New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.
- Hamilton Wright Mabie
2012 was nothing short of tumultuous. We bought, renovated and moved into a new home. Our tiny pup was operated on and at death’s door, his ticket for Paradise purchased twice and then given several reprieves; and we thought only cats had nine lives. Prodigal son – the second one – returned home from a year in New Orleans, more than six months with his grandmother in Florida and three months in Italy and finally, after an entire lifetime of a turbulent relationship with school, found his vocation, his place, much to our joy and relief. Both sons are now well on their way to creative careers in architecture and design, both talented and happy. And the two of us? We are in career limbo, teetering on a creative tightrope, looking for inspiration in all the… well, everywhere. Projects were put on hold as we hammered and sawed, packed and unpacked, pampered our poor Marty, fretted and worried and ate more than our fair share of sandwiches, kabobs and pizzas and now they are back on track.
2013 will be a year of surprises. I dig myself up from the dark side of the planet and try to grab on to something brighter; gossamer unreality. This is a time for making Resolutions, those slippery, devious little imps, ethereal dreams of greatness, promises to ourselves that have the bad habit of turning against us somewhere along the winding, bumpy road of life, that great battle of temptation. Just at this time of the year, I tend to get sentimental, even somewhat maudlin, and stir up those schmaltzy “It’s a Wonderful Life” platitudes, tossing out quotes and images in black and white, painting both the tragedy and the happy ending. I make notes to myself: Do this…Don’t do that…Absolutely MUST do the other… and end up falling back into sarcasm, humor and wit.
2012 was a year in slow motion, peppered with adventure, punctuated by side trips to Somerset, New York, Paris and Normandy, and weighed down by the occasional bout of writer’s block. Many friendships were strengthened, a few new ones forged, a little weight put on, one son moved out and the other moved back in. Some projects skittered to a halt, others crawled forward on hands and knees waiting for some mystical awakening, a fairy godmother tossing handfuls of glittery dust around in the wind to bring them to fruition. My lovely, wonderful, witty band of Merry Mentors gently take me by the hand and lead me forward towards a brighter horizon. Or give me a swift kick in the pants (and a kind word of encouragement) when necessary.
Favorite recipes of 2012:
Cauliflower and Potato Gratin
Chocolate Espresso Layer Cake
Classic French Beef with Carrots
Strawberry Mascarpone Whipped Cream Tart
Lemon Chiffon Pie
Cherry Prosecco Granità
Cherry Chocolate Chip Maple Challah
Chocolate Chestnut Fondant
Greek-Style Preserved Lemon & Olive Chicken
Spiral Feta Rolls
From New Year's on the outlook brightens; good humor lost in a mood of failure returns.
I resolve to stop complaining.
- Leonard Bernstein
2013 promises much. Articles are in the works and on their way to being published. Book ideas still find their way down onto paper. A change in my blog, more than a simple redesign, is in the thinking. Like husband and I, my words, my energy and my creativity need a new home. Food presses in on me and limits what I offer my readers, and now after almost five years of blogging, I yearn to open up and tell my stories properly, unadulterated, passionately, not hemmed in by the need to tack on a recipe at the end.
A Few Stories of 2012:
You are what you eat: A food blogger’s dilemma
In defense of dessert: Is it really healthy?
IACP conference NYC
September 15 – September 18
2013 arrives suddenly as we stand at the window staring out into the misty darkness to the sound of laughter floating up from ghostly shapes and drunken roars bursting forth like canon fire. The number of years that I have welcomed in a new year living here in France crosses my mind and I begin to ask myself the question “when is an expat no longer an expat?” I settle into my new kitchen and the urge to turn out comfort food sweeps over me as I move forward in time, lulled by the soothing hum of the dishwasher, the quick tickety-tack of the spin of the clothes dryer, the murmur of rain spattering against the window panes, the restful rhythm of the dog’s gentle snores in the distance. I enter 2013 mellowed, reflective, pondering my future, this impalpable sensation of destiny.
Wishing all of my readers, my friends a brilliant, generous, healthy and safe 2013. Thank you for your never-ending support and encouragement and for bringing Life’s a Feast alive, turning my monologues into a conversation. And a special thank you to those of you who I call my mentors, those who have reached out to offer professional advice and a helping hand, who have worked on projects with me and introduced me to others, offering a step up.