Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Week 52 - Christmas At Last!

The beginning of the week went by in a blur while I slammed to get things done before heading east for Christmas. Of course I was working on the day I was flying so as not to waste vacation time so that added to the stress. When I left for work on Wednesday, my bags were in the car, the plants were watered and the cats all set for their week inside. I was expecting a mess since the cats were still divided into the back of the house interlopers and the old guard cowering in the front.

I made it to the airport with plenty of time, only to find that my flight was delayed. At the time my first flight left, it was scheduled to get in at the same time my next flight was leaving. But it all worked out because they were holding flights so other than having to bolt from one end of the terminal to the other to catch my second plane, my trip back east was the best in 3 years. I arrived just 45 minutes late rather than the day late of the past two years. It felt great to be there so I could finally relax.

Let the baking begin! It was a perfect day. The sun was beaming in the windows and Carolyn and I spent all day baking, knitting and chatting. By the time I had to head to Connecticut for my Aunt Bev’s funeral, we had made a major dent in our list.

Thank God for GPS. I was going to backwoods RI (Hope Valley) to pick up my Auntie Margaret and then taking country roads in the pitch black to get to Norwich. It was a beautiful service and the priest looked like Santa in a cassock – long curly white beard and all. Afterwards my sister, nephew, aunt and I went out for dinner and then I did the trip in reverse to drop Auntie Margaret home. I got home late and was glad to have happier things to look forward to.

Friday brought more baking and the steaming of the Christmas pudding – a Fenton family tradition. It takes hours and steams up the entire house but it’s Auntie Margaret’s favorite so is worth it. We finished the cookies (3 kinds), the macaroons, cranberry punch and dark chocolate crème brulee then it was on to my cousin’s for Christmas Eve festivities. It was fun to see everyone. My cousins’ kids are all grown now and I got to meet two significant others. I got up to leave and was saying goodbye to my sister when I realized I had forgotten her present. At least it was at David and Ronnie’s this year so it was only 15 minutes from Carolyn’s. Dottie and I drove to Carolyn’s to retrieve the presents, which made me an hour late for my next stop – John’s mom’s.

It’s always fun to see Marianne and Brian. From there I had to pick Carolyn up at Tracey and Andrea’s, where I’d also get to see Bob. After eating a few too many cookies, Carolyn and I drove home to play Santa. But although Matt and Aaron had been home for awhile, Aaron was not asleep and Matt was wrapping on the living room floor so Carolyn was banned from entering. We did what we could from the other room until Matt was done and then got the presents out, getting to be at 2:00. What a long day!

We got up at 7:30 and started opening presents. My sisters did really well on the stocking stuffers and between theirs and Carolyn’s, it took me awhile to open everything. Christmas stockings are SO much fun. After eating cardamom bread for breakfast, we started cooking dinner – prime rib, scalloped potatoes and Brussels sprouts. We had some timing issues so turned off the meat until the potatoes caught up. Ed and Helene, Carolyn’s parents, came for dinner and everything was delicious. We sat and chatted for hours and played one of Aaron’s games too. It was a wonderful Christmas.

The forecast for Sunday, when our annual open house was scheduled for 1:00, was looking bad. They were using the B word – blizzard! It was supposed to start snowing mid morning and then the winds would pick up in the early afternoon making visibility nil. I started making phone calls that morning and when the first two people said they weren’t coming, we decided to cancel. We had enough cookies for an army regiment but at least we hadn’t made the hot stuff yet. While it meant I wouldn’t see many of my friends, it also meant we could stay in our coolie pants, warm and toasty inside while it snowed like a banshee, which it did. We watched Disturbia (one of Aaron’s presents) and snacked and knitted all day. It was a pleasant day and it was a good thing we had cancelled because the weather was as bad as predicted. There’s something to be said about enforced relaxation. It was a fabulous end to a fun but hectic week.

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