December 2018 included two nights at Trimble Park, aka my favorite campground in Mount Dora; one night in a very lovely side yard (by a canal!) in Port Charlotte, and many nights in two very familiar driveways, in Sanford and Mount Dora.

Moon over a canal on Christmas morning
Christmas morning, moon over water.

It was an exceptionally good month.

Seriously, it’s the kind of month that makes me glad I write these posts because it was so busy and so full that it would be awfully easy to let all the memories of it slip away. I had no time to write them down while they were occurring, but I’m still close enough to remember and then remember more and then be surprised by what I’d already forgotten.

Highlights already mentioned in previous posts or FB: Christmas music in multiple places; a lovely day wandering Animal Kingdom with R and M; releasing Cici into the wild and being delighted when people let me know that they laughed. (Many, many thanks to everyone who’s done that, you brighten my life!) Also being delighted to discover that two paperback copies of Cici had been ordered and were headed to interesting destinations.

Giraffe at Animal Kingdom
Giraffe at Animal Kingdom

Food highlights: last night’s delightful meal at Hotto Potto, a build-your-own-soup Chinese place; cooking baked salmon & potatoes for my dad & stepmom; a fantastic prime rib Christmas dinner at C’s with squash and brussels sprouts and garlic mashed potatoes.

One of my highlights started with annoyance. After some complicated negotiations about who was doing what over the actual holidays, part of the plan fell through. I was resigned, but not happy, and I sent R a text that said something like, “I’m not going to be pissy about this, but I do expect an apology.” He gave me a beautiful apology, truly beautiful. The kind of apology that should be framed as an example of the way to do it. And the revised plan wound up including one of the highlights of my Christmas: a candlelight church service at a very traditional Methodist church. (Okay, the singing of “In the Bleak Midwinter” was not a literal highlight, because that song is horrible and impossible to sing for non-trained non-professionals, but it amused me mightily.)

Another highlight was doubly unexpected: on Christmas Day and again on the 30th, I played a game called Super Fight with C & friends. The premise of the game is that you pit your character card with two attribute cards against your opponent’s character card and two attribute cards. To be honest, I didn’t personally have high expectations of this game, because I’m not really much on pop culture. Rambo vs Chuck Norris, to me, is sort of like “random fighter guy of whom you know actually nothing” vs “random fighter guy of whom you know actually nothing.” But in Super Fight, the winner is not necessarily the person with the best cards. Quite often, in fact, the winner is the person who can tell the best story about their cards — in other words, a writer’s game! Last night, on our last hand, my Katniss took out the aliens from Alien by using their own dynamite against them. On Christmas Day, my Hermione ran the board and was retired victorious. Super Fight, absolutely a highlight of my month. I don’t remember the exact details, but I know I laughed so hard I couldn’t catch my breath last night.

The neighbor’s chickens come to visit most mornings.

But I’ve also enjoyed the parts of the month that weren’t exceptional in any way. The best way to appreciate a place is to leave it behind for long stretches of time. I’ve been loving the Florida weather — sunshine and warmth and more sunshine and warmth. The occasional torrential rain that then stops and turns into sunshine. Sitting in my tiny house, working on my computer, listening to music on a solid internet connection, visiting friends and family and getting to take them for granted…

December 2018. A very good month!