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Thursday, December 21, 2006

i have been tagged by mouse, of a mouse in France, to do a lovely Christmas meme.

fact is, i'm quite glad she tagged me - having seen the meme elsewhere (...right, over at jen's), and needing something lighter than what's been going on the last few days. thanks, mouse!

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?

yes. must i choose?

egg nog is a lovely seasonal indulgence, and i'll buy some once or twice a year. in fact, i just bought some last night, for which MedSm will be happy, as he's been itching to have some. it finally went on sale, and i had a coupon. somehow, it doesn't seem right to pay nearly $5, even though it's a treat.

oh, and it should be just plain ol' egg nog. no vanilla, no pumpkin, no cinnamon, and for fuck's sake - why even bother with fat free? i mean, isn't the point to indulge a bit? it is lovely, tho, that there are some healthier alternatives which are quite tasty.

surprisingly, i'm not fussy about booze or not in the 'nog - don't really care on that count. ;)

and hot cocoa...mmmmmmmm. sometimes with cinnamon, occasionally from scratch, once in a while the Mexican version.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Santa not only wraps presents under the tree, he and the elves get all sorts of industrious with the stocking gifts as well. seems he has a theory that having to pause and unwrap the stocking gifties stretches stocking time a little longer than the 30 seconds it would take MedSm to rip thru them otherwise.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

on the tree only, as i haven't had an outdoor outlet wired up yet, and i refuse to toss a cord out the window. this year, the lights are colored. i've done white in the past, and maybe will again, but for now, the colored lights are small and sparkly and festive.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

nah. i leave it on hubby's pillow. why not cut to the chase, right? ;)

5. When do you put your decorations up?

not until after Thanksgiving, and at least two weeks before Christmas, if we can manage it. getting a tree is a family venture, and MedSm has to approve of the tree. other than the tree, we do a wreath on the front door, and a creche, and an Advent calendar (no chocolate! just pictures). some years, we've done more - decorating the bannister on the stairs, setting up Scandinavian angel chime - you know the ones where the heat from the candles makes the chimes go around? love those.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

hm. good question. i don't know as we really ever had a standard holiday meal for Christmas. oh, well, i guess thinking about dinner limits it - how about scrambled eggs and stollen? i generally use the recipe from an old Good Housekeeping Illustrated cookbook my grandmother gave me (or, more accurately, i seem to have appropriated) that yields 3 loaves of probably non-authentic but very tasty bread.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?

reading Charles Clement Moore's Night Before Christmas, specifically the edition illustrated by Grandma Moses. right, i know - no links, what's up with that? i can't find the image, so will post a photo later.

in any event, loved reading that on Christmas Eve, and still have the book.

this has recently been replaced, as memories go, by listening to Dylan Thomas read A Child's Christmas in Wales.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

i have no idea, quite honestly. maybe being the oldest child, and watching my brother and sister enjoy Santa, sort of took the sting out of it. wasn't a big transitional moment for me.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

yes. just one. my mom, i think, would open them all. :)

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

with decorations. :p i did theme trees for a few years, when i was poor right out of college, and could only afford to get, say, a dozen velvet bows. now, it's a collection of ornaments, so no theme. also, tinsel is a thin rope of tinsel, sort of woven around in by the lights. no more of that artsy fartsy dripping it on a strand at a time.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it?

yes. again, must i choose? it doesn't feel like Christmas without at least a dusting of the white stuff. i never look forward to shovelling, tho.

12. Can you ice skate?

probably. we were just discussing this at a party the other night; one of the moms had taken her kids to the Frog Pond, and it got me to thinking about that again. i've wanted to go for years, but (typical tourist in your own town) haven't made time. it would be fun to go, tho, as a family, and i realized - i haven't been on skates in probably 20 years. should be an entertaining sight. :)

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

um... nah, not really, i don't think. there were favorite gifts in a year, but i don't know as there's any one that stands out as the favorite gift of all time. well, except maybe the Christmas we got engaged. :)

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?

going to church, and celebrating the occasion. the years i haven't managed to get to a service have been pretty upsetting for me; juggling family commitments trumped personal schedule, and so i've worked to balance all of that.

the Christmas eve service, with the candles and the music and the happy energy, is especially reinvigorating for me.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

mince pie, hands down.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

i think the ones that we're building now, as a family. we go to the tree lighting on Old Ironsides, and that's fun and different. plus, it involves cannon, which is a plus for MedSm.

17. What tops your tree?

a glittery wire-work star that was added a few years ago. i can see needing to re-glitter it a few years from now, as it seems the glitter ends up everywhere *but* on the star.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?

giving. and it's been tough the last few years, where we haven't had the budget to gift everyone we'd like to, and i haven't had or made the time to bake for everyone. next year, i'm planning to start early, and fill the freezer with cookie dough the month ahead.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

Star in the East, and i have to dig up the version that i like best...

20. Candy canes: yuck or yum?

for a long time, yum. now, they're just tree ornaments, and i generally end up tossing them 7 or 8 months later, when it becomes clear that saving them for some baking project just ain't gonna happen.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?

A Christmas Story, which hubby introduced me to a few years ago. also, i'm a sucker for nearly every one of the Rankin/Bass stop animation specials from the late 60s/early 70s, and especially Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

22. What do you leave for Santa?

milk and cookies, and for the reindeer, reindeer food to guide them to the house (oatmeal and glitter) and carrots and water for when they arrive.

hey, if you decide to do this meme as well, leave a comment, will you?

:: scribbled at 1:08 PM ... ... o

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

leslie harpold died recently.

i've been reading her for years, it seems, on various sites, and various incarnations of her personal site. she's funny, and witty, and a great writer, and a presence. and it doesn't seem right to discuss her in the past tense.

in the link column on the left is a link to her Advent calendar. it's a project she's done annually for several years, and one that brought me great joy. she'd just sent out her annual note that the calendar was available. i'd been wondering why the calendar seemed stuck at 7. and then the news came.

leslie was loved by so many people. it's an honor to read what others have shared, and understand what a force she was to those who knew her, well or even a little. and i cried a lot, reading those entries - for leslie, and her family, and friends, and those who have met her, or been touched by her love and energy. and i regret never knowing her more than obliquely.

leslie, wherever you are, i hope you can feel how much you are loved and missed.

:: scribbled at 12:03 AM ... ... o

Monday, December 18, 2006

i decided to do monday madness today, but true to form, decided to bend the rules.

last week's questions were more interesting. :)

1. What song gives you the most holiday cheer?

i love any sort of carol... what pops to mind is Star in the East, done by a choir, possibly Vienna Boys Choir, on an album with a maroon cover... visual memory is a pain in the ass sometimes. ;) also, Holly and the Ivy, in particular a version done by Jim Infantino and Jonatha Brook. but especially for me, any carol or Christmas hymn sung in a crowd of people, particularly at Christmas Eve services. the energy and love gets me every time.

2. Who is the hardest person to shop for on your holiday list?

my grandmother. there's not much she needs these days, at least not that can be wrapped up and put under the tree.

3. When do you start your holiday shopping?

whenever i can find time. this year, i did what i swore i'd never do again - a shopping marathon, as i only had one afternoon where i was husband-, child- and commitment-free. at least this year, i had a car. last time i did this, i walked around Harvard Square and carried everything. gah.

4. What food or drink do you love when it's cold out? (Recipes and
recommendations, please!)

hot cocoa, fresh baked anything, egg nog. recipes for particular dishes may follow.

5. What do you do to get rid of a cold or flu?

sleep. that, and Southern Comfort. seriously.

:: scribbled at 9:48 AM ... ... o