I’m finishing up the cookie-baking with the chocolate chip and the snickerdoodles. I always start with the oatmeal so that I can eat them while I’m cooking the others. Gives me Fiber, saves me from eating all the cookie dough, and the oatmeals just aren’t as popular as the others. This year’s treats are going out to INDOT to add to the celebration of Casey’s last day on Friday.
I’ve worked through a few of my fears regarding his imminent retirement, but several things have gone off track for us. For one, we got our health insurance through the Govt. Marketplace. It was easy and we got a policy that is better than the one the State has been providing. While I realize that the whole system can’t be dumped in a day, it is still a worry. When I made the first payment, I accidentally paid it twice, effectively making us broke for 3-5 business days until one of them is refunded. For another, they won’t direct deposit his final paycheck, due on 12/28, digging us a slightly larger hole until it arrives. Thirdly, I thought the social security would start in January, but it will be at the end of February before that gets rolling… We will be laying low in January, living off the land until our ship comes in…(did I mix too many metaphors?)
One thing you can count on is that Christmases at Sonnystone are always changing. I played the organ for a couple of lutheran congregations for 20+ years. It all started back in 1987 and I was there solid for the first 10 years, then started job-sharing for another 10. I then filled in for 2 years at another church, finally leaving for good in 2012. I loved the whole show–the Children’s Pageant, the choir practices, the Advent Services, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. My daughter sang in the choir at another church, so we had plenty of great music for the season and our annual duet of the Hallelujah Chorus was the stuff of legend.
Even though I climbed down from the organ bench, my daughter had taken up Church Work in NYC and our Christmases were limited to the times between her obligations, usually the week after Christmas. Michael spends Christmas afternoon with his wife’s extended family, so the Actual Christmas Day often became a bit of a bummer. Not to be daunted, we spent one Christmas Day in New Orleans, another in Gatlinburg, another wandering the labyrinth in New Harmony. One year we drove to Florida on The Day to meet up at WDW, cruising through Atlanta, where we saw maybe 2 cars, if you can imagine that. By now, I rather enjoy the freedom from stifling expectations and overwhelming pressure to have a perfect Christmas.
One thing hasn’t changed: For the past 10 years I have taken the Jose’ girls to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. One time, Jess and Olivia got to go with us while they were visiting for Thanksgiving. The show has changed over the years, but the dancing Santas are still going strong, though Eliza, now 5, has still not been able to stay awake to see them!
I’ll be catching an early flight out to NYC tomorrow, going through Cooold Chicago, and arriving about 1pm. On my itinerary is a Friday matinee performance of The Messiah, featuring my daughter in the NYC Philharmonic Chorus. For Saturday we have tickets to see the Rockettes at 9am–hopefully Eliza won’t be sleepy! I’m taking my Macy’s coupons for some shopping and Santa-visiting at the flagship. On Sunday, Melissa will be performing in another Christmas Choral Event at Middle Collegiate. I’ll fly back home early Monday and start Casey’s Retirement…
The rest of the Christmas plans involve plenty of mashed potatoes with the JRs. on Christmas Eve, then driving back to NYC on Christmas Day for some PawPaw Christmas Time with the E’s. Weather permitting. Because Melissa now works at a synagogue,as well as a christian church, there is just no time for her to come to Evansville this year. We adjust.
Wherever we are, we are joined together by the bonds of Love, celebrating with music, with sharing, and with Peace in our hearts.
There are 10 days until the start of Hanukkah.
There are 11 days until Christmas.