So Many Cookies

Christmas Cooking, Sony A7 III, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens

Camera Girl is like a food terrorist. She festoons treats around her kitchen like so many high-caloric land mines. And there I am blasted to bits over and over by all of these irresistible gastronomic pyrotechnics. I know how awful will be the penalties I’ll suffer when the holidays are over and how many hours of exercise will be needed to work off the hundreds of thousands of calories of delicious, delectable evil that she has surrounded me with. But eat I must. Over the course of almost five decades, she knows which foods I cannot resist. The cookies; grandma (or white), chocolate chip, oatmeal and the chocolate dipped coconut macaroons. The pies; apple, coconut custard, pumpkin, cherry and more. And that’s not even counting the ice creams and cheese cakes. And all of this will be after the sheer tonnage of lasagna, meatballs, sausage and filet mignon. Oh, the pain, the pain.
I rate my chance of surviving this onslaught as minimal. I reckon that if the EMTs arrive while I’m still breathing, they will advise her that as a purely practical triage decision they should leave me and move on to the next 911 call. At most they may spend a few moments berating me for allowing myself to come to this pathetic end.
But in all honesty, I acknowledge, that all things considered, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Gathering around the holiday tables groaning under the weight of Camera Girl’s bounteous feast is the highlight of every year. Enjoying delicious foods with family and spending time with the people closest to me in the whole world is well worth any bout of indigestion that might occur. Each of the rituals and ceremonies is a touchstone to the past. These same words and actions bring me back to the time when I was a child and eating these same foods and gathering together with family was the highlight of our holidays.
And to ensure that this tradition will continue, Camera Girl has her daughters and now her granddaughter over each year to knead the dough and shape the cookies that they bake for Christmas. And my son and sons-in-law and grandsons share in the expectation that these cookies will be there in the years to come. And I hope they do. Family traditions and gatherings may be the most important social functions in our human existence. They don’t fall under any government program and they aren’t mediated by any of the organs of modern life. TikTok and Meta don’t decide what’s the correct way to break bread with family and I doubt that the Kardashians or Taylor Swift even know what a grandma cookie tastes like, never mind know how to bake one.
So, whatever your traditions and whoever you gather with for Christmas, enjoy the time off away from the soul-deadening dictates of our woke institutions and brain-dead social media influencers. Use the time wisely to spend time with the people who actually mean something to you and enjoy that time together.
God bless us all, everyone.

Thanksgiving 2023

So, we’re hosting most of the family this year.  Camera Girl has outdone herself with five different pies and a twenty-five-pound turkey.  I predict that by the end of the feast I’ll be almost immobile.  But I’ll try to keep the grandkids amused with various holiday traditions.  At some point I will break out the “March of the Wooden Soldiers” and maybe “Gulliver’s Travels.”  Of course, both of these are 1930s vintage versions.

Hopefully we’ll head down to the first floor to play some pool and later on will come the pie and ice cream and coffee and some penny ante poker.  And I’ll ask my grandsons what’s going on at school and what’s happening around town.  I’m sure I’ll be brought up to date on whatever Pokémon acquisitions the youngest one has negotiated.  I’ve never really figured out what Pokémon actually is.  I assume it’s similar in intent to how we collected baseball cards as kids.  All I know is that there are thousands of different cards and some are “worth” thousands of dollars.  But to whom?

We’ve had our first dusting of snow.  It changed into rain in the morning and I went out with the shovel and cleared the slop off of the driveway.  And that’s necessary.  It freezes at night now and that slushy mess would have turned my driveways into skating rinks by tomorrow morning and that is something I don’t need on Thanksgiving.  So, we’ve broken the ice, so to speak, and have now transitioned into winter.  Of course, I’m way behind on my yard work.  And this makes it worse.  But it’s Thanksgiving so I’ve absolved myself of all blame and won’t think about it until Monday (or Tuesday).

It’s interesting.  Two recent international elections seem to be indicating a deep dissatisfaction with the Left’s incompetent economic and social programs.  Maybe 2024 will be more than just an American protest year.  Maybe the genie is out of the bottle and a whole lot of people are fed up with dysfunctional, incompetent, delusional Leftist ideas in general.  If it is we’ll see much more in the way of signs in the coming months.

Biden’s minions keep popping up in the Times and the Post announcing how the economy is turning a corner and how wonderful everything is becoming.  The latest hype is that inflation is reversing and now they have to be careful not to cause deflation.  The delusional nature of this nonsense is absurd.  It flies in the face of everyone’s knowledge of the cost of commodities in the recent past.  Everyone who has to run a household knows that everything is now vastly more expensive.  Things like cold-cuts have now become prohibitively expensive for many families.  Even staples like bread and vegetables have to be purchased with an eye out for sales.  But the Biden evangelists keep up the happy talk hoping that the stupid will buy into the lie.  As jaded as I’ve become with fraudulent elections, I’m still curious to see if a point might be reached where even the people faking the elections might think it was in their interest to get the Democrats out of power, if only out of fear that the economy might completely collapse under the weight of complete incompetence.

Well, for one day we won’t worry about the cost of food.  There are going to be pumpkin, apple, coconut custard, sweet potato and chocolate pudding pies with whipped cream and ice cream and who knows what other desserts.  There’s going to be turkey and sausage stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy.  And another whole list of side dishes that I can’t even remember, but I know there will be candied yams and two kinds of buttered rolls.  So, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I hope your holiday goes well and I will check in from time to time.

Trad-Wife, Schmad-Wife, Get Out of My Kitchen!

It is at this most festive time of the rolling year that I find portion control at the dining room table most challenging.  This morning Camera Girl is making apple, pumpkin and coconut custard pies for the Thanksgiving Day feast.  And so, I find myself standing over her shoulder watching the process with the sense of ownership and the pride that entails.  I asked her if she’d ever heard the term trad-wife and she responded with a scowl that I could almost feel in my own face.  She shook her head and told me to get the hell out of the kitchen until the pies were out of the oven.  I think she feared that my comments would have an unhealthy effect on the flavor of her desserts.  Not wishing to cause her undue stress at this very delicate point in the holiday preparations I forbore to grant her somewhat rude request and left with incredible dignity and obvious grace.  Noblesse oblige you know.

It’s interesting to note that the rapid degeneration of female culture now forces the invention of a new label for what used to be the normal skill set of an adult married woman.  Well, maybe rapid is just my perspective as an old guy.  What I think of as normal has been under attack since the 1960’s.  And now their granddaughters wouldn’t know a rolling pin from a road flare.  And so, we’ve reached a stage where a “trad-wife” has become a commodity so valuable that to quote the Bible:

“Proverbs 31:10-31

King James Version

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”


To be fair, I’ve never seen her producing any tapestries or linen.  And I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even know what a distaff is.  But she did sew the seam on the change pocket in my jeans last week so maybe that’s close to rubies or at least emeralds, I think.  And she does get up really early to walk the dogs.  As far as sitting with the elders, I was hanging out with the duffers at the Grange during the election meeting and some of them recognized me so I’ll give her that.  But I definitely don’t think that part about, “She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness” is way off.  I think the law of sarcasm is closer to the actual situation.

But she has transferred some of these skills like cooking and household economy to her daughters so that’s very praiseworthy but honestly, I don’t think either I or my daughters have used the term “blessed” for Camera Girl.  Annoying is the term that trips off my tongue because she accompanies all her accomplishments with a decidedly critical eye for comparison with my own efforts.

And in this she is obviously very unfair.  I may not cook the feast but I often carry the grocery bags from the car to the kitchen.  Surely the Bible has something good to say for the husband who does stuff.  So, what am I wood?  Maybe rubies aren’t the correct and gender specific analogy of my value.  How about austenitic stainless steel or even Hastelloy 276 or some other corrosion resistant metal.  Maybe even platinum!  That’s even better than boring rubies.  You’d think God being a man would have given us a few choice proverbs of our own to put these women in their place.  Am I wrong?  But I digress.

So, despite the annoyingness of the traditional wife, it is undeniable that she is the foundation of the family and of all functional human existence.  Without a doubt the destruction of our society has been programmed with the elimination of good women and their replacement by career women defined by their barrenness, lack of domestic instincts and their proclivity for collecting cats.  Without a doubt the males of this generation also bear a heavy responsibility for the current degeneracy of our culture.  But I’ll save that for a different rant.

Today I’ll just end with praise for Camera Girl.  Well done Camera Girl.  And save that little extra portion of coconut custard pie for the two o’clock coffee bread today.  I feel I need it.

22AUG2023 – Scenes from a Family Gathering

Christmas Cooking, Sony A7 III, Sony 90mm f\2.8 macro lens

Driving from a rural area toward a megalopolis is almost always a frustrating experience.  The closer you get to the heart of darkness, the worse the traffic becomes and the more likely it is that you will accidentally cross the event horizon and be sucked in, never to break free of the bumper-to-bumper traffic of the black hole collapse.  Or so it seems to me.

By comparison driving in the reverse direction, away from the beast, feels like a continuously increasing sense of relief as the road and the entrances become less and less congested and the craziest of the homicidal drivers are left behind or at least no longer have the traffic density needed to ensure maximum mayhem.

Now all of that was true yesterday as I arrived and departed from the party that I travelled to.  But despite the tension of defying the human density gradient around the suburbs of Gotham City I was sorry that the party couldn’t have been extended indefinitely.

Everything about the gathering was congenial.  It was almost the entire family.  And that’s no mean feat.  We are many and we are scattered much more than in the past.  And Sunday is a tough day for travelling.  Saturday being the optimal day to allow for recovery before work resumes.

And everyone there was splendidly sociable.  The talk was the usual mixture of family events, politics, current events and reminiscing about crazier things and planning for crazier things.  And I learned things that I had never known about people I know very well.  And I saw what the youngest generation is starting to look like when they socialize.  And despite all the dire warnings and predictions they seemed quite healthy and normal.

Of course, food is always a highly important component of one of these shindigs and the hostess was extremely wise in her choices and provisioning.  There were several completely different themes with respect to the menu and there was never any danger of running out of the favorites which is always comforting.  I will admit that I no longer make the impact on the buffet table that I used to.  And that is necessary.  I wouldn’t have survived my former exploits as a trencherman.  But I still grazed high and low and tried a bit of everything.  Wonderful.

But the highlight is when the old bulls stagger into a corner, collapse into a circle of chairs and start pontificating about what’s wrong with the world and what we should do about it.  And eventually we come to agreement that things are going to go to hell no matter what we say or do and then we come to agreement that at least the world has us in it to make it a world worth living in.  Now this was what I remember when the old bulls were my father’s and my grandfather’s generations laying down the law and telling us what was wrong with my generation.  And now, heaven help me, I’m at my grandfather’s age and making my last speeches before shuffling off the stage permanently.  What a strange thing time is.

And just in time the cake and coffee are served and we lapse into a warm glow of caffeine and pastry ingredients.  And all too soon it’s time to go.  We need to leave before it’s too late to make the drive back.  But of course, there is at least a half hour of goodbyes, to each and every one.  Back slapping and hugs and hand shakes for one and all and then last-minute details remembered and plans for the next gathering.  And then we’re on the road and headed home.  But the glow from the party is still with us.  We talk about what we’ve heard and seen.  We talk about those who couldn’t make it and those who are gone.  But it’s all a happy feeling.  A good feeling.

The country and the world have gone straight to hell.  There’s no denying it.  But good things still exist.  And the best of those things is family, is the humanness of family.  The ties that bind and the hope for a future and the precious, priceless treasure of the young in our midst.

The world is not all ruin and depravity.  There is hope.  And I can see it when we get together.


Six hours of Godzilla movies, some lime ices, two hours of swimming, a couple of pounds of spaghetti and meatballs, an apple pie and a quart of vanilla ice cream.  Apparently, that equals the optimal day when you’re a seven-year-old boy.  At least in one case.  Now I’m not seven.  And when I was seven, I’m guessing I would have preferred six hours of Universal Classic Monster Movies and maybe I’d have gone with blueberry pie in that line up.  But I definitely remember most of the vibe in that set of choices.

And so, I set up the itinerary exactly as specified by my guest.  And it was swell.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I would have preferred six fewer hours of Godzilla and maybe a ribeye steak would have been higher up on my list than spaghetti today for instance but bonding with the grandkids is an item very close to the top item on my list of priorities.  And because when you have several grandsons and they all differ in their preferences about everything including activities, foods, desserts and movies it sort of behooves you to divide and conquer.  So, I’ve instituted a separate day for each of them to spend the day with me and Camera Girl.  And on that day, they get to pick the activities, entertainment, food and desserts.  And they even get to decide when it’s over.

And it works.  Without his brothers or parents there, each kid gets to call the shots and be the king.  No one tells him to eat his vegetables or finish everything on his plate.  No one says six hours of bad movies is too much or says to get out of the pool because we have to pick somebody up from something or other.  And he even gets the chance to discuss with a supposed grown man whether Godzilla would beat King Kong or T. Rex or Indominus Rex or the Mosasaurus and why and under what circumstance.  And how Godzilla can have radioactive fire but somehow it doesn’t kill King Kong.  And he has to do it with a straight face.

And he can even eat his dinner while watching tv on the couch and not have to do any chores all day and go home as late as he wants.

But it’s also a good deal for me.  I can sort of remember caring about, “Who would win?”.  Sure, maybe it wasn’t Godzilla.  Maybe it was a Roman legion versus Alexander’s Macedonian phalanx.  Or Superman versus Thor.  Or whatever ridiculous thing I imagined that day.  But the point is I sort of recall the feeling.  Some very old neurons fire off a few synapses that I haven’t used in sixty years or so and it’s fascinating.  I almost remember being that age.  I almost remember the feelings.  And it’s pretty great.

I’m working this program youngest to oldest.  So, as we move up the line things should get more and more familiar.  Or will they?  Is nineteen any closer to who I am than seven?  I don’t know.  Each page in the book of life is an island.  A snapshot.  All of them are long ago.  But I expect to enjoy each chance to delve into their present and my past at the same time.

And ultimately, I’m trying to build a little immortality.  I still remember the times my grandfather came to visit me as I was growing up.  He understood that public relations with your descendants was terribly important.  So, he did it right.  He brought us out for the biggest, greasiest triple cheeseburgers at Wesson’s and he always had chewing gum when he came over and he always took us for a drive to the most beat up neighborhoods in NYC where he knew the most bizarre characters like a jeweler that he worked for as an armed guard.  And he always had stories about his times as a cop or when he was the mayor’s bodyguard or a private detective.  Or when he shot it out with armed robbers from the running board of a commandeered taxi.

And because he spent the time with us, in a sense, he’s still alive even forty some-odd years after his death.  And if I tell his stories to my grandkids then maybe he lives another hundred years.  So that’s my game.  I’m working on my immortality.  And I’m paying forward things that were given to me long ago.  What’s more valuable than that?

Men and Women – The Fish Pond Rorschach Test

I have known Camera Girl for about forty-eight years.  We met on a beach while each of us was skipping out on our respective high schools.  Physical attraction was the initial force that brought us together but over the years, we have interacted to the point where, we know each other as well as a man and a woman possibly can.  And yet our motivations, methods and objectives are, if anything, even closer to being diametrically opposed now than they were at the beginning.

I like to think that I base my plans on a somewhat analytical approach to accomplishing my objectives.  So, let’s say Camera Girl tells me that she wants a fish pond.  Before committing to such a project, I would first look at the pros and cons of such a goal.  I would ask my client what are the objectives?  How many fish and what type are desired?  What’s the budget for construction and maintenance?

Then I would look at the various options for constructing the pond.  Should it be a liner or a solid shell?  Should I build it or hire a contractor?  Where should it be set up with respect to the sun?  What safety considerations need to be weighed?  When does it need to be completed by?  What additional items (like a bench or some plants) are also required?  What modifications will need to be made to the property (power line, water line) to accommodate the pond?  And finally, how will the pond be impacted on by the surrounding wildlife?

Camera Girl, on the other hand, cleans out an old muck bucket that she has lying round the yard, buys a dozen “shiners” at PetSmart and tells me she wants me to buy a “solar” fountain on for $12.98.

I find this very disconcerting.  I explain to her that the “shiners” will probably die in the bucket over the course of the summer, the fountain is a piece of crappy plastic that will probably stop working after a few weeks and she’ll have to replace fish and water every few weeks.

This perturbs her not the least.  Our granddaughter will be coming over tomorrow and they like looking at the fish in the bucket for a few minutes every day.  And none of my arguments address this goal.

For she knows that if I were to undertake this epic project by the method that I favor, it would involve weeks of planning and months of installation.  Just digging the hole would take a week or two.  So, from her point of view my method has no upside.  A pond that was finished in September is worse than no pond at all.  The weeks when our granddaughter would be without the fish to interact with would be an epic failure.  Because by September she’ll be entering kindergarten and no longer around to enjoy the mega-pond that I would create.

So, shaking my head and grumbling under my breath I look up this magnificent “fountain” and find a plethora of companies selling this same crappy plastic fountain and select the one that will deliver it for a total of $7.53.  This is my consolation.  I paid five bucks less for a piece of junk that probably won’t last through June.

But when all is said and done.  She has logic on her side.  That muck bucket pond is almost an optimized solution to the mission.  A little girl will sprinkle some fish food into it and watch the fish come up to get it.  And even if the fountain stops working and even if the racoons and the herons eat all of the fish on a weekly basis it will have served its purpose.

But my pond would be much better.

Dead Pile and the Angry Polar Bear

Today was a busy day.  Princess Sack of Potatoes wanted to play Dead Pile, and later on, The Angry Polar Bear.  The latter is a very taxing business where I chase her around the house growling and trying to carry her away to the “Ice Flow of Death.”  All that growling takes its toll on my larynx and the dogs go nuts trying to defend her from this seemingly homicidal activity of mine.  But one does what must be done.

As you can tell by the descriptions, death has become a part of her imagination.  Of course, all those who end up in the dead pile are the bad animals, never the good ones.  And the Ice Flow of Death has only ever been fatal for the polar bear and even then, he always seems to be brought back for an encore.  It’s funny how little kids imagine things for which they have very little experience.  Other than a hermit crab, her little world has been untouched by death.  At least as far as she is aware.  She’ll be spared knowledge of actual deaths that have occurred while she was too young to even understand the concept.

Of late Camera Girl has introduced the concept of dog heaven to cover the eventuality of what to tell her when our older dog does die.  And she is very curious about it, “Will Kaylee have anyone to play with?  Will she get her favorite treats?”  All these were manageable reactions.  But then she asked about herself going to heaven.  That was a bridge too far.  We assured her that she wouldn’t be going anywhere for a long, long, long time and she should stop thinking such things.

And that passed.  Now we’re back to the cheerful mayhem of dead pile where bad velociraptor and evil giraffe get their comeuppance but never is heard a discouraging word.  She has introduced some innovations that may be a form of humane treatment or possibly just safety precautions.  Now before any of the bad animals are hurled onto the dead pile, they are first “put to sleep.”  This sounds suspiciously like pet euthanasia.  I hesitate to ask where she got this idea.  Maybe one of her friends had a dog or cat that had to be “put to sleep.”  But we’ll let it slide for now.  Dead pile has been wildly popular but I think the first waning has begun.

And just in time.  It’s rather repetitive.  And it’s time for the princess to begin to read.  We’ll start with the ats (at, bat, cat, fat, skip gat, hat, mat, gnat, pat, sat, forget tat and finish with vat).  And then we’ll do a few more families and it’ll be on to Dr. Seuss.  We’ve got to hurry because before you know it it’ll be September and she’ll be off to kindergarten.  And then she’ll be too old for The Angry Polar Bear and too sophisticated for her old pastimes.

Well, that’s the way it should be.  Her world is opening up.  School and friends and all the joys and sorrows of childhood.  And I have to wonder if she’ll remember all our games and play.  She is a very intelligent child.  Maybe her memories will last.  I hope so.  I feel that my existence is bound up in the memories of those who are close to me.  My children and grandchildren will be the extension of my impact on this world, just as I passed on the existence of my parents and grandparents to them.

It’s a great privilege to get to interact with your descendants.  You can see their traits and sometimes recognize yours and your spouse’s.  You can tell them stories and things about themselves and about their parents and you can share things that you enjoyed when you were young.  Yes, it’s a rare treat.  It’s the payoff for all the hard work you did raising your own kids.

Well, it was a good day.  Busy but good.

Enough of Gloom and Doom for the Last Week of the Year


So that post I had up for yesterday was certainly depressing.  Well, I had an antidote for that today.  After getting home from an errand this afternoon, I had all four grandsons over for a viewing of the extended version of the “Return of the King.”  This includes my personal favorite scene from the motion picture series, “The Ride of the Rohirrim.”

There’s nothing like hanging out with my young descendants to cheer me up.  This was the first viewing of this decisive completion to the trilogy for the two younger fellows.  And there was much excitement over the visually impressive Battle of Minas Tirth.  We cheered on the good guys and laughed when the various orcs and trolls were splatted by projectiles hurled from the battlements.

Camera Girl, always the gracious hostess, provided grilled cheeses sandwiches, mac and cheese and desserts.  There were several pies, various flavors of ice cream, cheesecake and cookies available.  And this being a vacation week we all ate way too much.

After the movie ended, we debated many important points of Tolkeiniana.  I expressed my opinion that regardless of the violence done to the plot Sam should have been allowed to liquidate Gollum.  In all honesty, in the movie version, I despise both Gollum and Frodo almost equally.  Frodo is such a hopeless basket case that it defies imagination that Sam was able to finally carry him over the finish line to Mount Doom at all.  If they had taken along a ten-year-old girl instead it couldn’t have been any more pathetic.  I think if Elrond had given the ring to Sam, he would have chucked it in Mount Doom a couple of months early and been back in the Shire in time for potato planting.

My younger relatives seemed to enjoy most the scenes where Gimli and Legolas compete to kill the most orcs.  I have to confess the liberties that the movie makers took with the dialog around Gimli borders on the farcical but I will admit that sometimes the lightheartedness is a welcome addition.  Although I do draw the line at the dwarf tossing and elf snowboarding scenes in “The Two Towers.”

Eventually some of the discussions spilled over into arguments about the actual text in Tolkien’s books.  I had to bring out my copy of the trilogy in order to provide authoritative answers to questions like which were older, the Oathbreakers on the Paths of the Dead or the dead soldiers in the Dead Marshes?  As it turned out they were both from the same time period, the Last Alliance of Men and Elves against Sauron at the end of the Second Age.

And so, we ended the get together and I brought them home in time to finish their chores and prepare for the next day of their Christmas vacation.  But if life in this confused world still includes time with such admirable characters as my grandsons, then it can’t be all bad.  We’ll have many good things to do in the days and weeks ahead.  And I’ll get to see them grow up to be fine young men.  As for problems, well, helping family with their problems is what family is all about.

Christmas Day 2022

Christmas Eve with the grandsons at their home was great.  They were in epic high spirits and we talked of various things.  With the eldest it was nuclear fusion and robotics.  With the youngest it was, of course, dinosaurs but also his latest pet, a bearded dragon with an inexhaustible appetite for “super worms.”  With the others there was talk of soccer and what they would be doing on the Christmas holiday next week.  Much food was eaten and the younger kids were occupied with happy mayhem.  Something with plastic swords and shields.


But this morning, Camera Girl is at peak output with potatoes being mashed, lasagna, roast beast and ham cooking and side dishes being prepared.  I can tell her patience is exhausted so I have to tread carefully around the outskirts of her kitchen or a carving knife might end up under my ribs.  She does have Sicilian blood on her mother’s side.  But I can tell all is going well.  She’s in the zone.  All of the desserts are already prepared and the meat courses are right on schedule.  It will be a feast to remember.  And the leftovers will be glorious.  That ham will end up in at least a lentil soup and probably some breakfasts.

But after eating way too much food and way too much dessert I’ll spend the time with the grandkids.  Now that Princess Sack of Potatoes is a full four years old, she’ll be right in the thick of it with her older cousins.  I might even try to put on a showing of one of the “Christmas Carol” movies but Camera Girl frowns on television watching on the holidays.  She prefers more sociable pursuits like cards.  We’ll see.

The weather has cooperated.  Although bitterly cold, the roads are in mostly good shape.  Only a few curves of the hills have some large ice hazards but last night I noted that these had been treated with salt so my guests should be safe coming and going today.

Monday we can get back to the political nightmare our country has descended into but today will be “Peace on earth, good will toward men.”  So, all of you have a great day and night and in Tiny Tim’s immortal words, “God bless us every one.”


I ruined my own surprise by hanging around the kitchen.  Camera Girl had secretly bought me a boneless loin of lamb.  She hates lamb and vociferously refused making it when I mentioned it last week.  But after performing my duty of cutting an X on the raw chestnuts, I glanced over at the stove and there it was.  My discovery angered her but what could I do?  She should have hidden it.  I did thank her heartily but she is pretty mad for me spoiling the surprise.  Well, I’ll make it up to her later.  Christmas just got a whole lot merrier.  But, boy will I be groggy tonight.