The holiday season often seems like an endurance event around here. Too many commitments, not enough time. Adding the pressure of the bank appraisal on Christmas Eve almost put me over the top. Last night I fixed supper and promptly fell asleep in my chair.
After all my frantic scurrying to prepare for it, the appraisal took less than ten minutes. The day was gloomy and 0° F. A taciturn man in a heavy coat and hat walked around the apartment with a clipboard, scribbling notes. He seemed underwhelmed. I told him about the items we were missing, particularly the back-ordered countertops.
“Just formica, right?” he said dismissively.
“Uh — yes.” But it’s very pretty formica!
I told him we had a great view when the weather cooperated. He glanced out the window. The mountains had vanished in clouds.
I mentioned Allen’s beautiful stone walls, currently buried under snow.
“Er, no. Granite boulders.”
His mouth turned down. I sensed the implied sniff. He made notes and said, “I’m on vacation the moment I get in my car. You’ll probably hear something in ten days.”
Then he was gone.
The holiday itself was lovely. We went to the family service at church on Christmas Eve and then to our friends’ annual supper party, a warm gathering of neighbors. Jon came home with us for the night.
Lucy was so excited she woke early on Christmas day, and at 5 AM took this photo of me in my coveralls over my pajamas. I had just realized our 23-lb turkey was too big for my roasting pan, and was preparing to hike through the snow over to school to borrow one that was industrial-sized.
We enjoyed our usual exchange of gifts, mostly used books — though Lucy got her first pair of new cross-country skis since Grandma bought her the toddler version, Jon received a toaster oven as his apartment has only a cooktop, and I got a compost thermometer! Santa also brought our family a new cordless phone. The old one was ten years old and becoming crotchety. We make many jokes about DH and his complete lack of domestic skills but when we realized he couldn’t dial the phone we knew Santa had to step in.
Then while DH took Lucy out to test-drive the new skis and Jon curled up with his new books, I began cooking up a storm.
Our traditional feast was a bit more complicated this year because I wanted to make a second, vegan version of most of the entrées for Jon. I do not believe in veganism but if you’re not going to indulge your beloved child at Christmas, when do you?
By 2 PM, everything was ready just as our guests — our friends Mike, and Tom and Alison and their twin boys, old pals of Jon — came in the door.
DH carved the turkey.
Lucy had set the table and lit the candles. She was also the staff photographer.
We had roast turkey, stuffing, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, mint peas, boiled onions, and homemade dinner rolls, served with sparkling cider. Jon had vegan versions of all of it — minus the turkey and gravy, of course.
For dessert I had baked two pecan pies and made French Vanilla ice cream. Jon had more of the banana bread I’d baked for breakfast.
I’m not sure what idea I’m trying to get across to Alison in this photo.
For an hour we ate and talked and laughed and re-filled our plates. (There was a moment of unexpected excitement when the candles burned down and the decorative paper collars Lucy had made for the Advent candlesticks — Love, Peace, Joy, Hope — burst into flames.)
After dinner we had a rousing session of Word on the Street, a board game Tom and Alison brought. We played adults vs. kids. The kids won, which might have had something to do with all the men on our team being unable to restrain themselves from providing helpful suggestions to the opposition.
The party finally broke up when I had to leave for evening barn chores. Below, left, is the annual picture of Mike and “Sis.” Mike is small and huggable and fits under my arm.
Jon, right, is also huggable but he does not fit under my arm any more.
However I am here to report that he is just as ticklish as ever!
Merry Christmas to all!