Apologies for the lack of posts: I’ve been swept up in Christmas parties, shopping, decorating, sending cards, obsessing over the cards we’re not getting, teaching final classes, having students and colleagues over to the house, reading portfolios, and – most time-consuming of all – writing references. (I think I’ve written 20 references in the last two weeks. Note to reference seekers: we like dark chocolate.)
I’ve been reluctant, too, about describing our balmy sub-tropical weather – with day after day sunny and in the 80s – when so many friends elsewhere are suffering in the deep freeze. But today has turned chilly (45 degrees right now). It’s no ice storm, I know, but at least it feels vaguely seasonal in a northern-hemisphere kind of way.
Over at Earthgoat, Grendel (in Low Country exile these days) has an interesting post on weird Dutch Christmas traditions. Current Christmas traditions in New Orleans include overpriced amaryllis at Whole Foods; Brad Pitt turning the Lower Ninth Ward pink; white-light extravaganzas on St Charles Avenue mansions; fake snow downtown on Fulton Street ; and a sharp increase in carjackings uptown before students leave for the holidays.
In the MM household, we over-decorate.
The title of this post, by the way, refers to something I’m very happy to see running again, the St. Charles streetcar. It’s only running as far as Napoleon so far, but it may expand the route as far as Carrolton – ie the entire length of St Charles – by the end of this month. Just hearing it whirr by makes me feel so much more optimistic about the rejuvenation of the city, however long that rejuvenation is taking.
As for goings … a few weeks ago, we had a night or two of cold weather. Alfie, one of the cats who are not ours, disappeared. We have decided that some nice people elsewhere in the neighborhood took him in during the cold weather and he’s living in their house now. He had no collar, and was promiscuous in his food- and attention-seeking, so it’s quite possible someone thought he was a stray in need of a home. Laura, who lives on the other side of our double, told me she spotted him a week or so ago, but she may be lying to protect my mental health. Since Alfie’s defection, his official owners have bought a collar for Skittles (real name: Mao, not Hal! – and still a denizen of our porch), realizing perhaps that he’s in danger as well of being co-opted by someone more responsible. We considered replacing it with a different collar, and a medallion engraved with our name for him and our phone number, but this is the path to madness, yes? Or, at least, poor neighborly relations. Last night he was waiting to get in next door, so at least he had somewhere warm to sleep. We’ll stick to feeding him twice a day, playing with him on the porch, and encouraging him to claw the scratching board rather than our bare skin.
Coming this week: my sister and her family, who arrive on Thursday. Excitement! We have numerous plans, including the Saints game at the Superdome on December 23rd. I think our seats are in the very back row. All the New Zealanders in the group (ie five of six) have expressed interest in buying a Big Finger. I always thought the Big Finger was a pointing device, but T. Middy informs me it means Number One. And it’s unlikely the Saints are going to be number one this year. Louisiana, however, is most certainly Number One in something very special.