Just got back from a lovely evening with my bookgroup.

It’s a wonderful group of women I am blessed to be friends with!  We eat, we drink a little wine (one time it was homemade cranberry cordial!  mmmm! see the recipe below), we talk about the book a teeny bit, and we talk about life.

And that’s the best part: talking with wonderful, wise, kind, feisty, spiritual women of the world with some experience under their belts.  They’ve all had some really serious, life-threatening experiences, either with their own health, or the health of their children.  And they’ve been changed by it.  And independently, each and every one of them has chosen Life, to live it to the fullest, to grab hold of the brass ring and hang on with everything they’ve got.  They’ve chosen what’s important to them, and they limit what’s toxic for them.

They’re pretty understanding about other people’s choices, but they consciously choose what’s good for them.  I admire that; I like that; and I’m glad that they can understand that I do the same, even if the details are different for me.  And they’re funny! Boy!  We can talk about some of the deepest, darkest, cruel situations and they fight for their friends, they help lift us up, embolden us, give us courage, and warm us up after we’ve been fighting battles in the cold.  They’re great!

We were talking tonight about people who aren’t friendly and about how much those people miss out on in life.  I am immensely grateful that I met these women because we are all friendly.   I met most of them out walking in the neighborhood over the years.

And can I just say, I’m so excited, we have chosen to read the latest book from my favorite book series, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum!!!!!  Yay!  Woohoo!  A fun, funny, fun-to-read book!  Woohoo!  (woops, sorry ladies, Smokin’ Seventeen doesn’t come out until June 21!  I hope we’re getting together before then….  the first one is a great place to start…)

Here’s the recipe for Cranberry Cordial (I hear it’s from Yankee Magazine):

Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Start to Finish Time: 45 minutes

Yield: about 3 quarts

This sweet, berry-infused liqueur makes a lovely variation on a kir royale when mixed with Champagne or sparkling wine. I like to pour it into pretty bottles and give them as holiday or hostess gifts. Everyone will think you went to a lot of trouble to make this cordial, but it’s actually as simple as simmering water.

  • 6 cups inexpensive medium-bodied red wine (such as Merlot or Shiraz)
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3 cups brandy

In a large, nonreactive pot, bring wine, sugar, and cranberries to a simmer. Cook until cranberries pop their skins. Cool mixture to room temperature; then refrigerate 2 to 4 days to steep berries.

Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve; then stir in brandy and transfer to glass bottles. Cordial will keep for up to 6 months.