Tag Archives: Holidays

Like it’s Christmas in the Room

No gifts to give, they’re all right here
Inside our hearts the glorious cheer
And in the house we see a light
That comes from what we know inside

I’ll come to you, I’ll sing to you
Like it’s Christmas in the room
I’ll dance with you, I’ll laugh with you
Until it’s Christmas in the room
Until it’s Christmas in the room

~Sufjan Stevens, “Christmas in the Room”

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11.22.2010 – Bits and Pieces*

11.23.2010 – To Scale*

11.24.2010 – Almond Toast*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Grandma Ahlquist’s Almond Toast (Svenska Mandel Skorpar)

Almond toast is a hybrid between a shortbread cookie and a biscotti.  My brothers and I would get this sweet treat as part of our breakfasts when visiting my Swedish grandparents.  I make almond toast every Christmas now that my ninety-two-year-old grandma is no longer physically able to do so. Like most Swedish baked items, almond toast is buttery with a subtle almond flavor.  My family enjoys them with their morning and evening coffees.  Njut!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 4 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ cup finely chopped (roasted) almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix together butter, sugar, sour cream, eggs, and almond extract.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Add (¾-1 cup at a time) the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix well.
  5. Add almonds to batter.
  6. Transfer batter to a greased pan (I use a glass 9″x13″ baking dish and a glass bread pan)
  7. Bake for 45 minutes.
  8. Cut into strips, remove from pans, and place strips on a cookie sheet.
  9. Return to oven (250° F) to dry and lightly brown for 45 mins-2 hours (I like them on the more toasted side, so I dry for 1.5-2 hours).
  10. Cool, and store in an airtight container.

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11.25.2010 – O Holy Night*

11.26.2010 – SoCal in Winter*

11.27.2010 – Textures* (The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA)

11.28.2010 – Many Thanks to Trader Joe’s Unsweetened & Unsulfured Dried Pineapple Rings*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blogtrack:
– Bikini, “American Mourning” (listen HERE)
– The Winston Jazz Routine, “Through the Snow” — for AIA & AGL who are making their way back to NY (listen HERE)
– Washington Mile, “All of Your Blue” (download HERE)
– Beach House, “Take Care”

sNOw

12.12.2010 – SoCal “Snow” Diptych* (Orange, CA)

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Blogtrack:
“our hearts are shining” a mix by the talented Brian Ferry.

These Days.

12.9.2010 – blue.* (Orange, CA)

12.10.2010 – Moonrise*

12.11.2010 – Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the “Melting” Rod Laver Sole*

12.12.2010 – Everything That is Wrong with American Christmas (+ a bonus red nose for the grill)*

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Blogtrack:
– A Classic Education, “Terrible Day (Banjo or Freakout remix)”
– Houses, “Soak It Up”
– Chapel Club, “Bodies”  — download it HERE

Just Beginning

12.2.2010 – Mistaken for Strangers* (Orange, CA)

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Blogtrack:
– Friendly Fires, “Strobe”
– Little Joy, “The Next Time Around”
– Laura Gibson, “The Longest Day”

Circling toward the Center

It is Thanksgiving weekend, and life is beginning to settle.  Please do not read “settle” in terms of answers or direction — if that were the case I would be too busy celebrating to type –; rather thoughts and concerns that once seemed so burdensome and disparate are beginning to circle around a single idea.  I have wrestled with what it means to live out this idea for the better part of the last decade.  I will write and explore this more (and with far less ambiguity) once work settles down a bit.

Until then, Project 365 continues:

11.25.2010 – A Thing for Gray* — I was too busy prepping and cooking, helping my folks skype with family in Belgium, and making sure all my siblings were able to speak with my grandma, and chatting with my grandma and uncle, to remember to take photos.

11.26.2010 – The Long Beach* (Long Beach, CA) — Of recent, I have been drawn to blurry, out-of-focus photos.

11.27.2010 – Gray + Pocket*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new.”                                                                       -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Easter Catch Up

I had a long weekend that was equal parts amazing and equal parts jarring.

Friday was sibling reunion day!  I met my three brothers in San Francisco.  One was in town to receive an award.  One was visiting for his in-laws’ anniversary.  One lives on the Peninsula.  The weather was crap, but that did not stop us from enjoying ourselves while catching up on life and reliving memories from our SF-based childhood.  On several occasions I laughed so hard I cried.  That combined with wet streets and driving may not be the safest thing, but oh the joy it (and my brothers) brought to my heart!

Saturday morning my youngest brother and I trekked over the 17 to Santa Cruz.  Brunch + watching the surfers at Pleasure Point + Marianne’s = a great start to any day!

The remainder of the day took everything from me.  I thought I could make it through.  I tried to focus on celebrating NJVS and catching up with friends I had not seen in months.  But everything around me told the story of how much I no longer belong.

Those eyes.  That empty hug.  That voice calling my name.  Those words referencing our past.  Without even knowing it you destroyed me yet again — not quite as devastatingly as before, but damaging nonetheless.  I thought I was done with this.  Done with you.  But you proved me wrong.  You are the “ever living ghost of what once was” and all you promised it would be; the losses of which still sting.

Why can I not simply be done?  Or when it seems like I am, why do I end up feeling as though nothing and everything has changed?  Regardless, I move forward with my tattered heart seeking healing from the only One who can redeem and transform.  For it is by His wounds that we are healed.  (Isaiah 53: 6; 1 Peter 2: 24)

Emotional and physical exhaustion set in after church (where I was reminded of the circling of joy and sorrow) and seven hours alone with my thoughts, poor weather and bad drivers on the 5 South.  There is nothing like people unwilling to abide by the two lane highway rule that the left lane is for passing to create a logjam + drivers suddenly breaking (which forced me to drive off the road and onto the soft shoulder) = total frustration.

Happy Easter.

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4.4.2010 – Quintessential Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)*

4.3.2010 – Quintessential Santa Cruz (Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz, CA)*

4.2.2010 – Boulanges (Russian Hill, San Francisco, CA)*

4.1.2010 – Fail (Costa Mesa, CA)* — Seeing this made me laugh out loud.

3.31.2010 – Paper Hat (Orange, CA)*

3.30.2010 – FAILURE. A hectic and long day of work and more work resulted in my thinking about but not actually taking any photos.

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Blogtrack:

Denison Witmer, “Remember the Things You Have Seen”;
Thrice, “The Flame Deluge”;
The Nadas, “Long Goodbye”;
Guster, “Come Downstairs and Say Hello”;
Panda Bear, “Ponytail”;
Snowden, “Don’t Really Know Me” — you can download the entire EP for a small monetary donation or for the price of your email here.
Born Ruffians, “Hummingbird (acoustic)”
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros “40 Day Dream”

92

My grandma is 92 today!  She has lived through much of what defined the last century: the Great Depression, World II (and the handful of others wars), the Civil Rights Movement and desegregation.  She has survived the passing of her parents, siblings, and beloved husband (whom she met in Confirmation Class at the age of twelve).

Today I played operator/personal assistant, setting up phone calls so she could speak with all of her grandchildren — the photo below is of her on the phone with one my brothers –, and read her a large stack of birthday cards.

I asked her what her favorite birthday memory is, and she answered, “This one.”  I wonder if her present becomes more real, more defining as her dementia steal away more of her memory and cognitive abilities.  Whatever it may be I am thankful for these precious moments with her; when she stops mid-sentence, grabs my hand, and tells me, “You’re my cutie kid.”

3.11.2010 – This One (Orange, CA)*

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Blogtrack:

Solo rendition of “Happy Birthday”;
Massive Attack, “Paradise Circus (feat. Hope Sandoval) (Gui Boratto Remix)”