_________ December 13, 2015 __________

Super Shabbat!

I should say ‘Chag Hanukkah Sameach’ one last time, since this is the LAST DAY of the holiday, for us.  The *grand finale*, of sorts.  The kids’ve already got it all worked out – the whole thing.  It will be a full day, no doubt.  And it’s a big day for me… one of my sky-watching days, so to speak.  Anyhow.

Yesterday was PACKED.  We had holiday photos, then ended up doing a little shopping, and had a sweet blessing when we went out for lunch.  There was a family of three seated at a table for six (with a two-seater empty next to it), and there were a LOT of booths for four, but nothing for a group as big as ours.  The family saw us come in, and the man got up and came over to the hostess booth.  “We’ll just move to the nearest booth, if that helps you.”  He said.  Wow, that was SO nice.  Well, I had a little hat ornament in the car, waiting to be given away, so I had Lydia run out and grab it, and it was our ‘thank-you’ for being so kind.  Just proves that not *ALL* people suck.  🙂

Then we hurried home, tended critters and got directions to the luminary walk (from FB!) and got our hiking boots and coats on.  It was SO foggy, yesterday, I wasn’t sure they wouldn’t cancel it.  But we headed out in the foggy dark, and when we found the education center that was hosting it?  Homiword, the place was just JAM packed.  The parking lot, the entire lawn, and all the way down both sides of the street – just solid cars.  I don’t know where all the people were, though – once we took to the trail, we had our portion mostly to ourselves.

Walking in the woods after dark is a crazy experience.  The smell of pine and peat are SO good, but only the silhouette of the nearest branches lit the sky (what with the fog, cloud coverage, and new moon).  The only thing we could see was a line of milk jugs with tealight candles in them, down the side of the trail to guide us.  It was fun, but kind of an exercise in faith, in the dark like that.  The people hosting it weren’t very bright – they used real flame tealights, and even being there AT the starting time, already a number of them were burned out and dead.  There’s a cabin at the halfway point of the loop trial, and they’d advertised hot cocoa and a big bonfire there – when we got there, they were already completely out of hot cocoa, and what they called a bonfire was a little twig campfire.  I wonder what they did after that – I mean, it was from 6-8pm… if they ran out of cocoa that early…!?  Not that we needed it.  It was 55 degrees, last night.  Not cold at all.

I’d like to go back when it’s daylight.  I’ll bet it’s really beautiful, there.  The kids want to wait until spring, but I’ve needed to get out and hike, again.  Last night was SO good for the psyche, y’know?  Even in the dark, just tromping through the woods…!  Daylight would be easier to see roots, though.  LoL!

Then, driving back thru that little town, I spied this big, beautiful, white church nestled back away from the road.  It was all awash with lights, and I had to see it, and so I asked Brian to turn around.  He missed it, completely – had NO idea what I was talking about.  The kids freaked out – “We’re going back?!”  I told them it was a bonus architectural adventure.  It was really beautiful, and we all marveled at the columns and spires and stuff.

And as if that weren’t enough, I was light-seeing (X-mess decorations can be fun to critique!), and between houses I spotted the Lowell showboat.  We went two year ago to ‘Santa on the Showboat’, there, but it was quiet and all lit up and beautiful, so we went downtown and walked the boardwalk and checked out the Showboat.  SO much nicer without the crowds.  We went over by the dam, took pictures of the clock tower and a street clock that was unusual… just wandered, a little, y’know?

But the siren call of ‘presents’ gets to the kids.  Well, last night was latke night – they’re a meal, in themselves!  SO good.  Brian kinked his neck up, last night over latke flipping (go on, laugh).  He’s whimpering like a bear with his paw in a trap, today, poor boy.Then lighting the menorahs, doing our reading, and… PRESENTS!  It was Lydia’s night.  Let’s see… Isaac got a glo-stick trident, Ethan got a ‘tricky worm’ (pipe cleaner with google eyes on a string that is driving the cats CR-azy, Aaron got a Vader vest, and Owen got a Lightning McQueen puzzle (from ‘Cars’).  I gave them each a cross-stitch sampler square and an embroidery hoop.  I think it’d be good for them to try their hand at simple, basic cross-stitch.  All of the blocks are the same – a log cabin in the forest with two bears.  They can do them up any way they like, and then I can sew it all into a ‘family sampler quilt’ of sorts.  Well, that’s what my romanticizing brain plans to have happen.

But mostly they went to bed looking forward to tonight.  THE GRAND FINALE.  I’m looking forward to it, too.  Pretty sure you are, just to NOT have to hear about our decades long feast, right?  😉  It’s okay.

And I really did mean to keep it brief.  You believe that, right?  😀

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