sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

December 23, 2020


virtual advent tour 2020: day 23
posted by soe 6:00 am

2020 Virtual Advent Tour blog button

Good morning, my friends! How are you ho-ho-holding up so far? I hope that your packages have all reached their destinations, that your socially distanced in-person shopping is done, and that you’ve successfully scaled back your expectations for this year to fit a Christmas that’s going to be different no matter what.

First, let me give you a song to listen to while you read the rest of this post:

It’s off If The Fates Allow: A Hadestown Holiday Album, from the cast of the Tony-winning musical and was my surprise favorite for Christmas albums this year. You can buy and/or stream the album at the link above.

Now, here at the Burrow, while we are in a bit of an isolated holding pattern as we await the hopefully negative results of Rudi’s COVID test, I have closed my work laptop for what I believe is the final time this year. (Tomorrow it will get put into the laptop bag for the first time since I brought it home in March.)

I have several pounds of butter, sugar, and flour that I plan to start converting to cookies on a daily basis; a literal pile of books to read, projects to knit, and music to listen to; and video calls to schedule with loved ones celebrating in their own little boxes around the world. I will turn off all my alarms before I head to bed and instead will rely on the instincts of a 20-pound cat who is convinced he is starving to get me up for the next ten days.

Today, on our penultimate day of the Virtual Advent Tour, we have two stops for you. When I zonked on the sofa after an epic workday, Rudi sweetly wrote me an extra blog post in case I needed it. I am not one to look askance at such a generous Christmas present nor I am so selfish as to keep it for myself. So first, I will send you off to Random Duck for some COVID Christmas carols. Go start up one of his songs in one tab and then come back here for our second stop. We’ll wait….

Then, we also have our fourth and final post from Deb Nance at Readerbuzz. She shares with us her Christmas village, which looks like a jolly place to spend this year’s holidays!

And we’ll see you back here tomorrow morning with one final stop on our Virtual Advent Tour!

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December 22, 2020


virtual advent tour 2020: day 22
posted by soe 6:00 am

2020 Virtual Advent Tour blog button

Welcome back to Day 22 of the Virtual Advent Tour.

Because Rudi has traveled recently, we are supposed to quarantine until he receives the results of the COVID test he took today, which means minimizing our human contact. However, that doesn’t change the fact that we live in a relatively small apartment and that getting outside of it is imperative to our mental health. So tonight, we revived a tradition that my parents had when we were kids — driving around to look at Christmas lights.

We headed across the bridge to Arlington and found an older neighborhood where there were plenty of houses lit up in one way or another — lasers, inflatables, lights. We oohed and we ahhed, each pointing out the houses we liked best or found inadvertently funniest (there was one house with one of those car dealership wiggly air things shaped like Santa that seemed to be assaulting a Grinch who’d fallen over beneath it).

And then we hit 1713 North Quebec Street, which just demanded we get out of the car to get a better look: (more…)

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December 21, 2020


virtual advent tour 2020: day 21
posted by soe 6:00 am

2020 Virtual Advent Tour blog button

Happy Solstice! Today is the shortest day and the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. After today, it starts inching its way brighter. I’m hoping in more ways than one. (Marg and others below the equator, I hope you have a lovely sunny day for your longest day of the year.)

If Rudi and I did not get quite as much accomplished this weekend as I’d hoped we would, the fault lies entirely with me. I’ve just been so tired this fall, and naps have become part of my way of coping. Our tree is trimmed now, though, and Rudi has mostly unpacked. Some of the cards we’ve received are up, and we got to watch the second episode of Dash & Lily on Netflix and The Sound of Music on tv.

I finalized my Christmas mix tracks today (Haim’s take below on The Waitresses’ Christmas Wrapping didn’t make the playlist) and now just need to figure out a title and a cover. I’ll listen to it all the way through one more time today and hope that inspiration strikes.

Also on this week’s to do list are Christmas cards, which I really expected to cross off this weekend, and a lot of baking. I keep putting the butter on the counter in the morning and then putting it back in the fridge unused at night. Sooner or later I’ll interrupt that pattern.

We’re down to our last handful of posts for this year’s Virtual Advent Tour. Behind today’s door, Rudi of Random Duck shares the decorated Christmas windows of ZCMI department store in downtown Salt Lake City, where he grew up.

See you back here tomorrow!

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December 20, 2020


virtual advent tour 2020: day 20
posted by soe 6:00 am

2020 Virtual Advent Tour blog button

It was so nice just to look across at the chair and see Rudi sitting in it today. And to have dishes to wash that I didn’t dirty. And to smell coffee brewing.

Day 20 of the Virtual Advent Tour and the final Sunday of Advent sees us return to Jo Kay at Beyond Strange New Words, where she shares with us Christmas songs in her native Slovenian.

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December 19, 2020


virtual advent tour 2020: day 19
posted by soe 7:11 am

2020 Virtual Advent Tour blog button

Welcome to today’s slightly tardy Virtual Advent Tour. But I have a good reason!

Rudi is home! After ten long weeks apart, he has returned from caring for his mom in Salt Lake City. Her situation has improved a lot, and we are confident that after all the work he did out there, the home health care aides will be able to help her stay in her own home for a while longer. And one of those aides is going to work with her to help her learn her iPhone, so maybe she’ll be able to at least answer Facetime calls, if not make them herself.

So now, Christmas can begin in earnest in the Burrow! We have some tidying to do around the apartment, a tree to put ornaments on, and cards to write this weekend. And I feel confident that Rudi won’t object if I want to bake some cookies.

Our host for today is chick from Blue-Footed Musings, who has a post about the new tradition she introduced when her children were small.

Have a great and productive final weekend before Christmas, everyone! See you back here tomorrow!

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December 18, 2020


virtual advent tour 2020: day 18
posted by soe 6:00 am

2020 Virtual Advent Tour blog button

It’s the last week before Christmas, so I’ll try to give you a song every day to celebrate. I make no promises as to their quality, but I will say I’ve saved the novelty song for another day. Instead, here’s Queen, with “Thank God It’s Christmas”:

I was surprised to discover that over the years I’ve never shared my family’s Holiday Brie en Croute recipe with you. But how nice that I can do it now, right?

This is a standard dish on our Christmas Eve buffet.

Holiday Brie en Croute

1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
1 egg
1 Tbsp water
1/2 c apricot preserves
1/3 c cranberries
1/4 c toasted sliced almonds (optional — Mum’s allergic, so we always leave them out)
1 1-lb round of brie

Preheat oven to 400°F

Roll thawed pastry sheet into 14″ square. Cut off corners to make a circle.

Spread preserves to within 1″ of the edge

Sprinkle cranberries (and almonds) over preserves.

Top with cheese.

Beat egg and water together. Brush 1/2 of mixture over edges of circle.

Fold two opposite sides over cheese. Then fold the other sides. Trim away excess dough. Press to seal.

Place seam side down on cookie sheet.

Brush with remaining egg mixture.

Bake 20 minutes at 400°F.

Let stand 1 hour.

Serve with crackers or bread.

Thanks for stopping by. See you here tomorrow.

Category: christmas/holiday season. There is/are 2 Comments.