The timing of Christmas and New Year was nice this year and by taking just 4 vacation days, I was off for 12 whole days. We spent Christmas Eve at home and then had 2 friends and 2 dogs over for Christmas Eve dinner that we all cooked together.
Except for the tiny part where during dinner I noticed that the oven was smoking and we realized it freaked out and got really hot and burned a pecan chocolate pie to a crisp (pie FAIL), and then the part where Oliver ate about 1/4 of it while it sat smoking on the deck, oh and then the part where the oven wouldn’t turn back on and the manual said it needed to be serviced (Robert and Rhiannon turned off the circuit breaker and turned it back on, thereby miraculously fixing the oven, while Julia and I wondered how much it could cost to have someone fix a Jenn-Air stove, a lot we guessed),it was a terrific meal of spiral sliced ham, maccaroni and cheese, fancy cooked spinach, and green bean casserole.
Then we went to a lovely, and packed, Christmas Eve service of lessons and carols, despite incredibly heavy rain on the way there. After getting home close to 1am we assembled a breakfast casserole to cook on Christmas morning and went to bed in our new pajamas my mom sent us. My grandmother (my mom’s mom that I called Nanny) had a Christmas Eve birthday, she would have been 98 this year, and every year I got to open one present on Christmas Eve while we did her birthday stuff. The present was usually something I could use that evening like a book or a game, or this year, really awesome pajamas. Not awesome sarcastic, but awesome awesome pajamas, like fluffy and soft Nautica ones–and Scottie dogs!
Christmas morning was quiet and peaceful, full of our breakfast casserole and orange rolls (an O’Connor family tradition I’m more than happy to adopt, we skipped the cinnamon rolls since it was just us and we were leaving the next day) and fun presents. We did buy each other the same package of underwear, so one got returned later since having all the same patterns albeit in different sizes would just be too confusing for getting dressed at 7am. (see what hassles same sex couples go through!)
Then we packed and did more laundry (I feel like I did laundry every day during the holidays since we were in and out of town) got ready to fly to DC, and by DC I really mean the outer suburbs of Northern Virginia, to see family. We rented a car, and when we got to the lot to choose it, the first car we saw was a bright yellow Chevy Aveo with chrome handles and a spoiler, yikes. There was luckily one other car in the class of car we rented, and we felt bad for the schmuck that got off on the next shuttle since they would be driving that awful yellow one. You sure wouldn’t lose it in parking lot though. We saw Rhiannon’s parents, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and put lots of miles on the sporty non-yellow rental car. A highlight for me, in addition to staying with the cool aunt and uncle in a house with 6 large but well-trained and fun dogs, was that we got to see our dear friends Jean and Damon (Jean and I went to seminary together and they are Grey Grey’s previous family and the folks we pretend are the cool liberal parents we don’t have).
Then back home on Monday, and doing lots of nothingness and a few errands on Tuesday before cooking a few things for our usual New Year’s Eve party of board games and friends (rockin’ I know). PL made some fancy chocolate shells with whipped cream and blackberries and also made mini ham and cheese frittatas. I broke my “I hate to bake rule” and made chocolate covered peanut butter cheesecake pops. And just for the record, I don’t really hate to bake, but I do hate to follow directions and I also hate to make mistakes, and mistakes tend to happen when you don’t follow directions while baking, so it’s easier just to say I hate to bake.
The last prophetic words of 2008: “oh, that was bad,” spoken by me after sneaking a pre-midnight sip of what I thought wouldn’t be awful champagne, kinda like 2008–leaves a bad taste in your mouth but not quite as harsh after a few sips of alcohol.