Obviously it's been a while--if anyone was checking back in hopes of an update, I apologize. I also apologize for any odd typographical errors, as I am in Scotland at the moment. It took me a couple of minutes just to find the "@" sign so that I could sign into facebook. (Interestingly, its position is switched with that of the quotation mark.) The shift key is also a little further over than I'm used to, so that's proving to be interesting. At least all of the letters are in the same places.
Christmas was wonderful. Of course I don't remember it all at this point, but on Christmas eve Chloe and I went shopping for various things, and then went to our uncle's house to make eggnogg. I've done this for the past three years (including this one), but this was Chloe's first time coming to help. We separated a lot of eggs and mixed a lot of alchohol and honey and heavy cream. We watched bits of It's A Wonderful Life, and it's a wonderful movie. Around 11:15 we raced home to change and race to midnight mass, where my mother was singing and where we ran into some friends. I don't know how your late Christmas eves/early Christmas mornings go, but we, as usual, ended up stumbling around wrapping things and stuffing stockings and lamenting the loss of that one bag with the candy in it until around 2:30 am, at which point we gave up and fell into bed. My brother, when asked whether he had finished his wrapping, gave the vague and, as it turns out, highly appropriate answer of "sorta." Christmas morning, as we opened gifts over and between the wreckage of our breakfast dishes and stocking-gift remnants, Jack ran back and forth from his room, using the same (reusable--ha) "go-green" grocery shopping bag to "wrap" each of his gifts. Everyone gave and was given wonderful, personally chosen gifts. Our dog got an identification tag (finally), two squeak toys, and a piece of pork skin from which most of the fat had been rendered. She would not put it down for anything, for fear that we might have changed our minds. Our cat got some catnip and a catnip-scented carpet scratcher with a dangling feather attached, to which she attached herself for quite some time. She's rather difficult to shop for. We were quite excited that she liked it.
The rest of Christmas day, for the most part, passed in the usual fashion--beautiful, full of family and excellent food (and eggnog!), and then it snowed. We had been fearing a travel-restricting storm appearing before we woke on Christmas day, but the system rolled gently in while we were leaning back in our chairs and exchanging secret santa gifts all over my aunt's warm and comfortable city home. We left probably around 4:30, and I exited the house from the basement door, which opens under the porch and leads one up a set of brick stairs and out into the back yard. Walking from the cheerily and warmly lit basement out the shadowy door and up the stairs into the gently falling snow was like walking into a fairytale. It was absolutely breathtaking.
This is getting longish. Please hold for a post on Scotland, which I will write in about two minutes unless I change my mind. It happens.