Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 38, 62 to go: Daring the Fates...

An English Tradition
I finished the list I was working on yesterday and uploaded it to our family website.  Let the changes of life commence. I have dared the Fates.

I learned a lot while determining the whereabouts of some extended family members, even managing to glean a story or two from my mother about her cousins in the process.  

Proper Cracker Procedure (See the crowns?)
What I spent the most time making today was: family bonds and memories.   I raided the local TJ Maxx for our traditional Christmas crackers with Borg #7 of 8.  Crackers are an English Christmas tradition—you and a partner pull them open and they snap loudly.  Inside, there are a paper crown, a toy or trinket and usually a slip of paper with a Christmas-themed joke or riddle.   Any British movie set at Christmastime will include a scene with at least one character wearing a silly tissue paper crown.  Now you know why.

Later, we went out to dinner to celebrate my sister’s birthday again.  It was the same crowd from yesterday plus our 2 oldest nieces and our friend Bridget.  The restaurant is a former Elks lodge hall complete with a wall carved with the initials of Elks of generations past.  They had an interesting gingerbread carrot cake on the dessert menu that I am going to have to go home and re-create.  The gingerbread flavors in a moist carrot cake are inspiring.  They serve the cake with a coffee caramel sauce which I did not have.  (Coffee and caramel are yucky to my palate. I’d rather eat Brussels sprouts.) I am thinking I will do a chocolate hazelnut sauce instead. 

Tomorrow will be the Christmas celebration with the whole family.  There will be so many people packed into my mom’s living room that we have to turn off the heat a couple of hours beforehand and sometimes even crack a window to offset all the warm bodies.  It is a noisy, joyous raucous time.  Disappointingly, my brother, sister-in-law and their awesome kid will not be able to make it in person, but at least can join us by Skype for the gift-opening and annual family portrait. 

Until the crowd arrives, I had better spend tomorrow crocheting the rest of that lacey hat I started the other day.

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