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Archive for December, 2008


Smells like Solstice

Dear Jan,

114.jpgCan you see that aroma rising from the pan?  Cloves, ginger, cinnamon – the basis for the gingerbread cutout cookies that are a standard at our house for the holidays.

Last year was the first time in about two decades that we didn’t host a young ladies’ (and gents) cookie party.  I am happy to report that we will be having one this year.  Jenny reports that the guests (most of whom have been here for them before) are as excited about it as we are.

Love,

Ellen

Sun dogs and cats

Dear Jan,

It is crazy cold here in Minneapolis, in fact the coldest December day since we moved here 11 years ago.  The low tonight is predicted to be -15F (-26C), but there’s a wind, so it should feel more like -25F or lower.  I don’t plan to test that out.

sundogs.jpgOne nice thing about really cold weather is the potential for sun dogs, aka parhelia, which form when ice crystals in the atmosphere reflect the sun’s rays.  It’s like a round rainbow surrounding the sun.  Very awesome, and we had some beauts this morning.   I copied this picture, shot this morning from a neighboring suburb, from the local TV station site. I didn’t get a picture myself, but this looks quite a bit like what I saw on my way in to work if you replace the trees with the Minneapolis skyline.

24.jpg113.jpgAnother dog and a cat in my day were Atticus and Gigi, who entertained us all at knitting group tonight.  Thank you to Annie who hosted us in her charming St. Paul home.  More pictures of the group in a later post, but I need to be thinking bed now.

Love,

Ellen

Pit stop.

Hi, Jan,

112.jpgI have made it to the bottoms of the armscyes.  It is hard to get a picture showing this progress, but it feels good, nonetheless.  If I wanted, I could decide this was a short sleeved sweater and end anytime now.  Furthermore, I am now at the maximum width of knitting for the sleeves.  It is all decreases down to the ribbing at the wrists.  True, there is 3.5 inches of ribbing at the wrist, all on double aught needles, but still, it is encouraging to be on the downhill.

There are a heck of a lot of seams left, but, like Scarlett, I’ll think about that tomorrow.

Love,

Ellen

It sure is…

Dear Jan,

250px-its_a_wonderful_life.jpgKind of a lazy Saturday here.  We got a little shopping done this morning, I cooked some Indian food this afternoon, and spent the evening watching Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  Sure, it is pretty sentimental, but if you pay attention, there are loads of great lines.  And it does take one to the heart of the season.

Tomorrow I really need to get some more errands done.  Brandon will be here for another residency interview, so that will be a motivator to get some cleaning done in the morning.  And there are some packages that need to be mailed.  After they are wrapped and boxed, that is!

Love,

Ellen

Holiday immigrant

Dear Jan,

23.jpgI am the lucky recipient of the creche that Wilson’s grandma displayed in her home.  I love it.  I especially like that somehow an Italian shepherd got into the mix – the tall guy up front is clearly a different material and is marked Italy on his base.  Everything else is from Japan.  But Mary and Joseph look a lot like they are from Minnesota.

Love,

Ellen

P.S.  That’s Gloria the angel hanging on the front of the stable.  We know her name is Gloria because she’s wearing a sash with her name on it.

Mary

Dear Jan,

111.jpgDo you recognize this Mary?  She’s showing her age with the loss of an eye, but hey, we’re not so young anymore either.  She comes out every year with my creche and watches from the side, one of those touchstones from childhood.

Hugs,

Ellen

She’s a killer queen…

110.jpgDear Jan,

We have cracked open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate our English major’s performance on the GRE’s.   Sure, she did well in the verbal section – she’s a Carleton College (Harvard of the Midwest*)English major, after all.  But what made it bubble-worthy was her affirmation of what I have said since her age was in the single digits – she kills the mathematics!  Not to be to overt, but her score was 56,000 in dog points.

Did I mention she is an English major?

Bonus points to anyone who catches the deep cultural reference.

Love,

Ellen

*Really, we prefer to refer to Harvard as the Carleton of the East.

We Found Max!

Dear Ellen,

finnish_spitz.jpgWe’ve never known what to say when people ask what kind of dog Max is.  He just doesn’t look like any breeds with which we were familiar, so since he was from Naples we just called him an “Italian Yellow Dog.”  We had one lead that maybe he was a mix including Japanese Shiba Inu, but frankly, he was too big and his face shape didn’t really jive completely.  Well Dale was talking to one of the base dog handlers and she said she thought he was a Finnish Spitz.  I’ve googled them and, by George!, I think she’s right!  (The picture is from the web.)  Max is still missing the curliness of his tale, though it used to curl more, so I think he’s not a purebred, but I’ll feel confident telling people that he’s a Finnish Spitz mix.

Thanks goodness that puzzle is solved, now I can focus on national security.

Love, Jan

What we do for our children…

Dear Jan,

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/91/Studio60_HiRes_Logo.pngShe is so cute with those blue eyes and blonde red hair, how can her parents turn her down when she invites them to join her to view episodes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on her computer?  It’s not her fault that they end the series with 5 episodes of cliffhanger, meaning that we all risked deep vein thrombosis because we couldn’t tear ourselves away.  It was fun to sniffle at the moving endings together.  Another holiday memory.

I hope you’re creating some lovely memories yourself,

Ellen

Wishes grow on trees

Hi, Jan,

19.jpgAt work we sponsor wish trees for the local Head Start classes.  Wilson and I  do a gift or two each every year.  With each wish comes a little painting done by the child making the wish as a thank you.  I love the nascent sense of the human form demonstrated by the toddler.  The kindergartner is much more sophisticated, but you gotta love the human tadpoles.

Cheers,

Ellen