Sunday, January 31, 2010

Christmas delayed

Yesterday went so well, but too fast. The kids were here by 9, and we had our traditional Christmas breakfast of waffles and scrambled eggs and fruit salad, then I threw those dishes into the dishwasher and we did presents, very fun, although the baby slept through it. I wonder what she'll think of it all next year?

Then there was a rush to get platters set out. I'd put post-its on them the day before, so everyone could tell what went where, but we were still setting things out when the first guests arrived. I never took a photo of the table, alas, but it did look pretty. Everyone from my side came, and we were pleased that my DIL's cousin and his son came too, so there were seven kids under five, six girls and one darling boy! We had a great time trying for a photo of the four Moms with their six girls, and then Quinn climbed onto A's lap for some photos too.

After all the food we couldn't believe the kids wanted Chinese for dinner, but they did, so we had another jolly meal, and then they all left. Sigh. The girls were great at helping clean up, and there are only some platters that need to be done by hand.

The punch recipe I found was terrific! It's from the old Fanny Farmer cookbook, with a tea and citrus base. It's good by itself and also half-and-half with asti. I made one change, instead of plain club soda, I used Trader Joe's Sparkling French Lemonade. Quite tasty, everyone loved it, plain or otherwise.

So, a month of preparation for approximately ten hours of fun. I never counted the guests, about thirty or so, I think. One of my nephews commented that we are a good house for these family gatherings, being mid-way between the San Diego group and the LA group.

So now it's time to take down the Christmas tree, at last. It was so dusty it had cobwebs, and one of my friends suggested I just say it had been flocked. It didn't really feel like Christmas to me, the season has past and there's no recalling it, whatever that Christmas magic is just doesn't stretch another month. It's the same with its ever-earlier advent in stores. Just because there are Christmas decorations before Halloween doesn't make it Christmas. I guess the stars and the calendar bring Christmas, and then take it away again.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Floor Show

We are home after a weekend watching the baby, and I mean that literally. Even as she sleeps, we sit and watch her facial expressions, her frowns, her smiles, and we wonder what she's dreaming. I went with a list in mind but accomplished little, content instead to rock and hold her, to offer a bottle and then a burp. Grandmothers are easliy amused.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Seven Cents

I walked over to the market this morning to buy eggplants and a french roll. It was a lovely day, just under 70, pretty, with contrails fading out into fat paths, as if someone had passed a dry brush, across the cobalt sky. The eggplants were $1.49 a pound, and I bought two to make eggplant parm for tomorrow, 2.29 pounds in all. The clerk rang my three items up, but rang the eggplants as $1.99 per pound. I pointed out the error, and she sent the bagger back to check the price. We waited. We waited. She asked if she could finish my order, because there were people waiting behind me. I agreed, paid the small bill, and went in search of the bagger, who was slowly making her way to the front. Yes, the cost was $1.49 per pound.

But now I had to go to Customer Service to get my refund. Sigh. The girl at Customer Service spent an inordinate amount of time, using pencil, paper and a calculator, and finally gave me sixty-three cents. "No," I said, "that's wrong." I pointed out that the price was off by fifty cents. She, however, had used a different amount because she had misheard it. She called the register to get the correct price, calculated again, and handed me thirteen cents. I told her she was still wrong. I pointed out again that the price was off by fifty cents, and since I had more than two pounds, the refund would be more than a dollar. She just couldn't see it. She handed me some more coins, but it still wasn't right, and I worked through the problem again. She finally slapped seven cents down on the counter and said "I'm not going to argue over seven cents." Well, I will.

The eggplant is cooked, and we'll be off tomorrow for a weekend with the kids. No shopping for a bit.

I finished French's In the Wood. The ending was not what I expected, but the story is so well-written that I didn't want to do anything but read it. I don't know if I can go right into something intense. I think I need something silly.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Into the new year

We are now a week into the new year, but I couldn't tell you what I've done with it. Because we never had our family Christmas, the tree is still up and the wreath is on the door, but I've put other little things away. Traditionally I take everything down on Epiphany, but since we won't be together till the kid flies out in three weeks, up it will stay. I'll probably have to dust the presents before they all arrive.

I finished The 19th Wife and found it sad and perplexing. This is our Book Club book, but I have some weeks yet till it's discussed. Now I'm reading a mystery that won the Edgar Award for best first novel by an American author, In the Woods by Tana French. There are hints that create foreboding, alas, and I hope this is not going to have a dreadful ending. If so, I may have to resort to extreme frivolity for a while, and not the bio of FDR that is waiting.

Yesterday was my volunteer afternoon, helping with homework and teaching the complexities of double-digit subtraction and addition to girls who haven't quite learned it, and then Art League in the evening. I confess I nearly fell asleep during the demonstration, which was very interesting and well done, by a plein air painter named Cynthia Britain. I'd love to do one of her workshops, so I hope she didn't see me yawning. The first Wednesday of each month is long for me.

It was a lovely day here, in the mid-70s, and I spent the morning in the front garden, weeding and picking up sticks. We have some white birch trees, and the winter winds break the deadwood, as if the trees, having shed their leaves, go on to shed their exhausted, useless branches too. My daffodils are coming out, but so are the dandelions. Oxalis is encroaching on the few iris that have appeared, so tomorrow I will rout that out. I have nothing against oxalis in other spots, but not in that bed.

I have not seen the baby this year, which means she will be more than twice as old when we visit them on Saturday. Her happy parents report that she is sleeping for two hours at a stretch and is eating well. That's about all she has to to right now.