Wednesday, December 24, 2008

An Extra Special Christmas

So, here it is, Christmas Eve, the night before what's supposed to be la piece de resistance, the Big Day. But we've already had a succession of Big Days!

It began 12/12, when we flew to NJ to attend sister-in-law Eleanor's (Sister Eleanor Francis) ordination as an Episcopalian priest. The ordination in the convent chapel, attended by >100 friends, family, sisters and fellow prelates, was simply wonderful -- warm, affirming (how my eyebrows did raise when the Bishop invoked the matriarchs and patriarchs), with beautiful music, vocal and instrumental. The exquisite Kyrie simply made me cry.

Second to that was the opportunity to spend some time in the convent with the sisters, getting to know a whole passel of new sisters! What an interesting, engaging lot they are, and they made us all feel so welcome. (I should explain "we" -- us'n's, plus Mom Martha and sister Bonnie from California.)

Next, we trained down to NYC for a family sojourn in Manhattan. We (this time, the nuclear "we") rented an apartment in the upper 90's, just off Park Avenue. It was warm, cozy, and quiet, being off the busy streets, with the wonderful copper cupolas of a Russian Orthodox cathedral as its view (along with a few penthouse gardens). Wonder of wonders, the weather -- sweater fine the first day -- blessed us with a snow flurry the next, and then two days later, enough for snowball fights and a winter wonderland walk in Central Park.

What a wonderful time! With my brother Larry (aka "Santa") in full host-mode, we saw Radio City's holiday show, complete with high-kicking Rockettes (and a Santa, whose bad joke sophisticated 13 year-old Remy just had to comment on a bit too loudly; i.e., "You suck!" -- Let me just die and ooze away under the rows of seats, please .... ). Sadly, Mommy Marie was felled by the flu that very day, missing the show -- but there was the DVD to compensate.

The next day, we visited the United Nations -- wonderful! -- and that night, Santa Larry scored four fabulous tickets to "Wicked." Poor Marie - again, too low to go after a day out, so he saw it (for the third time) with us. I went back the following day and got two more primo seats, and Marie and I went together that night (while Santa and girls saw "Bolt").

Of course, we had to visit Chinatown (twice) and venture just far enough into little Italy for a cannoli. Chinatown's fish market lured me with beautiful, perfectly fresh sea scallops for only $7/lb -- half of Atlanta's price -- so we feasted on that our last night in NYC with Santa Larry, celebrating his 37th wedding anniversary at the same time. Sadly, his bride was still in the Philippines, reclaiming her family's lands. We were a poor substitute, but hey! A party is a party! I will post some of the pix we took in NY on johansonmurray.spaces.live.com.

Back home to warm temperatures and our most majestic tree ever, looking forward to celebrating the season with our friends.

May you and yours be as blessed as we are in this season.

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