Sunday, December 28, 2008

New Year, New Life

Don't you just hate them? Before you start listing people, I'm talking about New Year's Resolutions. they seem to indicate that you have no resolve what-so-ever at any other time of year...except for maybe Lent...which is very limited in time and then has option-out days...Sundays, your birthday, your neighbor's birthday...
Hey, I'm all for self-reflection and introspective analysis...but really...all the talk about making myself better, fitter, stronger, richer, nicer is just a potential for failure. I don't resolve, I crawl to the finish line eyes aloft, thanking God that I made it another year without major regret and with my gallbladder.

Remember the Millennium? How the computers were supposed to crash and we all were going to ring in 2000 without electricity, money, food and water? I was in London that year. And if any country (in my opinion) was going to miss the mark, it was England. So, I rushed around, on New Year's Eve making my preparations. I was having a little fete at my home, a top floor flat in an old abbey. A wonderful place that was said to be haunted by a monk, who offed himself right in my very dining room. I'm not so sure, it was a very serene place. It was a 5 story walk-up, so I didn't get much pop-in traffic, which was just to my liking. I'm not so much into "stopping by". I actually don't get it. How hard is it to call someone and mention you will be in the area, or are thinking about being in the area before you show up at their doorstep. It's kinda rude if you ask me. I'm sure my issue is with my inability to say at the door, this isn't really a good time. Or, oh, you should have called, I have a million things I am trying to get done and don't have 5 seconds to spend with you. Combine that with my totally crazy idea that if people come over, you need to have a cheese board, antipasto platter or cake at the ready...much less a tidy room to usher them into. I suppose if I had an upstairs and a downstairs, I could use only the upstairs for living and keep the downstairs for attending to unexpected company...but I don't, so I hate the pop-in. Take note.
So New Year's Eve 1999. I had gathered all my provisions for the party, and for the devastation. I bought about 100 quid worth of water and I pulled 3000 pounds from the bank. Yes, there's more. I bought the hype, hook, line and sinker. Furthermore, it always seems that when I am totally and completely prepared, it's always for naught. I lived in a small village and waled from the bank to my home, so what happened next, really freaked me out. No sooner had I walked up the 5 flights of stairs, stashed my loot in my sock drawer and began filling the tubs and sinks with water, my bell rang. My bell never rang. No one would just be stopping by...this was England. My party wouldn't start for 5 more hours, the mail had been delivered, my downstairs neighbor usually just tapped on the ceiling when he needed something...who would be ringing? I am suspicious of everyone...I grew up in LA. So I looked in the video monitor and there was a guy standing there. And he says to me, with a very thick (non-British) accent, I have a gift for you. "who are you?" I ask..and he says, I have a gift for you. And immediately I know...he saw me withdraw money, he is here to rob and kill me. And he says once more, a New Year's gift for you. I don't know if I had ever been so rude in my life but I said..."I don't want yor (explicative) need to go away. I know what you are up to. I have weapons here." He pleaded a bit more, but I'm not some little girl from the farms of Iowa, I lived through the LA riots, I was totally on to him.
Hours later my neighbor rang me, telling me there was a case of champagne on the doorstep with my name on it. Apparently my US boss has missed the delivery to our office and had the champagne for everyone delivered to my house. Ooops, my mistake. I really should have tipped that guy.

As expected with all the preparations, that New Year, as like most others, was pretty uneventful. Too much to eat by 9, too much to drink by 10, nod off until midnight...a few yahoos and yippees and off to bed. New Year, New Life.

I don't have much in the way of food traditions for New Years. Sometimes it's Thai food, sometimes pizza and other times a pot-luck of recipes I want to try. But tonight I will be toasting in the New Year with a fantastic that will keep me lit as well as wide awake. And it's legal in most states. Happy New Year! No resolutions, solutions.

Vanilla Coffee Martini
In a shaker with lots of ice mix 2 oz of vanilla vodka, 1 oz freshly brewed espresso, 1 oz Kahlua, splash of cream de noya (almond liqueur). Shake, shake, shake. Serve in a martini glass with 3 espresso beans.

update: This summer I made a "slimmed down" version of this drink. 2 oz vanilla vodka, 1 oz freshly brewed espresso and enough splenda to make it sweet for you. Add lots of ice and a splash of milk or cream. Delicious!


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