Continuing a Christmas meme -- 12/11/06

Saturday, Sunday, and this morning Jupiter and Mars and Mercury were appearing in a rare triple conjunction -- on Sunday morning the three were within a degree of arc of each other, best seen here in the northeast about forty-five minutes before dawn. That would have been about quarter past six a.m. and I am up then but am usually still concentrating on my cup of coffee... and given the presence of trees and houses, it would have meant getting up earlier and leaving the house before six to get up to the hill behind Curtis Corner Middle School.

I actually thought about doing it but I couldn't bring myself to set my alarm for five a.m. or some such silly time. So I guess I'll have to wait until I'm a hundred and some years old (or whenever it will occur again... I think every new item I've seen has given a different date).

Besides which, those clouds probably hid the conjunction anyway. (This is about 6:55, just a few minutes before the 7:02 a.m. dawn.)

In my last entry I posted the first half of a Christmas meme that I got from Bev who got it from Cobb who got it from The Anchoress who got it from The Waffling Anglican who got it from The Clam Rampant. And today Bozoette Mary did it as well.

Here's the rest of it:

12. Can you ice skate? No. I can remember trying it out once when I was a kid and limping home with very painfully sore ankles and deciding skating was not for me. (I did try roller-skating when Jill was about five and enjoyed doing that for a few years -- not doing it very well or very gracefully but having fun -- until I decided that I really could get hurt doing that and, concerned about twisting a knee or an ankle and not being able to run, I quite roller-skating.)

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My parents used to laugh about the first Christmas after my father came home from the war. Money was tight but they had managed to buy me a tricycle as my main present and waited to see my Christmas morning delight. And, of course, after unwrapping the present, I ignored the tricycle and had a wonderful time playing with the box it came in. (Later on that tricycle did become a favorite toy and I can remember riding it around and around and being frustrated when she did laundry and winter weather kept her from hanging sheets out on the line to dry and instead she would hang them inside and then I couldn't ride my bike down that long hallway. In more recent years... Adam & Leah gave a subscription to HBO when the Sopranos began because they knew I would like it. And one year Jill had noticed me struggling with an underpowered almost twenty year old electric drill and got me a super cordless drill. And one year Jeremy got me a great lasagna pan and a Sporanos cookbook. And last Christmas Nancy and I gave each other the cruise we went on in February. (Wish we could give each other that every year!).

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?  Being with family.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
  Well, despite the allure of pie and of the vast assortment of Christmas cookies, I think my favorite is apple sauce cake that Nancy makes using my great-grandmother's recipe (that is, it was her recipe, handed down via my father).

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?  After the obvious, like being with family... I enjoy all of the little things like getting a tree, decorating the tree, filling stockings, seeing presents under the tree. When we lived in Binghamton, there was a house-to-house Christmas dinner party, where three or four houses would be picked to each host one hour of the the party... with the first house doing hors d'oeuvres, etc. and everyone would bring dishes of food (or cookies or cake, etc.)... and usually the when the party reached the last house, that final "hour" might end up being two or three hours long. That was a lot of fun.

17. What tops your tree? It varies. We currently have an angel. I can remember having a star (years ago). And some years we don't have any ornament on the very top (usually because it would be touching the ceiling).

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song?  I could not begin to narrow it down to just one favorite. (However, I can't think of any that I like that are newer than Rudolph.)

20. Candy canes?  I love the look of candy canes in a Christmas stocking and I usually have a lot of them on the tree as well, but I haven't eaten many since I was a kid.

21. Favorite Christmas movie?  It's a Wonderful Life. (With A Christmas Story being a close second.)

22. What do you leave for Santa? We haven't done that in years... but we used to leave cookies and (sometimes) milk..

The original meme had those questions and Cobb added a few more of his own.

A. Fixing Bikes? 
Some assembly required? We have always tried to avoid things that needed too much assembly (and I don't think we've ever given the kids anything like a bike at Christmas)..

B. Popcorn?  We have strung popcorn a few times. I remember the first Christmas we celebrated in our first house and Adam and Nancy and I spent hours stringing popcorn -- and eating more than we were stringing -- it took multiple batches of popcorn to complete the task.

C. Caroling Door to Door?  Haven't done that since I was a kid, but I always liked it. (Of course I have just about no musical talent at all and I really can't sing.)

D. Wearing Santa Hats in Public? No.

E. Wreaths?  Nancy has a wreath she likes to hang on the front porch next to the door.

F: Outdoor Displays?
I usually put white lights on the front porch. I used to put up more lights than I do now. I like the look of electric candles in front windows but we have twelve front windows and I've never felt inspired to go out and buy that many electric candles. Most of the houses in this neighborhood use white lights. Our old neighborhood was more into colored lights and I used to have strings of colored lights on the bushes and trees in front of our porch.

We had been wanting to put (electric) candles in our front windows -- so Nancy managed to find enough (that's a dozen windows) and set them up today. Here's what it looks like. (Yeah, yeah, I know, I need to put some lights on the porch.)

Blasts from the past -- entries for this date from previous years:

This is my Holidailies entry number eleven!
A brief introduction....
A brief introduction to anyone who wanders in here for the first time from the Holidailies site -- I'm a middle-aged (*cough* okay, 63, but I don't look a day over 62 ) guy who lives in Rhode Island with my wife Nancy (a middle-school math teacher), daughter Gillian ("Jill" -- 24 yr old college student), son Jeremy (21 yr old college student), and Tiger (senior citizen cat). Eldest child Adam lives in New York City with his wife Leah and our grandson Sam. I'm a former programmer/systems analyst who got into doing software training and currently works from home doing quality assurance and editing on course material for both classroom courses and Web-based training courses. I've been writing this online journal since 1996. (If you read some of the archived entries, until a couple of years ago I used fake names for the kids -- "Sean" = Jeremy and "Jennifer" = Gillian)

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