Tag Archives: Holidays

In 2012

I had my first job interview in years.  I would not be selected, but was so very grateful they were interested in me.

We got a new car.  My neighbors are still not convinced it qualifies as a “car”.

I attempted to make Buttermilk Cheese, Ricotta and Mozzarella, Cream Cheese and Brie.  Everyone survived.

I traveled to Savannah, Austin, MLB Spring Training and saw a Broadway play,

I went home to give a eulogy at a funeral.

I went home for a wedding.

I spent nearly a month in Europe, visiting friends in Spain, returning to Inverness for a boat ride and being continuously awe-struck by Shetland Island.  I also invited myself to stay at another Blogger’s flat in London.

Henry.  Rollins.

Charlotte hosted the Democratic National Convention and Jon Stewart came to town.

I voted for President Obama and was happy with his re-election, though it re-ignited the racist, ugly underbelly my fractured country tries to ignore.  He had his heart broken and desperately tried to help us heal.

I did not complete a single item on my Life List.

My goals for 2013 include reading one book a week (and reviving my pathetic book blog), being kinder to others and myself and seriously plan our escape from Charlotte; one that is practical and not based on knee-jerk emotions and festering anger.

Thank you all for another year.  And seeing as this is my 500th post, I wish I could pour Champagne over each and every one of your lovely faces.


Posted by on 30 December 2012 in Holidays


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The High Line

We trekked to New Jersey for Thanksgiving.  My in-laws are rebuilding due to Sandy, so the surroundings were unfamiliar, but we all heard familiar stories, ate familiar food, yelled at familiar dogs to shut the hell up and were bystanders to familiar arguments.

With each year that passes, I wonder more and more if preserving tradition is worth the exercise in patience.


Posted by on 26 November 2012 in Holidays, Photographs


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Éire go Brách

Not much is known about the man that would become Saint Patrick.  He was kidnapped and enslaved by the Irish.  He did not drive out all the snakes in Ireland.  He has not been formally canonized by a Pope.  It is widely accepted that after he escaped his captors, he became a bishop and returned to Ireland.

It’s my understanding the 17th of March is a Holy Day of Obligation in Ireland.  Here in America, we will drink to excess and vomit in the streets.

When I worked in the ER, this was a dreaded night.  Along with New Years Eve and Independence Day, this holiday was one of our busiest.

I may miss the ER, but pumping green beer from the stomachs of teenagers I do not.

Now that I’m old and grouchy, I stay home to avoid the drunken motorists and moronic frat boys.  And though The Husband and I are unaware of any Irish ancestry, it doesn’t stop us from raising a glass to a mysterious, but much-adored man.


Posted by on 17 March 2012 in Food, Holidays, Photographs


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Pi Day 2012

Blackberry-Lemon Pie

Cheesecake with Lemon Curd and Raspberries

Almond-Pear Tart

Pepper-Onion-Garlic-Asparagus-Smoked Cheddar Quiche


Posted by on 14 March 2012 in Baking, Cooking, Food, Holidays, Photographs


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In 2011

I discovered chicken is actually a vegetable.

I did not leave the country.  Not once.
Unsure if you or I are more surprised by this.

I went to my hometown and was conflicted about calling it home.

My Team turned professional and My People made me proud.

The Husband traveled for work.  A lot.

My garden grew and I canned everything.
“Little House on the Prairie” vomited all over my kitchen.

The Husband traveled more for work.

I intellectually peaked.

My hometown beckoned again, this time for a death.

I somehow convinced The Husband to take me to a farm in Iowa.

I ventured back to the hometown for a third time.  For another good-bye.

A Space Shuttle launched.  And I watched.

I cooked and baked.  The Husband ate it and your read about it, without complaint.
Thank you.

The Scottish liked my photograph.

My mother came for a visit.

My brother stayed for a few months.

There was another death.

I met some of your in real life.  And have plans to meet more.

The world changed.

I found a bit of inspiration.

Bring it, Mayans. I’ve never been more ready.


Posted by on 31 December 2011 in Holidays




And thoughtful.

If you’ve been reading my blather for longer than a year, you a) probably have an undiagnosed mental condition and b) know I have disdain for, or at the very least, great unease with holidays.

Thanksgiving was so different as a kid.  It was a day off from school, so you didn’t really care what was happening.  We were told a happy tale of Squanto helping the Pilgrims survive a nasty winter and then the following year, they feasted for three days to give thanks and celebrate.

What I learned much later in life was that Squanto (whose real name was Tisquantum) was kidnapped, shipped to Spain to be sold as a slave and when he finally made it back to his village, he discovered everyone had died of smallpox.  When he died of the same disease, the Patuxet Tribe went extinct.

A native took a chance on a bunch of starving, confused, scared strangers.  Their religions, customs and languages varied greatly, but there was mutual recognition that humans need each other to survive.

Ironic that some of the most heated political conversations happening right now in this country has to do with immigration.  Protect our borders, save our country, conserve our way of life when it was never our country to begin with.

I believe it is good to gather and reflect on the positive things happening in your life.  I also believe we should being doing this more often than just the fourth Thursday in November.  Give thanks, show gratitude; it is not a cooking (or eating) competition and no one really notices the forks do not match.

Remember Squanto and all of the others, whose names have been lost and discarded.  Reach out to everyone in the spirit of Thanksgiving, especially to those who may attend a different house of worship than you or perhaps, have no religion at all.

Because as much as this misanthrope hates to admit, we need each other.  More than ever.


Posted by on 25 November 2011 in Holidays



Recipe: Amaretto Cranberry Sauce

My Fellow Americans,

As we approach Thanksgiving, I must ask: when did it become acceptable to confuse cranberry sauce with that horrendous gelatinous mass that slides from a can and holds its shape, right down to the ridges from the can?  There is nothing “cranberry” nor “sauce” about that gastronomical abomination.

I implore you, please consider making your own cranberry sauce this holiday season.  It’s wicked easy and can be made far in advance to be canned or a few days before the big meal and left in the fridge.

Amaretto Cranberry Sauce
Yield: Four 12-oz jelly jars, plus a little extra; depends on how long you let it cook


  • 3 12-oz bags of fresh whole unsweetened cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Finely grated zest from one lemon
  • 2 cups Amaretto


  1. Put everything in a large pot over medium heat.  Stir to coat.
  2. Once sugar dissolves into the Amaretto and becomes thick and syrup-like, reduce heat and simmer; cranberries will start to burst as they simmer.  Cook until desired consistency is reached; 30-60 minutes.  Sauce will thicken as it rests/refrigerates!
  3. You have made cranberry sauce; it will amaze your family and friends.  Your in-laws may even start to like you.
  4. Store in the fridge for a few days or can using the directions below.

To Can the Sauce:

  • Ladle hot cranberry sauce into hot, clean jars leaving 1/2″ headspace.  Wipe rims, place lids and affix screw bands.  Process using the water bath method for 15 minutes.  Let cool on towel-lined counter/table top for 12 hours before checking the seal; label and store.  If any jars failed to seal correctly, refrigerate and consume within a week.

I usually make my cranberry sauce with brandy, but discovered Amaretto works very well.  If you do use brandy, you may want to add a bit more sugar.  On that same vein, you may find that 2 cups of sugar is too much for your liking as Amaretto is already quite sweet.

The alcohol will be cooked out of this by the end, but if you want a true non-alcoholic version of this sauce, I recommend using ginger ale, unsweetened apple or orange juice in place of the booze.

I also enjoy cranberry sauce on salads (makes a great vinaigrette), mixed in yogurt or atop ice cream.  How do you use cranberry sauce?

Please let me know if you made this and any alterations; I love hearing what everyone does in their kitchen (culinary pursuits, you pervs).



Posted by on 22 October 2011 in Canning, Cooking, Food, Holidays, Recipes


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