Posted by: christinelaennec | December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for your lovely comments on my last blog post.  One way or another I have not had a spare minute in the past few weeks to spend in blogland.  Sometimes you just have to follow the advice on the angel card that I drew below:

Advice from the angels:  "Surrender"!

Advice from the angels: “Surrender”!

There’s just been enough time in every day to look after the Dafter, keep the household going, look after myself (shoulder is better but ongoing; I’ve also had some emergency dental work!) and get Christmas organised.  I was able to make my pfeffernusse:

Making pfeffernusse

Making pfeffernusse

And we have a beautiful Christmas tree:

Christmas tree 2015

Christmas tree 2015

All the cards have now been sent or delivered, and also the gifts and parcels.  I sang in a Nine Lessons and Carols service, which I loved, and attended another ethereal concert of a cappella Christmas music in an arching cathedral.

The weather has been very mild indeed, and wet.  We had 11 inches of rain in November and it has continued very wet in December, although I am hugely thankful we have only had minor floods where we live.  Other people in the UK (and Oregon, I hear) are having a miserable time of it.  One of my hellebores is in full bloom, and is a very cheerful sight:


Hellebore, the “Christmas rose”

We did have one morning of frost (only the third so far this autumn) and the Graham Thomas roses were very pretty:

Roses at Christmastime

Roses at Christmastime

Michael has been working extremely hard, travelling, teaching, trying to secure grants, and burning the midnight oil on a book translation.  Every day has been a struggle for the Dafter; however, she has finished the term with only a bit of work to be done over break.  I have worked hard to try to help her with managing school (part-time) and to keep her on an even keel.  We have hired a light box, and that seems to help her a bit at this time of year.  Also I have been taking her for what we call a “rest-drive” nearly every day.  She has discovered that she is able to close her eyes and deeply rest as we go along.  The movement of the car is calming, as is listening to music.  Until fairly recently, no amount of rest or sleep helped the deep exhaustion of ME/CFS to lift – but now a half-hour rest makes the exhaustion “plateau” (her word) so that she has a better chance of finishing the day without a collapse (though there’s never a guarantee).

The Christmas lights on Union Street in Aberdeen, December 2015.

The Christmas lights on Union Street in Aberdeen, December 2015.

I had not had any time off in five weeks, but last week I went up to Aberdeen and it was delightful to see the city again, and to reconnect with old friends.  I was able to have lunch with Roobeedoo – if you read her blog you will know what a journey she is on, and it was really a minor miracle that we were able to meet up.

Christmas fairy

Christmas fairy

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve!  Today, actually, as it is now nearly 12:30 am.  Goodness me.  Such a magical time.  Now we have three creatures in the house who – so the legend says – can speak at midnight.  (The rats have continued to be a delight – they and Tilly have not yet met, and the idea is to make sure they don’t!  But I know both parties will have smelled the other and be aware to some extent of their existence.)

We are going to be hosting another exchange student, as we did at Thanksgiving, and we’re all looking forwards to it.  I hope she will not find us too strange!  She’s travelling up from England tomorrow, and spending three nights, so will be with us for Christmas Day and Boxing Day.  The Dafter is excited about having company.  Last year she spent the afternoon of Christmas Day volunteering at a dinner for people who had nowhere else to go.  This year her physical strength won’t allow her to do that, and she wanted strongly to be able to share Christmas with others outside the family.

I will wish you a Merry Christmas, if you celebrate the holiday, by linking to one of the pieces our choir sang, Philip Stopford’s A Christmas Blessing.  The words are taken from the Irish Book of Common Prayer:

Thank you so much for reading, and for your good wishes, which give us all such a boost.  I hope to be able to see you in blogland over the break.  Nollaig Chridheil dhuibh uile!



  1. The weather has certainly been mild here too, although a lot of rain no local flooding for which I am very grateful. The many who have been affected have been in my prayers. Have wonderful Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

  2. Merry Christmas!!! Can’t believe your beautiful flowers in your garden!!! Not here! Though it is really far too warm for this time of year. And we are getting torrential rain as well. How wonderful that you are hosting an exchange student for three days! Lovely to hear the Dafter wanting to reach out in that way. Wishing all of you a wonderful celebration!!!

  3. It was so nice to see your post this morning and the very enjoyable A Christmas Blessing. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas!

  4. Today we have huge snowflakes gently parachuting to the ground to cover the green grass. This is one of our first snows of the season.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Christine!

  5. Dearest Christine, sending you and your family blessing during this Christmas holiday season. Your Christmas tree is beautiful. Have a Merry Christmas. Hugs, Pat

  6. Christine, Best wish from my family to you and yours. You are missing out on record rain back here in Portland. Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!
    Stu, Lesa and The Boys

  7. Hope that you and your family, Christine, all have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy 2016! 🙂

  8. You have a very special daughter there – her attitude is an inspiration. Nollaig chridheil agus bliadhna mhath ùr!

  9. Merry Christmas to you and your family, and wonderful wishes for the New Year!

  10. Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas. I hope your day went without a hitch and much enjoyment with your ‘boarder’. Your tree looks beautiful, I do love Christmas trees. Hopefully when things calm down a bit in January we will get another chance to meet up but in the meantime enjoy the festive break and try to stay dry! with love, xx

  11. I hope you are having a lovely visit with your exchange student, Christine. Your tree looks very merry and I loved hearing the glorious music you shared! Three of the five little girls in our household have barkey coughs/colds so we did not all make it out to Christmas Eve service, but we had a quiet, happy day together on Christmas. I got to see snowy white Mt. Hood today and there is some snow on the foothills as well. More rain is headed here tomorrow, but not a flood like I shared photos of several posts ago…thankfully.
    I’m relieved to know the rats and Tilly are not threatening each other. When we lived in Northern, CA, we had beautiful black wood rats who I saw dashing across the top railing of our back fence. One day I found a pretty, black rat dead by our garage back door. My youngest daughter then in her late teens thought that her tortoise shell gray kitty, Calla Kitty had scared the rat to death because the rat looked so unmarked and intact. At the time I could not bring myself to argue with her, although later I tried to enlighten her to what I thought more likely had happened. Hoping for good days for you and yours xx

  12. I hope you all had a lovely time at Christmas and that the longer days will start to bring more energy to everyone. How lovely to have the roses at Christmas.

  13. Merci Christine d’avoir pris le temps de donner de vos nouvelles ! J’espère que les choses vont un peu se calmer pour vous et votre mari et que la santé de votre fille va s’améliorer autant que possible. L’ange est très avisé me semble-t-il, et il faut, en effet, savoir écouter ses leçons. Vous êtes dans la pluie et ici, où il devrait neiger, nous sommes au printemps ! Les primevères sont en fleurs chez ma mère, et plus au sud on voit déjà des jonquilles et des iris fleuris. C’est à la fois agréable et inquiétant !
    Je vous souhaite de passer paisiblement les derniers jours de l’année et vous souhaite une très bonne année 2016 !

  14. Merci également pour ce magnifique chant !

  15. I love the video. So light and beautiful and I enjoy how it fills up the space in the cathedral. I’m sorry to hear your daughter has not been doing so well. I hope Christmas was special for you. My best wishes to you for 2016.

  16. Happy new year, Christine! The Christmas rose is one of my favourite flowers, and having seen a photo of it here will make me think of you every time I see one in the future. (Which is also a way to compliment the flower!)

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