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Sunday, January 3, 2016

How the year began

Welcome to a brand new year! I hope everyone reading had a nice time ringing in 2016.

 I spent the day traveling with Gregg up to Raleigh to visit his sister in the hospital. I'm happy to report that she's in a positive frame of mind, and is beginning physical therapy determined to overcome her multiple injuries as quickly and completely as possible. And she was so glad to see her big brother! She got emotional when we arrived, and then again when we were leaving. I stepped out of the room to give them a few quiet moments alone together before we left for home.


It must be such a comfort in life to have siblings. I was touched by how much they love each other. I always really wanted a brother, or even a sister, but it was not to be. Gregg is lucky to have one of both, although he's closer to Karen than to their brother Gary. All three of them love and support each other, though.

One of the best parts about visiting Raleigh was seeing how well Edythe (my mother-in-law ) is doing. She has early stage dementia and had been going downhill some over the past 6 months, but on Friday we saw the most wonderful improvement in her! Gregg thinks it's because she has a purpose in life again, taking care of her daughter. She was like her old self; her mind was clear, there was a spring in her step, and she's happily spending hours at the hospital taking on the role of mother hen. I wonder how many old people with diminishing facilities simply need to feel needed again to stop the downhill slide? All in all, a good day even if we spent a lot of it driving there and back.

Since we didn't arrive home until late on the first, I cooked the traditional New Year's Day meal yesterday. Eating black-eyed peas and greens is supposed to bring good luck and money in the year ahead. I
 wonder if it still counts a day late? Either way, it was nice to have a simple home-cooked meal after all the rich food we've been consuming lately.

Black-eyed peas slowly simmered with the leftover Christmas hambone, and onions, celery, a bay leaf, and vegetable broth. These are always served over white rice (Hoppin' John) and sprinkled liberally with hot sauce.

Collards would have been more traditional, but I opted for cabbage because it's easier ( and Gregg won't eat greens either way).  Hot pepper vinegar MUST be served slongside greens. Also skillet cornbread, which I made but didn't get a picture of.
Once again, Happy New Year everyone. I hope it's filled with family love, good food, luck, and money for us all!

10 comments:

  1. First so happy to hear that Gregg's sister is doing so well. That was a terrible accident.
    Plus your MIL is also doing what Mums do best. Love.
    Your dinner sounds so yum. I love collards but I love cabbage and it sounds so good over the
    ham and beans.
    Have the best New Year ever.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. Thank you! Happy New Year to you and the Hamish!

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  2. It's nice that the two of you got to see Karen in Raleigh and it's even nicer to learn that she is on the road to recovery. We don't have collard greens in England. The closest equivalent is spring greens. It sounds like you are a good cook Jennifer. Lucky old Gregg!

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    1. I can cook, but I'm the lucky one. Gregg is a good man and I can't imagine being married to anyone else!

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  3. Ham and beans is a perfect combination; yours looks delicious. Good to hear that your sister in law is making progress; she's one of the lucky ones.

    I'm sure your observation about dementia is right!

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    1. The ham and beans were delicious, just simple, savory home cooking!

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  4. That's some good news from Gregg's side of the family! Yes, it's great to have a sister - I can testify to that. We were sometimes terrible when we were kids, but the older we got, the better friends we became. And I know I can rely on my sis 100 % when I need help, and the other way round.

    The meal sounds like the perfect winter food!

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    1. I envy you having a sister even if you did have the normal squabbles growing up. I was a lonely kid. Siblings would have made my childhood better.

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  5. Lovely food there, my mother made something like this at the "end" of Christmas holiday. It must have been good for Gregg to see his sister. My mother was always on good form when she had a purpose in life and was needed. xx

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    1. It was good for Gregg to see his sister. Whenever he spends time with his family I can see a difference in his stress level and mood--for the better!

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