Merry Christmas!!

Shiny and Sparkly

On November 30 the movers came and packed and loaded all our belongings, and that evening we got on a plane and flew to Seattle, Washington. In the last 3 weeks we found a new apartment in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, moved in and started unpacking. We’ve barely had time to breathe let alone decorate for Christmas, but fortunately one of the radio towers in Queen Anne is decorated like a Christmas tree, so each night we fall asleep to the lights of a very tall and rather skinny tree sparkling in the sky outside our bedroom window.

This year the cards and presents that we’re sending are late, and all our decorations are in boxes waiting to be unpacked. We don’t even have a wreath on door. But we’re happy and healthy, and our family and friends are doing well, so I really can’t ask for much more.

In the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling:
How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages boxes, or bags!

And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Merry Christmas Eve

Glow in the Snow

The gifts are purchased, the groceries are bought, we have a log on the fire, a beautifully decorated tree and Christmas specials on the television. Tonight we plan a nice dinner and some Christmas gift wrapping, mixed with some eggnog and hot cocoa.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Hill House Holidays

The Dining Room

My parents came to visit this past weekend, and one of the activities we did with them was a tour of the James J. Hill house. This house, located on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, was the home to James J. Hill, a turn-of-the-century railroad tycoon, and his family during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The house has been well maintained since then and is absolutely beautiful. Since it’s situated on the hill overlooking the Mississippi river, there’s little to block the natural light from filling the rooms. This made it a lot of fun to photograph. I can’t wait to go back to shoot more.

The tour that we took, Hill House Holidays, was a bit unusual as tours go. The tour was given by actors who played the roles of servants who worked in the house at the turn of the century. When I say that they played the roles of servants, they acted as the actual servants – we heard biographies on all of them, how long they worked for the Hill family, what their personalities were like, etc. It was really rather interesting if you’re into that kind of stuff, and I am.

We got to tour most of the main floor, and then we went into the basement for the tour of the kitchen and laundry areas. If you’re thinking, “Ew, the basement!” then think again. It was beautifully tiled and full of windows (the house is on a hill). The kitchen was a chef’s dream with the natural light and the hearth, and might have been my favorite part of the tour.

While the house is large by any standards, it’s not a bit pretentious. It has beautiful hand-carved woodwork on the main floor, and a music room with a mosaic-tiled fireplace and a pipe organ, but altogether it really feels like a home, not a show space. All in all, I was very impressed with the classic beauty of the house. If you’re interested, you can learn more about the house here, and about James J. Hill here.

Snow!

Snow-keh

This evening we’re getting our first big snowfall of the winter season. We’ve gotten a few inches already, and should be getting a few more before the morning. Lake Calhoun is almost completely frozen, although I wouldn’t attempt to walk across it just yet. It’s shaping up to be a very nice, white, frozen December and should be very pretty for Christmas this year.

Time to go snowshoeing

Jim got me the coolest watch for Christmas. It’s a Suunto Lumi. It’s got an altimeter, a barometer and a compass, in addition to being a sports watch. I’ve been learning how to predict the weather with the barometer feature and how to set up the other features to be accurate, and now I’m ready to take it out off the road. We’ve got some great snow and should be getting more in the next week, so we’ll have to get out and make tracks soon.