Christmas 2015

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights

Chard and celery are growing in the garden and not ready to pick. It’s Dec. 25 for heaven’s sake!

Grass is greening and water is standing in the ditch. Ambient temperature is 30 degrees — freezing, but not quite. The spring-like weather belies the holiday decorations inside our home.

Our daughter pulled back to back shifts where dreamers work, ending last night with a terrific fireworks show. Had we been near we would have watched, but the miles separating us were too many this Christmas.

Threatening to move closer, she said we wouldn’t like it. Even in an Iowa that borders corrupt, uninspiring and terrible under Terry Branstad, she is likely right. There is no way I would trade my current congressman… however, there is that nice Corrine Brown. Maybe I’m not finished making my case.

This morning’s activities included laundering my three work shirts, blue jeans and socks. I look forward to when I have enough clothes to last a full work week.The biggest development at the home farm and auto supply store was my interview about becoming a receiving clerk. Because of the store’s growth, they now need two.

I began cross training with the current clerk on Wednesday. What makes the new position different is the hours 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. It will be my first time with weekends off since I worked at the University of Iowa. After all the irregular work hours this will provide an opportunity, setting the stage for work to generate the ten grand — reduced a bit by the increase in hourly wage the new position will garner.

After several attempts, I developed a winter hot sauce made from canned goods. I drained whole tomatoes, reserving the juice for another recipe. I added drained, pickled Serrano peppers to the bowl. Next, a jar of a red and jalapeno pepper sauce made earlier this year. I chopped the mixture with a stick blender, jarred and refrigerated. It went great on my scrambled eggs, which along with hash brown potatoes and an apple is a traditional holiday breakfast in our household.

I started a load in the dishwasher.

Next came a batch of traditional shortbread cookies. I softened a pound of butter on the counter overnight. To the butter, add a cup of brown sugar and cream together. Add 4-1/2 cups all purpose flour, then bring the dough to consistency, roll it out and cut into strips. Bake at 325 degrees for 22 minutes.

We never know what today will bring. For me it is enough to spend time at home with family and seek respite in personal traditions as the rest of the world is muted by the clatter of dishes in the sink and my firm intent.

It hasn’t been the best Christmas, nor the worst. It just is, and that’s enough.

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