St. Paddy’s Dinner, Winter Hike and Discovering Vintage Red Wines

We ended our staycation with a bunch of little things mixed with a whole lot of nothing.

Just the way I like it!

Friday night, we had my family over for some Irish Stew. To be honest, I am not a fan of stew. Or soup. On the occasion, I do enjoy a cup of soup as an appetizer, but unlike my husband or daughter, I don’t enjoy it as the main entree. My favorite for the evening was the beef bone marrow. We only had a small spoonful each but it was simply delicious!

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Beef shank bone marrow

And no, we did not use the new Ikea dishes – I’m still saving those for Easter. However, my mother did find the hand-me -down plates with the side-rust stains in a box we were ready to dispose of. She hoarded all of them. ALL OF THEM! I tried to explain to her there was rust on the side (not that she couldn’t see herself – you can’t miss it after all!) But she insisted she needed them.

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Frozen ponds are beautiful!

Being the last weekend before going back to work, I needed to make every moment count.

I did this with: a) a walk/hike; and b) red wine. Both we managed to squeeze in. In fact, we were able to go on a hike three times during our week off. I’m very happy with that. There’s something said about winter hikes – the chill in the air is refreshing, the frozen pond is still and beautiful and that feeling of warmth when you’re back indoors is just a wonderful feeling.

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SAVED Red Wine from California

The red wine was pretty much consistent every night while we were off. Our last night, we opened a new vintage find called SAVED. Very full-body and dry with a whopping 15% alcohol level. Just my type! And while they say to never judge a book by it’s cover, I totally judged a book by it’s cover. I’m glad I did – this was delicious!

 

Giacomo

I woke up this morning after dreaming of a time in my 20’s. I was on a cruise. Single, bored and hungry for an adventure.

Not long into the cruise I saw him. A head waiter (as it turns out, our head waiter) from Sicily. His name was Giacomo.

I was sitting at one of the buffet tables, finishing my lunch, plugged into my tunes and book in tow. I looked up as I was about to leave. He was standing there next to some of his fellow waiters and bus boys, chatting away. It sounds awfully cliché but I don’t know how to explain it any other way – our eyes locked. My confidence at the time was pretty high – I knew I had him right there and then. I made up my mind I was going to have my fun with him. I suppose at the time, I was preying on him. In the end, it was somewhat the other way around (not that I cared – it wasn’t a contest; we both won out in the end).

I got up and started to walk the opposite direction of him as I made my way to the pool. I glanced back over my shoulder not surprised to see him staring back at me. He smile and laughed. And I continued to walk away. I was not in a rush – the rest of the week would develop the way it should. Naturally, no pressure but paced out for the fun and excitement of the chase.

I will be honest here. While I spent most of my free time (or his free time since he had to work most days) with him, obviously, we knew nothing about each other. Why would we? What would have been the need? We were there for each other for the same reasons – to fill a gap in our lives on a very temporary basis. To create a small memory. To bide time.

We talked about ourselves, of course. But who knew if he was even telling me the truth? How old was he? I don’t know. He didn’t want to tell me – so I guessed he was younger than me and was afraid me knowing would make me retract from him. As if I cared. He was obviously in his 20’s or 30’s and not a minor.

He said he was single but I knew better than to believe that. No doubt he had a girlfriend back home. Maybe even a wife – with children? It was a possibility.

So I woke up thinking about him today since his face and the touch of his skin was so fresh in my memory. I was awake but half in that dream-state. What a glorious feeling to wake up that way. In that half-awake and half-dreaming phase.

I’m about to get personal here – nothing graphic of course. There’s a reason why I remember him. A friend of mind asked me, after I came back from the cruise and met this friend for drinks, what was it about Giacomo that had me so excited and full of life upon my return to reality.

I said, “He was in command of me.” That’s about it. Giacomo filled that fantasy of mine – of possibly most women – of being dominated. To a lesser and much softer extent, he was my Christian Grey. Minus all the heavy bondage.

It was the type of encounter which was intriguing, mysterious and perhaps a little dangerous (there were dark corners of the ship I had never been to – nor had I ever been in the Captain’s mess after hours). The risk of getting caught elevated the excitement.

Okay – I promise. That’s as personal I will get here.

It was also the type of vacation romance which was best suited for one week (okay – maybe two weeks max!) You may be wondering why I am writing about something so risque and personal after being happily married for over 13 years to my dear husband.

I suppose it’s just the side of me whom loves to wax nostalgic from time to time. There are no regrets with my experience with Giacomo. I barely can envision his face or even the sound of his voice. I have fleeting pictures of moments we’ve had in my head – but that’s about it. Fleeting.

I can’t, however, forget how alive I felt from the wilder side of my youth – perhaps, I’m also grateful for the chance to be free. Committing myself to a forever-and-ever would have not been successful if I hadn’t let Giacomo kiss me that first night.

 

guilty pleasures no. 70 – Christmas ornaments

Christmas Ornaments – I could actually write a post about Christmas decorations in general but I wanted to pay a special homage to ornaments. I selected the above image because of my obsession with D…

Source: guilty pleasures no. 70 – Christmas ornaments

My Birthday – Take Two Parts 3, 4 & 5!

As mentioned during my birthday re-do, on day 3 I had a lazy day ending with a pedicure. Yesterday, day 4, Doug took me to McEwan‘s for some brie cheese with truffle and P.E.I. grass-fed rib eye steaks – both had for dinner. We also bought other types of cheese (they have a wonderful selection) including two of my faves – Backburn and Grey Owl. We made Caesar salad dressing from scratch – first time. And now probably the only way I’ll ever want to have it!

And today? Well, today is NYE. It is day 5 of my birthday celebration because I wanted to stretch my birthday out to the end of the year.

The thing is, nothing big or extravagant was done on each of the days I prolonged my 44th. Nothing special happened really on any of those days.

Except one thing – to indulge in the peaceful quietness with back and forth moments of solitude and being with my family. That’s all I ever wanted. For this and past birthdays.

In fact, if Doug is able to take time off work, I am hoping we go away next year for my birthday and NYE. I have asked Doug if there’s a chance we can rent something in Collingwood so we can ski, board and snowshoe. I want to be even further away from the noise of the city. I want to be surrounded by a true winter wonderland where the snow muffles the outside noise. I want to snuggle up to the fireplace, with Hobbes lying next to me, and lose myself in a good book.

That is my hope.