Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Frenchman's Bay, Maine

Monday, December 29, 2008

Winged Balloon Stampede

When you combine wings and balloons, what do you get?

I plan to attend this event!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas Poem

Notice the little clay hedgehog in the circle of animals around Jesus' manger. I picked him up at a German flohmarkt (flea market). He reminds me of a stanza from the Anglican hymn -- "All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful, The Lord God made them all."


To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.

--G.K. Chesterton

--Painting is in the Speyer Dom

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Murphy

Murphy and his household wish you all a very merry Christmas Eve. May your holidays be full of joy and candy canes. And furry beasties in Santa Claus hats.

*picture taken by Anna

Thursday, December 18, 2008

English Toffee

Here's a scrumptious English Toffee recipe that I've made often. Don't ask about the number of calories though; you don't want to know! It's amazingly easy and a good gift for the holiday season:


Ingredients --

1 pound butter
2 cups sugar
2 cups chopped almonds
12 oz. chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Stir butter and sugar in large pan over high heat until melted.
Cook and stir constantly until toffee is very smooth and a medium to dark golden brown (about 10 minutes).
Add almonds and cook 1 minute longer. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO BURN IT!
Spread immediately in 13 X 9 X 2 buttered pan or on cookie sheet.
Cool 5 minutes and sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
As chips melt, smooth the surface with a spatula and then sprinkle chopped walnuts on top.
Cool in the fridge.
After toffee is solid, knock (I use a knife to pry it) from the pan and break into pieces.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Mannheim Weihnachtsmarkt

Jeff and I wandered around the booths, looking for gifts and tryng the food. This Christmas market wasn't as crowded as the Heidelberg one.

Lots of pretty lights at night! Santa Claus is sampling the Glühwein -- hot red wine with a mix of cinnamon and other spices. Perfect for the cold.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Can't Wait

In less than an hour, we're leaving to hear "The Messiah" performed at Mark Twain Chapel in Heidelberg. I can't wait! This music epitomizes the start of the entire Christmas season for me.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Amazing Race Finale in Oregon

The final episode of the Amazing Race aired last night on CBS television and it was filmed in Oregon! Even better, they shot the "high adventure" challenge at Camp Tilikum, where my sister Beth and daughter Danielle both worked. "Some of the challenge course elements are attached to 100-year-old Douglas Fir trees as high as 120 feet off the ground," according to the camp's website.

After negotiating the Tilikum ropes course and then a zipline at Bridge of the Gods, the three Amazing Race teams swooped into downtown Portland for their last clues. The teams received one clue at Voodoo Doughnut, my favorite donut shop in the entire earth, universe, and solar system. I'm looking forward to visiting there myself, as soon as we move back.

*Photo from Tilikum website

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Market Square In Marrakesh

A view of the main market at night. We ate dinner at one of the restaurants surrounding the square, with an unobstructed view of the swarm of activity and noise down below. This included: whirling dervishes, cobra charmers, women doing henna hand painting, men with monkeys, little kids selling cigarettes, and many other small businesses.

Some of the infinite varieties of dried fruits and nuts available--walnuts, almonds, sugared and salted peanuts, figs, apricots, a wealth of dates (dried, fresh, regular and gourmet, fat, slender, you name it).

If you can't tell, this booth is selling cooked snails. The huge basin in the middle is brim-full of snails still in their shells and customers sit around the sides of the booth to be served. Don't know if garlic butter is supplied or not.

**Click on the photo if you want to see more details.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Guide Us By Your Grace

Jeff got a job offer from a company in Vancouver, Washington and replied with a "yes" last week. So we're moving to the NW at the end of January! I'm excited to be so near family again, but at the same time, will miss many people here in Germany. Especially our small group and some writing buddies and other friends I've made.

This song is becoming my prayer for the days ahead...not just for me and my family, but for you too, if you're in the midst of any transitions.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

In Marrakesh

I love the colors in these carpets. No one drugged our mint tea and tried to steal our money in the carpet stores (contrary to a few dire warnings I'd received regarding Moroccan merchants).

The light, the light. Made it easier to take good photos, that's for sure.

Don't you feel sorry for the poor horse?

Monday, December 01, 2008

None Of That Fake Eyeliner (Murphy Monday)

You can see why we sometimes tease Murphy about wearing Cleopatra eyeliner. Except that his eye decor is the natural-born kind. Lucky dog.