Thursday, December 21, 2006


The weather is beginning to break at last, and we saw heavy clouds and chilly breezes all day. After Morning Offering Jim went to retrieve a Christmas tree while I fielded the repairmen who had come to replace our dying water heater. We got twelve years of service out of the old one, which we were told is very good service for those appliances.

Pam was on board at the financials computer today and I asked her for a running total on donations for the matching funds campaign. I am thrilled to say that we have collected $4,538.79 so far! Hopefully we’ll go “over the top” by the end of the year and be able to get matching funds for the whole $5,000.00, which is the matching funds offer’s cap. I rather suspect, however, that if we get more donations than that, all the funds will be matched. So here’s hoping! We are well on our way to being able to pay Gary and Pam for their wonderful work for the next half-year. Thank the Lord, and thanks to all our generous donors!

Gary and I worked throughout the day on annual meeting issues. Gary found our Avalon lease agreement. It looks as though will not need to sign a new one, as the lease renews automatically year by year. However it is good to have it on hand so we can refer to it during the meeting.

We settled on December 23rd for the L/L Research Annual Meeting. We are, however, still diddling with the time of day to begin. But that is great progress. And with no one chiming in with more agenda items, the agenda is now settled.

I wrote an article on getting real for my UPI column this week, finishing just as Jim came in from his work, as he continues to make our yard shine. He began cleaning in the garage and cleared all debris from our wild area, whose bowered glen we use for our pet cemetery.

Gary had gotten Carmen’s gift to us, a quesadilla maker, fired up and made a delicious quesadilla for me for lunch. What a treat that was! We even had some home-made salsa canned by one of Jim’s customers to spice it nicely.

After Jim and I stretched together, I worked almost all afternoon on creating a report for the alumnae magazine on the doings of all the classmates who have written me since my last report. As more and more people chime in, the reports get longer.

Editing is the time-taker. Each classmate writes more material than can be published and so I go through each letter and shorten the text by removing lots of interesting information which, however, is not about the classmate herself but about her extended family. I leave in news of spouses and children while editing out news of grandchildren and in-laws. It is good to have that done!

Tomorrow I shall send the report around to all my classmates separately, with a note from me, since many of the ladies do not read the MacDuffie Newsletter. My goal in doing so is to foster community in our class, with an intent to come together for a maximum amount of fun at our 50th high school reunion. That’s five years away, so I have a good head start!

I put up a lot more Christmas cards, filling the big doorway between the downstairs office and the living room completely and starting on filling up the framing woodwork along our big living room windows with the pretty images on the cards.

While I waited for Jim to finish his work, I did more baking, a batch of chocolate chip brownies and a loaf of blueberry bread. We are freezing everything as soon as it cools and labeling everything for easy access during those crowded days between December 26th, when all three families arrive, and some time in the New Year. Two families are staying for a week and the other is considering staying as long as three weeks.

There are just four more baking recipes to do and that part of the Great Preparation for Christmas 2006 will be complete. I believe the other cooking is also now all but finished! It is lovely to see our hosting plans coming together without much stress or strain.

After Jim finished his work, we took a bath together before I left for choir practice. You can imagine what a madhouse that was, since we are singing not one but two services on Christmas Eve. The choir was back in its regular rehearsal room in the undercroft. That space had been closed for repairs as wind and rain had sprung a series of leaks and the entire basement of the church flooded. Insurance paid for the work, thank heavens, for it was extensive and expensive. It is good to have a home for my music and robe again!

To polish off this day in perfect form, Jim and I went to catch a set of Walker and Kays at Clifton’s Pizza. They were in delightful voice, regaling us with jazzy Christmas tunes like Hoagy Carmichael’s “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”.

We offered the Gaia Meditation silently during the music, so no one offered an ending prayer. But our minds were fixed on the cause of peace and on our love for our dear planet. We returned in worsening weather and sought our beds around midnight.