Posts Tagged With: advent

this is the Christmas of my childhood

In the process of preparing to move, I went through my little two drawer file cabinet. Wedged into the very back of a file folder was a small stack of recipes.
These recipes are older than I am.
I set these particular recipes aside, put them in a safe place.
You know how that goes…
Meanwhile, Thing 1 has patiently waited for nearly five years for me to present her with the apple butter recipe. This recipe came from the next door neighbor, and is in her handwriting.
My mom made this apple butter as long as I can remember. Thing 1 loved when her Grandmommy would make it for her when she was a little girl. I think this might be her ‘golden ticket’ recipe.

It feels serendipitous that I came across these as we were coming into this time of year.
Advent is sacred to me. This most anticipatory time of year. When we’re enveloped in the spirit of Christmas, filled with love and hope and light.
Having these recipes in my hand at this time of year is perfect because they are absolutely the Christmas of my childhood.

My grandmother added her thoughts to the recipes she wrote out, and in the upper left corner you can see the words: Good Toots Recipe!
‘Toots’ is the pet name my grandparents had for their beloved and longtime friend. Grandaddy always called her Toots, but to me, she was ‘Little Grandma’ because she was small of build.

Little Grandma made these gingerbread men every single year. They were, and remain my very favorite cookie. They always had red hots as eyes, and hard silver dragées as buttons. They snapped in the most perfect way, and had the spiciest ginger flavor.
She only made them at Christmastime.
In the years since Little Grandma’s been gone, I’ve eaten many gingerbread men. Some disappointing ones. Some damn fine ones. But none as delicious as the ones she made.

I’ve been saying to my own baking guru Thing 1, I want to make Little Grandma’s gingerbread men. This is my childhood, I say.

Then I stop for a moment and I think, this is my childhood, and realize I’m actually hesitant to bake from this recipe.
How much of my love for these cookies is directly linked to loving Little Grandma? How much of my love for these cookies is about being excited to spend time with her in her little craftsman house in Clarendon? How much of my love for these cookies is about nostalgia?
Are they actually as delicious as I remember?
Can I just go to World Market and buy some Nyakers Swedish gingerbread men and be content?
Will Thing 1 and I bake these cookies and break my heart?
Will one of the last precious things from my childhood be broken?

That’s my fear talking. My anxiety. My sadness.
I’m sad that I’m the only one who knows what I’m talking about when I remember. I’m sad my sacred and precious Christmas tradition memories are foreign to my daughters, to my husband.
I’m fearful that I’ll ruin those memories by trying to recreate them.

I have to stop and breathe.
I have to be more mindful.
Perhaps it isn’t about recreating as much as it is creating something new from something sacred.
After all, Christmas is about hope.

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getting advent-er

For the first time in the history of my family (in any incarnation), each person has their own Advent calendar.
Excessive?
Perhaps.
Do I care?
Nope.

We’re super-extra and that’s fine by me.

Here’s how it shakes out.
Top left is the Daddy’s (Husband N), all the hot sauce.
Top right is the Papa’s (YBW), so much red wine.
Middle right is the Birdie’s, because…Harry Potter.
Bottom is Baby K’s, Little People are just right for little hands. (and that Santa is so cute I could die!)
Middle left is the Mommy’s (Thing 1), because one must always add to one’s Playmobil collection.

Here’s Baby K’s mom and dad helping her with the first night.

It may be ridiculous, but I don’t care.
My precious husband needs all those small wine bottles.
My daughter loves her some Playmobil. (and she’ll share with her daughter)
My daughter’s husband wants all the hot sauce.
My granddaughter loves to play.
And I didn’t really want to be left out.

As Wayne says:

Can confirm.
We’re advent-y AF up in here (up in here) and I’m cool with that.

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December: the good kind of chaos

We saw a thought provoking play Sunday last, I’m still trying to understand the impact it had on me. We talked about it all through dinner and all the way home, and still we’re left with questions.
That’s the power of the arts!
Aren’t we blessed to live in a world in which we experience the arts in so many fashions!?!
The play is an old one, but re-staged in the last twenty or so years. It reads timeless and current at the same moment. And the comment on society is as applicable now as it was then, especially in this country where the divide between the haves and have-nots continues to grow.
Every word we speak or write, every action we take or choose not to take has a ripple effect. Goes out from us into the world around us. Creates an impact. Most of us are immune to that awareness.
None of us should be.
An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley at Shakespeare Theatre Company
It will sit with me for a while.

Last week at school started at about 68% and ended Friday at 80% Lord of the Flies mode. The kids, faculty, and staff are all waiting for the ‘Man with the Bag’ so we can have a little break.
Nine more days.
We can do anything for nine days, right?

This Friday night, YBW and I went to the Lincoln Theatre for a conversation with Bob Woodward. Kojo Nnamdi moderated questions from the audience, with many of his own.

(excuse the pic quality, I broke my phone’s camera lens recently…Santa’s going to bring me a new one!)

Mr Woodward discussed his most recent publication, as well as sharing stories of George H W Bush, Gerald Ford, Mark Felt, and his time during Watergate. He spoke with a frankness, elegance, and sharp sense of humor.
Bob Woodward is one of my life-long ‘folk heroes’.
After all Watergate, Katharine Graham wrote him a letter, in which she wrote, “Beware the demon of pomposity.” He shared with us that he took her words to heart. Her words helped guide him through his career. One he’s spent just doing his job, reporting and writing the information he continues to work hard to collect.
One thing he said that struck me was we need to learn the value of silence. To sit in the uncomfortable silence is the only way to learn what others have to say.
It’s interesting, I’ve been practicing that skill over the last couple of years and it really does work! It’s changed the way I communicate with my daughters.

Saturday night, my darling friend Beccca and I went to The Strathmore to the All These Poses Tour.

(It’s signed!! and please hear that in an excited sing-songy sort of voice)

Rufus Wainwright is celebrating the twentieth anniversary of his career with a show dedicated to his first two albums. Poses, his second album, is one of my favorite records.
The Strathmore is a wonderful venue, not a bad seat in the house, and has excellent acoustics!
Rufus was sublime!

YBW just came home from our winery. We chatted up folks in the barrel barn, drank some wine, and enjoyed a lunch of ham biscuits and brunswick stew. A lovely way to spend this cold and dreary Sunday afternoon.

While I’m enjoying the fullness of my calendar, I’m beginning to become concerned that I need some quiet time to do homework and wrap pressies!
And rest more.
This evening my plan is to be firmly planted on the floor, Christmas movies on the TV, wrapping gifts. What will most likely happen is I’ll lie on the sofa curled up under a blankie binge watching Mrs Maisel.
Y’all wanna take bets?

However overwhelmed I’m feeling (just a smitch), nothing can contain my joy at this season of Advent!
It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!

Yall!
It’s snowing outside!
I’m putting my jammies on inside out, and flushing ice cubes straight away! This little Robynbird wants a snow day! I could get loads of wrapping done if I didn’t have to go to school!

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