What’s top of my mind: Christmas. This happens every year about now: I start to panic that I’ve done no shopping and there is nothing ‘up’. I would like some Christmas cheer; it isn’t going to happen unless I make an effort. The only sense that it is Christmas is I my iPhone. On it is a playlist of Christmas carols and tunes. What’s on it could be an entry onto itself. Starting this evening every night I will do something: I will put up some decoration and send something out until it’s all up and done.

Where I’ve been: Hanny’s. Now we are going back to some in-house theatre, we are stopping by our favorite watering hole after the shows. We were happy to see some of the staff is still there, having somehow survived the pandemic shut down. The place is packed more than ever, mostly with young folks, for it is a ‘hip’ place to be. Unfortunately, the demand for seats is high and the number of wait-staff is low. This makes for long waits and less-than-stellar service. “If we had never been here before,” said Someone the last time we were there “I wouldn’t return”. Hanny’s makes the best cocktails in town, including three new ones for Christmas. When asked which one I would like, I quoted from ‘A Christmas Carol” when Scrooge is told by Jacob Marley three spirits were arriving:

“Couldn’t I take `em all at once, and have it over?

Our server didn’t catch the reference. Oh the pain.

Where I’m going: Petsmart. Uncle Albertson has some shortages, no surprise, but what surprises me is what isn’t available. One item is dogfood, particularly the one our dog Harper eats. There are plenty of other brands, but Someone is wary to buy something else. He states changing a dog’s diet causes havoc on their digestion. We need to drive around looking to see who may have some. Petsmart has heaps or so we hope. By the way, it makes my eyes cross to see the shelves of various dog food – how on earth is one supposed to know which one is right – or are they all the same?

What I’m watching: Chiles en Nogada. Mexican stuffed poblano peppers in a walnut sauce. Someone was fond of them when we visited Puerta Vallarta. The red and green and white colors of the dish makes me think to make some at Christmas time, provided I can figure out the recipe. On line there are heaps, and I don’t know which one is the ‘proper one’. Some of the recipes are quite elaborate. As it will be my first time making some -and we don’t have a baseline reference for comparison – I may make a simple version.

If anyone knows of a good and/or proper recipe for this dish, please tell me.

What I’m reading: Tool of Titans. I bought this lofty tome a few years ago and only recently started to read it. Mr. Tim Ferris interviewed a whole bunch of celebrities on how they achieved their successes in life – not just money or prestige (although most had both) but their inner-peace. These great beings all had their individual thoughts and techniques and philosophies, but there were some habits that regularly appeared. I give you the some of the bigger ones, so you don’t have to read it:

More than 80% had some sort of daily meditation ritual.

A large amount of the men skipped breakfast, and many (men and women) ate scantily in general.

Almost all took their ‘weaknesses’ and turned them into huge competitive advantages.

One of the most influential book read was “Man’s search for meaning”.

What I’m listening to: Ana Gasteyer. I recently asked friends and family on FB to suggest some charming atypical albums of Christmas music. Sean (the dear!) suggested I listen to a Ms. Ana Gasteyer, someone I am not familiar with. Love this! I bought the album right away. Thank you, Sassybear! When I hear it I think of you.

What I’m eating: Chicken pot pie. Someone doesn’t do much cooking, but he likes making chicken pot pies. They do not vary; he uses the same recipe every time. They are delicious and we eat them with relish. He recently made one using the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. We deemed it a success, indeed I thought it slightly superior to its predecessors, possibly as there was more meat in it than usual. I enjoy them with dashes of whatever hot sauce is at hand. Yesterday I used one called ‘Serrano Claus’ hohoho.

Who needs a good slap: My CME (continuing medical education) company. Doctors are obliged to earn so many credits per year to show they are keeping up on things.* With in-person talks on hold, one does this via audio-lectures. Mine source is, Audio-digest, has been sending out several ‘it’s time to renew your subscription’ emails, what feels like several months before it was to actually expire. Last week I called to renew my subscription, which I did after waiting 15 minutes on hold to do so. A few days later, I got an email from my ‘personal representative’ reminding me it was time to renew my subscription. I called and left word I have already done so, but please call me to confirm, as her email seemed to imply it didn’t happen. She has yet to call me back.

On the 1-5 scale, I give Audio-digest one slap.

What I’m planning: Cookies. I am not supposed to be consuming sugar and refined carbohydrates, and in my defense I am doing fairly well at this. However, Christmas without cookies sounds bleak, so I will be making some if only to give them away. So, if I am going to make just one type, what will it be? There are the traditional types of Spo-cookies, gingerbread and “S”, of which I have written. Maybe I will make something new and adventuresome. I may make one that doesn’t sound especially ‘good to me’ so I am less tempted to eat them. I am starting to look on line and in my cookbooks for ideas.

Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie? Please share the recipe in the comments.

What’s making me smile: Ivar Gunnarsson. This fine fellow (whom I assume is well over four feet) makes delightful videos on all things Icelandic. Like he did last year, Mr. Gunnarsson is counting down the days to Christmas with a daily chile-based candy/hot sauce advent calendar. Watching him swallow and gag on hot candy balls and sauces makes me smile every time.

*There is no good evidence this actually makes a doctor ‘better’, but there it is.