Monday, December 22, 2008

A Christmas not like any other

which translated means, "GOD WITH US." 
Matthew 1:23 

The Sunday after we got the Christmas tree it was snowing when we got up. But it didn't look too serious, so we all bundled up and headed for church. However, by the time we got to church it was blizzarding. There actually was a fair amount of people at church, but in the middle of the service they announced that the next two services were cancelled. After church we stopped by Heidi's house to drop off something, and Emily was all dressed up to go out into the snow. She was just about the cutest thing ever. You could tell that she had been dreaming about the day that she could finally get to experience snow. She put her arms out and twirled around and around saying "it's snowing, it's snowing!" Now I think this is pretty amazing for a two year old. They all headed out to walk the half mile to the store and Starbucks.

We had a lovely rest of the day, and it was announced that school was canceled for the next day. We spent the rest of the week not knowing what was going to happen next. I think that they held school two days. Sometimes Riley went to work, sometimes he didn't.  But one thing was certain, the snow wasn't going away.    And somewhere in there we realized that our car wasn't going anywhere.  That might seem amusing for a day or so, but that wasn't going to be the case.

On Saturday we had a wedding to go to, and we weren't going to miss it.  Luckily Sarah and Zac had chains on their four wheel drive Subaru, and they said that we could borrow it as long as they could take time to go to Fred Meyers.  Sure, why not.  Well I found out what could be wrong with that.  I'm at home patiently, then impatiently waiting for everyone to come home.  Riley is with them, and I knew he hadn't showered or shaved yet.  I got myself all dressed for the wedding, but it was 5:00 and no one was home and the wedding was at 5:30.  Finally they all showed up at 5:15, and I told Riley he better get right into the shower.  It wasn't until we were finally in the car on the way to the wedding that I found out what took so long.  Riley said they left FM's with what seemed like enough time, but when they got to the car they discovered that it was not only frozen on the outside, it was all frozen up on the inside.  It took them quite a while to get the car goable.  Riley said he went through 3 credit cards - he used them as ice scrapers.

So we got to the wedding only 10 minutes late, just as things started.  It was a lovely wedding, and after the wedding we got directions to the reception.  It was in North Portland.  Not what I would have expected, but Riley seemed to think he knew how to get there.  Well it one thing to get somewhere in the middle of an ordinary day, but quite another to find it in the dark and in blizzard.  The car steamed up continually.  Luckily we had brought with us a large package of paper napkins.  And the windshield wipers kept freezing up, so that Riley had to get out of the car to get the ice off.  I had to keep rolling my window down to try and read the street signs, which isn't easy with snow blowing in your face.  Riley's window was frozen and wouldn't open.  We were all over the place trying to find that reception.  Finally we spotted three cars all turning down the same street.  Now given that there were very few cars on the road, that seemed like a good indicator that something of note was happening in that direction.  By this time we had been on the road for almost an hour trying to find the reception.  Well sure enough they were going where we were going.  There it was.  It turned out that the directions were wrong.  We were told to turn right on a street we should have turned left on.  But it seemed that most of the people were already there.  I think that the reason so many of them weren't late was because this was a wedding of two Multnomah Bible College students and most of the guests were the same.  They all knew from previous wedding where to find the place.  

All during the reception it just kept on snowing.  We sat at a table with the pastor who married the couple and he told us that church was cancelled the next day.  Also at our table was someone we knew who had taken the bus to the wedding, and had gotten a ride to the reception, but was in need of a ride home.  So we volunteered to give her a ride.  Just getting out of there was a struggle, but eventually we all got home safely.

Sarah and Zac and Caleb spent the night, but they went home the next day because they needed to get ready to fly to Tennessee.  We were of course stuck, and I came down with a cold.  The next day Riley took Sarah and Zac to the airport, but there was a feeling that they might not actually fly out, as almost no one was getting out at the airport.  Heidi dropped the children off.  I thought she was a bit nuts to try and make it to work, as she works in Milwaukee, not Portland.  Riley took Sarah and Zac's car to work.  At about the same time in the afternoon both Riley's work - the city of Portland, and Heidi's work let them off, as the snow was really coming down.  Before Riley reached home, Sarah called to tell him that they needed a ride, as their plane wasn't flying out.  That was good news/bad news.  I was delighted that they would be around for Christmas, but it was distressing that we wouldn't be able to use their car, as ours certainly wasn't going anywhere.  Riley had tried to get chains, but they cost over $600.  

The next day Riley went to work, but Heidi didn't.  So that meant I was free, I just needed a ride.  Sarah and Zac showed up late morning, and Sarah and Caleb stayed at our house so that Zac could give Corey and Annie and I a ride to NW Portland.  We went to Powells, then we went out for Sushi, after which I went to Sur la Table and bought a metal pizza peel for Riley, and then we trudged through the snow to the downtown area.  We went to Starbucks for coffee - and a chance to sit down.  Somehow it was decided that Riley would come and meet me, and Corey and Annie would go off on their own somewhere.  

It was getting dark by the time I met up with Riley, but we managed to get some Christmas shopping done.  This was good, but I have to say I was getting very tired, and it seemed like a rather daunting thought getting home on the bus.  But we caught the bus rather quickly, and we got a seat together.  It was a rather long ride, twice as long as normal, but everything went okay.  The hard part was the walk from where the bus let us off to home.  Well I had managed to get Christmas shopping done, but I was really tired, and the next day was Christmas Eve, when we always have our big formal Christmas meal.  I could tell that neither my parents nor our friends Ken and Marilyn would be able to make it.   But Sarah and Zac and Caleb would be there, which meant that my entire direct family would be there - 11 of us.  The problem was going to be that I didn't have the needed ingredients for lasagne and salad.  

Sarah and Zac agreed to show up shortly after noon, so that they could get me to the store for the food.  Well they called at 2:00 to say that they were on their way.  But maybe 15 minutes later they called to say that they were stuck on the freeway behind a jack-knifed semi.  Eventually the police were organized to back the cars off the freeway, but when Zac rolled down his window to talk with the policeman, it got stuck.  They eventually got the window up, but by then they got a call from the airport saying that their luggage was finally back at the airport, so they went to get it.  They finally arrived at our house at about 5:00.  Needless to say I was in a bit of a panic.  I did have the sauce ready.  we decided that Annie would make the pasta from scratch.  While waiting for Sarah and Zac I had sent Annie and Christian off to the store for the mozerella and ricotta.  Unfortunately it had begun to rain icey type rain, not long after they left.  They arrived back home very cold and went shortly before Sarah and Zac arrived.

But after Sarah and I got back from the store every one helped out, and absolutely everything came together for a lovely Christmas Eve dinner at about 8:10.  I could hardly believe it.  We all had a lovely time.  After dinner Sarah and Zac wanted everyone to open the presents from them, so we all gathered in the living room for a lovely round of present opening.  The only down side was that when all was done I was really running out of energy.  I did manage to get 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saint Lucia's Day and a Christmas tree

"In him was life, 
and that life was the light of men." 
John 1:4

At our house we love to celebrate Christmas in as many ways as possible. Our #2 daughter especially likes St. Lucia's Day. She's the daughter who looks Scandinavian. It seems that she decided to start making her St. Lucia Buns shortly before midnight the day before. So we all got a slow start on St. Lucia's Day, and around 11 o'clock she had her buns finished. The were very delightful. The recipe for them can be found here.

Not long after thuroughly enjoying the buns, we all decided that it was now or never for getting a tree at a tree farm. The weather has seemed so threatening, but at that moment it looked pretty good.

"If you don't know where you are going, 
you might wind up someplace else." 
Yogi Berra

Thursday, December 11, 2008

TWD - Dorie's Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookies

"The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? 
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?" 
Psalm 27:1

As usual, the TWD is Thursday with Dorie for me. I had the cookie dough made on Tuesday, then with friends we made the cookies on Wednesday, and now on Thursday I can finally post the cookies. Life is just too hectic to get things done in a timely fashion.

The dough was very easy to make, and very easy to roll out, cut and cook. I made the dough exactly as called for, but I think that I would like to add some flavoring, like nutmeg, or orange, or almond, .... I was not the one to actually roll out the dough, but those who did had no trouble at all, and I don't think that all of them had actually rolled out cookie dough before.

We all had fun making cookies. Here is Jake, who made the alien pizza, rolling out a pretty odd shape of dough. It seems he's at something like the alien again.

Merrideth and Abigail were the main rollers, but surely everyone got involved.

These two - Merideth and Jake
- are getting married on Dec. 20, 2008

And we also made my Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies. We cooked the cut out cookies in the meile, and the chocolate chip cookies in the Lacanche electric oven.

Then when the cookies were mostly done, we ate cookies and drank milk.

“I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early.” 
Yogi Berra

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Out With The Old, In With The New

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, 
he is a new creature; 
the old things passed away; 
behold, new things have come." 
2 Corinthians 5:17 

We've had the same couch in the living room for about 28 1/2 years.  We had spent a great deal of time picking it out, going all over the city to all the furniture stores that seemed like good ones, sitting in their couches.  Finally we decided on one at Ethan Allen.  We knew the number and the cost, and we went to order it only to  be told that it was discontinued.  That was so disheartening.  But as we stood in the show room chatting with the saleswoman about the situation and a different clerk overheard our conversation and came to tell us that there was, in fact, one left.  It was in the back of the store "hanging on the wall".  We had expected to pay $1200 for the couch, but this one on the wall was going for $388.  Never mind that the cover was not really to our liking - we took it.  But not long after getting the couch Riley took a job in Hong Kong.  We did ship lots of our furniture, but for a reason I can't remember we did not take the couch.  We left the remainder of our belongings with my brother and his girlfriend.  In my estimation they did not treat the couch properly, but it did survive.  Not long after our return from Hong Kong we had the couch and two other chairs recovered in matching material.  The chairs eventually became unsatisfactory, and were given away.  But the couch remained with us with that blue tattersol cover until about 2004, when we had it recovered in a French material.  In hind sight, the material was not the best choice.  The color was just a bit wrong.  But the whole thing was almost a complete disaster because the upholsterer threw away the original cushions and replaced them with hideous foam cushions.  We were horrified!!!  The couch had been delivered late on a Saturday evening, so at that point we did know who to contact.  But first thing on Sunday morning we called the furniture store that had orchestrated the recovering.  They immediately called the upholsterer, who said that the cushions were out back by the dumpster!!  They told him to bring them immediately to the store.  We collected them soon after.  It was such a relief and joy to get them back.

But the couch still did seem to be suffering a bit from age.  The dog had chewed up one of the filials on the back, and the woodwork was looking aged, and the dear cushions were getting flat.  So we decided to find a new couch.  In our usual fashion this took months of serious looking.  But finally one day we walked into a well known furniture store that we hadn't gone to before because it was deep in suburbia.  But we quickly realized that it was probably the right store.  But even then it took more than one visit to finally hone in on a couch.  Unfortunately they didn't have the one that we liked in the show room, only a similar one.  But that one was very nice to sit in.  Then it took hours and hours of looking on line to choose the covering we wanted.  But finally in September we took the plunge and ordered a rather expensive couch sight unseen.  I had even begun to forget that we had ordered a couch.  But early this week they called to say that the couch was finished and had been sent.  Well it is due to arrive today at about 2:00.

But here's the really ironic thing about all this.  Yesterday, when Riley sat down on our dearly beloved old couch there was a very distinctive crack.  An oak piece of wood that is a support under the couch split.  How amazing that the old couch would break less than 24 hours before the knew couch arrived.  What a sign that it was time to get rid of the old couch.  But actually, we're not getting rid of it.  It has been given to daughter number 3, who had already set it up to give the couch in her room to someone else.  Now that did bother me a bit, as that is my couch.  It had been in the dentist's office when I was a child a very very long time ago.  It really is a most amazing couch, and I hadn't intended to get rid of it.  Riley says I can still keep it.  He's sooo sweet.  But then again, the dentist was terrible.  He had a slow drill and didn't use Novocaine.  

Not only is it good that the new sofa is coming today especially since the old one broke, but we are having 12 people for dinner this evening. My only angst about all this is that I don't want anyone to spill on my new couch!!!!!!! How do I keep everyone off the couch? Maybe it will be delivered with a protective covering and I'll just leave it on.  Well actually it's Scotch guarded.

So now for the dinner party. The Doncasters are coming, as are all of my children except Corey, who's middle name is Doncaster.  Something about her collegues taking a retro Christmas picture of themselves at seven. Unfortunately the Doncasters have to leave by seven because their grand-daughter, who is maybe 5 months old, has to be put to bed by 7:30.  So they are all arriving around 4:30, and we will eat at 5:30.


Spicey Meatballs with noodles
green salad with vinaigrette
French bread
grateful pudding with lemon sauce
Russian apple cake with whipped cream

That shouldn't be too hard, but we will see. I'm slow getting started today, and the living room is a mess, with the old couch upside down and the cushions everywhere because Riley is gluing it back together. I'm not totally sure where this couch is going this afternoon. Maybe in the middle of Corey's room temporarily.

Well we all had a lovely time. They were a little late, and I was even later. It's amazing how much work goes into making dinner. I didn't make the Russian apple cake with whipped cream. Instead I made a tarte tatin with golden delicious apples. Bothe desserts were very nice indeed. Actually the whole dinner was very nice. The one mishap was that i forgot to serve a German chocolate cake that Sarah had brought over. It was in the back room, and it was a matter of "out of sight, out of mind." It is soooo hard to be perfect!

"A person who never made a mistake 
never tried anything new."
Albert Einstein