My new-year’s good luck started shortly after I dumped the black-eyed peas into the soaking bowl...

A new friend asked my forgiveness this morning after she forgot our zoom-coffee date. That was easy–it happens, I’ve done it myself–and I was grateful for her ask because forgiveness is something I need more practice with. But then I got given forgiveness, unexpectedly, and after a long time, and that really made my day. A year ago, I left a message on a phone number I’d been trying to get for several years. An old friend from college whom I haven’t seen for about forty years, and whom I’ve been apologizing to in my head for decades, for several offenses.

It was complicated. I made a few selfish choices through the years of our friendship, and only later came to realize how hurtful they must have been to her. If I remember correctly, I’d made a half-assed apology for the last of them in a letter a few years afterward but hadn’t heard back. Then a decade or so ago I received a cryptic card with no return address and was too confused to pursue it. But I had a connection with a couple of her family members and eventually started trying to track her down, resulting ultimately in this phone number that may or may not have been hers. I left a heartfelt voicemail asking her to call me back because I wanted to apologize. When I didn’t hear for a few weeks, I texted. And left it at that. Writing several more apologies in my head since then. I was thrilled to see a response from her this afternoon. It was nothing more than a note that she’d be in Colorado this spring, maybe we could meet, it would be great to see me. Forgiveness was implicit; relief washed over me.

In the same way that it feels better to give than to receive, maybe it feels better to be forgiven than to forgive. It did in this case, anyway. But I’m eager for the opportunity to tell her in person what I’ve thought about writing for all these years: I’m sorry about the dog. I’m sorry about the car. I’m sorry about the trip.

The good-luck peas were delicious, the best I’ve ever eaten. I started with a simple recipe from Chili Pepper Madness but made some changes. First, I only had half a pound of peas, soaked them for most of the day. Chopped half an onion, half an orange jalapeño and a handful of Blot peppers from the freezer, one clove garlic, sautéed them with some Penzeys celery flakes since I didn’t have fresh (look at the little piece in the top of the bowl above), and their Cajun seasoning, kosher salt, a small lamb bone from the freezer, two cups of broth, and the peas in their soaking water. After a long simmer, with the lid on for about 40 minutes then without for as long, I threw in chopped young kale, and squeezed in a little fresh lime juice (thanks, Pamela!), cooking til the kale was soft. So simple, so delicious! I look forward to my year of good luck.

I don’t write a lot of product reviews, but felt highly motivated to give this cat comb five stars–so I did. The wad of hair Topaz is playing with all came off her this morning, and I was still getting more.

The comb was due before Christmas, but the package came ripped open and it had fallen out somewhere in transit. I called to get it replaced, and had the most delightful chat with Ibra, in India. She was helpful as could be, sorry it wouldn’t come til Friday, and I laughed and said that was ok, I’d just be patient and so would my cat. She asked what breed of cat I had, and thus ensued one of those ‘only connect‘ conversations between two cat-loving strangers that left us both happier than we’d been before the call.

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