Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Trip a Little Light Fantastic

Christmas Day dawned sunny and clear across the Delaware Valley. I began the day with short stories, carols, and poems from the Colliers Harvest of Holidays. My favorite story was Flora McFlimsey's Christmas. An old-fashioned doll who is feeling lonely on Christmas Eve manages to get herself down to the tree to check it out. She gets quite a surprise when Santa realizes he's missing a doll for one of the kids. None other than the angel on the tree helps clean up Flora and make her presentable to be loved by a child again.

Crept out to the tree to open presents around 9. My card from Mom held fifty dollar and twenty-five dollar gift cards to Target. Linda and James Young gave me a beautiful journal with a galaxy-themed cover, a nice bookmark on a gold-plated chain, and a wonderful plaid purse. The plaid purse even had a penny in it. (Linda later texted me and said that the penny was included to encourage more pennies to come to the purse.) Mom's card was a lovely Christmas tree; Linda and James gave me a cute one with woodland animals.

Watched Sailor Moon S: Hearts In Ice while I got ready to head out. Luna, Usagi's guardian cat, has an adventure of her own when she's rescued by a handsome scientist. He found what he thinks is a comet, but is actually a snow crystal sent by a wicked queen who wants to turn the Earth into her own personal ornament! While the girls try to figure out how to stop her, Luna deals with her feelings for the scientist, especially since he's already seriously dating a woman astronaut.

Strolled to Dad's at 10. I figured that what I'd be getting would be too awkward to carry on the bike, so I walked. It was a glorious day for it. The weather was even nicer than yesterday. It was chilly, but also sunny, probably in the lower 40's. There was a breeze, but it otherwise wasn't anywhere near as windy as yesterday, either. Surprisingly, there weren't that many people out. I saw one guy coming out his door. I guess everyone was having their Christmas breakfasts.

I was the first person to arrive at 10 after 10. Jesse and Dana were already there, and TJ slept over. Rose and her family didn't come until nearly 10:30, and it was closer to 11 when Jess and Joe arrived with Joe's kids. While we waited for everyone to come, we enjoyed Jodie's amazing French bread casserole, blueberry and cinnamon raisin English muffins, Dana's sausage pastry bake, egg and bacon muffins, and orange juice.

When everyone finally arrived, we could open the presents. Dad and Jodie gave me a new pair of Ugg boots with the softest sheepskin lining. My Bearclaw suede boots were falling apart again after two winters of constant use. Dad also gave me 200 dollars and a pair of really nice, comfortable socks that will be great for work. My cousin Mark gave me a twenty five dollar gift card to Applebee's. That's perfect. There's an Applebee's next-door to the Acme. I could have dinner there on Friday after work. Jessa and Joe gave me a nifty Solo: A Star Wars Story poster and the DVD for the comedy Noises Off! I haven't seen that goofy farce in years. I remember really enjoying it in the early 90's, when Dad-Bill would rent it from time to time.

Khai sported his new Five Nights at Freddy's t-shirt and a dapper top hat. In addition to being a video game nut like his mother, he's also a fan of dinosaurs. He loved the Jurassic World mini-dinosaurs I gave him. While Finley did like her Fluttershy and Angel figures, her favorite present was the Trolls Princess Poppy sing-along karaoke "boom box" Dana and Jesse gave her. She adores Trolls in general and perky Princess Poppy in particular. She was so cute making noises into the microphone that probably constituted singing along for her.

As much as I loved the boots and other things, my favorite present came from the gift exchange. TJ, Jesse, Dana, Rose, Craig, and I took part in this one. We each placed a gift in the center of the living room, in front of the tree, then chose numbers. Someone picked a present. The next person could take another present, or steal the present the previous person chose. We'd go around until all the presents were picked or swapped.

Thank goodness no one wanted the present I picked! The moment Rose set the huge cast-iron pizza pan on the bar counter, I knew I had to have it. It was heavy and thick, with big holders on either side. It was wrapped with two bags of crust mix, a jar of pizza sauce, and a pizza cutter. I have pizza pans, but they're cheap, thin metal rounds I bought at least 15 years ago, when I was living in Wildwood. That's why I rarely use them. They don't really cook pizza very well.

(Incidentally, I think Craig ended up with the gloves from me. TJ swapped him for an Amazon gift card. Rose got a waffle iron, and Jesse chose one of those Echo Dot room things.)

I walked home with my bag of gifts around 12:30. After I put everything away and tacked up the poster, I worked on writing for a while. Luke insults Leia and tells Han to stop calling him a kid, then takes off into the snow. He encounters the Snow Queen, who thinks he'll make a fine plaything for her. She kisses him, which freezes his heart into ice, and drives off with him. Leia, Han, and Chewie go after her in a repulsor-sleigh.

Jessa picked me up at quarter of 3. (Joe took his kids to their mother's house.) As we did last year, we spent the afternoon and early evening at the movies. I suggested Aquaman or Mary Poppins Returns. This year, the musical won. We saw Mary Poppins Returns...and I loved it. The music was an absolute delight, and Emily Blunt was a perfect Mary.

(The commercials in the beginning indicate that next year's live-action Disney remakes are Dumbo and The Lion King. I could handle Dumbo. Like Pete's Dragon, that's little-known enough that they could have fun with the story and try different things. The Lion King is another matter entirely. Not only is it not really my favorite Disney movie to begin with, but it's so well-known, I don't know how much they could get away with changing.)

I spent the rest of the evening at home alone. Unlike a few years ago when I was alone on Christmas night and went out for Chinese food, this time, I had absolutely no problems with it. I wanted to try my new pizza pan. I ended up using the bacon and broccoli I'd intended for a quiche for toppings and made Broccoli, Turkey Bacon, and Cheddar Pizza. Oh yum. It was a little doughy, but otherwise came out perfectly, chewy and filling.

Called Mom after dinner to wish her a Merry Christmas. She had just gotten home from work and was enjoying a quiet meal of her own. Evidently, she and I are both doing better than my sisters. Not only is Rose still feeling under the weather, but Anny got so sick, and her sinuses got so bad, she actually ended up in the hospital. Apparently, both are doing somewhat better now, but stress over Christmas has worn them down. Mom herself was fine, and other than being cold from bay breezes, hadn't minded working the ticket counter at the Ferry at all today.

I enjoyed Mary Poppins Returns so much, I had to watch the original Mary Poppins during dinner. I go into more detail on the original film and the sequel at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Returns

Here's hoping that you also had a "practically perfect" Christmas, with all the people you love!

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