Archive for November 2009
I’ve guarded this recipe for years. Based on what? Ego? I didn’t create it. Greed? Hoarding deliciousness and good times? The need to be needed (as we all do), if only for booze once a year? Who knows, I’m an idiot.
Tis the season for “screw it” and for sharing the love.
First, pour yourself a drink. Red wine will do, my recent preference is a Bogle Cab. Next, turn on some holiday music to get you in the spirit, light some candles and do what I didn’t do – move the bar stools away from your prep area to ward off curious kitties.
1 cup Half & Half
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
3 eggs (or substitute with Egg Beaters)
1 can Eagle Condensed Milk
8-10 oz Jameson’s Whiskey
Throw them all in a bowl and blend together until foamy – then sample. Add more booze to taste. Note: make sure it’s a bowl you can easily pour out of without a mess. I have (when making only one batch) used the blender, but prefer to use a mixer.
When it’s all happy and foamy, serve yourself a glass on the rocks and commence on-line holiday shopping. Later, serve to your guests the same way, or chilled from the freezer.
If you need the step by step, I photographed the process. I know, it’s complicated!
Some recipes I’ve seen call for instant coffee for that extra punch, I don’t use it. Some call for almond extract or the like for a little something different, I don’t do that either. I make it the way it says to above, and have been known to load it into decorative recycled bottles from Pier 1, throw an ornament around the neck of the bottle and deliver.
HT to my friend Tami, who unwittingly inspired this post (among other things).
If you’d asked me Tuesday morning if I was going to get completely naked and lay on a white vinyl table in the middle of a room full of other naked women (of various shapes, sizes, and grooming habits) to be washed by an older Korean woman in her underpants, I’d have laughed with a mouth full of coffee and ruined your day.
But you didn’t, and I didn’t expect it, which makes it all that much more delightful.
I can’t being to explain why I went for it after my girls already had – especially when they described what would happen. By no means am I a prude (exhibit a: skinny dipping with some of my other girls at The Hostel in the Forest), I do have some body issues and don’t typically prance around in a swimsuit let alone nude in front of perfect strangers.
But there I was. As the day I was born – plus or minus my extra bits – in the middle of the whirlpool/steam area, trying to catch the eye of one of the older women working the scrub tables before I completely chickened out. “Maybe it’s a sign. I shouldn’t do it. You can’t walk out now, you’re already here. C’mon, pull it together.” That inner monologue is bossy and sassy!
Two Russian women beat me to the punch, and I clutched the hand towel that was theoretically supposed to cover my nether bits a little tighter. I eked out my request and was ushered with a nod into the steam room for “two minute” by a woman in a black bra and granny panties: my scrubber.
If she’s okay, I’m okay.
I did my time in the blazing hot steam and was collected by my scrubber, quickly ushered via hand gestures to a half-walled off area with eight identical tables and told to lay down. “Face down?” I ask, she nods and slaps the table.
Oh, God. Don’t hurt me. (Someday, after lots of therapy, I’ll write about the most abrupt, jerky, slappy, pokey massage I’ve ever had a half an hour before.)
I’m doused with a bucket of warm water, then another. I’m reminded of jumping off a cliff in Jamaica and being told to keep my legs tightly together. Too late.
For the next thirty minutes she scrubs me with mitts and soap, nudging me to turn onto my side, lifting my arms over my head, nudging me when I needed to turn again. Scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing.
At some point after rolling onto my back I realize: I haven’t been cared for like this – physically – since I was a child. I haven’t had someone carefully cleansing me, washing me and renewing me. It occurs to me this would have been a perfect compliment to what Malinda did for me over the course of 5+ years, with once a week visits to her office. Boxes and boxes of Kleenex, and hugs, and painful recollections and purging.
This wasn’t some shi-shi spa salt scrub bullshit, this was the real deal. This was rough without being brutal, it allowed me to be vulnerable without being ashamed, and it allowed me to rejoice in someone else taking care of me in ways I (clearly) couldn’t take care of myself.
The charcoal sauna may have ridded my body of toxins and the massage may have loosened more up (note to self: drink a GALLON of water tonight with all that red wine) but the body scrub? Ridded me of so much more, for which I have no words.
I find myself both festive and funky during the holidays. Our loft is already over decorated: red velvet accent pillows on the couch, giant artificial red mums in a fantastically large silver vase on the dining room table, a wee tree (twee, thank you) decorated with little red velvet bows and tiny silver stars on the kitchen island, pre-lit garland wrapped around the tall palm I’m shocked is still alive, more garland and fake poinsettias donning the window baskets on the patio – all this in 1000 square feet.
Turning on the television has always been the first thing I do when I get home, but right now it’s lighting over priced and festive smelling candles in jars from a store in the mall I’m ashamed to admit I went to.
There’s cinnamon and a hint of pine wafting through our space and it. Is. Delicious.
At the same time, I’m preparing for the weeks of solitude that mark the span of time from my birthday to the new year.
I’ve done this for years – this sabbatical thing. Since my mother and father passed at during my 21st and 23rd years, respectively. During my 25th year, after my first major crash and burn relationship, my sister (seester) sent me a book that introduced a new dance step to my routine: one that taught me dancing alone can be fabulous and wild and magical and mysterious, and needn’t be cause for pity from onlookers.
With one foot in each place, I’m on the edge of the holiday dance floor wondering which I’ll choose this year, or if one will choose me.
I get all geeked up about buying or making gifts for loved ones and beat myself up at their always inadequate wrapping jobs as well as what they are. Always heartfelt, I question their reception – like the year I sent my siblings each a framed reprint of the only photo I have of us together as children with my parents and heard not a word.
If nothing else is certain, this is – I’ll make my Irish Crème and consume it by the liter, I’ll ponder my navel and catch up on the movies I meant to see this year but didn’t have the time for. I’ll devour a pile of books I’ve been hoarding and avoiding and maybe I’ll even write.
It’s a special time I look forward to with great anticipation and over hyped expectations every year, and every year something different comes of it. A break in my exile to see friends, an unexpected road trip, a technical project or shooting spree (cameras, not guns, silly)…or nothing at all.
So don’t mind me as a I waffle and wane, as I abruptly jerk between giddiness and gloom. It’s just the holidays and me missing my folks, my siblings, my innocence and my youth in a place called “home” that no longer exists.
Four years ago he sweated through one shirt and changed into another before heading to my place. Four years ago we walked our way through my (now our) neighborhood to three different venues: a glass of wine with his body turned away from me while I vomited up everything that might eventually scare him away, dinner half a mile away where au jus dripped down my arm like a savage and finally a nightcap at the Irish bar which needs no additional detail.
Four years ago it all started unraveling and unfolding, neither of us knowing how much our lives – and we – would change, how much we’d stay the same.
Thank you for four wonderful years, Mc – you’re up for sainthood this time next year.