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December 25, 2012: Wooomphf

I prepared for Christmas in advance this year – I got presents for mother and sister (on-line, mukluks) and I sent cards with lengthy notes to friends far and near. I was feeling sort of smug about it, like it was, in the end, going to be just another day. It was not, and now I am thinking this was a good thing. This morning I scurried around, gathering together tape, wrapping paper (newspaper) and gifts. Wrapping presents is like ironing – it looks easy but it isn’t. And like ironing, wrapping presents takes time. With practice you get good at both. With practice. I need to practice more. We’d been invited to our friend Jack and Julie’s place in Anchorage. They have kids. You can’t visit friends who have kids without presents. And Jack and Julie and their kids are good friends.

I met Jack and Julie in 2002, when I was bicycling from northern Montana to southern New Mexico. We met in Pie

Town, New Mexico and travelled together to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. We then parted company. I returned to Butte, Montana and they returned to Anchorage, Alaska. I got in touch with Jack and Julie two years later, when we moved to Palmer. They eventually sold us the Land Cruiser that they’d used as a sag wagon on their trip. Our visits have been sporadic, but good.

I decided to give Julie a copy of Road Songs, Jack a copy of The Alaska Bicycle Touring Guide, their son E.J. (7) a copy of Animal Voices (Dawn Brunke’s book) and their daughter Ella (3) a copy of The Polar Express. Beforehand, considerable thought went into selecting the right books for the right people.

It was snowing on the drive in to Anchorage. Pete and I had a quasi-business meeting on the drive there. It reminded me of when we were working on The Alaska Bicycle Touring Guide – we’d then have business meetings. I’d brought along a little notebook with me for the car ride. We listed tasks under the book titles – Headwinds, Road Songs, Raudi’s Story, Raising Raudi, and Alaska Dispatches. I thought that Pete would be overwhelmed by all the little details involved in publishing and promoting each book, but he was not. I was, in fact, the one who felt overwhelmed. And doing what needs to be done is going to be a lot of work for us both.

We had a good time at Jack and Julie’s place. Ella is, right now, still at a magical age. It was easy for me to enter into her world and play with her. So this is what I did. I was a fairy princess, complete with a tutu and wings. Oh yeah, and I had a wand. Great meal, great discussion, great time. Jack and Julie seemed really tired. I guess that Ella woke them up at 3:30 a.m. It was, after all, Christmas.

The drive home was different than the ride to Anchorage. It was, at 6 p.m., dark. We were coming out of the snow. We were quiet; we listened to Handel’s Messiah. Once back home, I tended to animals. Pete had a cold, was feeling under the weather, so he went to bed.

Christmas – This one was good because it wasn’t over the top. Sent cards. Visited friends. Gave gifts. Admired lights. Admired ornaments. Ate chocolate. Drank dark chocolate. Wished Pete a Merry Christmas when he woke up and before he went to sleep.

Next: 379. 12/26/12: All Things in Their Time