'Twas the best gathering ever this year......... Yep, only 30 people can make a wonderful get-together when all enjoy each other immensely with a cloak of Christmas spirit around. The tree was warm and inviting: Melanie was a star in bringing her home-made eggnog.... this batch began last year....YES, this is REAL eggnog! We think we're lucky...we have a pint left in the fridge for New Year, eh? Here she whips up cream for topping another of her fabulous dishes, we're lucky she's our neighbor/friend: Dear friend Baird talks with Nancy, Carol, Nancy....very near the table filled with wonderful food we made and friends brought: The singing just beginning here is always nostalgic and fun: **Note the addition of Sam's harmonica background (and his son Chet's nice drum set) added to the "orchestra". Elena, Joy, Karen, and Nathan are doing voice warm ups.....ha! I could not believe all the food! What was there? Country Pate' (no, not liver) with pistachios, Watergate Pudding, Black-Bean Corn Salad, Winter Garden Salad, Chunky Guacamole, Cheese/Sausage rollup w/cranberry, Ham Steaks, Cheeses, Olives, Nuts, Chips, home-made Breads, Pies, Cookies, and I know I'm forgetting other wonderful dishes. No one left hungry. The next DAY....Rodger and Mark were laid out to rest...... worn out. But we DID pick up Buddy for our dog-sitting period that would last until new year. Christmas DAY was as nice as any we've spent together. This would be our 21st shared Christmas day....NO, nothing planned. Rodger prepped a nice Butterball Turkey with ALL the trimmings...that was not quite all ready until about 6:00. What a nice quiet rich day we had........ Maybe we'll make it after all...after 21 years we can still spend some time alone together. Along the way this week, we've been invited to join Toni & John at Parkdale, the north side of Mt Hood, that spectacular Volcano/Snow/Ice view from the window of their home....... Will Bren & Thomas be back in time for us to be up their for the New Years Eve Gala? Hm. . . . . . Rodger wants to do some more x-country skiiing....MAC's ears perked up to hear "snow" .....hm.... Since that night, it's been 15-30 up here and very dry. As I type, a wet storm is on the move toward us...it may begin as snow up here at our elevation but quickly turn to rain. Hopefully, it begins as snow....don't you agree? I guess more later on whatever we get to do. It's been nice having Buddy here for Mac to play with, but one can tell he's homesick for the "folks".
FINALLY! The arctic freeze is moving out of the area, temps are over 30 right now, and we're thrilled. OUR TREE is DONE, looks fabulous. Some shopping was done on wet not iced roads. SOME presents were wrapped tonight. The magic Brown Sugar/Butter Crispix Snacks were made for the party, nuts candied, Christmas music is playing, a neighbor or two stopped by, more house cleaning achieved, and maybe some piano playing / singing later.............. WISH YOU WERE ALL HERE to sing a long.............T'would be fun. Let's see, what should it be? The single woman's Christmas prayer? (Ask...it's a lovely poem). REMEMEBER, our annual Christmas gathering is next saturday night, and so far, the furthest attendee will be our fabulous cousin Nancy & Bruce from Seattle........... C'mon, all our family and friends, why don't you beat that distance? HOP on your sleigh, and fly on to Portland for our Fabulous Gathering! Rooms will be prepared for you. Oh yes, thanks, NANCY G for helping me save hummingbirds through the arctic freeze! THEY are STILL here this PM.....seem to be thriving on warming since they're fighting over feeders! MERRY SEASON! Now, let's have some nog, a cookie, and fight like REAL families.
I went to the dentist for the semi annual "cleaning". I spent 4 hours trying to find 2 things at misc places. "out of stock", "crowds" (not all friendly), crowded highways.......... I came home and ordered both in 15 minutes, free shipping, etc. Hm. Who left the biggest carbon footprint? HOW ARE big box stores going to compete with the ordering comfort of on-line shopping?
We've been so busy in Thanksgiving mode, we barely noticed December began SUNDAY! It's time to rev up for the most wonderful time of the year......... EVERYTHING Turkey-like is now finally gone, except here's the pose a pup gets every time he smells that bit of Pie dough you bake in strips and put sugar/cinnamon on it? At any rate, at least, the very day we got our tree, we took the afternoon to SWIM MAC once again so he'd be tired while we stared at an empty tree, AND, the SUN was shining on November 30! If you live HERE, and it's sunny in Nov/December, you'd best get out. HERE was the approach to the beach area at the Columbia River where we take him, in ALL its FALL glory: And HERE is Mac getting that duck, er, the toy outta the river for the 20th time....isn't he in GREAT shape? About 45 minutes later, hes had enough, and awaits his drying session, a regular pro athlete: Now, Christmas preps begin. I DO like the beginning of that...hauling boxes into the house and seeing what's inside. First some of the bears get to set about and stretch: One singing goose has a special spot: So, we have begun placing lights on the tree, and Rodger's determined that NO branch will be dark....... Yesterday, I took time to begin a lot of other little tasks....some dark Wheat Bread with a bit of molasses & honey: The Cayenne and Fatali Peppers are being dried: I made some delicious Brussel Sprouts.... from the great fresh Broccolli found on the island: cut into leaves, stalks split: Then, they're added to a pan of onions/garlic softened in hot oil....stir fry these babies a while, add some brown sugar to carmelize, season how you want, add some toasted almonds, and yum: SO...........now........back to work...........Christmas will be here soon. I gotta find a place for stockings.
There IS a NICE thing about trying to put up a HUGE 12 ft tree. There is ANNOYANCES about putting up a HUGE 12 ft tree. Let's see if we SURVIVE getting the lights up in 2-3 days, then 2-3 days of ornaments........ WILL WE BE STILL BE in the spirit of the season when it's done?