Thursday, December 19, 2013


bill brandt
parlourmaid and underparlourmaid ready to serve dinner.1933
From a lecture on the history of the Ballets Russes:

“A trembling, an aroma, a breeze, a dream”...
--Nijinsky’s sister, of Pavlova

Of Nijinsky: “He paused in mid-air”

She had “let the prisoners out of the cell.”
--Nijinsky, of Isadora Duncan

These are quotes that rise to mind this season as on Christmas day, if you were to peek through the kitchen windows of my home, you would see yours truly performing graceful arabesques and daring pas de deux as I lift the roasted radicchio aloft, swirl the butter for the flageolets au gratin, mince the black oil-cured olives for the tapenade, and slip, the guest list having risen to 13, what may now be three or possibly four thyme-and-rosemary encrusted racks of lamb into the oven.

Yes! I am cooking. My dear roommate Jacqui will be here (a first; she usually goes back east for the holidays but is tending to an ailing cat) and yesterday, we shopped for and decorated a tree. My own room is tricked out with so many lights, candles, and tinsel-draped icons that it could double for a minor grotto at Lourdes. The German Advent calendar is on my desk, with more little doors open now than closed. My home-made cards are out. My social calender is bursting. I will have plenty of help on the 25th. People are bringing food, people have pledged to bring an extra table and chairs if necessary, people have offered to come early and help prep, clean and set the table.

The pepper tree outside my window is dripping with pink berries (very festive). I have picked the first camellias.  And the O antiphons are about to begin in Evening Prayer.

I keep thinking how God came into the world as an exiled baby, a mentally ill person, a drunk. Some of us--often the best of us--embody all three.


  1. Cooking? Brave soul! I could burn water.

    I'll be reading at the 6 pm Mass, lower church of my parish, on Christmas Eve. Other than that, plans are still un-fixed.

    Blessings of the season, HK, to you and to all your readers!

    And yes, the O antiphons: beautiful!

  2. Heather, this sounds like a marvelous Advent and making of Christmas day! Because my dearest friends are exiled mentally ill drunks, I like your last line, where you acknowledged Jesus as having entered the world as an embodiment of all three. That is not only beautiful but ever empowering!


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