Monday, December 15, 2014

Advent Calendars

We had a great 24 hours with my mom and dad--literally 24 hours.  What can one do with 24 hours?  A lot, as it turns out:

--The plane arrived at 2 on Saturday, and we hung out at the house for a few hours.  We listened to Christmas CDs.  We relaxed.

--We had a perfect early dinner:  steaks grilled, jacketed potatoes with the perfect amount of coarse salt, and steamed broccoli.

--Mom and I went to a cookie swap.  It's the 3rd year that my friend has had a this cookie swap, and it's one of my favorite holiday events.

--We left that event early to get to the Broward Symphony.  True confession:  I much preferred the Broward Chorale concert the night before.  I wanted holiday music! Call me bourgeois, but if you put on a concert two weeks before Christmas, there should be holiday music.

--Still I'm glad we went.  My parents, who are classical music fans of the first order, enjoyed the concert, and my spouse really wanted to go.  We heard a fairly new symphony that was rooted in The Lord of the Rings.  It was interesting music with fascinating effects done by instruments that usually don't get to shine in symphonies.

--We came home and ate some Christmas cookies.  We turned on our pool toy, the disco ball with colored lights that gives a fascinating light show in the water.  Then we went to bed.

--On Sunday, I had Christmas cookies for breakfast. 

--We went to a wonderful interactive church service and then we had brunch.  The food was perfect.

--Then it was time to get my parents to the ship.  We had no trouble at the entrance to the port.

--And then it was all over.  There was that deflated feeling, that "Wait, why can't we have more time?" feeling.  There was the happy feeling that I wished we had had more time, that we all get along well.  There was the usual week-end feeling, that Sunday sadness that the week-end is coming to an end.  I put myself to work, catching up on e-mails and packing my gym bag and thinking about lunches and getting some grading done.  We took a walk in the evening and enjoyed the abundance of holiday lights.

--I wrote a poem once based on just this very type of week-end.  I'll paste it below.

Advent Calendar

Orion, that winter visitor, reminds us of our frosty
obligations. Now is the time to prepare.
We dig in the cupboards for the cookie cutters,
creatures enough to create a healthy genetic
mix for the holiday planet we will create.

We remember anew the joy of the well-seasoned
skillet, so versatile as we fry the meat
and cook a well-crusted cornbread.
We strive for abundance, to be prepared
for the unexpected visitor, the waylaid
traveler who might arrive without gifts.

We rediscover the joy of bread baked
fresh in the morning. We afford
the extra splurges that festivity demands:
exotic nuts, dense pastes, sweet icings,
breads heavy with butter and spices.

We could not maintain this pace
all year, but for a month, we pretend
we can handle the additional load.
We try to ignore the yearnings from the stomach’s
pit, the one that wonders why every day
can’t be filled with goodies cooling on the hearth,
a household bathed in the fragrance of baking bread,
the comfort of cake.

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