January 14, 2014

I can’t believe it is the middle of January 2014 already!  I realized that my last blog was on December 7, last year.  Hence I noticed that I had missed my self appointed task of trying to write every 2-3 weeks, but at least once a month.  Since I cannot go back in time, I’ll try to do an update.  After attending the Christmas Concert at our oldest grandson’s school and enjoying the Christmas Cantata at our home church, my bride and I had a quiet Christmas.  We had invited another couple to share our Christmas dinner.  We had decided on lamb-shanks in mushroom sauce, with cheesy - garlic mashed potatoes and veggies.  It was scrumptious!
We usually enjoy the Christmas Holy-day in quiet celebration, because our children go to their respective in-laws during this time.  Ever since our children were married, we suggested that they celebrate Christmas with their spouse’s families, since there is so much emphasis on Christmas in the American culture.  It was not part of our growing up years in the Netherlands. When our children grew up, we pretty much went along with the American customs, although we taught them about the Dutch Saint Nicholas celebration and practices of gift exchanges during the eve of his birthday celebration, on December 5.  (I guess it took him nearly three weeks to come to the United States, on December 24.)  I did a blog entry on the Dutch tradition in December 2008. (clickable in my archives).Anyway, celebrating New Year’s Eve has become our family tradition.  Different areas of the world have different celebration of experiencing the passing of the old - to the new year.   I blogged on this as well in the past, noting the custom of baking oliebollen;  other food to share, fellowship, and the games we enjoy while waiting for the stroke of midnight.  It has become a family tradition for our children to be here for an extended period.  We have a gift sharing gathering and then invite other friends to help us celebrate the invocation of the new year: we stop to pray for a blessing on the new year.  After this we share hugs and good wishes al around after which we finish unfinished games.  
We share a toast to each other with some “bubbly” and slowly go on to our respective beds.

And then came the deep freeze.  It made the news al over the place.  We weathered the cold spell well, no heater problems and no urgent needs which needed our immediate attention.  It is nice to be retired, so you can stay in and turn over another time in your nice warm bed.