Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Rather Surreal Ramble On The State Of My Appetite On This The Last Day Of The Year

Well I wrote a long and heartfelt post about food last night then promptly deleted it.

And search as I might, I'll be damned if I can find it.

But having just fed myself a delicious New Years Eve dinner of smoked salmon and capers with  toast and a crisp salad full of pomegranate seeds and avocado with peels of parmesam I felt the need to revisit last nights thoughts.

I have a complicated relationship with food.

I love to eat, I love to cook for others and I adore being cooked for.

But when it's just me for me, things get a little looser. A little lighter. Maybe an egg, with some cheese, in a tortilla, with a few slices of avocado.

After GG left food lost its appeal.

By the time Superman moved in I was heading toward invisible.

But surrounded by his love of cooking, eating and feeding me something began to stir in my heart: a feeling of guilt.

I had to reciprocate, so I started with a frittata. It wasn't great but it was a beginning.

By the time he left last December I was nonchalantly whipping up an asado negro for football Sunday.

When he moved out my interest in cooking drifted away.

I'm sure if you asked Elle or the little doctor what I had for dinner they would shrug their shoulders but maybe mention whatever it was, I wrapped it in a tortilla.

Don't get me wrong, take me out for Thai, meet me for sushi or call me up for fish and chips at the pub down the street and I'll match you bite for bite.

It was home cooking for one that had me stymied.

But over these last few months, I got my mojo back.

I don't know where it went or why it returned but I'm happy to report I'm treating myself like a favored guest.

Christmas Eve I declined all invitations and cooked myself a little rare filet, tossed a salad and grilled some bread spread with olive oil and garlic.

I sliced half the filet, sprinkled it with Maldon salt and devoured it. Then I did the same with the other half. And it was good.

I have cooked beans, soups and chili in the freezer.

I have a pantry full of grains and vegetable drawers full of well,vegetables.

And most importantly I have an appetite.

So my New Years resolution is to keep cooking, for one. And to keep blogging for sanity.

Oh and to travel more.

Gus resolves to get me up earlier and travel around the neighborhood more.


Friday, December 26, 2014

A Christmas Story

It's the most wonderful day of the year: Boxing Day.

Nothing needs doing on Boxing Day except a trip to the store for cat food.

I can't seem to move out of the once desirable vintage leather club chair by the Christmas tree.

( No longer desirable because the you know whos have managed to claw through and pull out hunks of innards and leaves scratch marks on every remaining inch of leather.)  ( But still very comfortable, so screw it).

(And the tree smells divinely of fir still).

So I'm reading Delancey and inhaling deeply and thoroughly enjoying this day of rest.

Christmas dinner at my friends Ann's was just right.

She and her husband decorate as if it were a second White House.

And cook as if royalty were coming to dinner, we had Oysters Biltmore for starters, prime rib with a horseradish cream sauce, a cheesy potato thingy from Ina Garten's latest, green beans with masses of shallots and I made a salad with romaine, pears, pomegranate seeds served with a nutty vinaigrette dressing via "How To Cook Everything". Ann told me her husband didn't like nuts in his salad, I ground them up for the dressing. #baddinnerguest

I came with a friend. Ann's sister Grace who lives in Richmond and knows little about my day to day affairs (apparently) insisted on addressing the two of us both together and separately as if we were a long standing couple.

He was on antibiotics for some kind of virus and I was running on fumes from a month of hard labor so neither of us could muster up the energy to dissuade her of this notion.

Right around the time we were making coffee and trying to open the wedged closed drawer that held the pie servers I lost my voice and turned into a frog.

Over a table of pumpkin and apple pie, chocolate brownies and cookies I tried to stop her as she was telling "us" about the new Wegman's market soon to open in Alexandria and how easy it would be for us to shop there. And how fabulous the produce was....I croaked up that I didn't expect J and I to be doing any grocery shopping together, but I was ignored.

Did I want to take some prime rib home for his lab, did he feed it table scraps? Had we been here, had we gone there there? What Senator had he worked for?

I don't know, I barely know him. I just knew he had no plans for Christmas day, is 6 months into an awful divorce, is extremely civilized and would be able to play nice with strangers. Plus he drives, I don't, Ann and her husband live about 30 minutes away. Longer if you follow Google maps.

So, festive house, perfect meal and just the right amount of awkwardness to call it Christmas.

It was a quiet ride home. I'm sure I'll be able to laugh about this once I get my voice back.

Poor guy.

Wonder if he has a blog.

I'll ask Grace.

Or Lucy, she looks like she's got the 411.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Picture if you will, a flower shop two days before Christmas.

Everyone is totaled and all the designers hands are laced with invisible pieces of cedar. The aloe vera plant is our best friend.

We have circles under our eyes (our red eyes),band aids on our fingers and a box full of orders to fill.

Customers are dropping off presents, and containers for us to fill.

The same 5 CD's we'd been playing for 2 weeks are still playing.

We pop another cookie or white chocolate pretzel in our mouths, take another hit of coffee and keep on keeping on.

Betty, the talent, has a monster migraine but just keeps churning out masterpieces.

She has forgotten her medicine at home so makes do with Advil. Advil is not the answer.

We try to keep it down but can't stop the holiday madness.

Then Betty gets a phone call from her friend Carlos.  She thought he was in Bolivia visiting his wife Gladys, she's been living there for 4 years while going through the immigration process .

He's been here in Virginia with the 2 children, one 12 the other 9. He flies them to her in the summer and on school vacations. He is both mother and father to them while working more hours in a day then we can imagine.

Now there's a 1 year old with her mother.

This summer Betty asked me to write a letter to the judge who would hear Carlo's petition to bring Gladys back to the States.  She gave me her feelings and I put them into words.

It was one of 4 letters.

When Carlos called her today he was in our parking lot, he had to leave Bolivia early, he needed to see her.

Betty flew outside and when she did, she said her head popped open.

For there was Gladys and the new baby Iris.

Home for Christmas. Legally here. Good to stay.

Betty brought them in to meet me.  "This is Gladys" she told me, she's come home". "This is my amiga Jane, she told them. She wrote the letter".

I just started crying. And hugging everybody and crying some more.

Florists are very emotional.

I'm sure they wondered who this amiga loca of Betty's was.

Legally Gladys could have been made to stay there 10 more years. Her oldest daughter would have been 22 by the time she returned to Virginia.

It's a Christmas miracle. It brought smiles to our faces, made migraines disappear and allowed us to fly through the rest of our day with hearts filled with gratitude for a compassionate judge and a good lawyer.

And I had to share the joy.

And the tears.

Don't give up before the miracle?

I get it now.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Report From South Of The North Pole

Only 3 more working days till Christmas exclaims the sticky sap fingered, face glittered florist.

I was going to write this last night, when it would have been 4 days but I had to go to bed.


I decided to be more accessible this holiday season which makes for longer days and nights.

Luckily for me and the cats, the Irishman next door is truly a cat lover and is happy to come over and feed them anytime I want to go out directly from work.

He also bring in my trash bins, turns on the lights and writes amusing text. Thank you Nelda, well done on the new owner selection.

Not only have I gone to my friends parties , I also decided to stop going downstairs to the basement at work whenever anyone came in I knew "liked" me.

You know how you know?

Instead I've gone out to talk to some and this has resulted in dinners and coffees and conversations, while not earth shattering for some, this is huge for me.

But I'm taking off the armor one piece at a time.

No one has come close to piercing my heart but that's okay, it's taken a long time to stitch together.

Tonight I'm home with the beasts, ready to bathe and wishing one of them would feed me for a change.

 And I wish it would be Thai food.

Hope your weekend is all you want it to be, whether glittering or cosy.

We're going for cosy around here.

Whichever you choose don't forget to Instagram it!

P.S. if you're out and about feel free to drop by, I owe a few of you a shot of brandy, clearly we're already lit up here.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas In Da House!! December 2014

Flowers Christmas Trees In The House!

This is a brilliant idea. Diane from Denver thought of it, told Jen, who suggested it to me.

I'll leave this it up all week (of course) then you can link at your leisure.

No words necessary if you're really busy and who among us isn't?

But if you want to tell a story, we're all ears.

And if you include an animal with your tree.....

an extra shot of brandy in your eggnog.


Monday, December 8, 2014

So This Is Christmas

November 30, a warm and sunny Sunday, time for my fall yard clean.

I'm raking, I'm lopping, I'm trimming, I'm taking care of business.

Suddenly I see my new next door neighbor driving up with a Christmas tree strapped to her roof, the next thing I know she's stringing lights around it, she's decorating, her tree is up! boom!

Wait! It's not even December yet!

December 1st, I buy a tree.

December 2nd, I text the ex, GG, and ask if she would like to put the lights on my tree. I'll cook. She agrees, game on December 7th, 1:00PM.

December 3rd, I notice both Carlos and Vicky have lit up the outside of their houses.

I still have the airconditioners in my window. I text Carlos and ask if he will take them out, I'll cook. We're on, December 4th.

I text my friend Ann and ask if she will hang my garland and lights the following Monday, I'll cook. She agrees.

December 4th, I cut dime size chunk of flesh out of left hand palm. Ouch. Bandage up. It's December.

I've got black beans cooked, a pork roast with a dry rub waiting in refrigerator and 15 centerpieces to do for a party.

Home, throw roast in oven, make rice, chimichurri sauce and salad. Don't go to any trouble for me says Carlos as he staggers up my pull down attic stairs with 3 airconditioners.

Can there be too much trouble? I think not.

December 5th, work like a elf on meth.
December 6th, ditto.

December 7th, GG arrives, knows the drill: take 6ft. frasier fir down to 4ft, attempt to secure in old bucket I've unearthed, try to make cat proof. We decide to make outdoor chandelier out of butt end of tree. Can't be enough work.

 Serve Cuban sandwiches and rice and beans.

December 8th, Ann arrives having spent the last 4 hours decorating a clients house, for money.

I give her potato chips, a Cuban and a fruit tart to take home. Who needs money?

She hangs and lights garland and chandelier.

Boom! 8 days and 4 people later, I too am ready for the holidays. And the pork is finito.

December 9th, to be determined.

( Moral of the story: those who can, light. Those who can't cook.)