Saturday, December 18, 2004

Christmas is in the Air

The scents of Christmas, cinnamon, ginger, chocolate are wafting through my house as I bake...bake...bake. For me Christmas is all about baking tons of cookies to give away. I combine this with my other Christmas passion, holiday music and create a spiritual experience as I crank out the goodies.

Here in Pakistan, the daytime high temps are still in the mid 70's F, so there's no hope for a white Christmas and I don't miss that at all. I also don't miss the shopping crowds, in fact, I'm such a non-shopper that I stopped giving gifts once we moved to Pakistan 4 years ago. I just can't stand shopping here, it's all Dollar Store quality crap at rip-off prices, so why bother?

So I do cookies, and music and I decorate my house to the nines while ignoring the scowls of Hubby. He'd rather I just forget Christmas entirely. When we were discussing where to place the tree in this house I noted it was blocking his usual prayer place, I offered to move it to the opposite side of the room near the window, but I could tell by his instant and forceful decline that he was afraid the neighbors would see it. A compromise was reached where it was out of the line of prayer, but also out of sight from the windows. It's funny, in our house you can tell the direction of prayer because all the non-Islamic items such as photos and Christmas decor are all put on the opposite side of the rooms. So the East wall is Islamically free of human representations and the West wall is contaminated.

I've got to decide what to serve for Christmas dinner this year. Our Thanksgiving turkey was such a major disappointment that I vowed it would be the last Pakistani turkey I would ever buy. But what are the alternatives? There is no such thing as quality cuts of beef or roasts here. The butchers are untrained and know only ground or cubed, the cows are tough and stringy garbage feed beasties, so beef is out. Of course, there is no option of ham in this house so the other "white meat" is a great big no-go. I think I could get a goose or a duck, but I've never cooked either and don't have much hope that they would be any better than that skin and bones collection that passed for a turkey. I guess I'll just try to get a couple of nice plump roasting chickens and make do with them. Or, even better, there is a restaurant in town that sells rotisserie chickens for 160 rupies each that I just love. That clearly sounds like the best option.

We took our visitors from the States to the mountain resort town of Murree. It was cold, rainy, foggy, windy, but the girlies had fun anyway. They may have snow tonight, but I've seen enought snow in my lifetime that I'm not going to risk life and limb driving those insanely dangerous roads for it. The rainy ride was bad enough. We passed three accident sites on the way down. The second accident victims places LARGE rocks in the road as accident markers. Hubby hit one of the big rocks, skidded and careened to a stop just before hitting the mountain face. We were driving a new rental car with less than 500 km on the odometer. We were very grateful to God that we and the car were safe.

Well, I gotta go bake. I've got a new recipe for a traditional German cookie that I love, pfefferneusse or peppernuts in English.


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