Friday, December 22, 2006

Caganers, caga tio, birthdays and trees

Here are pics of a few of the costumes from the exhibit at the ballet.

From the Magic Flute. Most of these costumes are for the opera rather than for dance.

Searching the net for some of the Catalan traditions, and found this site. Well, read the tradition and it is strange, it is supposed to be done on Christmas eve, and the song in Catalan is: Caga Tio/ Caga turro/d'avellana, de pinyo/ si no vols cagar/et donarem un cop de basto. There, and I even understand it all. Shit log, shit presents/honey and pinyons/ if you don't want to shit/ we'll give you a hit that'll do. My my my, such peaceful and refined Christmas traditions.

This site is a more peaceful tradition, although strangely scatalogical. I like the Pope myself. They have many many stands in Barcelona selling these, you can get EVERYONE, Ronaldino, Breznev, The king, Bush..... They go in the nativity scene, something for everyone on my list, eh?

I haven't bought one yet.

The foody update is simpler today, although we did have smoked salmon with capers and onions, followed by pasta in a cream sauce with parmesan melted in with bacon and red peppers....mmmmm My brother in law can SO cook, I am going to have to visit more often, then cake, that the two year old helped to cut, if I can talk my sister into sending the pictures, she thinks she can do it wirelessly I will post some shots...and then 5 or six different smelly french cheeses.... enough..

This was the cake after the little one finished carving.

My far too large piece, I'll confess, I didn't finish it.

Went and got the tree. They get live trees, in a big pot, so the sister and I with the four kids and two cars steamed off to hunt the wild christmas tree at a garden center, a little different, but run with the changes. We had some appropriate bickering about the tree choices, and settled on one with a cute wiggle at the top, only to discover that we have chosen THE MOST EXPENSIVE TREE IN THE LOT. Typical. Back to square one, a new round of debate. The kids firmly chose different trees, so I chose a different one as well. Down to presentations, why is your tree best..... I admit in mine that I am only being difficult, and am willing to withdraw, the four year old and the two year old had inadequate presentations and were kicked out. As they didn't really have a clue about what was going on, this was not a problem. Down to the two major competitors, my kids. The eldest caves, when asked why, she said that it was to avoid a fight. to reward her willingness to compromise, I volunteer to get some branches so that she can make a wreath and decorate it, and that while others can join in the fun, it is her project. She has died and gone to Heaven, she is a craft demon with a completely craft averse mother, but has gotten old enough that she can do most anything without me (thank god) and being able to make things, for Christmas, out of natural can't get much better....

Well the tree is placed, upright in my sisters car with the hatchback open. Polish tree wrapping involves a large roll of Saran Wrap, and a bit of time, but it worked, then they made a rope out of a length of Saran, twisted and pulled out and tied that baby in, and off we go. The two year old is not impressed by the intense windyness INSIDE the car however, and the entire convoy pulls over to rethink things. And to tie the Saran wrap on more firmly Cling wrap is good, but doing 100 klicks with the back open is defeating it. Move him to the other car, no switch back, debate....and we have lift off.

Got home, found some of the decorations in the basement, babcia (phonetically babtcha) (grandmother in Polish) tidied everything and no one is sure where it is, and as there are no lights in the basement and it is full dark at 3:30, we are doing well, kids are desperately happy, and mature enough to recognise that they tree might look better with a few of the decorations higher that the bottom third of the tree and enlist adult help. They make paper chains, and paper snowflakes, the little one at two spent all his time picking up all of the little tiny pieces of paper and putting them into a dump truck.. there is nothing to clean up at all, and with 3 children doing cutting and glueing crafts there was plenty.

Sumptuous meal to celebrate the sister's birthday....then the kids to bed, blessed quiet. The littlest one didn't want the party to end and managed, with typical toddler skill as in, give me what I want or I will scream continuously until I get what I want and every other child is awake and crying, managed to be allowed to crash on the couch... he did go to sleep though, and now has an eye infection as well as an ear infection.

Life is still good. Oh the husband got a gift pack at work, two bottles of cava, two of wine, one of vermouth, tourrons, a dessert candy thing, and canned goods, plus another office lunch party for only people who work there, and Pedro, one of the guys, demonstrated his skill at opening a bottle of champagne with a sword. No, he does not slice off the top of the cork, instead he knocks off the top of the bottle at the lip with one fast hard swing of the sword... the husband is fairly sure he didn't ingest glass. Lets hope not.


Beth said...

Okay, that is one weird tradition (the figure with his pants down taking a sh*t). I don't care if it's supposed to bring good luck or what. Not going in my creche.
And your piece of cake - are we really supposed to believe you didn't finish it? It's chocolate!
Love the finding a tree story (saran!)and the decorating of it. Kids sound happy and in the Christmas spirit. Keep the tales coming...

Beth said...

I love your posts, but I have to meet this brother inlaw...cuz that pasta dish sounds soooo good!!!

And I would have tried to eat that whole piece of cake!!! Hey, it's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it!

oreneta said...

Beth and Beth:

He didn't cook tonight so the tale of dinner was good, but no so spectacular.

We don't have a cagar, although my sister and I are debating whether to do the caga tio, it sounds pretty violent to me, not sure we'll bother.

Nomad said...

Hey there, so great to hear about the kids...and...

Ha! re the craft friendliness of the someone who has received a multitude of handcrafted gifts from you surely you jest!!

Let's see one purple knitted elephant and baby ball for my kids and hand sewn fleece bags for loot bags for birthdays...pretty impressive I'd say...No?