Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ho Ho Ho 2009

So what a year, eh?

For our family, it's been twelve months of some neat transitions and some not so neat, and I suspect that trend will continue even more strongly in 2010. I'm not complaining. Hey, I even made it through my first full year as an empty-nester. Though admittedly I continue to stalk/harass both Julie and Eric daily - that will never change unless they tell me they actually mind. I personally think they enjoy it. And I expect that contrary to what I proclaimed in an earlier post, their musical lives will be providing most of the excitement in this blog in 2010, but fear not, I have a few tricks left up my sleeve as well. I'm working on a new novel which is a modern day version of Bonnie and Clyde meets the Beverly Hillbillies but with the usual rock and roll back story because this is me we are talking about. Not to be an egomaniac or anything, but I've been cracking myself up writing it. I started out with something totally different - I even had an outline this time! -- but somehow, some way, this other story wormed its way into my brain and once I went with it, well, it just took off. I'm stoked!

Anyway, tonight is New Year's Eve, a night which I loathe so we made a pact years ago to never go out and have awesome food delivered instead. This evening we'll be having dinner brought to our door courtesy of an Asian fusion restaurant where I will be dining on delights such as mushrooms stuffed with black beans, miniature steamed spinach dumplings, and curried shoestring potatoes. Eric is of course playing a gig -- in his words via Twitter: "by the way: new years at the ox (2nd and oxford). we'll be doing a chronological review of the decade in music. expect some miley hits." -- and yes, I know, Eric is hilarious...if I didn't hate going out on NYE so much, I would definitely have to catch him drumming to Miley but I'm sure he's kidding...right, Eric? Right? -- after which he'll head over to Julie's apartment, where a major party will be underway and oh man, I wish I could get Ms. Julie to deliver the food here from that soiree instead - her menu sounds amazing but I'll let her blog those details...I'm sure she will, along with recipes.

But I have dibs on telling you about Christmas, and what better way than to show you via Gary's amazing photos. Our tree is exceptionally gorgeous this that Eric's drum kit is no longer in the living room (sob sob) we had space to buy a bigger tree and place it in a prominent spot. Both Julie and Eric were here for Christmas Eve dinner, and spent the night so they could relive their youth (Gary did not dress up as Santa, alas, and I wish I had a scanner so I could show you a photo of when he did...hahahaha..he had a cheap ass outfit and he also had a mullet -- hey, it was the eighties -- which stuck out of his crappy white wig and still Julie and Eric believed he was the real thing until, like, sixth grade har har)...anyway, Julie was in charge of the food, Gary was her sous chef, and we unanimously decided our meal would be a series of small plates like the ones we've been enjoying at Tria Cafe and Village Whiskey.

So, without further ado, here are the first set of photos, and the food shown is as follows: Deviled eggs two ways (curry/honey and sesame/wasabi); caramelized onion bruschetta with Bulgarian feta; steamed spinach with roasted garlic; swiss chard and red onion saute; a selection of imported and local cheeses; charred marinated cherry tomatoes; homemade apricot fig mustard; crostini; spiced almonds with brown sugar, paprika, and cumin; fresh blackberries. By the way, thanks to Faith Cohen, a truly cool and talented woman I met through the ABPT, for sending our family a very fitting and lovely holiday gift which you will see in said photos - a bottle of incredible Fig Balsamic Vinegar from Artisanos Oils, and man, that shop looks amazing! Oh! While I'm at it, let me also extend a very special thank you to Rena Davis for the luscious chocolate truffles and to Mike Inman for sending absolutely unbelievably photos he took of Julie and Eric and printed out on exquisite paper...I cannot wait to have them framed and hanging up here so I can show you! Again, I met Rena and Mike through the trio as well, and believe that no matter what the future holds, the four of us will always be friends.

Oh yeah, here's those pics I mentioned 89 paragraphs ago...jeez, I go off track a lot, don't I? Ha! What can I say...there's a lot to talk about!

I cannot even begin to tell you how delicious it was. I adore eating this much more fun than traditional appetizer, entree, dessert. Food is so sensual - every meal should be an adventure. Exhibit "A" of why I loathe chain restaurants so much! (Though that might be Exhibit "B" with Exhibit "A" being the fact that chain restaurants are all owned by evil, ugly, Republican corporations)

So we went to bed stuffed and you'll never guess who woke us up Christmas morning...the dog! He absolutely, positively knew it was Christmas, and the minute the early morning light came streaming through the window, he tried to physically lift me from the bed, burrowing his nose under my body. When that didn't work, he barked and woke up everyone, and then raced downstairs, where he somehow knew exactly where his presents were! We had to chase after him pre-coffee because he seriously would have unwrapped everything himself:

Since they wanted a traditional Slick Christmas, I insisted that Julie and Eric wear their holiday headgear, which, as you can see, thrilled them to no end -- and note that Julie is wearing her Fairmount Sports Association Most Valuable Player t-shirt which she won for her work in the All-Star game. Yes, in 1997, Julie was the MVP of her softball team, for both pitching a near perfect game and for getting the winning hit in the bottom of the last inning! I totally lost my cool that day and I'll never forget it. I stood behind the dugout dressed in a Rolling Stones t-shirt, jeans, and Doc Maarten boots (yeah, total soccer mom apparel) screaming "MY DAUGHTER IS MVP! MY DAUGHTER IS MVP! MY DAUGHTER IS MVP!" in case the umpire and coach didn't already notice (as if). Back in 1997, I honestly believed Julie was going to be a "major league" pitcher and would go to Princeton on a softball scholarship. Okay, so every once in a while, my Mom vibes are off, but not often as both Julie and Eric will tell you. I am scarily accurate, in fact. But I digress. Here's the photo I was talking about before I went off on yet another tangent:

Now this made us all laugh out loud...Eric and Gary are both gift wrap challenged, and not only did Eric face the struggle of cutting paper and applying scotch tape, he made the mistake of buying Julie's gifts at Anthropologie, who gave him the added enjoyment of having to construct his own gift box out of a ridiculous piece of cardboard with absolutely no assembly instructions. Hence Eric's notation on said box:

Now both Julie and Eric asked for the same exact item as one of their gifts -- something which made absolutely no sense to me at all and to be honest, I choked at the price considering what they appeared to be (i.e.., useless) until they opened them on Christmas morning, tried them on, and showed me how they worked. Too freaking cool! There's a flap on the palm of these fingerless things which comes up and turns them into mittens if it's really cold out. But by wearing the gloves without the flap, they are able to play drums/bass in chilly rooms or at outdoor festivals (hint hint) in snuggly comfort:

I could not wait for Julie to open this one, because she just acquired a new bar for her apartment and I knew this would be a perfect accessory to hang above it...and as you can tell by her expression (and Eric's), it was a huge hit:

But the gift that got the most attention -- and out of everything he got, and he got tons, Eric's most favorite present ever was one recommended to me by Dan'a Chamberlain, wife of uber drummer Matt Chamberlain (oh, here's Matt's bio, and I adore how he wrote it: "Hi my name is Matt Chamberlain--I play drums and have been involved in various projects over the years with friends and have also had the privilege of touring and recording with some of the most amazing musicians/people ever such as Bill Frisell,Tori Amos, David Bowie, Fiona Apple,The Finn Brothers, David Torn, Elvis Costello ,The Master Musicians Of Jajouka, Jon Brion, Robert Fripp, Morrissey, Elton John, Brad Mehldau, Garbage, Dido, Pearl Jam, Mitchell Froom, T-Bone Burnett to name a few. ... . I have a solo CD that is now out, a project with Bill Frisell called Floratone, The Slow Music Project with (Bill Rieflin, Robert Fripp, Peter Buck, Fred Chalanor, Hector Zazou), and Critters Buggin (Brad Houser,Skerik,Mike Dillon)."...anyway, Dan'a turned me on to this site and thanks to her, Eric Slick is now a Beardhead!

Eric tells me that his beardhead is taking Philadelphia by storm and I believe him. True and funny story. Dan'a showed me that site weeks ago and I didn't realize they were sold out and backordered until February, 2010. I knew Eric had to have one. I tried eBay, where I found one going for $300, and soon realized this cap was not only more than a passing fad, it was a fucking social phenomenon. I spent hours and hours on line looking for one and finally, after an assortment of dead-ends which would not take my credit card info because they were sold out though the site did not say that...I kept thinking something was wrong with my card; I tried paypal and that didn't work either....ugh...I was never so frustrated...anyway, finally, hallelujah, I scored probably the last legally priced beardhead in the entire free world. Seriously, Julie, Eric, and Gary got tons and tons of gifts and this was the one I knew would be the winner and I was right, though I hardly expected it to also be the one that took the most time to procur!

Julie, of course, could not resist trying it on, but I somehow think she's going to take a pass on actually owning one:

By this time, Monty has now eaten way too many of his gifts while our attention was directed at Eric, meaning we were bent over double laughing our asses off, so he just kind of sighed and took a nap while Julie and Gary went into the kitchen to make breakfast.

Eric was so enamored with his beardhead he attempted to drink his orange juice whilst still wearing it but soon realized it was not the best idea...(probably when I started screaming "Don't ruin it; it'll get all sticky, it took me hours to find it, you'll never be able to replace it blah blah blah....)

Julie decided to go with a Christmas theme for our morning oh man, this had to be the world's best frittata, made with the left over red and green vegetables from Christmas Eve's dinner and served with multi-grain toast and fresh blackberries. Sublime!

I do not have photos of dinner - Julie does, and hopefully she will send them to me or post them herself. We were talking about Christmas dinners before we all went vegetarian, and I totally forgot (and how this is possible I do not know, since when it comes to food, I forget nothing!) that our standard meal was always buffalo wings and hand cut french fries! It was always our favorite fun meal, so instead of doing traditional ham or turkey dinners, we did that instead. When I started to get all teary eyed and sappy remembering, Julie said "Don't worry, Mom. I'm going to make us a vegetarian version of that meal and you won't even know the difference."

And she did. We had buffalo wings made out of tofu (she even cut them into wing like shapes) which she dipped in panko breadcrumbs, baked, and smothered in a lovely hot sauce/butter combo and yeah, yeah, we had hand cut fries along with them. In order to mitigate the damages and make ourselves at least feel a little healthy, we also had roasted broccoli on the side. Oh my God, did you ever taste roasted broccoli? It's insane! Julie roasts it in the oven smothered in olive oil and garlic and the garlic roasts right along with the broccoli, making it so sweet and delicious you can't believe it. It's my new favorite food, I swear.

ETA: She sent me a pic! See? How cool is that!

Sooo...that was Christmas, 2009. I think it was one of the best, ever.

I definitely have some music and writing news to tell you about, but I think I will save that for my next post. One thing I do want to mention, though, is that I'm now the Administrator of the Facebook page for Paper Cat...please friend the band and I'll try and figure out how to be aggressively creative with the page...I am Facebook challenged but I am resolving to learn how to work it correctly with a little help from my friends.

And with that, it's time to kiss this decade goodbye. Unlike Time Magazine, I can't really say it was the worst decade ever though if you click on that link, dear God, they sure do make a valid point; but in any event, not to be selfish or anything, the past four-five years have brought me some of the happiest moments of my all over the world, listening to my kids make what is up there with the greatest music I've ever friends...oh God, I just realized this is the decade that brought me into cyberworld (I was a late bloomer...didn't go on line until 2000) and it's because of said cyberworld that I've made said friends, published six or is that seven books, tons of short stories (hey, my website is currently being updated...nudge nudge to Scott if you are reading this...I have more stuff for you to add...hope you liked the cookies!)...and well, what else can I say? Here's to a happy, healthy New Year for all, and an even more amazing 2010 for Julie and Eric Slick and everyone we love.

Ho, ho, ho.