Wowza it’s been a couple of weeks! I’m just now literally exhaling (e.g. relaxing) from the whirlwind of all the holiday activity.
The house was practically bursting at the seams with family and friends. It was truly lovely to have sis and family make the excruciatingly long drive from Northern Virginia for their first Florida visit. Though sis said it was to see us settled in our new home , I’d say (wink, wink) they visited (earlier than anticipated) to see their second grandchild who had entered the world just six weeks earlier. My brother-in-law was bowled over with love the second he laid eyes on his granddaughter and his radiating joy while holding her truly lit up the entire room. My daughter and her husband also made the trek, via airplane, from Chicago. The duo brought with them fabulous cheeses from Chicago’s Eataly for our noshing pleasure as well as cooked up a steam in my kitchen preparing delicious fare including from scratch Foccacia with fresh herbs and savory sweet potatoes Au gratin from our favorite Ottolenghi cookbook. Not to sit by idly, my nephew, who at thirteen is growing increasingly adept in the kitchen, whipped up a couple of pies (one Key Lime and one pumpkin), my sis made her delicious meat sauce for our meat lasagna, while I prepared Marcella Hazan’s fabulous vegetable lasagna. Later, the guys inaugurated our new outdoor grill–grilling a hefty sized eye of round to melt-in-your-mouth perfection.
While our area–sorely lacking in good restaurants– did not particularly thrill my daughter, a three-hour sunset kayaking tour through mangroves did. We all had a Christmas Eve blast–as well as a good workout–navigating through a dense mangrove forest and a myriad of water trails on the Indian River that had us in a twist as to sense of direction. No siree-Bob… I was not (ahem) one bit afraid of the approaching blanket of complete darkness. Let’s just say ’twas a very good thing we had an excellent guide as I suspect we’d all still be trying to find our way out of the maze of waterways! Unfortunately, during our kayaking adventure we did not manage to see manatees as they opted for warmer locations on the Banana River, a thirty-one mile lagoon between Cape Canaveral and Merritt Island. Nor were we lucky enough to spot dolphins that frolic in the area…however, watching the sun set over the water was spectacular!
We did have one surprising visitor that had us laughing in delight. Imagine our shock at finding Glorfindle-the-Christmas Elf hanging out in our pool just days before Christmas! Of course we were concerned that he’d forgotten sunscreen but that mattered not; he seemed to enjoy five days of pool time, each day in a different pool floatie and I’m certain he was happy not to have to wear a mask! Miraculously too he managed not to get eaten by The Poodle!
After family left I’ll admit to feeling mighty blue for the day. The house was quiet once again and The Poodle was depressed too without his best friend Nica to pal around with. To get my head out of my heartache for a spell I cleaned like a fiend. Out the door went another three containers to the donation center! After all that work we popped the cork for 2022, making it ’til well past midnight, with sincere hopes to an end of mandates and other such madness happening around the world.
Finally, on New Year’s day after a scrumptiously delicious meal of Lentils and spicy sausage I took down the tree, shedding a nostalgic tear or two as I went about carefully packing away my prized tree ornaments. I couldn’t bring myself to pack away Flora the Flamingo that sis had brought us. She’ll sit in outside on the patio, at least for awhile longer, because…well….it brings a certain amount of bliss to my day.
And, speaking of bliss; for this new year, do something, no matter how big or small, that brings any amount of bliss to your day. I for one hope that a Rumi saying helps guide me even an inch forward this year. That would be something!
Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love; It will not lead you astray~Rumi