” Jerry. There is a sensitivity thing that some people have. I don’t have it. I don’t cry at movies, I don’t gush over babies and I don’t start celebrating Christmas five months early.” Avery, Jerry McGuire.
Avery, from this scene in Jerry McGuire, where Jerry breaks up with her after he loses his biggest client, used to be me. I didn’t believe in celebrating Christmas until well after Thanksgiving and I forbade any Christmas music being played after the stroke of midnight Christmas Day.
A couple years ago, I relaxed on the playing Christmas music after the 25th, figuring we still had New Year’s Eve to get to, and this year, while scrolling through my radio stations on Sirius on the way to the Keys, I stopped at the Hallmark channel. They were playing Christmas music. My first instinct was to keep scrolling, but then I thought, “No, it’s kind of nice to hear Christmas music, even if it’s a full ten days BEFORE Thanksgiving.” I then scrolled to Holly and Holiday, two other Christmas music playing stations and gave them a listen. Because, in this craziest year of my life, I needed Christmas like yesterday! I bought a gift for my son Chris on Amazon Prime day and left it in the hallway, because every time I see it, it reminds me that Christmas is coming and brighter days are ahead.
Indeed, the doyenne of Domesticity, Martha Stewart posted an article that “Putting Holiday Decorations Up Early Can Make You Happier”. When I went to Google the article, a multitude of similar articles, from Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, the Today show and psychologists confirm, decorating early can make you a happier person and also make you seem more social and approachable to your neighbors.
As I drove from my house to Pig Floyd’s Saturday night, we passed many houses already fully decorated with lights and merriment on the way down south. Kelley said
I love that people are decorating early!Kelley
Like that Giant Skeleton people were buying for Halloween, this year’s Christmas is a “Go Big or Go Home” event. Apparently, we all want more joy and happiness (and less fear and loathing) in our lives. A recent visit to Home Depot yielded a wall of Red Poinsettias, rows of pre-lit sparkling Christmas trees of all hues and lighted deer and does for the front lawn. There was even a huge inflatable Christmas squirrel (?). Whatever- bring it on; you can bring your nuts to my house, squirrel. I’ve skipped the pumpkin coffee and gone straight to Eggnog flavor. Christmas and the New Year can’t come soon enough.
Meals this week were less than stunning. Sunday I was so tired, I just made Trader Joe’s Lemon zest and Ricotta ravioli, tossed it in some lemon butter, chopped chives, topped it with leftover caviar and called it a day. I know pasta and ravioli are supposed to be the Devil’s spawn for carb-avoiders, but I love ravioli as a quick and delicious meal. Five minutes and it’s ready. Who can beat that?
Monday, Zeke and I decided to extend the weekend and went out to lunch, which we rarely do anymore. Our normal French restaurant in South Miami (Cafe Pastis) was closed, so we tried Le Crepe Bistro in the same strip mall and I’m glad we did. We sat outside and service was very good. I got the Soup and Sandwich combo ($11.99), because I wanted to try the carrot soup. Unfortunately, they ran out, but the French Onion soup was very good and the Chicken sandwich, with Cajun mayo and tomato on a crusty baguette, hit the spot. Zeke enjoyed his Beef Bourguignon, with crusty bread and we drank two glasses of French chardonnay. I will return to Le Crepe Bistro, the server (owner?) was very helpful and nice and the prices were reasonable.
Tuesday night we made a steak we’d brought from the freezer in the Keys. We’re trying to clean it out before our renters come next month. Zeke grilled the steak and we ate it with sautéed mushrooms with red wine sauce, pureed cauliflower and roasted carrots. It was good, but as I look through my posts, we seem to eat a lot of steak.
I invited Emma over for dinner on Wednesday for dinner with Gui for Quiche. “Isn’t that an appetizer?” Emma asked. Apparently, she’s only had mini quiches, but quiche was big in the ’80’s (remember “Real men don’t eat quiche?”) Apparently this isn’t true because Guiermollo said “I love quiche.” Quiche is easy, cheap and adaptable to whatever meat, vegetable, cheese you have on hand. This Easy Homemade Quiche, from spendingwithpennies.com, was made with refrigerated pie crust, ham (I subbed prosciutto) and a gruyere/cheddar cheese mix. It turn out light and cheesy; I served it with a lightly dressed green salad and some chicken fingers.
I picked up Wyatt from school on Thursday. He entered the car telling me he was “crushing” on a girl in his preschool. Really! We went home and assembled a candle holder Kelley (aka Mimi) had given Wyatt as a project to do. I let him pick the colors to decorate it. He sanded it, hammered and began painting it with intense concentration. We mixed blue and yellow to make green for the base. When he got tired of painting, I finished for him. He was so proud of his Owl candleholder; it will be our Thanksgiving centerpiece.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, it’s going to look different for a lot of families this year.
My own eighty-something mother doesn’t want to be anywhere around any of us potential germ-carriers this year (can you blame her?), so she’s going to do a small Thanksgiving with her and her boyfriend Bob. Turkey Thighs, anyone? Kelley was going to go see Kate and Tug in Portland, but due to the rising COVID numbers and risk, she cancelled. Kate understood and told her everything in Portland is shut down anyway. We’re doing a less-than-ten people Thanksgiving meal, but two of the diners will be flying in from other states, so we’re going to try and eat outside. Elise will have her two sons, one just in from college in Nashville, over for a small dinner. So this year, we are all islands in the stream, eating turkey, stuffing and pies separately; we’re going to try and Zoom together on Thanksgiving Day at 5 p.m.
Key Largo Fisheries is one of our go-to spots to eat and pick up fresh seafood in Key Largo. On Friday for lunch, Zeke and I split the Mahi Cuban Sandwich, which had been recommended to me by someone who works there. The Mahi was grilled and came with ham, pickles and sauce on Cuban bread with French Fries; it was delicious. We picked up lobster for that night to go with a New York Strip Zeke had gotten on sale at Publix. After watching the sunset, we had our Surf ‘n Turf dinner. Since we didn’t have a potato, I boiled some homemade gnocchi I had in the freezer and tossed it with butter and red pepper flakes. Yes! I ate pasta three times this week! I served it with some spinach soufflé and we watched our Murder Mystery.
Saturday, we went out on the boat and it was a glorious day to be out there. We went to the oceanside for the first time ever, but it was kind of rough, so we headed back to the safety of the Bay. We had Brunch at Made 2 Order, then came home to watch the UM game against Virginia Tech. We won by the hair of our chinny chin chins, but we won!
We headed back to Miami because we were going to meet Elise and her boyfriend at Pig Floyd’s BBQ place in Palmetto Bay. It was so much fun (I’m going to write more about it later), with live music, outdoor seating and awesome BBQ. We got the Ribs and Brisket; it came with three different sauces. My favorite dish was the Baked Beans, filled with chunks of smokey brisket. I think are the best baked beans I’ve ever eaten (sorry Mom!). Pat Sheehy, a friend of Elise’s from grade school, started Pig Floyd, as a catering business about ten years ago and it’s now in a stationary location. It was so fun to be with friends and family, for a night out. As everyone sat in their respective groups at the picnic tables assembled under the domed roof, listening to music, drinking and eating, I just thought what a primal need this is for us as humans, to gather together. The Giant Inflatable Snowman didn’t hurt, either. Ho ho ho!
Haul out the holly Put up the tree before my spirits fall again Fill up the stocking I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now.
For we need a little Christmas, right this very minute Candles in the window, Carols at the spinet. Yes, we need a little Christmas, right this very minute.Jerry Herman
When I looked up where this little ditty came from, to my surprise it comes from the Broadway musical “Mame”, about an eccentric aunt and her relationship with her nephew Patrick. When a young Patrick arrives at Auntie Mame’s house for a visit, she starts singing this song. Patrick protests “But Auntie Mame! It’s one week from Thanksgiving now.” Who cares? We all need a little Christmas now!
Up Next: The Hotel Dupont Cocktail