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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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January 07, 2010

Back Home After a Wonderful Holiday Visit

I hardly know where to start!  Last time I posted was to display my cookies so that's what?  A little over two weeks, I guess.  I published that post after I got over to Washington DC.  That was the weekend the entire eastern side of the states got pretty much blasted with snowstorms.  By the time I left on Monday morning, the interstates I travelled on were pretty much cleared - there was only one bad stretch - but one could certainly figure out that it had been bad - there were numerous stranded cars in the medians.  Sure made me glad I was travelling a couple of days after the worst part of it.

So, I got to Chris's place Monday evening.  He wasn't coming home from NYC until Wednesday evening so I puttered with finishing some wrapping, computering, and such.  January and Maggie were still in Indianapolis being charmed by Maggie's new nephew, Jackson who is such a cutie.  They drove home Christmas Eve and fortunately the freezing rain that had been forecast didn't happen so they made it safely and much more easily than their trip to Indianapolis which was at the height of the snowstorms and took about twice as long as it was supposed to.  They came on over to Chris's for a while on Christmas Eve and we ordered in from Aroma which is a really good Indian restaurant that we all like. 

All of us went up to Heather's house on Christmas morning.  Chris went by himself and I drove over to January's and picked them up cause we three were going to spend the night at Heather's.  It was nice being in January's apartment cause she had her bits and pieces of Christmas stuff here and there and some of them are things that I had to leave behind when I moved into the condo.  I took a picture of this little Christmas scene I had made one year for a club project.  The club decided to make a "Winter Festival" scene and everyone had to make some kind of "booth" or whatever that people would visit.  I did this one and one other one which was a "knock the snowman's hat off" booth.  That one I dismantled after the display came down, but this one I liked and kept til January "inherited" it.  I took the second picture to show how I finished the outside walls with shingles.  Apparently I like using shingles - did the Christmas tree house with them also and am thinking I might do something with them on the outside of my 1/2" scale kitchen roombox - I'm not liking all that black around the scene.  The largest tree in this scene has battery operated lights which is kind of fun.

So, off we went to Heather's house (me with my standing rib roast in tow...) and got there a little before noon.  Johnny and Sophia were flatteringly happy to see us and had all sorts of treasures from Santa to show us.  Then we had to get all of our presents under the tree so we could then take them all back out from under the tree and open them.  Here's the before (after all the excitement, I neglected to get an "after")...

All the white things on the tree are magazine subscriptions from me - I seem to have developed the habit of subscriptions as presents over the last few years (along with whatever else I manage to think of - it's harder buying presents for grown up children!)  And here are pictures of opening and such.

Chris on the left all decked out and holding a scarab Heather brought back from Egypt for him.  January on the right with Sophia and Johnny in their Christmas jammies.

Then it was time to get to work on dinner and Heather, being the dear girl she is, agreed to having what was once our traditional dinner of a standing rib roast with Yorkshire pudding and roasted potatoes (to which she added her very delicious roasted root vegetables).  The beef was delicious and big enough that we had some fairly well done but still some nice and pink, the gravy was nice and dark, the Yorkshire pudding was good but should have been in a little bit bigger pan and the potatoes were perfection.  Then one of Chris's cheesecakes for dessert.  What bliss!

That night after Chris left and the kids were in bed, the girls and I played the Beatles Rock Band thing (Wii? WiFi? who knows...) and that was a hoot. 

Saturday, Heather, Alex and the kids went down to Virginia to have Christmas with her dad and his family, I took January and Maggie back to their apartment, and then came back up to Heather's and stayed with them until Tuesday I think.  I can see if I'm going to journal I will have to try and be more timely with my entries cause I do tend to lose track of events.

Anyway, one last bit and then I'll close.  I received lots of nice presents, but here are my three favorites (in alphabetical order by giver's name so there can be no questions about preference!) 

Chris gave me a Daylight UltraSlim magnifying that has interchangeable lenses and that everyone on my petitpointers digest who owns one raves about.  After recently trying to do some stitching on 48 count gauze and not enjoying it very much at all with my old magnifying lamp, I added that to my Christmas list and think it is going to be like a whole new world.  I've set it up and looked at the gauze piece under it and there is no comparison between it and my old lamp.

Heather gave me an I-Phone!  Totally unexpected because she had said a couple of times when I would be commenting on how much I hated my cell phone "I should get you an I-Phone" and I would say no, because I was under a 2-year contract on mine.  And, true to her independent nature, she got me one anyway and I love it!  I've already loaded a lot of my music CD's into it and she got me also a charger thingie that has speakers so while the phone is charging you can be listening to your music which I think is pretty neat.  I've added a couple of apps to it too and need to spend some serious time looking at the hundreds that are available - I'm sure I can find more.

January gave me a cookbook I had asked for.  It's Lynne Rossetto Kasper's "The Splendid Table - Recipes from Emilia-Romagna, the Heartland of Northern Italian Food" and it's an encyclopedia!!  Five hundred and 12 pages of Italian goodness and goes way beyond just recipes.  All kinds of information on and history of the region.  There's an entire section on making pasta (which I'm not forgetting - that's still on my list), and even with my several brief dips into the book, I've noted several recipes I want to try.  It's so big that I decided I would start a written list of recipes that catch my eye as I go through the book.  I just wish I had more opportunity to cook for more than myself.  I think it's much more inspiring to prepare a meal for other people than just me and it sure is more fun eating it with other people! :)

I'll close with this picture of Johnny and Sophia that Heather took on her phone and e-mailed to my phone (once she got me all fixed up with my fancy phone).  Since I'm their grandmother and this is my journal, I'm allowed to say I think they're beautiful! 


Diane Adams said...

Mary Lynn: Bet you are in 7th Heaven with the Ultra-Slim. I know I love mine. The amount of stitching I get done now is amazing. BTW I think the kids are as cute as a "bugs ear" - that's really good you know. LOL Di Adams

Mary Lynne said...

I DO know bugs' ears are cute Diane and anyone who recognizes the adorableness of my babies is one of my favorite people! :)

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed our holiday together mom! Your Xmas dinner was yummalicious; you still have it!

I know the kids were thrilled to see you also and I especially enjoyed our 1:1 times. So glad you are loving your I-phone, but of course (as I had told you last year) I knew you would :)

Love you.


Christopher said...

Sure was a great holiday season, and this is a good recap of it. Glad to hear the magnifier lamp puts the other in the shade (hehe). And thanks for leaving the "gift" of your holiday wrapping paper--it was waiting for me when I got home Thurs. night. I'll add it to my collection, and you'll likely see it surface in years to come ;)

PS---now that you're a super with-it, netbooking, blogging, globe-trotting, smartphone-toting diva, you need to refer to your phone properly as "iPhone"---I'll let it go this time, but you're too with-it to not use the proper Apple name... hehehe!

Mary Lynne said...

You know, Chris - I wondered about that and I was too lazy to go look at something that would tell me whether there was a hyphen or not - I typed "IPhone" and thought that looked weird, so I put a hyphen in it.

And, Heather, one of the nicest parts of Christmas was getting to have our "olden days" traditional dinner and I thank you for that. I was really impressed with how you (the great over of making huge, special dinners) turned it over to me. That in itself was a nice gift. :)

Love to you both...

January said...

I second/third all of those opinions! It WAS a fun Christmas, even after nearly 10 hours of driving the day before, so that's saying something!

And Mama, I can't believe how many entries I've missed! Do you not have the little reminder emails anymore? Also, I want to eat that plate of cookies right now.

Mary Lynne said...

Actually, I did just start a new "notice" list recently and I'll add your name to it. Didn't want to seem like I was forcing you...:)


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