On the First Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me

A plane trip to New Orleans. Where we celebrated the holiday season with great flair, many parties, a Christmas Eve mass at my ancestral church, and a few dicey moments sprinkled here and there.

On the Second Day of Christmas, my sweetie gave to me

two healthy children. One very happy, busy boy, seen here with a French Market fruit and veggie merchant
and racing the thoroughbreds at the Fairgrounds.

And let's not forget our Girl, who had a very big day...

On the Third day of Christmas, my mama gave to me

a race track birthday party. My parents took us all to the track to celebrate my little Mermaid's 10th birthday. We enjoyed delicious cake

gorgeous horses

and success betting on them. Of course it helped that my MIL, the amazing horsewoman, was with us, telling us what to look for.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my family gave to me

two extra guests. The lovely Jack's very lovely parents flew with us to New Orleans to spend Christmas with my family. It helps that John and Dorothy love New Orleans and were looking for a new way to spend the holiday. We all very much appreciate their graciousness in travelling so far away from home and their usual customs.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my papa gave to me

fried eggplant spears. from Galatoire's, my favorite restaurant of all time. Located right next to the naughty lingerie and sex toy shop on Bourbon Street and my favorite place to eat in the world. Don't forget the Souffle Potatoes and the Creamed Spinach.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my honey gave to me

two Barbara Walker Treasuries. Volume Two and Three of her amazing stitch dictionaries, to be used for design inspiration. There were other lovely gifts, including a beautiful family ring with a cameo from my dad and a mad shopping spree at the one and only Stein Mart from my in-laws. You've got to see my python cashmere sweater with the fringe! The shopping spree was unexpected and came on a day when I was particularly low.

Speaking of gifties, here is the boy showing off my hand knit gift to him: hobogloves, as they call them! Served up with attitude and a Deuce McAllister jersey.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my family gave to me...

Well, I always get stuck when I get to this point in the song.

Monsieur O'Malley, the alley cat, adopted from the Animal Shelter. Nothin' but love and play here.

The truth is that the holiday was very much like life. It was full of rich, beautiful experiences and joyful moments with people I love, punctuated by several powerfully sad or frustrating times.

I have been more than a little tempted to fall into self-pity and resentment. After all, this life is hard and sometimes we are not kind to one another. And things happen that are not fair. But, unless I really am going to reincarnate as a Siamese Cat, we only receive this gift that is life once and it is up to us (me) to make what I will of it.
Seen here is the lovely and talented tabby-point Siamese I adopted at the Animal Shelter in New Orleans for my mom. My parents are crazy about her and named her Penelope. She is a Katrina cat and has much to teach me; I can tell.

Today, I choose joy, and love. Happy Christamakwanzaka!