Thursday, December 31, 2015


Dwight Brooks.
Reader Dear, it was the final chance meeting of a stranger-turned-friend in the year of 2015.

All I can tell you is that we were both waiting for the Giant grocery store to steam our shrimp (he for a party in Delaware at his sister's house; me for the traditional party with the friends of The Yard Man and me.)

Well, honestly, I could tell you far more!  We had fifteen minutes to visit, we two kindred spirits.  Though I could give you all kinds of details of his life story,  I'm just going to say he's got 23 grandchildren.   "But you don't look more than forty!" I protested. (Let me tell you, Dear Reader, he's far older! "It's your black skin!" I told him. "Unfair advantage! Hides the wrinkles!")

We hugged and said goodbye with our wrapped packages of shrimp- with-"medium"-Old Bay-seasoning-treatment.  I'll likely never see him again in my life, in spite of our pact to meet again on New Year's Eve 2016 at the seafood counter. The fifteen minute friendship put a sparkle in my final day of 2015.  Happy New Year 2016 to you, Dwight Brooks!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Day led right into

the Day after Christmas, which led right into the eating of chicken-corn pies.  It's an immutable tradition for the extended family of The Yard Man!

Of course, we didn't move our forty-two selves to the garage and eat those one-dozen homemade chicken-corn pies with the gallon of gravy and the home-baked rolls  (may the sis-in-law Beth and the bro-in-law Rob please take a monumental bow and may the whole extended family leap to their feet and with rousing Christmas spirit give them a standing ovation!) and the several salads and the fancy pears and all the desserts until after...(oh, Dear Reader, should you grimace and put your hand to your stomach I won't complain...) until after we'd eaten the pre-pie spread*!

*Talking about the hors d'oeuvres , Reader Dear.
(We never call them that [but we do have lofty
discussions every now and then (after all, we've
got bro-in-law Walt to raise the bar on subject

Friday, December 25, 2015

Twenty-fifth Day

of the Twelfth Month, Reader Dear, was ushered in by a full Christmas Moon!

And, here in the household of The Yard Man and me, it was followed  by more things round and full and yellow...

(So simple when one can give up one's perfectionist ways and throw the pie crusts in the shopping cart in advance of the big holiday; beat the eggs, grate the cheese, chop the veggies, thaw the loose sausage on the eve!)
*Qathy's Quiche:
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 handfuls of spinach
4 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup cubed ham (sliced to a 1/4-inch thickness)
1/2 cup cubed Gruyére
Just kind of wing it,  Dear Reader, if you wish to copy.  I wasn't using ham and the cheese was not Gruyere. The Quiches were so scrumptious there was a proposal for a start-up business.
5. (This is not actually step 5 in my slapped-together step-by-step guide.  Do you mind?) To the bottom of the tart shell or pie crust, add the wilted spinach (or the hurriedly washed and chopped, fresh spinach plus the chopped red bell pepper and onion, which you sauteed in the first ingredient listed), cubed cheese and ham. Pour 3/4 of the egg mixture over top and transfer to a baking sheet. Place in oven on rack and top off with the remaining egg mixture (this way [if you are a lucky one (or it's Christmas Day)] it won’t spill over).
6. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour. The top of the quiche will be puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly until serving.

The day sped by in a blur.
All my small actors exhibited lots of Christmas energy.
(They were the ones eating at the celebrity table.) 

 (They were also the ones jumping up and down and bouncing off the walls and requesting something-or-other regarding "presents" while the remainder of us ate our quiche in a relatively calm and Christmas-like manner.)

The Small Actor got a Christmas tiger tattoo.

All of us got Christmas cookies at the door (oh, the good neighbors).

And then First Son-in-Law took Second Son-in-Law and they traveled off somewhere to get us  fantastic Yours-for-the-Taking produce to enhance our second Christmas-Day meal!

The second meal featured sweet potatoes and peas and mushrooms along with the ham (I'm forecasting ham and Gruyere in the Post-Christmas Quiches).

I'd have to say, Dear Reader Dear.....Merry Christmas to you!  Yes, that.  
And.....although the day here was more red-and-green than yellow, it was quite full and delightfully (gathered) round with loved ones!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

On the Cusp of Christmas

 (Commonly known as Christmas Eve Day)


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Big Day

draws near.
I called the Dark-haired Daughter and David this afternoon, on the first leg of their trip from  Asheville, NC (I supposed).  "Where are you?" I asked. "Are you getting here around midnight?"
"No, we're only an  hour away!" she said.  "We left early!"
So, Reader Dear, it turned out  

they (Dark-haired Daughter, the [dark-haired] Son-in-Law, along with the [dark-haired] dog) were also drawing near!

Turns out, The Small Actor and his dad were on their way to our house, too.   So I lit into the mountain of food on my kitchen counter (just back from a food-procurement shopping trip),
and I did myself proud with a very tasty sausage and tomato soup (Best he ever ate, declared The Yard Man; hmm, he's prone to superlatives, Reader Dear, when he's hoping for a repeat!)  And I chopped up fruit for salad (my latest binge).

Here's the thing, Dear Reader.  I knew Christmas was getting close, but I didn't expect it to get out of the car with our dear loved ones the way it did!
Oh, Merry Holidays!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

More of those

   Christmas  sounds.    And a paper airplane, too!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Twenty-second or perhaps

the thirty-second sound of the season...
and this round of applause for a just-missed
(based strictly on the view, Viewer Dear) sound of the season!
Then there was this sound of the season, as well.  It was so brief, I failed to catch it. 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

First Sounds

of the season!

Listener Dear, I took this video clip a week ago (three days past Thanksgiving Day), when dining out with friends. To our surprise, into the restaurant popped these singers from the local opera house.
They sang two carols, and left as suddenly as they'd arrived!


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Oh, my!

Dressed up in its finery, this Douglas fir feels very good about itself.
Ask me how I know.

Or, well, Viewer Dear, I'm just going to tell you.

Today we had a beautiful, late autumn afternoon. The Yard Man was once again trotting his horses to and fro at the tree farm.  But I was having a fine time stringing lights and hanging a whole assortment of historical, fancy do-dads upon that Douglas fir.

"I love this part of the process!" I told the tree.
"Some of these ornaments with which I'm gracing your boughs go all the way back to Creation!"*

Every time I opened another dusty box of decorative items, I would exclaim over them, letting the tree know how stunning it was going to look once I'd got them pinned on!

And, wouldn't you know, late afternoon, just about the time my exultations were beginning to be a bit strained, I finished dressing that tree and stepped back for a look.

Reader Dear, that tree was absolutely glowing!

*I had to confess that it was only back to the time when I was the Creator.  Those empty  English walnut shells, with a hand-fashioned wire hook, glued together and spray-painted silver  were painstakingly formed when I was a child.

Friday, December 4, 2015

It Was so Early in the Season

when The Yard Man hauled that Douglas Fir tree home and we sat it in a bucket of water on the porch.  It was already dying, you know, and I hoped that the outside cold air might extend its green life at least until the tree has served its life purpose.

There it sat for a week, until yesterday.  I mustered up my courage, did the annual trek to the attic to scrounge around for all the paraphernalia, and supervised the anchoring of the tree into the stand (Only Son happened to stop by, oh, so providentially.  He assisted with the top-level job of Vertical Verifiability [no easy chore, Reader Dear, when the trunk has got twists and turns of which the supervisor was previously unaware)] And, speaking of twists and turns,  the tree has been subjected to quite a few as I aim to put its best face forward [Its got more flaws than formerly found at the farm!])

So, now you see it, Viewer Dear,
The naked Douglas Fir, awaiting its destiny.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Wishing

at the local Costco: