Did everyone have a good Christmas? I did! I was worried that I would be come over-emotional at the thought of the holidays and family far away, but several things conspired to make this holiday one of the best ever.
My Nativity scene, carefully shipped to me by mom and dad and set up in a bright spot.
First, I had a four-day weekend. CW give its employees eight hours of vacation as a birthday present, and since my birthday is on the 21st, I took it on Thursday, had Friday off for the holiday and voila. Secondly, Jeff had to work. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and today. So it was up to me to do the last-minute shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking etc. (I apologised for the carnage when he came home from work on Friday and he cheerfully said "That's okay, that will give you something to do on Sunday.") Creating food for other people, being out amongst shoppers and driving around listening to Christmas music helped me to get in the spirit, instead of feeling rushed and put-upon.
Christmas Day we drove to his parents house for dinner. At first it was chaos, with three Southern ladies and one Yankee attempting to get dinner on the table, but eventually we all settled down and dove in. Ham, turkey, chicken, sweet potato souffle, collard greens, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn pudding, dressing, and four different desserts: black forest cake, pecan pie, lemon chiffon pie, and German chocolate pie. For seven people. Kizzy was going beserk trying to get at the food. I bounced up and down so often to take care of him it was like having a two-year old at the kid's table. I didn't buy him anything for Christmas, but Jeff's mom gave him a present: letting him clean out the stuffing pan with some extra ham.
After dinner we exchanged some presents. Jeff's mom and grandma gave me some lavender-scented hand lotion, having cleverly deduced I like lavender after seeing it in the bathroom at Thanksgiving. The best present had to be the one given by Jeff's aunt to his mom: red, green and white Italian candy. Feeling generous, she opened the bag and tried a piece before passing it around. "I don't want to say anything bad, but this is the worst candy I've ever tasted!" Consternation followed, as we tried to figure out why. It looked like ribbon candy, it was brightly colored... "Maybe it just tastes funny because it's Italian and we're used to American candy?" I suggested. But the mystery was solved with Jeff's aunt examined the package tag. "Sissy, it's pasta!" she exclaimed. And we all realised that the "ribbon candy" was actually bow-tie pasta with spinach and tomato additives. Hilarity ensued.
After that we dug into the mountain of desserts and enjoyed a cup of coffee. Jeff's uncle has traveled extensively for his job, so we swapped stories of our favourite places. ("Ever been to South Dakota?" I asked him. "No," he said "Ever been to Maine?") But we got going around nine o'clock when the snow started falling. I wish that Jeff and I had had time to open presents earlier, because when we finally unwrapped about ten-thirty that night I opened a hand-held mixer (thanks mom and dad!) that would have been super-handy for my mashed potatoes...a little lumpy this time, but still tasty.
Our Christmas tree. Only about five feet tall this year but dripping with ornaments. Notice the pile of as-yet unpicked-up wrapping paper. There are some good things about not hosting the holiday...
I got up to make Jeff a leftover-ham sandwich and see him off to work today. The sandwich will either be for lunch or emergency provisions if he slides off the road, for the snow has continued to fall and has now swept up into a blizzard. Poor Kismet took two steps onto the porch this morning, peed, and has been inside curled up on the couch ever since. I washed the dishes in the kitchen, made a leftover ham omelet and toast for breakfast and have been pretty much curled up next to him. The snow coming off the river makes the house feel like a ship rounding Cape Horn. Wanna see?
The wreath on our front door. For the record, I know that most of the loyal readers perusing this blog have experienced massive snowfall like this, but here in Virginia many believe that this may signal the beginning of end times.
Jeff (On his way home from work, trying to convey the mess on the streets while his girlfriend tries to hang up the phone so he can concentrate on driving, already): "I mean, I have never, ever, EVER seen anything like this!!"
Me: "These are the kind of snowfalls I remember from my childhood."
Jeff: "Oh? (xylephone, Looney-Tunes eye blink sound) Really?"
Me: "Oh yeah. Now hang up and drive safe!"
My car as viewed from the front door.
The dock that leads to a staircase descending thirty feet to the James River. Not shown: the opposite side of the river, half a mile away, or the whitecaps that are ferociously pounding the beach.
Our neighbor's trees.
A view from the upper deck. This photo was taken by briefly opening the door, shoving my camera through, snapping whatever I could catch, and then slamming the door against the howling wind. But not before....
A hearty dusting was strewn all over the floor. Arg. But you know what they say! When life hands you snow...
(About a second after this photo was taken the snowman pitched facefirst onto the carpet...so he's now gently melting away in the sink. That's the worst part about this storm: the snow is the perfect weight packing snow needed for snowmen and it's too horrible to go outside. Arg.)
Meanwhile, I know you're all wondering where Kismet is. He is right where he has been for the past couple of hours.
Although he did look up when I plopped down to start blogging:
And now he's snoring.
So that's where we are...snowed in, anxiously awaiting the return of the prodigal boyfriend and enjoying some darjeeling tea, NPR and internet, trying to stay warm.
Merry Chrismas everyone!