Thursday, Dec. 23, 2004 | 10:14 a.m.



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Still More Coolness

My Winter Vacation... So Far

Holiday treats have been the order of the week. On Tuesday, Deeda, Brieuse and family came over to present us with our Solstice gift, which included a nice little piece of folk art. They sang (and presented) the following:

On the twelfth day of Yuletide
My true friends gave to me
A loaf of banana nut bread
Two poinsettia plants
Three pet treats
Four mugs of cocoa
Five hours of free babysitting
Six lemons from our tree
Seven gingerbread snowmen
Eight blackforest cookies
Nine coconut munchies
Ten candy canes
Eleven fresh veggies
Twelve crackers with a cheese ball

(Except they actually sang all the verses, y'know.)

You maybe had to be there to fully appreciate this, but imagine, if you will, a very attractive family of five standing next to the Solstice tree in your livingroom, all wearing Santa caps, Dad strumming a guitar, Mom sort of croaking (because I gave her my cold of a few weeks back), oldest daughter holding the song sheet, youngest son shaking jingle bells while the middle daughter piles the twelve days of gifts on the coffee table, all while the audience (which unexpectedly included my parents) is laughing hysterically and appreciatively. The thing you really must know is that Deeda makes the best banana bread in the world, all the cookies are of the yummiest variety, and both the dip included with the veggies (peanut curry) and the cheeseball are personal favorites of yours truly. It was one of the most entertaining (and delicious) gifts we've ever received.

Last night we drove up to Sedona to play on the rocks at Oak Creek a bit and then to visit Red Rock Fantasy, the holiday light show hosted at Los Abrigados. We arrived at Oak Creek just as the sun was beginning to set, and the contrast of the deep red soil with the brilliant blue sky was stunning. In fact, the contrast of the blue and the red continued, as I walked around on the rocks noting the deposits of slate blue rock amongst the intense, iron-rich reds. The air was chilly enough to singe the end of my nose and I was able to wear my warm coat for the first time this season.

I haven't been to Sedona since we moved back to Arizona, but I'm glad we went yesterday. I'd forgotten how much I love that part of this state -- it is so stunning and awe-inspiring. I particularly love this state in the wintertime, when the skies are so clear and sharp, brilliant blues during the day, and darkest sparkling nights. The moon and the stars seem close enough to touch, like ornaments hanging in the heavens.

The light show was great -- basically, different families create the displays and then visitors vote for their favorites. Out of forty, three really stood out for me -- one was a parody of Orange County Choppers called North Pole Choppers, with Santa as the head guy and a little pack of Elves & Angels riding in their little black leather jackets. Another was based on Fear Factor and had the elves participating in various stunts, complete with the disclaimer that these stunts are designed by professionals and should not be attempted at home. My third favorite was a snowman montage (because I really love snowmen) accompanied by a little poem about what snowmen do at night (they drink hot cocoa like shots of whiskey and then feel a little... diminished).

And while I know it probably nominates me for the Bad Mommy of the Year award, I was most relieved that my parents, who are visiting for the week, agreed to stay home with Nina. Nina would have hated the drive anyway, and next year she'll be old enough to be placated by stories of what lies ahead.


Edit: I have some gmail invites I can send out if anyone is interested.

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