the categorical days: Family

December 27, 2008

a tin full of cookies

all that remains are these images

The remainder of Christmas Day:

We caught The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is a fine enough flick. I didn't want Brad Pitt to get younger as much as I wanted to turn on some lamps around the set. Either it was a dark movie or the projectors at the Esquire were dim.

Afterward, Mom sent us on our way with—among other goodies—a tin full of cookies.

The contents did not last very long.

I'm not sure when my mother incorporated Chocolate Covered Coconut Balls into the mix, but it breaks with tradition and I will be petitioning to have them removed from holiday rotation. Luckily, few others share my distaste for coconut so it was easy to find homes for them.

The other good news is that the remaining three varieties (mincemeat, spritz, and thumbprint) rank as all-time favorite cookies, ever.

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November 23, 2008

cold cuts

a tiny slice of the much larger spread

Birthday party / early holiday get-together with Dan's family today, somewhere up north where harvested fields give way to elaborate churches or grain silos on every horizon.

No one left with a black eye and I don't think any wills were re-written, so I'm considering it a success.

I had brownies and cake!

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October 10, 2008

Halloween, 1982

A scene from my youth

My brother dug up this photo the other day, and man it pulls on the strings of my nostalgic heart.

That's an 11-year-old me over there on the right, as the world's tallest E.T.

My mom's looking on from the backdoor of our old house.

See, I was entirely obsessed with Spielberg's movie after it was released that summer.

I ate Reeses Pieces even though they were an incredibly putrid candy. I knew the day JC Penney would have plush E.T. dolls on sale (and this was before the internet). And I begged my mom to make this costume.

I bet she had to customize that McCall's pattern no. 8311 somethin' fierce to get it to fit me.

It's been a while since I've said it, but mom you've got to know I love you.

For every stitch and every moment.

Thank you for making me feel right at home on this planet.

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July 08, 2008


Not quite 99 luft balloons

This July 4th, the parade in Northside was not damped by rain. At least not from our vantage.

And again my mother and brother out-did themselves with decor and food spread.

We filled up on sights from the street and the backyard, ate too much, and yet somehow found the gumption to fill up plates to take home.

There are lots of photos, but I'm beginning to think that the more photos you have to sift through, the less time you have.

Current music: Prince "Tamborine"

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May 28, 2008

my mother's day

looking up from below

I stayed up too late last night happily jamming on a project, not considering that I'd crash hard and nap, perhaps too much, after work today.

Groggy at 11pm, I realized today is my mom's birthday. Barely.

A quick call found her in bed, but still awake (so she says).

Love that lady.

Current music: Sigur Rós "Gobbledigook"

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May 23, 2008

Gabrielle graduates

Among the mortarboards

Drove down to see my niece graduate from high school.

The whole ceremony was too long, but I think that is normal for these things.

Everyone's ass was sore from the bleachers.

Still managed to enjoy the event, and proud of my niece.

PhotosA few more photos from the evening

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April 19, 2008


My mom and niece

My niece had a birthday this week.

She's now old enough to vote and a host of other things I can't recall at this hour.

Anyway there was a little get-together last night and dag it was good to see my sis, nephews and their other halves. And of course it was good to see the birthday gal.

Cincinnati chili spaghetti for dinner and a marble cake.

Good times.

Bonus, driving by my childhood home and getting a good look before all the leaves fill in. [ photo ]

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February 06, 2008

463 miles

This diptych bothers me not because they're mobile phone snapshots, but because the perspectives aren't exactly the same.

Woke early and loaded the 10 foot long "mini mover."
Attached tow for the car.
Hit the road.
Glimpsed the blue ridge. (left)
Ate bad food. (right)
White knuckles through the construction with concrete barriers.
I swore I felt my temples gray.
Landed in Cincinnati.
Mom had soup ready, fresh fruit, and iced cookies in the shape of a heart.
Yum. Home. Exhausted.

Current music: Pundits and percentages

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February 04, 2008


An XM Radio poster behind the ticketing counter [ +zoom ]

Got up way too early and jumped on an AirTran plane. Never flown with this airline before, but it is cheap and flies out of Dayton. They serve Coca-Cola products and my flight(s) offered those individually wrapped shortbread cookies that are packaged in factories that may contain peanuts.

Met my brother upon arrival in Atlanta.

We are packing up his apartment and regarding everything as Niecy Nash would on the set of Clean House.

If you don't know this show, it is where they find extreme pack rats and force them to have a yard sale or donate accumulated crap in order to tidy up the place. Neicy dispenses advice and acts like she personally foots the bill on gifts like sectional sofas or sideboards that provide a base for select crap that did not get sold or thrown away.

I like the show because they don't go too far out with themes. Like say, if there was a boy that collected Hot Wheels, they don't put asphalt on the floor and paint his bedroom like a NASCAR track, forcing him to sleep on a pile of tires.

All that's a tangent I suppose.

Tomorrow we load a U-Haul and head back to Ohio.
Bad news: no time to explore Atlanta.
Good news: my oldest brother won't be so far away.

Current music: Yael Naïm "New Soul"

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October 11, 2007

My sister gets her wings

That's her, glowing in the middle

Over the past month or so, I've talked to my sister on the phone more than I have in ages. She's been cramming on her studies to do something she's only dreamed about: becoming a flight attendant.

On each call she was more and more excited, passing each test and getting closer to the goal. All her hard work paid off, and today it became official—she got pinned with her wings.

My mom and I came out to clap and beam.

We weren't just schmoozing to get on the short list for flight discounts.

PhotosA handful of photos, mostly of my sister (and a few of ma to boot)

Bonus link, because it's semi-related and National Coming Out Day: A favorite Travelocity Attendant advert (hot towel? hot towel?)

Current music: Indigo Girls "Fly Away"

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September 15, 2007

On paper


Dan and I have been slowly collecting all the bits and signatures to make “us” official (as much as we can in the eyes of the state).

I'd imagine getting married involves as much a paper trail, but Target doesn't have a registry for domestic partners—so there are some differences. I suppose.

This morning we drove to the bank to get one of the last and more important documents notarized proper. In lieu of birdseed thrown our way, we treated ourselves to a really excellent lunch.

Nothing wrong with feeling lucky sometimes.

Current music: The Hidden Cameras "We Oh We"

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June 05, 2007

she got the green thumb

Alternate photo for the day is here

I've been pretty diligent with scheduling these days. Monday started off with a slip of my mind however and I drove down to Cincinnati to go over some screens.

I found myself with just enough time to squeeze in a haircut at my barber and boy was that long overdue. If only I could have been cleaned up for the wedding.

Picked up dinner and spent a good part of the evening with my mom, sharing food and thought with a walk around her backyard garden sanctuary. She got the green thumb.

Current music: All Smiles "Of Course It's Not Up To Me"

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May 14, 2007

Happy Day, ma

A snapshot from Anne & John's weddin last year

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April 09, 2007

my nephews, in the ring

Mark (R) Matt (L) - I think. [ + zoom ]

Ham and lots of tasty homemade vittles at my sister's place this afternoon. In between glasses of sweetened tea, catching up around the table, finding out Kelly and her shoes tickle my niece's fancy, nabbing slices of pineapple upside-down cake, we played some Nintendo.

The tank game in Wii Play seemed to hold attention slightly longer than other games - but the platform is really begging for something a bit meatier in the multi-player dept.

On the drive home with my ma, I'm reminded that we agree on so many things in life— including: the enjoyment of Justin Timberlake's latest album, and that war is not the answer.

Current music: Justin Timberlake "What Goes Around"

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February 27, 2007

button bouquet

The World of Momcraft [ + bigger, different view ]

Another slice from the visit at my mom’s house. She’s always being creative.

When not making something, she’s handing you food, exclaiming, ”It's good for you!” — a master at spotting unnecessary sugars.

And those vegetable tortilla chips with flax seed were indeed excellent.

Current music: Tracey Ullman "(Life Is A Rock) But The Radio Rolled Me"

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February 26, 2007

yet another reason to visit Atlanta

Genes and jeans. Thanks to my nephew for manning the camera [ + ]

This was the scene as family gathered to see my brother off to Atlanta—not for vacation, but for life and work.

It’s a big deal, but as Glass-folk we underplay the weight of something and ham it up with talk of things like jobs, life, and hairstyles. Good thing the Oscars were playing in the background — plenty of fodder in the latter department (but my sister stole the night with her stunning 'do).

So very good to see my nephews, their other halves, and my niece with her ten-thousand watt smile.

Did I mention I need to go out there and get in on one of those card games at my sister's house? I do. Now that I've got solid wheels...

Anyway, the night ended early as Robert had to hit the road and meet the movers down there in The 4-0-4— missing out on all the major categories as the big award show extended ’til midnight.

What you don't see pictured are the moments when the reality of the his departure set in. As we raised glasses around the dining room table and my sister said kind words, my eyes filled with tears. And when my mom and bro hugged right before he slipped out into the night, you could feel it wasn't an ordinary hug by the air itself.

Current music: Stan Getz "Goodbye"

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October 31, 2006

walking without scissors

Enjoying the day with the extra hour

After brunch with my ma down in Northside on Sunday, I loaded up my pockets with candy she had set out for Halloween and we headed out for an afternoon with no agenda. The best kind.

One diversion was the Sacred Labyrinth by the Mercy Hospital up in Mt. Airy.

The sign outside what looked like a compacted track read:

A labyrinth is a walking meditation, a geometric pattern laid out indoors or outside. They date back 600 years. Unlike a maze, which has false paths and trails, the labyrinth has only one path and requires no analytical thinking.

Proponents say a short walk through a labyrinth can calm anxiety, promote health and aid in meditation. People can use it for stress reduction or as a deeply spiritual experience having to do with their own sense of sacred space within and without.

We are all on a journey and while each of us has a unique journey, we share a common one. The labyrinth invites us to get in touch with our own life journey.

The labyrinth involves three stages. The first stage, purgation, occurs when entering the labyrinth and involves clearing the mind to be open to the experience of the divine. The second stage, illumination, is reached at the center where walkers stop to reflect and pray. The third stage, union, brings us back to our connection to the world.

So there’s my mom up pictured up there in "illumination," I think.

We searched for leaves afterward and then it was off to catch "Running with Scissors," which wasn't necessarily bad, but having not read the book, I was more interested in learning about Augusten and less about Annette Bening's hair-dos.

I skimped on the review here, and totally omitted a trip to a thrift store earlier in the day, but I'm meandering too much, it's late.

In summation: I'm glad my mom didn't put me up for adoption, and I ate all the candy in my pockets.

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July 16, 2006

Mark & Heather

July 15, 2006

I'd say yesterday went without a hitch, but there was a significant one: my nephew married his longtime sweetheart.

And though it was hot (very hot), the skies were blue and sunny – a welcome change from the week of rain preceding the day.

My sister's backyard looked beautiful, along with the wedding party, friends, and family gathered under the bits of shade afforded by tent or trees.

They had three layers of cake (white chocolate, tiramisu, and strawberry) and I admit trying every variety. More than once. I think I sweat off any calories however, wielding a camera.

There are over 1,000 photos to sort. I have work to do.

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July 15, 2006

bachelor party

mmmm, bier

I posted about my nephew's wedding, but failed to mention the bachelor party the night before at the Newport Hofbräuhaus.

Good fun, tasty beers, and lots of food (like onion rings and buffalo wings) made us feel like we were right in Deutschland!

Sadly, we did not sing any German drink songs, or visit neighboring clubs with female dancers or houses of ill-repute where Jerry Springer bounced checks when he was our mayor.


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July 03, 2006

camera shopping

Western Hills Best Buy

So where was I? Oh yes, last Monday I went to help my mom pick out her first digital camera. After much weighing, we selected a Sony DSC-W50 for a variety of reasons: easy-to-use, great screen, shooting modes, size, shape, and price.

Oh yeah, that's my mom in the picture. Blurred from a poor selection of settings on my own camera and her flagrant desire to avoid being photographed. I got that from her.

The rest of the missing days involved work, dog sitting, Superman Returns in a tiny but cute theater (the movie was fine, but long), and then camping through the weekend.

Loads of pictures I need to sift through to catch up.

Tomorrow? The Northside parade.

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May 30, 2006

flower pumps

on my mom’s porch

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May 02, 2006

housesitting, iconic, and OCD button sorting

I held back from calling this entry “Red Buttons”

I was sitting at my mom's house waiting for her to get back from Europe with my brother. It's a journey they'd been planning more years than I can imagine, and advance word from a layover phone call suggests it was splendid.

Spain and France. 9 days or so.


I've been house sitting all this time and enjoying the wealth of visual food to devour at my mom's joint (the pincushion, for example.)

A friend came over one night and asked if she was Buddhist because of all the fat, bald, gold characters adorning mantles and side tables. Truth be told, she has lots of things that suggest influences from all over the world, many religions, and no particular time period.

I joked in reply that she was iconic, not Buddhist.

I say things like this, even when I am completely sober.

Wordplay aside, she seems drawn to the strongest visual elements from different cultures, creating a mash-up that somehow works in a cohesive way.


Apart from all these curiosities, there's a bunch of... assets. Stuff to make other stuff: Racks of paper, bolts of fabric, boxes of ribbon, jars of buttons. This, just from what I can see. I dare not dig too deep in closets, lest I find myself pinned under the weight of boxes piled up to the ceiling in Jenga-like fashion.

I'd say this is odd, but I'm the one who pulled the jar of buttons to the porch and sorted them by color for no other reason than it felt good, and I'm trying to take more red pictures.

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April 17, 2006

rolls my sister's

I spent Easter having a fine dinner at my sister's place with her kids, my nephew's fiancé and some family friends.

My sis made like 80 dinner rolls, which was just enough. Coupled with ham of several varieties, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and other vittles.

I didn't get any exceptionally good pictures of her newly painted dining room and kitchen, which is sad because it all looked so good.

After dinner was spent lounging in the living room with movies and napping.

A big hat tip to my sis for making it happen, and another one for her daughter who turns sixteen today.

Continue reading "rolls"

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March 29, 2006


Some good things, semi-related:

My mom's newly remodeled kitchen is operational, and it is awesome. This means potential cake.

Two different couples from dinner club got engaged this past week. Solid bet for future cake.

A few birthdays recently celebrated. For a particular 3 year old, this meant a cake with a bunch of plastic Disney® characters stuck in the icing last night.

Oh, and this just in... another couple from dinner club just announced they're expecting their first whippersnapper this fall. It's hard to bring the cake theme through, but it seems reasonable.

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February 06, 2006

tacos in my pockets

My mom, the hand model

Yesterday I put tacos in my pockets and snuck them into the theater. The one o'clock show overlapped with lunch.

"I can't believe you did that" my mom whispered as the previews began.

Transamerica was entirely enjoyable. I think Kim summed it up well with her thoughts.

Afterward we stopped by Hobo Books, a relatively new independent bookstore that opened in the neighborhood. My mom said there were cigar boxes for sale. And there were, along with walls lined with new and used books, magazines, coffee and tobacco.

Inside the bookstore

I picked up Candy Freak (because it's about one of my favorite topics), The Sweet Hereafter (I've been told it's a movie I should check out—and it was cheap), and a armload of cigar boxes (which I hope to transform into dice games.)

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December 26, 2005



My mom and brother did up their place real nice for the holiday. I mean real nice. They'd be a great addition to the window dressing team at Bergdorf Goodman.

PhotosS'more photos of the decor

My favorite roast beef sandwiches and mincemeat cookies around the fire while exchanging gifts. Mom surprised me with a Chip Kidd book I'd long since forgotten about.

I was exhausted by this point and loaded up a nifty new backpack and headed out.

Though I didn't get around to everything I had hoped to accomplish, the holiday was (insert some word that means warm, nice, loving, simple).

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December 25, 2005

Christmas Eve

My Great Nephew

Went over to my sister’s place and snuck a sampling of cookies throughout the afternoon.

Got to see my great nephew walk up a storm and grin just as much. Big bright eyes on the fella. He's no idea what all the hoopla about the holiday is yet.

Just as good.

He then napped soundly and gave the adults time to catch up.

Always fun spending a slice of time with my sis, niece, and nephews. I need to get back over there when there isn't a flurry of events and throw down some cards with 'em.

Headed home and frantically tore my place apart trying to find photo paper to print out images from the year to put into a book for my mom. Went to bed as the sun came up and ate all the cookies I had left out for Santa.

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December 10, 2005

My Grandmother's service

Outside the funeral home centre

We had an informal gathering this past Saturday at Spring Grove cemetery. Oddly enough, the same place I visited with my Grandmother in 2004.

My mother and aunt had decorated the nicely appointed room with Christmas decorations and small notes giving insight to her life. A bowl of buckeyes with ribbons, stacks of books, a slideshow on the tv, open boxes of chocolates, her quilt inspired by a trip to Hawaii, soft holiday tunes in the background, and the urn topped with a Blenko glass ball.

A lunch reception followed in an adjoining space with favorite recipes from my Grandmother.

It was all very warm.

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December 08, 2005

The tie and the photo in the tin

It's snowing here in Cincinnati tonight. Real nice big flakes. The fridge is stocked and I'm not checking work email for the evening. So I'm sifting through things and photos and I wanted to put down a few thoughts that have surfaced lately.

Visiting my Grandmother in the home over Thanksgiving, I stared at a dresser that sat across from her bed.

Along with those three drawers and the night table, there wasn't much room for anything else.

My Grandmother collected things. She took photos of flowers and footprints in the snow. She even took snapshots of the TV (and we're not sure if that was an accident or intended—though she was also the sort to write down who and when on the back.)

My mother made her a dress and my Grandfather a tie one year. The tie was saved a tin, along with a photo of them wearing the homemade goods.

She saved newspaper clippings and matches. Stacks of books. Quilts. Fabric swatches cut out in quilt patterns yet assembled.

Lots of things.

Those drawers would not have been enough.

And perhaps this thought alone is one of the strong undercurrents of wanting her to be well enough to return home. Her home that she'd whittled down to a jam packed bedroom and storage in the basement at my mom's house.

Three drawers. I keep thinking.

And yet there's a small sense of gladness (even though I require a moving truck these days) that I could whittle my "stuff" down to a laptop and a wireless connection. This line of thinking brings up a host of other issues though. Host being a formidable word.

(continuing tangent)

The conversation began with Jim and the boys a while ago, and surfaced again in this post, "When I'm 94." In short, what will become of all this digital stuff when we're gone?

Hopefully cached somewhere, on servers maintained.

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December 02, 2005

Lorena Imogene Barbour (1922-2005)

I spent part of this evening watching as mom, aunt and brother sifted through boxes upon boxes of my grandmother's photos.

Her vitals had fallen yesterday, and the lady from hospice said it wouldn't be much longer. There wouldn't be time to bring her home. Family was called and we came to this foreign place to hold her hand.

How much thinner she was from just Thanksgiving.

How the structure of her face was visible.

How each of us would take turns bedside.

I looked at her more intently than perhaps I had ever looked at her before. Her skin, so radiant and clear. Her hair, although in disarray, was thick and mostly not gray. I wished selfishly for those genes.

She squeezed our hands and said things. I hovered inches from her mouth to hear the words, "It's all been so wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful..." trailing off as she would close her eyes and give the hint of a great smile. Like she just had the best lemonade in the heat of summer.

These moments happened between abrupt starts of wide eyes and clutching. Clutching her robe, the oxygen line, the air. And then to sleep.

She passed shortly after the final family member left for the night. Peacefully.

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November 25, 2005

Leaving the home

Calm and open to petting

There was this big ol' cat hanging out in the lobby of the facility my grandmother is located. This fella was the bright spot of the visit.

My grandmother has stumped the doctors, but the prognosis is not good.

Now begins the difficult conversations.

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November 16, 2005


This entry is not a movie review

I went with my mom and brother to see Shopgirl the other night.

We had the theater to ourselves.

The movie didn't get in the way of spacing off and thinking up better dialog.

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October 12, 2005


Dean & Deluca have the best packaging

I had a bowl of chili over at my mom's house late this evening. Always a highlight having home cookin.

She's getting ready for a kitchen remodel in November and the TV is almost always tuned to HGTV. All these shows where they do everything in a just a few days, can be intimidating I suppose, but I haven't seen the show where they have good (plain) taste.

Related tangent: As much as I'm a sucker for the last 15 minutes of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, I'm getting a little bit tired of the "themes" they vomit all over the kids' rooms.

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August 30, 2005

My mom, the florist

Creating an arrangement

After a tasty meal of corn on the cob, bar-b-que chicken, broccoli, and baked potato at my mom’s, I went up to check my weight on the scale in the bathroom. Not something I normally do, but since my pants fell off earlier, I was concerned I might be losing too much weight.

I'm the same. I think I just need to do laundry more often to keep that tight fit.

As we caught up on things, I remarked how nice the flowers in her bathroom looked. And as I made motion to leave and tend to chores, she slipped outside and filled up a vase to take along.

My car had the best aroma driving back from the laundromat, earthy smells—not at all perfumey. Totally covered up the heavy odor of detergent and dryer sheets leaking through the trunk.

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July 04, 2005

Northside parade

The Ladies Auxiliary Lawnchair Brigade

So this year's Independence Day Parade in Northside seemed a bit light on the wacky side and a bit heavy on the politicians, but overall—thoroughly enjoyable.

We didn't wave as much or clap as hard for the Republicans. Though I admit there's a certain tiresome antic about wrapping folks into these two political camps. With Sandra Day O'Connor stepping down, I think the label I'm drawn to most is "moderate."

The real fun wasn't on the street though, but over at my mom's place.

She and my brother, with a little help from family and friends, have turned a non-descript house along the parade route into a slice of paradise. Thriving garden out back and lots of interesting bits lining the walls and surfaces inside. Holidays mean themes and that means the place was fit for a magazine spread on Americana.

Quite a spread of vittles catered to every taste and I've got a plate in the fridge for a midnight snack.

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