Gathering Graces 12/12/2017

*I woke up with a bad cough so I texted Nikki and told her I would not be walking this morning. I don’t think I would have made it one circle around our route at KHS.
*All morning at work I was feeling pretty lethargic, and coughing and not feeling great. I started feeling kind of achy, started getting the chills and kind of hot, too. I came home after lunch and slept all afternoon. That helped some. I did drag myself out of the house to attend our annual P.E.O. Christmas party at Michele Heyn Rauenhorst’s house. I picked up Christy and Dawn and we all had a nice time visiting over a delicious potluck dinner, then having a fun gift exchange, and then ending the evening being lead by MaryKay Lyons Hanson singing Christmas carols. I received a big white teddy bear and a musical snow globe to add to Paul’s collection.
*When I dropped her off after the party, Christy invited me in to see the progress on her shed in her backyard. Today they got electricity to it, so now it has heat and lights. It will be such a fun place to enjoy meals together once it is all finished.
*My “go-to” Christmas potluck item for the last few years had been a Mini Sausage Wreath. You take little smokie sausages and wrap them in crescent roll dough, and bake it in the shape of a wreath. The you make a dipping sauce with cranberry sauce and bbq sauce. It is always a big hit. Here is a link to the recipe here.

Mini Sausage Wreath


Gathering Graces 12/11/2017

*We had our final Christmas show performance tonight at 6 p.m. About 20-30 Elementary school and Middle School students and adults attended. It was a lot of fun.
*At school there was a potluck lunch in the library with the KHS staff. It was fun to gather together and visit and relax as we begin the final week of classes before Christmas break.
*One of the cast members, Emma, gave me a sweet little snowman charm after the show tonight. Her giving me that gift really touched my heart.


Gathering Graces 12/10/2017

*December 10 is a big day. On December 10, 1984, Paul proposed to me, and I said, “Of course”. Thirty three years ago. And my “of course” response was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life!!
*To celebrate, we decided to have lunch at Wah Hing before going up to Wallace for our show. I enjoyed my #10 Combo dinner with Hong Kong Lo Mein, Almond Chicken, BBQ Pork and Seeds and an Egg Roll. Paul has found a new favorite he enjoys ordering now, Hot Braised Shrimp.
*The show went really well this afternoon. It has been a long week, and cast members are tired, some are getting sick, but boy you wouldn’t know that on stage. They kept their energy up, not only through the show, but then the local nursing home in Silverton asked if we could come and sing some songs to the residents. So we piled in the car and headed to Silverton and sang our songs from the show. Then we had our cast party at The Pizza Factory in Wallace.
Caroling this afternoon for the residents of Good Samaritan Society--Silver Wood Village in Silverton.
*But the fun is not over...not quite yet. Our cast is presenting a special show tonight for the Pinehurst Elementary and Kellogg Middle School after school programs. So one more show tonight, and then we are done. Which is always bittersweet! This has been such a great cast, and I have really enjoyed working with each and every one of them.


Gathering Graces 12/9/2017

*We are starting to look a little bit like Christmas around our house today. Paul and I headed to ACE Hardware and purchased some lights to put on the house outside. We got once string of lights up, but ran out of the hangers you use to attach them to the gutters. This afternoon we returned to ACE and Paul got more hangers, and put the other string of lights up. I got Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus on his straw set up today, too.
*I decided to drag all of our Christmas stuff our of the basement storage area into the main area in the basement to assess what we had, what we had acquired from Mom, and what we will be using this year, and possibly tossing. It hope tomorrow I at least get lights on the Christmas tree. I keep going back and forth, whether to put white lights or colored lights on the tree. Since all the other lights in the living room area will be white, I think colored lights on the tree has won out.
*We headed up the the theater to perform in the afternoon matinee. One cast member thought the show was this evening, but fortunately they lived close to the theater, and arrived and got dressed in plenty of time. We had a nice crowd today, and it was fun having a few little kids in the audience. One little boy was beaming throughout the whole performance!!
*We got home and relaxed a bit before heading over to Christy and Everett’s house for family dinner, with Bill and Debbie. Christy prepared a delicious pork tenderloin with some cheesy potatoes and bread and stuffed celery, and some pretzel buttons for dessert. It was a nice gathering and meal. We stopped by Bill and Debbie’s house after we ate so Paul could see the transformation so far. I am so excited to see it all done.


Gathering Graces 12/8/2017

*Today was my book club’s Christmas gathering where we gather for a wonderful meal, share about the book we read, and then have a cookie and gift exchange. We all come home with five dozen Christmas goodies, and also some small gifts. I look forward to this gathering each Christmas season. We call ourselves the Huckleberry Book Club, and have been meeting monthly to talk about books for the past 13 or 14 years. (I will have to check to see the exact year we started). I think I have only missed 2 or 3 times over all these years. It is one of the highlights of my month.
*Sue, our host for today’s book club, said she would be making lasagna for lunch. To keep with the Italian theme, I said I would make a Panzanella Salad. I made one this last summer while in Italy, but found a different recipe, and I loved it. This was actually called a Caprese Panzanella Salad, made with cut up grape tomatoes, garlic, shallots, fresh basil, little mozzarella balls and cubes of sourdough bread toasted in a pan of butter. Then you toss them all together and drizzle with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar, and add salt and pepper to taste. It was one of the best salads of this kind I have ever made. And the colors made it look very festive and Christmasy!!

Caprese Panzanella Salad

*Our cute little Christmas show opened tonight. We had a nice crowd, and it was fun being a part of this show with this great cast. For me, the highlight of this show and the one we performed last month is the ability to work with such wonderful people. Both casts have been so great, and I have enjoyed seeing people who haven’t acted on stage hardly at all just blossom!! We have two more shows this weekend, both at 2 p.m. It was nice having Christy, Everett and Debbie in the audience!
*I sent Paul off after school to get our Christmas tree. It is in the garage, and it has filled the garage with a wonderful pine scent. I hope to at least get the tree in the stand and in the living room tomorrow. Probably won’t be decorated until Sunday or Monday.


Gathering Graces 12/7/2017

*Shoshone Funeral Home here in Kellogg had a Candelight Memorial Service tonight, and invited people to come and remember loved ones who had passed away. It was a beautiful service. Pastor Ken Bartle shared some words about remembrance, and Paul and I were asked to sing. We sang the songs Heirloom and Softly and Tenderly. The director of the funeral home, Debbie Mikesell, shared about the candles that were being lit, and said, “As we light these five candles in memory of and in honor of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories, one for our love, and one for our hope.”
*We had a nice mix of people at our table at the service last night. Class of 1981 classmate Rayma Shields and her husband Jim sat next to us. Rayma’s mother also recently passed away. Rayma’s brother Dennis and his wife were also at our table, along with Patti Hei and her sister Julie Murchinson.
*Earlier in the year, Paul and I sang the song Heirloom at a memorial service, and members of that family attended last night. I gave the daughter a big hug, and we talked about grief, and how shedding tears through the grieving process is so good. I think the ability to sing last night and bring some comfort to others who have lost loved ones was quite a healing experience for me.
*I also got a laugh from another person who attended the service, Nancy Callaghan Kosonen. After the service she came up to me and said that all she could think of when I was up there singing was when I dressed up like Elvis Presley and sang for a P.E.O. event. I got a kick out of that comment!!
*After last night’s dress rehearsal, I am feeling good about tonight’s opening night. I look forward to a weekend of spreading Christmas cheer to members of our community. And it will be nice to finally have an audience to perform to!!
*I hope to get the house looking Christmasy this weekend. We need to go get a tree, and put it up, and start getting the inside and outside of the house decorated. It is going to be a busy weekend, but my goal is to get the house looking a lot like Christmas.


Gathering Graces 12/6/2017

*Today 268 poinsettias were delivered to Kellogg High School. Our National Honor Society members sold the plants as a fund-raiser. Today, with the help of some students, the plants were unloaded off the delivery truck, unloaded them the Library Conference Room, and then helped me deliver them throughout the school, and sort them into groups for students to pick up after school. It all went smoothly, and the flowers are very beautiful. And the students raised over $1100!!
*After work I came home and worked on some things to prepare for rehearsal. I had a craving for one of the deli sandwiches from Yoke’s Deli, so Paul went and got us each a sandwich and some chips. I had a toasted roast beef sandwich with horseradish sauce, and Paul had Pastrami. Boy, did those sandwiches hit the spot!!
*Paul and I went and picked up Drake and headed to the theater. Our first dress rehearsal went pretty well. One more on Thursday, then opening night Friday a 7 p.m., with other shows on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.