Saturday, December 19, 2009

the most magical winter place

i just stumbled across this most amazing icehotel in lapland sweden! (via this blog via this blog) isn't it a dream come true??? i have always longed to see the northern lights, and have fantasized about spending a winter up in the arctic circle where i could enjoy the combination of crystal winter nights and what little sun there is being the late evening variety all the time. SIIIIIGHHHH. someday. or maybe i'll just build my own icehotel.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

one more favorite thing

my very most favorite christmas story is 'the gift of the magi' by o. henry. i have loved it since my childhood and read it every year. as a child, my grandmother gave me this copy of the book with these gorgeous illustrations by lisbeth zwerger. this morning in my inbox was this lovely reading of it from my friend d. i think i responded to this story as a child for the same reason i also loved 'the little mermaid' (the hans christian anderson version NOT disney), because they are stories of real love, love that sacrifices, that puts others happiness above you own, love that echoes the love our Savior gives to us. i think i also respond to the bittersweet irony of the lovers sacrifices for each other that only serves to illustrate more the true gift they have, the gift of deep and true love, the gift of the heart. so gather your loved ones near and enjoy this holiday classic, preferably while sitting and watching your tree.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

winter love

i love winter. i love snow. i love the sun on the snow. i love watching snow falling. i love moonless snowy nights where the stars and snow glitter. i love full moons in winter where it's as bright as day and the world is blue. so you can imagine how upset i was when yesterday i HAD to go (as part of my job) up fairview canyon to help monitor the ski and snowboard team as they road the hill that we maintain at the cabin wasatch owns. it's so gorgeous up there. and such a sweet set up with a snocat that grooms the run and jumps, and then tows the kids up the hill every 5 minutes. all i had to do was traipse about on my snow shoes watching, and enjoying a lovely afternoon on the mountain. sigh. such tough duty. i hope wherever you are, you are getting out and enjoying the beauty of this gorgeous season!

Friday, December 11, 2009

it's the most wonderful time of the year

i love christmas. and it is so great this year to have my very own little home to decorate. i went and got my tree last weekend with a group of students and have been busy making things cheery and bright. my sweet grandma lenore has made me (and all her 100+) grandchildren a homemade ornament every year for my entire life. most of the ornaments shown here are made with love by her. i treasure them. most of my glass ornaments belonged to my great grandpa webster and are such fun vintage patterns and designs.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


i love to cook. it's creative, thoughtful, delicious, and my time to unwind and sort of meditate as i prepare something to nourish body and mind. i love to cook for other people. i love putting thought and energy into something that literally does those i love some good. but this year i've cooked very little. part of my payment is getting to eat for free at the cafeteria here at WA. the food here is good, and there is variety, and i'm usually bone tired by the end of the day and the thought of hot food with no dishes usually wins out. i've held to breakfast as my meal home and usually make some sort of egg something beings how i've got 5 laying hens. but sometime before thanksgiving break i hit a wall. a 'i don't want to eat my dinners in the cafeteria anymore' wall. and since the break i've made all my own food at home every night minus mandatory dress up dinner. it's been great. it's making me so happy. mostly i eat alone, quietly by my pretty christmas tree. some nights i invite someone to share with me. here are some recent meals gracing my table:
this is my made up mushroom and brown rice soup. i just sauteed a chopped onion, and cuisen arted a pound of two of small brown mushrooms, and then added them to the sautee as well as a cup and a half (or so, just what was left in the bag) of brown basmati rice. i sauteed all that till the mushrooms had let off a lot of juice, then i threw in a quart of my homemade chicken stock from last winter (still have bags and bags of it frozen), some bay leaves, rubbed sage, cracked pepper, sea salt and let it cook awhile till the rice started to soften. it got so thick it was almost like risotto, so i added some water .. . and some chardonnay (a couple of good sloshes) and let it cook till the rice was done. then i took one of those hand held blender thingies and blended it a bit. the result? deliciouso. very hearty and warming soup.
next up is my classic caramalized onion, gorgonzola, pine nut and rosemary pizza (on crust from the chez pannise cookbook) but this time i added some chopped up butternut squash i had lightly blanched. MMMMMMMM. so good. and i love the color the squash adds!
and last but not least, some dolces. ehsweeties. it was one of my advisee's birthday, so i took all those eggs that are over running my fridge and made a chiffon cake that was oh so light and fluffy with this amazing glaze that made it look, and sort of taste like a giant doughnut. the recipe was from my ever favorite cook's illustrated baking book. now it's time to gear up for all the holiday baking and making . . . gingerbread, marshmallows, and maybe some mexican pickled carrots.

Monday, December 07, 2009

favorite things

i'm not oprah. nor do i want to be. but i have favorite things, more a la maria von trapp/julie andrews favorite things. things that make it all better. things that warm my heart. so maybe this month i'll share a few with you:
1. SNOW. lots of it. it sure made my morning to wake up to 7 fresh inches with more on the way. i also LOVE making paper snowflakes. and i make LOTS of them.
2. i love love love this tea. you should try it. it's warm and sweet and delicious. perfect for a wintry day. even more perfect with some cream in it. try is in a thermos on a snowshoeing outing.
3. i love flannel sheets and more especially flannel nightgowns. anyone whose lived with me knows it's true. and yes i have the same one i had as a girl in grown up size and wear it most nights.
4. i really love this shade of nars nail polish. i used to hate nail polish on my fingers. and then i lived with kate. end of story.
5. i love gaiters. they keep the snow out and are ever so handy whether in the mountains or city. best winter accessory by far.
6. i love love love reading good books curled by the fire. LOVE it. i just bought a copy of one of my favorite winter time reads; 'winter's tale' by mark helprin (however, please note while i love this book i HATE the ending, it's still worth it though). it's got some of the most magical, beautiful story telling i've ever read and is such a treat to read.
7. i la la love good christmas music (by which i mean old classics, choral music, non-schmultzy covers, and not the stuff you hear in a mall). lately this is the one i've got on repeat (plus i love 'efl').

Thursday, December 03, 2009

r.i.p. maynard dixon bennion

yesterday a tragedy struck our family when our sweet sweet dixon the dog was taken prematurely by a hunter in the hills south of spring city. rather then dwell on the inhumanity of the hunters actions, i want to say a few things about this dearest dog. dixon, or as i always called him dixal pixal was the soul of Christ-like kindness in doggie form. he NEVER ever growled. not once in his life. he was always sweet, tender, unassuming, humble, completely obedient, tolerant of others (he endlessly submitted to being ernie's chew toy), happy, self sufficient, gentle, mellow, and always ready to go on a long walk or hike in the hills. he was the sort of friend everyone dreams of, one who always makes you feel like you are most special and beloved, one who gives and takes in equanimity, one who will defend and protect you against any aggressor, one who loves snuggling and taking naps by the fire, and one who is always ready to go on an adventure. he was never obnoxious either, some dogs want love so much they are always pestering you for it, but dixon (while he LOVED being loved and petted) would ask gently and not beg incessantly. he always made the funniest high pitched squealing whines when he knew you were getting ready to take him for a walk, and loved to hike right behind me. i will greatly miss our sweet dear dixon and hope that he is reunited with old kane and all our other doggies up in dog heaven. thank you dixon for being such a good example on how to be kind and true.