Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Is Upon Us, Mrs. Thompson

My parent's Portuguese Aruban gardener, always began to speak of Christmas in July.  "Mrs. Thompson," said Keith each week when he came to tend the grass, the bougainvillea and hibiscus, tap on the palm trees to fell the coconuts and overfertilize and thus kill, the potted plants, "Christmas is upon us." Mom said it was Keith's way of priming her for his annual holiday bonus, lest she forget.
Well, here in Seattle, Christmas is indeed upon us. There is no way we could possibly forget Christmas.  The trees at my daughter's houses have been trimmed and many of the ornaments hail from their childhoods. Caroline's made her fabulous caramels, Jeanne's still making batch after batch of Bama's chocolate peanut clusters, Kate and I wrapped special New Year's gifts for all seven of Mom and Dad's grandchildren, school vacation has begun. Two more days and we'll be steaming the Christmas pudding, stirring three homemade soups, scuttling errant wrapping paper and celebrating this very family day. I assume the day will be rainy and we'll be stepping in muddy puddles, just as we have for the last eight days.
Here are a few high points from these last week before Christmas. Dad's adult family home has a party for its residents and their families. We were there in masse which lent an extra level of confusion to the event, at least from Charlie Bean's and my point of view. However, the Ethiopian food they served, in addition to regular fare, was wonderful and I've already put in a request for a couple of recipes. Here are some of us. Dad couldn't believe this photo, as his smiles often turn into unintentional grimaces. However, I see that his eyes are smiling.
On Friday, I had lunch at Thai Star with my nephew Chris. Good conversation and afterward, we got take-out for Kate and we walked over to her office at Virginia Mason and surprised her. Met her colleagues and then I left for a side trip to the UW bookstore and then on to Dad's. At least that is what I remember.
On Thursday morning in pouring rain, I joined Lulu's kindergarten class for a field trip to Hearthstone, a senior living facility, to visit their 'grand-pals.' Lulu's grand-pal is Bev and she's lovely.  Santa was there for pictures and each child exchanged presents with his or her grand-pal. Every month, the kindergarten takes the short walk to Hearthstone to visit grand-pals. It's a nice program for all.
Yesterday, Kate and I drove down to Gig Harbor to see Chris and Heather. Never been to their home and having seen it and their dining room with Mom and Dad's table and chairs, I have visions of a big family pot luck there next summer. They have a very impressive fireplace. And the back of their property is a great wood hill. More places for kids to play and hide, and camp out in a tent someday.
Last evening, I went to Caroline's for gluten free pizza with Mary B and Lulu. Steve and Charlie were off at a Huskie's game. Now enough of this commentary. Must get myself to Ballard market for green vegetables and ingredients for foamy yellow sauce. Then, I've a few more gifts to wrap. As our Portuguese Aruba gardener said, "Christmas is upon us, Mrs. Thompson."

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