The cottage is cozy enough
tonight that I can almost pretend there’s a raging snowstorm outside. Candles
are flickering but the Christmas lights cast a steady colorful glow. Jordan and
Christian have been here for a happy hour drink and gone on to a party. Jacob
has with much excitement gone to a concert with some of his friends. Sophie,
having gotten locked out by mistake—how could I?—is asleep in her crate. A pot
of black-eyed peas simmers on the stove, and the dinner dishes are done. I
indulged in paté for an appetizer, lobster salad and creamed spinach for the main
meal, and chocolate caramels for that “touch of sweet” my long-ago mother-in-law
always wanted. A lovely evening that I hope forecasts a much better year ahead.
Like many of us, I am ready to kick 2023 to the gutter.
Do you make resolutions? I
gave that up long ago, but I have prayers and goals. My main prayer, for me, is
continued good health. At my age, I think that’s a biggie, and I don’t want any
surprises. For my family, it is peace and joy and safety, especially as my
grandchildren continue to branch off in individual directions. This year, Jacob
and Sawyer will mark five either in college or already through—the oldest has
graduated, has a responsible management job, her own apartment, and is living
the grown-up life, a thing that much impresses me. Only two left in high
school, both juniors.
For my friends, far and wide, near
and dear, for whom I am most grateful, I wish good health, peace, and joy. I
hope for continued connections and sharing of all that is good in life so that
we have strength, together, for that which is not so good—and there’s a lot of
that going around.
What can anyone wish for the
world except peace? I remain horrified at not only the two wars that hold all
our attention, but the regime changes and coups in small countries especially
throughout Africa and South America—each rebellion, each regime change costs
lives, and we all long for a world without strife and greed for either riches
or power. And I wish justice for all the innocents who are caught up in
violence, particularly the people of Israel and Gaza. I read today that 1200
Jewish citizens were killed in the Hamas raid; to date, 21,000 plus have died
in Israel’s bloody revenge. I cannot believe that is the path to peace, and I
At home, I pray for common
sense in government, equal justice for all our citizens, and awareness for
those who wear blinders. I want to see the “former guy” convicted and
imprisoned, I want to do away with book banning and teacher censoring and
school vouchers and flap over critical race theory. I pray the country comes to
appreciate and understand the things the Biden administration has done for our
country with the American Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, the
Inflation Reduction Plan, the CHIPS and Science Act. America now is in better shape,
its economy booming, than it has ever been, and I am proud to be part of that.
I only wish those with blinders on could see.
My daughter recently told me I
talk politics too much, and I replied that the reason we have a bitter divide
between our people is that no one spoke up soon enough. So that is one of my
goals: to continue to speak my mind, to work toward what I see as good for the
country I love and, uphill battle as it is, for Texas, my home state now for
fifty-five plus years and the place that gave me its history and literature to
shape into my career. I cannot let Texas go to the narrow-minds who have
imposed so many restrictions on us—and yet imposed none on guns. What crazy
And perhaps that brings me to
my personal goal for the coming year—I have two books to see to publication.
One is what I see as the final Irene in Chicago Culinary Mystery, though one
should never count Irene down and out. She is a force to be reckoned with and
might one day again rise up and demand another book. But the other is the
cookbook/food history study which looks at how the food of the Fifties,
sometimes glorious, sometimes awful, has carried on to affect the way we eat
today. It’s turning out to be a tribute to my mom, who in the Fifties taught me
to cook. Over Christmas, with all my family together, I realized how much we
still carry on Mom’s traditions.
So that’s me and 2024. How about
And, if you’re interested, here are a few more Santa Fe pictures. Counterclockwise; fresh snow, me with Maddie (my oldest grand) and her boyfriend Trevor, and me with the super margarita-making bartender named Juju. Sorry for the misalignment but t's the best I can do.