Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar

6 01 2009

img_38031A sweet little Christmas tree in a sweet little apartment with the villancios (carols) ringing out, “Ya Vienen los Reyes” (Now the Kings are Coming)

img_38011Goodies to just keep our minds off what was about to come…


Little Billy birds to remind us that he’s right there with us…


With food, candles and a Victrola – who needs more?


ahh yes…there is more…


we find our assigned seats…


and we are graced with plates overflowing with baked potatoes, asparagus, red cabbage, broccoli and cranberry slaw…and crab legs


time to linger and reminisce about Three Kings Days past and to ruminate on those to come and the wisdom of waiting till all the American commercial Christmas is over to do our buying and quiet celebrating when all around us think it’s over…our own little secret


But the biggest secret of all was the handiwork of the 1eyedmonkee who had never dared attempt a roscón de reyes in all these long years in exile.  There are two items hidden away – but she had to improvise…there was no ceramic baby jesus (an ity bitty little spanish water pot had to do) to bring good luck in the year ahead to whoever finds it and in lieu of an haba (dried bean)…just some black beans wrapped in tin foil to the one who is to pay for the roscón.  We’ll do better next year since she has a year to prepare.

The best laugh was an unintentioned trick.  I decided to wait to add the whipped cream filling till after dinner.  While everyone was busy with other things – I cut the roscón in half, carefully lifted the top and set it aside as I filled it with fluffy white and gingerly replaced the top.

When Shop Girl took a fork to her first bite – she was all atwitter thinking she had been the luckiest of lucky to find the prize right off…but all she found was was the foil top of one of the bottles of wine we’d had.  When I set the top of the roscón down it apparently got set on top of the wine foil and I never saw it as I carefully replaced the top of the cake.  But she was a lucky girl after all when she found that the tiny water pot tucked away literally had her name on it.  I was just hiding something that was hers after all.

And that is just like the Magi reminding us that the best things are staring us in the face with no wrapping paper on them at all.  They are things we lose sight of  – things we take for granted – things that were ours all along.

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho…it’s off to work we go

5 01 2009

img_38391There is something about getting back into the routine after a break from the salt mines.  These guys always seemed to do it with a good amount of cheer. Do you remember their names?

I woke up like Grumpy today.  Had one of the horrible nights where it just seemed like I tossed and turned the whole night and couldn’t get comfortable.  It must have been the anticipation of one more party ahead of us.  Tomorrow is Three King’s Day. 

I decided to try my hand at making a roscón de reyes.  I have a bad feeling about it but it could just be my general outlook today.  Truth will be told after our crab dinner at Shop Girl’s this evening.  You’ll get the full details tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I should try to be productive around here today since I’m headed south tomorrow for the better part of the week. So with my shovel over my shoulder…I’ll start whistling now.  “Heigh-ho…heigh-ho…”

These aren’t the Twelve Days of Christmas, stupid!

13 12 2008

img_3817“…and a partridge in a pear tree.”  

There was an urgent email in my inbox this morning from a famous catalogue company announcing that we were now officially IN the Twelve Days of Christmas.  

Who is getting paid money these days to be so WRONG????  Do you mean to tell me that no one, in any department that all that advertising had to pass through to be approved, knows the difference?   We Americans take traditions that have been around since the Middle Ages and twist them up for our own pleasure.  We can’t even figure out when the Twelve Days of Christmas are. How can the rest of the world respect someone that doesn’t even get THAT right? Morons…it’s no wonder we can’t help broker world peace. 

It is not the twelve days leading up to Christmas.  The count starts with evening of Christmas Day and into the night of the Epiphany (January 5th-6th or Three Kings Day for Spaniards).  Figures that consumeristic-money-grubbing retailers would have us believe otherwise.  Anything to tighten those screws and rush us into throwing good money after bad.  

I loved the fact that in Spain (at least back in the years we lived there), the main focus of Christmas eve was gathering the family for a wonderful meal that didn’t start until 10 p.m.  About the time the last nibbles were on the lips – it was time for Midnight Mass.  

Christmas Day was for sleeping in and left overs.  Most gifts weren’t exchanged until Gaspar, Baltazar and Melchor made their way around town on Three Kings’ Day.  More of that later but I just had to get this rant off my chest.  Happy shopping!