Thursday, December 27, 2007

Double Vision

My son and daughter-in-law had their first ultrasound appointment today after finding out that they were expecting and guess what???? TWINS! We are being blessed with twins in the family (although I am not sure that Emma will see this as a blessing---imagine now hard it will be to go from being The One, The Only to one of three....). We are all exceedingly happy for Don and Kellie. We are, to be honest, also exceedingly grateful it's only two and not three!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Fa la la!

I am in the San Diego area at my daughter's for the Christmas holiday. I arrived yesterday and have now spent a happy day with Annie and Alex (Chris was at work) and got to see Jen for a little while this evening. DH is arriving late tonight, as he had to work today, too. Except for Don, Kellie and Emma, we will all be together and it's bliss. Having the family mostly together is what I want most for Christmas each year, and while a very important few are unable to be here, they are celebrating a special holiday, too, as they got their Christmas wish. My life is blessed.

Happy Christmas to all, and to each a good night.

Monday, December 17, 2007

An Evening December Walk Around Edmonds

"Fragile" (fra-JILL-ee)

Edmonds is a pretty little town, especially when all gussied up in her December finery. The town is decked from top to bottom in Christmas lights and I love to walk around after dinner and enjoy how pretty it all looks. I braved the cold tonight and took my camera and tripod and did a short little walk. (It's cold tonight, too cold to walk very far.) To those of you who are familiar with A Christmas Story, you will recognize the "major award" pictured above. For those of you who are not able to recite the dialog along with the actors in A Christmas Story, rush out and rent it immediately. Catch up! It's an American Christmas icon and not to be missed! (

The fountain at 5th and Main, the center of downtown Edmonds
Another view of the fountain, looking west.The Historical Museum. I live next door.
This is the Log Cabin. The Information Office is housed inside.
Someone at City Hall was burning the midnight oil.
Nama's Candy Store has the best Christmas windows in town. They have the best windows for any holiday! My granddaughter Emma thinks having Nama's at the end of the alley from Gramma's house is very cool. Whenever we walk by she says to me, "Gramma, candee in there!"Close up of Nama's window.
And when you continue north past Nama's and go up the alley, turn into the gate with the "Guard Cat" sign, you come to my back yard. Come on in and have something warm to drink. I told you it was cold out there tonight!

The Nutcracker

Yesterday was the "official" beginning of the Christmas season for me (although I have truly been in full tilt Christmas mode for more than three weeks now....). Rune and I went to see The Nutcracker at the Edmonds Center for the Arts, as performed by the Olympic Ballet Theatre. The principal dancers were So Young An and Jason Jordan and they were amazing! I would love to see Mr. Jordan dance on a larger stage as he strikes me as someone who can really leap and move. The young woman who danced the Arabian Coffee section, Natascha Greenwalt-Murphy was wonderful----agile, jointless and exotic. She was my favorite dancer of the evening. As always, all the dancers did a great job, especially the kids. The young dancers who did the Russian Trepak were especially great. It was a better performance than last year and both Rune and I had a grand time. I can hardly wait for next year now. It wouldn't be Christmas without The Nutcracker. I'm lucky to have a friend like Rune who feels the same way and is happy to accompany me each year. It's our annual Christmas outing together.

At the very beginning of the ballet as Herr Drosselmeryer is heading to the party with an armload of gifts (in front of the drawn curtain), he comes across a whole passel of children heading the other way. There is bumping and gift dropping and as the good Herr starts to leave he realizes he's missing one wrapped gift. Calling the children back, he scrutinizes each and every one until he comes across the little culprit who had his missing package. He claims the gift and swats the boy (gently) and sends them on their way while he continues on his. The stage area in front of the drawn curtain is once more empty and the overture ends. In that magic momentary lull before the curtain is drawn back to reveal the Burgermeister drawing room, a sad little female voice pipes up from the darkened theater, "Oh. Won't there be any more?" Everyone howled.
Three days until I leave for Annie's. I can't wait!
The hand-made ornament tree in my bedroom.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Secret Santa

A mysterious box appeared on the front porch this morning, delivered from Nonnie Waller's Traditional Southern ( Have you ever heard of this company? Until a few years ago, I hadn't either. Then in 2004, I think it was, a box from there appeared at Christmas. Inside is a hatbox sort of thingie...very lush, very fancy. You take off the lid, move aside all the tissue and foam padding, and a gorgeous little nosegay of fresh flowers comes into view. Remove it carefully because it is placed in the open center of a pound cake. And this, let me tell you, is some great pound cake! The cake is nestled into the bottom of the "hatbox"and the flowers set inside the opening (the cake is baked in a pan like an angel food cake pan or a bundt pan, with the open center). Now this is a luxe gift if ever there was one!
The only problem with it is----I have no idea who is sending this Yuletide offering each year! I wish they would come forward and admit that they are the exceedingly generous person who is gifting me so lavishly. I promise I would hug them and thank them and maybe even give them a kiss on the cheek! I would even write a proper thank you note as my mother taught me to do. WHO ARE YOU? Really, WHO ARE YOU? This is driving me crazy.....

Dear Secret Santa, whoever you are, delighted and sincere thanks.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


It's cookie baking time again and I have yet to really start. I made my annual batch of gingersnaps, full of candied ginger as well as a good bit of the powdered variety. You really have to love the taste of ginger to appreciate these cookies, and I do! I do! Gingersnaps are about my favorite cookie, although I rarely turn my nose up at any cookie (except hot chocolate chips----can't stand 'em). This years batch of gingies are pretty potent, just the way I like them. I have finally realized that I love them for not only the taste and the crunch but because my adored Grandma Jennie loved ginger in any and all forms. She was also a big fan of a crunchy gingersnap and liked to dunk hers in a cup of tea. Me, too!

I was standing at the kitchen counter yesterday afternoon, rolling little bits of dough into balls and then rolling them in sugar when the memory of baking gingersnaps with Grandma in the kitchen of the house on M Street came flooding back. There was a table in the kitchen and we would sit there with the cookie tray between us and the big bowl of dough where we could both get at it. I had to stand on my chair to be able to reach that far across the table....I must have been, oh, nine? And we each had a cup of tea....and it was warm and cozy and Grandma would be telling me about her friends Pearl and Ruby and what had happened at the garden club meeting on Wednesday. For a tiny bit of time I was nine again, in the kitchen with Grandma, and it was grand. I still miss her.

Last Sunday in the Joggles newsletter Barb had a tutorial on making ornaments with clear glass ornaments, pure pigments and powdered mica. They were stunning. I sat right there at the computer and put in an order to get what I needed to make some of my own. Well, yesterday the supplies arrived and I've been happily making ornaments (and a HUGE mess----those pigments fly all over!) of my own. I really enjoy the process and am amazed at how differently each one turns out. You never quite know what the end result will be and I think that's the part I enjoy the most. It reminds me of making marbled paper. I still have more clear glass waiting to be filled and transformed into something amazing and I hope to sit down tomorrow afternoon and finish them off. I need to clean up my mess before I get more pigments scattered all over the room. I wouldn't call making these beauties art, but it sure is fun! (And messy!)

I was reading Lesley Riley's blog, Art Heart, this evening and she had this You Tube video on her post. It's lovely and I think some of you might enjoy it as much as I did.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Fun Weekend

Emma came to stay overnight last Saturday and we had fun. First we went to the local You-Paint-It ceramics shop and Granty Nonie treated Emma to her first time of painting ceramics. After much consideration, Emma decided to paint a little mouse. She had so much fun! She even had fun putting the glaze on the mouse, although it was just as fun to paint the tiles where the glaze is placed, too. She painted the tiles a lot. There also was much brush washing and we were treated to a lot of waving the brush in the air, deciding that it was the wrong brush, selecting another, getting it all wet in the glaze, waving it around in the air and then straight into the water, without ever putting glaze any on the piece to be painted. But all of it was fun! Lots and lots of fun. Granty and I explained the she couldn't take the mouse home right away as it had to "cook" first but that we would deliver it to her at her house when the cooking was done and it was all cooled off. Yesterday was delivery day and Emma's first comment was, "What happened to it? It looks different." It's hard to imagine how bright and shiney the piece will turn out once the over glaze is applied and the item fired. I've done a ton of ceramics and it still surprises me to see the metamorphosis that happens in the kiln! I think it was very nice of Granty to treat Emma to a mouse and Emma certainly enjoyed the whole experience. She loves her technicolor mousey! We will have to do this again.

After a nice nap, Emma and I picked up Granty at her condo and we all went to Susan's annual Tree Trimming party. Susan usually has a very large tree trimming party but this year she had radically down sized and it was all family---except for us. We are most honored to have been included. (It was the only way Auntie Pumpkin could get Emma to the party....we are sort of a package deal!) There were lots of ornaments to unwrap and place on the tree, lots of good conversations and great food. The very best part, for both Auntie Pumpkin and Emma, was when they carefully unwraped Auntie P's collection of Santas and angels. Many of the Santas are from the 40s and 50s and are salt and pepper shakers. Others are candles. There are some that are Mrs. Claus, looking pink and cuddly if a little round and the angels are part of an angel band and are all playing different musical instruments. It is quite a collection and Emma exclaims over each and every one. This year Auntie P sent her home with her very own vintage Santa, the start of Emma's own personal collection. (AND a card with TWO dollars in in!) It's always fun to watch those two unwrapping the Santas. It marks the official start to the holiday season for me.
Emma and Santa, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Happy 60th Birthday, Nonie!

December 7th.....a day that will live in, ah, the family records as Nonie's birth date. And some other thing....what was it? Oh, yes, Pearl Harbor. Well, Nonie's birthday is a much nicer memory, so we'll concentrate on that.

Nonie had a nice day, I hope. Her mother had a luncheon at Scott's for her and there were eight of us there to celebrate the birthday "girl." Even Emma was there, and she was the life of the party. Gwen hurried from the airport to make lunch, as she had just returned from a business trip. We all had a fine time. This evening I took Nonie out for her birthday dinner. She had picked Giraldi's here in Edmonds. We had a pretty good meal (the risotto was way too salty, but everything else was delicious) and several glasses of wine and champagne were consumed. I had a very good time!
I am wishing Nonie a most happy 6oth year, full of fun, new experiences and good friends.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Getting Ready

It's been a busy week of preparing for Christmas. Because we are heading to Southern California for the holiday this year, I had to get all our gifts that had to be shipped wrapped, boxed and posted this week. I managed to get it all done (well, mostly done!) and on Thursday I sent poor hubby off to work with about 10 boxes of various sizes. It made an impressive pile all stacked up in the back hall, I can tell you. Many of our gift recipients will be at Annie and Chris' this year---Betty, Mark, Doug and George on Chris' side, hubby, daughter Jen and me on Annie's. Then there are the 3 3/4 members of the hosting family and on Christmas Day, two other families will join us for dinner! It's going to be a zoo, and I can't wait!

I have never been out of state for Christmas in all my 57 years. I am quite looking forward to a "palm tree" Christmas this year. While I will miss Don and his family terribly, and I really can't imagine not being at my mother-in-law's on Christmas Eve, having a new experience should be great fun.

Since we are going to be away for Christmas, I had thought I probably wouldn't decorate this year....but I couldn't stand it and so the house is decked out, both inside and out. The tree is very pretty this year and I love how my collection of ornaments keeps growing. I wonder, will I ever find myself not drawn to adding to the ever-expanding ornament selection? I doubt it! I found some great little birds this year, some real quail eggs that had been emptied of the innards to which I added red thread loops for hanging and some mercury glass pine cones. I also brought ornaments in Ecuador and Alaska last summer, so I've added more new goodies from my travel to my collection. I have several bowls full of antique glass balls here and there. I didn't get them all out this year, but I put out several boxes worth.

As it has been for the last 53 years, my Christmas angel is my tree topper. When I was about four years old my mother, not the craftiest of women, made me my very own angel to top our Christmas tree. I know now that, most likely, that my parents couldn't afford to buy a fancy tree topper so Mom decided to make something for me. She used very heavy aluminum foil for a cone-shaped body, a wooden bead with a simple face painted on it and a bit of black paint swoops for hair, and silver wings cut from more heavy aluminum foil. I have to admit that by now she is more than a little worse for wear, but I could not have a Christmas tree without her! She is my special angel and I love her dearly. All the childhood magic of Christmas and family are bound up in my little angel. She is my symbol of Christmas. Alex and Santa, 2007