But I finished it all up with a scratchy voice and a farewell fit for a cruise ship just in time to race home and change out of my bright red Christmas shirt and into my sombre black one to race up the mountain to the temple and hand over our money envelope for a neighbour's funeral. It was a huge turn out, the biggest I've seen. There were three rows of cars parked on the baseball ground/ temple carpark. The two female relatives of the deceased manning the reception desk were not locals and I got gobsmacked in duplicate when I turned up with my money envelope and gave them the standard sympathy phrase. Guess I don't really look much like a Fukase or someone you might meet half way up a mountain in apple country if you think about it....
Straight from the funeral to the supermarket to do some Christmas Dinner shopping then home to put stuff away (not really essential as these days the fridge and the kitchen are about the same temperature...) and whip up some royal icing. And I mean whip it up as I don't have an electric mixer. At least I have a whisk now- the first Christmas here K and I whipped cream with a home made whisk- a bunch of forks and chopsticks taped together!
So, amazing bicep building exercise over I collected Meg and Amy and headed off to English playgroup Christmas party to decorate cookies and write labels and play Christmas games.
Phew. We finally finished at 5:30 and I was feeling pretty done in. And of course the real work of Christmas Eve hadn't even started!