Saturday, December 30, 2017

Coming Home for Christmas | Heathrow Airport

Been trying to deChristmas the house and putting up with sinuses from hell.  The house is almost done, the sinuses aren't.  They make everything hurt, my cheeks, my teeth, my head, my ear.  All I can do is grumble and put hot compresses on my face.

Mac made me the cutest thing for Christmas, if you've seen the Heathrow Christmas ad for last year you'll know what I'm talking about.  If not take a look.

And this is what he made me.  Isn't it adorable.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas 2017

A wonderful Christmas, we were all together and that's what makes it Christmas.  But now she's gone, we got up in the pre-dawn hours yesterday and took her to the airport to begin the long journey home to Japan.  Bless her for being willing to make that long journey each year, it just wouldn't be Christmas without her.
Dinner was delicious if I do say so myself, may have been the best leg of lamb I've ever cooked.  The pies I made were just
so-so, I had only one piece, but the others kindly ate more.
Many gifts were exchanged, both needed and surprising.
April brought us both goodies from Japan, mostly chocolate for me and more adventuresome fare for Mac.

Teeny, tiny crab

She gave me the most awesome Godzilla (if you've read this blog for any length of time you know I love Godzilla), he not only roars, smoke comes out of his mouth, well actually not smoke, but mist, he's technically a humidifier.  Mac built him a town to destroy, I'll have fun with that.

I gave Mac a toy from his childhood, a set of vintage cap guns and the caps to shoot with them.

There were many laughs, a great day.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Just popping in for a quick visit.  We've spent the week enjoying our daughter's company.  Internet was out for the better part of 3 days so we spent out time talking and reading.
Lunch at the Cotton Exchange and then breakfast one day at The Sunshine Restaurant which was packed to the gunnels with other folks who'd come to use their free Wi-Fi .  Tasty breakfast too.
I think all of the packages are wrapped.  I baked 2 pumpkin pies this morning,  spilled them all over the place when trying to put them in the oven, had to steam mop the kitchen,.    I think next time I'll just buy my pies.
Lamb for Christmas lunch, looking forward to that.  A load of cookies have been eaten, luscious shrimp for lunch yesterday and it'll be baked chicken today.
Hope you and your families are enjoying the holidays.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Saturday in the Swamp

Beautiful cold day here, down to 36º last night and only expected to reach 60º today, but the sky is blue and it looks wintery.
Lots to get done before our daughter gets here.

• Made bread

• Made sugar cookie dough, it's chilling in the refrigerator

• Made a total mess of the kitchen, cookie dough everywhere, if the ceilings were lower it would be up there too.

ª  Made sure all the Godzillas had fresh candy canes.  One of them kept moving and his picture turned out blurry and I had to retake it.

• All the packages here are wrapped, still waiting on a couple to come in.

• Mac hooked up the tv upstairs and brought a chair up for our daughter to use.  We'd moved the regular chairs from there down here.

Time to go play with Canon in D, I'll master it some day.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Another Sign of Christmas

My Christmas cactus is blooming, well at least one of them is, I don't know what the others are doing, planning on being Easter cacti perhaps.
Cookie baking today, lashings of chocolate chip cookies were made.  Their saving grace is that they're so rich you can only eat one.  Tomorrow I'll make sugar cookie dough and refrigerate it.
Mac got an order for a painting today and the lady wants it before Christmas (she lives in  Massachusetts) , well good luck, all he can do is mail it today, which he did, the rest is up to the USPS.
Gloomy day, but that's ok, too busy to really notice.  They're predicting we'll be around 70º by Monday, not very Ho, Ho, Ho.
Our daughter arrives Monday afternoon, if United We Not Much of an Airline, gets her here on time. From Japan to D.C. she flies ANA which is a great airline, but from DC to Savannah it's United, a not so good airline.  Last year she was 4 hours late and year before last they cancelled her return flight in the middle of the night a few hours before she was due to leave.  So fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

What's Cooking?

The kitchen smells heavenly.  I made vegetable beef soup, think it's the first time I've done that.  It's for lunch tomorrow and I went a head and cooked it today because I was going to be in the kitchen all morning anyway.  I'm cooking Rabo de Toro (Ox-tail soup), a Spanish dish Mac always has when we go to Spain and we decided to see if we could cook it at home.  Picked up some ox-tails at the commissary Sunday, found a recipe online and started work on it this morning.  It involved searing the ox-tails, cooking together onions, garlic, tomatoes, red peppers, ginger, beef stock and red wine.  Then letting it simmer for 3 hours.  The broth tastes delicious, I'm going to serve it over mashed potatoes, can't wait.

The Vegetable Beef Soup

The Rabo de Toro

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday in the Swamp

The house is once again filled with the smell of Gingerbread, I baked a load of little men, even wore my Gingerbread Apron, but I'm too lazy to take  pictures, so you'll just have to take my word for it.  I filled a sleigh with them and they're sitting on the table.  Mac and I shared one and he squirted whipped cream on it---well YUM---whipped cream and gingerbread, a match made in heaven.
No a lot done besides the baking, starting to get the house clean before our daughter gets here so I can spend time with her and not on housework.
Finally finished A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, a book I didn't think I was going to like much but ended up loving it.  Now it's stuck in my head and I keep thinking about it.  Not told in chronological order and even has a Power Point presentation in the middle.  Some critics call it a novel, others 13 interrelated stories.  Very different and very good, but also very strange.
Now I'm reading When You Disappeared by John Marrs about a man who leaves his family and then returns 25 years later, so far it's very good.
I'm also reading Rooster Bar by John Grisham and so far it's just ok.
Warm day today, nearly 70º, but due to drop to 32º.  That's kind of nice though, warm days and snuggle under the covers at night.

Monday, December 11, 2017

All Wrapped Up

Started early, finished late.  I started wrapping presents way back in November and except for a few small things due in the mail I'm finally through.  And I have the back ache to prove it.  I use a lot of bags for gifts, but even that is time consuming.
Had a nice weekend, it's finally cold enough to feel like Christmas might be near.  Lows near 30º the last couple of nights, so a fire in the fireplace and the electric blanket on the bed.
Today I cleaned up our daughter's bedroom and put fresh linens on the bed.  She'll be here next Monday, can't wait.
Watched lots of football, OMG, the game in Buffalo looked awful---so much snow.
Grocery shopping done, have most of the things we'll need for Christmas, though I'll wait a bit to get the leg of lamb.  That's always my daughter's choice for Christmas dinner.  She says lamb is the one food that it's hard to get in Japan.
Saturday I made Gingerbread men, but tomorrow I need to make more.  Love when the house smells like ginger.  Saturday I also cooked bacon and the house smelled like ginger and bacon, my daughter wanted to know if I'd put bacon in the Gingerbread Men.  Wonder what that would taste like.
Time to go fight with Canon in D, I've been working on mastering this piece for years and though I've made progress, there's no way I can say I play it well.

Friday, December 8, 2017

On a Dark and Gloomy Friday

Second day of rain and BRRR, it's cold outside.  Would not have left the house, but it was time for my B-12 shot and I need all the energy I can get.
The living room is done, mostly, I still need to set up my teeny, tiny train.  Time to wrap more packages.
This was while I was still working, note cat in window.

Entry way table

The Nutcrackers are out in force.

The Christmas Critters and the stockings

The rest of the Critters are under the tree.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Working on Christmas

The tree is up and decorated, will post pictures when the room is done.  This is the only time of the year we use the living room so it's its time to shine, but so far we haven't found the Christmas stockings to hang on the fireplace.  But all the Christmas critters are out and about.
Making chili for lunch today because it has finally turned cold--YEAH!, it's been in the 70's all week, just too darn warm for this time of year.  But it will probably warm back up for Christmas, it always does.
A little more decorating today and then I've got to do so wrapping, my closet is clogged with boxes and I can hardy walk there, so I must get to work.
Thought I'd show a couple of photos of the Christmas Market at Union Square, small, but it smelled to good.

And one of the fantastic places we found while wandering the streets was Eataly a fabulous Italian food center owned by Mario Batali and others.  It's 50, 000 feet of Italian goodness.  Mario (one of our favorite chefs describes it as a grocery store with tasting rooms.  It was incredible and I could have eaten in every restaurant.  We bought a cheese ( which turned out to not be very good),  a salami (which was wonderful) and some good crusty bread.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Kindness of Strangers and Christmas Markets

Who says people in New York City are cold.  Not true.  When unpacking after our arrival Mac discovered he'd left the charger for his MP3 player at home.  He needs White Noise to help him sleep at night and has to charge the player each day.  So I quickly Googled where we could get a charger, Best Buy was the closest and we headed downstairs.  Got directions from the doorman, left and left again, and we were quickly on our way.  Entering the store I saw an employee (Quentin), explained our problem and asked for help, he asked to see the MP3 player and quickly showed us what they had in the way of chargers and pointed out the cheapest one ($20.00) and we headed to the cash register, but he caught up to us, handed us a charger and said it'd just been laying in a drawer and would have soon been thrown out, so Merry Christmas, no charge. How nice was that!
The next night as we headed back to our hotel when we/I decided that  we/I needed something sweet to eat, so seeing Dunkn' Donuts we went in and I asked for 2 plain cake donuts.  The clerk said no, you need 4 and gave us 4 for the price of 2.  It was nearing closing time so again we got something that would have been thrown out, for free.  And they were delicious.
Everywhere we went I unashamedly asked strangers for directions, guess I could have looked them up on my phone, but how much fun is that. Everyone was helpful and the security guard who said Mac was right about the direction we should be going laughingly warned him not to be too smug about it.
The day before we left I couldn't connect to the WiFi in our room and so I asked the desk clerk for help (Jasmine).  She not only confirmed our airline reservations she printed our boarding passes.  Turns out she wasn't a native New Yorker, but was from Stuttgart, Germany, a city we had lived in and that her father was from Izmir, Turkey, also a city we'd lived in.  Had a great conversation with her.
So don't believe the bad things you hear about New Yorkers, they were great to us.

Now Christmas Markets, we went to 2, a smaller one down at Union Square near the wonderful Strand Book Store and a larger one at Bryant Park (if you watch Project Runway I know you've heard of Bryant Park, I kept looking for Tim ).  We had breakfast there one morning and went back at night to see it all lit up.  Lots of heavenly smells and some very different gift ideas.

We had waffles and coffee for breakfast, can you believe it was warm enough to eat outside?

The Badger thought the waffles were mighty tasty

There was a large skating rink at Bryant Park

And a Christmas tree that they lit up on Friday night

Loads of beautiful street decorations

A Merry-Go-Round at Bryant Park, loved the frog, watched a little girl ride it and she was just in heaven.

Can you tell we had a wonderful time?  Can't wait to go back again.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Back Home

We're home from NYC, worn to a frazzle with worn out feet.  Great trip, NYC looked like every Christmas movie you've ever seen, minus the snow.  The weather was delightful, well up in the 50's.  We walked everywhere, which explains why our feet are so sore.  We're use to walking, but concrete city sidewalks are so unforgiving.
Everywhere just looked like Christmas.  The store windows were wonderful, particularly Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord and Taylors.
These are from Saks where the theme was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

This is from Lord and Taylor, not sure what the theme was.

This is the tree and skating rink at Rockefeller Center, couldn't get near it the night it was first lit, police barricades everywhere and there must have been a 100,000 people out about near it.  Saw it the next night though.

The say the tree has 50,000 lights.

It was all just so beautiful.  And then we went to the best book store I've ever seen, The Strand.  It covers nearly a block with racks of used books outside for a dollar and 3 stories of every imaginable type of book.  I did some serious Christmas shopping there.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the Christmas Markets and the kindness of strangers.

                               GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS Anyone who blogged with Janet knew she was a huge livelong fan of ...