Winter Lane

Thanksgiving night, we started getting snow. And wind. In the morning, it seemed only an inch or so had fallen, but it was clearly sticking around. We might finally be into winter…

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Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. today. Growing up, this was probably my least favorite holiday. I didn’t much like turkey, and there isn’t really much else going on. (Even my regular television programs weren’t on!)

But as an adult, this has become perhaps my favorite holiday. It seems to be the one unadulterated holiday left. There are no presents, no chocolate… Being thankful for what we have… Family, friends, and food remain the heart of the holiday.

Today is a day to reflect on the good that has come to us over the past year, and try to make peace with the bad.

It is frustrating that Christmas has long been trying to hone in on this day. The consumer frenzy of Black Friday has always struck me as obnoxious. That it starts this evening is even more annoying. But I just try to ignore it and enjoy this day.

I am thankful for very many things, not the least of which is that I have the luxury to take a few moments to reflect on the good things in my life. I hope everyone has someone to spend the day with, and some good food to enjoy.

Another Sort of Creativity

This blog was conceived as a forum to put out my writing and my photography. For years I had another blog where I did that, as well as just about everything else. I wanted to separate my creative endeavors from the other stuff.

I usually think of my creative outlets as writing and photography. While they are the bulk of it, I also cook and bake. Mostly I cook, and while I like it, it’s nothing spectacular. But at least once a year, I bake. Today is that day.

My grandmother made sugar cookies for Christmas. And then my mom made them. And these cookies, in many respects, are Christmas for me. (They’re soft, unlike a lot of the sugar cookies I have this time of year that seem to be hard.) The first year I didn’t make it back to my family for the holidays, I made these cookies so I could still have some. And every year since, I carry on that tradition, even when I do make it back to my family for a visit.

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They are time intensive. I have to mix up the dough the night before (so it can refrigerate and stiffen up a bit). Then it takes four hours or so to cut, bake, and frost. And the frosting is homemade, too.

Shortly after that first cookie baking year, I added another cookie to my tradition. They have quickly become famous amongst my friends. I suspect that’s because it’s rather uncommon in these parts.

Rugelach is an eastern European pastry. I make mine with black raspberry jam and chocolate chips (rather than raisins). I have also made them with apricot jam. I keep thinking I should try cherry jam some time.

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Anyway, this is my creative blog. And this baking is another creative outlet for me. I can’t share a taste through the screen, but I figured I could at least share a couple of photos.

Whatever your traditions are this time of the year, I hope they bring as much joy as this baking brings me.

Winter Berries

I woke up to find frost on everything. Just enough to be noticeable, not enough to really think of it as hoar frost. But then, last February’s bout of hoar frost spoiled us, I think.

I only wish I had my macro lens with me.

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Red Thread

It was a single piece of red thread, just lying on the bench. One or two people might have noticed it as they walked by, but they spent little time on it, and none could have said where it had come from.

That did not make it unusual. Many things get left behind in this world. Often no one knows the story of how something came to be where it was. The world moves quickly, and people lose things.

A boy sat down on the beach, waiting for his mother and sister to finish in the store. Seeing the thread, he picked it up to play with it, to occupy his time. Absently, he wrapped it around his ring finger. The idea of love immediately popped into his head: meeting a woman, for coffee, at three o’clock.

The thought was odd and alien. He didn’t have a girlfriend, and he never drank coffee, so why did he think those things?

He unwound the thread, and the thought left him. The thread made him feel funny, so he put it down. Maybe somebody would meet the woman at three. Or maybe they’d already forgotten. The boy was already forgetting it himself. He just wanted his mom to hurry up so they could go home.

Later that day, when three o’clock arrived, he asked his mom if he could try a sip of her coffee. A bit startled, she agreed. He said he liked it and asked if he could have his own cup.

Too Early, But Pretty

Neighbors across the street have already turned on their Christmas lights. It’s too early. They shouldn’t be on until after Thursday (in my humble opinion).

That said, there is a bank in south Fargo whose blue lights are really pretty.

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I’m a sucker for blue lights. So I’ll forgive them this time.