When I lived in downtown Indianapolis, I used to frequent a wonderful little coffee shop just a block or two from my apartment. It was a funky little place with local art on the walls, a communal computer that occasionally worked, chatty baristas and some great coffee, particularly of the flavoured sort. Many a morning I was just a few minutes late for work because I couldn’t resist pulling my car over and running in for a cup of White Christmas or Highlander’s Grogg (an Irish Cream flavoured brew, which, on this one occasion, I will overlook yet another the ridiculous example of the American tendency to confuse Irish with Scottish).
I’ve gotten used to not having flavoured coffee while in Ireland, and rarely even have a latte with a squirt of toffee or hazelnut or whatever flavour in it. My father would be so proud – I’ve kicked the habit of “contaminating” my coffee. 🙂 But every once in a while, my sister Bonnie will send me a care package with some amazing flavoured beans and I realize how much I’ve missed the pleasure. Right now I’m curled up in a chair by the Christmas tree with a sugar cookie and a hot mug of White Chocolate Peppermint Coffee (complete with half ‘n’ half of sorts, since you can’t get that here either!) and I am seriously in Heaven. Ahhh.
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Well, the countdown has begun – less than one week until Christmas. I am significantly less stressed than last time we broached this subject, but of course, it’s the weekend… but I am relieved to say all the presents are bought now and the baking is well underway. More importantly, I’m enjoying it!
There’s a lovely dusting of snow outside (at least, I think it’s lovely, but probably best not to ask an Irish person what they think!!! I’ve never heard so many people cry, “I hate snow!”). We went to the Nativity Play at church this morning and it was very sweet and fun to watch all the kids in their costumes. Not exactly what I would have been used to in an American church service… but I’m well accustomed to this by now. I enjoy the differences, but I do miss the familiar sometimes!
One difference that still catches me off guard is how several of the traditional Christmas carols are set to different tunes over here! Whenever someone launches into “O Little Town of Bethlehem” or “Away In A Manger,” I have to stumble along, knowing the words but totally ignorant to the music.
It’s also funny the different movies they show on TV at Christmas. Of course, in America we’d see “White Christmas,” “The Santa Clause,” “Home Alone,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “A Christmas Story” dominating our screens. Here, the tradition is to watch “The Wizard of Oz,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” “Love Actually” and all the “Harry Potter” films. Still enjoyable, but to me, much less Christmasy! Good thing Frank and I have such an extensive DVD collection, so we get the best of both worlds! If I get the house cleaned up today, maybe we can all snuggle up later for “The Muppets Christmas Carol” or “Christmas In Connecticut.”
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Yesterday was Evelyn’s 1st Birthday! We had a little party for the family with cakes and sweets and opened too many presents to count (a rehearsal for next week!).
It is so hard for me to believe a whole year has passed since Evelyn was born. I still remember memorizing her little face as soon as she was handed to me in the hospital… and she still has that same little face (though about twice as big)… a little bit mischievous, very funny, very sweet. Obviously, Evey was the best Christmas present ever! So Happy Birthday, once again, to my lovely girl.