A partially busy and partially relaxing day. I did some cleaning and stripped the bed. I also went to Borders and scored the new "Yankee" plus some bargain books, including The Best Mystery Stories of 2008, which has a story by Rupert Holmes in it. I then went over to Love Street to use my birthday coupon. I bought some vintage looking Christmas decorations and a gift for next year, and then strolled over to their sister store and bought a couple of gifts for next year.
In the afternoon I listened to Holiday Traditions and read for a while, then prepared for the evening. I put all the gifts I needed in a carry bag, got myself ready, put some sugarless cookies on a plate, made sure I had James' camera and the Flip, walked Willow and gave her supper, and then waited for Juanita to come pick me up. This way James could come to the Lawsons' house directly from work.
It is so cool to see Juanita driving again! Many, many years ago she shattered the heel of one foot, and it has been getting worse and worse. Last January she had surgery to correct the problem and has been in a cast most of this year because it wasn't healing properly. The doctor finally tried hyperbaric treatments and that seems to have worked.
So we had a combination game night/present-fest and it was a lot of fun. Beef stew was the main course, with several sides and snacks, and homemade cookies made by Alice and a cake made by Aubrey (age 17). We played Yahtzee Free for All and also Ready! Set! Sync Up! and also got some cool gifts. But we sure should have headed home earlier; when we got in it was a scramble to get Willow walked, remake the bed (since I can't put the fitted sheet on myself since the mattress is so heavy), get lunch ready, and get ready for bed. We didn't get to bed until after midnight.
A Williamsburg Christmas, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
This is a lovely, slim mostly pictorial book about the decorations and celebrations of Colonial Williamsburg at Christmastime. If you have never seen the colonial city in Yuletide garb, you'll have a treat in seeing for the first time the Della Robbia-like wreaths and garlands, the tables covered with colonial foods, the inhabitants in holiday garb, shining candlesticks and glowing candles, the Virginia countryside in the snow, and photos of celebratory activities. If you're a Christmas fan, you'll love this book.
The Solstice Evergreen, Sheryl Ann Karas
While researching the secular history of the Christmas tree, Karas discovered there were versions of evergreen legend in all cultures, from Japan to Native American to Russian. This volume traces that history along with the various ethnic stories that support the tree legends. I found the legends interesting but the narrative was a bit plodding.
A Wee Christmas Homicide, Kaitlyn Dunnett
This is the third in Dunnett's series of Scottish mysteries, set in the small town of Moosetookalook (don't you love that name?), Maine? Liss MacCrimmon, a former professional Scots dancer whose career was ended by a knee injury, now runs her aunt's Scottish Emporium. When a lack of snow before Christmas ruins the local businesses, Liss devises an idea to run a 12 Days of Christmas promotion involving "Tiny Teddies," a hot new toy out of stock in most of the Northeast, except in Moosetookalook. The promotion works, but with people fighting over the collectible toys, a more bizarre crime occurs: a Tiny Teddy in the window of a local toy store is shot—then followed by the shooting death of the acerbic, avaricious toy store owner.
I hadn't read the other books in the series, but it seemed pretty easy to catch up with the plots surrounding Liss, the two men vying for Liss' affection, Liss' aunt, the deputy sheriff, and the other regular residents and places of Moosetookalook. The mystery was fairly perplexing, and I liked the Maine setting, but the characters didn't particularly grab me enough to purchase the other two books. YMMV!