Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's Here, It's Here!!

It's my most favorite day of the year!!!!! I'm home in CT and the presents are stacked by the tree. That's not why it's my favorite day, though they DO have something to do with it...but it has nothing to do with what is inside those boxes. It's how we open them.

Every year for my entire life (with the exception of when I lived in Florida) I have spent Christmas Eve in New York at my Nana's house. We all pile into her small cape and eat and laugh and just enjoy ourselves. It's wonderful. But since we are not home on Christmas day, we open our gifts from each other before we drive to NY. We sit in a large circle around the living room-always in the same spots-and open one gift at a time, taking turns who opens next. It sounds simple, but it is so fun and we always have such a good time doing it.

Then we drive to NY and spend the best night with family. My NY family is so wonderful. They are super loud and funny and it's really hard not to have fun around them. Every year my Nana acquires little throw away stupid gifts and tonight she'll pass out tickets and call out numbers. When yours is picked, you get the prize! So stupid, yet so hysterical because the gifts, most often, are nothing you'd ever want. Hysterical, I tell you.

Last year I had just gotten laid off. I was worried about how I was going to pay bills, I felt like a loser and overall, I was just really depressed. It was hard for me to be at my Nana's because I knew I should be smiling and laughing but I just couldn't. So this year is even better for me, because I'm in a mostly good place and have a lot to be thankful for. It's going to rock. :)

Tomorrow we'll go to my Aunt Carol's annual brunch and then make our way home in the afternoon. We usually have a tradition of going to a Japanese Restaurant for dinner but I'm not sure we're doing that this year. Probably, but no one has said anything yet.

Anyway, I truly hope that each and every one of you who celebrates Christmas has a wonderful Eve and day tomorrow. I might pop in to post some pictures, but I'm just going to try my best to enjoy the time with family...Merry Christmas!

Girl 1st Cousins (minus one), Christmas Eve 2008

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Randomivity


Stories about a friend thinking his seat was wet with drool cause me to laugh hysterically.

Catching up with said friend makes my heart happy.

There are lots of very weird people in local Irish Bars in Boston.

Toilet seats sometimes fall off. When you are on them.

I told the story out loud today. It felt good and bad at the same time. I'm happy I wasn't told that everything happens for a reason. It may be true, but I'm so sick of hearing it. There should never be a reason why someone you trust rips your heart out and stomps on it without remorse.

I won't get a Merry Christmas call or an after Christmas visitor this year. I'm so ready to be done being sad about this.

Bella is a freak. She seems to get wicked hyper around 10pm just when I'm trying to relax.

I'm starting to see the side of my boss that everyone else told me about. He's still very nice to me however.

Some people are just miserable fools who like to bring other people down. It sucks when these people are the bosses. (Not mine this time. But she influenced him.)

I apparently know more Christmas carol lyrics than I thought.

Yesterday I had stomach pains and I'm afraid of what that might mean.

I'm also starting to worry about my health. I pray that I don't inherit some of the diseases my family is known for.

The drive to CT is not usually horrible, but I am not looking forward to it later today. The traffic might be bad. I can not leave work early due to the miserable fool mentioned above.

I've been saying "I wanted to punch him/her in the face" a lot lately. I'm not sure where that came from.

I received a very weird and confusing present the other day. I don't know how to address it. I am not offended, just confused.

I need to remember not to post interactive posts around the holidays. It makes for a very lonely Toosdae.

I saw the trailer for the movie my father's last famous client was making while my dad was working on his house. It made me smile to know that while he was learning his lines, he was also talking to my dad.

I am sure this is not true for all people in Geneva, but so far, the ones I have communicated with are very, very rude and try to make me feel bad about the fact that they have to work.

Strap ons require 2 people. This is what is confusing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Toosdae ?'s

Have you ever wondered why Bruce Springsteen is laughing while singing at the end of his version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town?  It actually kind of annoys me and perhaps there is a reason he's laughing, and in person it might have been funny but it doesn't translate well on the radio.  I also just realized that I spelled Claus wrong when helping the oldest girl I cook for write her letter to Santa.  What a dope.  Are you ready for some mind blowing Toosdae ?'s?!?  OK...they won't blow your mind-not even close-but they'll make me smile if you answer them, so go ahead, won'tcha?

1.  What was your most awkward gift opening experience?  Explain.

2.  What color do you feel you look the best in?

3.  Look to your left.  What do you see?

My Answers...

1.  The first year I worked at the publishing company in CT we did a Secret Santa gift swap.  When I opened mine up, there was a bottle of shampoo, conditioner and mouse.  I didn't know who gave it to me but I was mildly offended b/c I always have clean hair and thought they gave it to me b/c they felt otherwise.  So I must have looked confused and crushed while smiling.  Later I found out that the guys wife was a sales manager for a salon and the products were given to me because she knew I'd like upscale shampoo.  That's what he said, anyway.

2.  I have no idea what is really the color I look good in, but I like myself in red and green.  Red because I get a lot of compliments and green because it makes my eyes look even more green and I like that.

3.  To my left is a wall.  But on my desk I see my Magic 8 Ball, an uneaten clementine and a candy cane hanging off of my inbox.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday, Monday

Saturday morning I woke up very tired and slightly hung over. I had a hair appointment, an eye doctor appointment and had to drive to CT for a holiday party. I wasn't looking forward to any of them. I had the foresight to cancel the hair appointment so I could sleep in a little bit and when I knew I couldn't *exactly* see straight so the eye appointment was out too...and luckily the party was canceled prior to me driving to CT. So Saturday I fed my hangover, drank lots of water and took a very long nap with my kitty. I was so very glad that I did not have to dress up and go to another party with lots of free wine.

When I finally got up from my nap, I still felt...icky. Knowing that we were due for a whopper of a snow storm, I headed out to buy a few items I needed. The cold air felt good and I bought some fast food for dinner which seemed to make me feel better. I feel good about the fact that I was able to find cheap but nice gifts for the people in my office and can officially say that I am done-even though I said that last week too.

Yesterday I woke up to LOTS of snow. And it was still snowing. And it continued to snow well into the day. All in all, I think we got about a foot and a half or so of powdery white snow. I kept waiting to shovel because I thought it would end, but it just didn't so around 1 o'clock I ventured out and cleaned up. I'm happy to say that one of the couples in the building hired a plow and the cost to me will only be $7/snow. That's well worth it. I'm not sure I could have handled shoveling all of that. Just my spot alone was hard work.

After I shoveled I came inside and heated up some tea, had a piece of rum cake and relaxed. I then went outside to bring the garbage out because today is trash day. It was dark out and I didn't feel like changing so I walked outside in my pajama's and fuzzy white robe with my snow boots. Normally I'd be OK with this considering the weather, however I discovered that living across the street from me is a very hot man who was shoveling his driveway. And of course my first encounter with him was in my fuzzy white robe, ponytail and snow boots. Oh, and snow that came up to my knees. That was sexy.

Besides shoveling I took another nap and made some beef stew. It was a lazy, snowed in weekend and though I always feel guilty relaxing like this, it was a very nice and needed change from the last month. I think you know I've just been going and going since I decided to move and now that the party is over, I'm just really looking forward to taking my time with the rest of the place. There are many goals I'm setting for myself for 2010 and I'm taking the next couple of weeks to gather my thoughts and hopefully close out this long, horrible year on a positive note.

It's a short week people-enjoy it!

Did you get any or much snow where you live? What are your plans for the holiday?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What's Cookin'? Duck & Blue Cheese Canapes!


In my garde manger class in culinary school we made many, many small bites. Of them, this recipe was my most favorite. The rich blue cheese butter-slightly melted from the warm duck-is cut by the sweet, refreshing mandarin orange. It's truly a simple and delicious combination that your friends will devour. The hardest thing about this recipe is finding the duck. I found mine at Whole Foods.

Ingredients:

3 Duck Breasts, skin scored
1/2 # Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1/2 C. Blue Cheese, room temperature
48 Mandarin Orange Slices
48 Crouton Rounds or crackers
1 C. Toasted Pistachio Nuts, chopped
Salt & White Pepper

Method:

1. In a large bowl, combine butter and blue cheese. Using an electric mixer, cream the two together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

2. Shell and toast pistachios. Allow to cool slightly before chopping them. Set aside.

3. Using a sharp knife, score the duck skin diagonally to make diamonds. Season both sides of the duck liberally with salt and white pepper. In a very hot pan, sear the duck skin side down until it's a deep golden brown color. The majority of cooking will be on this side to render out the fat. Once this happens, turn the duck over and cook for about 1-2 minutes more. Allow to rest 5 minutes prior to slicing.

4. Spread blue cheese butter on crackers. Top with thin slices of warm duck, then one mandarin orange and sprinkle with pistachios. This canape is best when the duck is still warm, however they are still delicious at room temperature.

Make Ahead!
*Blue Cheese butter can be made up to 3 days ahead. Simple cover and refrigerate until 45 minutes prior to use. Allow to become room temperature before spreading.

*Pistachios can be toasted up to 1 week in advance. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.