December 31, 2010

Attention, Attention: 2010 is Now Leaving the Building!

Here it is, the last day of 2010. The holidays are wrapping up and soon it will be back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Like others, I’ve been reflecting on the past year. I do this every year to the Honey’s chagrin with my Christmas newsletter. Some years are better than others and some years have many moments to be proud of. For 2010 I’m pleased with what I’ve encountered and experienced, and happy with where the year has taken me.

The month of December has flown by as I’ve been busy with lessons, meetings, and doing lots of baking. Normally I have my Christmas shopping done by October or early November (yes, I’m a freak in that respect), but this year most of it hadn’t been done by mid-December. Stress had begun to set in. My mom and sister were coming from out of town for the holidays and that meant a little more stress. I love them dearly, but my sister has a tendency to fly off the handle at the drop of a pin. As she’s matured, my sister has been better at managing her anger, but with her new stressful job she has been letting loose a little too frequently. Nonetheless, it was time to unwind and unwind I did.

Cooking relaxes and de-stresses me. When I’m in the kitchen the tension disappears. I’m lost in my thoughts or a recipe, or bopping along to a song on the radio. Since moving to our house I’ve found myself singing more and more while in the kitchen. I used to quietly hum along or mouth the words. Recently I’ve caught myself belting out the lyrics along with the radio, and while I’m far from being on Broadway, I’ve come a long way.

In the last month I’ve learnt how to make pastry; something I had always been terrified to try. As a result I’ve been making my nana’s mincemeat tarts like crazy. In past years I would just use the frozen pastry tarts at the grocery store and endure the pain the wheat protein would put on my body. But this year, I put fear to the side and went for it. Homemade pastry makes the tarts even better; just like my nana’s.

I also made my first plum pudding. In the Honey’s family Christmas is not Christmas without plum pudding. This was new to me. Although my nana was as English as they come, she made mincemeat and trifle at Christmas. The Honey’s family was all about the pudding, and being Irish, it packed a punch. I kept this in mind as I made mine, an easier recipe than soaking it in booze for weeks and steaming it on the stovetop all day. The honey and a cousin were the first to try as they had many years of tasting practice. Happily it passed. It’s not grandma’s, but it’s still excellent.

As Christmas drew closer so did some sadness. While the holiday is about happiness and enjoying family and friends, it’s also a time when we remember those who are no longer with us. As we put up our tree for the first time in years we remembered the Honey’s mom, who loved this time of year. Christmas was her favourite holiday and we remembered how she had decorated the house every year. While every Christmas is difficult, this year was even more so as see had passed away ten years ago at Christmas. And as the New Year comes around, we’re also reminded of her birthday and the death of my nana, who passed away a few weeks later. Remembering my nana is usually easier as we bring up situations that make us laugh or are followed by ‘That’s so nana!’. Remembering my mother-in-law is harder because she was so wonderful in every way.

It’s times like these that remind me to enjoy the moments and take time to enjoy the things that give me pleasure. It also reminds me to surround myself with those I care about (and care about me) and spend time with them (including my sister and her temper tantrums). Moments are created, no matter how small they may be, to be remembered.


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