anton hamster

Happy New Year! How are you feeling these days? What’s your emotional temperature? Hope you had a restful break, if you took one.


We hosted Christmas at our Brooklyn home for the first time. My mom, my aunt Lulu, my cousin Jeremy, his wife and their two children all joined us.

I always think my cousin’s toddler, Graham, looks like a plucky Disney hero, don’t you? That little nose!

One afternoon, my cousin, his wife, and I snuck off to have lunch at Frankies Spuntino, while the grandmas hung out with the grandkids. I’m a big believer in splitting up groups during family get togethers, so people get fresh energy, one-on-one time, and less overwhelm — especially if it involves cavatelli with crispy sage.

On Christmas Eve, our friends (above) were kind enough to lend us their seven-seater to drive to Dyker Heights, where many of the houses are lit up with thousands of lights.

Ready to go!

The excursion was 13-year-old Toby’s idea, so he sat shotgun. He also created a holiday playlist just for the occasion.

Little Graham fell asleep on the way there and didn’t wake up until we got back home. When he opened his eyes and looked around, he said, “But I want to see the lights!!!!!”

Lulu goddard jean

For dinner, my cousin Jeremy made steak and green beans and turnips and salad and roast potatoes using this CoJ recipe. They were very, very, very delicious and crunchy.

The next morning, of course, we tore through the presents, which included funny games, great books, and…

a fart machine, brought from England by my aunt Lulu (she knows her audience). Anton immediately put it in the bushes outside so we could click the remote control when a friend or neighbor walked by.

One of the (many) reactions to the (many) executions of the fart machine! You’re never too old.

At the end of the break, after everyone had left and the boys were with Alex, I joined some friends to do a polar plunge on Rockaway Beach. My friend Linsey called herself “a Never Plunger,” which made me laugh, so I helped her hold towels and pour hot chocolate.

How brave are these heroes???? The excitement was contagious, so I pledged to do it next year, although I started “training” by turning my shower temperature to lukewarm… and realized I have my work cut out for me, haha. (Any pro tips? Catherine??)

Finally, we made s’mores with a camping stove to ring in the new year.

Hope you had a relaxing break, or at least got through it in one piece. Here are 10 random posts, if you’re in a reading mood:

* Words to remember
* How to remember people’s names
* The hardest tongue twister
* The definition of hell for every personality type
* A Dutch subway slide
* How to walk on ice
* Real actors reader Yelp reviews
* Pizza math
* How to stop hiccups
* The best readers of all time

Glad to be back! Sending so much love for 2024. xoxoxo

P.S. A surprisingly fun way to do New Year’s resolutions, and the very first CoJ post.