tartines: new favorite appetizer?

I was true to my word…pretty much all I did this week was watch movies from my “Instant” queue on Netflix, and work on things for the shop.  I did play softball on Wednesday finally, and now I am in pain.

We’re having C-therine and Jason over for dinner in a few minutes.  I made spring tartines, salad, and baked polenta with mushrooms and gorgonzola.  The cats are cute but they are not helpful around the kitchen.

stake of holly through his heart

Well, Christmas has come and gone once again. I’d say this was probably one of my best Christmases ever, and that’s saying something because I’ve had some good ones. I took lots of pictures, but some were with Dan’s camera so they aren’t uploaded yet. But let’s backtrack a little.

Friday night was date night, and we decided to try Kitchen 64. I had only heard good things about it in person from random different people, but on the internet it was mostly being bashed for things like slow service and not-fancy-enough food. We got there early to avoid the crowds and were seated immediately. Our wine and food came out very quickly, and I was enraptured with the crab cakes. If you’re a fan (like I happen to be), definitely go and try them. I usually like to squeeze some lemon onto seafood, but these crab cakes were already lemony enough for me, and I enjoyed the heck out of them. The lighting was low enough to keep me happy, and yet it seemed like casual, wholesome-enough place to take even Dad. Even with having a bunch of Ed Trask paintings on the wall, this place will certainly merit a re-visit.

After dinner we hurried home for some sort of surprise, which ended up being a lovely nutcracker standing on my desk with tickets to The Nutcracker in his mouth. We had to hurry some more to get there on time, but it was perfect…just as we sat down the ballet began. I think The Nutcracker is really a bizarre thing to present to children; honestly it’s hard for even me to understand. With a million people on the stage at once, some of them looking quite similar to each other, I can see how it would be confusing. But the dancing was nice, the sets were very ambitious, and I had an amazing time. This was a sweet beginning to all my Christmas surprises.

Saturday we went to see Sweeney Todd, where Tim Burton did it to me once again. Seeing Johnny Depp murder Alan Rickman is something I never thought I’d have the pleasure of, but I was oh so wrong. Parts were obviously too gory for my delicate sensibilities, so I had to cover my eyes a bit. But the singing was way better than expected and the plot was one that couldn’t go wrong (a sicker sort of Count of Monte Cristo). And let’s face it, this one had my name written all over it. I had a lovely time.

Afterwards I took Dan to see the faux snow at Stony Point, but guess what? It’s actually just small flecks of foam, falling from the sky onto the upturned faces of a million little kids. “Don’t put it in your mouth,” we heard one parent tell his child. Aw man, that’s the best part! So I wait, and hope for better things.

Prabir’s party was a blast, complete with kamikazes and a year in review slide show.

The next day was spent recovering from our loaded weekend, and a trip to Evergreen Cemetery was foiled by rain. I was able to finally finish my wallhanging plan for all of my suite, so hey roommates! If you haven’t checked it out yet, take a look at the wall above my white shelf. More prettiness is to come downstairs, after the tree is put away and such. After I did all of that stuff, Dan came over and we exchanged gifts, which took forever because there were about 47 gifts for me. I felt like a perfect queen. The best part was that most of the gifts weren’t all that expensive or extravagant, but they were exactly what I wanted, and all very useful items. And that’s what gift-giving is all about; showing people that you care about them and not just that you had to spend some obligatory sum on them. I lucked out this year — on many levels.

Christmas Eve I worked, but got off early and headed over to PawPaw’s for the festivities on Dad’s side of the family. Darling Dan had baked up a storm beforehand, and Dad ate almost all of his trademark dessert (Nanaimo squares strike again!). I played with baby cousins, introduced Dan to people, and arm wrestled my cousin Jessica. I lost miserably. PawPaw got a pair of Grinch boxers for Christmas.

Afterwards we made a cameo at the Johnson family festivities, where I enjoyed Grandpa Jim’s awe over Kurt’s iPhone (“I’d hate to have ta use tha thing”) as well as the usual Christmas Story. Made it out of Brandermill alive, thank goodness!

Christmas Day began with breakfast at Mom and Dad’s (my favorite meal of the whole holiday, honestly: breakfast casserole, waffles with maple syrup, clementines, homemade biscuits, sausage balls, orange juice, and apple cider). Afterwards we opened up presents, and I was the proud recipient of a fire pit! Yippeeeeeeeee. We lounged around the house all day, watched Holiday Inn (a classic), and then headed to Granny’s for lunch. More playing with cousins, more food, more blurry digital photographs. Tired, tired, tired. The day was closed out with seeing It’s a Wonderful Life at the Byrd, a new Dixon family tradition. We sang Christmas carols with Bob Gulledge on the organ, ate tons of popcorn, laughed, cried, etc. etc. Man I love that movie, but once a year is enough.

So now it’s the day after Christmas, and I am tired from working all day. On my lunch break I went home and watched Soylent Green, which was another kinda-awkward, quasi-futuristic movie about the scary, not-too-distant future. I’ll give it two stars.

Today is rainy and bleak and I can’t wait to make some whole wheat pasta for dinner and then curl up in a blanket and maybe read or do some sewing. The rest of the week is mostly taken up with plans to see random different people who are home for a minute after the holidays.