The lush, full, bloom-heavy, white Christmas cactus called to me. They are wildly temperamental, so special care was given in its transport home. I actually swore off Christmas cactus last year as I could never get them to bloom even after consulting every gardener’s expertise. I put a few under my new grow lights and miraculously each one came forth with a few buds which became blooms which were mighty and they bloomed with gusto. I was motivated to try again and needed a white one to round out the color palette.
I had a week off to usher in the Christmas season, my favorite time of year. Every day, a savory dish blossomed in my kitchen. I cooked for others who were blessed by it. Baking three turkeys did me in. I wanted the turkey drippings for gravy and I gave the meat away and kept the bones for stock. So many delectable puff pastry desserts just never got prepared as time and energy grew short.
A Lucky Winner
A highlight was winning a $100 gift certificate at McCammons Irish Market and I filled my car with everything festive plus a huge bag of loose greens. My decorating intentions with the loose greens just never made it to completion.
My birthday at Thanksgiving is my favorite time to pamper myself and I am never disappointed. French Lick and West Baden usually call my name, but the effort to pack everything I needed for a three-night stay was just too much. I have been so many times, and as oppulent as it is, it is always the same. It was easy to convine myself not to go again and just reflect on the fine memories.
There are no fine restaurants that thrill me anymore. Too many times I would lament, my beef wellington is so much better. There is nowhere that serves chocolate souffle with Grand Marnier sauce. The fish market will order smoked trout caviar and I can fix oysters topped with hollandaise and caviar easily enough. The wine store featured a bottle of Merlot from Argentina called Eccentric. It went into my cart. The only restaurant who knows the makings for a Corpse Reviver no longer carries the key ingredient so a bottle of Cocchi Americano (in place of Lillet Blanc) went into my cart as well. There is a lifetime supply of Absente (formerly outlawed wormwood) in my liquor cabinet to wash the glass with. A musician friend once told the bartender at an iconic music venue, “This dame loves fancy, exotic drinks.” Yes, I do indeed. But I doubted this particular establishment specialized in exotics, so I went with a local dark beer called Al Pacino Mocaccino. It was just my style, a coffee and organic chocolate infused lactose-Brown ale. If you try to look it up by its true name “ale pacino” you just get Al Pacino, so Al it is. Sounds more fun anyway. Sounds like a seasonal beer for the Christmas season, but alas, it is a summer brew and sold out at the wine store.
Out of Steam
By the time my birthday arrived, I did not have the energy to fix a fancy meal to go with my fancy drink and eccentric wine. Instead, a puff pastry topped turkey pot pie came out of the freezer (homemade of course) and had just enough energy to make the chocolate souffle with Grand Marnier sauce and the best Corpse Reviver in town (actually the only Corpse Reviver in town) hoping it would revive me. It didn’t. I lost myself in Hallmark movies wishing for that miracle at Christmas and the happy ending. I did however ponder writing my own Hallmark type movie for old people and an ending that suited my eclectic self.
A few more days off before Christmas, I made the rounds to my favorite places. A trip downtown to the Eiteljorg Museum and the gift shop is something I look forward to every year. Three years ago, I bought nearly every cowhide bag they had. They carry my favorite fur lined texting gloves which I manage to lose one every year and have to go back for more. Even found a jacket worthy of being blinged at my favorite fur store. Then each year after, the gift shop was more and more empty and I would leave empty-handed. This year, by the first of December, they had sold out of the ever-popular fur texting gloves. Nicely complaining, I learned they were under new ownership who dis-believed the written comments from long-time patrons of the shop. I wrote them an impassioned story on their comment card and then left, empty-handed.
A stop by Hobby Lobby to pick up my dry mounted photos left me shocked. Christmas was over the first of December. There was nothing left. Thankfully the Garfield Park Arboretum was full steam ahead with trains and poinsettias to bring back memories of countless times and places in my life.
To not set one foot in my favorite fur store is cause for alarm. I have all I need short of the ground hog and raccoon vests to be made once my trappers come to capture my back yard pests.
Not in the Mood
For years I have prepared a set of Advent postings for social media. This year, it did not happen. For years I have found such joy in creating beautiful and thought-provoking posts from photos I love and this year, only one managed to pop into my newsfeed. As I looked at 12 years of memories, there were so many moments, places and people not to mention gourmet delicacies of every kind and nothing this year felt like repeating.
Even Day Dreaming Stopped
When the Cowboys and Indians magazine arrives, it is almost like a religious experience to sit down immediately to read and dream of the southwest. I have a year’s worth stacked unread.
I took friends to a nice dinner. They love me, are great conversationalists and the subjects we speak on are as numerous as the stars in the sky. I specifically told the server, “no fast food.” We ordered drinks, appetizers, a soup/salad course and dinner. Everything came out at once. Nothing could be enjoyed at its best. The table could not hold all the dishes as three courses sat there untouched. I wanted to savor the deliciousness and enjoy conversation and it was all lukewarm.
Not Enough Energy to Bloom
Once I brought the white Christmas cactus home, it just sat there. The multitude of buds did not swell and many dropped off. Only two buds actually bloomed with just a partial bloom that never made it to fullness. That cactus accurately reflected my holiday spirit. It just sat there with such great potential and not enough energy to bloom.
Polly Riddell writing as G. Polly Jordan is simply lacking a bit of oomph this year. It might be old age, it might be going gray, it might be a desire for some new adventure. It might also be the freedom to do nothing at all in complete contentment.