• "Oh, if I could only put things into words as I see them! Mr. Carpenter says, 'Strive, strive -- keep on. Words are your medium -- make them your slaves -- until they will say for you what you want them to say.' That is true, and I do try, but it seems to me there is something beyond words -- any words -- all words -- something that always escapes you when you try to grasp it -- yet leaves something in your hand which you wouldn't have had if you hadn't reached for it. ... I have written myself out for tonight, and am going to bed."
    - Lucy Maud Montgomery, Emily Climbs

    This is my place to "write myself out" -- sharing both my day-by-day thoughts and my artistic output. Thank you for visiting! - Carmen Pauls Orthner
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Ahh… the Eve has come and gone…

Filed under Christmas • Written by Carmen @ December 25, 2010

… and my heart is full, as is my belly! Bryan is in the kitchen finishing up the last of the dishes from our celebration tonight with the Prokopchuks and our last minute additions, Audrey Mark (whom we ran into while getting sub sandwiches Thursday night) and Cole Paproski (who was at the worship service earlier this evening). It wasn’t really planned, but I guess we’ve honoured my mom’s “Christmas orphan” tradition after all! I’m feeling pleased with myself — as I’m determined not to let the house get back to such a desperate state as it was in pre-celebration, I’ve already straightened up the couch cushions, cleaned up the toys and dishes and vacuumed both the living room and the hallway, and we’ve tackled all the mess in the kitchen except the floor, which I decided to leave until after Bryan makes the veggie casserole and we finish up the gift wrapping for the Orthners’ celebration. We need to be there by 12:30 p.m., and it’s currently 12:30 a.m., so hopefully we’ll have enough time for everything. If not, at least we’re the guests this time and no one will see the house for a few days! :)

Sara is sound asleep, after the two youngest Prokopchuks, Nadia (6) and Naomi (8), “adopted” her as their playmate for the evening — they are always eager to hold her, and entertain her with stuffed animals and toys, and after they (with our permission) took her to her room, I was happy to just let them be. :) She was happily babbling (“lodolodolo…”) and having a grand time, and after a small meal, went to bed with minimal fuss, and we didn’t even hear a peep out of her during the rather raucous game of “The Last Word”, which had us, in teams, attempting to be the first to get our category established as the one dictating the words shouted out, and the last to be giving a valid (though that was sometimes debatable!) answer when the buzzer went off at random intervals.

Before the game, we all feasted on Bryan’s homemade cinnamon rolls (I had, um, 4…), apple cider, spinach dip with artichokes in sourdough bread, and skewers of meatballs, mushrooms and peppers. There were visits to our “library” downstairs, and a lot of discussion about Saudi Arabia and Alaska (both places the Prokopchuks have lived), dual citizenship and cross-cultural reflections, books and libraries (including La Ronge Public’s current expansion), and hunting and fishing trips. I need to remember to e-mail Audrey — who is the director of Pahkisimon Nuye?ah Library System, whose board I chaired for two years — a copy of my “Biblioholism” layout. :)

The candlelit service was wonderful — I always love seeing the dots of light throughout the darkened sanctuary and hundreds of voices singing “Silent Night”, and the “Did you see him” reflections from Joseph, Mary, the shepherd, the innkeeper and the magi (each in costume) were really striking. I will remember Joseph’s desperation and frustration over the rejection he and Mary experienced because of her “shameful” pregnancy and his full embrace of his role as Jesus’ (adopted) father; Mary’s desire to protect her son from the suffering predicted for Him in Isaiah; the young shepherd working alongside his father the night of Jesus’ birth; the innkeeper dealing with greed and neediness in her inn, and assisting as midwife for Mary; and the magi apprenticed to a man who had been studying the stars for decades, and tasked with giving the gift of myrrh, a spice used for burial. Sara was a bit fussy (she squealed quite loudly at one poit), and Bryan ended up taking her out to the foyer, but George Searson (who was ushering) took her near the end so Bryan could join me for the candlelighting. Oh, and we had the YouTube video of “Where’s the Line for Jesus” during the offering, which will go again to Scattered Sites for their outreach to the homeless.

We spent a good bit of the day getting the rest of the housecleaning done, though I did take some time to play with Sara and to breathe a bit, and while it didn’t look quite like I’d hoped, it was all right for what we needed — all the public spaces were clean. :) And we got the tree decorated, at long last, and I got some pictures with Sara examining the ornaments (she loved chewing on the Precious Moments one!) and got her new angel ornament labeled (“Sara 2010 – our new little angel”, in honour of my own precious “little angel” ornament that I got when I was 3). I went out mid-afternoon in hopes of finding some bread to make some sandwiches for a bit of lunch, and found the trees all coated with a gorgeous layer of hoarfrost — the world seemed bleached of colour, which is perhaps why Christmas trees are traditionally ablaze with colour, eh? It was only 3:30, but the grocery stores I checked were all closed already — I went to Co-op first, out on the highway, then downtown to see if NorthMart was open. I saw a lone snowmobiler out on the lake, but La Ronge Avenue was very quiet — I saw the candy canes and stars the Town puts up on the power poles, and a “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” sign at Wayne’s Lumber, but very few people or even cars. The only “crowd” I saw was at the Shell gas station, where I ran into James Eninew (got a firm handshake) and Colleen Klassen (I asked if she was getting a few last thing, and she said she was just getting fuel — the very last thing, as they were heading south to her mom’s), and bought some white bread and cooked ham (my options were limited…). I overheard Cora Leung, the owner, talking about plans to travel, so I asked her and she and Kevin (her husband) are going to a resort in Cuba. I told her a bit about Bryan’s trip there and warned her about the rental vehicles — she said she thought maybe they’d stick to chartered tours! She wants to do a tour of Havana — “while old Fidel is still in charge,” she said. :)

Anyhow — a bit of a backwards look at my Christmas Eve! I should get to bed, as it’s already 1 a.m. and tomorrow will be full too. I hope Sara doesn’t eat too much of the wrapping paper, and I don’t eat too much of everything else…


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