Somewhere around the turn of the year I mentioned here that I intended to keep as my only resolution the resolve to pay attention, so that I wouldn't be sitting here in December wondering what happened to August, or even April.
I failed, completely. I cannot believe that Christmas is just around the corner, and I haven't done diddly about getting ready, and I'm already out of money, and it's a tad late to knit everyone sweaters or make individualized needlepoint pillows.
Once again, it's a moot point whether we'll have a theme for this year's tree, or stay with the dear tatty collection of many years and several families.
Once again, the excitement of desperation feeds the season, and I love it. (I did once have a hand-made gift for everyone on my list ready and wrapped by Thanksgiving. Christmas somehow just wasn't the same.)
See you in the stores, friends; I'm the one spending at least 50% more than planned because the perfect gift for my daughter walked away in the bag of the lady ahead of me in line.
The star in the east is a significant part of the Christmas story, and comparable sightings are found in the literature of every culture. What really happened?
The Naval Academy Planetarium presents a 50-minute program of possible explanations in "The Story of the Star," Friday through Sunday and Dec. 17-19. Friday shows are 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Saturday shows are 3:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday shows are 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
The shows are free, but reservations are required. Call 267-3132 between 9 a.m. and noon and between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The planetarium is inside the north entrance of Luce Hall, on the Naval Academy grounds.
zTC I was one of the less athletic people ever to plod her way through grade school, but one thing I loved -- and thought myself fairly good at -- was figure skating.
I took lessons, and I practiced, and loved how it made me feel almost separate from a very pedestrian body.
I read with a touch of nostalgia, and envy for this generation's sedentary 10-year-olds, a notice of the Figure Skating Club being formed at Quiet Waters Park.
Carol Wash, former member of the South Bend Figure Skating Club in Indiana, and current member of the United States Figure Skating Association, is helping to organize the group.
Figure Skating Club members will have private ice time to practice and develop their skills.
For information on membership, call Wash at 280-4132, or the ice rink at 268-4911.
It's time for buttons: button mushrooms marinated in all sorts of good things for party hors d'oeuvres, buttons on coats and jackets for both tidiness and warmth and First Night Annapolis buttons.
The $8 commemorative buttons become $12 buttons on Dec. 16. At either price, they get you into more than 200 performances and happenings on New Year's Eve.
The alcohol-free celebration is sister to comparable events across the country, but the special nature of our town makes this one unique. Buttons are available at local Giant Stores and Fawcett's Boat Supplies.
Call the First Nightline, 268-8553, for other outlets or to volunteer.
Part of the special nature of our town, and the surrounding area, is the reality of living history: we can taste, both literally and intellectually, what it was like to live 100 or 200 years ago.
The holiday season offers opportunities, like yesterday's 18th-century cooking demonstration at the William Paca House (let's be more timely next year, Lyn), and the candle-lighted holiday open house from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. this coming Sunday at the London Town Publik House, 839 Londontown Road in Edgewater.
The board of directors is playing host for members and their guests. General admission for the public is $3.
Local harpist Susan Saurwein will be providing period music during the open house, which runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
For information, call 222-1919.
* Also on Sunday, and in plenty of time for do-it-yourselfers to learn the ropes, so to speak, is a demonstration of decorating with greens at the William Paca House on Prince George Street.
It starts at noon and goes to 4 p.m.
To register, call 267-7619.
Shady Side is not to be outdone by her city cousin to the north.
A venerable holiday tradition is honored by the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society, with the ninth annual Christmas Brunch at the Bay View Inn in Shady Side on Sunday.
The party started with the Leatherbury family, when family and friends would gather for an elaborate Christmas breakfast. The Rural Heritage Society carries it on, and includes the community and farther-flung friends.
For reservations, call (410) 867-2866. Tickets are $12.
And a final family suggestion for Sunday, on a sweet low key: the Quiet Waters Park Nature Explorer series, which this month will focus on birds.
The 2 p.m., program is geared to children from 5 to 8 years old and costs $2.
Advance registration is required. Call the park at 222-1777.