We had a great New Year’s! We had just decided to celebrate quietly at home when we were invited to a small get-together at friends of a friend’s house. They are both musicians and live about 15 minutes from us in Madison. We were told there would be children too so the girls came with us. It was snowing lightly when we arrived at their luminaria decorated house. The kids soon gravitated to the den to play Wii and watch tv and ended up playing soccer in the basement. The adults were so welcoming to Mark and I when they found out we were new to the area. I met several women who bike regularly and they invited me to join them when they start up again in the spring. They do spinning and yoga in the winter so I’m thinking I better stay in shape!
Our hosts lived in France for a while, the husband having grown up there, so the food and wine were delicious – homemade baguettes, bacon-wrapped figs, and apple brandy. Someone else brought a wonderful Greek casserole unlike anything I’ve ever had. We were most taken by the bread oven that doubles as a fireplace in the living room. The hearth is at waist level, making it convenient to use, and the firebox is dome-shaped so it is very efficient. It provided lots of warmth that night but we didn’t get to see it baking anything. They say they make pizza in it all the time, as well as many other things. You just let it heat up to 700 degrees, move the ash out of the way and put the pizza right on the floor of the oven! It cooks in a few minutes. Mark is now scheming how we can put one in our house.
We have gone to a New Year’s Day party at very good friends’ house for many years so rather than pine away missing them we decided to host our own open house. We invited pretty much everyone we know here plus all the neighbors, many of whom we haven’t met. We weren’t quite sure how many would show up especially since the UW football team was playing in a bowl game that afternoon. We had let it be known that the tv would be on for anyone to watch since we know that people here are serious about their football. It turns out most folks like to watch the game in the comfort of their own home though so it was pretty quiet until the end of the game. The Badgers lost but that didn’t keep everyone at home drowning their sorrows. We had a houseful! Musicians of the Chamber Orchestra came as well as board members, patrons, office staff, families from Rose’s soccer team, families of the girls’ friends and many neighbors. Everyone was so appreciative, especially the neighbors we hadn’t had a chance to meet yet. Many people brought lovely house-warming gifts and I think we ended up with more wine than we started with! I think a new tradition has been born!
I made these really cool cylinders out of ice and put candles in them on the porch. Of course you can only do that in a place as cold as Wisconsin!