Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas à la française

Lionel and I spent a wonderful Christmas with his parents at our house. We ate far too much, exchanged gifts, spent time just relaxing rather than working on the house, Skyped with my family and just all around enjoyed the holidays as best we could despite the bad weather that arrived for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Following true French tradition, most of our Christmas celebration revolved around the food.  On Christmas Eve we enjoyed an incredible meal of lobster, goose, stuffing, chestnuts, cepes and black forest bûche.  Then on Christmas Day we whipped up another huge meal of foie gras, smoked duck, roast boar, chestnuts, green beans and a mango, passion fruit and vanilla ice cream bûche.  And naturally we made it through quite a few different bottles of wine and champagne.  It was all quite delicious (Rasteau especially enjoyed the feast) and now I feel Iike I need to stop eating for at least a month to make up for it!
our Christmas table
Rasteau checking out the lobster in anxious anticipation of the meal to come
Goose, stuffing, chestnuts, cepes and a delightful bottle of red...yum!
black forest bûche
foie gras and an incredible Jurançon
Roast boar, chestnuts and green beans with another delightful red
Rasteau was also quite spoiled for Christmas.  Not only did he enjoy lobster, goose, foie gras (he's so French!), boar and some cream but he also received one hell of a gift:
Rasteau was one spoiled little kitty this year!
And as predicted, he hasn't been particularly interested in his new arbre à chat since we put it together and sat his butt down on it.  Hopefully that will change but he generally does like to be difficult!
Hope everyone else had a great Christmas with family and friends!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Joyeux Noël

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Finally in the mood pour les fêtes

I have finally managed to kick the cold that has kept me out of commission for nearly three weeks and my improved health seems to have brought with it an improved holiday spirit.  This weekend I finally had the chance to actually enjoy the Christmas season and to get caught up on all the things I just haven't had the energy to do.

I made sugar cookies, just like I would do with my mom and brother when I was a kid
I also made a loaf of gingerbread
I found a poinsettia while we were out shopping yesterday
And we finished all our Christmas shopping and got the gifts wrapped and under the tree
 I also, for the first time this year, didn't feel like I was forcing myself through Christmas.  I'm quite happy I finally have the energy to enjoy the holidays since this is one of my favorite times of the year.   I plan to make the most of the few days that remain this holiday season!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Crazy cat lady

I just might be turning into a crazy cat lady; my life seems to practically revolve around cats lately!  Now that Lionel has a job and I'm home all day alone, albeit working, my only company is Rasteau.  And his only "slave" is me.  I can tell that he feels the loss of his "daddy" and so he constantly turns to me for everything he wants, be it to have a door opened so he can go out or come in, to be brushed, for a treat, to show off his kills, for a distraction, for a "conversation" or for attention, love and cuddles.  And if he feels like he is being ignored (usually because I'm too busy with work or on the phone with the office or a client) he certainly has found the best way to make his presence known and to announce the fact that he wants something.

If Rasteau feels like I'm not paying enough attention to him, or if he has any desire that isn't met, he makes sure to come upstairs into my office and sit his butt down right in front of my computer to make sure I haven't forgotten his furry little presence.

And if that isn't enough, he lays right down on my papers and computer, refusing to move until he gets what he wants.
And one time, when he saw that I was busy with work and all his attempts still weren't getting the desired reaction, he planted himself right on my arm while I was using the mouse

He just doesn't seem to understand that someone has to work in order to pay for all his croquettes and pâté!  Instead he thinks I can be there to respond to his every wish and desire immediately since his "daddy" is no longer available to be a full-time slave.

Now, if turning into my cat's servant isn't enough to qualify me as a crazy cat lady, we also seem to have "adopted" a neighborhood cat.  She has always come into the yard and she and Rasteau sometimes played together or got in little fights, but a few weeks ago she showed up at the back window and cried for hours.  We felt bad for her because she was cold and skinny so we gave her some food and some love and we were done for.  Now she comes by at least twice a day for meals and every time I open the door she attempts to run in the house, sometimes succeeding. 

At first Rasteau seemed quite unhappy about the arrangement, but he has since realized that he has enough food to share.  He's accepted it so well that now when he's outside the two of them seem to enjoy playing together just fine and they never fight anymore.  And yesterday they worked together to bring me plenty of gifts.  In just one day I was the not-so-thrilled recipient of a pile of feathers and wings (courtesy of her), a partial lizard (courtesy of Rasteau) and a mouse head (not sure who left me that gory gift).

Rasteau protecting his territory while the other cat stares at me through the window in hopes of getting into the house or at least getting a treat
waiting for her breakfast this morning
My biggest fear is that all the random cats in the neighborhood are going to start coming by thinking we are a free buffet!  But I just feel so bad for her (we don't know if she has a home or not), especially when I see her out in the cold or the rain, that I can't help but at least give her something to eat and a few cuddles.  One night, when it was particularly damp and cold, we even let her sleep cuddled up on some blankets in the garage. 

after spending a few days keeping a close eye on all the happenings in his yard, Rasteau has finally calmed down and accepted the situation and is returning to normal life which includes relaxing/sleeping in his cabane

I'm pretty sure that at this point my life is almost entirely ruled by cats, and if that doesn't make me a crazy cat lady, I don't know what does!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Noël

I'm finally starting to feel a tiny bit better, though I'm still far from being completely over this sickness.  As my health slowly improves I'm getting more and more into the Christmas mood (about time!). As such, I have not only managed to finally get gifts sent off to my family in the US, but I have also finally managed to finish decorating the house!

Now hopefully by this weekend I'll be fully recovered and able to enjoy what is left of this holiday season!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Time is flying

I cannot believe that the first week of December is over! I feel like time is flying by so fast that I can barely keep up. I just realized I never posted about Thanksgiving dinner, but at the same time it feels weird to be talking about Thanksgiving with Christmas just around the corner.

Nevertheless I'm going to do it, but very briefly!  Thanksgiving dinner this year went off without a hitch.  I didn't burn anything and there were no major complications. There were also tons of leftovers to be enjoyed for days afterwards as I made enough food for at least ten people but we were only four. So, what was on the menu?  Butternut squash soup, turkey (of course), green bean casserole, mashed sweet potatoes, honey glazed carrots, homemade stuffing (made it in the crockpot this year!), pumpkin pie and pecan pie.

Now that the first week of December is over I'm trying to get to work on Christmas.  It kind of hit me this past week that if I'm going to get gifts in the mail for my family, I have to get moving!  So, I've spent the week trying to figure out ideas for gifts and shopping as best I can.  I also set a deadline of this weekend for getting a Christmas tree and getting the house decorated. 
What is making everything much more complicated is that I've been really sick all week, and rather than getting better I just seem to be getting worse.  I woke up yesterday morning and literally felt like I had been hit repeatedly by a bus.  Getting through the work day was hell and I finished up all the medicine in the house before the day was even half over.  I finally managed to convince Lionel to run to the pharmacy for me last night when he got home from work (!) and he came back with a bag full of different medicines to help with all my varying symptoms.
Today has been much the same, but I pumped myself full of medicine this afternoon and Lionel and I went out quickly to pick out a tree.  That little errand pretty much wore me out for the day, so I'm hoping to have the energy to decorate tomorrow.  I also will have to get gifts wrapped and packed up in a box to be shipped on Monday. 
Whew...I just don't know where the days are going and I cannot believe there are only two and a half weeks left till Christmas!  Thanksgiving being so late in November this year really threw me off track for the Christmas season.  I hope that everyone else is faring better than I am for the holidays this year!