I got up at my usual time, but did not start working. Instead, I ran to the grocery before any else got there and bought more wrapping paper and more eggs. I had run out of these two things, so I had no choice.
I came back then and did some more baking.
I probably had a choice on this. Last night on the way to rehearsal I made my usual cookie parcels for the organist and choir leader, and it seemed as though I might be short on cookies.
We can’t let that happen, can we?
This morning, when I pulled all the containers out of the freezer, I found that I was actually pretty well stocked, but by then I’d already made a couple more kinds: Conga Bars and Turtle Bars.
You see them here in a sort of quilt arrangement with Apricot Almond. Bars. I don’t usually make bar cookies at Christmas, because they don’t pack as well and sometimes aren’t as pretty, but they are very good. The basic system for bar cookies is to make a shortbread cookie of some kind (almond and butterscotch, in these cases, but any kind is good). Then you mix up three eggs, about a cup of sugar (choose your type of sugar or syrup according to the flavors you’re using), and butter if you feel lavish. That’s the basic plan, but now you add things. For Turtle Bars, you want melted chocolate and brown sugar. Conga Bars have chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and coconut. For Apricot Almond Bars, you have to chop and cook dried apricots and give them a hit of almond extract and a bit of brandy or Cointreau. Stir these things into the eggs and pour all that onto the cookie layer. Then put chopped nuts on top — walnuts, pecans, and almonds respectively for these bars.
I think I felt as thought here wouldn’t be sufficient cookies because I made them in a disorganized way, didn’t make a list, and forgot whatall I’d made.
The presents were also sort of like that. I had a plan for if I ended up making enough money to spend my usual amount, and an alternate plan in case I didn’t. However, things were suspenseful for so long that I think I may have done both.
I think it’s also sort of uneven. My kids were brought up not to be concerned about that, and they’re also conscious I think of the enormous unevenness of their current costs — #2 son’s tuition is more than double #1 son’s tuition, and the girls are self-supporting. However, my own mother worried about this and always apologized at Christmas for any possible appearance of favoritism, and I think I’ve been doing that myself this year.
My kids are being indulgent about it.
They’re also being bossy. Are your kids as bossy as mine?
Today’s song is “O Magnum Mysterium,” a song in Latin about the great mystery of the non-human animals being allowed to be present at the birth of Jesus.
I like Christmas carols about things like that — what the angels might have smelled like, or how amazing it is that animals got to hang out with the Song of God — things that I wouldn’t normally think about at all. Thought-provokingness may not be what you look for in a carol, but why not?
Tonight I will be at the church for an excessive amount of time (four hours), but I do get to sing “All My Heart This Night Rejoices,” “Born on a New Day,” Moonlight on the Manger,” and “Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella” with “People Look East,” so I guess it’s worth it.