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broodings from the burrow

December 18, 2017

virtual advent: day 18
posted by soe 5:30 am

virtual advent tour

We’re entering our final week of the Virtual Advent Tour, as this is the last Monday before Christmas. I hope your holiday plans are all going smoothly, that you’re getting to listen to seasonal songs while wrapping gifts and sipping eggnog or cider or resting with your feet up while you revel in a week mostly free of stress and obligation. I am a procrastinator and an uncompromising over-scheduler which means I have no idea what I’m going to write about in the next paragraph because I spent the day shopping, working on Christmas gifts, writing cards, and running around. The great news is that I have to be narrowing in on finishing some of those tasks because I’m running out of days in which to do them. But, as I pointed out in a card to a friend, I didn’t even start Christmas cards last year until Dec. 30, so I’m way ahead of that game. Plus, thanks to the laundry I got done yesterday, I even have clean underwear in which to tackle this week! That will make all the difference!

Ahem. Right. You came here to read something Christmassy, didn’t you?

How about some Christmas lights and window displays? Here’s a Coldplay song I’ve never heard before for a soundtrack (although clearly in both the following scenes they would be piping a tinny version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”):

This house is about half a mile away from where I live:

Mr. Holidays' House

Want a closer look?

Arbo & Santa's Dog Park

Arbo & Santa's Dog Park

Arbo & Santa's Workshop

Arbo & Santa's Dog Park

This is Arbo, who lives with “Mr. Holidays” (probably not his real name). He seems like a nice dog.


And on the other side of town, where I was shopping Friday afternoon, here are the windows of the Coldwell Banker Real Estate office:

Coldwell Banker Window #1

Coldwell Banker Real Estate Window #2

Here’s my favorite detail:

Hot Cocoa Depot

Also, the house in the front right corner of the window is for sale. This would be an awesome place to live.

Coldwell Banker Window #3

Coldwell Banker Window #4

Stop back tomorrow for our final Tuesday post!

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December 17, 2017

virtual advent 2017: day 17
posted by soe 6:00 am

virtual advent tour

Welcome to the 17th day of the Virtual Advent Tour. Today is Gaudete Sunday.

“Gaudete” is the Latin word for “rejoice,” the first word of the verses from Philippians 4:4-5 spoken at the beginning of the Catholic service on the third Sunday of Advent. (My Catholic friends, if I’ve misrepresented that, please correct me.) The 16th-century carol “Gaudete” is sung here by Steeleye Span who charted in the U.K. with it back in 1972.

So, in honor of the day, let us rejoice that Christmas has nearly arrived and celebrate by heading over to visit Nina at The Cozy Pages, who has a post for us today in which she answers some questions about her holidays.

See you back here tomorrow for the start of the final week of the Virtual Advent Tour!

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

December 16, 2017

virtual advent tour: day 16
posted by soe 5:30 am

virtual advent tour

I assume you also have a busy day ahead (mine involves some wrapping, a trip to the post office, and a couple neighborhood Christmas festivals), so let’s get right to the good stuff:

Today’s Day 16 of the Virtual Advent Tour and we return you to Nancy of Wyoming Breezes, who has a post for you about how her family spends their time together during the holidays.

Have a great Saturday and we’ll see you back here tomorrow!

Category: christmas/holiday season. There is/are 1 Comment.

December 15, 2017

virtual advent 2017: day 15
posted by soe 5:30 am

virtual advent tour

Welcome to the third week of the Virtual Advent Tour!

Today, the tour returns to the other bipedal member of my household, Rudi at Random Duck. He’s got some Christmas-related trivia for you so that you can wow your friends and loved ones at parties and holiday meals.

See you back here tomorrow!

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

winter weather, hundreds of tubas, and ben franklin
posted by soe 2:40 am

This was a week chock full of beautiful things, so I’m cheating by sharing three things and three photos. Hey, my blog, my rules!


1. It snowed on Saturday pretty much all day long, but never really stuck to roadways or sidewalks, which meant we got to enjoy it without having to do any shoveling, which is really the most you can ask for from snow. There have also been some conversational snow flurries during the work week.

Dog in Christmas Sweater

2. Our friends Susan and Phillip invited us to join them for the free tuba Christmas concert at the Kennedy Center. Since this is now a ticketed event, it was really nice of them to offer to pick up the tickets while Rudi and I were still at our respective offices. Plus, while Rudi (who missed last year’s concert when the change was first made) questioned the moving of the concert out of the great hall and into one of the theaters, his face when he saw tuba players (tubaists? tubers?) not only on the stage but also ringing the room on the balconies was full of joy.

Winter Flavor Tasting at Ice Cream Jubilee

3. Lin-Manuel Miranda announced today he’s giving us a year of “Hamildrops,” new Hamilton-themed content to come out once a month! December’s, which has provided the theme music for tonight’s blog writing, is “Ben Franklin’s Song,” performed by The Decemberists (whose lead singer, Colin Meloy, penned the melody). Should swearing be outside your comfort zone (in which case I might imagine Hamilton to be so as well, but your mileage may vary), there is also apparently a clean version, but I can’t imagine a better, more cathartic chorus than “Do you know who the fuck I am? I am Poor Richard’s Almanack-writing Benjamin fucking Franklin!?”

How about you? What’s been beautiful in your world lately?

Category: three beautiful things. There is/are 1 Comment.

December 14, 2017

virtual advent 2017: day 14
posted by soe 5:30 am

virtual advent tour

Welcome to Day 14 of the Virtual Advent Tour. There are ten shopping days left after today, so I know how I’ll be spending part of this evening.

Do you have a few people you still need gifts for? If they eat eggs and flour (or if you have satisfactory substitutes for those ingredients in your own kitchen), may I recommend whipping up a few loaves of my grandmother’s cranberry quick bread? You can totally get them going prior to watching the Christmas specials on tv tonight. And if you bake a loaf for yourself, you can snack on that during The Great American Baking Show.

Technically, it’s cranberry nut bread, but since Mum is allergic to nuts, they were never included in the loaves Gramma made for us. I’ll include that option in case you like nuts in your baked goods.

Cranberry [Nut] Bread

Sift together:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar

In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mix together:

  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 Tbsp melted shortening
  • 2 Tbsp hot water (I use hot tap water, probably about the same temperature as I wash dishes in.)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (You could juice an orange and I have on occasion, but if you’ve got a carton of juice in the fridge, go with that for ease and speed.)

Stir together but don’t beat (emphasis Gramma’s) the dry and wet ingredients.

Fold in:

  • 1 cup (washed) cranberries


  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional, but walnuts pair nicely if you decide to go that route)

Bake in greased bread pan at 325°F for 1 hour.

These instructions assume you will pop the bread out of the pan and present it that way. Allow it to cool and then wrap it first in plastic wrap (the orange juice makes the loaf a little sticky, and this helps keep things tidier) and then in tin foil for storage. Slap a label and a bow on it and you’re ready to gift. (I assume you could alternatively get a disposable aluminum loaf pan and hand it off in that if you so desire, but that feels like more work, rather than less.)

To serve, cut a generous slice (hunk, my grandfather would have said) of bread and slather it with butter. Pair it with a hot cup of tea.

I had forgotten how easy this recipe is. I’ll need to pick up some o.j., but I bought a bag of cranberries last weekend without realizing why I needed them.

See you back here tomorrow!

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