First Snow

First SnowI woke up at 1:33 a.m. and couldn’t fall back to sleep.  I can’t do much at this hour without disturbing Lacey and Frida, so I decided to write a bit to share.  Before opening the laptop, I spent a moment at the window.  As I looked into the cold, dark and still outside, it hit me–it’s Christmas morning!  I should be in bed (don’t want to prevent Santa’s arrival)!  I really felt like a kid for a second, basking in a bit of the ol’ Christmas spirit.  What a great feeling… and then it got better.  It started snowing!  First snow of the winter, too, and just in time for Christmas.  Is that what got me out from under the covers?  Whatever the reason, I am lucky to be experiencing it.  Fresh white snow working to cover walks.  Not a sound except for clicking keys and my trusty tinnitus.  I hope it keeps snowing.  How special for the little folks!

We’ve had a wonderful holiday season so far.  You?  Friday night we went to Mahar’s and Curry House with two good friends.  Lacey beat me at darts and then denied me a rematch.  I’ve always said I am not a competitive person, but Lacey recently corrected me–I am not a competitive person except when it comes to games played with her.  As always, she is right.  We recently started a game of gin and the plan is to keep a running score for life.  We’ve only played three short sessions and Lacey has 675 to my 485.  I have a weakness for the discard pile.  As it grows, drunk on dreams of big points I scoop up as many cards as I can.  A hand or two later, Lacey goes out while I am holding a fist full of negative points.  A little math to encourage me to pick up my game?  Based on our current scores, if we play fifty times a year for forty years, Lacey will end up with 450,000 points to my 320,000 points.  Epic fail!

Saturday we were invited to hear a friend perform at Valentine’s.  Same friend that sent us a holiday CD with four songs written and performed by her and her husband.  I listened to it three times through and couldn’t stop laughing (with them–it was meant to be funny).  We wanted to go to the show, but when evening arrived we just didn’t have the get up to go.  She expected to go on after nine (our bedtime).  As the sun was setting, standing in a cold bar when our bodies expect to be horizontal and pressed under heavy blankets didn’t appeal.  Our neighbors called, though, so we shared with them an early dinner of Little Anthony’s pizza.  We were back home and asleep by the time our friend was to perform.  Very sorry to have missed her, but happy to be in a warm bed at bedtime.  We won’t miss her next show (and will be the richer for it).

Sunday found us at a holiday party at the home of a member of my Scrabble group.  In addition to enjoying conversations with my fellow tile shufflers, I met a gent that plays disc golf at Joralemon, loves Chicago, is a lawyer, and has about a dozen other things in common with me.  A new friend?  One can only hope.  I also met an architect who designs US embassies.  Tough to be more interesting than that!  I was glad to have Ned at my side to keep the conversation going (Ned has been everywhere, and that sure comes in handy when conversing with international architects).  I listened, smiled, sipped whiskey and soaked it all in.  I knew my Scrabble crew was an interesting bunch, but I am continually impressed as I learn more about them, their friends and their adventures.

Last night–another holiday party!   This time at my cousin’s home in Delmar.  Such a warm family!  Can’t believe my good fortune to have reconnected with them.  I’ll spare you the details save for one–the best split pea soup I’ve ever tasted.  As I was working my way through my second bowl and paying tribute to my cousin’s mastery between each bite, she said it was “just soup.”  To her, maybe, but not to Lacey and myself.  Trying to remember the differences from what you’d expect.  Fresh rosemary sticks out.  Oh–she started with tomato paste browned a bit in the pot with tamari.  No celery.  Finished by the consumer with olive oil and chopped parsley.  In the end, magic.  A pint is resting in our fridge.  Sounds good even at  2:38 a.m., but I should save it.   Lacey and I can enjoy a cup later today, together.

Can’t forget to mention one terrific gift–a chocolate pecan pie made by a friend.  One of her specialties that we’ve enjoyed half a dozen times.  It was just dropped off yesterday, still warm, and I’ve already enjoyed two pieces.  I’ve mostly resisted sweets this season (even made a quick trip to Seattle without eating a single Mighty-O donut), but this pie will be my downfall.  No regrets.  I’ll enjoy the ride.

I fit in a little plumbing yesterday.  The hot water stem I replaced in the shower was acting up.  As the water came up to temp the hot water would abruptly stop.  Opening the valve further would get the hot water going again, but you’d have to open it further than before.  I guessed the screw that holds on the rubber washer was coming loose, allowing the washer to slide out, closing the valve, as the temp came up.  Not sure if that was the cause, but the screw was pretty loose.  I tightened it, added more plumbers grease on the stem, washer and rings, painted thread compound on the collar and closed it back up.  Seems to be good now.  I repeated the procedure for the two tub stems I replaced.  Both  of those screws were a little loose, too.  All in all, a fun project.  I’ll give the shower stem the first real test today.  Fingers crossed!

Lacey will work today.  She should have fun sharing Christmas with her teenage clients.  Me?  I’ll pedal atop rollers, visit my friend’s cat (my friend is home visiting family), call my family and make a pot of jambalaya to share later.  Some solitaire, to be sure, and probably some music on the hifi.  Before I know it, Lacey will be home (the only gift I want and need).

Four a.m. now.  It is still snowing.  Looks like I will get to push a shovel around the driveway.  Looking forward to the cardio and upper body work.  Will you be shoveling?  Take it easy out there.  I will, too.  No Christmas heart attacks, please!

Happy holidays!

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