This is the copy of The Joy of Cooking that I've been using since the 70's:
That, my loves, is the page where some of my favorite Christmas cookies used to come from back when I threw a giant Christmas egg-nog party every year.
Yes. Yes. I did that. I would begin baking in October, freezing cookies and bars and wrapping fruit cakes in rum-soaked cheesecloth, and those holes are where the sugar and butter smeared the page and the roaches ate through them.
And I've been looking for a new Joy of Cooking for years at Goodwills and thrift stores and today I found one.
It's so pristine that I can't help but think that the bride who received it as a wedding present died on her honeymoon, perhaps taken by the undertow on the windward side of a tropical island where she shouldn't have been swimming in the first place but there she was, probably frolicking in the waves naked with her new husband until the treacherous tide swept her from his arms and she left behind her Joy of Cooking without ever having cracked it open to find a recipe for a biscuit or a roast chicken or a hollandaise sauce or a pound cake.
I feel sad for her but happy for me.
We were in the Goodwill bookstore, Lily and the boys and I, after our lunch when I found it. You have no idea how thrilled I am.
Merry fucking Christmas to me.
The boys and I came on home after that and I had such a good time with them. Today was Owen's last day of school before two and a half weeks of Christmas holidays and he was wearing his pajama bottoms. Turns out that they let you wear your P.J.'s to school on special occasions now. He has one pair of pajama bottoms that he saves for those specific occasions. The last few days of school have been half days so I'm sure they haven't done much this week and he was ready to throw down.
"Do not give those boys Red Bulls before you send them over again!" I told Lily as we buckled them into the car. They were wild but they settled down on the way home, looking at the books their mama had bought them at the Goodwill bookstore.
I checked the weather this afternoon while they were here and it's saying it's going to get down to 32 degrees tonight which means that all of the porch and delicate potted yard plants had to be brought in or covered.
This is one of the things I dread the most every winter. But. It went well. Jason got here in time to help with the hugest plants. This requires a dolly and two men. I swear. Now my house is filled with plants at their most verdant and they will not get nearly enough sun and by next spring will be but pale vestiges of themselves but at least they will be alive.
My hallway is filled with plants.
My dining room has plants in it.
My mudroom is a little jungle.
It's all a little jungle around here. A jungle-ita. And of course, the mango tree I grew from a seed that I got from a mango in Roseland where all the kids used to pick and eat the fruit is in what we call "the laundry room" which is about the size of a closet.
My most precious plant.
It is December 18th and my house is filled with plants and I got to visit with Owen and Gibson today and every time I told Gibson, "I love you so much!" he said, "I love you too!" and when I told Owen that it was Keith Richards' birthday and he asked how old he was and I told him he said, "Wow! And he's still playing guitar!"
And they both reach out to hold my hand.
And their sister will be born within three weeks.
And this is what their cousin looked like yesterday when he met Billy.
Yep. The old girl has had a good day. And now she is cooking sweet potatoes and mustard and collard and kale greens and her husband is smoking some pork tenderloins and they are singing at the church next door and I have been told that there will be a man or men working on my roof, ripping off tin at seven a.m. and I am sipping a martini.
I am quite certain I will not be quite so thrilled about it all when that tin starts hitting the ground in the morning but for now, all is well.
Reporting in from North Florida, a week from Christmas.
Yours truly...Ms. Moon