Sunday, December 25, 2011




I have spent the quietest or I should say most contemplative Advent this year in my own personal history. I can't say I'm any the worse for wear though I'm not sure I'm any much the better either. (I will keep searching for The Formula...)

It's been interesting, however, to spend many hours truly not 'doing' anything, not even speed-reading, reflecting, madly writing notes on my yellow legal pad, sticking Post-Its all over everything, copying down quotes, answering every email with a LONG email of my own, and/or consciously, or at too much length, pondering the Gospels. Although the Gospels seep in anyway, thank the Lord, as what would I want to seep in more? For instance, thinking of the dinner I'll cook and host today, I suddenly thought of Christ at the Last Supper. You think you have family members/friends who drive you crazy (not that I do of course)--how would you like to have at your last meal on earth Judas, the guy you knew was going to momentarily narc you out to the people who would torture you to death?...

But MERRY Christmas, and I received two beautiful packages in the mail yesterday, one from my friend Dylan back in Arlington, Massachusetts: an icon with the legend Cor ad cor loquitur (Heart speaks to heart), and one from the angelic Rozann Carter of Word on Fire full of little  hand-labeled packages of fancy sweets, and how nice is that?  I had a lovely chat with my brother Ross and my nephew Allen back in New Hampshire. I took a walk yesterday afternoon through the hills of Silver Lake with my friend Ellen, timing it so as to arrive at St. Francis at 5 for the Vigil Mass, except it turned out I'd misread/heard and the Mass was at 7 so I'll go this morning at 8 instead, then start cooking in earnest.

Ham, tri-tip, spicy salmon, squash soup, Tuscan sausage, cabbage and cheese, roasted root vegetables, apple, Asian pear and radicchio salad with buttermilk dressing, cherry pie (made from scratch), and maple bourbon frozen souffle is my menu (much of it to be made and brought by others or I wouldn't be going to any 8 o'clock Mass this morning).

ALSO, walking home with the last of my groceries Friday, I found in a pile of discarded clothing on the lawn of my neighbor two doors down, a black silk skirt with magenta lining that I nabbed post-haste, fits perfectly,  and I will wear for dinner today.

A child is born.

Thank you all, love to you all for the huge gift of yourselves on this great and holy feast. And here's a Christmas joke for ya.  

First, you have to understand the kind of family I come from. You know how most people in a “gift exchange” set a maximum, as in, say, Nothing over 50 bucks? Well in my family we tended to have to set a minimum, as in, Come ON, you have to fork out at least 5...

Anyway, when I was married there used to be this great store up on La Brea Avenue near West Hollywood called Bargain Circus. Russians ran it, I'm pretty sure, and they had all kinds of great "specialty foods" for dirt cheap. So every Christmas my ex-husband Tim and I would take separate trips there and buy a big bag apiece of food and wrap the stuff up for our stockings. It was a blast, especially as we both liked to cook. We bought regular presents, too, but we also did the stockings first, and it was really the best part of Christmas morning. 

Well one year we got invited for Christmas dinner to some friends of Tim's who lived in Beverly Hills. The guy was in real estate, very nice couple, but with money obviously. So we get over there and the guy had bought his wife a diamond tennis bracelet and she'd bought him a Mercedes SUV, and after awhile they asked, "So what did YOU two get each other?"

"Oh all kinds of things!” I replied eagerly. “A tin of anchovies. A bottle of capers. A box of kasha"....Silence-- then finally "K-kasha?" the husband echoed. 

"Oh that's not all," I assured him. "Then there was the small stuff."




    Terrific post. Ok, the diamond bracelet would be nice-but, if someone gave me one today, I might sell it to pay bills. I think what you and Tim gave to one another was a lot more meaningful. Have a terrific dinner.

  2. Didn't Flannery O'Connor amke a comment about rag pickers in a letter to Eric Lankgeir (sp?)? ;-) Anyway, it looks a very nice skirt. Nice post as usual Heather. Happy & Blessed Christmas to you.

    Stephen Sparrow

  3. Thanks, all, hope you had a beautiful Christmas, and now on to the new year...

    I don't know of the F. O'Connor ragpicker comment, Stephen, let me know if you find it....

  4. Page 936 O'Connor Collected Works Library of America. "I told you that boy wouldn't enjoy being a ragpicker." Said by Regina O'Connor to Flannery about Erik Langkjaer in Flannery's letter to him on the occasion of his engagement to be married. No Heather if certainly doesn't apply to you ;-)

    Stephen Sparrow

  5. You did well to find that, thanks, Stephen. And not to worry: I never take offense at being called a ragpicker myself!...

  6. Funny thing Heather I came on holiday with two books - New Testament & Psalms (RSV) & O'Connor's Collected Works. I picked up O'Connor to find that latter & it fell open exactly at that page - coincidence ???

    Stephen Sparrow


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