Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas & Happy Chanukah

Today was a busy one. I had decided earlier in the week that I was going to make a nice meal, and as usual, I couldn't help myself. What was going to be just a brisket and some vegetables turned into a full-fledged holiday feast, which was a little ridiculous. Actually, it was two holidays...with a meal to match.

I made a brisket, cooked with potatoes, carrots, green beans, and onions, with mushroom-onion gravy. That was the Chanukah meal in honor of my mother-in-law, who made the world's best brisket at the holidays. She told me her recipe year ago, and it has been my favorite brisket since the first time I had it. Mine turned out wonderfully, though my memory says Mom's tasted better. I miss her.

But I didn't stop with the brisket. It was Christmas, too, after all, and I had picked up some squash yesterday, so I made a squash casserole from my friend Jeff's recipe. It was amazing.

I wanted Aaron to taste sweet potatoes the way my grandmother used to make them, and since they are typically a Christmas thing for me, I made those, too. Delightful.

Oy. It was a big meal. And every bite was delicious.

Oh, and then there was the capper...I made eggnog last night and so we had a glass of that after the meal. Yes, made it. I don't like the junk you buy in the store, with all those artificial flavors, thickening agents, and disgusting amounts of nutmeg. I prefer making it myself so that I can control the flavors and the body. It takes a dozen eggs to make 1/2 gallon of the stuff, and it's time-consuming to make. And it disappears a lot faster that it can be made. I'm going to make it again next weekend when Matt and John (and possibly Jeff and Steve) are out for New Year's. I should probably make a double batch. It's really killer with a shot of Ronrico Gold. Jess, Aaron, and I went though a half-gallon in just a day! Yes, it's that good.

So to all of you, I hope your holiday (whichever you celebrate) was wonderful and peaceful.

Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah. Peace on Earth. L'Chaim.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005



I don't know whether or not it's a word, but I am going to commit it. It's like homicide, only for dogs.

I came home tonight to find that Mandy, the lab with an attitude problem, had snuck around behind Aaron's back today and chewed up the carpet in the front room. And I don't mean a scrap of carpet. I mean she chewed up carpet that was tacked down. Relatively new carpet (less than a year old). Expensive carpet. Hard-to-replace-easily carpet.

You see, Aaron has been staying with us for about two weeks. The dogs can have free run of the house as long as someone is home, and typically nothing bad happens...except when Mandy gets in a mood. Apparently she had one of those moods today, while Aaron was at home today. So unbeknownst to him, she was in the front room, tearing up the carpet. It's a lovely trait she has. She did this at the old house and she was lucky I didn't turn her into cat chow for a leopard at the zoo. Now she has reprised her role as the mother-effing bitch of all canines.

I am through trusting this @*$#&$% dog alone anywhere.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Whomever said Jet Blue was a fabulous airline was obviously on drugs

I have heard nice things about Jet Blue. I don't know why. We rode Jet Blue to San Diego this past weekend and, well, in a couple of sucked. What good is 31 channels of satellite TV if the signal keeps going out through the whole flight? What good are leather seats if the air conditioning in the plane is useless and you wind up coming off the plane literally drenched in your own juices (and that is not a good thing)? I swear, I could have steam-ironed clothing with the heat and steam coming off me. Of course, these days, you don't get food on a flight, no matter that it is 6 hours...just little snacky items like cheese and crackers and Oreos. Lovely. And for all the talk of extra legroom (what? 1/8 inch?) and the supposed extra seat recline (what? 1 degree more?) I didn't find it at all valuable. It was positively horrible.

San Diego, on the other hand, was maaaaaahvelous. The temperature was perfect the entire time we were there. The people were nice. The food was delicious. Mexican food like I hadn't had in years - yum. The driving was relatively easy and it seemed to be a short drive to anywhere in the metro area. I couldn't believe that our hotel, which was on Harbor Drive just off downtown, was only seven minutes from the airport and had such easy access to everything.

Encinitas - stunning beach views. Del Mar - beautiful. La Jolla - charming, beautiful, friendly, great shopping. El Cajon - nice, quiet bedroom community. It's all very beautiful. Flowers in bloom in November. Gorgeous Bougainvillea trailing down stone walls and over iron gates. Bird-of-Paradise plants (real ones) in bloom everywhere. Geraniums, Bottle Brush, hibiscus, hydrangea, roses; grapefruit, lemons, and oranges hanging in clusters that would soon be ripening. Giant cactus flowering alongside date palms. It was just amazing. I would so go back in a New York minute.

I have been to California many times, but never to San Diego. I never knew it was such a great place. I've never been that in love with California, but I am now. I'll be back. (Appropriate phrase, given who the governor is.) But I won't be taking Jet Blue.