I haven't yet, and probably won't, do much in the way of holiday stuff: this little poinsettia may be it.
I did write out a lot of cards last night, which, this morning, I spilled coffee all over (after debating my options, I took the lazy route and sent them anyway! Perhaps the recipients will think the postmaster's a klutz). And I did bake shortbread and fruitcake and will be baking cheesecakes.*
But that's it: no presents this year and no tree ... I'm already focused on the day after Christmas and sailing in the Virgin Islands.
One of the hardest thing to pack: what to read. I've narrowed it down to three titles: The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman and Old Masters, New World by Cynthia Saltzman (both nonfiction) and Homecoming: A Novel by Bernhard Schlink. The Lemon Tree and Loot will have to wait until I come back; and I want to finish the two books I'm currently reading--Winston and Franklin and The Street of a Thousand Blossoms--before I go.
I'm packing a little painting kit and a clumsily made (by me!) book of torn watercolor sheets.
And I want to say thank you so much to everyone who has welcomed me back; I was verklempted by the kind responses of the Gemeinschaft to yesterday's post: it's good to be back!
*I always use Jeff Smith's (the Frugal Gourmet) cheesecake recipe; I've tried many, and this one, in my experience, is foolproof. My own emendation: I put a pan of water in the oven on the bottom rack and the cheesecake on the rack above. I also let the cheesecake sit in the turned-off oven, with the door ajar, for about an hour after broiling the top.