Meet Chester. He has a bad habit of lying on your lap with his belly in the air and then sliding off your lap head-first. This adds an appreciated element of comedy on those days when the weather decides it wants to snow 12 inches and leaving the house is too intimidating. Strangely is wasn’t the snow that kept us from leaving town at the end of the week. Not only did we catch a stomach bug two days before our flight back to the West Coast, but due to a series of unfortunate events, we ended up spending the night in Newark Airport. Note to self: only plan to sleep in airports where seats aren’t separated by armrests and CNN isn’t left on ALL NIGHT. While I am now fully up to date on such interesting topics as a sailing race around the world historically only won by French middle-aged men with children, a booming horse racing economy in some Chinese city where jockeys are famous like basketball players, and the history of the man-made Dubai harbor, I would have sacrificed all of it for another hour of sleep.
At least the tree looked nice. It was a bit shorter than usual at only 9 feet or so, but that’s what you get when you don’t drag the tree from the middle of the forest yourself. This year my mom had the brilliant idea that she would have her children cook all the Swedish food for the Christmas eve meal while she decorated the house. I must admit, she was a lot more relaxed than usual, although we certainly weren’t. Sunday night was a series of two kinds of cookie, four pies, and two pickles. Monday was the ham (the first one I’ve ever liked), sausages, salmon, two potato dishes, and some other things that clearly weren’t as important because now I can’t remember them. Luckily the herring came pre-pickled.
While most of us thought that was enough cooking and were content to eat leftovers on Christmas day, my sister decided to start a batch of cinnamon sticky rolls before opening presents (an event that lasts an eternity at my parents house no matter how many presents there are, and where an eternity is conveniently quantized into units of how long it takes a yeast dough to rise). The cinnamon sticky rolls were delicious. And I’ve been dreaming up less sweet and perhaps more buttery versions ever since.