Sunday, January 2, 2011

A New Year in the Valley

We got SUNSHINE for New Year's. You have to live with two solid months of rains and grayness to really appreciate that. I was able to walk to the library without getting soaked, to tend to a few outside chores, and to join the cats in basking in the rays shining through the windows.

New Year's Eve was quiet for us. I had the day off, so I finished cleaning the house for the new year. My husband was a waiter for 15 years, and not having to work in a restaurant on "amateur night" is something we celebrate every year by staying in. He cooked some wild-caught steelhead trout (similar to salmon) and we had a lovely bottle of prosecco. After dinner, he watched the Flaming Lips show streaming live from Oklahoma City, and I retired upstairs with a book and a large glass of wine. We toasted the New Year at midnight, to the accompaniment of the neighbors banging pans, drums, and blowing car horns--a traditional way of scaring off evil spirits. That part was rather charming. Their drunken arguments out in the street every half hour until after 3 AM was not.

As a consequence of being awakened repeatedly in the night, I started 2011 tired and grumpy. Apart from baking a loaf of bread and making hoppin' john (black-eyed peas with rice) and greens for New Year's dinner like a good Southern girl, I did nothing. I spent the day curled up by the fire reading the marvelously eerie The Little Stranger, or watching old Miss Marple mysteries on Netflix.

After a peaceful night, I woke to sunshine and experienced a burst of energy. I made coffee (OK, some of the energy was caffeine-related), scrambled eggs, and toasted homemade bread with homemade strawberry jam (my smugness over the "homemade" part makes it taste so much better). After cleaning the kitchen, I peeled and roasted assorted root vegetables for soup. I love making soup and bread for Sunday night dinner, thereby having leftovers for weekday lunches. While the vegetable were roasting, I conducted another wardrobe weeding, pulling out things I haven't worn in forever to donate, and organizing the remaining items.

After lunch, I mixed up a batch of cookie dough and put it in the fridge to chill while I walked to the library. I had forgotten that I usually cut this recipe for "Cowboy Cookies" (chocolate chip with pecans, oatmeal, and coconut) in half--I got it from a friend who makes batches for after-church coffee hour--so I ended up with five dozen cookie. Hope none of my co-workers have started diets for the new year, because I'll be bringing treats to the office.

No pictures today, partly because there was nothing new and interesting to photograph, and partly because it takes too much time. I'm far less likely to write something if I need photos for it. So I'm sorry it's just plain ol' text, but that's all I can handle right now.