The Tree, Christmas

For years, I resisted getting a tree in our little apartment in Arlington. When we moved to the condo, Monica prevailed; the first year, decorating with P+T was, I think, the origin of the traditional Christmas Tree Decorating Trader Vic's Mai Tai.

But the decorating aesthetic, that was a point of contention — simple and elegant or a haphazard mishmash of the assorted ornaments acquired over the years? I was a proponent of the latter and, once Monica made it Connecticut for Christmas one year and experienced Joan and Ken's tree, she saw the light.

For as long as I can remember, they've had an impossibly large tree that dominates a corner of their house, pressing against the ceiling and spilling out into the room. And it's covered, covered with decades of ornaments of all shapes and sizes. It makes for a giant, warm, family Christmas display. Since then, our quest was for Joan-and-Ken-ness in our (definitely smaller) tree, and they've been happy to help by providing ornaments.

So, then, that first year we had Cheyenne, we finally left her alone after about a week. Just for an hour or so to go out to dinner. And when we returned, she'd pulled a bunch of ornaments off the tree and "collected" them. To this day, she still collects things, bringing them to her bed in the bedroom, giving them a few chews, and leaving them. When it's socks, or fabric, or those Envirosax (she loves those), it's not really a big deal. Glass ornaments, or ones with pins or made of wood — that's reason for worry. We undecorated the tree immediately that night.

And last year, wondering what to do, never really quite got around to making a decision about having a tree. This year, we did buy one and, wondering if we should pull out some ornaments, put up the lights and garland. And by then, it was late and the tree looked just fine and bright and safe for houndies. And so it stood this year, but for a couple of Joan and Ken's recent ornaments, a photo of their tree from last year, and a few birds Monica made, to watch over our celebrations.


M+D arrived into Santa Fe Airport last Tuesday afternoon; Monica was off for a few days to bake last week, but I was working.

Christmas Eve we spent catching up on stuff and preparing for the coming days; after a visit to deliver cupcakes, M+D headed back out for the Farolito Walk. Ribs for dinner, then Jon and Susanne joined us to help with all the cookies that Monica baked and M brought.

Christmas day began with pastries from Clafoutis, presents mostly of the warm and fuzzy clothing variety (and a skunk fetish to commemorate the year), and a dog walk. Then over to Stacy and Jim's for Christmas dinner with Bernice. Who made Cheyenne a sweater!

A good time, wonderful dinner (the pheasant came to the table as breasts, no beaks in sight) and dessert, a lot of fun visiting. And some planning for our taping of Mouth of Wonder on Monday — which took some extra work, because it's an extra half-hour.

Sunday, we headed out for brunch at Tesuque Village Market and then, at J+J's suggestion, to Ohkay Owingeh for the Turtle Dance there. Been years since we'd gone to the dances and with actual activities on Christmas, made more sense to go the following day. Over an hour there, in the warm day, following the lines of dancers as they moved around the town square. Home to rest up for a soak, and then dinner.

Monday, we recorded the show — listen in to hear our favorite Web foodie sites, my interview with Stacy, and M and Stacy planning out brunch. You can tune in to 101.1 FM or catch the stream this Saturday, 10:00 MST.

Tuesday, we checked out the History Museum and spent some time with the amazing documents at Threads of Memory. Posole for dinner.

Wednesday, M+D got delayed flying out SFE because of poor visibility with the incoming storm; cleared enough that they were still able to get out and make their (also delayed) connection and get home. We headed out to Secreto with Rob for some visiting.

Yesterday and today held a lot of loafing, kicked off by all sleeping in as the snow fell yesterday morning. Starting Wednesday night, accumulation was 4-5"; subfreezing temps have made for some nasty going out there. Piled on the long underwear; dog got two jackets for this morning's walk.

Planning on reading the whole 100 Bullets straight through (in anticipation of adding it to this year's top ten) sitting in front of a fire, a quiet evening in. Jon and Susanne over tomorrow. That's the plan.

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