Another Year Begins

My year did not end on a particular high note this year. In fact, I got what felt like devastating news. However, I’m going to make the best I can of the situation. It’s not something I want to discuss just yet, but it put me in a funk all weekend. On New Year’s Day, I tried to take my mind off of my troubles.

I cooked a nice traditional (or as traditional as I can make it in Vermont) New Year’s meal: collard greens, black-eyed peas, ham, and turkey and dressing. The turkey and dressing is not exactly tradition nor is the ham in my family traditions, but it’s the best I could do. We usually have sliced fried hog jowls (think salty bacon with a hard rind) instead of ham and chicken and dumplings instead of turkey and dressing, but I made do with what I could get.

After lunch, I took a nice leisurely drive. I needed to get out of my apartment for a bit to get my mind off of some things. I didn’t drive anywhere in particular, but I just wanted to be out and about. I just felt restless, and I really needed to clear my mind.

Yesterday, we had rain, sleet, and snow all day. We got at least a couple of inches, which will make going back to work this morning a pain because I’ll have to clean the snow off my car. I love seeing it snow, but snow removal is something I truly hate. It’s also going to be 9 degrees this morning. Our high is only supposed to be 18 degrees. (Those degrees are in Fahrenheit, by the way.)

The good thing is that our new curator at the museum starts today. I can’t wait. I have been looking forward to her starting since we lost our last curator. I’ll still have more than my usual share of work to do until she gets fully comfortable in her new job, but at least the day has finally come. I also hope that having my mind on work will help me to feel better and finally get 2022 off to a good start.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

7 responses to “Another Year Begins

  • bryandspellman

    I’m sorry about your bad news. Chicken and dumplings is one of my comfort foods, and one of the few things I cook where my version tastes better than mama’s. I grew up with stories about grandma making chicken and dumplings and my Uncle Brady coming in and lifting the lid so the dumplings got hard. Mama made the dish and always had nice, fluffy dumplings. The version I make is very easy to do in the crock pot. I’ve done it once in the pressure cooker (Instant Pot), but I prefer the slow cooked way. I chop up a couple of stalks of celery, a couple of carrots, and two skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Put all that in the crock pot, add a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of cream of either chicken or celery soup, add 1 1/2 cans of whole milk, and maybe a bit of seasoning–my partner doesn’t like much in the way of herbs and spices, so I generally leave them out, except for black pepper. No need to salt with all the salt they put in the soup. Set the crock pot for 4 hours and when the time is up, mix up some Joy of Cooking dumplings and add them to the mix. 15 minutes later I have a delicious, comforting supper. And the joy of the crock pot, is that most will allow you to make up the dish before you go to work, set the timer for 8 to 10 hours, then you come home to a nourishing supper and all you have to do is make up the dumplings. I’m a morning person, so all that chopping is fine before I leave the house, but you could do all the chopping the night before, store it in the fridge, and throw it all together before you walk out the door.

    Just a suggestion.

    Bryan in northwestern Montana where the snow is deep, and the temperatures have been in the single digits for two weeks, but it’s supposed to get up to 40 by Friday–with rain/snow mixes for the next ten days. Yuck.

    • Joe

      Thanks for the recipe. Don’t be offended, but that’s what I considered “yankee” dumplings. My grandmama’s chicken and dumplings was a boiled chicken with just salt and pepper. Then she’d flour, water, and oil together to make a dough that she rolled out. Then she’d cut the dumplings into rectangles and let them dry. Once the chicken was done, cooled, and deboned, it would be added back to the broth and the dumplings would be added one at a time. I’d love to make them myself (she taught me how), but it takes a lot of counter space to make the dumplings.

      It’s currently 8 degrees here in Vermont with a high today of 17. Tomorrow morning it will be 3 degrees but then we too have a slight warming though no temperatures above freezing for the foreseeable future. Snow can come at anytime here.

      • bryandspellman

        No offense taken. My family is from south of the Mason Dixon Line, but just barely. My whole fam-damn-ly is from West By Gawd Virginia. And we made and ate drop dumplings. Rolled things were noodles, and we ate a lot of them too. My mother always made her own noodles, rolling them out on the counter and then cutting them with a special gadget that looked, as best as I can describe it, as a set of small pizza cutters all connected on a single axle. What you describe sounds like my mother’s chicken noodle soup–which was very good, but I hate dealing with bones which is why I use boneless, skinless breasts.


  • bryandspellman

    And as for snow, I’ve seen it snow every month of the year in Montana. Try Scottish Dancing, in full regalia, on a flatbed trailer for a 4th of July celebration in a snow storm. And the 3″ we got on the 18th of August was pretty amazing as well. But the most notable “Summer” storm was the early June (and yes, I know that’s technically still Spring) when I opened my blinds and could see the street instead of the 15′ high lilac hedge that surrounded my yard. The hedge was flat on the ground under a heavy wet snow that broke tree limbs all over town.

  • Steve

    I’m sorry to hear 2021 ended poorly for you and will be thinking of you with positive energy for whatever will be next for you and the concerns they bring. I know how hard it can be to shake off disappointing news and see a way forward that is grounded in hope.

  • Wes

    I too send you lots of positive energy and hope you can put your bad news in perspective and not carry it through your whole year.

    Hugs Wes

  • Beau

    New Year’s Day was hoppin’ John, collards, and cornbread–the way that God meant it to be! Whatever it is, I’m praying for you!

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