11 I fixed the shirt, responded to the business emails that came in on Wednesday and Thursday, washed a few things… But basically I took yesterday off, too. The grading of papers is beginning to loom.

The Empress came over and we congratulated ourselves for not being in retail any more. “Black Friday” has that name, they say, because that is the day that retail business start operating in the black for the year. For those who work in retail, though, it means the most horrible day of the retail year, the day when people begin behaving really badly. We had a nice cup of tea instead.

Then #2 daughter, #2 son, and I went to the mill.

There we had beans and cornbread and bought flour sacks full of things generally more interesting than flour, including cinnamon pecan whole grain pancak mix, which will become waffles any minute here.

11 The mill is entirely water powered, having a mill wheel that turns with the movement of the river on which it’s built. How cool is that?!

So we didn’t observe Buy Nothing Day, but at least we were supporting a nice green local business.

We came home and did crossword puzzles together. This requires some adustment, because all of us do crosswords, but we have different methods. #2 son and #2 daughter like to go in order, clue by clue, filling in the ones they know, with pencil.

They are completely convinced that this is the best possible approach. I like to sort of cast my eyes over all the clues and fill in the ones that I know, but first I’ll check the intersecting words to make sure that my word is correct, and if I know those clues, then I’ll go ahead and fill them in. I also don’t mind using ink.

11 Fortunately, we are good at cooperating and working together.

We then played some more Scrabble, and then sang Christmas carols. We have this new book of carols which I bought at a yard sale with Janalisa during the summer. With #2 daughter playing piano and #1 son playing guitar, and my sight-singing skills which while still not impressive have gotten quite a bit better through my otherwise unfortunate bell-ringing, we were able to learn a bunch of new songs.

This is always nice.

I’ll tell you about others as the season progresses, but I think my favorite was “The Virgin’s Slumber Song.” You can hear a little bit of it here as it will sound when you get a group of yor girlfriends together to sing it this afternoon while finishing off the leftover pie.

We didn’t have a choral arrangement, but just your basic art song. I tried to persuade #1 son to add it to his repertoire, because the guitar sounded fantastic on it, but he assured me that the title alone was so creepy that he couldn’t even consider using it as a solo piece, even apart from the fact that it contains the phrase, “on his mother’s breast.”

I think he could play it in German, and no one would ever know.

We’re heading over to the church pretty soon here to help with the decorating and to eat chili. Then #2 daughter will return to her midwestern fastness to enjoy the week till she starts her new job, and I’ll get those papers graded.