A Year, Probably, Like Any Other

It’s December 31, which means the end of another year is upon us.  It’s traditional to reflect upon the year that is passing, and I’ve done that.  But the older I’ve gotten, the more I realize that the themes tend to be the same — because that’s just the way life is.

tsq_nyeve_2012We’ll remember 2015 as a year when we’ve lost some loved ones, but when new family members have been added through marriage.  Friends and colleagues have had good news and bad news on the personal health front.  We’ve seen some family members lose their jobs, while others have achieved graduate degrees and reached new heights in their professional careers.  Some doors have opened, and other doors have closed.

When you think about it, years are like that.  The days when you could reach New Year’s Eve and confidently conclude that the year just ending was the best year ever, but the next year will be even better, are gone.  You know there’s no predicting with certainty that the curve will move you ever upward, and when you get to a certain age, the years kind of blend together, unless they feature a marriage, or a special graduation.  Who remembers much about 1998?  Or 1994?  Or 2003?  At some point, shortly after the ball drops in Times Square, they just fade into life’s tapestry.

So 2015 probably will be viewed, in retrospect, as a year like many others.  The main point is that we’ve made it to the end.  At a certain point, that becomes a kind of accomplishment in itself, but the focus has to always be on what is to come.

Bring on 2016!

Potable Presents

IMG_0090This year we’ve received some excellent wine and even a fifth of pre-made old fashioned as Christmas presents.  By my rough estimate, at least, we’ve received more bottles of holiday cheer this year than we have in the past.

I applaud this apparent trend.  I get to try wines that I normally wouldn’t even be aware of, so I feel like I am broadening my wine horizons and developing new favorites.  And bottles of wine, or gifts of other consumables, add to the festive nature of the holidays because they can be shared with your holiday guests.  It’s fun to try a new vintage with an old pal or family member.

Old Fezziwig would agree with me.

Merry Christmas!

IMG_0073Best holiday wishes to all — to the kids who got up early, tore through their presents in a wrapping paper-shreddingfrenzy, and now are playing with their new toys, to the tired but satisfied parents who are wondering what they are going to do with all of that wrapping paper, to people like us who are enjoying a cup of coffee as the weather finally turns colder, and to all Webner House readers, near and far, regardless of their faith or creed.  May you enjoy your families and count your blessings today!

When it comes to holiday wishes, you can do worse than the closing lines of the classic poem A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clement Clark Moore:

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Eve Off

Our office officially closed at 4 p.m. yesterday, although some of us worked past that point, and it is closed today.  So, for me and others, Christmas Eve is a day off.

This is a change.  When I was a young lawyer, we worked until noon or so on Christmas Eve, just like we worked on the day after Thanksgiving.  But over the years the work calendar morphed — whether it was because every other white-collar office was closed and the firm just threw in the towel and joined the club, or because the firm elders realized that not all that much work was getting done on those days, anyway — and now both of those days are treasured days off and parts of extended holidays.

IMG_0057I didn’t mind working those days, but I also appreciate getting the day off on Christmas Eve — and I’m betting my colleagues who celebrate Christmas do, too.  For the procrastinators among us, it’s a day to get the last-minute shopping done.  For the families with young kids, it’s a day of mounting excitement building to an almost unbearable fever pitch and kids who are so amped up for Santa’s arrival that they can’t believe they’ll ever get to sleep.  And for empty-nesters like Kish and me, with our shopping long done and gifts out and delivered by the post office, it’s a great day to sit with a cup of good coffee, nibble on a cookie or two, listen to some Christmas music, and ease into the holiday.

For those of us who are not especially religious, Christmas really is about family.  Christmas Eve is a great day to pause for a bit and reflect on family — milestones reached, accomplishments logged, and those who have left us except in memory.  We’re glad that Russell is home with us, and we’re thinking of Richard far away, and we’re happy that everyone is safe and sound as another year comes to a close.

Giving Pizza A Bad Name

1024x1024Richard has a good story in the San Antonio Express-News about a cheap scam that is plaguing San Antonio hotels.  It involves people sneaking into the establishments, slipping fliers for local pizza under the doors of hotel guest rooms, and then when hungry and unsuspecting visitors order a pie, they frequently get inedible crap.  Richard did some digging, found some people who were victimized by the scheme, and even got to try one of the awful pizzas — which look terrible — in the process.

Only a real crook would make a scam out of pizza.  Why, that’s unAmerican!

Cookies With Dope

IMG_7632No, not that kind of dope!

My grandmother on Dad’s side of the family, Bertha Webner, hailed from Uhrichsville, in eastern Ohio.  Her speech was littered with interesting words that you didn’t hear anybody else use, like calling a coat a “wrap.”  And she made a special kind of icing she called, simply, “dope.”

I’m not sure exactly what the recipe for dope was, but it was great icing.  I’m guessing it was made with brown sugar as an ingredient, because it had a certain thickness and coarseness to it.  Grandma used to lather it onto her specialty:  angel food cake, baked for everybody’s birthday.

So tonight I tried to make a little dope, experimenting with brown sugar, whole milk, and confectioner’s sugar, and used it for icing some Dutch spice cookies.  It turned out pretty well, but it’s really not a patch off of Grandma’s concoction.  Her dope wasn’t illegal, but it was addictive.