Our first holiday season in our new home was special: we hosted family for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I felt so fortunate to have space for everyone to feel comfortable. We made Christmas cookies and then delivered them door to door in our neighborhood, singing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas".
We had a white Christmas and took afternoon drives with family into the snow covered passes around our town. At one point, we had to stop the truck to let a group of wild turkey march across the road. We decided that the group of turkeys should be called a "gobble".
During the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I did so much cooking y'all. Even I admit to being impressed with how much I pulled off: vanilla marshmallows, peanut brittle, fruit nut balls (not as well received as I wanted them to be), coconut meltaway cookies, iced sugar cookies, blueberry cobbler, chocolate loaf cake, creme fraiche ice cream, spiced cranberry sorbet, apple tart, gingerbread cake, and, as always, salted dark chocolate chip cookies. That is just the sweet stuff- does not include the ham, turkeys, brisket, roasts, etc. I think I will always remember this Christmas as the one I was not working and had the time to cook my little heart out. I suspect every holiday after this will be a bit of a disappointment to myself. But I am thankful that this year I was able to immerse myself in it. Nothing makes me happier than a table with friends and family and good food.
Like most years, we had a quiet New Years Eve. Today I will make my own resolutions and goals for 2018. Yesterrday I had a sad thought: 2017 is the last year that I will be able to say I lived in Southern California. In 2018, I will only have lived in Washington. I have been feeling pretty homesick for my SoCal friends. Just after Thanksgiving, one of my dear friends had the loveliest fresh balsam fir wreath delivered to my home. The Christmas holidays were a nice diversion but on Saturday a package arrived from two of my close friends and it was filled with so many thoughtful gifts, one of which was a small box of chocolate covered espresso beans from a favorite downtown LA patisserie and I went ahead and started crying. Change is hard and sometimes it feels like the more I settle in to my new life and surroundings the more I realize the loss of what I left behind. I really miss my friends. So, one of my goals for the new year is planning a So Cal visit.
One thing is for sure: I am thankful for this space and you, dear reader, for continuing to visit. I look forward to writing and sharing in the new year. Blessings to you and those you love!
Here are a few of my favorite things (lately):
For supper, I made this pasta dish with kale and red pepper flakes and we wolfed it down.
One of my favorite writers, Ann Patchett, wrote a fascinating piece in the New York Times about not shopping for a year.
If you're looking for something to listen to while taking down the Christmas tree, here is a link to the top ten interviews from NPRs "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross.
Something to think about as you head back to work: according to Harvard Business Review "Research: Men get credit for voicing ideas, but not problems. Women don't get credit for either."
Did you get a gift card to a bookstore (ahem, Amazon) and it's burning a hole in your pocket? Here are some of my favorite reads from this year*:
- Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark
- Smitten Kitchen Everyday by Deb Perelman
- Small Victories by Julia Turshen
**books I read this year, but not necessarily published this year :)