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Merry Christmas!

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I hope that all of you who celebrate Christmas had a great holiday, and if you don’t, that you have enjoyed some relaxing downtime. Reed and I have had a lovely Christmas and have returned to our nest from our annual Christmas trek. We were gone from Tuesday until yesterday, and in that time we celebrated five separate family celebrations! It was mostly stress free and we laughed and ate and talked and ate some more. We arrived home with many lovely gifts and memories.

Tomorrow, it is back to work for me, but today has been a nice day getting things back into shape here at home and finding a place for everything! We are looking forward to the New Year and what will come next!

Adventure 5

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The last year of 30x30 has begun. And I have so much left to do! Part of that is because I am such a procrastinator, of course.

This evening, I accomplished Adventure 5: Learn to make fresh pasta. When I was thinking of the adventure list, I thought that this would be one of the adventures that would require a bit of an investment. You know, a pasta machine. But I was wrong! I’m sure a pasta machine would make this easier, but tonight I made noodles without one.

My machine-less pasta recipe and directions are thanks to livius, who posts a great ancient history and archaeology blog here and is an admin of the freethought forum. Many thanks!

Making pasta was both easier and more difficult than other doughs that I have made. It’s pretty much a mix together, rest, roll it out shindig, but since I’ve never done this before I didn’t have a good idea on what the dough should look like and feel like along the way. So I was a bit on edge when I thought it wasn’t going to work right! But after many minutes of kneading (luckily NOT my enemy, sticky dough), it began to smooth out. I added drips of olive oil during the kneading instead of extra flour, because my dough seemed to be on the dry side.

Then, after letting it rest, you roll the dough out thin, thin, thin! Then, you roll it up and cut it into the width of noodles you would like. (I was too lazy to go and get the real camera, so I used my cellphone.)

This is what it looked like, all unrolled. This is about half of the noodles.

Then, I plunked them into boiling water for a couple of minutes and we had hot noodles with butter and Parmesan for our dinner tonight. Woohoo! It was different than our usual dry noodles–they were toothsome and comforting and homey and wonderful. (If I do say so!) I had cut them a little wide, but that doesn’t hurt anything. We each had a nice large bowl of noodles. I can see myself doing this again on a weekend evening and trying different sauces. Reed mentioned chicken noodle soup, and that might be an experiment, too. This is not a stressful thing to prepare. In fact, it is the opposite because it is simple, productive work with periods of rest (for yourself and the dough). If you’ve ever thought about making pasta at home, you should definitely try this!

On a different and unrelated note, I also made peppermint patties this morning. (It has been a hang out at home day, obviously.) Reed has been teasing me that I just put some Yorks in the fridge, but they were simple and easy Christmas candies!

Twelfth Night

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As part of our birthday celebration, Reed and I went to a performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night put on by the Burning Coal Theatre here in Raleigh. We were planning to go on my birthday, but I mixed up the time of the show on Sunday so we went on Thursday.

It was a great show, although it took a second for my ears to adjust to the Elizabethan English–especially because I haven’t read Twelfth Night so everything was new to me. Eventually, my ears adjusted and I pieced together more of the story. It’s a comedy, so luckily bawdy jokes and silliness translate pretty easily.

Afterwards, I commented to Reed that I don’t think I have ever seen Shakespeare performed live. I’ve seen movies, of course, but those are a different kettle of fish. You’re removed from it all, instead of it being in front of you. (Especially at Burning Coal, where there isn’t a stage really–there are chairs on 3 sides of a small auditorium, and the actors are right there with you.) The closest I’ve been might have been readings in literature classes. Not the same thing. Reed was surprised, but I honestly can’t remember a single Shakespeare play I’ve seen performed–despite having read Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet multiple times for multiple classes since I was 12.

His incredulousness made me think harder about the performances I have seen. (School and church ones do not count, sorry.) The first ones that I really remember are from a field trip to the Three Arts Theater in Columbus, and it was a series of short stories turned into plays. I really only recall the one based on The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell. (This is always associated with The Necklace, The Gift of the Magi, and The Monkey’s Paw, because if you are not aware, those are the only short stories ever written. Anywhere.) After that, Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat at the Springer. Then…I can’t remember any that I saw while I was in high school or college. Surely I saw a production of some sort while I was in Athens? We saw The Lion King with family when it came to Atlanta years ago (big time stage magic! Whee!).

This is why 3 plays in one year is part of my adventure list–I need to broaden my horizons. Right now, I’m at two because we saw Inherit the Wind at Burning Coal earlier this year. I’ve decided a year is 12 months and not calendar year now. So I have a few more months to mark this one off my (desperately needing an update) adventure list!

Reed's Birthday Post--Finally!

Reed finally put the picture of him blowing out the candles on his cake on his blog. You can get there by clicking here.

Old Salem

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Christmas came a little early this year for us, because Reed and I had agreed that we wanted to take a trip to Old Salem during the Christmas season. Today was the day!

Old Salem is a Moravian settlement that later became one of the towns that merged into what is now Winston-Salem, NC. It’s not quite two hours away from us, so it is a nice day trip. I’ve wanted to go for a while, just because I’d heard it was a fun place to explore. I thought it would be lovely at Christmas. Like so:

The star is a Moravian star and they are very common to see here in North Carolina. It is a traditional Advent and Christmastime decoration. I always think they are beautiful.

We got there a bit before lunch, and set out to walk around the town and see what we could see. We didn’t buy tickets because it would have been almost $40, and we didn’t want to spend that much for just an afternoon. The all in one ticket lets you go inside the historic buildings and see the re-enactors, and there were some other events going on today as well. But you don’t have to pay anything to walk through the historic area or go into the shops.

The Moravians at the time lived in what they called choirs–people were divided by sex and marital status in life and worship. So all the single men lived together, all the single women, and then families. They built large dormitories named the Single Brothers’ House and the Single Sisters’ House for those groups’ living areas. This is part of the Single Brothers’ House.

I think the cemetery might have been the most interesting part of our trip. It is known as God’s Acre. This is one of the gates into it.

Just like in life, Moravians were divided in death by their choir. We walked through the men’s section, although there were also male children buried in one section we visited. People were buried chronologically by date of death. I think you can see that in this picture, where the two people’s headstones have very similar dates.

There were some beautiful old trees in the cemetery, mostly cypress. This one is not a cypress, but it was very striking.

On our way back from the cemetery, we stopped at the bakery. This is the absolutely don’t-miss stop in Old Salem. They bake in a wood fired oven and sell the treats in the bakery shop and around town. The oven wasn’t being used when we were there, but we have seen it on Our State. We bought some cookies and a sugar cake, which they are known for. It is very yummy–like a not-sticky cinnamon roll with sugar crumb topping.

Old Salem isn’t just a historic site with re-enactors, but it also includes Salem College and Academy, some modern businesses (a bed and breakfast and a restaurant), and many private residences in the historic structures. It’s still a living part of town, and abuts downtown Winston-Salem.

For a souvenir, I bought these beautiful beeswax candles that have been trimmed with tissue paper.

It was incredibly festive to see these standing in bunches in the shops. I love beeswax candles in general, because of their smell and their simple luxury. There were all different sizes, from these regular sized tapers to tiny, less than two inches tall, thin candles. But I got these because I don’t actually own any other candles for my candlesticks. We are going to have candlelight dinners as long as they last.

We enjoyed our trip to Old Salem, and it was a nice Christmas treat! Here’s one last picture for you. This is the restored Tannenberg organ that is in the visitor’s center. If you click on the link in the last sentence, you can watch a video about its restoration and listen to it being played.

Birthday Weekend, Part two!

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I had a great birthday weekend, and my actual birthday was fab, too! Thank you for all the good wishes by phone, mail, email, comments, and facebook!!

Sunday was great. I got up and went to church for the second Sunday in Advent and it was all about Christmas carols! I love Christmas carols, so it was fun to sing much of the morning.

I also had a chance to have a birthday hike and meet a fellow blogger! In the afternoon, I met up with Marla and her husband at Blue Jay Point in north Raleigh and I had a great time, talking and walking. It was cold, clear, beautiful day and of course, once you start walking you warm right up!! We saw three deer–two living and one skeleton! Bwhaha. The lake was beautiful, and the trail is part of the North Carolina Mountains to Sea trail. We hiked about 3 miles–the trail map doesn’t break up the Falls Lake Trail by distance, but I think that is about right!

When I came home, I opened my birthday cards and was surprised by my very own Christmas cactus from Reed. It’s very pretty, but I have to make sure it gets some sunlight!

My birthday celebration keeps going on, because I got my fab purse and wallet from 007 in the mail on Monday. (Did you know pickle was the new monkey?) And Reed and I are going to try to see Twelfth Night at the Burning Coal Theatre this week–we were supposed to go on my birthday, but it was a matinee on Sunday and we want to go at night! Maybe they will give us a cookie like last time.

It is nice and cold up here in Raleigh! I hope that everyone is staying nice and toasty and eating yummy food!

Birthday Weekend!

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This is my birthday weekend, and we have had a nice first half. Tomorrow, Pearl Harbor Day, is my actual birthday.

Today we had our birthday restaurant experience. Last year, we had shabu shabu at the sushi restaurant, and that was very nice. This year, we went over to Cary for dim sum at NeoChina. We had never eaten dim sum before. It was great!

We got to the restaurant a little bit before noon, and it was already pretty full. (It only serves dim sum on weekends for lunch.) Our server took our drink orders–we had green tea–and then we waited for the first cart to come by our table. There were four or five carts–some steam carts and some regular carts–with all sorts of small dishes of interesting food. We stopped the first one and picked a pork dumpling and some sticky rice wrapped in a lotus leaf. As other carts passed, we picked up sweet milk buns, pork potstickers (my favorite dish today), a plate of tiny ribs, and calimari. Reed picked up one more plate of pork dumplings, but we had to bring half of those home because we had eaten too much.

What I listed was just a small fraction of what was available. I would have liked to try the Chinese broccoli, coconut shrimp, and some of the other buns filled with meat. You can see a list of what some of the options are on their รูเล็ตออนไลน์menu. It was great and actually not that expensive (not compared to sushi, anyway). We think we will go back in a few months and try some other things. It was a fun lunch.

We also went for a drive and dropped by a big box store to pick up a new game. Little Big Planet is so much fun! We have played two missions so far, and still have plenty of things to find. Now we have something that we both can play that is not fighting.

Advent Chain

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When I was little, we sometimes had those neat little Advent calendars made of cardboard where you opened the doors on the particular day and got a treat. I had been thinking about making an Advent calendar/countdown of some kind, and I finally decided to make an Advent paper chain. I made it a few weeks ago, so it would be a bit decorative for Thanksgiving and we could enjoy it longer. I like seasonal things–when things are different, but always the same kinds of difference.

This is what it looked like at the beginning, on the first Sunday of Advent. I’ll take a picture of it on each Sunday, as we get closer to Christmas.

I have a pack of patterned scrapbook paper that I lug around with me, which is what I made the chain out of. It comes in handy for my oddball ideas.

This weekend, I am going to decorate for Christmas. Also, the crazy house a few doors down has added one of those inflatable reindeer. On the roof of its porch. I will get pictures soon, I promise.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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