skiing bear at the spaaa
Today was a day for the Olympus Spa in Lynnwood. This was in the lobby.

A lovely way to spend the afternoon, but seriously, Ladies: there are signs everywhere to keep your talking down or to a whisper. Please observe these requests lest I have to tell you you’re ruining the zen. And I will shush you in the sand room.

The temps were in the teens only 2 weeks ago. I’m amazed the sage appears to be thriving.

I was in the backyard, hoping to distract The Baron from the cable guy. I found tulips and narcissus the other day that I forgot I bought…I know the ground was frozen only two weeks ago but given the choice between throwing away or experimenting, I went with the experiment.
Better late than never?

Why we need Xmas lights
…to distract us from the weaker light on sunny days and all the wintering. I took The Baron out for a sunny walk today. I hoped someone would have their lights on, but no go.

We did very little today. It was fab. And then we watched The Hangover for the first time. I cringed as much as I did during Planes Trains and Automobiles, but in the end, I liked it okay.

Sparkling Cranberries
In the morning, we went back to Mr. T’s parents’ for gifts! We each got a snuggie; apparently, Mr. T is not a fan. The things you learn. I love mine but I suppose the matching monograms won’t be happening.

In the evening, friends without family in Seattle (plus a few extra) came over for dinner for our own family dinner. All month, I worried I’d catch the Christmas melancholy since we weren’t headed to Louisiana. This was my insurance against that. Mr. T cooked up a great ham. The ham had to be reheated before we officially sat down. (It was killer when it was first done, but only okay an hour later). Better luck next time but I think most were happy. My scalloped potatoes were awesome. As were the addictive sparkling cranberries pictured above. The recipe’s here.

Rum afire
The Gastrognome threw a great Dec 23rd party. Later in the wee hours, Rocky showed up with drinks to light on fire.

Rum afire
This evening, we went to Mr. T’s parents to celebrate a family birthday & watch his niece and nephew pick out their first Christmas gift.

tree trimming time
About 25 years ago, my mom & aunt started a tradition where my cousins, my brother & I each received an ornament every year for Christmas. I’ve added lights and a handful of shiny & matte silver balls, but everything else on the tree represents a Christmas past. This is one of a dozen Santas in the collection.

Tonight, we decorated our tree, while watched the best of Will Ferrell’s SNL sketches.

Xmas tree
I wasn’t set on getting a Christmas Tree this year, but the veggie stand near our house was having their annual sale. $25 seemed like a fine price for me so we carried one the 3 blocks home.

Then we scurried off for my first-ever Hot Pot in the International District at Seven Stars Pepper. Perfect for cold weather.
My First Hot Pot
It’s the eve of the Solstice — check out that dusky darkness at 3 o’clock.

tv shopping
We went TV shopping today. You know, just to see what was up, what was available. In case you had any doubt, on the Saturday before Christmas, all of Northgate was a zoo.

M's engaged!
Tonight, we went to celebrate a friend’s birthday and learned we were celebrating an engagement too. Exciting! Let’s hear it for the brides of 2010!

Homegrown has fried pickles!
I met with a good friend for lunch at Homegrown — while waiting for my usual, realized they’ve changed up their menu. They now have fried pickles! With creole honey mustard. Must investigate. Tomorrow.

Winter Nights Have Begun
phone cam! the cam itself has a b&w filter

A late night at work leads to a QNI (Quiet Night In — acronym of the day, thanks to J). Both on our laptops, with The Baron keeping us company in the living room and wondering why I keep flashing bright lights at him.

I bought this the other day at the weird food store. The calamari shape reminded me of Brian & Anne & Greece and a quick google indicates that’s part of the idea. But I don’t exactly keep squid in my fridge for a moment’s notice…so what to make with calamarata?

In the meantime, we made goat a cheese & tomato with campanelle. Really tasty home food isn’t always so pretty to photograph.

Fresh from Florida!

Mr. T’s grandpa sent us a great holiday gift: citrus from Florida!

Fresh from Florida!

This will come in especially handy as protection against that coworker who keeps coughing on me. 🙂

A Beverage we didn't order
This has been our big holiday weekend of activities. And I didn’t even do any shopping — I haven’t even started. But as far as the season goes, today was the busiest day yet.

We met with eM, her husband, and another couple at Spring Hill in West Seattle. I’d just been there for a Friday workshop, but this place has been on my list all year. We liked it. They accidentally delivered a bloody mary that no one ordered. We photographed it, because that is what we do. Then the lady came back to take it to its rightful home.

Mid-afternoon, my friend (code-named) Dagmar had her community band Christmas concert. I thoroughly enjoyed it with motomotoyama & other friends.

In the evening, book club. We discussed The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo, a Swedish mystery. I prefer book clubs where there’s disagreement in our literary assessments, so this one ranks high. For the record, I liked the book. Some loved it, some HATED it. Mr. T got into the spirit of the Swedish theme by making Swedish Meatballs. I made drommar & rosti. I ran out of time for pepperkakor.

at the EMP
taken with a new phonecam

Tonight was Mr. T’s holiday party downtown at that music museum. We had a good time. This is my 3rd time there for a corporate event. We spent a lot of time up in the museum exhibits this time but there was, and live music from the main stage area by an 80s cover band. We wrapped up the evening at Gus’s place nearby.

in the Sky Church

*Every time I think of Madonna’s Holiday, I can hear Adam Sandler singing it morosely after his breakup during The Wedding Singer. Still funny, after a decade.

New Glasses
I’ve wondered for years if I should break up my contact lens habit. Though I can’t see as crisply in glasses as contacts, I suspect it’s good to give my eyes a break more than the 6-8 hours/night I do now.

I hate shopping for glasses. I bought my last pair 8 years ago. I went with that year’s common metal frame and committed upon advice from a shop employee. In retrospect, they looked just like his. They bent easily, and on one of the early times I wore them in public, a (tactless) friend (?) said, “oh, those sure aren’t as cute as the last pair you had.” Dude, who raised you?

Today I had a last minute eye doc visit. I bit the bullet after trying just about every pair in the clinic’s store. Most were far too big or small. Most were far too square. Most colors seemed garish. I was determined to find one that didn’t fit the curse of 00’s fashion. I didn’t ever really find what I was looking for. But it’s been 7 annual exams since my last pair, where I thought each year would be the one where I’d change.

These will arrive in 10 days. Sometimes you just gotta step off the path you’re on & bust out of the rut.

Frank's: December BOM
Six weeks ago, BOM hit up Shadowland. For November/December, we had a combined-month outing to Frank’s Oyster House & Champagne Parlor in Ravenna.

On tonight’s table:
Goat cheese deviled eggs
Fried oysters
Ham Biscuits
Mini Lobster Rolls
The Burger

-I knew when I saw the goat cheese deviled eggs on the menu online that Mr. T would want them. Good but not mindblowingly great (and surprising) like Anchovies & Olives’ deviled eggs were.
-This was the first time I enjoyed the fried oysters on their own merit and not on culinary expectation. It may not make sense to anyone else, but the dish may have been my oyster gateway drug that gets me ordering such entrees more regularly. They reminded me of the delicious fried food from you-know-where.
-Since Mr. T was going for the burger & I knew he’d let me have some so I could pass Burger Judgment, I went for the mini lobster rolls as my main. The rolls en toto were underwhelming. But the bread was laced with crack — oh, I mean butter. Enough butter. At $18, I won’t be ordering this dish again but my curiosity was met. It was smaller than the order of ham biscuits, which were $9.50.
-Service was great in the beginning but lagged towards the end. We had to track down our bill, which is always a tidge disappointing when you know your party of 6 already gets the auto-18% gratuity. I bet they do very, very well on smaller parties so don’t let this sway you. Will report back when we give them another spin.
-Speaking of returning, I’ll be getting both the burger & the ham biscuits again. These were highlights. The burger had white cheddar, pickled onion, and louie sauce. Everyone enjoyed theirs–well worth ordering. Cooked perfectly & the bun was a worthy match.
-The ham biscuits had white cheddar, kurobuta ham, and calvados apple butter. Three in one order were too few for our group of 6, but I’d bet these would make me happy for a main.

Finally, this restaurant is in our neighborhood. Hooray!

Frank's Oyster House & Champagne Parlor on Urbanspoon

Our little silver tree
Years ago, I came across this silver tree. On years where we don’t buy a real tree, it’s the only one.

There might still be another. But until it arrives, it was time to move this to the living room.

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