I greeted the first morning of 2008 rather earlier than I would have preferred, when I rolled over at about 9.00a and garnered the attention of my cat who, sensing that I was awake, determined that I had stayed in bed quite long enough, thank you. He flipped over onto his belly and started purring in his stentorian way and, when that failed to command my notice, took the more direct approach of poking at my face with his paw until I finally threw off the covers in resignation, pulled on an acrylic-paint-stained pair of sweatpants and my knitted slippers, and crawled over to the couch. Where he followed me and jumped on my stomach, leaving several paw prints in his wake.
From this still horizontal and yet less cocoon-like vantage point, I sat and wakened—and watched the Law & Order marathon on cable—until I was able to savor the day. The fourth in a series of days that involved no office work whatsoever, and the first following a delicious meal with plenty of food, friends and wine, the day promised to be an excellent one in spite of the lousy weather. I spent several happy hours in my new darkroom, covering myself in acrylic paint with the smell of cooked eggs, from my tempera prints, perfuming the air.
Above all things, it was a brilliant day for leftovers. I saved the cooking liquid from my cassoulet pot and purloined two of the extra sausages I’d purchased, re-dedicating them to a new purpose. I threw in half a bottle of leftover Brunelo di Montalcino and left the entire concoction to simmer in a rice cooker for an hour.
The smell in the kitchen was unbelievable, the rice salty and sweet and rich with flavor. The sausages, I regret to say, did not fare as well, but I had no regrets as I ate my New Year’s Day dinner.
Then, heedless of my cat, I fell asleep.