Friday, January 3, 2014

First Five Things Friday of the New Year. . . .























1. This gorgeous paella was our New Year's Eve feast. My guy is a whiz at this dish and this time he really loaded up on the seafood. I'd like to say it was a good way to holler in the New Year, but instead -- considering we never made it past 10:15 -- it was a good way to see good-bye to 2013. . .

2. He brought home tulips with the groceries! Tulips, in winter, have to be one of the best promises, no?
3. If you're in Vancouver, you may already know about Mink Chocolates, but if you don't, mmmm-mmmm, you have a treat in store. I picked up some of their delectable, whimsically named bars for Christmas gift-giving. Obviously, one of the recipients was moi! Don't worry, I shared with Pater, although I might have picked up more dark chocolate bars (which are my favourite) than milk chocolate ( which are his). . . .Don't blame me, though, choosing is difficult . . .




 4. And you know that savouring great chocolate on a rainy winter evening is even better when it's the accompaniment to a great mystery novel. . . .  Even better, for me, is a hardcover copy of the printed book. I do much of my lighter or more disposable reading these days on my Kobo, but for the full aesthetic and kinaesthetic experience, a turn-the-actual-pages, wrist-straining, doorstopper-size hardover is just what my comfy leather armchair demands. . .

5. And just so you don't think it's all food and light reading and flowers around here (a bit sybaritic, right?), I finished these socks and have packaged them up to send off to a musician nephew who's moved to Montreal for the first big adventure of his young life (unless the fact that he's fronted a rock band for the last 4 or 5 years means that he's already better acquainted with adventure than I'll ever be).

So there we are, back in the swing of a Friday's five things again, the year beginning to set its course. It always feels a bit odd to me, this change from one year to another, not just because of the calendar flip, the numbers, but also because of the change in focus. So much energy has gone into the aim toward Christmas over much of my life, and then the last 20 or so years have been built around the rhythm of the academic year that the focus on Christmas break has intensified. Somehow, pushing that all aside, packing away the gift wrap and finishing the leftovers, taking the tree out to the curb for recycling, and then choosing a different focal point (the first daffodil? booking a late-spring vacation? a family Easter gathering?) always feels a bit too arbitrary for me. A tiny bit unfathomable, quite honestly.

But let's get with this new year, yes. And figure out where its paths are leading. And wait to see what patterns emerge for these Five Things Fridays. . . . meanwhile, I have a visit to my hair stylist this morning and a very good friend is coming for a glass of wine this afternoon. Now tell me, what are you up to?



22 comments:

  1. That paella looks wonderful! Such a great dish that's casually festive. Or maybe festively casual.
    I've not heard of Mink chocolate, but will investigate on my next trip over the water. Puttering here. Meeting with an aunt for coffee this morning. Enjoying the brighter sky. Laundry and cleaning. It's good to celebrate. It's good to slip back into routine.

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    1. Yes to both casually festive AND festively casual. Be careful with that Mink chocolate . . . habit-forming. And I like your juxtaposition of celebration and slipping back into routine. Enjoy your bright sky, coffee, laundry, cleaning. Happy puttering!

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  2. Your photos are just gorgeous.

    I'm struggling with what appears to be a torn rotator cuff, and making resolutions, which I've never done before in my entire life. As a result, the Christmas putaway feels good instead of arbitrary. Win some, lose some:).

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    1. Oh Lisa, I'm so sorry! Rotator cuff injury is on my Fear list. . . I've been on the cusp before and physio-ed my way back, but never had it actually torn. Take care. . .

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  3. I've decided to leave my icy silver and white decor on the mantle and dining room for another week or two. It's so pretty and it also helps me to avoid the task of putting away the Christmas decor, even if it was minimal this year.

    This Friday sees R and I going to hot yoga with music tonight. It will feel great after today's wind chill of 0 degrees F ! (and that's the warm part of today!) When we come back, there will be my version of Italian wedding soup and a movie waiting. We had 5 inches of snow last night and it will be so cozy to snuggle in.

    Enjoy your weekend! Happy New Year too!

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    1. Good idea leaving up some sparkle. A time of year for as much light as possible. Hot yoga, music, soup, these all sound like useful antidotes to snow and cold. Cuddle up! Happy Weekend!

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  4. Your paella is so colourful. I bought a cyclamen today and put away the bits of décor. Back to the trainer after a three month break. Tomorrow, Maman and I will do something together to mark the first anniversary of my dad's death.

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    1. I like the idea of replacing Christmas decor with flowering plants and cyclamen suits the season well. I suspect some will be popping their heads up in a favourite winter garden up the road. . . .You and Maman take care; anniversaries can be tough. . .

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  5. I love the tulips. Such bright pretty flowers. I'm home in bed in California while my husband and son pack up and move us out of our house in Nanoose Bay. I'm so sad I'll never be in that house again. Strange how fate worked this one. Perhaps it knew I would be devastated and regret my decision to sell. This flu season is beastly and now I have a lung infection. I will never miss getting my flu shot again. That's my resolution :-). Have a great weekend. Looks like a fun read. Be well. xoJennifer

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  6. Such timing! I was just writing at your place while you were commenting here. I do sometimes wonder about when our body takes us down -- A lung infection is a pretty clear signal that you need to stay away from that very emotional house-closing. . . and just pamper and take care of yourself, in general. big hugs to you! f

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  7. That was funny timing. I meant to mention, bravo on the socks. I've been off the knitting wagon lately and reading more. Your right. It is a very clear signal. One I couldn't ignore. xoxo

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  8. We are still in the mad social whirl that is Xmas/NY here - dinner parties, BBQs, get-togethers almost every single afternoon/evening. I have been enjoying it, but I am just about ready for some quiet time. I usually take down the tree and decorations on 12th Night (Jan 6) but will be doing it a day early this year as the tree pick-up is Sunday evening. Today (Saturday) I have been pruning the front hedge and puttering - about to settle down to watch some cricket (there, bet you didn't pick me as a sports fan - I'm not, just love test cricket :)).

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    1. Your season sounds so much more social than our own -- I do remember some of that from when our kids were (much) younger. Not sure I'd have the energy or stamina anymore. Our tree got picked up yesterday (Friday). . . now I'm trying to get my mind ready for three new classes of students. So much energy needed to get a class going! And no, I wouldn't have guessed "sports fan" for you. . . but enjoy your cricket!

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  9. That paella is making my mouth water!! BIL brought over some interesting chocolate bars from their travels...one was Fig, Fennel and Almond...yum. With a niece's Bat Mitzvah scheduled for tomorrow we're still in visiting-family-and-celebrations mode. It's been fun but I'll be glad when things get back to normal.

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    1. Wonderful things people think to do with chocolate! That combo above is one I could def. enjoy.
      Perhaps that's it -- my normal isn't actually getting back to normal. I move from Christmas busy to start of new term. . . going back to normal I probably would welcome.

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  10. Wow, that food looks great - as do the socks! And the chocolate! Seems pretty good way to end 2013/start 2014. Just wished you'd shown a photo of the wine you drank :-)

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  11. Hi Mater, and Happy New Year to you and yours! We just spent the last 2 days in Ottawa, staying with friends and then depositing No. One Son back at his flat. It was so nice to reconnect with those friends again as we will most probably be moving back there this summer. They are a fun bunch and I'm sure our social life will bloom!

    Monday I will take the Christmas decorations down and then get stuck in - decluttering, detoxing, etc.

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    1. Given that you have moved so much, how great that you have friends to ready your way to the next city on your life list (probably the settling-in one, right?) Glad you had fun over the holiday -- after that busy social whirl, the de-action inside will feel good!

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  12. Three of the last four novels I've read have been physical books and one of them a hardback. Nothing better for the physical pleasure of leisure reading!

    Not much new with me - back home, back to blogging, back to trying to get classes prepped and feeling 100% before the start of the semester.

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    1. It's really true for our kind of readers, isn't it -- the luxury of a hardback's paper, its solidity, the smell of the pages, the ability to kinaesthetically follow our progress through the narrative. . . .

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