Friday, December 26, 2008

As the snow lay round about cool and crisp and even

A blessed St Stevie's Day, y'all.

We did have snow today in Albuquerque, but not the kind that sticks around. It was not the fluffy flakes I am used to now but denser chunks that looked like coarse Kosher salt landing everywhere. All gone rather quickly.

David@Montreal encouraged "my inner camera" to be handy this Christmas, so with words instead of photos I will do my best.

St Gabe's was lovely on Christmas Eve. I drove directly from work to the storefront church, arriving early enough to take a short nap before leaving the car and heading inside. Votive candles were in all the window ledges, poinsettias were arranged in front of the altar, huge green wreaths hung on either side of the Cross - it was beautiful. With some new track lighting over the altar we were able to dim that space, bringing the lights up when the Angel announced glad tidings in the Gospel. There were luminarias leading toward the entrances.

We had over a third more than our usual Sunday morning attendance and I think faces glowed as much as candles (no, the congregation was not full of egg nog, they were radiating God). We sang a Christmas hymn between every element of the liturgy. Mother Rhonda preached a great sermon. I presided and sang the Mozarabic setting of Eucharistic Prayer D, something I always used to do at Christmas Eve and Easter. Fun to do it this year.

All in all quite lovely - simple, down-home, honest, beautiful, and satisfying.

I drove home after that, leaving later services to those who wished to stay up late.

Christmas day I drove to my best friend's house where three of us broke our fast with chilaquiles and Mexican hot chocolate (a tradition we've kept for a number of years - such a refreshing change from cloying Christmas sweets). Then we three queens of orient traipsed over to the brother-in-law's place for some family time (and sticky buns). Back to my friend's house for food prep, then on to the Christmas dinner at yet another friend's home. Lovely company, half of whom I knew prior to yesterday and half not. Great food. The table was stunning (yes, the host was not straight, why do you ask?) Oh, a ruby red grapefruit sorbet that was heaven!

Today I had lunch with another friend, shopped for oak bookshelves low enough to fit below windows (I will never have enough places for all my books - unless I stop buying them - hah!). There went half of the latest paycheck - but I got everything 20% off. Gonna be a lot of furniture moving in the next few weeks.

Just chilling, enjoying, and not posting a whole lot.

I hope you are enjoying a blessed Christmas (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, change the terminology as suits you).
--the BB


David said...

Sounds like you celebrated this Feast with your usual great
talent for Life, Paul- wonderful!

St. Gabe's sounds like a really dynamic iniative. When the Spirit moves you, it would be wonderful to hear more about it. So often the image of our Anglican presence is of 'established' or 'establishment' the reality of a store front Anglican church has all sorts of vital resonances.

Your Christmas photo album is spot-on, and in focus- thank-you Paul.

Now Happy Blessed Feast of St. John the Evangelist- patron saint of writers. Personally I love the French version of that, 'l'Evangil-' resonating more with the existential embodiment/presence of sitting down to that blank page or screen.
Bonne fete St. Jean l'Evangil Paul!


Jane R said...


What's a chilaquile?

I too am glad to hear of a different cultural manifestation of Anglicanism from the established Anglo form. There is too much confusing of religion with a particular culture (and class) here and it always does my heart good to hear of some variety. And I would have loved to hear you chant that Mozarabic tone.

As for the sorbet and gorgeous table, what can I say, I am drooling. I had some slightly more low-key fabulousness a few days before Christmas, same type of host ;-), so everyone is doing their part to maintain the tastefulness quotient at proper levels.

David, is "L'Evangil" a Québecois expression? In France we say "Saint Jean l'Évangéliste."

I'm going to go Google "chilaquile" but I'm sure you'll have a better description, Paul. (And a picture?) If it goes with Mexican hot chocolate, it's bound to be good.

Paul said...

There are many variants on chilaquiles. Here are the basics as Bill makes them:

Stale tortilla pieces, fried in oil and drained.
Saute onion slivers and raja (strips) of roasted green chiles, add strips of previously cooked chicken.
Add green salsa and crumbled cheese (a farmers cheese or cotijo or queso fresco - you could use feta - something white and crumbly), loosely chopped cilantro.
Serve with a drizzle of sour cream and garnish with cilantro.

Jane R said...

Wow, hefty breakfast! Sounds yummy though. Thanks for the description.

Paul said...

It's a great dish with lots of variations, though green chile, onions, cheese, and stale tortillas are standard. It was served in moderate portions, so we ate well without overdoing it.

I did eat a bit too much Christmas evening, however, but that is another matter altogether. There were crudités with romescu sauce and cilantro mayonnaise for dipping and spiced mixed nuts. Then a salad of butter lettuce, beets, gorgonzola, and something else. Ham, mashed sweet potatoes with additions, haricots verts with toasted hazelnuts and hazelnut oil. Ruby red grapefruit sorbet. Then bûche de Noél. Bill even made the little meringue mushrooms sprinkled with cocoa powder. Quite satisfying. Lots of nice wines to go with it all.

David said...

Jane, checking with a francophone academic friend confirmed my intuition - that 'l'evangile' / 'l'evangelist' is yet another example of what is often incorrectly identified at Quebecois joual.
'L'evangile' reflects French usage 400 years ago when a French presence was imposed on this area of North America. There are many Quebecois usages and expressions which reflect this 'time bubble'.

'L'evangelist' is apparently the 'purer' 21st century FRENCH French usage, and according to him reflects some influience of the interplay of the European languages.


FranIAm said...

Late to this but it was so lovely I had to let you know I had been here.

Ahhh- Chilaquiles! My heart for chilaquiles!!