Sunday, January 4, 2015

Week 52 - Rhode Island Christmas

Christmas week! How did that get here so fast?

Monday was my last day at work and campus was deserted. I got lots of work done – shocking! – and the day was over in a flash. From there it was on to knitting and then home to finish packing. I went to bed ready to go.

My flights were completely uneventful, which is a wonderful thing at the holidays. I arrived on time and after a dinner of Don’s spinach pies (cross that off the must eat list), Carolyn and I made some lists and readied ourselves for the Christmas sprint.

Wednesday was Christmas Eve so after a supply run to Stop & Shop, the first thing on the agenda was to get the pudding steaming. Then it was on to all things salted caramel – salted caramel bread pudding for Christmas morning and chocolate tart with salted caramel on top for Christmas dinner dessert. Unfortunately there were casualties. I burned the tip of my left index finger on the bread pudding sauce and it was incredibly painful. Neosporin with pain reliever saved the day but I had a huge throbbing blister. Then Carolyn burned herself on the tart’s caramel so we were the walking wounded.

In addition to the burns, there was some drama over supper. I’d assumed David and Ronnie’s would be at 4:00 like every other year so I’d agreed to be at John’s mom’s for 6:00. Then the phone rang and Auntie Margaret said she and Bette were going to church at 4:00 so dinner was starting at 5:30 or 6:00. After beating myself up all afternoon trying to decide what to do, I called my aunt and she said to just go to John’s on schedule. While I still was feeling a bit guilty, at least it was settled. I got to David and Ronnie’s at 5:00 so got to see people as they arrived and just caught Auntie Margaret and Bette before I left. Then it was on to Marianne and Brian’s for our annual Christmas curry dinner. I do so enjoy this tradition. It’s just the four of us, the food and conversation are interesting and it’s an oasis of calm. From there it was home to fill stockings. Christmas was officially here.

Christmas morning started later than usual because Aaron is a teenager and so sleeps later. We had fun opening stockings then dug into the salted caramel bread pudding. Total fail! After all the work (and burns) it was absolutely tasteless. Good thing we had bacon and sausage because the pudding went right into the trash. Bummer. We started on the prime rib as soon as we cleared breakfast, determined to have it done on time for once. I made copious notes and it was done on time plus came out great. Yay! At least that went right. The potatoes were bland, sucking up every bit of sour cream and herbs and still tasting like nothing. The company was good with Carolyn’s parents joining us. The tart was a hit and was even better once it came to room temperature. One more event to go.

Friday was the open house. I started the day making cookies, there were a couple of runs to Stop & Shop, many trips up and down the stairs and all was in readiness by the 4:00 start time. Maruta and Deanne were both sick but otherwise the usual friends came. Matt plied us with delicious spiced pumpkin martinis and the hot artichoke dip was a hit, as usual. Everyone had a great time and we had everything cleaned up just in time to watch the Call the Midwife Holiday Special. It was the beginning of relaxation. Christmas was over and had been fun but the prep was grueling.

The only thing on the agenda for Saturday was lunch at The Elephant Room in Pawtuxet Village with Cornelia. At the last minute, Bob was able to come and we all had a great time, enjoying crepes and conversation. Dinner was leftover prime rib so it really was a relaxing day. The whole day was a balm for the soul. And get a load of the fun Eiffel Tower planter. Go Pawtuxet Village! Sunday was more of the same, with lunch at The Crow’s Nest (belly clams!) with Auntie Margaret and Bette. Our table was right next to the fireplace and we had another good time – good food and better company. I just love my aunt to pieces! After a Job Lot run (gotta do that, even at Christmas) I went home to pack. I’d have time in the morning but didn’t want to leave it until then for fear of not sleeping. It was a good decision.

It was another wonderful Christmas chez Carolyn. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful friend, who includes me in her family’s Christmas without batting an eyelash. She even lets me take over her house for the open house, which has now morphed into being for all our friends – hers, mine and ours. It’s all fun and I wouldn’t have Christmas any other way. Now to just get home as easily as I got to Rhode Island.

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