Showing posts from December, 2020

2021 Resolutions

I wondered what I had resolved for 2020, but then I went back and realized that I don't think I had made any. So let's just say that I wanted to spend more time with family, read more, and learn how to use zoom, and call the year a success. Truth be told, though I make resolutions every year, I struggle with them — particularly right now. This year? Well, suffice it to say that making it through the day and actually getting my teeth brushed seems like a huge accomplishment sometimes. Should NY Resolutions be large, overarching goals that make fundamental change? Yeah, maybe, but how do I know if I achieve that, and that's not really just a one-year thing. Should I be changing habits? Probably, but it turns out that I am really resistant to that. A Facebook group I am on was talking about a list of goals, "21 for 21" since apparently #20for20 was a big trend I missed (but I guess so did everyone else who had "travel more" on their list...)  So I go throug


 Tonight we settled down with the dogs and the warm blankets and watched SOUL on Disney+.  And it was nice to watch. It's a good thing that we upgraded tvs last year, because we have spent a lot of time over the last 9+ months watching things on it. From things meant for the small screen (ranging from Tiger King to The Queen's Gambit ), to things that were adapted for it (like Beatrix's choir concerts), it's been our portal to the world (as it has for all of you, you're reading these very words on some kind of screen right now). Today, the New York Times suggested spending New Year's Eve viewing an electronic broadcast that tours the world and "experiences" midnight in each time zone, or creating an avatar and joining a virtual Times Square. Then there are our meetings and happy hours and even holiday celebrations, all stacked boxes on a zoom screen (if we are lucky, or some other permutation like glitchy conference calls if we are not). And as I wa

Corona Christmas - Christmas Eve Meal

My grandmother used to host Christmas Eve. After she had a stroke, my mother took over matriarch duties. So when she died 14 years ago, I took it over. Before this year, we have twice not hosted Christmas Eve. One was in 1987, when I was in London, and my mom and dad actually both came over to see me (kind of amazing for divorced parents); we celebrated in London, and then went to Italy. I remember breaking into tears on Christmas Eve in an Italian restaurant in Soho because it just didn't seem right. There were good parts, too, though — my friend/then roommate Karen reminded me tonight that that was her first lefse. The next time we did not celebrate was in 2006 when my mom died. Instead, Patrick and I spent the night in a  cot in the floor of her hospital room. So I guess this year marks the 3rd time we did not celebrate, at least in the usual way. Instead, Patrick still made full a meal, and divided them into big pans to deliver. Beatrix made cookie trays. This morning we made l

Brutus on Brewpubs - Stay at Home Edition

Brutus really misses taprooms. We have discovered that, on Mondays, Insight will fill your growler for $10. Even when you add on tax and tip (because hey, these guys are risking their lives to get you beer), it's a great deal, and lasts us a couple of nights. We especially like the Small Batch "Flavor Savor." Here is Brutus, in a ridiculously cute Santa sweater, demonstrating how good it is. We're so dedicated to small taprooms that today we drove to Saint Paul Brewing, in the impending blizzard, to pick up some Haze of Infatuation. Also because they are having an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest and we believe Brutus should win.  Even if you don't have beer and a ri-donk-u-lous-ly cute dog at home, we hope you are bundled in against the elements and ready for winter holidays, pandemic version. This year, more than ever, it's not about what we want, but what we have.

The Gift of Food

 Ok, so you bring food to people when they have a baby or there's a death in the family (you do, right?) But how often do you think of doing it otherwise? In the last few weeks, we have dropped off meals for a friend who had just started a new job (and was in that phase of being overwhelmed by the number of introductory meetings you need to have with people in a new job, complicated by the virtual meeting technology aspect) — for friends who have a monster renovation project on their hands and two small children — for friends who had just moved into a new home (just a short walk from us!) In each case, the recipients were incredibly touched, and told me it truly made the things they were facing easier to handle. We've been also able to lend our other house this week to friends getting married, and to another friend who just needed a 24-hour escape before the craziness of the holiday. And done short-term rentals for a few families needing a stay-cation. These things are not hard

Corona Christmas - Cookies

So Christmas has always been a big deal in my Norwegian-American family (which is one reason why associating it with the anniversary of my mom's death has been so incredibly hard). Perhaps nothing was more important to my mother than the Christmas baking. She had a standard list of two dozen or so standard cookies and quick breads she would make. They were always the same — chocolate drop, santa's crisp, nut goodie bars, (incredibly potent) bourbon balls, lemon meringue, chocolate mint brownies, English toffee, thumbprint, pecan balls, and more (never enough chocolate, in my opinion). Baking started in November, when we would start to fill the freezer with tupperware containers filled with cookies, each with a wax paper sheet carefully between layers. Then there were the Scandinavian standards, all of which incited a lot of swearing as she made them: rosettes, krumkake, sanbakkel. It's only later I knew there were other ways — here's the krumkake I made last night, with

Pandemic Projects - 'Tis The Damn Season Crafting

Staying at home has made for slightly more Christmas crafting. I come from a tradition of exuberant 1970s holiday crafts — of sequined ornaments, and waldorf-doll-looking wise men made with nylons over styrofoam balls — and of course of Christmas baking. So when we were picking up pans at the Dollar Store yesterday for distributing Christmas dinner, I picked up a mug that I could alter to paid tribute to my favorite song from Taylor Swift's new Evermore : (it's artfully posed on the puzzle I just finished!) I followed a prompt to make a Mandalorian paper snowflake. I only had the bad scissors, and Mando's mask did not come out exactly right, but I thought it was a noble attempt. Here it is displayed with another creative concoction, the French 75s we made last night. I made Christmas cookies for a socially distanced cookie exchange (more on that later): I also did a display outside our home with the extra branches we lopped off the Christmas tree, but I think there's m

Good Things

 Some parts of life I am really liking right now: - Insight Brewery does $10 growlers on Monday night, which lasts us generously through 2 nights. - We all have a lot more screen time right now (like The Mandalorian and His Dark Materials and Small Ax ) , and the dogs like cuddling on the couch with us.  -  Zoom-inars are not as engaging as IRL events, but easier to attend. Tonight I went to a really interesting Alumnae Speaker's Series about education in the time of covid through SPA, and then a "Frankly Speaking" series through Frank Theater on race and philanthropy. -  Our house looks very nice lit up with Christmas lights. -  I'm well-stocked on books (but I could always use more!).

Pandemic (Holiday) Projects - Deck the Halls

Yup, we did not think the pandemic would last until holiday decorating time. We are already working out ways to cook the usual big Christmas Eve dinner, and then divide it up and deliver it to people. Over the weekend, though, we finished getting our decorations up. One year a couple of years back, I went all "Miracle at Lawless'" with the front hallway. This year is more restrained, though it still makes me want a cocktail. Our tree is amazing.  The fireplace is ready for Santa, even if this is the first year that Beatrix does not believe. As most of you know, this is a really hard time of the year for me — and this year it's worse than usual, for obvious reasons. I'm fighting hard against just wanting to hide under the bed until it's over. But luckily I have all of you around to make it better.