Holiday Improvisations

img_5004My-oh-my, the weather has been frightful these past two weeks, which have encompassed Christmas, New Years, and vacation for Clif and me. There have been snow storms; an ice storm that knocked out our power for three days, including Christmas Day; and weather so cold that our dog, who loves snow, only stayed out in the backyard long enough to do his business. And now a driving rain, most unwelcome in January, with the threat of more frigid weather to follow. Something tells me that Clif and I will not be leaving home without our grippers on our shoes.

Despite the bad weather, our holidays were merry, even though there was a fair amount of improvising with food. Instead of our usual cheddar cheese soup on Christmas Eve, we had a soup I had frozen—ginger-carrot soup—along with chickpea patties—also frozen and thawed thanks to the power outtage. Scratch the stuffed shells for Christmas Day. Instead, it was appetizers—bread, crackers, veggies, various cheeses, spreads, and cold cuts. Not my idea of a great Christmas meal, but Shannon, who loves appetizer meals, was delighted.

Somehow, though, everything worked out. Because of the ice-storm brouhaha, my brother and his family couldn’t come over on Christmas Day. They could, however, come over on Friday, and since our power was back on, I could make stuffed shells for them along with a homemade chocolate ice-cream pie.

And the cheddar cheese soup? A New Year’s Eve meal with Shannon, Mike, Dee, and our friends Joel and Alice. So we had the holiday food we love, only pushed later during the week.

I must admit that by the time the holidays were over, I was just plain tuckered out. But Clif and I still had several more vacation days, and in between cleaning the roof and the driveway, we ate more than we should have, we read, we rested, and we watched movies, both at home and at the cinema. (There have been some very good movies this year.)

Now vacation is over, and it’s time to get back on track—with work, with exercise, with eating, and with the many projects that seem to fill our lives. Our current project involves making shelves for Shannon and Mike’s kitchen. Clif, handy guy that he is, will do most of the work. I’ll try not to get in the way too much. And there is also cleaning and decluttering, a never-ending task for me as I’m sure it is for most people.

Onward and upward into 2014. I’m hoping it is a year of family, friends, good food, biking, and creativity.