Marathon day! All the zillion little Christmas details to get sorted out. Poor EPI’s been sick for two days yet got up early like a trouper to help clean the apartment. Next some last-minute shopping was required (his), then the fetching of a Christmas tree that looked perfectly demure when outside but which inside our living room looks like it will Eat the Neighbourhood, then hair appointment, then shopping for Christmas dinner, then more shopping for Christmas dinner, then still more shopping for Christmas dinner, and now a brief respite before AAH and I tackle the tree.
Because poor EPI is even sicker now. And deeply concerned that he won’t be in good enough shape tomorrow to cook me a Big Brunch, because…
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!
Tomorrow. Yup, through a cruel twist of fate I must forever share top billing with the Baby Jesus – yes, dear readers, condolences are in order. Because it’s a Hard Thing having your birthday permanently overshadowed – it leaves Deep Psychic Wounds. Getting only one present because everybody’s broke. Everyone being so busy that they forgeddabout you. And all that. And… I can’t go on. I’m too deeply submerged in the gratifying cauldron of self-pity.
I’m joking, of course. Nowadays it doesn’t matter because I’m an Adult and I’ve come to appreciate this day because it’s almost like the Overture to Christmas. It’s actually called St. Thorlák’s Mass over here and what Icelanders do is they cook up this vile-smelling rancid skate and invite their friends over and drink lots of Black Death* and imbibe the thing. And stink up their houses just in time for Christmas and then go downtown Reykjavík smelling absolutely foul to join this humongous street party that goes on all evening, where everybody’s happy and smiling and shouting Merry Christmas! and getting into the general holiday groove.
Incidentally, YT has never partaken of the Skate tradition – but tomorrow I will! Come evening I’ve been invited to a skate party and I’m-a-goin’!!
BUT ENOUGH OF THAT, THE YULE LAD IS…
Gáttaþefur – Door Sniffer. Not that he went around sniffing everybody’s door, as the name suggests. No, he went around sniffing out the smell of baking laufabrauð (traditional paper-thin ‘leaf bread’ that people cut designs in and deep-fry, really yummy) which was his favourite food. At which point he probably broke into the house and stole some. Hm. One could write academic dissertations on these Old Icelandic Folk Beliefs around stealing. If one were so inclined.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST….
The weatherman promises a white Christmas. Yay! Freezing cold today, strong winds from the north, a few flurries. Set to remain that way until after X-mas. Temps currently –8 degrees, plus windchill! Yo! That’s peretty damn cold!
But the best part, the part I’ve been waiting for, the part that makes me Really Happy is that sunrise was at … WHAT?? I DON’T BELIEVE IT! Just checked the paper and HELL AND DAMNATION, sunrise was at 11.23 and sunset at 15.30!!! I thought the day was supposed to be getting longer today! I’ve been typing in that stupid 15.29 for days now!! And here the day is LONGER by a full minute! OK. That’s it. I’ve completely and utterly lost my faith in Morgunblaðið. They’re just making those times up! They don’t even care. They’re just writing anything.
I choose to believe the day IS getting longer. Even if Morgunblaðið claims it isn’t. (Pout)
*Icelandic liquor, aptly named.