mercredi 30 décembre 2009

The day before the last day of the year

I'm not a fan of all the Christmas holiday hoo-hah, and like New Year's Eve even less. It has something to do with being locked into things, forced to celebrate, give thanks, give and receive gifts. I prefer spontaneous feasts, laughter, gifts given for no reason.

But whatever. It is possible to have fun anyway, your way, my way. This year, we spent Christmas Eve with my siblings and cousins and their families. I have five siblings and four cousins and most of them have children, so when this gathering happens it always produces a houseful. Also gauranteed: my Aunt Janie's scalloped potatoes from Safeway. Neko loved it all, especially all the food dropping from plates to the floor and all the squealing over gifts during the white elephant exchange. She threw up about 3 am, and didn't stop until she had dislodged a walnut. It looked as if she had swallowed it whole.

My friend Nawal arrived on Christmas Eve around 11 pm. She is here to see her son, who lives with his father in Renton. It's complicated. Okay?

On Christmas Day, we had Jo's homemade cinnamon rolls on the beach at Seola. Gorgeous day. Crisp, clear, mountains standing at attention. Then a walk. Then it was time to roast a duck. We had dinner at home with Nawal and her son, Rachid. Nawal nagged Rachid and Rachid rolled his eyes. He's 17.

Now, here I am in San Francisco until New Year's Eve. San Francisco is a food lover's paradise and a walker's dreamscape. We just finished a thrift shopping spree -- I got a really cute pair of black boots for 30 bucks and a prada duffle bag at Salvation Army for 40 bucks! -- and lunch at home. Lunch was five different cheeses, including a bleu des causses and a st. nectaire, some really good bread, olives, Dahli's sun-dried tomatoes and wine. Now we're sitting around and watching Amadeus. Ah, Mozart! But it is time for a walk on the beach.

And then dinner.

Don't let me forget to tell you about Emmie's Spaghetti Shack, Le Zinc and the movie Sherlock.

Tomorrow night: Nawal is cooking a Moroccan feast and no one who was invited à l'improviste has refused. So it will be a fun full house! And best of all, I get to stay home on New Year's Eve and have a party. The last two years, we have gone with Sean and Caroline to Whidbey Island, but this year they are in France and Switzerland with Caroline's family.