Sunday, December 20, 2009

big hope

So, like many of you I'm home again for the last of 2009's winter holidays. A shocking on-time departure out of snow-covered JFK yesterday landed me in Pittsburgh where they're already having a White Christmas - and it's lovely and perfect and I've been warm and fuzzy since I got here. Christmas vacation always begins with my birthday on the 20th, and even though I've alluded to it here and here, I didn't feel there was much to celebrate this year. 28 is pretty low key - not even any rental car perks or privileges to make it special. So, since year 27 had its share of tough times, I was pretty much just looking forward to the clean slate that comes with any birthday.

And then... my Mom scored Steelers tickets for the game on my birthday! It's ridiculous that I hadn't been to Heinz Field and even though we've lost the last 5 games (don' I was thrilled to go. My Mom even lent me her treasured Hines Ward #86 jersey to wear over my 6 layers of down and fleece, and I got my face painted at the stadium before we took our nose-bleed, you-need-a-mountain-goat-to-get-there seats. But, I was really excited to be at the stadium, with my Mom, cheering on our team, on my birthday.

And then... it was the 4th quarter with 2 minutes left in the game, and Green Bay was up by 6pts. Now, I don't pretend to be a sports-fanatic. In fact, I don't even understand all of the downs, per se. But I did grow up in the Steel City and I do love my team. So despite the fact that I was there, at the stadium, watching the game in real time, with my Mom, on my birthday, I started getting real grouchy. Like, I wanted to kick those Green Bay fans in our section back to Wisconsin where they came from. Or, maybe I wanted to punch the girl who yelled "that's right, show 'em how to play football!" right in her green and yellow painted face.

But I didn't (cause I was raised to be a lady) and as the clock counted down, the more miserable I became. Why did our Superbowl-winning team have to suck so much this year? Why couldn't Big Ben just throw the ball instead of getting sacked all the time? Why was it so freaking cold that I was losing feeling in my fingers and toes? And why did all this happen on my birthday?

And then... Big Ben found Mike Wallace in the end zone with no time left on the clock, and Jeff Reed kicked the extra point for the win. And you know what? That's what hope is all about, my friends. It's about putting positive energy towards something that might not have the best outcome. It's about believing in yourself and not giving up on your dreams. And tonight it was about winning a game for a city that needed it.

So I'm taking a hint from my black and gold friends (and potential lovers, Heath Miller will you marry me?) and getting psyched for 28. Because there's no reason not to be hopeful that this could be the best year yet - and I think a pulled-out-at-the-last-second win is a good way to start.

Another good way to start is with some insanely delicious chocolate chip cookies. I never thought I'd be able to re-create the perfection from Levain Bakery on the UWS in NYC but... these are pretty darn close. A friend's husband even went so far as to say the batch I gave them were "the best chocolate chip cookies he's ever had." But I can most certainly not take the credit - it all goes to Emily from Sugar Plum Visions of Sweets. Thank you so much for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever tried. It's a little "involved" to be a standard whip-it-together-in-10-minutes go-to, but they're definitely the best. You can find the recipe and mouth-watering photos here.

Oh, and this is just the beginning. There are 4 days until Christmas and that means 4 days of holiday cookies, a belated birthday cake, and Christmas Eve dinner on tap to share. Hope you had a Merry Merry weekend :)


Pilar Mustafa said...

You are so gorge in this pic. Thrilled for you. Sounds like you're having a ball.

Emily said...

Yaaaaay! I'm so glad you liked them! That makes me very, very happy.

Beth said...

Pilar- YOU are gorge! Thanks for the comment :)

Emily- They were delicious and gone SO FAST! I made another batch to freeze and my Dad got to half of them before I could zip the ziplock! Thanks again for the recipe.

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