Making a List

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Decoration: Angel playing a stringed instrument

Dec. 2: “Making a list and checking it twice…”

… a list of things to do, that is.
Honestly, with snowflakes swirling through the frosty gray morning light, (and I snug inside, looking out, still in pyjamas, with a second cup of coffee), making a list is just my easy way to feel “productive” while I procrastinate. I already know what I need to do. Half a dozen things I should have finished last month. Plus all the things December traditionally brings. I should just focus on December. Mmm, this is good coffee…

At least the Advent wreath with its four candles is already set up on the coffee table. I note how much shorter the first candle already is. I’d had a lovely hour the other day, singing English and German Christmas carols with an exuberant teenager, dear friend of the family, her Down’s syndrome no hindrance to her infectious joy.

Now I’m reminded of the soft woody sound of recorders that had wafted through most of my two-thirds-of-a-century’s worth of candlelit Advent music-making.

Every Advent Sunday evening, my musical, tradition-preserving immigrant parents had us kids (and any aunts and uncles or friends who happened to drop in) sitting around the Advent wreath, with the appropriate number of candles lit per Sunday, as we learned and sang all the verses of German Christmas carols by heart. Everyone sang, and someone would play soprano and alto recorders. Or my dad the music teacher played violin, and my mom piano. Or any other instruments that were being learned at a given time could be called upon to join in. Years later, my boyfriend used the Advent-wreath music time to announce to my parents that we wished to be engaged. (Yes, it was quaint and charming in those days!)
In our own family, our Advent music evolved along with our daughter’s piano playing, and our son’s guitar. For a while, a woodwind trio emerged when our daughter played flute in high school, I returned to my oboe, and my husband decided to learn the clarinet. Then, an ebb and flow of life and time: no more oboe or clarinet; children grown up, up and away, with homes of their own; two retirees sitting here with too many things to do on the computer…

Oh yes, my list!  #1: Dig out the little wooden flutes again. Practise for next time.

Now I can almost smell the aroma of vanilla, nuts, cinnamon, and cloves that should soon permeate my kitchen, as I add #2: Get cracking and finally bake some Vanillekipferl, and Spitzbuben cookies. Hmm, and maybe plan for Apfelstrudel?

My coffee’s done, so that’s it for list-writing for now. But, well, it’s still writing, isn’t it?  I’ll quickly add and immediately check off this one thing:  #3: Post blog entry.  — Very satisfying!

Looks like a lovely December shaping up!

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