~Living a life of sophisticated domestication deep in the heart of Texas~

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hyvää Uutta Vuotta....

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! As we come down the home stretch to 2010, like everyone else, I can't help but take a look back over 2009 and think, "Wow, what an adventure!!!" Last year at this time we were getting ready for our trip to DFW to see King Tut, to celebrate New Year's Eve at a wonderful, romantic B&B and then attend a great Buddhist New Year's Day celebration, after which we picked up our Havanese puppy, Sebastian. We had no idea we'd fall so much in love with the little guy that we'd not make it through spring without adding his little brother Seamus to the family!! We've changed addresses and have had a wonderful time in our little home. We've done lots of working, lots of playing, managed to take another B&B vacation. We've had some sad times and some glad times. We celebrated 09/09/09 in a most unique and wonderful, life-changing way...It's been an exhausting, exhilarating, and completely amazing year.

About all that's left to do is gather some mistletoe and chill the champagne...

Life has been good, to say the least. May ours, and yours, only get better in 2010.


(that's Happy New Year in Finnish, btw...)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Yes, Shawn, there is a Santa Claus....

No, I'm not entering my second childhood, lol. It's just that I've always chosen to reserve that special corner of my heart at the holiday time for Father Christmas. I grew up knowing full well that the gifts under the tree came from my family. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are of spending the night in the front bedroom at Grandma and Grandpa's house in Tacoma, getting up early at the crack of dawn to get ready to get on the bus to Seattle and shop the big department stores with Grandma. I could hardly wait to see how Frederick and Nelson had decorated their store- not just the display windows, which were amazing, but they'd change their carpeting colors and have enormous ornaments and snowflakes hanging from the ceilings and glass counters covered in snow, draped in ribbons and trees all lit up, with wonderful music playing. And the Dickensian carolers singing outside.... and the doorman all decked out in holiday splendor. Then on to the Bon Marche, Nordstrom, and back to Tacoma to go to Rhodes and Peoples....We'd first go to the bakery for biscuit, then the linen department for the latest sheets and towels by Vera, the book department for the new book Grandma had picked out from the NY Times Bestseller List, then lady's wear. We'd stop and have lunch in the restaurant and watch the fashion show. I'd have grilled cheese and dill pickles, a milkshake that I could barely see over. We'd linger awhile, then go to the toy department. It was a great day of riding the elevators and escalators up and down until I was exhausted. I helped Grandma carry the paper shopping bags (most of what we bought would be delivered to the house the next day). Then it was back on the bus. I'd doze in my seat, leaning on Grandma, as evening fell. We stopped off at the meat market in Tacoma and I'd pick out what we were to have for dinner (I just realized that somehow it always ended up being pork chops, no matter what I picked out) and we'd get "link weinies" on a string (I got to count out as many as I liked) for breakfast with toast in the morning and biscuit. Last, but not least, we'd go to the dime store, just for fun. We'd finally get on the city bus and ride up the hills. I got to pull the cord to ding the bell when we neared our street and we'd be dropped off in front of the house, just after dark. Grandpa would have put on the coffee and the house was nice and warm...It was a lot of fun.

So, actually, I guess it's the spirit of Old St. Nick/a.k.a. Grandma Mary that I've actually tucked away in my heart and I've never quite gotten over it...As an adult, I managed to acquire the most fabu Father Christmas collection. They're long gone now, hopefully having found their ways into the homes and hearts of other, like-minded realists ;+).

Happy Holidays!!!

Shawn, who loves her Santa Baby SGTex

photo courtesy of Vintage Postcards, a depiction by Raphael Tuck

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We thought this was cute, in a holiday sorta way....

Thanks, Kim T! And may your days be merry and bright....


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Here's that old family favorite holiday cookie....


1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Bacardi Rum

Sample the Bacardi to check quality.
Take a large bowl, check the Barcardi again, to be sure it is of the highest
quality, pour one level cup and drink.

Turn on the electric mixer...Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.

Add one teaspoon of sugar...Beat again.
At this point it's best to make sure the Barcardi is still OK, try another cup, just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in
the cup of dried fruit. Pick the frigging fruit off floor. Mix on the
turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with
a drewscriver. Sample the Barcardi to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Who giveshz a sheet. Check
the Barcardi. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one
table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find. Greash
the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don't forget
to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Rarcardi Bum and make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.


(and if we posted this last year, well, we said it's an old family favorite)

photo courtesy of kingarthurflour.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Robert Frost had it down cold....

"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired." -Robert Frost

It just doesn't seem possible that it's December already. I think it was on CNN in the early morning hours that someone said they were amazed that it was the first day of the last month in this decade...Wow. I would never have believed that life would have taken the turns that it has over the past few years. All I'm going to say about that is that I'm grateful.

Lately I've been thinking about love and what it means, the effect it has and how it is manifested. I've no time for much reading these days, but I'm aware of what's out there on the subject of love. Like "The 5 Love Languages" book that is quite popular. Or how about the Greeks? What they say about love 5 different ways: Epithumia (strong desire, longing, lust), Eros (romantic, passionate, sentimental-goes nicely with epithumia), Storge (comfortable, as in old shoe--not to be avoided, because it's the belonging-type love), Phileo (comradeship, friendship), and Agape (selfless, giving, without thought of self). Or how about Sir Richard Burton's translation of the Kama Sutra? Not for sissies...Then there's the letter to the Corinthians chapter 13, or Letter to the Brothers, two passages included in our wedding ceremony.

Actually,I tend to agree with Mr. Frost.

photo courtesy of mediastorehouse.com (a picture of a frosty leaf to go with the poem by Robert Frost--get it?!)