Friday, December 28, 2007

The 11th and 12th Days of Christmas

Lest anyone think our vacation ended on the 10th day...

Christmas Eve day in Seattle was the only day that was really bright and sunny, so we spent most of the day walking and eating. And the evening...walking and eating. Because that is what we do, vacation or not, but especially on vacation when calories don't count and the walks take you all sorts of places that you haven't seen before. This shot was taken from the Olympic Sculpture Park, at sunset (duh)...

For lunch, we went to a deli and loaded up with prosciutto, salami, cheeses and lox. And crackers and cherries and 10 pounds of clementines. Then we went to the park by the marina and set up our own deli, gorging on all of the above. Unfortunately, it was a late lunch and we had dinner reservations at the hotel's restaurant at 6:30pm. So we did some extra walking and tried to work off lunch in time to be hungry again for dinner. Appetite or not, the dinner was wonderful (we all had seafood...mussels for an appetizer, swordfish, salmon and halibut...all delicately prepared and served with savory sauces and sides...and dessert...and not shared either, one for each of us...mmm).

This shot was taken in the hotel room before going down for dinner. I like this photo because it captures perfectly the attitude that only a teenager can properly carry off. And yes, I'm sure some of it is our fault. Afterall, we didn't see fit to buy the designer purse for Christmas. But Tata (Croatian for "father") refused to let that bother him.

After dinner, we lounged around the room and waited for midnight. We had planned to attend Midnight Mass at St. James Cathedral, a beautiful cathedral up on the hill in downtown Seattle. And eventually, we did do that, but when we arrived at the church at 11:30, it was already packed and they weren't letting anyone else in the doors because of fire safety rules. So instead, a large crowd gathered in the foyer, probably much larger than the Fire Marshall would have preferred. Rather than leave, we hung out and hoped that when the earlier Carol Service was over, the less-than-serious church goers would leave, and we would get in. As everyone crowded at the doors, I wondered if ever there had been any crushing incidents at Midnight Mass before, you know, like at the soccer events in Ghana, for example. Then, finally, after the Mass service had begun, people filed out in small groups at first and finally, enough left that they opened the doors and let us all in (actually, I think what happened is that the people responsible for guarding the doors had other duties to perform and they abandoned their posts). There was standing room only inside the cathedral, and it was hot and stuffy. At the 1 hour mark, I thought I might faint. I started bending my knees like they taught us to do at the 2nd grade Christmas program after the one girl fainted. Finally, it was time for communion and the service was over. Regardless of the physical inconvenience of standing all the way through Midnight Mass, or maybe because of it, this was a very memorable service and a wonderful night.

Christmas morning was less memorable. We had to wake up early to take the little one to the airport, to fly home. Being sleep deprived caused her to be more grumpy than usual. At the airport, she huffed off to check herself in. Refusing to listen to us (I cannot count the number of times we heard the words "I'm 17. I can do anything I want. Don't tell me what to do!"), she marched off to the wrong airline. And then, angry at us for letting her "look stupid," she marched to the Southwest kiosk, butting in front of everyone else in line, and printed her boarding pass. She practically ran off to the security line so as to lose the parental units as quickly as possible. And it was there that we said our goodbyes. I can't say it was the most sentimental of send-offs, but we did enjoy our time together, however brief.

While her plane left early, our didn't leave until early afternoon, so we drove a car full of items over to the boat, things we could leave on board, like extra shoes, raincoats, umbrellas, pillows and other odds and ends. We had leftovers (prosciutto, lox, etc) from the day before, so in the end, we did enjoy Christmas dinner on our boat. It just wasn't quite how we expected it might be...

Christmas in Seattle (All Aboard!)

Christmas Dinner

Next year will be different. At least, I won't have to fly home on Christmas Day because of work commitments the next day. And if we are on the boat, hopefully, it won't be laid up for repairs.

We arrived home in time to spend Christmas evening with our oldest daughter, although we ended up dining on pizza purchased at the gas station because everything was closed and we had no food at home that wasn't in the deep freeze.

While Christmas Day itself was not exactly the version of Christmas that many of us grew up with, it was blessed in its own way. We were especially blessed to be able to spend time with both of our girls who are growing up and moving away much too quickly. Too quickly for their own good, but that's a topic for another post. :-)

Happy New Year!

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At 6:43 AM, January 03, 2008, Blogger Rach said...

Glad you had a good time even if it wasn't traditional!

At 8:10 AM, January 04, 2008, Blogger DarkoV said...

What happened to that great pic of that handsome bearded Croatian guy and your "I am so bored with this world, but I'll still let you take a picture of me" daughter of yours?
Was she shocked (internally mouthed SHOCKED here) to see her pic involved with your blog and threatened a lawsuit?

At 11:50 AM, January 04, 2008, Blogger Gwynne said...

Darko, it's still there. Maybe you just need to hit "refresh." And really, how could she NOT be pleased to be associated with her loving and adoring parents in every way, even on my blog?

I have her signed permission slip just in case. ;-)


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