Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, a day or so early, but that's to catch the people down under who will celebrate tonight. Also, in case I imbibe tomorrow night and forget to post. Just kidding.

I went to a "between the holidays" party last night and it was a fabulous gathering of friends and neighbors. About twenty or so of us, and I was the youngest and once again, the only single. I've got to do something about that. All of the couples talked about how they share the household duties now that the hubbies have retired. I never knew how many men do the vacuuming and don't mind the chore. One guy, Vic, not only vacuums, he cooks. So my challenge in 2009? Find myself a Vic.

The party hosts made a lovely spread, there were a variety of cheeses and dips and drinks on the patio (two lovely gas warmers kept us toasty) then we went inside where four tables were set, four big crockpots of what they call stoup, bubbled pleasantly and filled the house with an amazing aroma. I thought it was a cross between chili, stew, and minestrone soup. Anyway, whatever, it was delicious. First you put a few nachos on the bottom of the bowl then added the soupy mixture of meat, kidney beans, corn, tomato, etc. on top, then added a dollop of sour cream, grated cheese and finely chopped spring onion. Delish. Add in a nice hefty merlot, crisp field greens salad, warm bread rolls, and you have a little slice of heaven.

The conversation was fabulous and rowdy. I think I was talked into joining the once a month Bocce game. Bocce, red wine, camaraderie. Maybe I'll go. Dessert was mini chocolate eclairs and profiterole, along with coffee and a dessert wine if desired. I left at that point, one of each dessert in hand, and ate those on my short walk home. It's probably the only celebration I'll do for New Year's Eve. Knowing me, I'll snuggle down in front of the fire, hug the dog, have a glass of wine, and watch an old movie.

So, whatever you choose to do, may your New Year celebration be warm, fun, and shared with those you care most about. And may we all find 2009 to be a brighter spot in our lives than it's predecessor. Here's to hope and change!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Seasons Greetings!

Whatever you personally celebrate, Hannukah, Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Kwanzaa, or the Seinfeld holiday of Festivus, I truly hope your special time is warm and wonderful and shared with those you love. And if that isn't possible this year, at least celebrate with cherished memories of loved ones far away.

We have another storm coming into Southern California today. Here in the desert, we still have snow on the mountain tops from the two storms last week. Brrrr. Strange weather everywhere, and I'm wondering if this storm will give us a truly white Christmas. The kids are coming down at some point during the Christmas to New Year period. Not sure exactly when. We've become pretty relaxed with our plans in the last few years. That seems to suit all of us. No pressure. No commitments broken. No having to drive in awful weather conditions. And while I wait, I write. So it's all good.

Because it has turned so cold here, I've decided to re-enact an old family tradition. Years ago, we had a little place up in Park City, Utah. We got to use the place for two vacations a year and the kids and I always looked forward to our ski trip, or summer hiking trip, the rest of the time it was rented out. We always provided a few videos of favorite movies, music tapes, and video games, for our guests to use. One of the movies was Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, with Steve Martin and Michael Caine. Every time we'd go up there we'd watch that movie. Every single time, without fail. It still makes me smile.

An old writing buddy gave me a CD of the movie five years ago when I told her that story. It was a favorite of hers. So thank you Gina, I'm lighting a fire, pouring a nice glass of Aussie Shiraz and watching the movie tonight. I'll be thinking of you my friend, my kids, days when I could still ski, winters in Park City ... ah, the memories.

This morning I went marketing for all kinds of non-perishable young people treats. Things I never keep in the house because I'd eat them and regret it later ... so, hope the kids arrive soon.

Munch, munch.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Twinkle lights and twinkle toes!

Everyone in my neighborhood is doing their bit to increase the holiday fun. In years past I've decorated a little, never really going all out tacky. But twinkle lights were appearing everywhere around the lake in great numbers through this week and I grew increasingly envious for some of the good cheer. While my house isn't on the water and it only has a small frontage to decorate I figured I should not be such a grumpy-puss and get out the lights.

Just stringing the lights was fun and put me in a more joyful mood. I left the front door open, played Christmas Carols from a CD that Bank of America gave me years ago as a thank you gift (back in the day when I had some money saved and banks had money to give away on free gifts) and I had orange cranberry scones cooking in the kitchen. It was all warm and inviting. All I needed was a fire in the fireplace to set the scene, but it was a gorgeous day in the high seventies with blue skies and bright sunshine. A typical winter's day in the California desert.

I'd started to wonder when our seasons would change out here. We only have a short winter but so look forward to it after a long, hot, dry summer. Extra long and crispy this year. Anyway, this morning I woke up at six a.m. and it was freezing. Had to put the heat on before breakfast. That has put a huge smile on my face and my toes are tapping out a rythm to the music playing in the background.

Suddenly it feels like the holidays! Yay! I could go dancing. Or maybe I could go buy some more lights.

Hope your holiday season is warming up!