Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Il est né le Divin Enfant

One of the first Christmas carols I learned to sing in French:

December 25, 2008 Posted by | Christmas, France, Music | 2 Comments

For Unto Us a Child is Born!

Joyful music from Handel’s Messiah 🙂

December 25, 2008 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Christmas, Music | 2 Comments

Shepherd’s Pipe Carol

Not in the least traditional – and a very difficult song to master, and really really fun to sing, once you have caught all the nuances:

“. . . Come to bring us peace on earth and he’s lying . . . cradled there in Bethlehem!”

December 25, 2008 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Christmas, Music | 3 Comments

Merry Christmas, Kuwait!

It is seven in the morning, and AdventureMan is sleeping in a little, giving me a chance to catch up with YOU.

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We have always waited until morning to open our gifts. Last night, after our guests left, we said “No children! We could open our presents tonight!” and then . . . we laughed. It was late and we were tired and we needed our sleep. (I never thought I would see the day, so old that I would want to go to bed more than to open presents.)

Christmas Eve was so special, spent with dear friends, reminiscing over times together, past Christmases. There is one great thing about being an older adult, and that is you are no longer involved in the frenzy of school and church and after-school youth activities. At nine at night, I am not busy trying to get my son’s acolyte robe ironed, ready for the midnight service, I am not frantically putting together the last few plates of cookies that I am required to provide for a million events I don’t really even want to attend. Christmas is much more peaceful, more measured, less frantic now, and I love being able to enjoy the holiday at a more measured pace. Isn’t life full of delicious ironies, that I can enjoy Christmas more in a Moslem country?

One Christian friend told me years ago that Satan tries to distract us during the holiest days. (I would have imagined that to be true for my Moslem friends, too, but I think I remember that Satan is jailed during the month of Ramadan, and cannot tempt you; that if temptation comes, it is coming from your own heart and shows you where you need to work on your character.) Yesterday, as I was working on the Christmas Eve dinner, my kitchen faucet broke – simply would not shut off. Anytime I wanted to use water, I had to go under the sink and turn two knobs, or water would just continue to run.

My friend called and asked if she could use my oven, which, fortunately, I had just turned on, but wasn’t planning to use immediately, so she came for about half an hour and we had an unexpected and delightful visit while I worked on vegetables and she baked her Christmas cake.

If that was Satan, well, he inconvenienced us, but he certainly didn’t get in the way of our enjoying Christmas. Ha Ha on you, Satan!

I intended to take a bunch of photos showing you our Christmas Eve dinner, but it’s like you get on this track, and then the track takes over, and I only have a few images to show you, and nothing really from the meal.

This is my oldest cookbook, I think I even had it before I was married. The glue has started to fail, pages are falling out, there are drops and stains throughout the book, but I don’t want to replace it because it has so many memories. This is my go-to book when I need an overview on how things work, and a basic, tried and true recipe.

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Yesterday was a relatively easy day, pulling things out and putting them together. The harder days were before – creating the menu, figuring out what I needed from the store and getting it (AdventureMan helped) and “prepping”, i.e. getting all the walnuts chopped, the onions, the parsley, the cheese grated, etc. That’s the really hard work, I think.

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One thing required a little extra preparation – I wanted to make peppermint candy ice cream, something I have made before. but a long time ago. It requires peppermint candy. Once I saw peppermint candy here, but it was a long time ago, in like February – I guess it hadn’t gotten here in time for Christmas. I brought back some from my recent trip to the US.

The ingredients for peppermint candy ice cream are wonderfully easy:

3 cups cream
2 cups crushed peppermint candy

You add one cup to the cream, put it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, you stir it, and put it in the ice cream making machine to process. When it is nearly finished (it is thickened and the machine starts to labor) you put the remaining one cup of crushed peppermint candy in through the tube where you can make additions, allow it to process maybe 30 seconds, then – it is finished.

No, there was no added sugar, there is enough in the candy to make it sweet enough. Because it is pure cream and no additives, it is very very fattening and very very delicious.

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How will we spend Christmas Day? When AdventureMan gets up, I will heat him up a cup of Christmas punch and we will open the presents in our stockings:

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Here is what the rule is – laid down in my family many many uncountable years ago – as long as you believe in Santa Claus, Santa Claus will come. To this day, we believe in Santa Claus, so when we wake up on Christmas morning, we have stockings with little gifts. (I think maybe one of mine sparkles 😉 )

We also open gifts from family – and the gifts from our son and his wife arrived just in time, yesterday, and are under the tree!

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Then, we will get ready for church, and go and greet all our church friends – Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!

That is . . . unless the plumber comes to fix the faucet. Yes, for my friends who do not live in Kuwait, for the rest of the world, this is just any old day, and plumbers come on Christmas day. They do NOT come on Fridays, the Moslem world Sunday, so if the plumber comes – and we just never know when that might be – I would have to miss church.

We will gather again tonight with friends for Christmas dinner. Unless the plumber comes.

(No, Satan, I can roll with this. You are NOT going to ruin my Christmas!)

I wish you all a great day, a wonderful, sweet day.

PS. The Qatteri Cat celebrated by eating three Kuwaiti shrimp. For some reason, they are not so good for him, so he only gets them on special occasions. He would live on only shrimp if he had his way.

December 25, 2008 Posted by | Aging, Christmas, Community, Cooking, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Hot drinks, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pets, Qatteri Cat, Recipes, sunrise series | | 20 Comments