I’ll be back tomorrow with a full report of movies and holidays and fun, but, in the meantime, thanks for spending 2008 with me. I’ve enjoyed the year and look forward to the adventures of 2009. May your evening be safe and sane, and may 2009 bring only positive things your way.
December 31, 2008
December 29, 2008
Just wanted to note that a night with the family watching Fred Claus, drinking homemade eggnog, and eating trifle and Christmas cookies in front of a crackling fire and a cheery Christmas tree as snowflakes drift past the window is pretty darn good.
I hope you all are having equally nice nights.
December 25, 2008
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope that those of you who celebrate the day found it filled with love and joy and excitement. Yesterday was a little stressful for us as we drove north while trying to finish our shopping. (Note to self: Remember to check for wallet before leaving home next time…) Today, however, was perfectly lovely, as we celebrated this morning in front of the tree with my folks and Gramma. My aunt, uncle, and cousins arrived midafternoon, and we ate a wonderful turkey dinner followed by two types of trifle. A game of pool and some light holiday tv (of yesteryear) rounded out the night.
Since I keep dozing off as I type this, I’m going to save any more recapping for another night and instead compile here for you three beautiful things from my Advent week:
1. We realize after the grocery stores close last night that we’re lacking one of the title ingredients for carrots and peppers. The local Olive Garden to my folks do not laugh Rudi out of the restaurant as he inquires about the plausibility of buying a pepper or two from them. The chef himself bears out a clamshell styofoam container showcasing a red and a green bell pepper. Everyone involved refuses payment and instead wishes Rudi a Merry Christmas.
2. I stay up late wrapping on Christmas Eve and spend the end of the night watching Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.
3. Part of our holiday tradition includes balling up the used wrapping paper and shooting baskets with it into a paper bag. The first round is fun, but the second and third even better. I collect the unsunk balls of paper and we try again, but this time with my parents’ puppy playing along with us. We shoot over her. She steals some balls for her own play later on. The best moment comes when she takes a just-sunk ball of Rudi’s out of the bag. I like to think Cran was rooting for me…
Before I go, here are some favorite Christmas songs I meant to give you back on Monday, but that I ran out of time to share:
Dar Williams’ “The Christians and the Pagans”:
Amy Grant’s “Love Has Come” (on Last.fm)
The Statler Brothers’ “The Carols Those Kids Used to Sing” (on Last.fm)
December 19, 2008
This is the annual holiday market that D.C. holds downtown. They invite local artisans, musicians, and food vendors to set up shop in little booths outside the National Portrait Gallery during the weeks leading up to Christmas. Some vendors sign up for the whole time, but others filter in and out, so each time you go you find different things.
December 18, 2008
Three beautiful things from the past week:
1. We head to Old Town to buy a longer needle for the quilt and stop at a European-style bakery after we leave the yarn shop. I order hot chocolate and get a bowl of hot milk and a pitcher of melted chocolate. The milk has a chocolate smiley face poured onto it.
2. Raspberry and apricot thumbprint cookies. Gramma’s chocolate mint sticks. And vegan pumpkin cranberry scones for Suzanne‘s birthday brunch. (I’d seriously recommend the scone recipe as an easy treat.)
3. Today, finally, a few good ideas for Christmas presents occur to me.
I’m frantically working on this:
It’s supposed to somewhat resemble this in the next week in time for me to hand it over to Gramma for Christmas. Don’t ask me what I was thinking…
December 17, 2008
There’s something about Christmas that makes you feel like you ought to spend as much time as possible with your friends. It’s a season, after all, that’s encourages us to give of ourselves. What’s more precious (particularly in this age of constant distractions) than our time?
Ultimately, what this really means is that I have booked myself a lot of evenings out between last weekend and when we head home for the holidays.
Sunday evening was Sarah‘s annual cartoon party. I baked some cookies from Gramma’s recipe book to take over, and we spent several hours watching childhood Christmas classics.
Tonight, Susan asked if she could arrange a date for the three of us. Rudi and I agreed, excited to have a totally secret evening ahead of us. Last night, she texted to tell us where and when to meet her for dinner. After a tasty meal at Teaism, we ended up at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre, where we enjoyed the Chicago-based Neo-Futurists’ performance of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. The show is speed-theater, as the ensemble attempts to perform 30 playlets in 60 minutes. Each night new material is added and the audience adds its own flavor to the mix. Not all 28 skits (we ran out of time before the final two performances could go on) were great, but the majority made us laugh. Sometimes so did the actors between skits, as they raced around the stage adding and removing props and trying to avoid colliding with each other. “Let’s Pretend Mommy and Daddy,” “One for the Ladies,” and “The Chanukah Song” were particularly well done, but I’m sure Susan and Rudi would each give you different highlights. (If you’re in D.C. at all between now and the first weekend in January, I’d encourage you to seek out tickets.)
Tomorrow night is knitting group, possibly with Sarah and Sarah (but not Sarah). I will be home by 8, though, because there’s a new Muppets special on.
Thursday night Amani and I are getting together. We haven’t gotten any firmer than a meeting hour, but I’m sure we’ll pull things together. I’m also pretty sure that chocolate will be involved.
Friday night and Saturday during the day, while Rudi is out with his friends, I will likely be shopping, card writing, gift wrapping, and package mailing. No, none of those are done. Some of them haven’t been begun yet. Yes, I will get to them all… just maybe not before Christmas.
Saturday evening, Charles and Jordi are hosting a holiday open house. The D.C. folks heading south are departing early, so it’s a smaller group of us heading over to celebrate with the newlyweds. (That’s not to say the party will be small, just the number of people I know…)
Sunday is more doing. I’d love to bake some more cookies, but that’s another thing that may just have to wait until after the holidays.
Monday, Elspeth arrives back in town from Azerbaijan and Georgia for a whirlwind 36 hours before she heads to Africa for Christmas. She, Sarah, and I have a date to eat Ethiopian food and knit (or, at the very least, show off knitting).
Tuesday, after work, Rudi and I head north.
Connecticut still lacks scheduling. I need to see if BW is crossing paths with us on Wednesday morning so we can hook up for brunch… And I need to fit in visits with the other northern friends and family… (Kare, what’s your schedule looking like?)
How lucky we are to have so many wonderful friends with whom to share our lives. When I think about how rich we are in friendship, I get teary and all It’s-a-Wonderful-Lifey. We really are blessed.
December 12, 2008
Since Macy’s took over the old Hecht’s flagship store in downtown D.C. a few years ago, they’ve been decorating the store windows at Christmas. This year they even went so far as to roll out the red carpet, invite a celebrity singer to visit, and make a little production of the unveiling.
The windows are fun, but the music, particularly during the day, can only be described as blaring. I ought not to be able to hear it clearly on the other side of the street over the bustle of midday traffic.
So cue up your own favorite Christmas tune and check out the windows of the District’s Macy’s store:
December 11, 2008
Oops! Running out of Thursday… Three beautiful things from the past week or two:
1. Metro decorated for Christmas. Metro Center is outfitted in green and gold garland. And the Dupont Circle ticket shack is sporting garland in red.
2. On a cool, rainy night, the smell outside the house of the dryer venting.
3. Nearly invisible snow flurries drift down as Rudi and I leave to cut down our tree on Saturday. By the time we’ve tied the tree on the roof and are heading back toward the District, the snow flakes are obvious even to casual observers. After a stop at a store or two, we return to find snow coating the grass and the car.