Christmas thoughts and thanks…. 

I’m thankful you take the time to read my blog and occasionally comment.  I know how hard it is to break through to the comment box and it means the world to me when you do.

I’m happy to open holiday cards, particularly one from Janie Maddock Back, a dear friend who I grew up with in New Jersey, along the Delaware River during the 1950s, and read the special words she included by Irish poet John O’Donohue: 

“Now is the time to free the heart,

Let all intentions and worries stop,

Free the joy inside the self,

Awaken to the wonder of your life.”

Oh the wonders!  This morning, my yeast coffee cakes (with almond, apricot and raspberry fillings) actually rose, which is a damn miracle!  My chestnuts for the Chestnut Soup with Creme Fraiche, that I’m making/taking to daughter Alex’s for Christmas Day, roasted in the oven to perfection and easy peeling.  


Perhaps the greatest wonder of all is that the family agreed to do a Yankee Swap on Christmas Day. It’s a blessing to wrap one special gift, hoping that one of the eight potential recipients (age 12 to 82) will like it. If not, trade it. Blissful.

I’m touched to get an email containing a photo of holiday placemats I made 45 years ago for Anne Spackman, a dear Ridgewood, New Jersey neighbor, who still uses them today in her San Diego home. 


At this time of year, I enjoy digging out old recipes. One of my favorites is for Steamed Cranberry Pudding which my pal Gael Habernickel shared with me when we were Ridgewood, New Jersey housewives (and paddle players too). Her recipe is below. On the back of it, a note from my son Chris, then 8. What a treasure this is to me!

Chris writes: I went to do my route (he delivered the BERGEN NEWS every afternoon). then play football home when it gets dark Chris

Chris writes: I went to do my route (he delivered the BERGEN NEWS every afternoon). then play football home when it gets dark Chris

I’m smiling as I remember witnessing my New York grandsons’ basketball prowess in an odorous gym in P.S. 86 in New York City one week ago.  I adored watching granddaughter Maddie play the clarinet in her Portsmouth Middle School band holiday concert. Just as special was hearing 16-year-old Max’s Holiday Ensemble perform a medley of my favorite Carols. He plays a mean sax.

How lucky I am to have three generous and loving siblings — Robin, Robert and Ross — who join me in giving generously to our mother’s Skidmore College scholarship every Christmas.  We live thousands of miles apart — in Colorado, New Mexico, New York and Maine — but there’s hardly a day we don’t share a fun email. 

I’m proud and happy that my 82-year-old husband has written two books and still continues (occasionally!) to shoot his age on the golf course. Mr. Wonderful is nothing short of wonderful. And the joy and pride our four children give us is unsurpassed.

Best of all, ho ho ho, is that the shortest day of the year, December 21, is now in the rear view mirror!  There’s lots of winter ahead, but we’ll face it with lengthening days.

Your Wanderer is now taking a few weeks off — see you in 2019.  Happy and Merry!