Christmas Wrapping (up)

The elves showed up around 915 with the presents.

(What's that laptop doing under the three with Dad's name on it? No, he didn't get the old computer — watch here for an announcement.)

Monica had put out a tray of cookies and sweets (Oma shipped in lebkuchen, Grammy sent along candy and dried fruit, Mom brought cookies from the family cookie swap, and Monica had made some as well), so we had a tasty time opening presents. Mostly a Christmas of warm, fuzzy clothing. Followed by a breakfast of the Wolferman's English muffins that M&D sent ahead.

Per Janie and Joa's suggestion, we then headed out to Cochiti Pueblo to the dances there. There's been a spell of unseasonably warm weather here for the holidays, so we were due to hit almost 60ยบ — welcome, as the dances take place outside in the town plaza.

About a half-hour to get there. Photography is prohibited; this isn't a show for the public, though it is open. We found some space on the benches built into the side of a slope to watch the dances. Maybe a 150 or so people on the benches, and more residents in front of the other buildings there.

It was a buffalo and elk dance. The dancing alternated between two clans — each with about 20 drummers and singers, and about another 20 dancers in the roles of buffalo and elk in colorful ceremonial clothing. A clan would dance for about 20-30 minutes, then head off behind the buildings behind us, and the next clan would come in. Along the way, at various points, members of the tribe would make a blue corn offering on the ground, and then bring laundry baskets of presents to the dancers. The gifts were mostly food, some things were wrapped, and then the remaining presents were thrown into the audience. Snacks of various sorts, cookies and candies and brownies, apples and oranges, cans of soda, and even some toilet paper.

The dancing was mesmerizing, aided by the throbbing heartbeat of the drums that reverberated right through you. We left after about two hours, a bit sunburnt.

Home to cheese and crackers from Mom & Dad Banko. We wrapped up the evening with some posole (a traditional New Mexican holiday meal) that Monica made. We've been eating way to much (but way too well).


Today, Janie and Joa were kind enough to host us for brunch, so we (and by we, I mean Monica) baked some quiches, and we brought bagels and fruit salad over. A wonderful time, visiting, touring the grounds, and eating even more (including their marvelous egg nog cake). Drove up to the Santa Fe Ski Basin so M&D could see the city from above; an afternoon hike was shelved in favor of a break for naps. Concluded the day back here with tomato soup and grilled cheese for dinner.

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