Graham is back from England! I found it hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year until he returned. (Although I think the hot weather was another large factor.) But he got back about a week before Christmas, and we’ve spent it happily cocooned in the apartment, and we had a wonderful Christmas. We had a quiet and cozy Christmas day, and then prepared a Boxing Day spread and had our friends Ashley and Rich, and their adorable baby Sofia, over to feast with us.
We listened to the Queen’s Christmas Message, and it ended with a sentiment that I liked very much:
There’s an old saying that ‘it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness’. There are millions of people lighting candles of hope in our world today. Christmas is a good time to be thankful for them, and for all that brings light to our lives.
We witnessed a lot of ugliness in 2015 – not just from terrorism in the world at large, but also in the messages of hate demonstrated by fellow Americans, and from candidates asking for the opportunity to lead our country. It’s been very disheartening and upsetting, but the only productive thing we can do is to be a light ourselves – to contrast the hate with our kindness, our smiles, our acts of love and service.
I’ve decided, somewhat impulsively, to start In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. I’m over two-thirds done with Swann’s Way and I’m entranced by Proust’s writing. Reading the seven volumes will be a long process, but I’m enjoying the slow, meditative, relaxing style of his prose. I’m also reading Village Christmas by Laurie Lee – delightful little vignettes about growing up in the English countryside.
We made a little Christmas feast for ourselves: we roasted a chicken, along with sprouts and carrots, and made mashed potatoes with gravy, and my great-grandmother’s biscuit recipe.
We also made a robust Boxing Day spread, including my second English trifle. It was much less stressful than last year, since we started it a day earlier and gave the layers more time to set.
December is always jammed packed with events, parties, and traditions, which make it difficult to focus on anything “heavy” on audio. So I’ve just been listing to the Harry Potter audiobooks, for probably the 5th or 6th time. I’m on Prisoner of Azkaban, and it’s perfect holiday treat.
I hope that no matter what you celebrate you’ve had a happy December, and have had time to savor the season with people you love. A new year is around the corner, and it’s full of mystery and opportunity, and a fresh, clean slate. Cheers!