Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas and cold days

Our Christmas was a fairly quiet affair. We opened our gifts in the morning and then went to church. Following church we spent the afternoon with friends before returning home.

We got some snow overnight between Sunday and Monday. There was enough to require expending substantial effort clearing out the driveway. A bit more snow fell through Monday but the skies cleared up and the temperatures dropped on Tuesday and continued cold through today.

This set was taken during a bike ride around the airport loop. The roads were mostly icy but there were spots of loose snow. Loose snow is like cycling through sand. The wheels don't grab well and they tend to want to slide sideways. Winter cycling is great for improving bike handling and balance.

This next set is from today. It was taken from South Harbor and facing east.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Open House and Dessert Party

We had our party this evening and just finished putting things away and cleaning up. We had a number of friends and some neighbors over.

Here are photos of the results of all the work I've been doing this week. The pies were purchased and the brownies were made from a mix. Elise made the little chocolate mice.

From bottom right going clockwise: plate of cookies from a neighbor; triple ginger cookies; carrots and mini-dill pickles; egg salad, tomato and Swiss, and avocado roast beef sandwiches; mixed... nuts and craisins; double chocolate peppermint crunch cookies; cheeses; crackers; pumpkin pie; cherry pie; strawberry cream sponge cake; dark chocolate brownies; apple upside-down cake; macadamia white chocolate cranberry cookies

Macadamia, white chocolate, and cranberry cookies.

No, I didn't make the crackers and cheese. A few chocolate mice trying to sneak off with some cheese.

Double chocolate peppermint crunch cookies

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Various December Happenings

Quite a few things have happened since the last post.

While at the Holiday Literary on December 4, I was asked if I was available to sing with the Oxford Carolers this Christmas season. In past years their practice was Saturday mornings making it rather impossible for me to join, but this year the practices were held on Tuesday evenings. I said yes and gave it a go. There were quite a number of tunes and songs new to me which necessitated "cramming" practice each day for the next five days to the performance at the Museum Open House.

I did get the music learned and joined with the carolers at the museum. (I'm hiding in the back corner in the photos.)

That evening we went to a Christmas potluck held by the Presbyterian Church. After a bountiful meal we headed into the sanctuary for a Christmas play. Amy was drafted into the cast to play a part of the shepherd - no speaking, just standing up front.

Meanwhile Shelley was over in Wrangell during this time. The basketball team went there to play a tournament and the cheer squad went over as well. Originally they had planned to take smaller boats on Friday but the weather turned snowy and windy on Thursday. The plans changed to take the ferry on Thursday afternoon. That gave everyone involved with basketball and cheer only a couple of hours to pack and board. It was a mad scramble during the afternoon.

The basketball tournaments were in Petersburg this past weekend. We went to a few of the games and watched the players and the cheer squad perform. I spent a great deal of the days leading up to it baking cookies (11 dozen) and brownies (about 30) to be sold at the game concession stand as fundraisers. I took 3 dozen of the cookies to a cookie exchange held on Tuesday at the Long Term Care facility.

Yesterday afternoon as the sun was setting, I was driving home and saw the most perfect photo opportunity, but alas, I had no camera with me. It was the moon rising large behind Devil's Thumb with the mountains all aglow in pink. It was one of those kinds of scenes that I may not experience again.

Later, last night, while I was baking cookies I got a text message from a friend asking if I was photographing the lunar eclipse. I was not and hadn't planned to do so. I had gone out a few times with binoculars to view the eclipse, but thought bringing out the tripod and setting up the camera with long telephoto lens and all would be too much hassle. But the text message got me motivated to grab the equipment and spend some time photographing the eclipse. In retrospect I am glad I did so.

Elise, Amy, and I went down to the Long Term Care facility this afternoon for their Christmas party. We sang some songs and then a couple of girls (of which one was Amy) read poetry and a story. There were some finger foods and dessert which we enjoyed.

Finally I am again baking dozens of cookies and brownies in preparation for an open house and dessert party that we are hosting at our home this Thursday. I also plan to bake a couple of cakes. I purchased some frozen pies (I have not yet been brave enough to try making my own pie crusts). There will also be some finger sandwiches, cheese and crackers.

Friday, December 03, 2010

December Morning

According to the weather forecast at the start of this week we were supposed to have gotten quite a bit of snow. It is Friday now and all we actually got was some rain and a dusting a couple of nights ago. The temperature has gone down and the ground is frozen now. The skies have cleared also.

I was driving our girls to school this morning (8 a.m.) when I noticed that the sun was just coming up over the eastern hills and projecting colors on the western hills. I also noticed that the there were thin layers of clouds all across the sky, amplifying the colors. After dropping off the girls I quickly returned home and picked up a camera and drove down to the water, about a quarter of a mile. I snapped a few photos before the sun rose higher and the colors washed away.