Monthly Archives: December 2012

Christmas Eve Magic

Christmas Eve Magic

Katie Laramore, JJ McKay, Cathi Hatch

This year it was the Hatch family’s turn to produce Christmas Eve for our family and friends.  Each year, the Barriers and the Hatches take turns hosting Christmas Eve and in 2012 it was our turn.

Katerie Laughlin, Michael Hatch, Kjell Schei

Christmas Eve is one of the few times each year that we still make the effort to get out all the fine china, crystal and silver and set the table beautifully for the event.  This year, we were slated to have seventeen adults plus two 1-1/2 year-old grandsons in high chairs at the main table and three grandsons ages three, three and five years old at the nearby children’s table.  Judy Hebert of Hey Jude Catering was on hand, as she is every Christmas Eve, to help manage and produce the food.

We often have a few friends that join us for a toast on their way to their main Christmas Eve event and this year JJ McKay was our only additional guest.  JJ arrived wearing festive antlers and a flashing Christmas necklace and really helped set the stage for a Christmas Eve celebration.

Kevin Laramore, Ken Hatch, Sean Hatch

Arriving at about the same time were Patty & Jimmy Barrier, Sean Hatch & Troy Clark, Kjell Schei and Katerie Laughlin, and a short time later followed by Katie & Kevin Laramore and their two sons, Cutter and Bode, Alicia & Michael Hatch and their three sons, Jackson, Spencer and Andrew, Pat Wallace, Nancy Wallace and her boyfriend, Kyle.

Jackson Hatch, Cutter Laramore, Spencer Hatch

We toasted each other while enjoying Judy’s Caviar Pie and Rosemary Parmesan Pastry Rounds and Asian Crab on Endive Spears.  Jackson Hatch was the ringleader of the other two oldest young grandsons and all seemed to have most fun when they occasionally escaped the watchful eyes of their parents and could do what little boys do best.  At least the downstairs family room at the end of the evening certainly looked like they had some fun throwing Legos throughout the room!

Alicia & Andrew Hatch

The babies were fed and the little boys ate before the adults sat down for dinner.  And then the three older boys were each given a new Lego gift to upwrap and put together while watching the new Ice Age movie.  We were able to get most of the parents to sit down at the dining room table for some part of the evening, but I don’t think we actually ever had all four parents of the boys at the table all at the same time.  Katie missed the soup course entirely and Alicia missed dessert, though each may have had at least some of the entree course.

The menu at the table included:
Black Tie Tomato Soup
Herbed Pita Crisps

Roast Tenderloin of Beef
Horseradish Cream Sauce
Caramelized Fennel, Onion and Potato Gratin
Sauteed Herbed Pea Pods with Asparagus Tips
Roasted Miniature Tomatoes

ZiZi kisses Bode Laramore goodbye.

Caramel Popped Air
Kahlua and Brandy Milkshakes

Over dinner, Ken asked each of us to share one or two memories of Christmases past that stood out in our memories and it was special and fascinating to hear what each person shared.

Following dinner, we adjourned back into the living room for our annual white elephant gift exchange.  By this time, Katie and Kevin and their boys and Alicia with Andrew had experienced just about as much fun as they could handle and headed home to bed or to play SantaMichael decided to stay and keep Jackson and Spencer there until the very end and were the last guests to leave. 

We took Christmas fudge and Judy’s beautiful Christmas cookies with us to the living room to keep up our strength during the stressful white elephant exchange.  My favorite are the Russian tea cakes covered with powdered sugar that leave telltale signs of white powder everywhere unless you eat the cookie all in one bite.

Jimmy Barrier, Pat Wallace, Troy Clark

Patty Barrier
Troy Clark
Kjell, Katerie, Jackson, Michael, Spencer, Pat
Nancy & Kyle

During the gift exchange, we were missing the Sumo Man Fan that usually shows up each year, but almost as obnoxious was a Buddha shaped butter dish that was new this year.  Some of the other gifts included Christmas Pez dispensers which somehow Ken had never seen before, a Kareoke microphone that makes your voice sound like an elf, an art piece resembling plastic or glass bok choy, shell shaped Christmas ornaments that Patty thought resembled pasties, a motor cycle pizza cutter and some kind of an electric light-up Christmas decoration that seemed to be the hottest and most desired gift of the evening.  However, Jackson, who was helping his dad select just the right gift, was thrilled to ultimately get the bok choy art piece as his number one choice.

It was time to go and everyone headed home to dream about sugar plums and reindeer who can fly.    

ZINO Team Christmas Luncheon

ZINO Team Christmas Luncheon

ZINO Society team l-r: Kate DesRosier, Jamee Nunnelee, Claire Dillow,
Cathi Hatch, Meg Landies, Chaitra Vedullapalli

The ZINO Society team took time off from work on Thursday to celebrate the Christmas season together with lunch at the Georgian Room at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.  This is one of our favorite places to have lunch that takes the ZINO Society Passport Unlimited Card which we all value so highly!

Chaitra opens pizza cutter

Claire with the bowls before they were stolen

Jamee and Kate

Chaitra Vedullapalli, our honorary ZINO Team member, joined me along with other ZINO Team members, Jamee Nunnelee, Kate DesRosier, Meg Landies and Claire Dillow.  In addition to consuming our favorite food, a surfeit of french fries (something everyone on the ZINO Team agrees about!), we had a small gift exchange where we were allowed and encouraged to steal gifts from the other people at the table. 

It was such a polite group however, that I think I might have been the only person that stole something.  Claire had opened some bowls that I thought were very cute so I went for them versus open another unknown gift.

Meg and Jamee

After lunch we snagged a guest in the lobby to take our annual photo in front of the towering, grand Christmas Tree.  Happy holidays everyone!

First School Performance for Cutter

First School Performance for Cutter

Cutter at far left-hand side

 On Wednesday evening, I braved the holiday traffic to drive to Cutter’s school, The Cedar River Academy for their Winter Concert. Daughter, Katie (aka Cutter’s mom) teaches at this small private school in Enumclaw.

Katie Laramore with Bode & Cutter

From my office in South Seattle, it took me almost two hours to drive to Enumclaw and find the school on a dark and rainy night, so I arrived a few minutes after the concert had begun, but luckily Cutter had not yet gone onstage.  There was a group of tiny children onstage playing violins when I slid into the seat next to Jill and Rick Laramore that they had kindly saved for me.  Meanwhile, Kevin Laramore was on “Bodezilla duty” which involved standing in the back of the auditorium and trying to keep Bode entertained. 

Cutter with his class

Cutter is the youngest child in the Pre-K class and in the entire school, but seemed quite comfortable as he took the stage with the other children.  I didn’t see him join in the singing very much but he incorporated hand motions (when his hands weren’t shoved in his pockets) that seemed to go along with the singing in some way.

Cutter and Cathi

I never realized that some of the songs performed had so many verses, but each song went on and on.  The star performance was the Twelve Days of Christmas which had been re-written with new lyrics and re-named the Twelve Days of Knowledge Fair.  See lyrics below.  Of course the favorite line of the song is the fifth day in either version and the children sang that line the loudest each time.  A little red-haired boy on the far right-hand side of the front row shouted the line as loudly as he could which Cutter found quite entertaining and kept leaving his place at the far left-hand side of the front row to admire his friend’s performance.  With each next stanza, the line became louder and LOUDER.

On the 1st day of Knowledge Fair, my teacher said to me . . . Do your personal best.
On the 2nd day of Knowledge Fair, my teacher said to me . . . Write a five page essay
On the 3rd day of Knowledge Fair, my teacher said to me . . .Here’s some rubber cement
On the 4th day of Knowledge Fair, my teacher said to me . . . Where’s your home project?
On the 5th day of Knowledge Fair, my teacher said to me . . . THAT PAPER’S CROOKED
On the 6th day of Knowledge Fair, my teacher said to me . . . Edit your essay
On the 7th day of Knowledge Fair, my teacher said to me . . . Where’s my Starbucks?
On the 8th day of Knowledge Fair, my teacher said to me . . . You’re doing splendid
On the 9th day of Knowledge Fair, my teacher said to me . . .Why are you crying?
On the 10th day of Knowledge Fair, my teacher said to me . . . You’re almost finished
On the 11th day of Knowledge Fair, my teacher said to me . . . Go get your board
On the 12th day of Knowledge Fair, my teacher said to me . . . I deserve a raise

Cutter with classroom pet turtle


Following the performance, the audience and the students adjourned to the lobby for sweets and juice and we had a chance to see both Cutter’s and Katie’s classrooms which I especially enjoyed and the opportunity to meet the pet turtle in Cutter’s classroom too.

Santa Supper at the Rainier Club

Santa Supper at the Rainier Club

Ken Hatch with Jackson, Spencer, & Andrew

Last weekend ended with a bang with the annual Santa Supper at the Rainier Club.  We arrived along with hundreds of other parents, grandparents and children in the pouring rain, which the drenched valets were bravely managing.  But once inside the Rainier Club, we were swept up in the warmth of the holiday spirit.

Joining us were Alicia & Michael Hatch and their three sons Jackson, Spencer and Andrew and Katie & Kevin Laramore and their two sons Cutter and Bode

Children were dressed in their holiday best and were entertained by a people-sized penguin and reindeer, sitting on Santa’s lap, visiting the Rainier Room, which starred as the childrens’ room and included balloon sculptures, cookie decorating, s’mores roasting, face painting and a myriad of other games and activities.

Mr. Reindeer with Kevin, Cutter, Bode & Katie Laramore

We were seated in the Burke Room for dinner with many of our friends and their families including Susan & Gary Neumann, Carol & Spike Anderson, Joyce & Doug McCallum, Trudi & Dave Syferd and Susie & Moe Krabbe.  Other friends were seated throughout the Club and it was nice to catch up with Annette & Bob Parks, Pat Dineen and his family, Betty Tong & Joe Miner who were there along with Alida & Stuart Oles.  It is always fun to see the children and grandchildren in each family and how much they have grown. 

Alicia wrangling Andrew, Jackson & Spencer with Santa

Susan Neumann and her new grandson.
The Laramores visit Santa Claus

Ms. Penguin greets the guests.
Main buffet including grand piano.

The Rainier Club and Chef Bill Curtis had gone all out with a three huge buffet displays; a children’s size buffet, a dessert and sweets buffet and the main buffet.  The main buffet commanded the entire room and included staging in the center of the buffet tables complete with full sized Christmas trees, a grand piano being played by a man dressed up in a Santa suit, giant stuffed animals and stunning visual displays everywhere.  A roving violinist also entertained the guests.

Joe Miner & Betty Tong and
Alida & Stuart Oles
and daughters with Santa

By the time the party began to wind down, we were all most definitely in the Christmas spirit.  Only ten days left ’til Christmas!

Roving violinist entertains Cutter and Bode.


What Do These Men Have in Common?

What Do These Men Have in Common?

What do these men have in common?
Tim Premselaar, Tom Hedges, Dave Syferd, Moe Krabbe

Last night Ken and I went to our friends’ home on the East side of Lake Sammamish to enjoy a warm and old-fashioned Christmas party.  Part of the evening included actually lighting candles on the tall stately Noble fir and what a magical sight it was.  We are so used to the electric Christmas lights that I didn’t realize how soft and ethereal the quality of candle light would be on the tree.  It was truly breathtaking!

Passing off the Ken responsibility to
Nancy Strom and Carol Anderson

Our host and hostess have combined two homes and built a gallery in between which is the perfect area for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and singing Christmas carols after dinner.  But first we were entertained with a delicious dinner prepared by Tom Douglas Catering & Events.  The menu was incredible and I have shared it below at the end of this blog post.

Michele & Dan Heidt

There were around 34 people which our hostess had separated into four different tables spread throughout the house for a sit-down, served dinner.  We were not seated with our spouses which meant that everyone had to converse with their dinner partners, which was great fun!  Ken was seated between Carol Anderson and Nancy Strom and I warned them that they would have to take on the challenge of managing him during dinner which they kindly accepted.

It was fun to see Jerry & Joan Johnston, whom we hadn’t seen in a while as well as fun to see others that we had seen recently including Joyce & Doug McCallum, Carol & Spike Anderson, Leena & Mel Sturman, Toni & Rod Hoffman, Suzy & Moe Krabbe, Nancy & Van Strom, Arlene Wright, Sandi & Tim Premselaar, Diane & Gordon Kuenster, and others.

Salade Lyonnaise with “Bacon & Egg”

When I found my table in the main gallery area, I was seated with Moe Krabbe, Jan Rogers, Tom Hedges, Michele Heidt, Dave Syferd, Penny Thackery and Tim Premselaar.  Our table really seemed to click and we found ourselves laughing all evening until the other tables got jealous of how much fun we were having.  They began pretending to laugh louder than we were, but we all thought their laughter sounded quite hollow and false.  One of the things we noticed about our table was our similarities.  We noted that all four men had white mustaches and that all four women did not.  A good thing to be sure!

Michele Heidt, Dave Syferd, Penny Thackery

Dean Jones & Susan Taylor

I can’t remember why we began discussing Chinese horoscopes, but Tim entertained us all by googling information about each of our birth years, characteristics and our specific animal.  Represented at our table were the years of the Snake, Dragon, Ox, Rat, Horse, Rooster and Dog (I think).  Perhaps the Quilceda Creek red wine contributed to the fun at our table?

After dinner, Dave and Moe visited the dessert station and brought back a selection of desserts for our table which one of the other guests at another table rudely snatched away.  We all saw the culprit and know that it was Trudi Syferd.

Once everyone was sated with dinner and dessert, we all adjourned into the gallery to light the candles on the tree, which Gordon Kuenster ably did, and to sing Christmas carols together led by Nancy Strom.  Everyone was having such a wonderful time that even the Party Curmudgeon was enjoying himself.

Tray Passed Appetizers:
Roasted Radish, Tarragon Butter

Ken Hatch and Doug McCallum

Korean Beef Tartare, Crispy Taro
Kabocha Soup, Coriander Creme Fraiche

Dahlia Bakery Oat Cracker, Blue Cheese, Grilled Grape

First Course:
Martha’s Handmade Agnolotti, Ricotta,
Kale, Beurre Noisette

Jerry & Joan Johnston and Tom Hedges

Second Course:
Salade Lyonnaie, Frisee,
Cider Braised Pork Belly, Poached Egg

Apple Wood Grilled Tenderloin,
Lentil Sweet Potato Hash, Spinach, Roasted Cauliflower
Pan Jus

Dessert Station:
Lemon Meringue Tart, Candied Cranberry
Tripe Coconut Cream Pie Bites, White Chocolate
Dark Chocolate Tart, Caramel, Sea Salt    

The Christmas Ships are a ‘Coming

The Christmas Ships are a ‘Coming

Ken Hatch, Arlene Wright, Jan Rogers, Bob Cremin Last night we attended a beautiful holiday party in Kirkland overlooking Lake Washington.  It was a perfect evening outside with not even a drop of rain falling. Bis on Main Chefs, David Olson and Peter Dobson Bis on Main was the selected caterer for the evening and chefs… Continue Reading

Holiday Parties Galore

Holiday Parties Galore

Ken Hatch, JJ McKay, Cathi Hatch, Patty Barrier On my actual birthday, Ken and I went to a couple of special holiday parties.  The first was JJ McKay’s annual Ho! Ho! Ho! Holiday Party at his home in Belltown.  JJ always has a huge group of friends and acquaintances invited and it is so much… Continue Reading

Annual December Birthday Club Luncheon

Annual December Birthday Club Luncheon

Jan Rogers in her elegant hat This week the Ladies Birthday Club lunched together in the stately Georgian Room at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel to celebrate the December birthdays of Jan Rogers, Londi Burnett and me.  Attending this year in addtition to the birthday girls, were Suzy Krabbe, Joyce McCallum and Diane Kuenster and of course they got stuck… Continue Reading

A Comedic Birthday Dinner

A Comedic Birthday Dinner

Katie Laramore and Troy Clark save a parking space. On Sunday, my daughter Katie and husband Kevin Laramore arranged to take Ken and me along with Sean Hatch and Troy Clark to Ethan Stowell’s new restaurant on Capital Hill, Rione XIII, to celebrate my birthday.  Katie sent a flurry of brief text messages to me and… Continue Reading

Ho! Ho! Ho! Atop the Bellevue Towers

Ho! Ho! Ho! Atop the Bellevue Towers

Diane Kuenster and Christine Bloch Last night the Party Curmudgeon and I attended a fun holiday party in the 42nd floor penthouse of the Bellevue Towers.  Christine Bloch and Joel Jackson had purchased the party at an auction and shared it with friends to celebrate the season.  The guest list was stellar including the Grinch,… Continue Reading