Thursday, December 31, 2015

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot...

Hello, Mein Followers!

I hope you all had a beautimous and frabjous Christmas. Ours was sublime. Did you know that there was a full moon on Christmas?

 I made a wish, of course. You wanna know what I wished?

Oh, come on, you know I'm not telling. That's how wishes DON'T come true!

But we had a gorgeous Christmas. I was actually feeling *good* on Christmas, which was a big thing for me. I've been sick for something like two months now. I was sick when I went to Carmel early in November, with a horrid chest cold that kept me up at night coughing. That switched to a horrid head cold early in December, wherein my ears were SO FULL they were so sensitive, and my voice had no depth. (That, by the way, is when we recorded that 25-minute Christmas music video posted earlier on my blog - hence the reason for the slightly whispery/reedy quality to our voices.) So Christmas, I actually felt GOOD. I could SING, which I could not do for Midnight Mass. (My voice kept cracking then. Imagine how cute our Christmas carols sounded.) And Christmas morning, we had our beautiful sausages on sweet rolls with orange juice for the littlies and mimosa for the not-so-littlies, opened our stockings and what-all, sang JOY TO THE WORLD after mein papa lit the Christ Candle, and then opened pressies! There were a bunch of us - fourteen opening presents in the morning, and then a total of nineteen at the table for our gnocchi dinner. We watched Rise Of The Guardians after dinner and had dessert, and I wished on the full moon.

Anyway, what are your plans for the New Year? Me, I'm going to spend it in. I may have a shot of honey whiskey, shared with my besties, Stoick, Chrysophylax Dives, and Amalthea. We are pretty tight, the four of us. I will prolly watch Person Of Interest, so I can be sure to stay awake until midnight. I don't usually have too much trouble doing that. I'm a night owl anyway.

Left to right: Chrysofylax Dives (green), Stoick (red) Amalthea (unicorn)

And that was our Christmas, and I just wanted to wish you all a holy, happy, blessed New Year. I hope you enjoy this little song. I have a sister who knows Eleven is MY Doctor, and will send me all kinds of things Eleven related. I happened to love this song in the Christmas special, and this priest actually has a wicked good voice. I hope you enjoy it!

Le Cat

Thursday, December 24, 2015

No One Will Be Sleeping On The Night Of Christmas Eve...

Merry Christmas, Followers of Mein!

Christmas Eve, for me, is my most favourite day in the world. Everything feels very magical, like anything can happen. When it snows on Christmas Eve, I get so excited.

I have two mindsets on snow.
Before and during Christmas: "Christmas snow is magic, as everybody knows! You'll never see a frowning face on Christmas when it snows!"

After Christmas: "And there's one more thing that I have discovered, And I would now like you to know, The reason for Christmas I now realize is an excuse to tolerate snow! Snow. I don't even like the SOUND of it!"

But anyway, today it is snowing and I'm so happy. 
Merry Christmas!

There is one funny thing I want to tell you. Every year in Tahoe, our fire station decorates a fire truck and it goes around the town, different areas each night, blasting Christmas music and shining with lights and visiting the neighbourhoods, and then the people driving the truck hand out candy canes to the townsfolk. Well, this year, they were apparently not coming to our neighbourhood. Sadness! My whole family looks forward to it every year. It somehow doesn't *quite* feel like Christmas without the fire truck.

Yesterday, I had a couple sisters over for dinner - there was me (Kat), Amanda, Teresa and Maria - and we were going to eat chicken enchiladas and watch Disney's Christmas Carol, followed by Mickey's Christmas Carol. So, we had finished our enchiladas, and were about at Marley's Ghost in the movie, and we paused it to put down coffee, when my sister Amanda suddenly opened the door and stuck her head outside.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"I thought I heard the fire truck," she said. Remember, it blares Christmas music loud. Real loud. Just as she said that, she pointed and said, "There it is! I see it!" It was heading up Ski Run Boulevard toward Heavenly, the mountain where the skiers go. "Do you want to chase it?"

So we all flung on coats and shoes and ran outside, but it had vanished. We ran past a couple streets, but we couldn't even hear the music anymore. "That's sad," Amanda said.

"Do you want to get in the car and see if we can find it?" Teresa asked.

So we ran back to the house, piled into Amanda and Teresa's Landy, and drove up Ski Run, following the fire truck. We craned our necks down each street we passed, trying to catch a glimpse of the lights. We came to the intersection of Ski Run where it connects to Pioneer Trail, and decided to turn right. So we come up to the light, and there is a fire station at this intersection, also to the right. Lo and Behold! There was the Christmas Fire Truck! We screamed so loud, we couldn't decide if we should pull into the station and jump out to holler Merry Christmas, or if we should pull to the side or the road and do the same. As we turned right onto Pioneer, trying to make up our minds, the fire truck started moving, like it was going to leave again. (Perhaps it was refueling its stock of candy canes?) Anyway, so we drove past, hollering like maniacs, and looking behind us to see if it was going to turn right as well and come along behind us, or if it was going to turn left and go back down Ski Run Boulevard.

It turned left.

So we made a frantic U-turn and came roaring up behind it, and idled at the red light. Then, unbelievably, THE FIRE TRUCK RAN THE RED LIGHT, MAKING A LEFT HAND TURN ON A RED LIGHT AND TURNING BACK ONTO SKI RUN BOULEVARD, GOING DOWN TOWARD LAKE TAHOE BOULEVARD!!!

We screamed. "COOOOOOME BAAAACK! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" It was torture, watching it creep down Ski Run and unable to follow.

That was the longest red light ever, you guys. But our light finally went green and we zoomed through and got back behind the fire truck. By this time, we were all starting to feel a bit stalkery and giggling at how weird we were. But you don't understand, this is the Christmas Fire Truck. We look forward to it EVERY YEAR!!!

So we followed the truck, even when it turned right onto Lake Tahoe Boulevard. However, it did make another right turn into a small shopping mall that has a Red Hut, a ski rental place, a salon, et cetera. We prudently let it turn, and passed by and turned right down a different driveway, and then made a few right hand turns until we could get into the shopping mall via a different entrance. And the fire truck had stopped, and was idling in the parking lot and giving out candy canes!

So, we parked and piled out and waved and shouted Merry Christmas, and got our own candy canes.

Then Teresa asked them if they'd go up to Spruce Avenue, because our family would love to see them, and they said YES!

So we piled back into the car, and the fire truck exited the parking lot, but since there are two Spruces in Tahoe and very near to each other, we followed the truck in a roundabout way to make sure it was going to the right Spruce.

Which it did.

Teresa called the family, making sure they knew the truck was coming and to line up outside and wait for it. And they did. And we took a bunch of pictures and so many people came out to greet it and get candy canes. And we all felt like good spirits of Christmas, bringing the fire truck to our neighbourhood! :-)

And that's my funny story of how we didn't expect the Christmas truck, and then we found it and stalked it, and made it come to our house anyway.

Oh, and here's a little Christmas music from our family to you. Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Feast of St. Nicholas

Today is the feast of St. Nicholas!

The tradition of leaving one's shoes out for St. Nicholas to fill on December 6th stems from a tale about a poor man who had three daughters. Since this man could not afford dowries for his daughters, they would have had to be sold into slavery. But during the night, St. Nicholas paid the house a secret visit, and the man woke to find coins in his shoes. This happened three times, providing the man with the needed dowry for his daughters, and they were spared from slavery. (Read more about St. Nicholas here and here.)

In my family, we celebrate St. Nicholas Day by leaving shoes out the night before, and waking to see what presents St. Nicholas has left in our shoes. It is a nice, anticipatory feast during Advent, and we look forward to it every year.

Now, since I'm a little under the weather with a head cold and I can't think of words to write an actual blog post, I'm going to post a Christmas story instead, one I wrote awhile back and never subbed because, honestly, it's not really publishable. Here you go!


She tasted Christmas, in the sweetness of a sugar cookie. She sneaked icing, dough, and chocolate and let it all mix on her tongue. She decided, Christmas is hot cocoa and whipped cream stirred with a peppermint stick. Christmas is the taste of cold snow on her lips.

She smelled Christmas, the butter, sugar, and flour mixed in a bowl, cookies baking in the oven, and the clear, sharp smell of snow. She said, “Christmas is the smell of the pine tree in the corner, the aroma of lighted Advent candles, and the clean snowy breeze coming through that opened window.”

She felt Christmas, the cookie dough under her fingernails. She poked her palms on prickling pine needles, and fingered the rough, glitter-crusted lining on an ornament. Christmas, she thought, is the touch of snowflakes on my face, paint on my fingers as I help paint this nativity scene on the frozen windowpane. Christmas is the warmth of fire thawing my numb fingers, the touch of the chiseled, porcelain statues of St. Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, the sheep, and donkey, in my hands.

She heard Christmas, the crackle of wrapping paper as someone wrapped a present, followed by the snick of tape cut off a spool. She heard the clink of cookie cutters clattering on the counter. Christmas is "Silent Night” playing on the radio, a timer going off on the stove, a spoon racketing off the ceramic side of a mixing bowl. Christmas is the sound of wind blowing past the window and rattling the sills, of flames crackling on the hearth. Christmas is the sound of a teakettle whistling on the stove, ready to prepare a pot of hot chocolate. Christmas is the silence in the evening when the world goes still.

She saw Christmas. There was the decorated tree standing in the corner, lights blinking on and off on pine boughs and gleaming off the silver, blue, and red ornaments. She saw the Nativity scene painted on the windows, the Advent wreath wrapped in green ivy and red beads on the table. She decided  Christmas is red and green garland strung in the entryway between the kitchen and living room, Christmas cards displayed on the decorated tree, snow piling in mounds in the yard, and snowflakes filling the sky with a kaleidoscope of diamond glints. Christmas was the snowmen standing in every yard, white lights illuminating houses on the block, Santa Claus’s ringing bells at every store.

She lived Christmas. Christmas is the glory of Midnight Mass, the candles and bells rejoicing Christ’s birth. Christmas is a drive home through a silent night, a stop at a gas station for coffee and a chocolate bar. Christmas is a couple hours’ sleep, an early morning vigil, huddled in blankets on the couch, excited gazes fixed upon a mound of presents beneath pine boughs.

Christmas is the lighted white Christ Candle, “Adeste Fidelis” sung around the Advent wreath, the Christ Child laid in His manger. Christmas is sausage and buns, orange juice, and chocolate. Christmas is a noise and fury, and joy. Christmas is digging through Christmas stockings, the excitement of opening the first present.

Christmas is the Babe in the manger.

Christmas is Christ’s birth.

God bless!

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