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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas time in the city

I love John and Katie Koellen’s Earthereal Restaurant & Bakery for its delicious vegetarian dishes, with the home-made soup and gazpacho among the very short list of my favorite things in this world. (Everything is prepared fresh from scratch here, so the salads are crisp and fresh, the soup good and hot, the specials unusual ... like the black eye pea soup I sampled on my last trip.)

It is so warm in there and cozy and such a retreat on a busy street and in a busy world. I like that it is local. And that you see such a diverse group of diners.

But always, it is fun to stop by during the holidays as I did one day last week.

It is filled with the most whimsical and quaint gingerbread houses that Katie creates and people can’t resist buying and taking home.

They look wonderfully hme-made as though my mom or your mom made them. I guess that I am saying they don't have a "don't-touch-me-perfect" stance.
I love to see them.

And, the heart healthy cookies, bread and breakfast confections all packaged up in the most creative way for gift giving.

Regular customers receive a present as they depart out the back or front door. This year, it is a ruler made from recycled polystyrene. "The polystyrene in this ruler equals the weight of 3.6 foam coffee cups. Please help us recycle!" it said.

But what we relish was the bookmark tucked into the envelope. On ivory paper with black print, it says: "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul. And sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all." Emily Dickinson.

Words to help us live by. It goes up on my desk!

... We also like artist Susan Branch’s e-mail advice:

"The Best Gifts are tied with Heartstrings:"

"The gift of Enthusiasm: "When you go out shopping, wear something festive for the season — a pin or a bright scarf or hat. Smile at everyone, spread sunshine, do you part — be an elf!

"The Gift of Fun: ... Come in cold & frosty to something hot from the stove.

"The Gift of Yourself: Your time can be a most precious gift — a phone call or letter — cook a lovely dinner, set a pretty table, & invite good friends.

"The Gift of Faith: Before you go to bed on Dec. 31, join hands, say a prayer & make a wish for the coming year."

Happy holidays to all of you, too!

If you have any special holiday memories to share, please send them my way.


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