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...AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT
26 December 2005Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve was full. It started by my going to the Community Meals, hosted by the Davis Food Co-op, and organized by Shelly and Ellen. It's a holiday meal put on for the low-income and homeless, but open to anybody who wants to come for the food (which is plentiful). An opportunity to sit down with people you would not ordinarily cross paths with otherwise.Last year I was the "counter," counting how many people showed up (over 500). This year I was the photographer, documenting the event.
People were lined up out the door when I arrived and there was a harpist sitting just inside the door to greet people.
The dessert table was dominated by a gigantic chocolate Santa someone had donated. They were trying to figure out how to serve the darn thing. They figured that it probably wouldn't be good to attempt to chop it up out there in front of everybody because it might traumatize little kids to see Santa being pulverized, so they kept him on display until about 5:30 and then took him to the kitchen in back and pounded him into edible size pieces.
I left the Community Meals at 6 and went home to collect Walt and my dessert, and we headed off for the home of Ned's in-laws, where we usually spend Christmas eve at Louise's traditional burrito dinner.Phil joined us this year and, though he and Jeri have known each other since 8th grade and he has been part of "the group" for all those years, he took a bit of kidding about being with us, now, as Jeri's "boyfriend." I think they're both still a bit embarrassed about the whole thing, but so cute together.
I had brought "Christmas crackers," little tubes filled with noisemakers and badges and what-not. Everyone had a little crown and there was sheet music and a baton so that we could have a noise-maker orchestra (I'll probably post a video in the next couple of days about that).Anyway, the "rehearsal" was so successful that we took the show on the road around the corner to the home of Ned's friend Jon and his wife Joy, wherein the "carolers" serenaded them (and the neighborhood) with a kazoo song.
After we left here, we all met at the cemetery for our annual "party" with Paul and Dave. This year was kind of silly, because the vase that goes in front of the grave marker was practically cemented in place (upside down) and Phil must have worked on it for a good 10 minutes before he was finally able to free it. Then I arranged branches from our Christmas tree and returned it to the grave--it looked either like a flat Christmas tree or one of the feather fans on the tail of a Vegas chorus girl!
We all stood around drinking mulled cider, marveling that last year we were bundled up in hats and gloves and heavy coats. This year I didn't even wear a sweater, the night was so "balmy." Before we left, Ned poured a bit of Jim Beam over the grave marker, just to keep tradition alive.
On the way home from the cemetery, Walt and I drove through an area of town with lots and lots of highly decorated homes (similar to Ned's neighborhood, we discovered a few nights ago!)
Christmas DaySo Christmas Day was kind of weird, but in a very nice way. Jeri ended up spending the night with us, which I hadn't anticipated, so I hadn't made preparations for any special breakfast. But I realized I had a bag of cranberries in the fridge, so, with the help of my brand new Magic Bullet blender (thanks, Peggy), I chopped up some cranberries and created cranberry muffins to serve with bacon and eggs. We had just about finished breakfast when my mother came (shortly before noon). She helped with final preparations for dinner. For someone who was going into this with no stress, I managed to find some. Turns out I had forgotten to buy cranberry sauce, and you can't have turkey without cranberry sauce. Fortunately I had the other half of that bag of cranberries I used to make muffins in the morning, so just made some (which was delicious, thankyouverymuch). I thought I could make two pumpkin pies, but only had one can of evaporated milk, so could only make one. Also, in the big move of the past year, I have lost my tried and true recipe for cuisinart pie crust and I got the amounts wrong. The crust worked, but wasn't nearly stiff enough to work with and had to be more molded to fit a pie pan than actually rolled. Also, when the pie was finally finished, I dropped a beater to my mixer in it. Fortunately that didn't affect the taste. It seemed strange to have a group so small we all fit at one table--in the living room. That hasn't happened in...well, since we moved into this house!
(For anybody who has been paying attention,
Phil and Latte bonded and I think he might actually have been talked into giving her a home, were it not for the fact that (a) his landlord has told him adamantly no more dogs, and (b) he's about to move to Boston anyway.But she sure did find a good friend in Phil. While we missed having the rest of the family around, it was kind of nice that there were only seven of us. Gift giving was a much more...I don't know..."handle-able" affair, since we didn't fill up half the room with gifts and spend hours opening them. There was just enough and it didn't feel like anybody had mortgaged any major piece of property to buy gifts, which is always nice. We had drawn names, and I was Jeri's secret Santa, so got her a speaker system for her iPod and she spent some time trying to explain iPod technology to her grandmother who, ultimately, threw up her hands and admitted she didn't get it.
As I write this, Jeri is out with the others in her generation playing poker, my mother and Walt are asleep, the dogs are curled up at my feet and I feel like I'm about ready to drop myself, so I'm headed off to sleep.I will, of course, be using my fabulous gift from Tom and Laurel!!!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Tom knows how to make his mother happy!