Monday, January 23, 2017

It's Christmas time in the city...

Christmas has come and gone in what seems like the blink of an eye.  I've had my tree down for almost 2 weeks now but I still have some winter decorations and lights up for a little longer.  I was on call the afternoons of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and was called in both days.  I thought the view of downtown looked so pretty with the snow and was reminded of that song with the red and green traffic lights.
I was excited about my holly plant.  First of all, I've managed to not kill it for an entire year.  We saw entire bushes and hedges of this beautiful plant growing wild and unchecked all over England and Ireland so I wanted to coax my little centerpiece plant into something sizable.  I have it in a large pot and it sits outside in the porch during the spring and summer but it only sprouted a few new leaves.  In the winter, it sits in the large easterly facing window and seems to be happy there.  Around Christmas, I started noticing these little buds appearing on the stems and was so excited thinking they might be holly berries developing.  The large red berries in the picture an artificial decorative sprig.
We were reading about this at work that there are male and female holly plants and for actual berries to develop, you need a male plant to fertilize them or they develop into flowers as pictured above.  I hope to some day have a plant big enough to snip entire boughs and decorate the house.
Of course I did my fair share of baking during the season.  Dave has finally convinced me to make peanut butter blossom cookies with real Hershey's Kisses instead of chocolate stars.  My only complaint about that is having to unwrap all those candies but the foil debris looked so pretty on the counter.
I made a little extra pocket money by selling sugar cookies to a few friends and coworkers.  My good friend Nancy bought some for both Thanksgiving and Hannukah.  For the latter, she'd requested plain red hearts and blue circles for her order--and she didn't even want sprinkles on them.  I felt so bad making unadorned cookies for her but at the last minute I had an idea for simple decorations.  She loved them and I was happy.
Mom, Freya, JJ and I all attended the Martin Luther exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.  I've been to Germany twice but never to any of the Luther sites.  2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and I'm sure traveling there this year would be a zoo.  Luckily we had the nest best thing at the MIA.  I finally got to see Lucas Cranach the Elder portrait of him in person which was a highlight of the exhibit for me.
They'd brought several Luther treasures to the Twin Cities including the pulpit from which he delivered his very last sermon.  It was brought from Andreaskirche in Eisleben, Germany.  
They had several beautiful altarpieces from different German churches on display.  How generous of the German congregations to loan their treasures to us.  I couldn't help but think their churches must look so forlorn without their beautiful artwork.
They also had furniture from his house in Eisleben, including his writing table.  He brought religion to the masses with his translation work and his writings.  How amazing to see the table where he worked.  I felt very proud and thankful to be Lutheran at the exhibit, especially when I saw a real surviving Indulgence. 
I also love medieval history and this surviving physician's plague mask was a sight to behold.  I especially love reading about the Black Death ever since Norwegian camp because it was such a significant event in European history. 
On a lighter note, Mom and I took in the Dressing Downton even at the Mall of America.  Until the 31st, they have original costumes on display from the show.  Mom got the senior discount and I got the TpT members' discount upon admission.
As you can see, you could get right up next to the clothing to inspect the hand stitching and details.  Beautifully constructed garments.  What a privilege it must have been to participate in that production.