No really, you might think that I could just get over the Christmas aversion. As noted, I've been trying. But Christmas Eve is always like one of those hints-of-a-sore throat for me-- you try to ignore it, you tell yourself you're not getting a cold, but deep in your heart you know that within twenty-four hours you're going to be plowing through the Puffs and knocking back the Nyquil.
And so it was upon me. The night before, my emotional sore throat. As one will attempt-- too little, too late-- to chug down the Vitamin C and get long overdue rest in a futile attempt to stave off the inevitable cold, so too did I engage in Random Acts of the Horse is Out of the Barn But I'm Going to Pretend Otherwise in a last ditch effort to keep the inevitable Christmas as bay. But you know, even if not successful in the ultimate goal, these things did help. I allowed myself to be pulled from a crushing work deadline to offer a long knitting lesson. Then I dashed off in the rain to get a pink pedicure ten minutes before the shop closed. I procured two massive chocolate Santas to bestow upon the children of my friends, who'd invited me for Chinese food for dinner.
The Chinese food was excellent, the company more so. I found myself surrounded by people my own age-- we make up that small group that fell right after the Baby Boom and right before Gen X. Our exhilarating discussion about the fabulous '80s was without irony and full of enthusiastic cheer to the point that I might just have to dig out some Thompson Twins soon, and play Hold Me Now on a goddamned loop. (I have a picture... pinned to my wall...)
The evil day itself dawned thankfully late for me-- I did my best to sleep through much of the morning. Then off to my neighbors' where I am charged with keeping a cat, a tankful of fish, and a couple of chickens alive for a week or so. The feathered ladies kindly left me a holiday treat-- a pair of fresh eggs which I promptly ferried home to make Warren and me some Croque Madames-- basically grilled cheese with extra butter and a fried egg on top. This was part of my larger plan to employ our combined culinary skills to try to recapture last Christmas in Paris. And let me tell you, there is nothing like fresh eggs, still warm from chicken butt, to get the day started.
I know, I know-- I claim to avoid the holiday altogether. But I have a kid who happens to not hate the 25th and so, in compromise-- and to try to continue to make up for the year he was three and I, not understanding he didn't yet grasp sarcasm, told him when he woke up late that he'd missed the celebration, a story I hate but that is legend in our family-- I get him a few very carefully selected treats. Warren, our token Jew, sat patiently watching as Hen and Big Red and I swapped a few things. Henry, bless his big fat beautiful heart, made Big Red and me the most fabulous posters of all time, pictured up above. We gave him silkscreening lessons. I also got him a few awesome books from Domy-- if you haven't been to Domy, you better go soon.
Warren commenced to making us all falafel, to remind me of that cool neighborhood in Paris where the Chasids and the C'homosexuals live side-by-side. There's a falafel place there that is so good people line up for blocks waiting for their turn. Warren, I am happy to say, put those French-Israelis to shame.
A couple of Hen's friends came by and for reasons I will never understand decided to listen to as much Fleetwood Mac as they could find on the Internet. My son hearts Stevie Nicks. I'm not sure how that happened but there are worse habits and as long as he doesn't name any of his future children Rhiannon, I'm okay with it.
Mostly we just sat around and watched the dogs, who obliged us with some very central casting maneuvers, namely tolerating the costumes I insisted on wedging them into. Dante was the real star this year-- as our latest pack member this was his first big holiday with us. In the months since he's arrived, I'm happy to report that all skittishness has melted away and that the other dogs taught him that not only is he allowed to sleep on the furniture, it is actually a requirement if he wants to stay with us. Granted this results in some fairly canine-porno moments around here, but Dante sprawled belly up and spread eagled will never hold a candle to Bubbles' ongoing insistence on humping Tatum's neck at every able opportunity, but most especially when there is techno music playing.
The kids were patient enough to hang out until I could finish knitting Henry's scarf, which he very kindly pretended to be surprised was for him, even though I said, about forty times, "Hey kids, can you just hang out a few more minutes while I finish this?"
Then even Warren left me, so that I could indulge my lone wolf ways. I took one final trip to Paris courtesy of a big chocolat chaud I created from about two ounces of milk and about ten ounces of dark chocolate bar. My teeth remain coated in the stuff. Then a hot lavender bath whilst listening to Stephen King's Under the Dome read fantastically by Raul Esparza (you have GOT to get this audiobook) and off to sleep, grateful to have made it safely through the day.
Next up: 2011. Bring It On.