The Night Before the Night Before Christmas: Starring Shepherd's Pie

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The drive up Fair Oaks to our house is long. We are not too close to the freeway, so patience is required. And as you sit in you car, patiently, you can't help but glance around and notice oh, convalescent home. Oh, mortuary! Oh, convalescent home! There's a good five blocks, which I've dubbed as Convalescent Death Row, where you pass about 10 or so convalescent homes and mortuaries. I guess the two are strategically close together. It's a bit of a downer. That is, until you get to the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut. By that point, you're really depressed and disgusted with society. But, a few blocks after that, the beautiful San Gabriel mountains emerge before you, and on a clear, crisp day like yesterday, you are in awe of them. 

As I made my way home on the eve before Christmas Eve, getting off work early and being able to enjoy daylight, I was struck by the beauty of the last 1/2 mile drive up to our street. The looming, majestic mountains, the old and intriguing Mountain View Cemetery, the quirky homes full of character -- I couldn't believe how lucky we were to have found our Altadena house. A bit out of the way, yes, but definitely worth the drive. I felt grateful, admiring the mountains and looked forward to sharing the evening with a small group of friends, for one of our newest traditions - Christmas Eve Eve. 

Only in it's third year, this special day has quickly become our favorite. A hearty, hassle-free meal, wine, eggnog, holiday lights, pine and candle smells, friends and good times. This year, I also pulled out my tripod and we had fun posing for the camera, before settling down on the couches before a fire. 

And although spending time in each other's company was great, and so was seeing our friend from Texas, everyone agreed the real highlight was the shepherd's pie. I didn't use a recipe. I just did what I pleased, tasted along the way, and trusted my instincts. It worked. One of our friend's called the pie fierce. I think she might be watching too much Top Model. 

Hope you are also enjoying this special time with friends and family, and reflecting on all the deliciousness that is life. Happy holidays my friends. 


  1. How about "God's Waiting Room"? It sounds so much nicer than "Convalescent Death Row".

  2. Somehow that pretty sounding name doesn't quiet suit the neighborhood.