Nollaig shona duit

I love this maple in the back yard. It always seems to be reaching out for something. Probably the warmer weather toward the southwest.

Here we are again, gathered around the old bloc na Nalloig beneath the freeway, trying to keep both warm and unnoticed by The Authorities, which is not an easy thing in these days of modern times.

Herself and I enjoyed our traditional Christmas Eve dance last night (one of us was limping a bit), and this morning while sipping our coffee we listened to my cousin Joseph Thompson and his colleague James Bishop-Edwards performing their arrangement of J.S. Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” from their album “Baroque Masterworks for Two Guitars.”

We’ve downsized the old solstice tree. The cats are less likely to try climbing this one.

Now “Performance Today” is rocking the house, ’cause that’s how we roll on Christmas.

There are no gifts under the tree. There’s not much room beneath it, for starters. And we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to buy things as we deem them necessary, rather than delaying gratification until Dec. 25. It helps that we really don’t want much.

So instead of littering the floor with wrapping paper we jotted down some notes about organizations in need of financial support. This year we went heavy on animal rescue, free speech, independent journalism, justice, and outfits that help those whose tribulations often go unnoticed because they don’t have free internet, scads of executive time, and a nice big White House from which to make their case.

Happy happy joy joy to thee and thine. May your days be merry and bright. And if you feel like kicking up your heels a bit, give a listen to “The Rebel Jesus,” from The Chieftains and Jackson Browne. I bid you pleasure and I bid you cheer, from a heathen and a pagan on the side of the rebel Jesus.


22 Responses to “Nollaig shona duit”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    “When you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.”
    Tao te Ching – translation by Stephen Mitchel

    “The greatest wealth is to live content with little.”

    Makes you wonder if they knew each other. We wish a happy day to all who gather here.

  2. Sharon Says:

    In addition to the regular donations, we also have been trying to give random donations directly to those who will benefit. Whether it’s diapers/food for struggling family, money for animal surgeries/medical, a special trip or activity for someone who doesn’t have the means, etc.
    We also bought a turntable and will be listening to albums not played in decades today – as soon as we figure out where we are going to put it and get all those fiddly wires together with the rest of the gear. Cheers to all.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Good idea, Sharon. Bypass the middleperson and go straight to the need.

      Turntable, hey? I’ve been thinking about that myself. About the only things stopping me are (a) where do I put it, and (2) where do all them fiddly wires go? Sound familiar?

      There’s also the setting up of the cartridge, tone arm, counterbalance, yadda yadda yadda.

      Still, I have a couple boxes of vinyl and daylight hours to spare. …

  3. khal spencer Says:

    We passed on exchanging gifts too but still sent stuff off to some of our relatives and friends. Hope the trail rash is not too bad, O’G, especially as you have sworn off the Irish Painkiller.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      K, the heel of my right hand is slightly burgered, but the fingers remain useful. What pisses me off is I took my digger about 30 seconds after I took off the gloves. If the gloves had been on I’d have shredded them instead of me. Bah, etc.

      I’m icing the left knee as we speak. Herself and I went for a short walk-run this morning, which may or may not have been smart. I’m eyeing the Advil bottle, which I usually reserve for broken bones and/or bullet wounds.

  4. Libby Says:

    Good tidings to all !

  5. Randolph Says:

    Thank you for sharing “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” – it’s a beautiful rendition of a marvelous composition.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Cousin José plays well, does he not? I haven’t seen him in far too long, but when last our paths crossed he was living (and teaching, and performing) in Ashland, Oregon.

      That is, or was, a pleasant little place. If I were ever to live in Oregon again I’d give it a good long look.

  6. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    We noted that out of the 30 or so Winter Solstice holidays we’ve been together, this was only the 4th or 5th that it’s just been the two of us. No stress, no serious shopping, no in-laws, no airplanes, not even any cooking or cleaning up, but too much eating for sure!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Oh, man, that looks good. Especially the “not cooking” and “not cleaning up” parts.

      At times I get tired of cooking, but then I remember that the decent beaneries are quite some distance from El Rancho Pendejo and I get out in that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        The bass player is really on it in that song.

        Meanwhile, down here, it’s one of those days. And, I see that your neck of the woods is getting some single digit temps later this week. “Welcome to the great white North, heh.”

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        We found the place while looking for a pizzeria close enough that the pie would still be plenty hot when I got back home with it. It’s barely 50 meters from our front door so we’ve tried it a time or two. Not quite as good as our fave, but that one’s too far away for a to-go scheme, but the price/distance/quality comparison makes Locandiera the winner. And the surprise was the chef turning out to be a guy from another place we liked that had closed recently. La vita e bella!

  7. khal spencer Says:

    So how are you doing? Any bad effects of that run/walk?

    Speaking of falling after taking off the gloves. When I bought my first adult bike in 1979, I decided to give the credit card a rest and buy a helmet after the next paycheck. I suspect you can guess the rest.

  8. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Cheesus POG you old fart! That was a nasty job on your hand. Oh wait a minute…I’m as old as you are. Let me check, does anything hurt today? Not yet anyway. 41 degrees with an orange thing glowing in the southern skies today. I’m told it’s the sun but it could be a trick…I’ll go for a hike and see for myself. Keeping POG in mind of course and watching my step. Better Days Ahead Compadres!

  9. Herb from Michigan Says:

    BTW if you live here in Michigan and want to keep snow at bay, buy new snow tires and a snow plow for your tractor, new snow shoes and guess what? Nary a flake to be seen in lower Michigan. I ponied up for all those things this fall never realizing just how fast global warming was advancing. It’s supposed to hit 50!! in the next couple of days.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My man Hal has the same problem. He bought one of those drag-behind-you groomers for making cross-country trail at home in your spare time. Naturally he’s got about as much snow on the ground as one ordinarily sees in Death Valley.

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