Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sunsets on the "Nawth" River

As the SUN SETS on 2009 and I look back over the year, I am thinking that in spite of the Economic Crisis, Michael Jackson's last live performance of "Beat It", and the split-up of Jon and Kate plus eight (and who knows where Tiger is?) ....our year has been a good one! We finished the renovations on the Boston house and shared it with family in June, attended a wedding at the Vatican, had a blast at the beach with family in August, helped both girls move into places of their own, celebrated my Dad's 80th birthday and said our final good byes under an Alabama pine tree. Friends and family are really what it's all about and I am looking forward to spending 2010 surrounded by the best!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Swing

This was Rick's family, the Christenberrys, 50th Christmas amazing tribute to the bonds of this family! For the last 30 years the family has gathered at the Alabama 4-H Center which Rick's Dad was instrumental in building. Alabama Power donated the lake property and Dr. Cecil Mayfield, Papa to us, raised the rest of the money to build a "camp for kids to learn about health to better living, hands to larger service, heart to greater loyalty, and head to clearer thinking". There were 60 of us there this year. The Aunts brought their famous fudge, divinity, and lemon coconut cake, Santa made a surprise visit, the musicians played Christmas carols, and this year we assembled family cookbooks (which weigh about 20 pounds each!)

Every year the kids, and the grown kids, look forward to one of the outdoor activities; skeet shooting, the zip line, rock climbing, and this year, THE SWING. That harness looked a little uncomfortable and the first drop reminded me of a ride at Six thank you! But Christy and Haley loved it!

...who knew that the trunk of a Cadillac has gotten smaller? "On the road again......"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

.....snow is still falling, evergreen and apple wreaths decorate the front doors, and candles light the windows of the homes along main street Norwell.

Mailboxes are stuffed full of last minute Christmas cards (mine are coming!) and after-Christmas sale catalogs and the UPS men are making their last runs.

The farm animals have on their winter coats and Tucker and I are about to enjoy a hot bowl of oatmeal while we watch the ice float down the river. I have all day to wrap gifts and fill the kitchen with smells of Christmas Eve dinner.

I hope you are warm with the spirit of Christmas and surrounded by friends and family on this Christmas Eve!
...With love and best wishes.....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Which Witch?

Don't assume that Harrods has fallen on the "Wicked Witch"....
If you haven't been to see "Wicked" (my new favorite production in London!) you may not know the whole story
of OZ!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Only 12 shopping days left!

Just a little RECESSION humor!

Friday, December 11, 2009

I am overwhelmed by the emails and phone calls I have received from friends around the world. Thank you for your thoughts, thank you for your prayers, but most of all, thank you for your friendship. As the holidays approach we are reminded that gathering with family and friends is really what the season is about!

With love and heartfelt appreciation.....Holly and Rick

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Edinburgh....magical at Christmas!

Edinburgh is a fantastic weekend destination from London any time of the year but at Christmas, it is magical! Sandi and I just returned and I promised friends in London that I would send them the travel details so here they are form!
Book your seats with a table on a morning East Coast Train out of Kings Cross station. The ride takes just over 4 hours and it is beautiful - sheep filled pastures, towering steeples in small farming villages and as you approach Edinburgh, the rocky Firth of Forth coastline. We packed sandwiches and a good book (Sandi was reading Mary, Queen of Scots - perfect for this trip!) and the "snack cart" comes by with hot tea or a beverage of choice.

The Scotsman is a chic boutique hotel located right across the street from the train station and one block from the Royal Mile........
where you can explore the Scotch Whiskey Center with a fabulous restaurant, Amber. We enjoyed a late lunch starting with hot Whiskey Toddies but I would suggest that you reserve a table for dinner on line before you make your won't be disappointed in the meal!

The Royal Mile forms the main thoroughfare of medieval Edinburgh, linking the Castle at the top of the hill to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official Scottish residence. We were so intrigued by the tower associated with the unhappy reign of Mary Queen of Scots, we could just imagine how the whole murder of her Italian secretary took have to read the book!

The streets are full of shops selling kilts, wool scarves and cashmere, shortbread, even Haggis if you dare! During Christmas, a German market fills the valley with the smells of roasted nuts and Gluhwein (hot mulled wine). The Dome, an old bank turned into a restaurant, was elaborately decorated for the season and is a "must stop" for cocktails and people watching!

The only detail I have not mentioned is the weather-
It is really cold, I mean bone chilling cold! The wind whips off the Castle and even when Rick and I visited last Easter it was cold. But you just have to bundle up and pace yourself with stops for sightseeing, shopping, and a few hot Scotch Toddies or Mulled Wine.
How do they stay warm in those kilts?

Friday, November 20, 2009


That's Gaelic for cheers!

Dublin is the perfect city for a quick weekend get away....from London that is!
We stayed at the Shelbourne Hotel, a landmark in the heart of the city over looking St. Stephen's Green. It was just a few blocks away from shopping on Grafton Street and Trinity College where the major attractions are the Old Library and The Book of Kells, richly decorated manuscripts of the four Gospels in Latin.

Our first stop, not surprising, was the Guinness Storehouse and St. James's Gate Brewery. It is a self-guided tour through six floors of the brewing process and popular advertising campaigns of the past. It ends with a generous tasting of draught Guinness at the rooftop Gravity Bar with a 360 degree fabulous view of Dublin. Normally, I'm not a fan of the dark brown beer but once you get past the thick foam and the first few sips.....well it's all about the experience!
And for lunch....Steak and Guinness Pie of course!

We had no idea until we arrived that on Saturday night Ireland was playing France in football for a place in the championships and Sunday was the big rugby match between Ireland and Australia. It was a great weekend to be in the Temple Bar area in Dublin!

Monday, November 16, 2009

What to pack???

Or should I say, "What NOT to pack!"
Instead of taking photo's of London sights I thought it might be helpful for my Sister and her son, who have started the "thinking about packing" stage of their travels here for Thanksgiving, to actually take photos of some of the tourists...taking photos of some of the sights. Weird, I know but interesting none the less!

Boots and jeans, raincoats and scarves, cameras, backpacks.....huge silver bag?
I see a lot more people using their phones for a quick memory shot.

What happens to Ugg's when they get water-logged?

Don't even think about it...the sandals that is!

Bright red hair seems to popular...easy to spot in a crowd!

Can you spot the American?

We plan to do A LOT of walking, go to the American Thanksgiving ceremony at St. Paul's, enjoy a Thanksgiving feast with good friends, see a show, and hit a few Pubs. The Oyster cards are topped off and ready! Start packing!