Thursday, December 18, 2014

Orchid Room

I'm sneaking in a post when I should be in bed already. If I don't post now, I will get one more day behind and add the orchids to a long list of other things I feel behind on, too.

We went to Phipps Conservatory on Monday - they decorate it beautifully for the holidays and stopping in has become a Christmas tradition for us. Even without being decked out in holiday style, the orchid room is always our favorite.

In addition to the flowers, Phipps is home to some incredible art glass as well, and these Longfellows are my favorite glass in my favorite room - a match made in heaven. Feast your eyes.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

On books...

I've been getting some good reading in but I have also had some strong reading craving, left unsatisfied*.

On audio, I've been listening to James Herriot's All Things Bright and Beautiful, and loving every minute of his stories, per usual. It makes me so homesick for my childhood and being on the farm. I honestly don't know how non-farm people find so much pleasure in Herriot's writing, though I know that they do, because so much of the feeling for me is in nostalgia - knowing the exact sound that Herriot calls the "chuckle" of a mother ewe who has just lambed. These stories are completely hilarious. This book comes before the War, and details his time dating Helen and their very early married life together.

*Nevermind that bit about unsatisfied reading craving. I've been able to put my finger on it - of course - it makes so much sense! It's Christmastime! The books that spring to mind this time of year are three in particular: Little Women (Alcott), The Shepherds Abiding (Mitford Series, Karon), The Long Winter (Little House Series, Wilder). I now am well and truly into Little Women on audio and I've been reading one chapter each night of The Shepherds Abiding at bedtime. I find that, if I really enjoy a book, certain times of the year or other circumstances will make me miss the characters like they are real and I know them. (Then again, when you read nine books about the same people, you DO really know them...)

{FYI, Little Women is illustrated and FREE for Kindle on Amazon.}

Is there anything in particular you love to read this time of year?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Holly - Daze

I'm not quite sure what's going on but it looks like Christmas, it sounds like Christmas... it even smells like Christmas but it still seems way too laid back. I don't have an urgency with it this year. Usually by now I've baked a hundred cookies and sent them off in tins to their new homes. I have started - nay, finished - wrapping gifts and put them below the tree so a good two weeks work of dust can settle on them before packing them up and hauling them off to Virginia. Not so this year.

Julian administered his first of two exams this week and spent the entire day grading. I have become such a creature of habit, I didn't quite know what to do today without him here. Friday is usually a good rest day for us, aside from his morning meeting.

We have a wonderful tradition of going to Pittsburgh for a shopping day each Christmas, and we plan to do that on Monday. Maybe that will get my holiday juices going. We love going to Phipps Conservatory and during the holidays, it is a real treat. So we'll hit the Strip, Point Park, Phipps, Vincent's Pizza and a few other hot spots and I hope to have some wonderful pictures to share next week.  Stay tuned!