Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Goodies

Your comments continue to buoy me. Thanks. But herewith some random holiday fun!

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My in-laws are here for six days, for Christmas. I made up a chart, of every meal for all six days. Then I made a grocery list, and collected all the recipes together. I taped the meal chart to the inside of one of my kitchen cupboards, for easy reference.

I think I've spent more time cooking this week than I have for months. My family eats every thing I put in front of them, pushes away their plates leaning back in their chairs. Full. Grateful. I love it, the warmth of the kitchen, the feeling of being in my home and useful and organized. I love that my inlaws keep talking about how lazy they're getting, about how little they're doing. About how full they are.

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I bought a Jones New York cashmere blend red car coat two winters ago. Last winter, I brought it in to the tailor to have every single button resewn.

Have you noticed that new clothes seem more and more to come bundled with extra buttons, and mending yarn, and other assorted doodads meant to assist reconstruction? Have you noticed, also, that you often have occasion to use them?

How is it thoughtful or classy to basically sew crappy seams and half-assed buttons, and then provide replacements you're pretty sure are going to be well-used?

Pynchon bought me beautiful, soft, man-style pink flannel pjyamas. I have put the extra buttons in my jewelry box, where they join quite a collection.

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Pynchon and I found ourselves frantically at work, at 11:00 pm Christmas Eve. He was sitting at the breakfast bar, gleefully tucking sockettes and mandarin oranges into an old pair or work socks, making 'stockings' for his parents to discover in the morning. He was trying to fasten sticky name labels to the fuzzy socks. I had my hands dunked into a bowl of cold water, delicately separating pomegranate seeds from pith, for a fruit salad for Christmas brunch. At the same time, I was cutting cubes of butter into the biscuit batter, and soaking dried mushrooms in boiling water for the fritatta.

"Hey!" I said, to him, bleary-eyed but happy, "We're in charge of Christmas now!"

Diana Krall sang carols on the kitchen stereo and as our fingers fumbled at our tasks, we thought about what it meant to make a holiday for both our child and our parents. It was nice. I feel like a grownup.

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Brunch looked so good, and took so long! that I had to take a picture of it:


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I was feeding Munckin a bottle in the dim of her room at naptime. She wrapped her little hand around one of my fingers and gurgled. Then:

"Ho-ho-ho ... hee-hee ... ho-ho-ho."

(pause)

"Rudolf!"

(pause)

"Frosty-snowman-Santa-CLAAAUUUUS"

(pause)

"Jing-bo-bells. Jingo-bells. Jing-bo-bells ... ... ... HEY!"

(pause)

"All done. Bed! Biiiiiig stretch."

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Munchkin adores her paternal grandparents just as much as her maternal ones. She took to them immediately, and the only way we can keep her from whining for daycare in the mornings is to remind her that Gramma and Grampy will soon be up. She sits on Grampy's ample lap and he points out pictures to her in the paper. Gramma shows her pictures of Pynchon as a boy, narrating a family history. Munchkin is rapt. It's been days since we've had a tantrum. She sleeps like a champ and is eating like a horse. Extended-family life suits her, and I'm amazed how much my heart swells to watch her with them, these old, unhip, slow-moving, part deaf, nap-taking grandparents. How kind they are to each other! How much joy each generation gives to the other, and how much raw pleasure they take in each other's company!


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You are all right, of course: home is where my family is, and my memories live in my heart. This week my house and my heart are both full. The fire has been lit in the evenings and for Christmas morning. The ceiling fan in the kitchen disperses the awesome heat of my perpetual cooking, wafts the soft smell of rosemary biscuits, of sage and mushrooms, through the house. Ernie and Elmo rest in their little boats, with rubber duckie, in the basket I've installed for them next to the tub. My father in law naps in the guest room, two doors away from Munchkin, who naps soundly in her crib. My mother-in-law reclines with her lists and her papers on the living room couch, and Pynchon checks his email in the office. I sit in the basement, watching Christmas movies and wrapping presents, sipping my grande-nonfat-latte from a Christmas travel mug.

Everywhere I look I see people I love, things I have chosen, comforts we can share. We built this home, this family, Pynchon and I. It's part bricks, but it's mostly love. And a lot of paint from Debbie Travis and furniture from IKEA. But a lot of love, still.

23 comments:

Kyla said...

Oh, that glorious sleepy-headed child. Love her.

It sounds like your Christmas was merry and bright, both inside and out. I am so glad for that.

kittenpie said...

I was so happy my family agreed to do dinner here, too. But then again, they leave at 11, which I am also happy about... it sounds like a lovely Christmas, Mimi, a nice break from the worry for a few days. We all need those times when the warm and the love is too big for the outside pressures. Would they came more often.

Jaelithe said...

I am so sorry all this craziness about your house is interfering with your holidays. I am glad you were able to enjoy the good parts anyway.

Your daughter's little Christmas poem was very, very cute.

Debbie said...

It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas. I love the picture of you daughter sitting with your in-laws. It's amazing what the generations can teach each other!

Kelly Malloy said...

I have that same button collection in my top drawer! Sounds like your holidays have been wonderful!

Jenifer said...

Merry Christmas Mimi and family! It sounds wonderful and man you are quite the cook! One of these days I am crashing your brunch.

I am so glad you are having such a nice break over the holidays you deserve it.

Best wishes to you all.

Omaha Mama said...

Look at that sweet bed-headed angel! So, so sweet!

Maybe you could share some of those secret recipes taped inside your cupboard door, I could use some inspiration for this weekend!

the new girl said...

beautiful, Mimi.
What a calm and relaxing post.

You make me want to be adopted into your family!

Just that fruit salad alone...

nomotherearth said...

That last picture is adorable. Glad you found happiness this holiday after all the trials.

Crow Dog said...

I'm new to your post, but I'm loving the relaxing feel of it. Your daughter is a cutie!

slouching mom said...

oh, m.

this was such a lovely post. a glimpse into a beautiful week.

i'm so glad.

and that food. mmm...

Karen said...

Mimi - your Christmas-making powers in the midst of this crisis are really amazing! You are a holiday superhero and I am glad it was a happy time.

Bon777 said...

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! I've been out of blog land for quite a while so I'll be reading and catching up...

Tessa Pugh said...

Have just stumbled upon your happy blog. Already love it. I will be back to read more.

Christine said...

oh mow did i miss all this! i just caught up. the whole nasty situation with the house just sucks. sorry this is all happening, friend.

but your christmas sounded amazing. happy holidays to you and yours mimi.

Running on empty

ClaireBoe said...

What a lovely Christmas you had! Oh, if we could keep that warmth in our hearts for the entire year. *sigh*

I'm praying that the situation with your house gets worked out soon, and to your satisfaction.

Bon said...

i missed the lump of coal post in the bustle of holiday travel, and am just now catching up to it, and this.

all i have, friend, is hope that you're getting through the eggshell waiting of what must be an awfully long holiday season this year with joy as well as trepidation. whatever happens - and don't get me wrong, i hope the fuckers pay up and pay well - remember, that beautiful sleepy girl is going with you, wherever home may be.

something blue said...

The combined generations of love and laughter are what I look forward to at Christmas. I can almost smell the scent of your well organized cooking from here!

Oh, The Joys said...

I loved this post, though I admit... I am a little TIRED from being in charge of Christmas.

Lisa b said...

oh she is so lovely in that last shot.
The brunch looks great too, you certainly have a wonderful home.

Raz said...

I have just stumbled across your blog and read back some entries, and then added it to my favourites list. I think you write with a great style, and it's just touchingly normal but also funny and sweet.
I hope this doesn't sound too strange!

ewe are here said...

Sounds like you had a very happy Christmas with your extended family.

Hope you have a wonderful New Year to match it.

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