It was a quiet cozy Christmas for us. Anna Rae and I went to an early Christmas Eve mass; I loved singing carols before mass, the sight of the altar with sparkling Christmas trees and tall pyramids of vivid pointsettas, the little herd of children in their holiday finery were amusingly serious and sincere as they talked with father about the meaning of Christ's birth before he gave us his homily, and HG and her friend Brittany sang a flawless and beautiful duet of What Child Is This (if ever I have been guilty of the sin of pride, it was then). On Christmas morning we opened gifts at about 8:30. As an only child being FIRST to see what Santa left under the tree was an unknown concern for HG. That never was the case with me. I would get up long before my brothers and sisters, poking and shaking packages, examining labels, wanting to know and wanting to be surprised at the same time. Now that HG is a young adult I don't feel the need to abandon the comfort of a warm bed even on Christmas morning. Besides it is SO dark, with sunrise only minutes before 8:00am. Once we opened gifts and the french bread stuffed with sausage, Canadian bacon, and Swiss cheese was in the oven, we retreated to our corners with our gifts; HG reading a book of Transit Maps of the World (she has had a big time fascination with maps ever since about age 5), Chris reading the Onion's Dumb Atlas of the World, and me struggling through the user's manual for our new digital photo frame. I have it working, well, sort of; I can load the pictures from a memory card but I busted the feature that allows us to upload from the computer. How? Well the directions say, " You can connect the Digital Photo Frame to a Windows or Macintosh computer to copy files to the built-in memory." Then the next section talks about connecting to a Windows Computer, no more mention of Macintosh. That was not going to stop me, I wanted to play with my Christmas toy, @#*& it! So I followed the Windows directions and the Pandigital icon came up and everything was looking A-OK, I started uploading a photo and the little wheel that turns on your screen to tell you "I'm busy, DON'T TOUCH!" just kept turning and turning and turning for a long, long time. I panicked and force quit every operation I could find and then turned off the frame and removed the USB cable. Big mistake, a few pages later in the manual it says, "It is important not to just unplug or switch off the Digital Photo Frame when files are being transferred...". But like I said, I can still load photos from a memory card so, all is not lost!
Have you noticed our perfect Christmas tree? Yes, it is perfectly fake. We have officially made the switch to an artificial tree this year. What I like most about a fake tree is that you don't need to worry about leaving the lights on too long and drying out the needles and burning down the house. What I like least about a fake tree is that the lights are kept on ALOT and I find myself becoming more jaded about the brightness they bring to otherwise dreary winter nights.
The biggest surprise on Christmas was the snow that started to fall at about midday.
A white Christmas is very rare in Seattle; I can think of only two in my 31 years here. I chopped and sauteed, preparing our holiday dinner while listening to seasonal music on the radio and the big wet flakes of snow swirled outside my big garden window, making it feel almost like Midwest Christmases from my past. Our dinner though was decidedly Pacific Northwest; Pistachio Encrusted Halibut with Spicy Cucumber Yogurt Dip and Skewered Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese, accompanied by a simple lettuce salad and tortellini pasta with roasted peppers and garlic. I did not make a dessert but there were plenty of cookies around for nibbling all day long. A good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon rounded out our very tasty feast.
Afterwards we retreated downstairs to watch a DVD, The Waitress which is a lighthearted romantic comedy. HG was not totally pleased with the ending but just the same we all agreed it was worth viewing. As we were happily cuddled in blankets on the couch and rocking chair, a little excitement ensued in the backyard as I saw a the beam of a tiny flashlight pass the window in front of us. "Hey Chris, someone is in our backyard!" I exclaim. He shoots off the couch pulls open the back door and shouts, "HEY BUDDY! What are doing in our yard?" Turns out it was our neighbor Sam. His girlfriend's black cat had escaped when a visiting relative opened the door. The cat is an indoor cat and is probably a real dufus about living in the wild neighborhood of feral cats, raccoons, and possums in Shorewood. I still don't know if the cat has been found. We loaned Sam our mega watt flashlight. In retrospect I am not so sure that opening the door BEFORE Chris knew who it was, was the best line of response. Adrenaline makes a person do crazy things.
So that was Christmas 2007 for us!