A lot to pack into this weekend, as I make room in my mind to get ready to leave the continent to a much, much colder, snowier place. But to be honest, the weekend has been great, and I've enjoyed all the festivities.
The first thing was the Olympics, which are held in my hometown of Vancouver, BC. Since I couldn't be there, Johan and I watched all three hours of the opening ceremony on television. It's a first for me - I've never watched the Olympics opening ceremony in its entirety before. I would have liked to have watched the Beijing opening ceremonies from a couple of years ago, but I only caught the tail end of it when one of the athletes lit the torch while performing the gymnastic feat of simulated running while suspended in mid-air. I recall that being pretty cool. Perhaps one of these days, I'll get a copy of that Olympics opening ceremony and watch it in full.
But I did watch the Vancouver one from beginning to end, and it was pretty great. I enjoyed how the First Nations were featured as important people in Canada, and in particular, in the west coast where Vancouver is now situated. It reminds me of when I went to school, and learned all about Canada's aboriginal people, their culture, and its importance in the history of Canada. The dances and speeches put on by several of the First Nations were impressive, showing their elaborate hand-made ceremonial dress.
I also enjoyed the following shows put on by many Canadian celebrities, in particular, K.D. Lang, who sang so beautifully and eloquently, it was haunting. It was also good to see a couple other singers I admire, Bryan Adams and Sara McLaughlin.
Speaking of celebrities, one of the Olympic flag-bearers, I believe, was Nancy Greene, a Canadian skier, and her appearance put a smile to my lips, as I always remember that my father told me I was named after her.
All in all, a great show, one that made me proud to be a Canadian, and of course, a little sad that I am not there (though I am not far away).
Fast forward to today - Chinese New Year's Eve. Growing up, this is a huge holiday with tons of unique foods and dishes especially to ring out the old year and ring in the new. Both my grandmother and my mother would cook about 20 dishes each, and start a week or two in advance preparing things for the celebration which would be an eating festival spanning several days. Besides eating, there is of course the gathering of family, the visiting of relatives, the giving and receiving of red envelopes stuffed with fresh, crisp notes newly issued from the bank.
Again, a bit of sadness as I'm not with my family celebrating, but I did manage to prepare something Chinese to dine on with the hubby as he watched a hockey game (seems like the Kings are winning this one, so that's good). I prepared a chicken dish that is like Coq au Vin, but without the vin, and instead is slightly braised with soy sauce and cooked together with Chinese mushrooms and other wonderful, flavorsome things which I will refer to as Chinese truffles, because that's how earthy and delicious I think these things are. I butchered a whole chicken from scratch for this recipe, and it was pretty awesome.
Tomorrow: Valentine's Day. On the menu: Champagne - oh yes - 2000 Camille Saves from Bouzy (better not be corked!!! I mean it!) and Thomas Keller's butter poached lobster recipe - 2 lobsters will meet a hot water bath that will turn them red, but they won't be boiled, just slightly warmed enough to let me unbutton their jackets and take them out of their shells... then the meat will be poached in a butter sauce made from warm water and butter, heated ever so gently, not fried, but gently poached..... and that will be dinner for two. Wonderful.
I'll end with this: May you all have the Valentines Day of your dreams...... and GO CANADA!!!!! MAY GOLD BE YOUR COLOUR, BAYBEE! (The "u" in colour added for emphasis)