Thursday, December 29, 2011

Be still my heart

  This Christmas we received a most fabulous gift. An espresso machine!! It's made by Nespresso and it's simple to use, delicious to drink, and I'm worried about adding another addiction to my life. Seriously, it's so damned good. I've always been a big fan of strong coffee, but truth be told I'd never tried espresso. I always figured I didn't have the chops to handle the boldness of the flavor. I've heard people at Starbucks ordering lattes with skim, or half caff and cappuccinos with foam, etc., but I never got past ordering a plain ole coffee, which I would carefully doctor with half/half and sugar with the precision of a mad scientist. Coffee is so taste specific. I can't drink my husband's version of coffee. Too much sugar, not enough cream. Yet, if I get him a coffee and add two drops too many of cream, he will not drink it and deems it "disgusting". I always think the next line after he waves away the ruined brew will be, "Off with her head". It seems that serious of an offense to mess with a person's cuppa coffee.
  But I digress (which I can blame wholeheartedly on the amount of caffeine racing through my bloodstream). Back to the espresso, oh heavenly dark nectar, blessed magic, foamy brew.  I learned on the first morning we had the machine that doing a back to back cup for a novice drinker was a BIG mistake. Rather like when you drink your first alcoholic beverage and think to yourself, "Heck, I don't even feel it. May as well have another." And so you do. And then you feel it.  After downing my second cup with a satisfying smack of my lips, I began to feel an inner vibration. It started in my chest, wrapped around my heart and went up to my eyeballs. My eyeballs began to spasm in their sockets. I lost all ability to concentrate. Paranoia set in due to my lack of ability to concentrate, and I was suddenly the most ADD person on the planet with ideas and worries playing a ping pong match in my cracked out brain. Espresso, I learned that fateful morning is not only delicious, but it's serious shit.  I had tons of stuff that I'd wanted to get done that morning and guess what I got done? Nothing. Unless you want to count checking Facebook every ten minutes.  Touche, espresso. I'm a big girl and learned my lesson. As with most things in life that are almost TOO enjoyable to be true, moderation is the key with espresso drinking. At least until you get some practice under your belt, which I aim to do one luscious, heart stopping cup at a time.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Holiday Spirits

     Now it's always fun to get into the holiday spirit, but when you combine that with holiday spirits (read:booze) things can get a little tricky.  We hosted a low key holiday party this past weekend, just a few friends, casual dinner, drinks by the Christmas tree, etc. For some reason, the day of the party I woke up feeling exhausted. All day I dragged myself from one chore to the next, shoving the vacuum across the floor, swishing a rag splashed with Pledge over the furniture, throwing together a large vat of Provencal Vegetable soup and numerous other details that had to be attended to. Before the guests arrived I mixed myself a martini (my usual cocktail of choice) and sat down to catch my breath. In the nick of time the vodka began to weave its way through my veins, giving me a renewed vigor and voila, it was time to greet the first guests. And I was ready!

 All was going smoothly (as smoothly as my second martini was going down), and the guests were happily chatting, drinking and snacking on appetizers. It was around that time when I started to get a little fuzzy in the brain department.  We set out the dinner and I sat down to eat a large bowl of beef bourguignon, which I supplemented with a few big pieces of bread & butter (helps to soak up the poison in theory). Don't get me wrong, I'm no amateur when it comes to handling my liquor, but vodka is a sneaky little fellow. You can be fine one minute then WHAM, you're wasted. This my friends, is what happened to me. I became the Sloppy Drunken Hostess. I'm reporting this with great remorse, not pride. I'm pretty sure that I didn't say anything too stupid, or make too much of an ass out of myself, except for the moment after dinner when I attempted to sit on a heavily Pledged wooden chair, slid off the side and hit the floor. Yup. At that moment, my pal Hot Shame came over to join me. His presence made my cheeks go red and fill me two new feelings-embarrassment and humiliation. Two of my good friends were sitting with me and witnessed my "bobble", but as I recall neither of them reacted. That means we all drink enough to know that someone is going to get sloppy at some point and they were glad the lottery skipped them, or they were too drunk themselves to actually stand up to help me.  What I do know is that the minute Hot Shame joined me I became sober. Well, not totally sober but I gathered my wits and pulled my wasted self together before I had more to regret than a bruised backside. The rest of the party carried on without incident, except for a dropped glass platter on our front walk that totally shattered. As I was kneeling down to pick up glass shards,  I realized my theory of it's not a great party till someone falls down, or breaks something had to come to fruition. I just wish I hadn't been the one to fall down. I wished that over and over again in the middle of the night. But I did. I guess we've all had a turn at being the Sloppy Drunken Hostess at one point or another. There should be a S.D.H. Barbie. She can have smeared makeup and a martini glass clutched in her plastic fingers. I'm going to write to Mattel now.  Cheers to Christmastime everyone!

{Not everyone saw me miss the chair, but one guy did and he poked Jonathan and said, "Hey, your wife just fell off her chair".  Jonathan told me that he replied, "Oh don't worry, she does that all the time". God, I love that man. }

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Gradual Descent

     This past Saturday while trudging through a thin layer of snow to bring in a horse from the back field, it occurred to me that we've been introduced to winter temperatures in a much more gentle fashion this year (minus the Oct. snowstorm that was like a bad acid trip). As I went through the path between the hedgerow, into the open field the wind caressed my face with silky cold air, causing my cheeks to grow pink. For a moment, I was captivated by the incredible pastel palate across the westerly sky as the sun began to sink below the Catskills. I even smiled.
    Each week I look ahead for the upcoming forecast. A few weeks ago the presence of a 60 degree day in the weekly roster would make my heart soar. With the exception of mud and continuous blanket changes for the horses that is a blessed temperature for this time of year. Then I let my expectations drop to a more realistic number, mid-50's would be just fine, even low 50's, totally acceptable. Yesterday I was outside hanging up Christmas decorations in the crisp 45 degree sunshine, with no gloves on and strangely enough it felt tolerable.  Now I'm no rube when it comes to northeastern winters, so I know it's going to get ugly at some point. There will be bitter cold, winds that feel like a dish towel snapping at your face, snowstorms, power outages, etc. It's all coming. But for now 44 is the new 74 around these parts.