Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas 2016

As Loreena McKennitt sings Emmanuel, and Dave tells me that George Michael has died, the sun sets on another Christmas Day. Now I settle into my comfy chair to post and sip a dram of the Highland Park 12 year old single malt whiskey that Dave generously shared with me from his advent calendar . He is enjoying a dram of the Half-Century Blend Batch 1--a blended Scotch whiskey over 50 years old. I love the flavor of that one but won't be buying a bottle any time soon. I would have thought that Dave would like the Highland Park as it tastes strongly of smokey peat (really strongly), and he has been all about the art of smoking (food, that is) today.

For the food science geek in him we gave him a Polyscience hand-held food smoker and a lot of different flavored wood chips. As he played with it--smoking a Pillsbury orange roll from breakfast--he commented that back-of-the-envelope math said he could smoke over 12,000 scallops with all those wood chips. Geek indeed. As the day went on he contemplated smoking tomatoes, the Beef Wellington he is making for dinner, and bourbon. At least he admitted that smoking champagne would be odd.

Thank you again to my sister-in-law Jan for her annual gift to me of the Isabel Bloom Christmas Angel. I have one for every Christmas Dave and I have been married--22 in all. It was especially wonderful to set them up this year in our new forever home.

The opening of the Christmas presents did not begin early at our house today as Jessie and I were both up till 3:30 am finishing our gifts for Dave and wrapping our presents. Dave got up at 7:00 and wrapped his presents while we snored on. This Christmas marked a change in our family dynamic. It wasn't the first year Jessie made gifts for us, but it was the first year that we were both left in awe both of her artistic talent and her wonderfully quirky style. For her dad she is doing a colored pencil rendition of the cover of Terry Pratchett's book Small Gods--Dave's favorite of his works. She included the following Calvin and Hobbes cartoon in the box with it.

I got to open the first present of the day at the J's insistence. Her wrapping was creative, and the best part of it was the handwritten text in the middle which stated, "It's more me this way, accept it :)". The Ho Ho Ho's covering the unwrapped part of the box were also handwritten. As everyone could have predicted--and she counted on--I cried when I saw her gift. She painted a series of watercolors from Studio Ghibli movies and a watercolor postcard for me. When she asked me which was my favorite it was difficult, but I'm going to have to go with the combination of the postcard based on a bit from Moulin Rouge and the still from My Neighbor Totoro. I can't wait to go out this week and have them all framed. (Well, as soon as she finishes them!)

The chef theme carried on for Dave with a great set of measuring cups from his parents in odd sizes (2/3 c., 3/4 c., 1-1/2 c.) and a monogrammed spatula, and a Chef Sparkle hoodie and set of dishcloths from me.

The creative presentation of the day award at the end of it all went to Jessie for her other gift to her father--a replacement Gundum Calling t-shirt for the one he loved and left in San Antonio earlier in the fall. We were at dinner Friday night and he was bemoaning the loss of the shirt and that it was no longer available and Jessie, with her superior Internet fu, went on-line on her phone and found one for him. I ordered it for her and it won't be here for a week or so, but she photoshopped Gundum onto an image of a flip-phone, printed it out, folded the picture around my phone--onto which she had placed the ringtone for London Calling from the Clash and associated it with her phone number--and wrapped up my phone. When she gave the present to Dave to unwrap she also called my phone from hers so it was playing London Calling as he opened it. That kid has mad showmanship skills.

After opening presents J took a nap, I took a shower, and Dave moved into the second stage of Beef Wellington prep. Then it was off to the movies to see "Sing". We all loved it. I cried. (Do you sense a theme for the day?).

It was a poignant day for me--as all Christmas days are. It's a day when I contemplate the state of the world and the people and animals in it, when I wish wish for peace on earth and goodwill towards all, a day when I cherish my family and friends and give thanks for all of them. Sadly this year it's also a time for sensing the fragility of the world and the impending, waiting, breath-held feeling of bad things to come with the new year. But we will be strong, we will rationally, calmly, and with conviction and patience, weather whatever comes. We will support those who need our aid, and we will stand for justice and fairness. Gloria, in excelsis deo. Or, as Dave likes to say, "Gloria, G-L-O-R-I-A, Glo-o-ria!"

Now I listen to Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and prepare to feast on the most magnificent of Roast Beast Feasts: the many-times-aforementioned Beef Wellington. It will be served with a bottle of Roederer champagne and a Seghesio zinfandel, set with beeswax candles, and accompanied by part two of The Hogfather. Boy am I glad we didn't watch it all last night--it would have been 5:00 am before Jessie and I got to bed!

Merry Christmas to my Christian friends, Happy Chanukah to my Jewish friends, Happy Solstice to my Wiccan friends. Be safe, be warm, be loved and love to everyone.


Bill said...

We, too, watched Hogfather on Christmas Day. Much love to you all from us in Los Angeles...

Brenda Griffith said...

Bill, I saw you guys watched the Hogfather--and I need to touch bases with Bridget about her tomatoes. I'm wondering if I should be starting seeds here too...

Bill said...

Give her a call tonight...I bet she can advise you. Probably could send you websites for seeds and some photos of her present setup, too.