Christmas Me

Finally In the Mood for Christmas

It's taken a while, mostly from circumstances beyond my control, which is all right. I only have seven more weeks of being moderator, and I am actually counting the weeks. It's not a pretty reality, but it's what I've got.

Thanksgiving went well. Our trip down to San Diego started in a horizontal snow storm on the way to DIA, 90 degree weather in La Jolla, lots of wonderful food adventures, and then a cooler end to the week there and a trip home to a winter wonderland of snow.



You can see all the pictures here...

We had a four pound deep fried catfish with shallots at a Vietnamese restaurant with the whole plates of vegetables, rice skins to dip in water, and lots of fish sauce. We got to go to Dumpling House and get garlic chive and fish boiled dumplings, the small steamer bao with soup in them, and the best beef noodle soup in the city along with some nice greens. We hit the Point Loma Seafood Company and got raw oysters, along with my usual fried clams, and Jet got a lovely swordfish sandwich. I cooked the turkey and Mom did most of the fixings for our Thanksgiving feast. And we ended up on our last day at Granny's Tofu and BBQ house, where we got to experience Korean Tofu soup (Jet got curry flavored) along with spicy pork and the spare ribs we're used to; and they served us eight kind of pickles and our rice in stone bowls still too hot to touch.

One very nice surprise was Icekimo, in Kearny Mesa, which serves a Taiwanese style shaved ice. They have flavors in the ice, with a standard 'milk tea', and half a dozen other flavors, including coffee, red bean, black sesame, and strawberry. They also had a whole bar of toppings and you paid by the weight. It was very tasty, and Jet got to experience shaved ice and the texture of shave ice for the first time, so we did it twice. *laughs*

We also went to the beach nearly every day. Mostly Mission Beach, just south of Pacific Beach, it's a spot with really great sand for building, lots of surfers to watch and tiny little sand pipers that I loved walking with through the surf. The beach itself is good and shallow, now big slamming shelves, and theres a pretty big kelp bed just off shore, so sometimes there's a lot of seaweed. That often means that there's fewer people, and more stuff to use as barriers to the surf.

So it's our favorite spot.

One day, however, the storms were blowing in, and we decided to go walk at La Jolla instead. The seals were onshore at the old Children's Pool, which has now been taken over pretty much by seals and sea lions. It was really cool to see them up close and completely unconcerned about the people. We also stopped at an old La Jolla high school hangout, the Living Room coffeehouse, which still had the usual barista stuff, and an amazing Greek bakery. They had these lovely tender pistachio baklava sticks that were amazingly good.

The Wild Animal Park was a blast as well. We definitely got our walking in, and also got to see a lot of animals we don't usually even get a glimpse of at the zoo. So it was great to ride the tram, see the tethered balloon platform, and wander around. The tigers were amazing, and cheerfully seemed to show themselves off to the people that were wandering by on the other sides of the compound walls.

It was a great week off. I came back to some stuff, and it's still in the throes of being figured out. I'm doing my best to let the people most qualified and most in the thick of it to do the figuring out. So that's good.

We came back to Home Tour the first weekend of December and today was the Christmas Cantata, both of which are a huge deal for the church. The first has started involving the whole Longmont Community and the Community Foundation, which benefits a huge number of the nonprofits in Longmont. I worked one of the homes, and John got posters ready about all our flood relief efforts, which was really good to see.

Also, last night, Jet had his part in the Christmas Parade down Longmont's main street, and it was snowing for most of the day. I was brave enough to bundle up and went with John to drop Jet off. John and Jet had put lights on Jet's trombone, and the whole band was in Ugly Sweaters and lights of all kinds. John and I found both a coffeeshop and then a dry spot to wait for the parade. They'd joined up with another high school band, and they played together amazingly well while going at a brisk march down one street and up Main, which was lit like a street party. Quite a lot of Longmont was out to watch, and it was worth doing in spite of the cold and snow. Roosevelt Park was beautifully lit, too, and they ended up there, voting for the ugliest sweater before dispersing.

The second big church thing involved John as a reader, along with the whole choir, an orchestra, and a lot of people running around getting things together, including our whole snacks crew trying to make enough stuff for more than 200 people. It was crazy.

But good.

It all went really well. People were all... well... people during and after. The snacks were enough. The cantata itself went really well, and people were basking in the music. It was good. And Tonya, who was doing most of the snack stuff and cleanup with us, wrote, afterward, that she was really getting into the Christmas spirit due to all of that and working with us. The second team didn't really show up to help with the clean up at all, and they left a few snacks, but didn't really help with the setup, since the one that left food was also singing. That was all right; but cleanup can be a lot of work, so I was glad we could do that.

I've also been reading Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint. She's a Lutheran minister here in Denver, and I'm loving the book. There's a lot in there that really resonated with me. Especially when she says that she got up and basically said to all the new members of her church: Look I'm going to disappoint you. It's just going to happen. I'm human, I fuck up. Let's get that over with, and you can leave if I mess up if you want to, but if you stay even after I disappoint you, we can see where God takes us.

Maybe I just like a Christan that is as conflicted about that label as I am, and what's been done in the name of the church; but there is an element of the grace I'm seeking threaded through the whole of that book.

It's interesting that that is the book that is making it finally feel more like Christmas. *grins*

The three of us also finally got to go watch a movie at the new movie theater here in town, and, of course, we went to see The Martian. It was amazingly good, and the theater was mostly empty, so it was fun and fine to talk about stuff together. It was also nice to be able to laugh at some of the things. It was nice to be completely able to understand the Mandarin being spoken in the Chinese space program headquarters. *laughs* I should ask Jet if he understood what they were saying.

It was a nice end to a very busy weekend.
I can see why!! It's tasty without being too hot, but hot enough to be interesting, and ALL the pickles!! Wow. Very very cool.