(IF you’re seeing this on Facebook, click on the following link to see the pictures in their best artistic context: https://www.xanga.com/serenitymine!  IF you’re reading on Xanga, you might want to check out the rest of the pics on Facebook…but only after you’ve see these here!    Complicated?  Yup…but no one ever said I was simple.)

They don’t call these photo-blogs for nothing.  Brace yourselves:  pictures of the Christmas festivities (students, friends, food, sights) ahead!  It was, to say the least, a memorable Christmastime.  Please forgive a couple artsy-fartsy photos of the frost in Riedlingen interspersed…

The weather has been frigid, to say the least.  And the photo-ops it has provided have been hard to resist!  Picture me, in my PJs, wandering around the front and back yard with my camera at an ungodly hour of the morning, trying to get JUST the right shot of frost!   

The first post-surgery, pre-Christmas OFFICIAL festive time was at the Garrity’s.  Three morons (term of endearment) turned up on my doorstep in bare feet to kidnap me…and take me to a gingerbread-house party.  I’m…uhm…NEVER going to go into architecture, but the process (multiple cave-ins and all) was great fun!

Austin and Collin trying their hardest to look “emo.”

The next little party happened at my place, with enchiladas and lemon cake and an odd movie that I happen to love.  Here’s to more visits, Eliza and Meghan!

Half-way through the evening, my doorbell rang.  I went to answer it and saw a People magazine staring at me through the glass.  And behind the magazine?  AHRAM!!!  “Home” for a surprise.  It was most definitely that! 

Off to Saint-Louis, France for an evening with my long-time friends, Fabienne and Andre, and my long-time musical collaborator (and composing genius), Frank.

CHRISTMAS EVE!  I baked for four straight hours (cinnamon rolls, Chocolate Delirium Cake, pumpkin pie), then hopped across the Riedlingen valley to Renee’s for a gift exchange…and Christmas haircut!  Love that lady… and am so excited about the Spaetzle maker I’m holding!  (Hence the goofy and oh-so-not-mature expression on my face…)

BFCF’s Candlelight service was…candle-lit.

(Love this one…isn’t frost gorgeous?)

And then….off to the Young’s.  I’d attempt to describe the family for those of you who don’t know them, but I’m pretty sure they defy standard adjectives.  The following pics should speak for themselves! 

(I believe I was krunkin’ to the tunes on Jackson’s doodah at this point, but I’m not sure I’ve got all the Young-vocab right…  And yes, that’s the world’s largest lap-dog sprawled across me.)

Being away from family at Christmas is never really easy–at any age–but spending it with the Youngs made it memorable, meaningful, wonderful, and oh so fun.  And I got my Maggie-therapy too!

(Meghan wasn’t crazy about the smell of raclette cheese…)

(I’d like to draw your attention to Jackson’s HIDEOUS get-up!
No one does “fashion-faux-pas” like the Krunk-meister!)

FOOD, FOOD, FOOD…and the best possible variety of it!



(Love the frozen veins on this leaf…)

It was nearly 2 am when I headed up to bed after having wrapped some presents with Lane and Michelle.  We left the requisite snacky-pooh (Young terminology) out for Santa before retiring for a SHORT night’s sleep.

Christmas morning!

(Isn’t she beautiful?)

(Getting his DREAM guitar-thingy.)

(She’s just a tad excited!)

It was a relaxed day of chatting, eating, Ralphie-watching and friends visiting.  You haven’t watched Ralphie (“A Christmas Story”) until you’ve watched it with Lane–or watched Lane watching it!

Ellie and Rachel (and Vangie) came by for dinner…and lent a hand.

(I think I was trying to keep my chin under control and ended up looking like I was coming on to the camera!)

(Carolers…  Yay.  One of my favorite Christmas traditions.)

(Jackson with one of his favorite people.  It has something to do with Alpha and Beta…)

(And at the center of it all…always…was Maggie.)

HISTORICAL SHOTS AHEAD:  You might wonder what Britney has to do with Christmas.  At first glance, not very much.  But if you’re ever privileged enough to sit through a showing of old Young-family videos dating back to the kid’s early childhood, you’ll quickly understand that some of the BEST video-viewing you will EVER do is watching the three “whipper-snappers” engaged in a full-fledged choreography of the former pop-queen’s music.  I very nearly had to run to the bathroom mid-song…hysterical laughter has that effect on me.  Now, as you all know, taking pictures of TV screens is an impossible task, so the following snapshots are far from good.  They are, however, a small sampling of the performer’s artistic genius, creative zeal, and seriously disturbing choreography.  Note:  Jackson knew every word and every nuance of the song.  I’m just saying…

I think you can all guess what happened when a hyped-up-on-Britney Jackson turned his back to the camera.  He was, as the last shot proves, just a tad elated by the exhibitionism!)  There is NO WAY these pics do the footage justice (you kinda had to be there), but I just had to try…

I trust your Christmases were memorable too! 

Thank you, Young family, for making me feel so at home…and for those extra 13 pounds I’ll now spend the rest of the holiday time trying to scare off!  I can’t imagine a more comfortable and entertaining way to spend the holidays.



  1. 1 – LOVE the pictures of the frost. just beautiful.
    2 – I’d love to watch you take pictures in your pj’s, walking around the house, trying to do it as soon as possible so that you don’t freeze your butt off.
    3 – Home videos are SO entertaining, until you are watching yourself on screen.
    4 – Carrot for Santa?? plus Cookies? I would picked one or the other. It’s like ordering a Big Mac with a diet coke.
    5 – I love dogs.
    6 – I’m glad you got to spend a memorable Christmas with the Youngs. They are a fun family to be with, I must say. All very interesting and crazy. haha

  2. youre so lucky to have spent christmas with the youngs! so jealous. and emma has grown so much holy cow. i hope youre doing well and having fun with ahram who i am also insanely jealous of. thanks for the awesome pictures and updates on life at bfa. i can’t realy say merry christmas so just have a happy new year. =)

  3. I hope the People magazine that Ahram brought you isn’t the very same one that I bought you last week!  ARgh.  Can you send me the date on it…then I’ll know whether to add it to the weight in my bag.  I’ll try to find this week’s as well.  See you soon!

    MMM. Raclette.

  4. i am very much excited for you…
    and oh so much jealous at the same time.
    but mostly happy.
    cause you’re one of his favoritest peoples. congradumalations!
    and i really like you too.
    and if you’re happy…..and he’s happy…
    well, jinkies!, i’m happy too.
    please make sure he doesn’t get into too much trouble….scratch that. please make sure he doesn’t get hurt….well, not toO hurt…..no. well, please just make sure he doesn’t die. *sigh* *half eye roll* boys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *