Friday, December 27, 2013

I love you so much. Please go home.

My children have been home for Christmas week.  Now that they are adults and are not living close to me I only see them once or twice a year and at the most stressful times, generally Christmas or Thanksgiving - when there are just far too many expectations of what it "should" be like.   I've always said that the best thing about living close to my father is that I don't have to visit him for more than a couple of hours at a time.  I visit frequently but in short bursts.  I think that would be best with my own children, too. We had a fabulous visit during our "Kidsgiving" where we were only in town for 36 hours for our visit with them.

Being back in the childhood rooms seems to have some power to make them children again.  Redecorating the rooms didn't remove the aura of old grudges, fights, hurts, and disappointments.  They try to push past it all but boredom, exhaustion, and drink all get in the way of maintaining that hard-fought-for control of hurt feelings.  Then someone lashes out at someone or makes a hurtful comment or just takes offensive at something completely unintended and innocent and the room either goes quiet or erupts.  Hard to tell which way it will go.  I've tried to make an effort to just not react or come to anyone's defense this year which makes me just sit staring into space much of the time. They must think that I'm drugged.

I love them both so very much but I do wish that I could have their visits in more frequent, smaller doses.  And I bet they do, too.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Instead of panicking I should just be grateful that over 50 people want to spend Noche Buena with us. Off to grocery for more cheese, crackers, and maybe meatballs!  I'll slice the pork roast thin and add a couple of cans of beans.  Fun night ahead!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

and now for a reality check

A man rings my doorbell.  When I answer he is standing away from the door, as though not to frighten me.  In broken English he asks if I have any work.  A number of years ago a similar man knocked at my door on Christmas Eve with the same question.  That day I had work that needed to be finished in the yard so I gave him work.  He still works for us many years later. So this time  I sadly shake my head and say no, I'm sorry I don't have anything.  He says thank you and walks on to the next house.  I come back into my nice warm house and wonder what I should have done.

Friday, December 06, 2013

the traditional Noche Buena to-do list

Sent the evites for Noche Buena yesterday and now the countdown begins!  With invites out to potentially 80 people we will probably end up with 30+ as actual attendees.    We are currently at 14 and the invites haven't been out there for 24 hours yet.  I'll have to look at past years attendance  I think it has been as many as 50 and as few as 28. Edit:  now approaching or surpassing 40. It all depends on which people are hosting Christmas for their families and which are going out of town for Christmas.  And on which children's friends are home for Christmas.  Alas, my favorite Michael is now living in LA and won't be here.  It's a tradition that I find him on the sofa on Christmas morning and send him home to his parents house.

My menu is always a work in progress so I'll see how it ends up at the end.

Boneless pork loins - need to buy another one  Now have three ready to cook
Picadillo meat ballsj - made and in freezer  Need to make one more bag of meatballs
Black Beans - in freezer  Will throw in a couple more cans of beans
Rice  Borrow extra rice cooker from Margie
Plantains - maduros and tostones? purchased and ready for re-heating  Receheck supply and cook in advance for reheating

Deviled ham spread  Buy cream cheese and deviled ham
Olive/Cheese balls  Done
Salami/etc  check supply and buy some more cheese
Parmesean cheese sticks - in freezer
and what else?  search through new tapas books - make olive/almond recipe from Trader Joes's cookbook 
Cream cheese and guava jelly on triscuit

Dessert -  Cookies!  - in freezer


  • Get tree decorated and place plastic poinsettias around for color and decoration.    -
  • Start the cooking frenzy and freeze, freeze, freeze - In progress
  • Trader Joes for wine
  • Decide on a non-alcoholic punch for this year.  I hate all those left over sodas that we don't drink.  - Cranberry/Lemonade -
  •  Wrap gifts - basically done
  •  Clean, Clean, Clean