I’m as ready for Christmas as I ever get. I approach the holidays much like I did test taking in my school days. After an initial fervor, I’d procrastinate until I had to cram the information, layering the re-reading of my notes with plenty of Hail Mary’s in hope that something, anything had embedded itself into my long-term memory. Despite these crises of confidence, my test results were usually good unless I didn’t bother to show up.
I have all the presents wrapped and ready to load for the trip across town to my parents’ house tomorrow. Of course, I feel like I somehow missed getting anything that anyone would actually like because my usual self-absorption has precluded me from telepathically receiving everyone’s wish lists. Nobody tells me what they really want for Christmas any more, even my daughter. Perhaps they have abandoned all hope that I would actually find the time and the wherewithal to brave the holiday shopping crowds to get what their hearts truly desire.
One year I got all the adults on my shopping list an As-Seen-On-TV item and a gift card. At least they were able to apply the latter gift toward something useful.
Today we had our first substantial snow of the season. We had mist and fog last night, so the tree branches were primed to grow heavy with fallen snow:
I really wish I had some photos of last night’s fog. My daughter and I went shopping yesterday evening, and we took a road-less-traveled on the way home. My habit of alternative routing is very much based on avoidance of left turns except at traffic lights with a left turn green arrow and four-way stop signs. Anyway, there was a nearly-deserted overpass we took on the way home that looked quite magical in the fog. It was a scene I will not soon forget.
By the way, I’m still a little melancholy over the closing of this year’s garden. Where once were baskets overflowing with blooms are now just forlorn shepherd’s hooks:
I struggle to appreciate winter, even though I know from experience that I need this downtime to ensure my serenity in the long term.
Back to the subject of Christmas, my daughter did take the time to inform me of one entry on her wish list. Her relating this wish to me isn’t really an exception to the cloud of unknowing regarding my loved one’s Christmas lists, for she’s been campaigning for this one since summer. She wants a companion for her guinea pig, L’Orange:
We adopted him last winter, and he has given us unexpected joy. My daughter has a special voice that belongs to L’Orange. The timbre and spirit of this voice hearken to Louis Armstrong, raspy, witty and wise. I’m surprised by how much history L’Orange has learned despite his seclusion. Last week he told us, “The Doughboys fought in World War I. They were badasses!”
She insists that he’d be happier with a buddy, but I’ve delayed the acquisition of one because I’m concerned that keeping two boars happy could be a tricky business.
After doing a bit of reading online, I’ve learned that it is feasible to keep two males provided they have plenty of space. I challenged my daughter to make space in her room for expanding our guinea accommodations. I didn’t think she would rise to the occasion, but she did so just in time for the local supply of guinea pigs to evaporate due to Christmas gift giving.
Perhaps we will acquire L’Orange’s buddy in much the same way we did him. He was a February surrender of a Christmas gift gone wrong for his first family.
Merry Christmas to all of my readers.
This afternoon I made deviled eggs as a Christmas gift for my husband. I doubt most home cooks would make a gift of a such a highly perishable dish, but this creation is truly a labor of love for me. I hate eggs and mayonnaise, along with all of their various analogues and any recipe wherein they are employed for any purpose beyond cohesion or leavening. I hated them as a child and have yet to outgrow this dislike. I detest the sight, smell, taste, and texture of eggs and/or mayonnaise.
When my daughter was very young, I surpassed my revulsion toward eggs long enough to fix them a couple times in the unlikely event she might enjoy them. I have no clue if the eggs I cooked for her were palatable to someone who actually likes eggs, for she soon declared herself a fellow egg hater.
My husband is a fan of eggs, and it is only my love for him that lets me tolerate handling eggs long enough to make a dish featuring them. I have cooked over easy eggs for him in bacon drippings heavy enough to enclose the egg smell. I have made deviled eggs for him twice (including today). The first time was a cluster of sorts because I had no idea what a delicate operation peeling boiled eggs can be. Apparently this is a skill that takes lots of practice that I’m unwilling to devote to eggs.
Today I realized that I could make quick work of deviled eggs by buying peeled, hard-boiled eggs from the grocery dairy case. At this moment I do not care that I paid a premium for this convenience. Anything that cuts my time with eggs is worth the price.
While it is tricky to make something that I won’t sample to adjust the seasoning, the deviled eggs turned out fairly well, at least according to my husband who considers himself a connoisseur of this dish.
Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out yolks into small mixing bowl. Crumble yolks with fork and stir in mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Mix until smooth. Fill yolk space of each egg half with a heaping teaspoon of yolk mixture. Sprinkle with paprika.