Departure for Points North
We are winding down the year with just two weeks to go until we welcome 2018. It is a reflective time for many, a festive time of family and friends as well as a time when some find it very lonely. We are blessed with children and family and will get to see a number of them over the holidays. To that end, John, Wyke and I have gone on yet another adventure and are driving to New Hampshire followed by a trip to the Laurentian Mountains for New Year’s and a visit with my sister and some of the members of her family including her new grandchild. Undertaking a trip at this time of the year is often fraught with bad weather and unexpected delays. Our first day on the road was so clear and beautiful with very little traffic that we made excellent time and ended up driving 700 miles and getting as far north as Carlisle, PA. This gave us an opportunity to have dinner at a local pub in this charming college town, where we met the bartender with whom we started up a conversation. I have a good friend who says when she and her husband are traveling on their own, they always sit at the bar. It’s where you learn the most interesting things. We explained to the bar tender, Dan, that Carlisle was almost exactly half way between our northern home in Canada and our southern home on Dataw in South Carolina. Without missing a beat, Dan informed us that his 94 year old father lived on Dataw. Small world once again. There were lots of jolly, holidaying folks in the pub and a charming couple out on a date night but who seemed very interested in talking with us. A break from their very young children who were at home with an aunt.
Our hotel literally sits in the middle of a field and gave us a wonderful opportunity to give Wyke a really good run. No snow but the grass was frosty and he loved running in giant circles and then throwing himself onto his back and rolling. A most peculiar game that he loves to play. I am so glad that hotels are getting more and more pet friendly. Wyke is extremely well behaved in hotels and seems quite content to travel with us. We left the kittens behind in the care of our favorite fur sitter who will give them lots of attention along with friends and neighbors who will stop by and play with them occasionally. These kittens are so people friendly that they really pine for their humans. The little one cries at the door when John and Wyke go out and leave her behind. I honestly think she would follow them wherever they went but we cannot risk letting them outside. It is just too dangerous for them as they have no idea that they are supposed to defend themselves, they think everyone and everything is their best friend. I console myself with the knowledge that cats have no sense of time and being gone for an hour is about the same as being gone for a day or a week – their person is just gone and they are to be warmly welcomed upon their return. It is cat law!!!!
Recovery on The Road
I have taken the better part of two weeks to rest and relax after an extremely busy walking summer and fall. I figure a couple of weeks of gentle restorative walks would be good for me, my back and joints and everything else. I have enjoyed it but to be honest, I really prefer when I am out there for the long training walks and bouncing along to my music. It is my joy and while some might think “there goes the crazy lady smiling and nodding her way around the island or the roads in Canada” I hope they get a smile out of it too. My yoga teacher has a hashtag #personalpolarexpress (doing something that just makes you really happy but is a challenge at the same time) and #movejoyforward (feel the joy and do something to share it among those you meet during your day). Her day starts with a dip in the ocean which is really not something that gets my engine going but I certainly love her posts of the sunrise and the beach and admire her for continuing to do something that challenges her every morning but brings her such joy – maybe it’s because she is grateful not to get eaten by a shark or to have cardiac arrest from the 40 degree water. Many years ago my daughters and I would do a polar swim on New Year’s Day. Let me just say we gave up the idea after only two or three years. One year the water was almost frozen and the ice actually cut our legs. The one blessing was that we had a hot tub waiting right there to warm us up as soon as we were done with the swim. The closest I have come was walking this week with frost on the ground and the sunshine to warm me up. Time to get out the winter walking suit as I hit the road again, in the car and also in my winter walking boots. There is snow up north!!
Special Holiday Treats & Saving Christmas
Christmas parties with friends, a wonderful holiday concert with our local Beaufort Symphony Orchestra, and a Christmas luncheon with the local Princeton Alumni group who are on Hilton Head, filled up our week prior to departure for Canada. What a great send off. Makes me realize again how lucky we are to live where we do and to be grateful for this life we have.
For many, many years now, I think actually 25, our daughter Katie has made the most wonderful dessert at Christmas time. She is only allowed to make it once a year. It is very rich and ridiculously good. Overtime she has made modifications to the recipe to make it more her own. The original came from a book called Gadabouts and was submitted by the New London Inn in New Hampshire. The book was published in 1992 and I think that is when she first made it. Most of the time her sister Margot has been the assistant in the kitchen. A few years have been missed where I had to help out, with not as much success as the team of K & M but acceptable. Now we add Hadley into the mix and I am thinking this Christmas will be the best one yet. Here is why. First off, I left the cookbook in Canada when we left to go south for the winter. Panic phone calls from both daughters saying we can’t find the recipe anywhere else is there anything you can do. I wrote to our tenant and asked him if he could find the cookbook and if he could to take a picture of the recipe and send it to me. Well, he found it – my text to the girls was “Christmas is Saved!“. Now I have learned that not only have Margot and Hadley made homemade caramel sauce but Katie has made homemade Baileys. Over the years we have used various creamy additions and for many years it was Crème de Grand Marnier which is no longer made, anywhere. The last bottle we had was brought to us by friends who found it in the Edinburgh airport. We held onto that bottle for years. I think I heard there was a bottle in South Africa but it is now long gone.
If you can read the well-worn recipe above, I think you will agree that it is loaded with all things wonderful which is the reason it is only once a year. My nephews always insisted on driving three hours to join us for Christmas dinner because of this dessert. It’s that good!
Have a wonderful week with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The cats join me is sending you good wishes.