Monday, December 5, 2011

birthday bliss

Jeff kick started my Sunday birthday celebration with a box of donuts from our local bakery. I chose the chocolate/custard bar to have with freshly brewed Kona coffee... yummy.

Stuffy was under the misconception that my gifts were meant for him. The fact that he can't read (to my knowledge) didn't deter him from claiming possession. Notice him turning a deaf ear when being asked to move?

Bird Cloud is the name Annie Proulx gave to the 640 acres of Wyoming wetlands and prairie and four-hundred foot cliffs plunging down to the North Platte River- home to pelicans, bald eagles, golden eagles, great blue herons, ravens, blue birds, harriers, kestrels, elk, deer and antelope. She fell in love with the property, then owned by the Nature conservancy, and knew what she wanted to build on it- a house in harmony with her work, her appetites and her character, a library surrounded by bedrooms and a kitchen (love the way she thinks!). This is her first book of non-fiction in 20 years. It's the story about contructing the house, it's enthralling natural history and archaeology of the region- inhabited for milennia by Ute, Arapaho and Shoshone Indians- and a family history, going back to nineteenth-century Mississippi riverboat captains and canadian settlers.

I love this Hallmark classic and am SO excited to have it in book form. Basically, the story is this: Emily Springer is a widowed mother of one, decides to leave Leavenworth, Washington, to spend Christmas with her daughter in Boston. Charles Brewster, history professor, curmudgeon and resident of Boston, wants to avoid Christmas altogher. He figures a prison town should be nice and quiet over the holidays-- except he's thinking of the wrong Levenworth!
Through an internet site, Charles and Emily arrange to swap houses for the holiday. So Emily goes to Boston- and discovers that her daughter has gone to Florida. And Charles arrives in Leavenworth to discover that it's not the prison town- it's Santa's village! The place is full of Christmas trees, Christmas music and elves.
Meanwhile, Emily's friend Faith Kerrigan travels to Leavenworth to visit her and instead finds Charles the grinch. Then Charles's brother, Ray, shows up at his home in Boston to discover the he isn't there-but Emily is. Through all the mix-ups and misunderstandings, amid the chaos and confusion, romance begins to emerge in unexpected ways. Because everything changes at Christmas.
The book was originally named When Christmas Comes back in 2004, but Hallmark wanted another name... the charaters are great, there's a runaway lobster (if there is a lobster in the story I'm there. My fav Annie Hall scene is the kitchen lobster scene.  In Julie & Julia, again the lobster scene) the dialogue is fast paced and funny.

Our afternoon appetizer was crab marinated in white wine w/ cilantro as a garnish. Jeff and I laughed as we prepared it, as when he picked up the crabs at the market, no one knew how to crack and clean the crabs. Jeff told them how to do it and we laughed as he told me the story of how the first time he had to do this was when he was a sous chef at the old Poker Flat resort. It was his first day, a case of crabs arrived fresh from San Francisco and he had 90 minutes to prep them before the restaurant opened-- good times, no doubt.
Dinner was sirloin steak w/ oven baked potatoes. After we had finished dinner and the dishes were put away, we hunkered down in the living room to watch, Have A Little Faith on Hallmark.
In the morning I had begun reading Joan Didion's Blue Nights.  While Jeff watched TV in the master bedroom, I curled up under the comforters and finished reading it before going to sleep.
All in all, it was a lovely, low key day-- just what I needed as I haven't been feeling top-notch. I hadn't wanted a large celebration, I didn't want to be out and about socializing I just wanted to be... and I achieved that.  It's going to be a fabulous year filled with many blessings to discover.


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