Wednesday, December 25, 2013

And So This Is Christmas

It was sunny and clear but more seasonably chilly as I awoke this morning. I read a few stories from Tales Told Under the Christmas Tree first. Along with more famous stories, like "Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus," my favorite segment was "December." A father takes his children and their surprised old-maid cousin to the seashore for Christmas. They stay at a beach-side house, decorate a tree with sea shells, and explore the shore line. It reminded me of the lovely, windy winter walks I used to take on the beach as an older child and when I lived in Wildwood.

After I finished my journal, I opened my presents. Linda and James Young always give me a couple of presents to open on Christmas morning. This year's "stocking stuffer" was a really cool book on the Beatles with a lovely padded silver cover.  The large, flat gift was a sweet daybook; Linda suggested I could use it to write down happy things that had happened to me day by day. That bumpy package that was so intriguing was a much-needed container for yarn. It'll probably end up holding all of my current crocheting projects and get them out of that basket I keep tipping over.

Ran A Christmas Story as I made Banana-Chocolate Chip-Coconut Muffins for breakfast. It's become a tradition for me to run this one sometime during Christmas Day (in the morning the last few years). It's December 1940, and all normal midwestern kid Ralphie Parker wants is a Red Ryder BB Gun. He does everything he can to secure this big present, from writing an essay on it for his none-too-amused teacher to telling Santa Claus. In the end, it comes from the least-likely source. Meanwhile, his father battles with local dogs and the family furnace, Ralphie does his best to out-run bullies, and his mother tries to figure out what to make of it all.

I headed to Rose's around 11:15 for her Christmas Day brunch. This year, they were holding it at their new home a couple of blocks from me on Kendall. I figured I'd get there quicker and simpler if I just walked, especially since I had no idea what I was doing later. I arrived at the same time Craig's brother Keith, his girlfriend Jamie, and their sweet old golden retriever Grace did.

I offered to help Rose in the kitchen. She was doing her best to set up the wassail punch and the vegetable and fruit trays and frost cookies at the same time. I frosted the butter cookies while 3-year-old Khai put the sprinkles on (after dumping more than a little in his mouth). Rose's kitchen sinks looked like a bomb exploded in them; they were wall-to-wall dishes and cups. I did the dishes for a grateful Rose while she greeted Craig's mother and stepfather and Jamie's stepmother and father.

The party went very well. Khai loved his presents from everyone. The biggest hits were the remote control fish from Craig's parents (a blow-up clown fish with a swishing tail that could be moved around by remote control) and the markers Mom gave him that could draw on windows. Everyone ended up creating their own Christmas scenes (or scribbles, in Khai's case) on Rose's many living room and front porch windows.

Yes, Mom and Dad-Bill did finally arrive, around quarter after 1. Despite Mom's misgivings, all of the grandparents seemed to get along just fine. Dad-Bill had new people to tell his many fishing stories to, and he and Dad-Bruce swapped old sailor stories. Both sets of parents are in the midst of expensive remodeling and don't have much money, so I didn't get a lot of presents. Mom gave me the home-made cookies she brought up on Sunday, along with an gift card. Dad-Bruce gave me $200.

Poor Khai finally started to drop off around 4:30, after running around, playing with his new voice-activated dinosaur robot, and watching Dreamworks animated movies on FX all day. (I caught bits and pieces of How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar 2: Escape From Africa, and Shrek Forever After.)  Dad-Bill, Mom, and I were among the last people to leave. They drove me home. I finally got to show them, if just briefly, my apartment. They admired the view, the woodwork, and how I'd organized everything.

Jodie and Dad-Bruce invited me to Jodie's family's big Christmas dinner. To be honest, between the Acme's party last Saturday, Dad's party last night, and Rose's party, I was stuffed to the gills and just not up to it. I opted to spend the rest of the night on my own instead. I went for a brief but lovely walk down to Goff Avenue to watch the sun set rosily behind chenille clouds. I took a nice, long bath while looking over my new Beatles book. I chatted with Lauren and listened to some of my Beatles LPs and CDs.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas doing things that were equally enjoyable and relaxing. : )

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