Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Traditions

This Christmas found me in Valencia eating yam pancakes and catching a bus to Barcelona.
Not quite traditional, this year.

My mom collects snow globes.
Only glass ones, she never has have anything plastic or tacky.
My favorite is the English caroling ice-skaters.

Growing up my favorite Christmas decoration was a set of golden deer candle holders.
The Christmas after Paul left, they were gone, 
along with several of my most favorite Christmas tree ornaments.

When I was nineteen I came home to find almost an identical set waiting on my desk.
My mom is the queen of Goodwill treasure hunting.

I like to fall asleep under the tree while it's still naked of decor.

Mom's rule of Christmas lights:
Blue Christmas lights are cold, red are ugly, and multi colored are tacky.
The only suitable colors are green and white and sometimes purple.

Kelly always makes us eat a bowl of porridge,
after stockings, before presents on Christmas morning.
After presents we eat real breakfast
with champagne and peach schnapps or cocoa with peppermint.

I love Cream of Wheat. Gracie hates it.
I remember mixing unholy amounts of hot chocolate mix into the pot to try and get her to eat it.
I like to eat the lumpy bits of hot breakfast cereal.
I learned to drive in the snow because we were out.
Kelly taught me.

Mom chooses a special ornament every year for each of us.
She didn't want us flocking to Walmart, frantic for Christmas decorations, when we moved out.
I left home with a box full.

We always get new pajamas on Christmas Eve, because it's so nice to wake up on Christmas feeling swanky in your new pjs.

In Norway:
Santa lives in the barn and eats porridge.
They also have nisse, or house gnomes who live under the house.
The mountain nisse make the gloaming blue hour, with alpine blueberries.
Whoever finds the almond in their Christmas Porridge gets a marzipan pig.

They also sing and dance around the tree.

 I think it seems delightfully pagan for a Christian nation.

After everyone goes to bed on Christmas Day I stay up to watch Little Women.


Saint Lucia

Woke up at 6:45 to the sweetest choir of
pepperkaker bearing children.

Happy St. Lucia Day!

The sun didn't come up today.
It hovered in the Southern sky for an hour or two then lit the Atlantic pink.

It's the last week before Christmas Holiday and our main outreach.

I'll be gone for three months.
Oslo. Valencia. Barcelona. Dublin. Nepal.
Packing, lodging, communication nightmare.
Seven flights. Three trains. Five buses. One ferry.

The boys brought home our Christmas tree, today.

The chaos is a little more manageable with joy, peace,
and a spruce scented mudroom.

Nordtun's handy-dandy Norwegian boys.

I won't be home for Christmas, not even in my dreams.
I'll be in Barcelona gazing lovingly at the hot sun.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kinds of things;
also that delicate silver bells would ring to announce grace’s arrival.
But no, it’s clog and slog and scootch, on the floor, in silence, in the dark.
-Anne Lamott

High Standards

Frederik recently got engaged. He helped make ginger carrot soup this afternoon.

"So, describe your dream man to me. Not how he looks but about how his character is."
 I did. After about 10 minutes he exclaimed 
"Oh-ho! Rachael! You're talking about Jesus!"

"You will find a good husband" 
"Yeah, but he is probably living in South Africa."