Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wreck the Halls

It's cold in here, thought Mr. Hall. It had been rather chilly in the East Wing the last few weeks, though not as chilly as Mrs. Hall's reaction is going to be when she finds out that she's getting her new windows as a Christmas present. Still, it had to be done, and with the added bonus of getting a tax credit slapped on, the deal was signed and ordered. Mrs. Hall looked on as the workmen carved an 8' x 8' hole in her family room wall. The temperatures had been dropping precipitously and by the second day, the returning workmen had to spend some time resurrecting their tools and siding out from under a layer of snow. But by weekend's end, the windows were sparkling and the East Wing toasty and warm once again.
The timing, as it turned out, was excellent. Mrs. Hall and the children were now able to turn their focus completely to putting up countless trees (and the accompanying penguins) about the Hall; and more importantly- get on with the cookie making!
Cookie making at the Hall should be one of the Olympic Challenges- it takes skill, stamina and cunning. As soon as Mrs. H. can be observed pulling recipes and returning with baking supplies, the attacking hoards assume their readiness positions. Then, as quickly as cookies, brownies, fudge, pudding, etc. appear, they begin to mysteriously diminish; a blur here and a handful of mint meltaways are gone; a group of kibitzers walk by and half a tray of marshmallow wreaths are missing. (Shown in picture: Mr. Avery Wheelock of Wheelock Rides, enjoys some homecooked seasonal sugar at one of the cookie exchanges attended by the Halls this year.)
Occasionally distractionary tactics are employed. Mrs. Hall leaves clementines and apples out for free range grazing- she keeps the nut dish full and readily accessible. But not even the tried and true bait and switch tactic of baking cookies in the oven at the same time as microwaving something more smelly but less desirable, such as stuffed peppers, cannot foil the onslaught of children, visitors, pets and even Mr. Hall himself from purloining the goods as quickly as they are produced. It is only by sheer luck and determination that any are actually put up and saved for the Christmas eve feast.

Karate Kid
Mistress Colleen, who acquired her yellow belt in judo when she was just nine, has qualified for her yellow in karate this month. Along with her usual studies at OCC, she has been indulging in a few extracurricular classes, and karate is one of them. Kudos to Colleen and to all the unwary and unruly shoppers out there she might encounter- watch out!

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