Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!
We made it to Arizona safe and sound Friday evening, somewhat bleary-eyed but happy to have had a comfortable flight over—and, as predicted, I didn’t so much as crack open my traveling book (Imperium) until we were on the last leg of our flight to Tuscon, opting instead to do the crossword and sudoku puzzles in the in-flight magazine, watch Ratatouille (which was great) and most of Goya’s Ghosts (which was not), and sleep.
We had one day to recover a bit from our jetlag, and then yesterday we headed back to Tucson to fetch my brother (yay!). His arrival gave us occasion to break out the Wii that my parents had managed to snag for us last week. I hope that the fun my parents had playing Wii tennis last night made up for the fact that they had to get up at the crack of dawn and stand in line in the freezing cold to buy the thing.
Today we did our final food and present shopping, and tonight, after visiting with my aunt and uncle, we took a short Christmas-light-viewing tour around a nearby neighborhood. This particular neighborhood went all-out with the decorations: both sides of every street were lined with luminarias, which gave off a lovely warm glow, and most of the houses were decorated to the nines as well. Some houses made do with a few strings of icicle lights or some illuminated reindeer, while others opted for the full-on winter wonderland, with animatronic Santas, inflatable snowmen, glowing nativity scenes, Christmas songs, and in one case, a real live Santa and a little Santa’s helper handing out candy canes to passers-by while a snow machine spewed white fluff into the air behind them.
The festive twinkle of the houses was rivaled only by the astronomical display going on in the heavens. For the second night in a row we had an enormous full moon. Last night’s moon was brilliant silver as it rose above the mountains; tonight’s was like burnished copper. As bright as it was, it didn’t obscure the steady red shine of Mars, which hung below the moon at dusk yesterday like a single garnet and was radiant again tonight. And Orion, floating on his side just above the horizon, seemed to take up half the winter sky (as he is wont to do).
Now the presents have been wrapped, the mince pies have been nibbled, and all that’s left to do is go to bed early to ensure that Santa pays a visit to our house tonight. I should probably leave a tempting mince pie on the hearth, just to be sure…