was so spot on and wonderful to read about the ones I have not met Yet, just mealted my heart:):) Thank you soo much for giving those of us who were not there, another view of what those of you,who were there. saw and did. Sorry, don`t mean to confuse anyone.I have not had coffee yet. Hugs and kisses from me Marianne.
May 22, 2011 8:36 pm
Thanks, both Anissa and Patty Cakes! It's funny. I tried to think about these wonderful people and tried to write it all out first, but then I just decided to just let it come from my heart, so there it was. As it was. Wonderful people, wonderful weekend.
May 24, 2011 5:48 am
Marianne your descriptions of the Ladies is exactly as I imagine them all (give or take LOL!!)
May 24, 2011 5:50 am
I imagine you to be very polite and ladylike almost regal but you can hold your own. I respect you and your opinion greatly!
May 24, 2011 5:51 am
And (I hit post too soon!) it was wonderful to talk with you on the phone, you became "real" to me then!!
May 24, 2011 5:54 am
Trish that was such a good idea to call everyone from across the pond. Bet it felt like you were sitting with them all. Except you were probably in your jammies and did not need to fix our hair or makeup:)
May 24, 2011 5:58 am
LOL gramma I was NOT in my jammies and I did have "fixed" hair and make-up on!! I had been at a party myself that night and came home and called the Gang!!
May 24, 2011 6:12 am
LOL, so your were primed to talk to the gals:) I am envious and I look good in this jaded shade of green:P
May 24, 2011 8:59 am
Thank you, Trishie, for your kind words! It was great fun to talk to you, too, even though I was greatly distracted! But who wouldn't be! :)
May 24, 2011 8:59 am
Redneck, some of them got to talk to CindyLepp, too, but I didn't! Boo hoo!
May 24, 2011 9:53 am
Oh Marianne. You are a total GEM!! I 2nd LadySparkle too. Aww. Let me tell y'all my observation on Miss Marianne. She is soo polite, graciously sweet, soft spoken and kind. The time with chatting one on one with Miss Marianne was awesome to say the least. You can tell she has a caring nature to her and a sweet sweet smile. And looks just beautiful for her age...I don't ask, but she is just a beautiful person inside and out. I soo loved the one on one with everyone...and for me, I think she pin-pointed me to a T, my hubby calls me his little Southern Minx. And as another friend calls me her Texas Twister. I have to say, I soo loved Vegas and had such a blast with everyone, and the bonds that I made are a pure blessing.... ;-) And fitting in with this group of ladies...was one of the best experiences ever!! I so what to do another Vegas!
May 24, 2011 5:41 pm
I was slightly tipsy Gramma!!
May 24, 2011 5:41 pm
But shhh don't tell anyone!
May 25, 2011 12:30 pm
You nailed those descriptions perfectly, Marianne! Everyone was so wonderful...exactly like I imagine them when I read their posts. I had the wonderful added bonus of making a special connection with mis7up and cannot wait to get together with her as often as possible. The pots and pans...oh my goodness, the pots and pans!! They are a dream come true!!! When mauigirl announced they were a gift for me, I couldn't believe it. I was glad for the sunglasses covering my eyes, because the tears were flowing! I have never, ever in my life had brand-new pots and pans (unless you count that junky $20 set I bought at Walmart several years ago), so that made the gift even more special. Thanks for being a part of it!
May 25, 2011 4:06 pm
LOL! What lovely descriptions of each lady! I know for a fact what a gem Magnolia Blossom is! Who else would drive 8 hours to a total stranger's house to cohost a roundup? I just knew you all would have a great time and truly enjoy meeting each other!!
May 25, 2011 8:32 pm
I keep coming back the the Las Vegas blogs cuz I miss everyone and want to relive it....if only for a minute:) Miss all of you!
May 25, 2011 8:33 pm
Cathill, Magnolia Blossom is fearless. That little town girl took Las Vegas by storm :)
May 26, 2011 8:03 am
What a great time! I can just see the cab driver's face, LOL! I can't wait to meet some of y'all at Cat's this summer.
Jun. 4, 2011 5:08 pm
Where are the pictures? I want to see all you lovely ladies!
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About Me
As a child of Swedish parents who always cooked, I have always loved to serve up my love to others through food--just like my folks. Most of my favorite family memories are a result of meals, families sitting around the table talking, parties with good food, good wine, sparkling conversations.
My favorite things to cook
My favorite foods depend on the time of year, the occasion, and my hankerings. I'm easily coerced into changing my mind by mere suggestions (I am Libra rising): a bit of meat--yum; a pancake--I'm ready; potatoes--now what! Desserts, well, that's a whole new ball of wax! Whew!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Swedish pancakes are really a trademark I copied from my mother. These crepe-like pancakes are cooked on a cast iron griddle, spotted with sour cream and jam, rolled up and then sprinkled with syrup. I dare you to eat just one!
My cooking triumphs
When I cook vegetables and am actually able to eat them, I consider that to be a triumph! I grew up with a botanist father who grew EVERY single vegetable possible and could NOT for the life of me eat them. I'm the only one of four children who would sit at the table for hours until I finally convinced them I wouldn't eat. Now, only a few, and then mostly only raw.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married more than 40 years ago, I bought a bag of peanuts from someone "giving" them away for some charitable organization. Naive, yes. I made a meatloaf (supposedly a very good recipe) using those stale, sour nuts and ended up throwing the "result" against the sink when my husband suggested that perhaps this was not really an edible meal. I have since learned better ways to handle disappointments!
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