Merry Christmas!

Nativity by Gerard van Honthorst

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled.

This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.

And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Poking Around Under The Hood

Doing some changes under the hood to the code and layout. If things appear wonky off and on for the next several days, that’s probably why.

We’ve had 14.5″ of snow since last night.

Fourteen and a half. Inches. Of. Snow.

The local Fox TV meteorologist says that it’s the seventh largest snowfall recorded for a 24-hour period since the State started keeping records. It’s a bit… much… even for us.

The wind was incredible, too, so we have some amazing drifts, a few more than three feet high.

Right now, Michael is testing out our new snow thrower, creating a path for the bunnies to get around the yard more easily to get to his shop. It’s a powerful but small electric model that is a replacement of the one we bought last year. That one had a factory defect, which made it eat its own drive-belts like candy. We finally boxed the thing up after repeatedly fixing it, shipped it to the manufacturer and asked for a new one. Within two business days we had a brand-spanking new replacement in our frustrated paws. That’s my idea of how customer service should resolve legitimate problems with defective items!

We filled the feeders before the storm hit, and I’m glad we managed to get that done. We had a rush of cardinals as evening set in, looking for dinner. They’re the first birds I’ve seen all day, as the heavy snow and winds have sent all the wildlife into deep cover.

One thing this storm has done: I always want a white Christmas, even if it’s only an inch or two of snow. It just makes it seem like “Christmas,” somehow, to have snow.

After today, I think that’s covered, for this year at least!

2007 Christmas Meme

Since Kris tagged me for a Christmas meme that is identical to one I posted last year, I thought I’d entertain myself and write a new meme.

Here ’tis.

Q: How come no one calls Mrs. Claus fat? Or says that about The Man himself?

A: I’m guessing the answer is coal – lots o’ coal – for insulting the Jolly One’s wife.

Q: Do you decorate the outside of your home for Christmas?

A: A tad – just a wreath this year, so far. It’s probably good that I can’t get out there and do any decorating, or I’d be hiring a cherry picker to help me string a few thousands watts around the property. I love seeing outdoor Christmas decorations, and the more lights, the better. Dolly Parton, the queen of tasteful excess, is my hero in this philosophy; remember – more is better!

Q: Have you ever gone Christmas caroling?

A: Oh, definitely! Started the habit in high school, when my German teacher, Frau Tangert, organized a caroling eve every year, complete with caroling through some neighborhoods and a party at her home afterwards, with all the home-baked cookies and German pastries you could eat. Yum!

Q: What do you think about the impropriety of the city of Green Bay allowing a nativity scene at a government office?

A: And what impropriety would that be? They’re encouraging residents to provide representations of all holidays celebrated this time of year. When did it become essential to exclude in order to be inclusive? Sheesh. The US Postal Service has a Kwanzaa stamp, and one with a menorah, as well as a Madonna and Child stamp. I haven’t heard that the stamp drawers in local post offices are spontaneously combusting because of some sort of violent energy generated by the three stamps co-existing in the same physical space within a U.S. government office. Works for me.

Q: What do you think of reindeer?

A: I think they’re delicious (just kidding… )

Q: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

A: Aha! A trick question! I was waiting for one of these… of course it’s a Christmas movie! Who could watch that movie, and not think Christmas?

Q: What’s your favorite Christmas song?

A. Hard to say, as I love most of ‘em, from Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer to the Christmas-y parts of Handel’s Messiah. The old Harry Simone Choir versions of The Little Drummer Boy and Do You Hear What I Hear are my sentimental favorites, as they come from the first record album I ever owned.

Q: What do you think of Christmas memes?

A: Why, I love ‘em! Really. I do… wait, what’s that? Santa? Oh NO! What are you doing? … You’re stuffing my stocking full of coal??? STOP! Noooooooooooo!!!

*sigh*

Oh, well. I have to look at the bright side. At least we’ll be warm this Christmas!

Born in a Stable

Midwest Nativity

I’ve never been comfortable with the images portraying the Nativity scene within a cave. Yes, it may be the case that the stable where Jesus was born was a cave, but I don’t find that version of the scene the tiniest bit peaceful and joyous.

My fault, entirely – think “seriously claustrophobic” and you begin to understand why me envisioning the Nativity as a “sweet cave scene” isn’t even a remote possibility. I can laugh uproariously throughout the scariest monster movie, which makes me an uncomfortable movie companion, but for heavens sake, why would the hungry Velociraptor chase the little bitty humans around in a kitchen when 40 tons of edible herbivore is lumbering about merely twenty yards away?

Sorry. Got carried away there.

Anyways, I don’t happily “do” enclosed spaces, nor do I enjoy depictions of them in any form. I can stand on a cliff or pick up a snake, but show me Harrison Ford crawling into a drain and I’m outta there. Nope. Do not like that. Can’t watch. Not even with gorgeous Harry as the star.

So.

I’ve always visualized the Nativity in a barn, which if it contains horses (and even a cow or two) is called a stable here in the Midwest.

Semantics, perhaps, but there it is, and tonight we’ll celebrate the Nativity, with me picturing the newborn Babe in a barn.

I’m sure Jesus understands.

Merry Christmas!

“In mundo nascitur,
Pannis involvitur
Praesepi ponitur
Stabulo brutorum,
Rector supernorum.
Perdidit spolia
Princeps infernorum.”

(He is born on earth, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger in an animals’ stable, the ruler of the heavens. The prince of hell has lost his spoils – Piae Cantiones, 1582)

Quiz Show

Star of Wonder Blue Lit Night

So, says you, have you gotten the latest email asking all those sweet Christmas questions?

Indeed I have. Many times. Many many times. Enough that it reminds me of snowflakes scattering into my email and forming a formidable drift of saccharine delight. I’ve seen it propagating throughout the web too: the Christmas Meme intent on becoming the blogosphere’s “Song that Never Ends.”

I suppose, barring ownership of a Zamboni equipped with a flame-thrower, the only way to melt the drift is to wade my way through and answer. So, here ’tis.

Christmas Questionnaire Answers

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Neither, actually. Cheese boxes don’t lend themselves to fancy duds, especially when they are being sent hither and yon.

2. Real tree or artificial? Vinyl. I’m considering a paper tree for next year.

3. When do you put up the tree? When we have a thaw that let’s us pound the stakes into the ground.

4. When do you take the tree down? Around June 1st, when it’s warm enough to crowbar the tree stakes back out of the frozen tundra.

5. Do you like eggnog? Is this a trick question? No! Especially not when it’s been made by taking a raw egg, tossing it into a glass and then smushing in frozen Tom and Jerry mix.

Eggnog, indeed.

*gack*

6. Do you have a nativity scene? Duh! It’s Christmas. What were you expecting, a shadowbox of Santa Claus tubing behind a Holstein?

7. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, with hopes of having them actually in the post by Valentine’s Day, more or less.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Why would anything that was given as a gift ever get rated as “best” to “worst” by anyone?

*shakes head at state of the world*

9. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Good heavens, no! Is this one of those questions from the eco-intelligentsia popping up again?

10. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cheesecake. Not that gelatin-filled imitation stuff that gets passed off on unsuspecting innocents. Real cheesecake, topped with Sibby’s vanilla ice cream and home-made whipped cream. Or, as we call it, the “triple coronary by-pass delight.”

11. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored, small, and in jewel tones. And no flashing lights, thank you kindly.

12. Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeers? Certainly. And I always remember to include Adolph the Antelope in my list, as he had a very special characteristic that made him Santa’s backup light. Thank you, Mathguy, my beloved, for making sure that little ditty would haunt me throughout my life.

13. Angel on the tree top or a star? This is another one of those trick questions, right? A star, of course! I seem to recall every instance of angels appearing in the Bible including falling flat on one’s face in sheer terror and awe at the sight. I’m not quite up to experiencing that every time I look at my tree.

14. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Advertisements. And Christmas memes, I might add.

15. What would you like for Christmas? A total body transplant, but that doesn’t seem to be in the offing. So, as Gracie Hart says, “I’ll take world peace.” That’s always good.