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photo: daguerre an 2000

Paris Holiday lighting.

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Waddle Out the Door

Email from Linda Thalman, writing from the Cadillac Ranch, Essonne. Sent via the Internet: Monday, 20. December 1999:-

12:30 - 13:15 Apéro - Scotch or Medium-dry sherry.

13:15 - 13:25 - Musical chairs figuring out where every one sits, even though there will be place names on the table.

13:25 - 13:30 - Christmas crackers with the little gifts getting lost in the carpet and reading out the totally stupid jokes.

13:30 - 16:00 - The first 5 courses:
a) smoked salmon
b) roast turkey, carrots, brussels sprouts, roast potatoes and gravy
c) cheese platter
d) green salad
e) dessert and coffee

16:00 - 17:30 - Champagne while we open gifts and my nephews play with their toys and throw paper and ribbons at everyone.

17:30 - 19:30 - Clean up the mess; then play new games, watch TV or even take a nap.

19:30 - 20:30 - Christmas pudding, fruit salad and more Champagne and if anyone is really hungry, leftovers from the first 5 courses!

20:30 - 21:00 - Packing up, good-byes and waddle out the door!

Linda Thalman©1999
Relaxed and Unusually Understressed

Email from Cindy Walsh. Sent via the Internet: Tuesday, 21. December 1999:-

Joyeux Noël et Heureuse Année!

Since I e-mailed you last regarding betting at Longchamp and my fantastic visit to Paris, I have enrolled and completed a beginning French class. I anticipate a return visit to France in the year 2001. By that time my "vacation club" should have reached a sufficient amount enabling us to travel.

This year I feel fairly relaxed and unusually understressed. I can only contribute this lack of stress to the fact that my mother and her new husband are happily ensconced in Florida, unwilling to make the trek up North. My children are mostly grown with only one at home, so with no parents or kids to worry over, I plan to really enjoy a peaceful holiday season.

I spend the few weeks before Christmas baking cookies that my now deceased grandmother used to make. I just found out from my daughter that I am the only one that likes them. Oh well, I will continue to bake them in my grandmother's honor.

On Christmas Eve we have a dinner of Shrimp Newburg and I make everyone listen to the radio station with 24-hour Christmas music. Of course this year there's no one to force the muzak on. We also try to squeeze in a showing of 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.' (A great American tradition).

On Christmas morning my daughter and boyfriend will arrive to a big breakfast of pancakes, french toast, sausage, bacon, OJ, coffee, etc. Of course we will open our presents and stockings first.

Later in the day to get away from football, I will take my two big dogs for a long walk. Then I get back in time to start up the Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding with the requisite roasted potatoes, glazed baby carrots, broccoli and hollandaise and the dreaded Christmas Cookies.

After stuffing ourselves on Christmas Day we head to relatives on the day after Christmas for a brunch of bagels, lox, cream cheese, etc - and go shopping with gift money.

The week between Christmas and New Years is usually devoted to trying to lose all the weight that we packed on at Christmas. This New Year's we're not going out.

Last time we did, my husband got pulled over by a state cop and with hand on gun was given a ticket for not wearing his seat belt. This year, as pathetic as it might seem, we will celebrate with a bottle of Champagne, go outside at the stroke of midnight and shoot off a load of fireworks that my husband picked up on a recent drive up from - where else? - Florida. Merry Christmas and of course, a very Happy New Year!

Cindy Walsh

Cindy Walsh©1999
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