I have a teapot now. I grew up a bit of a wild child — a tomboy to the max — and while I was exposed to “tea” as an event rather than simply a beverage at college (Wellesley has tea every Wednesday in the dorms), I didn’t really understand the joys of using a teapot until recently, when the ladies at my church have had several teas.

A dear friend of mine, knowing that a teapot was on my Christmas list, gave me a lovely china teapot on Tuesday. The upshot of this is that on Wednesday, I sat with my youngest son (who had with his own money purchased a handmade Japanese-style teacup and saucer because he thought it was pretty) having tea. Very civilized.

All I have to do now is learn to make scones.


I have started listening to liberal talk radio occasionally on satellite radio, and have come to the conclusion that there are almost as many reality-challenged people on my side as on the other — or, at least, those are the ones that call in. Guys? Impeaching a president in the last two years of his second term, when you hold a one vote majority in the Senate and it would be impossible to convict, makes no sense and would simply tear the country apart. Fortunately, the hosts seem to be reasonable people, albeit strident.

Because, of course, I am never strident. No siree Bob, not me. And I have this bridge in Brooklyn….


Advent starts on Sunday, and on Saturday I go and make the Advent wreath. We always have an Advent wreath for part of Advent, but because we usually travel at Christmas we never finish using it. We’re staying home this year, and one of the highlights (in addition to worshipping at our own church for Christmas) will be lighting all the Advent candles, and saying all the prayers.

I love the Advent wreath. I love making it, I love the lighting and the prayers. I love that it helps reinforce what we are waiting for, rather than simply a day to get presents or eat a lot of chocolate. My kids love it too, there is always a debate over who gets to light the candles.

I am hoping to write about Advent, and about faith in general, during the Advent season.


I have decided on a winner in the “Most obnoxious contemporary Christmas song — religious theme” category. (The winner in the “Most obnoxious Christmas song — secular” category is a three way tie between “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer,” “Santa Baby,” and Weird Al’s “Christmas At Ground Zero” — the last having a horrible tendency to warp itself into an endless loop as part of a mashup in my brain with “Jingle Bell Rock.”) I generally don’t mind religious theme Christmas songs, because, no matter how bad the song is as a song, at least the songwriter is trying to sing about the true meaning of Christmas.

But then I heard “The Christmas Shoes.” This is about a little boy who is trying to buy shoes for his dying mother so she’ll look nice when she meets Jesus. The narrator gives him money for the shoes, and thanks God for the boy “reminding him what the season is all about.”

This song is wrong on so many levels: manipulative, crass (Jesus and consumerism! — Hey, maybe that *is* what the season is all about!), and psychologically improbable. I have known kids with dying parents — even kids from devout conservative Protestant families, and they were not out buying shoes, or anything like that: they are too fearful, and sad, and in shock. The entire scenario is intended to pull the heartstrings of gullible adults.

But the coup de grace is at the end of the song: the producers have added a choir. I’m not sure whether it is intended to be boys or the angels coming to take mama away, but it sounds like neither: the chorus is, I swear, sung by aliens.

Maybe mama was abducted by aliens? In which case, the shoes wouldn’t help much.


Speaking of Christmas songs, I get really cranky with all the songs that equate Christmas with snow and sleighbells and things like that. I grew up in Florida, where the only white Christmases we had were because of the beach sand.

And you tell me how much snow there is in Palestine. Really.


Next week the males of my family turn into mighty hunters and go to the forest to fell the evergreen that will grace our living room. One of the joys of living in Northern California is that you can go cut your own tree (actually, you only cut the top off the tree — you leave enough so the actual tree survives); a joy, that is, except for the cold, and the wind, and the rain we often get this time of year. For some reason there has always been a competition in my family to find the perfect tree, and me staying in the car is considered poor sportsmanship.

Once you find the tree, you wield your mighty bow saw (being sure to leave at least three or four limbs at the bottom so the tree can regenerate) and fell your prey. The best tree we ever found, though, was one that someone had already cut and abandoned. I didn’t want it — if we were going to go all the way out there to get a tree, by golly we were going to get the freshest tree possible — but my kids begged. “Please, mom, it needs us!” Sigh. We took the tree home, and once we decorated it, it looked fantastic. From then on out, we called it the Charlie Brown tree.

There is a fair amount of ritual — we always have chili for dinner (put on before we go out) and we always have mint hot chocolate after we get back with the tree. We decorate the tree either after dinner or, if we get the tree on Saturday, on Sunday evening. We go in for the “eclectic” decorating style, placing glass ornaments owned by my husbands grandmother next to paper Santas made by my eldest son in kindergarten years ago. It’s chaotic and messy, but full of personality.

Rather like all of us.

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3 Responses to

  1. Leah says:

    Scones are easy. This recipe is particularly good: http://phinnia.livejournal.com/905241.html

  2. MadPriest says:

    Recipe for scones (for male cooks but can be adapted for females). Go down shop – buy scones.

  3. Pat Greene says:

    Heh… That would work, MP, except the one place close by that sells scones also sells Venti Nonfat No-Whip Peppermint Mochas, which are my drug of choice. Better just to bake the scones.

    Thanks for the recipe, Leah, I’ll let you know how they turn out if I do them.

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