Day 121: The Winter Solstice (and Indian Food)

Andrew and Alex wanted to celebrate the Solstice so we decided that we’d have a fire in the fire pit after dinner. They invited their friend Peter over to celebrate with us.

The Indian food from Kadhai was delightfully delicious, as usual. The Solstice celebration was also delightful. Clare sent a song* to sing that Alex and Andrew performed. We also wrote down things we were glad to be rid of from 2020 and threw them into the fire.

*The sun was born again today
We great the sun’s first morning rays
We sing and celebrate the light
The sun’s born on the longest night

Days 116 – 119: Planning Christmas Week

Delightfully, Andrew and Alex suggested they stay with us for several days through Christmas Day. They live 30 minutes away, so could come once or twice and then on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day instead. This is so wonderfully sweet of them.

I’ve decided to make a vegetarian paella on Christmas Day along with tapas. Alex is going to make a Spanish dessert.

A few years ago we began a tradition of eating Ethiopian food on Christmas eve, so we’ll continue that this year and order takeout from our favorite local Ethiopian restaurant, CherCher in Bethesda.

We all really enjoy Indian food, especially from Kadhai in Bethesda, so we are planning on getting takeout from them one day next week.

Looking at the range of foods already decided, we have decided to have a meal from a different continent each day. The three remaining continents, Oceania, North America and South America will be represented by food from New Zealand, the United States and probably Peru.

I had a delightful email conversation with our Linda/Mali about some New Zealand recipes tonight.

Photo courtesy Yasen, owner of WoodenCraftsBG on Etsy.

Days 92 – 94: Planning and Cooking

We’d hoped to host Alex’s parents and brother for Thanksgiving this year. They’d drive up from Atlanta and stay at a friend’s condo in Silver Spring. Unfortunately with the upsurge of Covid cases everyone agreed that it was best for them to stay in Atlanta.

Andrew, Alex, Dean and I agreed to quarantine for over a week so the four of us could feel safe having a smaller Thanksgiving together.

Our plans for smoked turkey were put on hold since Andrew and Alex are vegetarians-who-eat-fish-when-pressed. I ordered good salmon from the Fish Guys (I cannot believe I have not written about the Fish Guys!!!) and started thinking about vegetarian side dishes.


A friend on Facebook posted a photo of his meal and called it a Higgidy Chicken Pie. I assumed it was a type of Yorkshire dish and , but it turned out that Higgidy is a brand of prepared meals in the UK. I then went down a brief but satisfying Internet rabbit hole after which I was the proud owner of two Higgidy (Kindle) cookbooks, one of which was a vegetarian cookbook. In it I found recipes for a Christmassy nut loaf and a miso, chard and squash pie.

I sent Andrew and Alex the menu and they approved.

  • Salmon (Smoked on Big Green Egg) — Dean’s job
  • Miso Squash & Chard Pie
  • Cranberry & Porcini Nut Roast with onion gravy
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Beans
  • Bread (probably sourdough or dinner rolls) — Andrew’s task
  • Stuffing
  • Dessert — Alex’s surprise

Day 32: Mostly Alex

Ross Gay, in The Book of Delights, distinguishes delights from joys and mostly only writes about delights in his book. I, on the other hand, will include joys in my Blog of Delights.

My son Andrew’s partner, Alex, is a pure joy. I thought about that recently — I knew I was going to write a post about her on her birthday (today!) but also thought that delight is not enough of a description. She’s a joy.

I think that the first time I met Alex, she was a guest for dinner. Also at the table were my daughter, Clare, and her friend, Sara. Andrew and Dean were there of course, too. At one point during dinner someone started barking. Maybe Clare or Sara, then I chimed in, then Dean, then Andrew and Alex. I knew that day that Alex was one of us.

There is a lot to like about Alex — she’s smart, funny, strong, loyal. She makes delicious and beautiful cakes. She and Andrew seem to be a good match. She’s really easy to get along with. She’s a patient teacher.

Alex teaching me how to play hearts.

But one thing I like most about Alex is a little hard to describe. She is not afraid to state her opinion. She does not back down when someone suggests she might be wrong. That is a trait I wish I had and I admire it in her.

Other joys today include:

  • Hanging out in Alexandria with Rosanne — we spent a couple hours talking on the waterfront, then spent another couple hours talking at her house. While it wasn’t exactly like we’d not seen each other for over 20 years, it felt very comfortable being with her again. Hopefully we will do it again.
  • The cardinal climber has a bud! Finally!
The promise of a flower