Friday, January 2, 2009

A fresh start


No recipe today--my schedule is knocked out of whack by the holiday and the fact that I haven't been doing much adventurous cooking lately. We'll be back in the groove next week, I promise.

And so we begin a new year. Wouldn't it be great to have completely a clean slate, and not have to deal with the detritus of the previous months? Alas, life doesn't recognize these man-made thresholds. We were dealt a hand that we are still playing, be it December or January. But as one of you remarked to me over the holiday, there is always hope. There's a French song that says, "tant qu'il y a de la vie, il y a de l'éspoir"--as long as there's life there's hope. I'll drink to that as the best alternative by far.

We had a very nice New Year's Eve with three friends. The idea was for them to get here as early as they could so we could play a game before sitting down to dinner at around 8 pm. The game turned out to be "History of the World," a war game, all strategy and planning. The others got the hang of it right away, but I was too busy tending the fire and dealing with kitchen issues to strategize gaining territory from the mountain redoubt in China I had been dealt. (And I'm really bad at strategy games. Bridge and chess both leave me scratching my head, and I found myself very much in that mode as the rules to "History of the World" were being explained to me. Being the host is a wonderful excuse for slipping away diplomatically and avoid looking like an idiot.)

Dinner was delicious and easy, pork and saurkraut, a dish tailor-made for the occasion, and a salad I threw together from the assorted marinated vegetables at the grocery store olive bar: olives (of course), whole garlic cloves, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, thin zucchini slices, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes. A show-stopping raspberry tart for dessert was supplied by our friend André.

We then repaired to the TV to watch Dick Clark ring the in the year. Despite speech problems from his stroke, I swear he must have a painting stashed away in his attic that is aging while his physical self remains youthful, à la Dorian Gray. He looks so good it's almost spooky.....

Painting continued apace yesterday. Steve has finished the bedrooms. Now come the upstairs hall and stairway. Little by little.....

10 comments:

Linda - SE PA said...

Seems as you had a very good New Year's Eve!

I love board games - but, please make it one I grew up with like Monopoloy, Scrabble etc.

Mmm.. Dick Clark - I didn't catch any news on his appearance. Was he with Ryan Seacrest? who is - according to hearsay - his successor for New Year's Eve?

And good to hear the house project is moving along at a seemingly nice clip.

Zoey and Me said...

I did my standard 15 bean soup recipe which the kids love and can count on it every New Years Day. I make it with chilies, carrots, onions, and mexican diced tomatos. We always have a ham bone leftover from Christmas eats and the ham bone really does make the soup. I add a little Itay seasoning, salt & pepper and walla. It tastes marvelous. I also served up a salad with it and french bread, lots of butter. Today I'm helping a friend up your way who is struggling with cancer test results via Alexandria Hospital. I am battling with a hospital down here who has a head scan the doctors up there want to look at. Why is everything in Health Care so troublesome? I finally got to the records manager and had my friend sign a release by email. Now I'm waiting to see when I can drive down and pick it up. Geeech!

Ralph said...

Linda, Dick Clark wasn't outside with the rest of the gang, now that you mention it. He was inside a studio somewhere. But it was live--he was counting down with everyone else.

Yeah, I'm afraid "History of the World" will not be including me!

Ralph said...

Z&M, the soup sounds great! I make something like that, too. Thing about soups is, with only two uf us to eat it, I always have tons left over, which I freeze and then promptly forget about.

Eeww--sorry to hear about your friend. It's a good thing he has you to run interference for him--the worst thing is to have to navigate the medical bureaucracy while you're sick!

By the way, did you ever hear back from the people who lived on Meadow Lane? Their address?

Zoey and Me said...

I haven't heard back from Don or Judy who are the friends that lived on Meadow Lane. Will try calling them this weekend.

My friend is between a rock and a hard place because he has a very high cancer marker and the doctors up there can't find a mass, at least not yet, from a weeks worth of testing. They now want all his medical records from here and that is a tall order for health care workers. I was on the phone over an hour doing the preverbial round robbin with no stops. I feel better now that I spoke with the manager of records.

Jeff said...

Ralph - you'd be proud of me this New Year's eve. I cooked up some orzo and roasted shrimp as a main dish and started off with a roasted eggplant dip with pita toast. My wife filled in with some additional salsa, hummus, and chips. And our guests showed up with slices of six different types of cheesecakes. Lord, eating is not the problem around here these days!
Zoey and me - sorry to hear about the troubles. I completely understand the frustration. I'm lucky enough to be part of a group where several hospitals are connected thru a network. As long as I use any of the physicians or labs within the network, my records are immediately available. Saves hours of paperwork. The medical world is moving towards a centralized bank of healthcare info. Google has already created this type of databank. For those with chronic illness, or cancer survivors, this may be a viable option for now. The only question is confidentiality. Anything online is vulnerable.
My best wishes to your friend - it's a constant fight it seems....
- J.

Ralph said...

My God, Jeff, what a food night! You were probably still eatingt even as the ball dropped.

The talk and controversy about centralization of medical records hits home in your and Z&M's friend's cases. It works wonders for you and the friend needs it. I hope the privacy issues can be reasonably accommodated because there's no question this is where we're headed, and it's a good thing, IMHO.

Zoey and Me said...

Jeff, Ralph, my friend Jack was very pleased as I talked my way through records and in "record time" no pun intended got his stuff, huge handful that I Fedex'd so he'd have it tomorrow for Monday morning at the doctors office. Just so you know Jack was offered a really good job in Homeland Security two years ago so took it up in D.C. Now he gets a promotion, the Gummint (sp) requires him to have a physical, and I doubt my friend will ever be the same. He feels fine. I talked to him several times today and he's so appreciative that I got his film and radiology reports. Thanks for caring. I'll let ya know what happens.

Ralph said...

Congratulations on a job well done, Z&M. And boy, what a lucky physical!

Zoey and Me said...

Life is odd. He gets this move up to a higher grade, one full step, more money, then flunks the physical. Shocking. But we are all pulling for him down here and I hate to think all this went on over Christmas. Poor Jack.