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THINGS I TICKED OFF MY CALENDAR THIS WEEKEND

  1. Kitchen party with EPI Friday night
  2. Baking of bottom half of Sarah Bernhard cookies Saturday morning [must be done in stages as are a bitch to construct]
  3. Seaside run [have to be quick these days to catch the fleeting daylight]
  4. Stellar performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Cantatas I-III at Hallgrímskirkja church [complete with international Baroque orchestra]
  5. Kitchen party with EPI Saturday night
  6. Work Sunday morning [welcome to Iceland]
  7. Brunch at friend’s house
  8. Play at Reykjavík Municipal Theatre mid-afternoon
  9. Stellar performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Cantatas IV-VI at Hallgrímskirkja church
  10. Terrible dinner at Vegetarian restaurant that has the stupidest ad campaign in world [don’t ask or I may have to tell you…]
  11. … and with all that I still managed to nag AAH incessantly about getting her ass offline so she could study for exams [to little avail].

THINGS I DID NOT TICK OFF MY CALENDAR THIS WEEKEND

  1. Finish Christmas shopping [very sensible if I do say so – anyone who shops on weekends in December is insane]
  2. Write and send Christmas cards [after all that effort in making them, looking increasingly unlikely that they will actually bring joy and light to anyone this Christmas]
  3. Wade through the rapidly accumulating pile of newspapers that no doubt is chock-full of the most fascinating reading material ever [YT cannot toss away anything without reading it first, and we get three newspapers delivered free daily!]
  4. … and probably a whole lot of other stuff that I could get totally stressed out about, but…

MEANWHILE, THE FIRST YULE LAD CAME TO TOWN TODAY…
As many of you will know, Yule Lads are Iceland’s version of Santa Claus, except there are 13 of them. They live in a cave in the mountains with their mother, the formidable Grýla, and their wuss of a father, Leppalúði. [Grýla is an ogre who eats children who have been naughty… that’s right, Icelandic parents do not say to their children with fingers a-wagging: ‘If you are bad, Santa won’t bring you any presents…’ but rather, ‘If you’re not good RIGHT NOW Grýla will come down from her cave, stick you in her sack, stuff you into her pot, boil you alive, and eat you!’]

In any case, the Yule Lads were originally impish little beings who came down from the mountains to make mischief. Each had his own special character; for instance, today’s Yule Lad, Stekkjarstaur, had club feet and snuck into the stables to suckle the ewes, much to the chagrin of the farmer, who had probably intended to make use of the ewe himself [note: this is a family-friendly site so perverted jokes must not be deposited in comment box but rather sent by email]. These days, however, the Yule Lads have turned very benign and bring little gifts to town each night. Kiddies leave a favourite shoe out on the window sill next to an open window, and come morning there will be a wee prezzie in there if they’ve been nice – or a potato if they’ve been naughty. [Last year’s installment about Stekkjarstaur is here, incidentally, in case you’re hungry for more.]

OK ENOUGH ALREADY, WHAT ABOUT THE WEATHER?!
Funny you should ask – it has just in the last minute turned light enough to see outside. I can report that it is pretty damn gloomy: overcast, rainy, with strong winds. Would really really not mind a bit of snow right now, if only to cast a glow into some of this midwinter darkness. Hanging in for the winter solstice, not far off now… only nine more days and counting. Temps are currently 6°C and sunrise is at 11.11 [in two minutes] while sunset will be at 15.33.

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