A bayberry candle burned to the socket,
will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.
If you haven’t bought one already don’t forget to run out and buy a bayberry candle sometime tonight or tomorrow afternoon.
It’s tradition in our family to light a bayberry candle on Christmas Eve and to let it burn until it burns itself out. It is supposed to bring good luck in the coming year. I’d have sworn it was the superstitious Irish side of mom’s family that carried this tradition over but a little Internet research tells me that this is an American tradition dating back to the Colonial Days.
To me it doesn’t really matter who started the tradition.What matters most to me is the feeling I get when I light our yearly bayberry candle. When I light the candle each Christmas Eve I am connected to the women in my family who came before me.
I love the warm gentle light late afternoon brings about during autumn. As I’ve gone out for my somewhat daily walks or out to doctor appointments I’ve been bringing my camera or using my iPhone to capture the light as the day fades to night.
(Actually the 2nd day of winter but beautiful light nonetheless)
Hey! Good evening kids. I had the most amazing dinner tonight. It’s my 38th birthday and the hubs took me to Tortilla Press in Collingswood for dinner tonight. I’ve been dying to try this restaurant for so long and my meal was more than I expected. I was so excited to finally go and I was worried that it would not live up to my expectations. As it turns out there was no need to worry. Everything we ate tonight was fresh, tasty and savory.
I’m not a restaurant critic or even an experienced foodie but I know good food when taste it and this was good food. My father has often said, “You don’t mind spending money when it’s good food.” Well kids I’d have paid twice what we paid and still raved about the experience.
We started off with Tortilla Soup. When it first came to the table I was worried I wouldn’t like it because the broth was red as opposed to brown. A few spoonfuls in I was wishing I’d asked for a bowl of soup. The broth was smooth and tasty and flavorful without being too salty or spicy.
For diner I chose the chicken fajitas (oh yeah I’m predictable) and the hubs chose Ancho Chile Crusted Tuna Pineapple. We both enjoyed our food immensely. Mine came with shredded cheese, tomatoes, sour cream, peppers, onions and rice. There wasn’t one thing on my plate that was not delicious. The chicken was tender and cooked in this yummy Mexican barbecue sauce, the peppers, tomatoes and onions were cooked just enough to be tender but not too much to be mushy and the rice was cooked just right; soft, fluffy, tasty.
Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I almost forgot to tell you about the black bean dip and fresh guacamole. The bean dip was so good we asked for more and brought what we didn’t finish home with us. I’d never had guacamole before tonight because it never looked appealing on my plate. Tonight’s guacamole was made fresh and was the most beautiful color of green I’ve ever seen. I truly wish I’d have thought to take pictures of our dinners. Both were as beautiful to look at, as they were tasty to eat.
The hubs’ tuna looked beautiful. It was seared and served rare so there was no way I was going to eat it. I did however taste his chipotle mashed potatoes, which were to die for. You know the ones I’m talking about. The good ones. The creamy ones. The made just right ones. The ones that you could sit and eat a whole bowl of by yourself. Oh yeah. These were it, soft, creamy, flavorful. Mmmmmmmmm …. Wonder if they’d sell me a bowl of mashed potatoes? *laughs* And imagine I only had 2 forkfuls. Imagine the rave review they’d have gotten if they were part of my meal.
Both of our desserts were to die for. I ordered the Coconut Flan and the hubs had the Cheesecake Chiminchanga. The flan was light, tasty, flavored with just enough coconut where you got the coconut taste without out being overly sweet. The real winner of the evening was the Cheesecake Chimichanga in all its warm, soft, comforting glory. What a way to end dinner. When the hubs cut into the yummy, light, sweet chimichanga outside to free the warm, tasty, oh so smooth cheesecake inside it was like eating tomato soup on a cold rainy day; warm, comforting, soothing. Yum. What a way to end a meal. *sigh* Next time we go I’m gonna eat mashed potatoes and cheesecake. Think they’ll mind? *laughs*
All mashed potato and cheesecake ravings aside, both of our dinners were amazing and I have to say, reasonably priced. Two cups of soup, Chicken Fajitas, Ancho Chile Crusted Tuna Pineapple, Coconut Flan, a Cheesecake Chimichanga and a cup of coffee for less than $65. For the quality of the food and the friendly and helpful service I expected dinner to be close to $100. I was pleasantly surprised when our waiter CJ brought us our check and it was nowhere near that.
I can’t wait to go back. The hubs really pulled off an amazing birthday dinner this year.
Oh my gosh! Are these just not absolutely the coolest Christmas trees you’ve ever seen? As I was searching for the link to Vince Lee’s reading of Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus I came upon a story about a local store selling feather Christmas Trees. I took some time tonight and looked up the store and the manufacturer.
If you’re in the PA, NJ or northern DE area the trees can be found on South Street at Busybee Homestore & Design Center. For those not living in the Delaware Valley, the trees and some awesome wreaths are made by Angel Wreaths. The 7′ tree is a little out of my price range but I was thinking about spending the $60 for the 27″ size. I mean look at it. Seriously. It’s awesome. It needs me. Okay, maybe it doesn’t need me so much as I need it but oh my gosh — a pink feather Christmas tree. I’m overcome at the pinkness of it all.
I was looking at Angel Wreath’s site and they have a matching pink feather wreath. OMG! The neighborhood needs a door adorned with pink feathers. I mean how could it not? I’d totally hang that all year long. Everything’s made better with a lil pink and some fluffy feathers.
Where have these people been all my life? I bought a little hot pink tree at Borders last year and this 2’3″ feather tree would make for an amazing companion for my itty bitty pink tree.I think that’s what I need to do, start a collection of pink trees. They can be a family of pink trees. Anyone know where to buy hot pink Christmas lights?
It’s been a rough year hear at Casa de Soapboxville. Lots of family members sick, me included. I know we should all be rejoicing in the fact that both I and my father survived pretty serious health scares but instead it’s a fairly low key Christmas. I think everyone’s exhausted and worn out from worrying over the past 12 months. It breaks my heart to see what my sickness has done and is doing to my parents. They’re in their 70s and the shock of what happened and now constant worry about my well being is and has taken its toll mentally, emotionally and financially. I wish more than anything that it was not worry about me (or anything) that weighs heavy on their hearts.
I’m not sure we’ll get around to Christmas shopping or Christmas card writing. I’m thinking everyone gets New Years cards and Valentines Day gifts. We’ll see what comes of this week.
Changing gears and moving on to more positive news, I had an appointment with Dr. Bussey, the neurosurgeon on Friday. As it turns out the MRI revealed there is less cancer than they first believed and the blood clot has shrank significantly. I have to have another Cat Scan in mid January to check the blood clot’s progress again. There is the possibility that I could be off the Lovenox (blood thinner) by late January.
I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon on Wednesday. She is the doctor who will give the go ahead for me to begin radiation treatments. My head is still healing from surgery and I am unsure when Dr. Matthews will give the go ahead. She’ll check me again on Wednesday and let me know how I’m progressing.
The hubs and I watched Miracle on 34th St. tonight on AMC. It helped inspire a holiday mood and reminded me of a favorite holiday tradition. Each year on KYW 1060 AM they play a reading of Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus as read by Vince Lee. It never fails to make me cry and remind me of the beauty and magic all around us every day. I looked for it online tonight but it’s not up yet. If I find it I’ll post it. For now I offer you the text of the letter and a reading I found on You Tube.
“DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
“Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
“Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’
“Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
“115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.”
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.