Friday, December 26, 2008


I have strong opinions about tradition. I come from a long line of folks who love Fiddler on the Roof. Plus, I know how tradition and memory help ground a person.

When the DH and I got together, he didn't have many Christmas traditions. I had several from my family, but we wanted something that was just ours for Christmas. The main things we have now are selecting at least one new Christmas tree ornament together and going on the Christmas Ships. We also share some of my old family traditions, including putting a chocolate ladybug in the toe of our Christmas stockings and reading the Christmas story on Christmas eve.

Well, this year seams to have turned out as the year the traditions didn't happen. There was a huge storm the day of our Christmas ships reservations, so we didn't make the treck out to the docks in Kirkland to go. Because of all the snow and storms, I couldn't make it downtown to Cost Plus to find chocolate ladybugs. The ornament we were looking at in Hawaii somehow didn't get purchased (but Mom sent an ornament, so maybe we can consider that our ornament for this year), and we didn't even read the Christmas story on Christmas eve.

It may sound like a very sorry Christmas, indeed, but really it was wonderful. Instead of our normal traditions, we had the 9 days of Christmas from my parents, went to our friends' house for Christmas eve homemade pizzas (their Christmas tradition) and had a wonderful visit with firends there, we both recieved lovely gifts from each other, and we had a wonderful time with the local family here for dinner on Christmas day and seeing some of the neat toys the nephew got for Christmas.

Out of this, we may have a couple of new traditions. I like the Christmas dinner on Christmas day and I think we'll keep doing that. We had smoked turkey (divine!!!) and I think that may become our Christmas staple. We may have to join the Christmas eve pizza eaters, too. We had a great time making our individual pizzas and sharing with friends.

In the end, I learned that the most important part of the holiday is who I spend it with. In spite of the snow and mixed up plans, we had a wonderful holiday. I'm so blessed with my wonderful family and happy that we got to spend time together without the interruptions of work. The most important tradition still happened. I spent Christmas with the DH.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The 12 -- Oops, Make That 9 -- Days of Christmas

This Christmas, my parents did something really wonderful for all of us. They put together a series of gifts for us to open each day on the nine days before Christmas. We opened books, puzzles, holiday pillow cases, a wonderful Christmas CD that my dad put together, and more fun things. '

Tonight, we opened the last gift, the ornament you see here. If you can't read it, it has Christ in large letters with the smaller lettering reading Wise Men Still Seek Him.

On this Christmas eve, I wish you all a very merry Christmas. Love to all of you!

Snow Days

We've had more snow in the last week than I've seen in one place in years. I don't even think I saw this much in Boise the last few years I was living there. I believe there were at least ten inches of snow on the ground by early this morning. In fact, I think there's a good five or six inches packed on the road.

As I was trying to get out of the neighborhood, it reminded me of growing up on Wyndham lane, another street with low volumes of traffic. We had a few winters with quite a lot of snow. One winter, we even had snow days – not because of the snow exactly, but because the boiler went out at the school and there was no heat. They never closed the schools for snow.

We've seen all the main roads here get plowed and sanded and the lovely side streets stay heavily laden. In those heavy snows back home, the families on the street got together and actually paid to have the street plowed. It meant that we could safely get in and out of the street when the rest of the roads were easy to traverse. It also meant that our street melted and was dry as quickly as any of the main roads.

Today, we're going to see some ugly streets as it's started to thaw and those ten inches of snow are blocking the storm drains. I think it will take a few days for everything to melt off, but the worst of it is over now. And I don't think we'll be having a white Christmas after all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Playing on my iPod This Week (Dec 23) -- Kathy Mattea "Good News"

Kathy Mattea is a super talented Country singer. I don't have any of her Country albums, but her Christmas album Good News is one of my favorites. And, for once, this is a song even my dad will really like.

Like my sister Annzy, I really love the Christmas music, but I stear clear of The Carpenters and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I like things with a little extra something. That's what I get from Matea's Christmas album.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Highlights and more...

I didn't post highlights last week, because it was just too crazy, so I'll have to cover the last two weeks. Here are the good things:
  • A fun project with the Relief Society making stockings for under-priveledged children. We also had very yummy soup for dinner and I got to hang out with some fantastic women who I really enjoy.
  • Going to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and then getting Annzy jealous about it. It was based on the movie, so it had all the fun things Annzy loves.
  • A weekend with NO obligations at all and then church cancelled. It's been a long time since I could just take care of personal stuff and enjoy the weekend.
  • A super fun Indian cooking class with Carolyn and Lori. The food was fantastic and I need to get some of the spices so I can try the recipes. We totally stunk after the class, but it was worth it.
  • More Indian food the next night with my co-workers. The only down side of that was wishing Patrick could have joined me.
  • Snow, snow, and then more snow! I guess this is good and bad, but I'm not stranded anywhere, not missing a trip to see loved-ones, and not worried about getting in a wreck on the roads. I'm blessed to be in a nice warm house and be able to work from home, so I don't have to stress out about things getting too far behind there.
  • Making pecan brittle and having it turn out right on the first try (so I didn't have to waste all that butter and pecans).
  • Giving a talk in church yesterday. I know it's hard to believe, but I actually volunteered and then got help from Dad and gave a talk that got pretty good reviews. There were only 28 of us at church and I must say that I enjoyed the much more intimate meeting.

Well, life is good and I'm looking forward to the rest of this week. We may see a thaw, but we may see more frozen stuff too.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Halls Officially Decked

It took us a little longer this year than usual this year to get the decorations up, but they really do look lovely. When we went to get the tree, we saw boughs of fresh greenery, so we picked up some of that too. I used it on the fireplace and was really pleased with how it turned out.

We also got the tree up and decorated. It only took a week to get it all done. The tree stood bare in the living room for a full week waiting for lights and decorations. Patrick had gone out of town for a few days and I just didn't want to decorate it without him.

I have many "favorite" decorations, so I couldn't point out the best one, but I sure like how the nativity scene looks this year.

Let It Snow

Time: 5:45 p.m.
Date: December 20th, 2008
Temperature: 23 degrees fahrenheit
Skies: Overcast and snowing
Location: Broadview neighborhood of Seattle, WA
Time to drive to work: silly, it's Saturday. No driving to work today. And church is already cancelled again for tomorrow.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside

Time: 10:20 a.m.
Date: December 19th, 2008
Temperature: 25 degrees fahrenheit
Skies: Clear and sunny
Location: Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, WA
Time to drive to work: 27 minutes (half the time it took yesterday)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A First

It's a beautiful day in Seattle today. We have an inch of snow that fell overnight. It started after about 9:00 last night and kept on for a good part of the night. The snow cover makes everything look clean and pretty. It's especially nice with all the Christmas lights on the trees and houses peaking out of the snow.

It's the first snow of the season for us, but not the "first" that I'm really blogging about this morning. In over 40 years of living in the intermountain west, I have never seen church cancelled. Today, no church! We got a call about 6:30 this morning to tell the DH that his early meeting was cancelled and asking him to call a few other families to let thme know that church would be cancelled as well. So, the DH and I will enjoy the morning at home in our nice warm living room that's all decked for the holidays now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Secret -- I Guess It's Not an Inside Joke

18 months ago, or so, I learned about "The Secret" from a friend at work. It was discussed on Oprah and then Kevin lent me the DVD. It was astoundingly silly and the DH and I had a good laugh about "using the Secret" to get the things we want. You see, the concept behind "The Secret" is that you can get anything and everything you want in life by simple positive thinking. Well, there may be some truth to the positive thinking, but it's not going to get you a dream house or delightful vacation.

So, after watching the DVD, the DH and I started talking about "using the Secret" to get the red light to change to green or find the best cut of meat. Then when Annzy and Aimes came, Annzy "used the Secret" to get a trip out to Forks.

Now, everyone's using our joke! First it happened last week when Yang talked about "the Secret" on Gray's Anatomy (and did they jump the shark this season with the ghosts and operating on each other, or what?!?). Then this week, it happened again on Pushing Daisies. I watch four TV shows, and in the matter of a week, "the Secret" has been mentioned on two of them. Go figure.

7 Brides, or How to Make Annzy Jealous

Last night, I got to go see 7 Brides for 7 Brothers at the 5th Avenue Theater. It was great fun! I wanted to go, but of course the DH would rather have surgery than go see a musical, so that wasn't going to happen. He's at training out of town this week, so when friends asked at the last minute yesterday afternoon, I was thrilled that I didn't already have plans for the evening.

I met the group at a restaurant accross the street from the theater where they met for dinner before the show. We went over to the theater to find our seats somewhere near the very top of the back balcony. Well, the show was free for me, so the seats were fine. Just before the lights went down, it was obvious that many of the balcony seats were not going to be occupied so we moved quite a bit closer.

7 Brides is really just a fun show. There's a LOT of dancing and this particular show had quite a few scenes where the shirts fell off the men. Considering that these are very fit men with abs of steal, the shirts falling off was just fine. There are not really any tunes you'd be humming on your way out of the show, but it doesn't really matter. It's a bit of fun for the couple of hours your there and the cast really delivered on the fun. I love watching performers who clearly enjoy what they're doing and you could tell how much they all enjoyed it (or could really act like they enjoyed it).

If you're in Seattle and can get to the show, I highly recommend it -- unless of course you hate watching people sing and dance. There's a lot of that going around in 7 Brides.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Playing on my iPod This Week (Dec 10) -- Barenaked For the Holidays

My apologies to the young ones reading my blog, but I really like the band Barenaked Ladies in spite of (or even because of) the name and their Christmas album is really fun. I think the DH is already tired of it, but I love it. I have a lot more love for the Christmas music than he does anyway, so one time through was probably enough for him.

I really enjoy Christmas music that is a little less traditional. I grew up with Soulful Strings, a Christmas album with all instrumental jazz arrangements of Christmas tunes and loved the Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. Now, I enjoy the Manhattan Transfer and Cuba L.A. albums, but my favorite is Barenaked for the Holidays. Good stuff.

Take a listen (and be sure to stick with it, because it just gets better):

Highlights -- and We'll Forget the Lowlights

Life doesn't seem to be slowing down at all, but it's been a great week. The DH and I bought a Christmas tree this weekend in addition to going to two parties with lots of fun friends.

Friday night we went to the famous nacho party hosted by those crazy ice cream eaters. The nachos were great and the green tomatilla salsa was the highlight of my night. Wait -- maybe it was the peppermint bark. Both were very tasty!

On Saturday night, it was the annual Christmas gift exchange at Fred and Cathy's house. We all brought two gifts to exchange and that's just where the fun began. The gifts were funny, irreverant, practical, and everything in between. We left with a purse, a teepot, a spork, and a gnome. Now, that's fun times. I was a little sad when the DH lost the lottery tickets, but we'll live. I like to work anyway.

Sunday we had a wonderful time visiting with another set of friends who live in Lynnwood now. We went to church with them and then had a great pot roast dinner. We got to see their new baby and I even got to have spitup on my shirt. Good times! That evening, we went to a stake Christmas event around the broadcast from the first presidency and Mormon Tabenacle Choir. The presentation was a very nice way to be reminded of the reason for the season and associate with some really nice people. I was in charge of refreshments, so I ordered brownied from QFC and topped some with Andes mint sprinkle. I had a few friends (and tons of help from the DH) to get everything plated and out to the masses. It was an hour of pretty intense work, but everything went off without a hitch. We had exactly 20 brownies left over. How's that for planning? I was pretty happy about it.