Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reflections on Christmas & a Series of Small Miracles

The last of our holiday guests left this morning and I find myself alone for the first time in days. It was a good Christmas, better than I had anticipated! Looking back, several things stand out in my mind....

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were gloriously, snowy white--big, beautiful flakes falling on our noses and eyelashes--the kind Tony Bennett was singing about all week long at our house, via his Christmas album, that is. (And since when did that song become a Christmas song?, we wondered aloud this week. Kind of in the same way Jingle Bells is?  Tangential connections at best!)

Everyone in my extended family was most cordial and kind to one another on Christmas Eve.  This is something of a miracle, considering there had been some dust-ups preceding the grand event.  (I'd like to think I'm "Switzerland" in all this, but I do favor one side.  Mr. P says not to be concerned about that as "even Switzerland leaned toward the Nazis." Haha!) However, we continue to handle these flareups true to our brooding Scandinavian heritage and tradition: we silently seethe and obsess about some irksome person or situation until we eventually grow tired of it and put it out of our minds, hopefully to be swept under the rug and forgotten entirely! And my step-son's incredibly yummy fried turkey didn't hurt matters either! Miracle?....check!

Coincidentally, two of our guests who were supposed to be at our Christmas morning brunch were unable to attend, as they were stuck in London due to too much of that glorious, snowy white. Oddly, they do not know each other and it seems strange to me when I think that there were 2 people in that far away metropolis who were both trying to get to the same tiny town in the Midwest of America. Would have been even more bizarre if they ended up on the same flight, then met at our house thinking, "I know I've seen that guy somewhere before...."

I drank too much, but suffered no ill after-effects.  I am considering that my Festivus Miracle!

My step-son's girlfriend (you know, the one who never picks up a restaurant tab) actually seemed flattered when I presented her with a meatless version of this year's "Breakfast Strata" in her own little mini casserole dish. (It's not that she's a non-meat eater on any sort of ethical grounds--that would be easier to accept; it's just that she doesn't like the taste of any meat except chicken--white meat only.) Sometimes it's hard to connect with her....another Christmas miracle?!

Sausage & Sun-dried Tomato Strata
I found the most perfect recipe for Christmas cut-out cookies.  You see, my mother never made them when I was growing up.  Perhaps she did at one time, but those days must have been long gone by the time I came along. (Alas, the curse of the youngest child.) I've been through a number of middling recipes over the years; the last one (before Xmas season) had me planning to give away all my cookie cutters to the Goodwill.  Then I stumbled upon one more recipe (hope springs eternal?!) and decided to try.... Let's just say the Goodwill (God bless that excellent organization) is not getting my cookie cutters and people were asking me for "my" cookie recipe!  Miracle time!!!

The little guy is frowning 'cause his arm has been eaten!
Mr. P was a most excellent Christmas elf!  Remember that Le Creuset uber-practical pot I suggested?  Got it!...well, got the oval version by mistake, but I figure I can just learn to stir in ovals rather than circles!  Those mercury glass pillar candleholders? 'em!...well, two of the tallest size rather than a threesome--a perfect pair! All the other sizes aren't available until June!  (Nice job, Pottery Barn merchandise people, nice job!--a lump of coal for you?!)
Mr. P is renowned for his present wrapping.
In his world, there are no square corners!

And perhaps in his starring role as elf, Mr. P presented me with this romantic little item:

This dragonfly pin is a "whimsical adaptation" of the original which is in the Kremlin Museum in Moscow.  The funny thing is, I've probably looked at the original, but have forgotten! (I know, that sounds so blasé! In my defense, there were so many, many incredible insect and plant forms adapted into precious gems--those Czarinas sure had cool stuff!) If you want one, you can get one here.

Yes, all in all, a good holiday!  I hope your holiday season was just as kind to you.
Contented sigh.... on to 2011....!

The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they happen.
                             ---G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
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