I am doing something wrong and unethical and maybe illegal-- but totally by accident, I might add. While Chip and his mom watch the Notre Dame game (his cousin taught there, so they are our team today), I am in the dining room, all set up to keep my New Year's resolution of writing at least 2 hours every day and finishing this latest book, even on vacation. A little box just popped up on my computer asking me if I wanted to join a wireless network. Grandma Joanne is not online, at all. I know that.
There's that moment each year when you write the new date on a thank-you note or a check and can't quite believe it: 1-3-13. 2013? Really? I need to take down my December calendars too. The tree is already gone and the living room seems so much bigger and lighter. Little Caroline and I took it down, and it was much more fun than putting it up. We neatly wrapped each ornament and talked about them much more than we had when we put them all up. I suppose there is less pressure to make it special, you know? We even put on some Christmas music, and shared a stale candy cane.
Here are two things I'm not going to do in 2013 (or ever): The Polar Bear swim at the Port Chilkoot Beach Jan. 1 (call Greg Podsiki for details) and para-glide off Mt. Ripinsky like the fellow my friends saw the other day sailing down over their heads holding onto a kite with his snowshoes dangling from his boots. But I suppose I shouldn't end the year with a negative attitude-- so I will resolve to be a better mom, wife, friend and grandmother. I will work on being a better writer, too. Or at least a more productive one, and finish both the books I'm working on.
All Advent we sang, "O come, O come Emmanuel". Emmanuel, another word for Jesus, means God with us. Why is this old story of the baby in a manger, shepherds, kings and a bright star still told? How does it all relate to our lives now? Another very old Latin hymn, the Ubi Caritas, declares God is love, and wherever love is, God is also. I'm no theologian, but it seems to me this is why Christmastime is special.
My neighbor sent a text my way the other night saying she would drive to Morning Muscles, and when I thumbed back to her that we didn't have exercise class until January 3rd, I could hear her groan through the trees, the driveway snow berms, and the walls of our homes. We've been eating a lot over here, too. My favorite holiday treat is spiced stewed fruit with heavy cream. It's mostly prunes. Go ahead laugh. Everyone does. I should called them dried Italian plums instead.
I know, I should be writing something sweet and funny, but it seems every time I head to my desk a child, grandchild, relative, neighbor, or friend shows up or calls on the phone. Must be the season.
Now it's time to turn off the computer, stuff the turkey, switch on some carols, open the gifts, and wish you-- and family, friends, pets, and the whole wide world a very Merry Christmas, and most especially, in this sometimes overconnected world, to be "present" for all the gifts of the day.
The house is filling up, and so are the fridge and the pantry. I still have to wrap a few things, and even do a little last minute shopping- but I figure if I can't get it in Haines, I don't need it anyway. It is very cold-- zero at 2 when the sun set this afternoon, and with a strong north wind feels colder, but we are staying warm and having fun. Here are a few photos of the last few days--
Solstice sunrise dog walk,
Never to cold for a milkshake,
Once a year I bake Grandma Smith's sour cream coffee cake. We have it every Christmas morning. That means I've done it for thirty years now. (Before that my mother did)-- And once a year, about this time, I can't find the recipe. I look through all the cookbooks that I thought I had taped the index card inside, and later (after I lost the index card) the two little desk notes I had taped together, or was it on a sticky piece of yellow legal paper? One year, after I called my mother, I scribbled it on the back of a Christmas card, that should be easy to find.