Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year in an Old Place

It's New Year's Eve and Max and I are at home. We've been here all day and plan to be here when the New Year rolls around. We are so glad to be back at our real home with family and friends. Today we took care of Taylor and Samantha while both Mary and Kevin had to work. Boy have we ever forgotten how hard it is to take care of young children. Mary brought them over at about 8:00 all bundled up on this cold winter morning.
Max and I had great plans of taking them to our favorite local eatery, Half Day Cafe, for breakfast. We bundled them up and walked the 3 blocks on this winter day. Half Day does great breakfasts and we quickly got a table and ordered. I love outings- always have- and outings with children are the very best kind. A walk in the cold- with snow flurries all about- bundled up with the babes- is the best life has to give.

Sam got bites of pancakes...

and fruit, while Taylor had his own sweet potato pancakes with plenty of maple syrup.

Max and I were surprised how much work it is to have two small children. I'm not sure how young mothers are able to take care and keep control all by themselves. Max and I were outnumbered about three to one by these two, actually mostly by Taylor who is almost 3. Sam is only 6 months and just a sweet little joy to take care of. But Taylor is active, inquisitive, and constantly wanting to know about everything. We made it through breakfast and walked back home so Max and Taylor could make cookies. Max had put the recipes together the night before and Taylor helped put them on the cookie sheets for baking. I was using the "Best Chocolate Chip Recipe Ever" from the NYT- haven't eaten enough to know if they are really the best- but I'll let you know.

As you can see Taylor helped with the cookies and Semper got to help in making sure they were tasty.


I wasn't quite sure at the end which cookies had an extra licking- and which didn't- but just figured that after 10 minutes in a hot oven all sins are erased. I do love absolution!

After cookies it started snowing and the birds at our bird feeders decided it was time for a snack.
Seeing birds and squirrels at our feeders is another thing I missed so much in California. I'm back and the birds are back. Grandparents just love different things- baking cookies, birds at the feeders, breakfast at the local diner. Our life is such a different pace from the life of young families. I hope that in some way our rather slow life here in this old house can reach across the years and connect with these oh so special babies of ours. Taylor, Max and I also did puzzles, read books, listened to CD's, and ventured all around the house exploring and asking about everything.

Mary got off early and saved us from total fatique. We're not sure how she and Kevin handle these kids every day, but think we must have been able to do it when we were younger since our kids seemed to have grown up without major problems. I do think that being so proud of our children- enjoying them so very much- and yet being still close enough to remember those "difficult" years- gives us a calm confidence that you really shouldn't sweat the small stuff- that things really do work themselves out. That life truly is what you believe it to be.

This evening we are enjoying a quiet New Year's Eve with the dogs. We built a fire in our wood stove (the first since we got back), and are listening to Winter Soltice CD's by Windham Hill. Now Don would have you believe that we went straight from playing with the babes to a fire and quiet with the dogs- but no that is not how this day played out. In between we cleaned out the downstairs closet (did I mention how much cleaning, clearing, discarding, moving, storing... we are doing... day after day after day), changed the shower curtains on both bathrooms, adventured to the feed mill for more bird seed. And then of course there was dinner to fix. One of my very favorite meals in San Fran was a rice bowl with Unagi Eel. Well I found the eel at Jungle Jim's in the Japanese freezer case- and then went on to recreate the dish. Did any of you really believe that you would get through this blog without something from Max about food???

I will in a later post write out the recipe for you. It was quite good I might say (by the way we fixed chicken for Don- he hates eel- and the dish I had is called the Unadon- or sometimes UnaDon). But anyway- since I wasn't measuring clearly for the Unagi sauce- or the sushi rice- I think I'll recreate at a later date- and give you the real details- because I think some of you might like to try this dish. And you'll feel just like you're sitting in my favorite restaurant in San Fran...

Semper has taken his place in front of the stove where it is warm.

He is 13 years old this year and has survived beyond the average for Dalmatians. When we left for California I was afraid he would not survive our return, but with great care from Amber and Michael and Liz he is still here and still probably the best dog any one could ever have. He is mostly deaf, mostly blind, slower and less mobile than before, but nonetheless he is Always Faithful - a reflection of his name. I'm not sure how much longer he can last, but he was here when I got back and I am forever grateful for that. So we are home. In the quiet. And it is good. Happy New Year to all.

6 comments:

Nurse Horrible said...

I won't say anything about best dogs, but...

I'm glad you are "home" and closer.

Also, did you know that WNYC (you can hear it live streamed) did a Paul Winter Solstice Concert live from Cathedral of St. John the Divine tonight? That's almost like Windham Hill...

Karen said...

This belongs in a novel, and then, of course, the film:

"I wasn't quite sure at the end which cookies had an extra licking- and which didn't- but just figured that after 10 minutes in a hot oven all sins are erased. I do love absolution!"

fiddleheads said...

happy new year! i'm so glad you decided to keep the blog going being back in ohio.

Beyond The Strip said...

Looks like you two are settling in very well in Ohio. The babies are cute as ever, I think they look like each other! I love cookies, especially the kind with dog kisses.

Amber said...

I love the picture of Taylor feeding Semper, oh little semp semp! Happy New Year!

Elizabeth said...

I have to agree with Amber, the picture of Semper getting to help Taylor taste is so cute. It was our pleasure to help out with the dogs. Semper is a very special dog, and I miss having him watch the evening news with me.