I’ve always been a huge fan of the year-end Holiday mania. 

Even when it drives me right to and past the brink of exhaustion, to the point of yelling at the Thanksgiving turkey “Baste THIS, buddy!”,  or wondering how similar driving a snowplow down village streets is to those fun times in my youth at the county fair, slamming those bumper cars into your best friend at full pedal-to-the-metal. 

I wax nostalgic. (I’m told this is curable, with Q-tips and ear candling.)

I fondly (yet with obvious, considerable regret) recall how my conducting the ASU Student Chorale’s intrepid yet horribly ragged performance of one of British music legend Benjamin Britten’s most difficult Christmas choral pieces in Grady Gammage Hall on the evening of December 3, 1976 must surely, somehow, have caused his untimely death the following morning.  Note: This is a true story. I really wish it didn’t include the part where he dies. I’m thankful that his New York Times obituary did not mention my (self-prosecuted, yet arguably logical) role in his demise.

As my 11-year-old, fully-clawed cat assertively scratch-swats my face to wake me at 5:00 am for her morning meal after one of my late nights compu-slaving away on the iSomething, I waxed nostalgic on how much Christmas paper it takes to wrap a cat. (Not sure if that’s technically waxing nostalgic… Pondering nostalgic? Works for me.)

But mostly, I enjoy being here in SW Lake County, right where I am here and now; listening to great holiday music, and engaging with a vital community of people making good things happen… as celebrated vividly in this issue:

  • The launch of a modern-yet-classic new Gent’s Place in Deer Park
  • The delight of a good read and a Dirty Chai Tea Latte
  • The appreciation of some good year-end financial tips
  • The advice of a professional decorator with great Holiday tips
  • The proximity of a spectacular place to get outdoors and enjoy the great sport of winter

In closing: don’t wrap your cat. (Just enjoy thinking about it.)

Merry Everything,

Stephen Neilson

Editor, SW Lake Lifestyle


COVER: Photo provided by Wilmot Mountain