Sunday, January 1, 2017

City Views, Country Dreams

Good evening from New York on New Year's Day, 2017.


Yesterday I posted this photograph on my Instagram page.

It was a light hearted illustration of my jar of what remained of the dried black eyed peas that I bought a year ago.  While growing up in Virginia, I was made aware of the strong tradition of eating black eyed peas on New Year's Day in order to bring luck for the rest of the year.

In the last week of 2016, I experienced several appliance finales.  My old hair dryer stopped working.  My five-year old printer decided that five years were enough.  I felt as if the black eyed peas I'd prepared and consumed on the first day of 2016 might be losing their power.

I've bought new appliances that seem to be working just fine.

This afternoon, as I was beginning to cook some of the dried peas from the pictured jar, I also began putting away the baubles I'd chosen to decorate my apartment for the week of Christmas, including that chain of golden stars draped around the pea jar.

I was listening, via my laptop, to three hours of BBC Radio 4 vintage Sherlock Holmes broadcasts.  All was going well.

I finished carefully putting the Christmas ornaments away in their anointed place on a top shelf in one of my two closets.  The 2017 black eyed pea concoction, seasoned in Near Eastern style, was just about ready to eat.  The Sherlock Holmes tribute was over.

I poured a glad of Merlot, served up my lucky supper, and returned to John le Carre's The Pigeon Tunnel, my current book of choice.  

Dinner tasted very good.  My reading was transporting me to Moscow.  And then, I heard several popping sounds from the next room.  Going to investigate, I saw that two boxes of my carefully stowed beloved Christmas baubles had escaped their perch on that top shelf.  Some had burst into glittering glass fragments on impact, but others seemed to be unharmed.

My lucky black eyed pea supper was interrupted so that I could clear up the mess around the folding door to the closet and see how many baubles had survived.

Like spreading spilt milk, the initial view of the broken glass was more alarming that what closer investigation showed.  I tried to be like Sherlock in my calm investigations, while mourning the loss of some irreplaceable ornaments.  I got out my broom and swept the affected floor space.

I repacked the baubles and returned them to a more secure perch on their shelf.  Back to the lucky peas and the le Carre memoir.  

In just over an hour, I'll be able to view the the new television Sherlock Thatcher episode that those of you all across the Atlantic have already seen.  Tomorrow will be another day, with or without additional luck.

Thank you all for your visits and comments here throughout 2016.  It's now so difficult to know where the wind will be blowing in the coming year.  I look forward to trading comments with you all, and enjoying stretching my horizons via blog land.

70 comments:

  1. Instagram? I keep wondering about it. I had my peas this evening, just a spoonful as I wasn't hungry, but I'll eat them atop rice tomorrow. I am watching re-runs of Homeland, my favorite show. Have you watched The Killing on Netflix? Oh so good. I am sorry about your ornaments. If I come across the perfect one for you, I'll send it. Hope your new days to come are wonderful and that spring comes swiftly.

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    1. Thanks so much for your New Year's comment, Donna. You might find IG fun; I was interested to re-connect with lots of folks who had departed blogging.
      I've never used Netflix. I really don't watch television very much, aside from business and news programs. Reading is more my thing.
      Your offer about the ornament is very sweet. I guess I view that recent breakage as a lesson to me to be more careful in my own motions, like making sure boxes are definitely resting firmly on a shelf. Not that many old baubles were lost. I actually thought about your recurring earthquakes, which are a much more serious situation!
      Looking forward to chatting with you as 2017 unfolds. xo

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  2. Lucky black-eyed peas? You need a fresh supply!! Use the rest of the old ones to make sprouts.

    Hope you do indeed have a peaceful 2017 without any more breakages. Best of luck to you throughout the year.

    I love reading about new York. Thanks for the travelogue

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    1. Maybe if I had not dined upon those peas all of the ornaments would have been broken, instead of only about four or five! And "The Case of the Broken Ornaments" gave me some material for this initial 2017 blog post.
      Thank you very much for your visits and comments. See you again soon. xo

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  3. Hi France's. Sorry to hear about your bauble mishap. We used some truly vintage ones this year piled in old glass sweet jars with tiny lights scattered among them. They looked so pretty, but they're being stored away just as they are as I'm sure if I try to remove them some of these delicate beauties may also get broken! Wishing you better luck and a happy and healthy 2017 from across the pond. Jenny

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    1. Winni, your ornament decorating idea sounds lovely! Your storage method sounds wise.

      Thanks so much for your New Year's wishes...I send the same to you. xo

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  4. Dear Frances, have a Happy New Year and just follow the old but oh so comforting 'keep calm and carry on' advise. We too, feel not knowing where the wind blows from but this is more a health issue threat than any other concern. Looking forward to continue reading you through your lovely blog in future. All the best, Anke

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    1. Dear Anke, the Keep Calm advice is wise. I actuallly chuckled a little yesterday when I realized what those popping sounds were. The irony of the ornaments falling While I was dining upon Lucky food was funny.
      Hope to see you here again soon. xo

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  5. Sad to lose treasured items Frances. They obviously felt lie leaping off into the unknown. Maybe you can find some beautiful antique ones to replace them.

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    1. I think you are right about those daredevil baubles, Elizabeth. I truly still have more than enough baubles. If I happen to encounter another one or two in the future, I might indulge. Best wishes to you and yours. xo

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  6. Happy New Year Frances and hope it is better than it has starte. Sorry to read about the ornaments they must have held happy memories for you.

    Look forward to reading more about New York and when I do I am taken back to the few days I had with my daughter and grand daughter there, some lovely moments to treasure.

    Hugs
    Hazel c uk

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Hazel. Overall, I'd say my New Year is off to a good start.
      I enjoy your comments very much, and look forward to seeing you here again soon. xo

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  7. How heartbreaking to lose your treasured baubles.
    Ooooh just don't get me started about appliances. Ours always seem to go in three's. If the toaster goes you can be sure the kettle will follow and then something else will go too.
    I hope your year just gets better and better.
    Hugs from The UK-x-

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    1. Dear Sheila, having those baubles break while I was actually still eating the Lucky Peas was actually pretty funny.
      It's encouraging that we last longer than our appliances, isn't it!
      Happy 2017 to you. xo

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  8. Yes, time to put those baubles away safely!
    Hope the black eyes peas bring good luck.
    So here's to 2017 and hoping it brings you good things.

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    1. Elizabeth, I think I've got the surviving baubles safely stowed now. All in all, I think I am fortunate in many ways...like having good friends like you.
      See you soon. xo

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  9. Sad tosay that I never soak beans for cooking. I just open a can, ready cooked. Maybe I will carry on buying dried beans after the apocalypse.

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    1. Tom, I'm not adverse to canned beans and use them for many recipes. The only ones I usually buy in dried form at the black eyed bringers of luck, lentils and split peas. I guess in the kitchen I am a creature of habit
      Not sure I have many post-apoc plans yet.
      Happy 2017 to you and yours.

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  10. Dear Frances, I think it will be smooth sailing for you from now on. Bad luck is now behind you and the black eyed peas will do their magic.
    Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year. ox, Gina

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    1. Gina, I share your view!
      May 2017 treat you very well. xo

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  11. My parents (from North Carolina) always had black eyed peas and greens to start the New Year, but I never bother. We had homemade garlicky shrimp pizza and plantain bread pudding with rum sauce. Happy New Year to you. Cheers.

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    1. Wilma, I surely do like the sound of your New Year's meal. Yummmm!

      I wish you and yours a fabulous 2017. xo

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  12. What in the world got into those ornaments that they leapt off the shelf? Hoping the orgy of self destruction is over...

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    1. Vicki, I just think I was too hasty in my shelving operation. I should have taken just a few moments more to check things out on the top shelf before climbing back down the step stool.
      (As you know all too well.)
      I predict we are going to have a fine year! xo

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  13. I liked your story of the lucky peas and the strange self destructing ornaments....life is full of small ironies isn't it? From now on I think your year will be lucky! Like you I love reading and look forward to lots of it this coming year. Wishing you a very Happy New Year dear Frances.
    Helen xox

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    1. Yes, Helen, I agree with you about ironies.
      My next book will be Alan Bennett's Keeping On Keeping On. I heard him read some of the entries on the BBC, and knew I would love the book, just as I have his other writing.
      Let's have a great New Year! xo

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  14. I am sorry to learn of your poor baubles' destruction.

    In India lentils are eaten for luck, perhaps you should try those next year? I wish you an exciting new year Frances and look forward to reading more of your stories.

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    1. Toffeeapple, I am so glad to see your comment and hope you will be visiting again.
      I am also a fan of lentils...all throughout the year, either as soup, or just cooked enough to add to salads. Delicious and healthy, too.
      A very Happy 2017 to you and yours. xo

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  15. So sorry about your precious ornaments! Now that I have my grandsons decorating my tree for me I have to expect a certain amount of breakage every year. This year it was a glass candy cane. Oh well!
    For many years our friends hosted a Japanese New Year's day open house. Every dish contained something to bring good luck. Little dried fish, various roots, mochi, purple potatoes in a broth. She was Japanese-American, he from North Carolina, so there was always a dish of black-eyed peas. It was one of my favorite celebrations of the year. So much melding of cultures. I hope this year can be one of melding and not one of breaking. Happy New Year, dear Frances!

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    1. Carol, I glad to report that most of the baubles survived the leap.
      How much fun it must be to have your grandsons helping with the tree decorating!
      The luck-bearing dishes served at the open house you mention all sound so delicious!
      Hoping your New Year hope will come true. xo

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  16. Oh dear, I hope they bring you better luck from now on! I hope you enjoyed Sherlock... We watched last night. Wishing you a happy new year Frances with a fair wind!

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    1. Gina, it was such an odd coincidence, I really had to laugh.
      Yes, I did like the Sherlock episode, but admit that the lighting of so many scenes was awfully dark. And...even though I think my ears are pretty well attuned to British accents, I could not always be sure I caught every word of the dialogue. I did recognize many of the outdoor settings. I now look forward to the next episode...with a new villain.
      Thank you for the wish for a fair wind...I love the sound of that, and wish the same for you and yours. xo

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  17. I think we are all watching and wondering how 2017 is going to turn out Frances.
    Happy New Year to you.

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    1. Yes, Pat, lots of unknowns, maybe more than usual that might affect us all.
      I'll take it a day at a time! Thanks for your New Year's wish. May I wish you and yours the same. xo

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  18. Best wishes for a LOVELY 2017, Frances! I hope this year will the best ever...
    Always nice visiting your blog and to follow you in NY!
    Warm hug from Titti

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    1. Titti, I appreciate your wishes and compliments so much. Isn't it grand that blogging allows us to visit each other's countries and get to know more about what it is like to live in a very different place? What I always discover is that we have so many interests that are alike. Happy 2017. xo

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  19. Happy New Year, Frances! We had black eye peas on the 1st, and leftovers yesterday. There's still a lot left although I only cooked 1 pound of them. We'll be eating them as side dishes for a couple more days at least.

    So sorry about your baubles. At least some survived! I'm glad to see the holiday season coming to a close. I'm hoping for bigger and better things in 2017 and I'm ready to make some of my dreams come true! 💖

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. I know what you mean about lingering black eyed peas. I just used about a cup of the dried peas, as I did in 15/16. Next New Year's Eve, I'll most likely finish off the final third of the Goya bag.
      Best wishes to you on making those dreams come true. When I retired last spring, the freedom I gained for every following day sort of became a dream come true for me. xo

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  20. I used to get upset when something that I treasured got lost or broken. The past few years, though, I am ready to let them go because I must. 2017 looks to be a difficult one but I always have hope in my heart that everything will work out and that good will endure.

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    1. What you write about being ready to let formerly treasured objects go really rings true with me. I intentionally shed quite a few items last year and found that I liked the lighter results.

      I do agree with your last sentence, and am going to try to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. And keeping the Golden Rule in mind can also be helpful. xo

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  21. So lovely your post...funny about beans...good luck with or without them...see you soon also in Instagram

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    1. Gabri, having a good laugh is a fine way to begin a New Year! Thanks for your comment...looking forward to seeing you soon over on IG. xo

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    1. Thank you, John! Best New Year's wishes to you and yours, and many thanks for the joy of reading your posts. xo

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  23. I am pleased to see that you and your readers are going into the New Year with positive thoughts. There is no other way in which to achieve anything in life. Negative thinking is no good to anybody. In case I haven't already said it, Happy New Year Frances.

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    1. Thanks Rachel! Positive vibrations all the way...more sunlight every day, and so on. xo

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  24. Frances, I mourn your loss of treasured decorations. I can picture you surveying the scene with maturity and composure. I bet if you planted one of those beans you would find a giant stalk with a castle on the top! Wishing you all good and wondrous things for the New Year, it is always a pleasure to hear from you. x

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    1. Val, when I actually did discover the source of the popping sounds, I just had to laugh! The little Greenwich Village shop where the particular ornaments were purchased no longer exists, except in my memory. It was a very charming place to visit in the run up to Christmas.
      What's grand is that we have the opportunity every day to create more happy memories. I like the notion of that beanstalk. Happy 2017. xo

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  25. Frances, we eat lentils for good luck here on new year's day. Thinking I need plenty luck, ahem, I made a bit too many! I eventually had to mince and make them into lentil-pies; I hope their power work just as good!
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. Maria, I think that lots of luck is always welcome. I like the idea of using left over lentils for lentil pies. What sort of seasonings do you use? One of my brothers is an excellent cook and also uses lentils a lot. He is also a huge fan of polenta! xo

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    2. I mince the lentils, add an egg, a cold steamed potato, salt, pepper and chopped parsley, add some bread crumbs and roll into little balls, squash them slightly to form flying saucer shapes, dip them into more bread crumbs. Then either bake or deep fry. Nothing special but they have lots of proteins and are very healthy.
      Polenta is very nice with sauces over it or grilled. Frances, you are fortunate to have a brother as a cook!
      xx

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    3. Maria, thank you so very much for the lentil cake information! I will make sure that my brother gets to see it. (I want to try to make some, too.) I wish that my brother and I lived closer to each other, but yes, you are correct that I am very fortunate. xo

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    4. Don't forget to add some minced sundried tomatoes to your lentil-pies & polenta ... a brotherly suggestion

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    5. That sounds delicious! I will certainly try it! Thank you, James.
      Greetings Maria x

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  26. Oh dear, not the way to start a new year, losing irreplaceable Christmas baubles. You just didn't get those beans cooked up in time. But I have a feeling the rest of the year will be just fine for you! I've been listening to those old broadcasts from 1946 of SHerlock Holmes on youtube. I thought I had known every Sherlock story after playing my Jeremy Brett collections over and over again, but it turns out Conan Doyle was a very busy writer with his Holmes stories and I've discovered countless stories I'd never before known.

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    1. Jeri, I think those bursting bauble were a reminder to me to be just a bit more attentive.

      When I was a child, I loved seeing the old black and white movies with Basil Rathbone as Sherlock. Then, thanks to the library, was able to read all the stories...some more than once! xo

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  27. I just wanted to say thank you for your sweet comment and I have never heard of the word "armchair tourist" :) Please tell me more!
    It sounds funny...
    Have a lovely day Frances!
    Titti

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    1. Titti, I think that armchair tourist was the name of a novel. I guess it refers to someone who does all of his/her traveling from the comfort of an armchair at home. It is funny, in a sweet sort of way. xo

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    2. It´s me! For sure!!!
      Love from Titti

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  28. 'Lucky' peas - I think not! Perhaps they should go in the bin with your shards of ornament. A NewYear, a new start, you have created a space to choose something else for your tree next December. (Although it's always sad to say goodbye to something loved.)

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    1. No way would I blame my carelessness on those peas. The lucky part was that not many baubles broke.
      My apartment is too small for a tree, so in a way it's just as well to have fewer ornaments to store! Happy 2017 to you. Please do visit again.

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  29. I see you are my comrade in adversity, dear Frances: some of my own ornaments fell victim to a daughter with a nerf doomraider powerblaster gun. I am relying on you to get those peas to pull their socks up this coming year, for both our sakes.

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    1. Mise, those broken baubles tested my superstitious beliefs a bit, but I still ate all the black eyed peas, even though it took several days of reheating leftovers to accomplish that goal. I am not one to waste food.

      Let the luck commence...definitely for both of us, even though we might not have golf carts. xo

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  30. Black eyed peas have yet to reach France, and I rather miss them.

    I'm a little late with my good wishes, but they are no less heart-felt. Cro xx

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    1. Thank you so much for your good wishes, and for the pleasure of being able to follow your posts. xo

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  31. Broken glass is so difficult to clear up but even harder if the breakage is something precious. One of my glass baubles fell off the tree onto a tiled floor this year. I am also slowly realising that glass candlesticks are not a very good idea. Sherlock was a cracker. Hope you enjoy it.

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    1. Lucille, I like your comment so much...what you say about broken glass is very true. I've got a pair of heavy and treasured glass candlesticks myself, that were a long ago gift from my dear uncle.
      Yes...two episodes into this Sherlock quartet, I am definitely hooked again. I admit to particularly liking it when I recognize a familiar location. xo

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  32. As always a lovely blog from you dear friend, and sympathies on the baubles demise. I am now reduced to four of the original baubles from childhood christmas's = they are very precious.
    Wishing you a very Happy New Year. xx

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    1. I do appreciate your kind words, dear Irish Eyes. May I also wish you great days ahead in a very Happy New Year. xo

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