Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Three Days of Christmas

On the afternoon of December 25th, we were very glad to see our plane pull in on time. We were finally on our way. Because our trip was reduced from seven days to three, we had to pack all we could into it. Santa found us a day late, but we just pretended that it was Christmas Day. The stockings were filled to the top. Isaac got right to it with his Legos. After stockings it was time for breakfast. I scrambled the eggs while Isaac and Irene decorated the Christmas bread. After the eating, came the gift giving. Jill surprised Corey with a new flat screen HDTV. Getting up early the day after Thanksgiving paid off with a great bargain. Jill also hit Wal-Mart the day after Halloween for close outs of costumes. The dress up clothes were a hit. In fact, Irene wanted to wear nothing else but her fairy princess/Cinderella dress. We played castle throughout the stay. I am the Fairy Godmother, of course. Isaac fights the dragons. She did say she would wear her new dresses later, when she went back to preschool. Jake and Isaac both enjoyed putting the Legos together. Isaac learned the meaning of the word "complicated". Tom collects pop up books, and of course there were new books to share. Irene especially loves them. We went sledding at the elementary school, on the slope where they actually let kids slide during recess. The school supplies the saucers! After sledding it was time for cocoa and cookies. In fact it was frequently time for cookies! By the way, footed pajamas make a great thermal layer under snow clothes. We arrived back in Seattle at midnight Sunday, tired but happy. Jill and Jake even squeezed in some skiing at Loveland Pass. We made the most of our three days!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holiday Eating!

I hope you all enjoy your holiday meals as much as these creatures have been! Seattle is now beginning to melt, and we have a sloppy mess. We'll be having dinner for three here at the homestead this Christmas Eve, with hopes that we'll be on a plane to Colorado tomorrow afternoon. Cheers.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Travel Update

Well, we're back home in Seattle. After successfully getting to the airport, we stood in line at the ticket counter, and just as it was our turn, all the rest of the day's flights were cancelled! We then took our long time at the counter as the line grew longer and longer. No announcement was made for those still waiting, but word of mouth was traveling down the line. We re-booked for the morning of Dec. 25th, the earliest opening! So our Colorado Christmas, should we eventually get there, will be shorter and sweeter. It has been snowing lightly all day now. We had some trouble getting a cab to take us back home, and had to lug the luggage the last few blocks, since the side streets are snow clogged. The Seahawks played in the snow and won! Sorry, Jets fans. We are regrouping. Our son is stuck here for now, and will try to get back to his place in the city tomorrow. I pulled some ground up horse clams out of the freezer that we stashed last summer from our catch on Useless Bay. I'm going to go make a big pot of clam chowder. Thanks for all of the good wishes. If those wishes had wings, we'd be with our grand kids. As it is, I'll be around to blog a few more days. Happy travels to you, and if you don't have to travel, good for you.

Happy Holidays

Wishing you
Happy Hanukkah,
Happy Solstice
Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
from our house to yours.
Update to previous post: Lunch guests arrived and returned home safely. Cable guy came and got our Internet problem fixed. The storm wasn't so bad here. We got about 4 inches of new snow, no high wind, no power outage. The airport is functioning with a few delays. So far our flight is on schedule. With three people, luggage and skis, we couldn't get a cab van to come to our house so we're chained up and a neighbor will come along to the airport and drive our van home.
The bags are packed and we're ready to go. We're leaving on a jet plane (we hope)... soon.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Uncertainty, and Sure Bets

My sister-in-law is trying to make it here over icy roads for a little Christmas lunch before we all head out of town. Then she has to make it back home before the storm hits. Will she? My son will be joining us this afternoon. Hopefully he will get here without incident. He WILL stay here with us overnight. Some kind of storm WILL hit us late this afternoon/evening and overnight. Will it bring the high winds, snow and freezing rain that has been predicted? The Seahawks and the NFL say there WILL be a football game tomorrow at Qwest field. Will they play in snow or rain, wind or calm? We ARE scheduled to fly out of Seatac Sunday at 2:50. We plan to take a taxi the two miles from home to the airport. Will a taxi come for us through ice or snow? Will we have ice or snow? Will our flight be on time, delayed, or cancelled? I'm a bit on edge at the moment.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Skywatch - It's Snowing!

As I post this it is 27 degrees and snowing here in south Seattle. The birds are lining up at the feeders for their turn. We've been having below freezing weather with on again, off again snow since last Saturday night. It looks like we might have a white Christmas even! For more Skywatch pics, go here. Smoke in the Sky Tragedy struck close to us and while our family was spared, our neighbors were not. Last Monday morning the recreational cabin across the street from ours on Sunlight Beach, Whidbey Island was destroyed by fire, and the two neighboring cabins were damaged, one heavily. This news photo was taken from the dike on the lagoon. Our cabin is the brown two story in the left of the photo. Here is the scene from a Seattle news chopper showing the action on the street. Our cabin is the brown one behind the yellow fire truck. This was all too close for comfort for us, but very sad for our beach neighbors. Fortunately no one was in any of the cabins, so no one was injured. And as you can see, we had snow at sea level.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dinner Party

Our Lucia Day dinner didn't happen on Dec. 13th, due to weather, but we rescheduled for Dec. 16th. Icy streets daunted one guest, one was felled by illness, Tom fetched two more, and another couple were able to make it on their own. The six of us had a great time! We started early - 3:00- so part of the travel could be done in daylight. We ate hors d' oeuvres, drank hot spiced cider and talked - we always have plenty to say!. At 5:00 we served a dinner of cedar planked, grilled salmon with lovely pot luck accompaniments. The finale was Tom's hazelnut torte. Everyone made it home safely. We are thankful for good friends who helped me make this celebration happen.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cookie Baking

I became known as the cookie baker of the family years ago when I made as many as 14 kinds. We had traditional family gatherings on both sides of the family, plus our own smaller festivities here at home, so there were plenty of people around to eat them. And we were all much younger then and could get away with it. I shared them at school and with neighbors as well.
But times change. Now we go with our son to Colorado to our daughter's home. Our son-in-law instructs me to "bring lots of cookies", but they have to go in the luggage. So I had my kids select their favorite out of all of the choices and narrowed it down to two kinds. I threw in a third one that I like. My sister-in-law, Jan, has the same favorites, so she's happy when we get together for our little pre-Christmas before we all go our separate ways.
However, these favorites are the most complicated of the whole bunch. Let me show you what I mean.
Apricot Foldovers are little Danish-like cookies made with a butter/cream cheese dough that is rolled out like pie dough and then cut into 2 inch squares.
The filling is chopped dried apricots that have been "stewed" with sugar and orange juice. This is carefully placed on each dough square. This is a two person cookie and Tom willingly assists me.
The squares are then folded over the filling before baking.
The final step is to pipe icing on each cookie. The Chocolate-covered Cherry Cookies have a few less steps. The frosting covering the cherry is baked in place.
The Filbert (Hazelnut) Crescents are shaped, rolled in egg white and chopped nuts and baked. They are dipped in chocolate to "gild the lilly".
The cookies all get packed up and stored in the freezer to await their scheduled event or journey. We only sample lightly, to make sure they are fit to eat, of course!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow in the Garden

It finally started snowing here at our house about 8:00 yesterday evening. We didn't get much, but now that the temperature has dropped to below freezing, it will be around for awhile.
Sunrise arrived especially brightly this morning.
I love the details in the garden when we have snow. I was out early with my camera before the wind spoiled the effect.
Juncos, usually ground birds, are coming to the feeders along with the chick-a-dees and the nut hatches.
Snow on sword fern fronds.
The bonsai are protected under the garden cloches. the "permanent" quail are enjoying the snow. Sedums wear caps.
Christmas rose.
The table is set with white linen.
The greenhouse roof dripping was frozen in time. Must mean it's warmer in there.
We don't expect to see a thaw until next weekend at the earliest. While this is common for many of you, it is rare here in Seattle. Maybe it will kill off some of those slugs trying to hide in the garden.