A whole new year, heck, a whole new decade!! I can hardly believe it, personally. I don’t know where all this time has gone. Ten years ago, I was still in college, just three weeks away from meeting Kurt for the second time and starting our journey through life together. Now we’ve been married over eight years, he’s been promoted twice in the last ten years, we’ve lived in three states on opposing coasts, and we now have two children together. We’ve also said goodbye to our dog, whom we adopted in March of 2000, but we still have our two kitties.
But I’m not going to turn this into a post about everything that has happened in the last decade, nor am I even going to recount the last year. I’m not going to discuss resolutions either, mainly because I am not one who makes resolutions. I just think I’m setting myself up for failure if I insist on changing this or that because we’ve turned over into a new year. I’m all for change and growth, but I try to do it in baby steps. It works better for me that way.
I will, however, discuss my holidays because they were entirely too much fun. My parents arrived on 23 December with my sister Michele and her husband Ben in tow. With them, they brought this enormous toy kitchen that the adults were assembling into the wee hours of Christmas morning. I guess that’s a tradition for all families; now it’s started in mine. When the girls came out to the living room to check out what Santa had brought them, the first thing they saw was that kitchen. They were so excited that they didn’t want to stop playing with it long enough to open their other gifts. In fact, Grace said, flat-out, “Awww, Mom, do I have to open my presents?!”
That’s a first.
I made quite the haul this year, receiving a hand-me-down lens from my dad that is really nifty plus this really amazing cookbook. It’s a collection of recipes from just about every culture present in America today with a little blurb about each ethnicity fronting that particular section. Are you a Hmong-American? There are recipes you’d know. How about Choctaw? Or Narragansett? Or even Gullah?? It’s all there. I fall into several groups, in that I am, among other things, a Jewish-Lithuanian-English-French-Norwegian American with a little Dutch culture thrown in from my (step)mother’s family. And all of it is represented in that book. I took it with me when we went to the mall earlier this week, and read whole chunks of it as Kurt navigated the gridlock in the parking garage. I can’t remember the last cookbook I actually read, other than Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything. What makes that cookbook really quite special is apparently it’s quite difficult to find Native American recipes. I’ve always been fascinated by the Native Americans, probably because of my anthropologist (step)mom who took us to pow-wows and festivals from the time we started living with them. I can’t wait to start making some of these recipes, just to get a better gist of my fellow Americans.
Kurt and the girls gave me a Snuggie, which is really very, very warm — almost too warm! — as well as a lovely Chief’s anchor to be worn as a pendant. The funny thing is I knew I was getting the pendant. I was sitting here on the computer, minding my own business, when an email from eBay shot across the screen, telling me that I had won this particular auction for an anchor pendant. Um. Oops. Kurt was mortified. But you know, at least I knew I was getting one present I loved.
I decided not to do a traditional Christmas dinner. I’m pretty intimidated by the thought of roasting a whole turkey, or goose, or whatever dead fowl you’re supposed to roast for Christmas dinner — and ham was pretty much out. I’m not a fan of ham at all. Instead I made a really delicious spicy roast pork tenderloin with a ginger-maple sauce. The sauce almost didn’t turn out; I hurriedly grabbed the small bottle of minced garlic that I had mistakenly bought at the commissary — I thought it was minced ginger! In it went, only for me to realize that it was indeed garlic, not ginger. Oops. Since maple syrup and garlic probably doesn’t go together in the least, I dumped out what I had done thus far and started over. I used powdered ginger instead of minced, but it still turned out deliciously. I also made a really yummy sweet potato-apple bake that tasted like the innards of an apple pie, and my sister prepared some homemade falafel for her and her husband, since they are vegetarians. My friend, whose husband is currently in Iraq, came over as well and made her famous spinach and mushroom lasagna roll-ups with a gorgonzola cream sauce. We had so many delicious things to eat, and we stuffed ourselves silly. Who needs roast turkey, anyhow?!
By the time New Year’s Eve rolled around, my family had dispersed back to their respective homes. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to host a party, but with my family gone, and several of my friends with plans already, I wasn’t sure if it could be done.. So I texted my friend, the same one whose husband is in Iraq, and asked her to come over for dinner and drinks. She decided to bring over her Guitar Hero equipment for the Wii, so we spent the evening rocking out on the guitar and the drums. I even sang some! At one point I totally lost track of time, trying to fix the game to make the drums work right, so I was taken by surprise when it was time to watch the ball drop. But the party wasn’t over! Oh, no. Apparently I throw a pretty darn good New Year’s Eve party, even when I have only the one guest, because it wasn’t over till 3:15 this morning. Fortunately my friend lives two doors down, so I didn’t have to worry about her falling asleep at the wheel or getting hit by a drunken fool.
Nine a.m. came too early this morning, though, let me tell you. Good thing I didn’t drink much last night; the last thing I needed was a hangover.
2010 has had quite the ring-in; hopefully it only goes up from here!