Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This First Month of the New Year!

I know January ends tonight, but better late than never...Happy New Year!

January is almost always a busy month for me and January 2012 has been no different.  The month begins, of course, with a holiday - New Year's Day.  This, in itself, should says something about the month.  Either it's a day to rest up in preparation for what lies ahead, or it's a day to start out celebrating!

Bob and I usually start the year with a New Year's celebration, but this year I had to work. So, in addition to no party, there was also no blackeyed peas, greens and hamhock for me.  Hope that doesn't mean I can forget about good health, happiness and prosperity for 2012!  My mom used to say, too, don't fuss or fight or say unkind things on New Year's Day because whatever you do on the first day of the year, you'll repeat over and over throughout the year. So I guess that means I can count on working in 2012 - not a bad thing the way things are right now with the economy.

I fed my "Dinner Divas"on the 10th. We're a group of ten ladies who've been getting together on the second Tuesday of every month for the past 100 years.  Really, I don't know how many years.  The first pictures I have aren't dated, and they're not digital either, so there you go.

Anyway, we each take a month and so everyone gets together for dinner in that person's home.  We meet in restaurants the empty months. There are some excellent cooks in this group. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them, and so, every year I pick up this wonderful Rosemary Baked Ziti and Greek Salad from Romano's, a nice little Italian restaurant not far from my house.  Unfortunately, Romano's burned down a few weeks before my dinner.  I truly believe everyone was afraid I was gonna cook because only four came - five counting me.  Their excuses - two had to work, two were ill and one had to milk goats. Hmmmmmm.   But they needn't worry.  I wasn't about to cook!!   My month follows Ruth's, and she's one of the best, if not the best cook in the bunch.

Here's a picture of us all at Ruth's in December: 
First row left to right:  me, Karen, Marsha, and Zandy.
Second row:  Bonnie, Ruth, Jean and Sandy.
 Top: Nancy (Missing: Sherry)
 Here we are at my house in January:
That's me in the chair.  They let me be Queen that night - probably because it was my house:)  That or they were
just so happy I didn't cook!)  Behind me: Bonnie, Jean, Zandy and Nancy.

I'm really just joshing about my Dinner Divas.  They're really a great bunch of ladies.  I know they would have been very gracious about my cooking, had I cooked.  Fortunately for all of us, Romano's has a sister restaurant across town - Capriano's - to whom I thank from the bottom of my heart for not only being there, but for having the same menu!!

On the 17th of the month, several of us met at a friend's house for a vegan cooking class. Now that was a lot more fun than I anticipated - and the food was very tasty. We had vegetable balls that could have easily passed for meat balls, a wonderful soup called Deeply Rooted Winter Soup, made with beets, carrots, potatoes, celery, onions and parsley, hmmmmmm! a great bread ....and wine (It's nice to know I won't have to give up wine if and when I go vegan!!!) We're all planning to get together once a month for a class. I'll take some pictures next month and share them here.

Then there was the surprise birthday get-together for my sister who turned 60 on the 19th. I didn't have to really do anything for that - just go. It was a very nice evening. I am very proud of my sister. She had gastric bypass surgery this past July and has lost 80+ pounds so far. I wish we'd had a group picture taken that evening so I could post it here, but I just didn't think of it at the time.  So here's Dolly, her husband Larry, and son Tim in the background...

Dolly's daughter Darlene made the cake!

On the 20th of the month, my husband's swing band played at Kepple Auditorium for a Night of Jazz and Swing. It was a benefit for our Rowan Helping Ministries and it was terrific!  There were both swing and shag dancers on stage as well.   This was their second year doing this and since I don't have the video yet from this year, I've attached the one from last year to give you an idea just how great it was!!

Finally, we celebrated my husband's birthday on the 27th. His birthday was actually the 24th, but we've had to give up partying on work nights.  This celebration has become an annual thing for us and one we both absolutely look forward to. This particular one was especially special for me in that one of our new friends took the camera from me and took pictures all night long.  I've never had so many pictures with me in them in any one night (or ten nights, for that matter) in all my life!!! You'd a thought it was my birthday!  I usually have to give the camera to somebody and say "now take one of me" just so I can prove I was there! Ha!  Anyway, just saying...

The highlight of the evening of course, was our "crazy" picture.  We've started ending all of our big occasions with a crazy picture.  It's a lot of fun and always produces a lot of laughter while we try to get the perfect shot.  I've included the last three year's here just so you can see why I think it's the highlight of the evening.

January 2010:

January 2011:

And now, January 2012:

Finally tonight, this last day of January, I drove to Burlington to have dinner with my grandson, who turned 13 yesterday.  It was the perfect ending for a near-perfect month. I say near-perfect only because  there were still some family and friends that I didn't get to see during this first month of the new year. I'm looking to change that, though, in the coming months.

Here's to all my friends and family - Happy New Year!  May you all be busy with happy occasions the whole year through - and may each and everyone of you show up in my pictures!