We had a great Christmas with family and friends! We went to a fabulous dinner with our friend John at a new restaurant where we possibly over stayed our welcome with great food and conversation! The Nash family Christmas was so much fun. It's definitely our second family, and we've come to love these Christmas Eve gatherings.
Christmas Eve vigil Mass was beautiful, and this was followed with me filming Mike opening his Christmas gift of a Tascam 24 track recorder. B&H photo has a contest on opening their boxes, and Mike's involved cleavers and swords. What can I say except that it's pretty funny, and Mike's kind of weird! On Christmas Days we headed to my mom's house where we had a great feast of Gary's "Green Egg Ham" (just sounds like Dr. Seuss but a Green Egg is also a grill), Peggy's famous cheese ball, Ange's potato soup and my chili. It was a great family visit with stories, laughter, and Rhys, Dane and Adam throwing balls through the living room. The Christmas tree survived, and I loved the look of surprise on mom's face when Rhys threw a ball her way and she actually caught it!
Our Christmas vacation also included some target shooting at a local range. After at least a 7 year hiatus, I was pleasantly surprised to handle my gun well and actually get shots on the target. It's possible that age is playing tricks on me though because I don't remember guns being so loud when I shot in the past. Even with good hearing protection, some of the guns in the range sounded like cannons. I have to admit that I never got past flinching when these guns were shot, and I was a bit nervous with all the first timers in the range. There seemed to be a lot of people being taught to use their new Christmas gifts. Scary! We won't wait so long before target shooting again, but we will certainly look for a bigger and possibly outdoor range where there is a bit more elbow room and less noise.
Later in the week we had a great lunch with my niece Diane and her husband Andrew. It's been a couple of years since we had some quality time with them, and it was fun to catch up on their lives including Diane's pregnancy. Stories and laughter flowed, and we had a wonderful time re-connecting.
Now we are on to preparing for a tapas dinner this evening. This sounded like a good idea when we came up with the idea last week at the Red Key Tavern, and as long as our guests don't mind us experimenting on them we will be fine. We are cooking 5 new recipes for this meal, and I am hopeful most of the prep work will be done today before our friends arrive. It adds a bit of stress to the last day of the year, but I am sure we will have fun preparing Singapore samosas, prosciutto and cheese croquettes, Spanish chorizo , patatas bravas, stuffed mushrooms and bacon wrapped chicken. Mike and I love food, and retirement has given us some time to explore this new world of cooking.
As I look ahead to 2012, I like to think about "wishes" instead of resolutions. I was never very good at making resolutions, but there are definitely things I hope and pray for. Mike and I talked about this yesterday, and health was at the top of our list for both of us and friends and family. We have been through so much together recently that we realize how this can impact everything else in life. We also selfishly hope that my house will sell quickly and we can live into one home. In some ways, that's when retirement really begins, and I hope that I will settle well into a new routine.
I recently came across the following words of wisdom submitted by Maria Shriver in a magazine, and I think this is a good reflection as we approach a new year.
"May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that
you are exactly where you are
meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite
possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that
you have received,
and pass on the love that has
been given to you.
May you be content knowing
you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into
your bones and allow
your soul the freedom to sing,
dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every
one of us."
I hope that each of us find this contentment in the new year. Happy New Year!