Hallelujah, Noel...the Christmas we get, we deserve.

Tashi and Wash gave back to folks who had even less than they do today.

Lara and her boy and The Boomerang (their new pup! Lara's new antidepressant on legs!) had a quiet Christmas Eve at home.

Tashi and Wash and Lara and her boy are happy.

And I am happy.

I had what was the best--and here I do not exaggerate, for once--the best Christmas Eve ever. I worked a good day, kept busy, and got a nice balance between occlusive and hemorrhagic strokes. Ames and I got to work together like we did when we were just starting out, a year ago, and it was awfully nice to ease into that groove without having to think about it.

"I miss this," Ames said as we finished cleaning up a room, "this stuff we used to do together."

"Hey...I thought you said you didn't miss nights and cleaning poop and changing beds!"

"I missed *this*" Ames said.

I missed it too.

Then, tonight, the Fearsome Foursome (Adam and Rob and Ed and Anne) came over for Danish rice and almond pudding with cherry sauce (ris alamande) and gifts. Rob and Adam got me two lovely pieces, seemingly unrelated until you looked at them and realized they were both the map of the world separated by a few hundred years. Ed brought his technology and Anne her graciousness and hilarious laugh, and we stayed up way, way too late watching Hubble The Pup chase the cats.

I am alive. I'm well. Through all of this Cancer Shit, I've never really been sick, and I won't be. I have a complete cure, as they say--and I'm beginning to be able to try to believe that.

I have been so incredibly lucky. From start to finish--well, from start to *here*, at least--I've been surrounded by people who aren't afraid of what's happened, or what might come. I've been taken care of by folks like Carolita, who are able to put aside their fondness for me and do what needs to get done. I've been held up and bolstered and kicked in the ass by people like Ames, who was willing to get up at oh-dear-thirty in the morning and spend her one day off in a week carting me from test to test, uncomplaining. I've been encouraged and enlightened by Sister Pens, who put aside her own worries for weeks to take care of me.

Last year, I posted a picture of the foot of snow we got on Christmas Eve. I thought then that that was the most perfect Christmas I could ever have: snow, and a day off, and possibilities opening up like a fan in front of me.

This year it's doing nothing but raining. The weather outside is truly frightful, but I don't mind. The possibilities I saw last year have been doubled, tripled, quadrupled by coming face to face with Schmancer and being able to say "Fuck you, weird cells" and keep going. I have new friends and new goals and a new understanding of my old friends, and again I count myself as the luckiest, most blessed person I know.

The Christmas we get, we deserve. I don't know what I did to deserve this, but I am so grateful.

Merry Christmas, everybody. If your year is half as good as mine has been, you'll be in great shape.