Christmas Break. At noon the French toast and bacon are ready. I send Abel upstairs to get his brother and sister out of bed. Just because we can.

Life goes on and is busy, and I forget about my blog. I have all these half-written posts, so I hope to finish them and  post more often this week and next—you know, when you have all this extra time to read blogs, In the meantime, here is a picture of Ilsa that goes with this old post. The picture was taken at the same place but on another day, and I came across it the other day when looking for something quite different.

I have been missing Morocco fiercely lately, yet I also realize that if I was there, I’d be longing for an American Christmas. Obviously I am a mess. I’ve heard the only place expatriates are happy is on the airplane–looking forward to finally getting back to their “real lives” no matter if they’re heading “home” or heading back overseas.

The only thing to do is enjoy our fat, full Christmas tree and the wonderful food that people keep giving me.  And I have been.I have won a free week at a gym–I’m saving it for January.

Christmas shopping is going well. It’s nice to be in a place with so many options for everyone, not to mention all the fun small things that can be found to brighten the day. I’d tell you some of my treasures but my family might read this blog. Suffice it to say they will be pleased.

Today, Ilsa and I went to Powells. I said to Donn later, “The two of us going in there on our own…did you think you’d ever see us again?” Ilsa won a drawing contest at her school and the prize was a gift card. She used part of it to buy my Christmas present, so I had to make her a list and avert my eyes at key moments. On the way there, we plugged her ipod into the casette drive * and we listened to the Old 97s as we navigated the busy city streets, slick and shining with rain and lights. The last time I listened to those songs, I was driving in Rabat, speeding and slowing and blending and passing, dancing like an acrobat in and out of traffic. The sky was deep blue; the sun was shining on the ancient walls and orange groves of the city. I listened to the song and added a new layer of memory. Now when I hear it, which street will come to my mind?

*did I tell you about our free car? It’s a black Volvo sedan and it is awesome. Remember when cars didn’t have cup holders? Or FM radio? This car is an ’86 and it was a sweet car back in the day. It’s turbo and punchy, and a lot of fun to drive. Except when the sunroof leaks, but that’s another story.