Category Archives: Christmas

Never a Christmas Morning

“Never a Christmas morning,
never an old year ends,
but someone thinks of someone;
old days, old times, old friends.”

That is one of my favorite passages for Christmas because isn’t it true?

I have thought today of old days, old times, old friends.

My youth, when Christmas wasn’t what it was ever supposed to be and was mostly about disappointment and being reminded of what wasn’t there.

My dyke days, from which I have many happy memories, Christmases with Marie and Lynnie and Beth, when we would spend the day cooking and playing cards and drinking and smoking dope.

The Christmases with my kinky friends, with the family I’ve chosen.

I’m going to repeat it to myself, again, slowly, and savor the words and the images.  I hope you all have had as pleasant a day as I have, and that you’re thought of those days, times and friends.

“Never a Christmas morning,
never an old year ends,
but someone thinks of someone;
old days, old times, old friends.”

Christmas Eve

So, it is the night before Christmas.

slave drew got home from his lake house, I made dinner for us tonight – pasta with salad and rolls – and also a Mediterranean Fish Casserole and Orzo Pilaf for tomorrow’s meal with friends.  I’ll make a pumpkin pie during the day tomorrow.

drew opened one of his gifts from me, a book on insects.  If you know slave drew, you know the thing he likes the most is information.  He’ll pour over it and in six weeks know more than is really appropriate about insects.

The puppies got to open one of their presents, some greenie bones.  They have a couple more gifts under the tree for tomorrow, but if I told what they were and the puppies happened to read my blog, then the surprise would be ruined.

We ate some of the candy I was given yesterday, until I made drew move them into another room lest I eat them all.

We are happily home until dinner tomorrow with friends, though if slave drew actually stays home all day, I’ll be surprised.  There will be, I imagine, recycling that simply must be done, or a run to Starbucks, if Starbucks is open on Christmas day.

Disliking coffee, I have no knowledge of or interest in the answer to that.

When I was a kid, we would open one gift on Christmas eve.  Over the years, sometimes I’ve done that, sometimes not.

We didn’t really have a lot of other traditions.  We usually did a jigsaw puzzle over the holidays, played cards.  I learned to play Pinochle young and we played it a lot.

I don’t remember what Christmas dinner was, probably a ham, given that my mother didn’t eat poultry of any kind, or fish.

There were no traditions of an ornament every year, or pancakes for dinner on Christmas eve, or a day watching movies in pajamas.

Our Christmas tree was always a pinyon pine, the state tree of Nevada.  Pinyon pines are one of the pitchiest trees in the world, it seems.  We never bought one, that I remember – poor, remember?

Our tree was usually one from a classroom.  Do schools still do that, have a tree in the classroom?  Probably not, but we did then, and by the time school let out, there were trees for free if you wanted them, so that was usually our tree.

1960 - Christmas - CB Colman with Poodle

1962 - Christmas Tree - CB Colman 1965 - Christmas - CB Colman 01

I looked through my photos and these are nearly all the photos I have of my childhood Christmases.  There were maybe three or four photos more, but not from other years.

The thing that strikes me is that I am rarely smiling in the photos.

The first one was when I was about three.  Family friends – Aunt Bess and Uncle Charlie – had given me a ceramic poodle, with rabbit fur for a coat and a rhinestone collar.  I had it for years.  I don’t know what ever happened to it.  It was a very frivolous gift, the kind I never got from my mother.

You can see our wild Jetson-esque curtains in the next photo.  I was about six.  I don’t remember anything I got, other than a baby doll that another family friend, Aunt Rose, had given me.

There’s another photo showing it, but not the cool curtains, which I’m sure were second hand from someone.

The last photo is probably the Christmas I remember best.  I don’t know if my mother happened into some extra money or what, but it was the only Christmas I ever remember a gift from my mother that was really special.

I’d seen the doll in the local variety store, the only one in the town, really, where you could buy toys.  I remember going in to look at it weekly, knowing absolutely that I would never have it.

It was some price so beyond the realm of what was possible that it never honestly occurred to me that I would get it.  I don’t remember how much, maybe $20?  But this was the early 1960’s, $20 was a lot and my mother was not the sort to sacrifice what she wanted in order to give her children special surprises.  Not in her nature.

So, I would go and look at the doll, and never ask for it, because I knew I couldn’t have it, so what was the point?

Then one week, two or three before Christmas, it was gone, and I knew it had been bought and I’d never see it again.  I remember feeling bleak about it, even that young, because at least I could visit her before, now she was gone forever.

And then, on Christmas, there was a box, a large one, and the doll was in it.  There wasn’t much else, it wasn’t really a big Christmas, though I remember the container of Felix the Cat bubble bath you can see there.

I remember being kind of stunned.  Note the expression isn’t one of a child jumping up and down with excitement, or gleeful.

I had the doll for years, she wore some of my baby clothes, and I made clothes for her.  I kept her in pristine condition – I took care of my toys because I knew that there’d not be replacements if I ruined them.

So, that’s my memories.  Tomorrow will be busy, and I hope joyous for all of you.

I hope that you and yours are also comfortably ensconced somewhere.

And for all of us, I wish for peace.

Not Cookies

I think we’re all a bit in shock because of the shooting today.

Perhaps the positive that can and will come from this horrible incident will be that we as a country will finally stop listening to the idiocy of the NRA and the Cold-Dead-Hands people and develop rational and enforced gun control legislation.

There’s nothing to say, really, other than what we all are feeling, that this is a tragedy of unimaginable horror.  I will keep the families of those affected in whatever way in my thoughts, and I hope you will do the same.

So, I came home today from getting my nails done, and made two batches of which I have baked none yet.  Tomorrow will be baking.  I made today a Rosemary Shortbread, which is likely to be almost savory, but sounded very interesting, and a batch of Confectioner’s Sugar Cookie, to which I added a fair dose of almond extract.

I’m not sure if I’ll make them as drop cookies or rolls, but tomorrow they’ll be baked, and I plan to make some dog cookies, too. And chocolate covered nuts, possibly the easiest thing in the world to make.

That will bring the total to 15 varieties of cookies and candy this year.  I think that’s my biggest variety.  Tomorrow will be a baking day, to get the cookies made for some of the baskets that will likely get delivered tomorrow.

I got photos printed, too, and my Christmas cards are on my desk, waiting to be written, which I will start after I finish this.

What I did make and complete today, though, was a batch of Black-Eyed Pea Salsa.

Let me say I don’t like this recipe.  I can eat it, and may have a but I think it’s pretty blah, frankly. I will have a spoonful to make sure it’s “good,” but it’s not one I eat much of.

The recipe came from slave drew’s mother originally, but over the years, I have changed it.

So, you might ask, if I don’t like it, why make it?

Because, I answer, everyone else loves it.

First, I don’t like black-eyed peas.  Never did.  I’m not overly fond of cold beans of any kind, either.

However, I have honestly never made it to take to something, and I do often make it, that I haven’t been asked for the recipe.  I usually end up sending the remains home with someone who has fallen in love with it, and emailing them the recipe.

My friend, Ms Kendra, LOVES it.  She can eat it like a soup, almost.

My friend marsha LOVES it.  Same for her.

slave drew likes it a lot, and it’s a good thing to bring to potluck suppers because it’s vegetarian – you could make it vegan if you wanted, by eliminating the sour cream, too, or adding a vegan variety – and because it’s beans, it’s a good protein option.

It can be a sort of side dish, a dip thing, or you can eat it as more of a main dish.  You could probably serve it on a bed of lettuce, too, slightly drained, as a salad.

You also can do anything you want to the recipe in terms of adding or subtracting.  I always add garbanzo beans, and often black beans, too.  I like the variety in beans.  Serve it with tortilla chips, and it is SLIGHTLY better if you make it a day before, but if you make it on the way out the door, no one but you will know.
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Black-Eyed Pea Salsa

2 – 15 oz. cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes chopped
1 cup Italian dressing
1 cup chopped green pepper (I don’t like green pepper, so I left it out)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
4 green onions sliced
minced garlic (your guess of how much you like…lots!)

Tortilla chips

In a bowl, combine the peas, tomatoes, green pepper, red onion, green onion, garlic.  Combine Italian dressing, sour cream and parsley.  Add to pea mixture; toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.   Serve with the chips.