Wednesday, December 25, 2019


A beautiful day! Gentle sunshine and not a bit of wind, making me feel as if we drove all night and wound up in Florida's panhandle for Christmas.

Breakfast: this has to be special, no? Break out of the oatmeal routine! Serve up a... panettone!

(This delicious Italian sweet bread is stuffed with candied pear and chocolate. Almonds grace the top.)

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Ed's reaction to any holidays is never grand. I did think that he should have faked a great love for panettone instead of grumbling something about the ridiculousness of stuffing candied fruits into breads, but then I knew all along that the panettone was going to be my joy and that Ed, who only sort of looks like Santa, was going to compare it to a fruitcake. Blasphemy!

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I once again drove to my mom's apartment to pick up items for her...

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... and then I spend a while with her at the Rehab center. I had cut her a chunk of panettone as well and once again my delicious fluffy Italian bread offering received a less than stellar reception. I think some people are missing the Italian gene. And me -- perhaps I was a child of a secret liaison between my mom and an Italian baker. Or I was switched at birth. In any case, I loved my hefty slice of that Italian style brioche with my milky morning espresso! Delizioso

Sometime in the course of the day I spoke to all my children and grandchildren. It is true that Sparrow favors repeating "hi!" again and again during a phone conversation, but I did hear that he had perfected a realistic "ooooooh!" each time he opened a present. Primrose being that much older is fantastic with her ho ho ho's and her Merry Christmas is super sweet. Snowdrop too loves to talk on the phone, but for goodness sake, this is Christmas! She explained to me that she couldn't answer many of my questions because her brother was making too much noise in the background. It was a polite way of saying " I sooooo want to get back to my toys!" She then called out to her granfather -- "do you want to talk to your old wife?"

I kept the Christmas music going for most of the day. I'd read that Ranker, a digital media company that ranks just about everything, put out a list of the top ten Christmas songs written by Jewish song writers: White Christmas (Irving Berlin) heads the list, followed by Chestnuts Roasting, Winter Wonderland, I'll be Home for Christmas, It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Silver Bells, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Little Drummer Boy, A Holly Jolly Christmas, and Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree. I assured Ed that this added a multicultural dimension to our musical indulgence, but honestly, I think that he will be happy when my holiday playlist will be put to rest in the next few days.

In the late afternoon, Ed and I went to the Pheasant Branch Conservancy -- an open nature space that stretches to the west of Madison.


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It's a little muddy and it's not without a other hikers on this beautiful December afternoon. Nonetheless, it's a spectacular walk!

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(view toward the Capitol...)

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Yes, it's December. Yes, Ed is in just short sleeves.

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There is a spring that bubbles magnificently from underground, turning into a lovely creek...

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Selfie time, for sure.

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The sun is low, the path is full of puddles. The effect is actually quite lovely.

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Evening. For dinner, we had booked a table at Taigu Noodles for an authentic "Chinese dinner on Christmas" experience. (Taigu is a new place in town -- some herald it as the rare authentic Chinese restaurant.)

[A question for you: did you know that the US has more Chinese restaurants than McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and Wendy's combined? This we learned from a Ted Talk on Chinese food in America. Listen to it and laugh here!]

We changed our minds. Sort of. Being quite close to Taigu, we decided to simply pick up the food and take it in those not very Chinese little cartons back home, to eat comfortably on our couch, like the good Christmas elves intended.

Hello, may I put in a pick-up order? There are two spicy dishes we'd like... and maybe some eggrolls... We'd been hiking, I'm feeling hungry.
No homemade Taigu noodles? Have you tried our noodles?
No, we haven't... So maybe add the noodles...

We have a lot of food. It feels like Thanksgiving: there will be leftovers!

As we drive home, the post sunset sky dazzles us with color. So much beauty out there on this Christmas Day. I hope it made its way into your corner of the world. I hope you had a truly happy, colorful day.

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