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Dark ‘n stormy float for New Year’s

2012 December 29

New Year’s. It’s just a day on the calendar, really — just another day, another Tuesday — but for me, it’s a milestone. A fresh start. Another chance to do better. To love, work, play, and create better.

To be better.

I tag the years with themes – exercise (of course), diet (sigh), charity, kindness, family.

For 2013, it will be priorities. Prioritizing activities and behaviors that make my life measurably better; pushing aside others that don’t. Letting things go, hobbies especially, that have proven too time-consuming, too expensive, or have become tedious and uninspiring. Being true to what makes my heart happy.

Prioritizing saving money over adventure cooking. I have a refrigerator with jars of ingredients that I’ve used once because I wanted to try this recipe or that. I used to belong to an online cooking group (two, actually). The experience wasn’t all for naught — bright, creative people met, plenty of lessons learned, for sure — but what I see today is that I’m still cleaning things out of my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry from recipes I cooked once and then never again (and that includes not just ingredients, but also new equipment). From cookbooks I rarely open because my instincts and tastes don’t lean towards the kind of cuisine they feature. Oh, the money I spent. I want it all back.

Prioritizing my veggie-loving instincts over said adventure cooking. It’s taken years and hundreds of hours behind the stove to identify and own the kind of cooking and food preparation that I prefer — fresh vegetables and fruits, whole foods. Whole grains, seeds, nuts, sprouts, ferments. Coconut milk, Greek yogurt, eggs, avocados. Tomatoes and cucumbers and sugar snap peas. Lemons, limes, and olive oil. Herbs and spices. Very little meat. I need to honor that. It’ll be wonderfully easy, as it’s healthy, taste- and body-nourishing food, with simple preparations. And it revolves completely around my four-season garden and the abundantly stocked farmers’ markets in my area. I’m happily turning in my odd-sized spring-form pans and ramekins. And I hope not to buy another carton of heavy cream for a very long time.

Prioritizing order over chaos. I’m a natural slob. I am, it’s true. I can step over a stack of newspapers on the floor for weeks without really seeing them. And it doesn’t bother me. Until it does. Because ironically, I’m also a natural mental organizer — I don’t do lists, I don’t keep calendars. I don’t have a bowl labeled “keys” by the door. I don’t have sticky notes on the mirror with upcoming publishing deadlines noted in thick, red marker. I know where I leave my keys, I know where my sunglasses are. I’m keenly aware of my deadlines.

But when the two worlds collide, when physical chaos overwhelms my ordered psyche … disaster. Clutter in small doses is fine. But when it takes over a room — and I aid and abet that, frequently, I admit — mental clarity blurs. I lose my keys. I forget to send invoices. Generous deadlines seems stifling, implausible. Socks lose their matches. Folders of receipts disappear. I still can’t find my 2010 tax returns.

It’s time for all that silliness to end. I’ve already begun the clean-out, and man, does it feel good.

Prioritizing new interests over old. Sometimes, it’s just time to let things go, things that aren’t working out the way you hoped. Time to put them in their place. Time to embrace new creative sparks and see where they lead. Like this blog. I’m really excited to have this little space on the Interwebs, to write about the topics that occupy so much of my waking thoughts.

And my garden. I’m so over-the-top inspired by the new things I want to grow this year, and what I want to do with them. You’ll be hearing about these things soon. Very soon. (So [squee!] excited.)

As the chimes ring out the final moments of 2012, I’ll be saying good-bye, with great relief, to a year of absences.

Absence wasn’t the starting theme of 2012, but it quickly overtook whatever I had selected last December (I honestly no longer remember). With my mom’s death in 2011, and my father’s, sister’s, and brother’s in successive years before that — plus aunts, cousins, and in-laws taken too soon — the holiday parties and regular family gatherings that dotted every year of my life seemed acutely thin and wanting in 2012. My loved ones’ accumulative absences weighed quite heavy this year. Quite heavy. Heavy on my heart. Heavy on my shoulders. But, this is life. Sometimes you have to tread choppy waves to reach the sparkling sands of the shore afar.

So, come Monday, I’ll close the door on 2012, and raise a glass to new beginnings in 2013.

Prioritizing happiness over sadness. Clarity over clutter. Presence over absence.

Dark ‘n stormy float

This classic rum cocktail gets a sweet, bubbly treatment with a few scoops of ice cream. If you can’t find ginger beer, make homemade fizzy ginger ale syrup using fresh ginger and club soda.


  • 3 scoops vanilla bean ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • 6 ounces ginger beer
  • 2 ounces Goslings rum (Goslings, in fact, owns the trademark to the Dark ‘n Stormy cocktail)
  • lime wedges, for garnish


  1. Scoop ice cream into a float glass. Pour in the ginger beer — it will foam up — followed by the rum. Add a quick squeeze of lime. Serve with a straw and a spoon.
Prep Time: 5 minutes       Yield: 1 float


3 Responses
  1. December 29, 2012

    A stellar post for the New Year! I enjoyed every word! Oh, the Dark & Stormy Float is a dazzling drink to welcome our New Year of change for the better!

    • Karen @ Leaf & Grain permalink*
      January 1, 2013

      Thanks, Deb. I appreciate the support!

  2. Kristina permalink
    February 24, 2014

    This was just not very good. We tried making it with two rums other than goslings and they were horrible. So maybe with goslings it’s ok but I’m just going to block the taste from my memory.

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