Final Post of 2013: Happy New Year!

Can you believe it?  New Year’s Eve is upon us and 2014 awaits on the threshold.

It’s been an eventful year: an old friend of mine passed away 2 days after my birthday in February, I also lost another friend who was a legend of a jazz pianist on the East Coast, my son in Pennsylvania undertook major house renovations just before Christmas, my daughter was in a bad car accident about 3 weeks ago (she’s much better now), my son in California and his wife are separating, and I’ve been quietly dealing with some long term health issues, but am making progress.

We’re all pretty much done with 2013 (it had to be a 13!) and are anticipating with great hope and relief the changing of the year tonight.

Out here in Utah not much happens.  A few neighborhood fireworks are set off and we watch the ball drop in Times Square, at 10:00 PM our time and then go to bed.  If we had the energy and drive, we could get ourselves to downtown Salt Lake City for the 5th annual Eve Celebration.  It’s a family affair, all free, with music in several spots, a beach ball room and a hula hoop room for the young at heart, and probably not too many drunken carousers.  It’s mostly outdoors, so bundle up; it’s cold outside, baby.

We’ll watch football tomorrow and pig out on surf (lobster tail and crab legs) and turf (filet mignon) for dinner.

As for the coning year, not sure what items of interest there’ll be, but being Utah, things are always fascinating.  I know one news story I’ll tackle is the overturning of the same-sex marriage law and the upcoming court battle.  Utah could very well be the state that sends this debate to the US Supreme Court.  Stay tuned and grab your crash helmet, things could get rough.

So until 2014, have a super start to the new year and I hope 2014 brings peace, joy and prosperity to all.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Published in: on December 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Season’s Greetings, 2013

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It’s Christmas Eve afternoon.  I’ve finished baking all the Christmas cookies and I will soon be getting ready for the Christmas Eve church Service at St. Peter’s.  Ethan is beyond excited and will leave cookies and special reindeer food out for Santa and his coursers.

My daughter is walking the dog, having just bought a brand new car.  Ethan’s beyond excited about that, too!

Tonight, I have a few gifts to wrap and then make the dough for the New Orleans’ begniets for tomorrow morning.

All is well and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

See you next week on the blog!

Published in: on December 24, 2013 at 9:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Christmas Around the Corner

The snow is blanketing the ground, and we’re due to get more, cookies are slowly filling tins, decorations are up, and mysterious brown parcels are showing up at frequent intervals on the front steps. At church, we’re singing Advent carols and adding a lit Advent candle weekly to the wreath; I guess it’s safe to say that Christmas is just around the corner.

While one son, Ben, was still with us on Thanksgiving weekend, we put the Christmas trees up and decorated elsewhere throughout the house. The downstairs fireplace mantle was draped with a pine bough swag and large white silk puffy flowers. The front door now boasts its Christmas wreath and the Christmas village and crèche are in place in the front room. Sure looks welcoming and homey!

About 10 days ago, I started baking Christmas cookies, one kind every other day. I’ve switched out several recipes for some new ones to mix things up a bit. This year, the new cookies are Gin Lime Coconut Macaroons dipped in white chocolate, Iced Cinnamon Swirls, Folded Pineapple-Filled Cookies topped with Macadamia Nuts, Blackberry Jam Linzer Cookies, and Peppermint Meringue Kisses.  Those are in addition  to the yearly favorites: Scotch Shortbread, Raspberry-Filled Cream Cheese Foldovers, Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies, Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies. and Iced Peanut Butter Bars.  Phew!  I’ll need a vacation from the oven.

As for the upcoming weather forecast, we’re supposed to get 2-5″ of new snow tomorrow and another shot on Saturday, and Christmas Eve even looks promising.  It’s foggy today, so everything appears shrouded in white.  The trees are coated again with frozen fog, so it’s a fairyland outside.  It’s not supposed to warm up, so I imagine the snow will hang around through Christmas, albeit a bit dingy.

And all those parcels I alluded to are slowly stacking up in a corner of a closet awaiting wrapping paper.  Ethan, who’s 10 next March, somehow still believes in Santa (this may be the final year), chatted with the old elf at a church Christmas party, and handed him his carefully written, long list of Christmas wishes.  (I put in a word or two with Santa afterwards and retrieved the list as Ethan’s mom wanted to save it for posterity, and possibly blackmail when he’s older!)

My church choir at St. Peter’s has one more rehearsal for its cantata for Christmas Eve and we should be ready to sing in Christmas properly.  The sanctuary will be decorated with poinsettias, candles, and lovely white altar hangings.  It’s one service everyone looks forward to.

For Christmas Day dinner we’ll feast on a standing rib roast and Yorkshire Pudding–very English!  And that’s after noshing on a cheese and salami tray all afternoon and New Orleans Beignets for breakfast.  I just got the recipe for those treats and I can make the dough the night before and fry them up in the morning.  Sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with coffee…..doesn’t get much better!

So, if Christmas is just around the corner, please hurry up!  I can’t wait!!!

Published in: on December 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

This Week’s Blog (12/11/13)

For the first time in three years, I am not writing a blog this week.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am skipping this week.

Published in: on December 12, 2013 at 11:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Post-Thanksgiving Odds and Ends

I hope all of you who celebrated had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I don’t usually share personal stuff on my blog, but this year was glorious as my 3 children were all together under one roof for the first time in 10 years and I reveled in it!  We all had the better part of a week together and even enjoyed the company of the elder son (who will become a teenager in a few days) of one of my boys.  All in all, it was a grand holiday.

Yesterday and today here in Utah we are experiencing the cold air that has invaded most of the nation.  It’s 1 degree currently (Brrrrr) and some areas of the state are registering -30 degrees (yes, you read that right, and it’s not wind chill, but actual temperature)!  We are shivering!  Had some snow at the start of the week, and another storm is predicted for the weekend: lots of lake-effect snow..  Before the cold blast, we finally harvested the final crop from the garden: the carrots.  We had left them safely in the ground as it has stayed relatively mild and the ground was in no danger of freezing up til now.  On Saturday, we pulled all the carrots and washed them and put our winter’s supply in the downstairs fridge to keep them chilled.

In an unrelated story, the newspaper reported a near-by town is in danger of running out of water.  Out here in the desert, where so many towns are dependent on the snow pack to fill the reservoirs for their drinking water, when there are a few years that the snowfall is light, worry sets in.  Well, now it’s happened and Pleasant View, near the Great Salt Lake is in trouble.  It relies on rain and snow run-off and wells for its water, and the town is running dry.  All building permits have been frozen and folks are getting worried.  That’s the risk when building towns in an arid environment.

Now that the Thanksgiving turkey is all gone, it’s time to start the Christmas cookies.  Not sure if I’m going to make 11 varieties this year (none of us need all those calories!), but I’ll go for at least 5 or 6 types of our absolute favorites: shortbread, soft chocolate chip cookies, decorated sugar cookies, thumbprint cookies, cream cheese foldovers, and iced peanut butter bars.  Yum, yum!  We’ve got the house decorated for Christmas; both trees are up and the ornaments are on and all the little knick-knacks are happily placed in their appointed spots.  It looks quite festive and we’re getting in the mood.

Overall, it’s been a slow week, so there’s not much news.  May have more news next week after the weekend snowstorm.

Published in: on December 6, 2013 at 12:56 am  Leave a Comment