Category Archives: holidays

pumpkinhead

This is a picture I took of myself in 2008. I may have shared it before…I don’t remember! It’s hard to keep track of things when you have a pumpkin for a head.

Boo.

We made the time tonight for the kids to carve their pumpkins. (I still haven’t found time to carve mine.)

the life and times of an Easter egg

poissons d’avril

Okay, I took this picture of fish in February, not April. But it’s April now, and I’m pretty sure the fish are still more or less where I left them. (Which was in the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park.) I liked the way this group of koi displayed such a range of colors.

My post title, in case you were wondering, is a reference to the way the first of April is celebrated in France, a sort of fish-themed April Fool’s Day. The main tradition is to put a piece of paper in the shape of a fish on the back of an unsuspecting person, and to shout “poisson d’avril!” (translation: “April fish!”) when the fish is discovered. I kid you not.¹

¹ I kid you not, but I would totally try to sneak a paper fish onto your back.

Shiny Apple Pi (and some peach pie pi, too)

This week’s friday foto finder theme is “shiny.” I have loads of photos of shiny things in my photo library, but seeing as it’s Pi Day, I coudln’t resist including some pi (and some pie).

Apple pi, on a shiny plate. (The apple is pretty shiny, too.)


A shiny pi server.


Here is this year’s annual Pi Day pie, which was somewhat experimental: a peach blueberry pie with a crust topping in the shape of pi, and filled out with circles of pie crust (each of which had the circumference of roughly 2πr). To see some of the other pi pies from my past, check out my old post, easy as pi.

To see what other shiny bits people are sharing, check out the fff blog.

fff 200x60

The Year of the Horse, coming around once again

Happy New Year! Welcome to the year of the horse.

I love the cyclical nature of the Chinese zodiac. To celebrate the return of the horse, I offer up a set of photos of merry-go-round horses going around and around.

I am still working through my list of suggested and requested posts. Coming up soon will be a post from my now-not-so-recent trip to Hong Kong. (Yes, YTSL, I am really working on it!) I still welcome additional suggestions for things to post! Just leave a comment on my earlier post, and I will happily integrate new suggestions into my list.

Harvest Home

With the big changes that have happened in our family this past year have come smaller changes. For as long as I can remember, we have spent Thanksgiving down at my in-laws’ in New York.¹ It seems quite likely that we have never before had Thanksgiving here in our own house.

This year, as I said, things changed. Since she is no longer taking care of my father-in-law full-time, my mother-in-law is now free to travel. John’s siblings, who all 3 live in Texas for reasons that are still not entirely clear to me, invited their mom to spend Thanksgiving in Texas. This meant that, amazingly, we had no plans to travel ourselves for Thanksgiving. We would have the holiday at home.

While I have enjoyed the times visiting my in-laws for Thanksgiving, I was quite happy about the idea of staying home. I usually do all the cooking for our subset of the family for Thanksgiving anyhow, so that part was not a change. I was particularly happy about the idea of using our own dining room, and using our good china.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are of holiday meals at my grandmother’s house. She had an extensive collection of china and serving ware, from a variety of family sources. The china cabinet covered one whole wall of the dining room in her house, with floor-to ceiling shelves hidden away by 3 wooden sliding doors. Setting the table with the fancy dishes was something of a cross between a ceremony and a reunion with much loved friends.

My children will never get to visit my grandmother’s house, but I am quite taken with the idea of starting the tradition of the holiday table here at home with them. (Holiday meals at my in-laws’ had become increasingly simplified and informal in recent years, with dinners typically eaten up in my in-laws’ bedroom at a card table.)

Today, we spent time clearing the dining room of the detritus of various projects, and we set the table in earnest: heirloom linen table cloth, cloth table runner and napkins, glass goblets, special silver, and candles. And, of course, the good china. We donned our fancy clothes and celebrated our bounty and our thankfulness for our family and our home.


The spread. Phoebe is here wearing a dress that had been my sister’s in the late 70s, and then my cousin’s.


Our turkey-less turkey day feast: Tofurkey with roasted root vegetables, stuffing, green beans. Not shown in this photo: fresh baked bread, cranberry sauce that Phoebe made, and mashed potatoes. Everyone participated in the preparation of the meal.


Our feast wasn’t entirely turkey-free: Phoebe made this little guy to grace our table.


Ready to dig in.


My pie. (With a rather sad frozen gluten-free crust, but the pumpkin part was very tasty.)

Hours later, I am still feeling full. And also rather fulfilled.²

¹ There may have been a few years when my work schedule interfered. I vaguely remember working Thanksgiving the one year I worked as a waitress, and then it’s possible that it was sometimes hard to travel on the day before Black Friday in the years I worked in retail. But even that was a long time ago, as I quit my retail job almost 14 years ago.
² But also somewhat daunted by the thought of all the hand-washing of fragile and heirloom dishes that is yet to be done.