Monday, December 26, 2016

When the Song

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.

Thomas Thurman

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!  I wish you joy, pure and simple joy.

This was the scene at Graeter's on the day before Christmas.  It was in the afternoon before I picked up my order, number 28.  Most of the orders had been picked up.  The bag in front of the tree is order number 73, and that's just from my little neighborhood Graeter's.  All the baking is done in a central location.  I love to picture the Graeter's trucks speeding to the 50 stores.

For those folks who hadn't placed an order, there were other pies and cakes to choose from.  I almost got a pie, but remembered that my local family isn't crazy about pie.  This goes against my dad's family's tastes, they loved their pie.  I have a Hoosier cabinet that belonged to my fraternal grandmother and the story goes that she would bake five pies every Saturday and put them on the cabinet to cool.  Every holiday gathering would feature pies.

I enjoy making pie, although I rarely do.  There is just something artistic about it.  

But, back to Graeter's, I ordered a cherry alligator, which is basically a large danish oval with cherries and pecans.  Maybe a little icing.  No one in my family really is crazy about it except me, but I enjoy getting one for Christmas breakfast.

Most people think of ice cream from Graeter's, and they do have holiday flavors.  I vote for peppermint.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Downtown Day

Yesterday we went downtown for that wonderful pre-Christmas day.  We saw Santa at Macy's and got another picture in the progression of Santa pictures.  It's always the same Santa, that's how we know it's the real one.  Other people must know that too, because the line was long.

And then to the top of Carew Tower, for a look all around.  When we got back down, we went to Hathaway's for lunch, and it was crowded, even though it was mid-afternoon by then.  Carew Tower is wonderfully Art Deco.

And then, in the late afternoon, on the other side of the river, we saw Rogue One.  I have trouble following the Star Wars movies, but the kids and their mom loved it.

The grands stayed with me for a sleepover, and they went to bed earlier than in any other previous sleepover.  They are still there now, while I'm taking a break from mixing bread and making applesauce.  I am hoping hard that even though my yeast is a few months out of date that it will be ok since it's been in the refrigerator.

I have really tried to talk myself out of the cold that seems to be everywhere, but I do have it.  As long as it doesn't get any worse, I will be fine. 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

More Tuesday

Other years, there have been plastic reindeer at the Newport Aquarium during the Christmas season, hidden in plain sight.  This year the reindeer were absent, but we still had a good time.  There was a small line to see Scuba Santa, but we passed on that.  We'll see the REAL Santa at Macy's on Friday.

In the area where the tropical birds used to live, there are now lively little otters and some other displays.  We were glad to see those birds go, and in fact often skipped that room.  Aaron took this picture.

In the evening, we went to see the room-size Christmas display at the Camboni Mission.  Some friends remember going there as children.  There is a small museum too, and somewhere in the museum is a long knife or two.  Aaron used to call the experience going to see "Baby Jesus and the Night of the Long Knives."

Aaron's Montessori preschool and kindergarten is in the rear of the Camboni Mission building.  Prior to going inside, we made a trip to the back of the building and reminisced about the days of the car line.  Sometimes I miss those days.  What a good experience that was!

Aaron likes Merrill's and athletic pants to this day, that was what the children wore so they could take care of themselves without help.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Back Down Greenup Street

The grands are off school for Christmas break, and we had an afternoon together yesterday.  I planned to take us to lunch somewhere near the Aquarium, which was our main stop, but a voice from the back seat said, "We hoped we were going to The Gruff."  Oh my gosh, how I had forgotten about that?  Probably their favorite restaurant ever.

Even pouring the water is a treat for these traditionalists.  I ask the waiter to please let them do the pouring.

We always put in an order of fries right away,  They have changed from waffle fries to the usual fries, but that was ok since they still have homemade catsup.

(By the way, look at how long Nora's hair is.)

Nora's soup was white chicken chili.  It comes with little hard toast rounds, and Aaron eats those, dipped in the soup.  There was discussion of course about the one time that the soup was seafood chowder and Nora didn't enjoy that.  And about all the other times that the soup was wonderful.

Then there was a cheese pizza and a glorious salad for me called Grass Is Greener.  Wonderful way to start our day.

Monday, December 19, 2016

That Sign

This sign started at a Mennonite church in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  It's been appearing at other churches and homes since then.  You can read the NPR story here.  And thanks to one of my church members, I now have my own sign.  (If you want one, the story tells how to download a file.)  

I've been wondering what to do that is positive.  I have an idea or two, and this sign is a start.  It seems that the election negativity just goes on and on.  The recent special session by the North Carolina legislature hurts my heart.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, look it up.  Politics at its worst, no collaboration there.

Saturday, ah, Saturday, was a blessed day.  After cold weather, it was suddenly warm for just that one day.  Sixty degrees.  I went outside a lot.  Including to the post office.  The post office is an amazing place this time of year.  There were no parking spaces left, so I parked in the Family Dollar lot across the street.  I did do a little shopping there, that's only fair.  People in line at the post office were in a good mood, no one showed any outward signs of grumpiness.

Then yesterday, it was back to cold again, but that's ok.  We did have that one glorious day.  And it is December.  

Today, there will be another trip to the post office.  I can carry just so much at one time.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

If, Then

If you know how to make a quilt,

Then you know how to make potholders.

I used double layers of fleece for mine and my usual walking foot quilting.

You can do this!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Fabric Boxes

Thanks to my friend Angela for reminding me about making fabric boxes and to Seaside Stitches for her tutorial.  You can find it here.

To make the size boxes that are perfect for a Bath and Body Works candle, I used twelve-inch squares.  Perfect size for little scissors and a few spools of thread or some chocolate truffles.  I top stitched around the top of the boxes to make the flaps lay flat, but sewing on buttons is a nice touch too.  Or, you can leave them softly standing up.

Rain today, which feels nice, emotionally.  I am going to lunch with a church friend and we are having pancakes, at least I am.  Perfectly comforting.

I've checked the menu and have decided on the wheat germ pancakes.  The jar of wheat germ is a childhood memory.  My mother always wanted us to eat healthy things but I, at least, was a brat and didn't want anything to do with such things.  I can't remember about my siblings.

Monday, December 5, 2016


I'm sure that everyone has noticed that, in my part of the world at least, it is cold and dark so early.  Last night, add rainy, too.  I often don't know what to do with myself on winter evenings.  I've used up much of my energy, don't want to watch tv, and it's too chilly to just sit around reading.

So, last night I ventured out to Packhouse, which is a casual local restaurant very close to home.  It's the kind of place that has few cars parked in front but there are people inside, which makes me think that there are some local walkers.

The attraction for me is the quinoa "meatballs."  And the excellent broccoli and brussels sprouts.  And then there is the big chalk board of draft beers, none of which I've heard of before, which makes it fun to choose something I'd like.  For meat eaters there are various kinds of meatballs, and there are various sauces or gravies.  The meatballs can go on a sandwich or with sides like mashed potatoes or spaghetti or salads.

When I moved to my neighborhood, I hoped that the downtown area would shift to the sort of place that it is now becoming.  Downtown housing, local businesses, a compact retail space for groceries and other shopping.  I live in the periphery of a small downtown city, across the river from a big city.  I like this.  Sometimes I might fuss about lack of street parking or the relatively small parking lot of the big grocery store, but I like this.      

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Not At All

Thanks to my friend Carole Anne for taking this picture today and sending it to me.  Well, she really liked the tree with its pretty shape and golden leaves, but I was there too.

I remember well my maternal grandmother when she was my age.  And somewhere in the back of my head, I had an idea that grandmother me must look like her.

And looking at this picture I realize that I don't look like my grandmother.  Not at all.  She had blonde hair all her life, had blue eyes, and was short. Rarely smiled.  I knew all that.  But I still had an idea that somehow I must resemble her.  I don't.  Not.  At.  All.

Even if I was wearing one of her house dresses and the square-heeled lace-up black shoes, it wouldn't help.

I don't think I have a picture of my paternal grandmother for comparison.  She died before I was born.  Surely one of my Indiana cousins has a picture of her.  I kind of doubt that I favor her either, but I really don't know.