No Place Like Home For the Holidays
It’s one of my favorite holiday songs, and the lyrics really are uncannily appropriate for describing my last few days:
“From Pennsylvania folks are traveling down to Dixie’s sunny shore From Atlantic to Pacific– Gee the traffic is terrific!”
If by “terrific,” the Carpenters meant “suicidal thought-inducing,” then, yes, by all means, the traffic from Pennsylvania to Louisian was “terrific.” It was so “terrific” that the trip took a few more hours than usual (the usual being 19 hours…it took us about 21), and so “terrific” that we found ourselves stranded in a virtual blizzard in the middle of Nashville, bumper-to-bumper with a few thousand other angry drivers. “Terrific.”
All that aside, it really is great to be home. One of the best things about teaching at a university is that I’ve never had to give up my long holidays—I still get virtually a full month off at Christmas! I’m always eager to spend as much of my time off as possible with my family, so my mom flew up to PA and then drove back down with me and the dogs. Ryan will join us next week. I hate spending the week without him—especially since we’re so used to spending so much time together—but it’s great to get to spend so much time with my family—especially that sweet Sophie!
Looking good, kid. I’m also pleased to report that she was very happy to see me tonight—no crying or hiding her head from me this time! So all I have to do for her to not be afraid of me is fly home to Louisiana every two weeks for the next, oh, ten years.
Tonight, my dad actually cooked dinner.
My dad is a great cook, but he always seems to be too busy playing his guitar to really help out in the kitchen. Tonight, he played full-on chef…and only picked up his guitar when it was time to do the dishes. :-)
He made a great dish—spicy noodles with stir-fried broccoli and asparagus, all tossed with a homemade sesame mayonnaise and a little cheese.
The sesame mayo was really delicious, and would be really versatile for using in sandwiches, wraps, or even grilled veggies as well. Here’s the recipe:
Spicy Sesame Mayo
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. soy sauce
3 tbsp. dijon mustard
1/2 cup sesame oil
2 cups peanut oil
1 tbsp. hot chili sauce
1/4 tsp. curry
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Blend all ingredients except for sesame oil and peanut oil in a blender or food processor for about two minutes, then slowly drizzle in the two oils until the mayo has formed, about 2 minutes.
Mmmmm…this was really good! We served it with a simple side salad, and divided up a few holiday cupcakes for dessert:
After eating dinner, it was time to get down to the real business at hand: tree decorating!
Sophie tried her hand hanging a few ornaments:
But she’s still a little young. :-)
Actually, my mom did a lot of the decorating:
While Katherine, Sophie and I had fun hanging out on the couch:
Hmmm…note to self: next time you take a 20 hour road trip, when you finally reach your destination…TAKE. A. SHOWER.
Next time, I’ll know.
Finally, after a few hours of ornament hanging, the tree was ready:
I know what you’re thinking:
What the hell is that boot hanging from the far left cornerof the tree?
That, my friends, is just one my my giNORMOUS homemade ornaments that harkens back from when I was just a wee one:
It’s all sorts of awesome. My parents still hang a bunch of the gnarly homemade ornaments that my sister and I made when we looked like this:
I really was such a joyous child. An angel indeed.
Okay. Off to bed…but first, a shower.
See you tomorrow!