Well, Christmas has come and gone, and while we had good gatherings, I’m kind of glad to see it done. Why? Let’s see- -hubby came down with the bad sinus/sore throat/respiratory crud that was going around the morning of the 23rd, I came down with it the evening of the 23rd, the munchkin came down with it the morning of the 24th, and found out son and his fiancee were both sick with it starting the 23rd-ish. Earlier for whatever reason I couldn’t seem to get into the holiday spirit as far as the Christmas Day menu went, where normally I do from-scratch cooking for two-plus days in a row to create the spread everyone enjoys. I did do Boston baked beans from scratch, but ended up with store bought spiral ham, a shortcut broccoli/rice/cheese casserole, and a store bought pecan pie, as well as the coconut snowball martinis. That was it. Then we all got sick, and I kind of understood why the spirit hadn’t moved me this year, because I wouldn’t have had the energy to get it done.
What sucked even more? My adopted mom went into the hospital with the same respiratory crud a week before Christmas, and thankfully got out after a few days. She normally does a Christmas Eve gathering every…single…year with an amazing spread to go with it. She’s a couple years shy of 90. That, with being sick (on year nine of surviving a terminal cancer diagnosis with originally ‘six months to live’ according to the doctors) and other things going on, she was in no shape to be putting together a Christmas Eve gathering. We talked, and what she wanted most of all was for all of us to come over to see her, exchange gifts like we normally do, etc- -she didn’t want to pass that up. And come hell or high water, I was going to make sure she got her wish, telling her to sit back and not worry about a thing, I’d take care of everything. A run to the grocery store deli, putting in orders for party trays, a run across town to a little Mexican tamale factory for those tamales she has had every Christmas Eve for the last almost 70 years, and picking up the rest of the supplies on the way, we set up the Christmas Eve gathering exactly the way she has put on for the family, just the way she’s always had it. I felt like I was in a zombie fog, but there was nothing that was going to stop me from making sure she had the Christmas Eve she wished for. With sheer determination and some divine intervention, we pulled it off. The smile and joy on her sweet face made every step of it worthwhile.
A little sign from above that I had done good? I have an outdoor Christmas tree I’ve put up each year, with metal fold out ‘branches’ that have twinkling gumdrop LED lights that make up the tree. This year when I set it up there were two rows of branches near the top that did not light. It’s a Made in China special, wired so weird there’s no way to figure out why those two rows didn’t light (three strands of wires, one wire strays off and starts another three strands, the second wire does the same thing about twelve inches later, etc, so no fuses to check). The bulbs weren’t loose, if one burns out the others stay lit, etc. I shook it a few times for good measure, and nada. I figured heck, I’d probably keep it for a frame and string mini Christmas lights on the metal branches next year. No biggie. We come home after hosting Christmas Eve, pull into the driveway, and what do I see? The entire outdoor Christmas tree is lit, not one bulb out, and it’s been that way ever since. I have no idea what caused the two rows to finally light up, but they did. And the Christmas bear, which pulled off its own Christmas miracle last Christmas or two back by working again, is still moving its head back and forth beside the tree.
I managed to make it through Christmas Day with the abbreviated menu, with my sister-in-law supplying three other dishes for the table–yay! Hubby outdid himself. He wanted me to make a wish list on a site so he could have some samples to choose from for Christmas gifts, so I made one list for him and one for our son, that way Mom would get some things she definitely wanted. I did the gardening list for the boy, and got two very needed items for my seedling project in the garage–an extra large heat mat and a special grow light that covers the full light spectrum. My wish list for hubby contained cute little jewelry items. I didn’t know whether to hug him or pinch him. I opened a large box on Christmas Day that contained a full set of Tupperware, which was actually one of the things I wanted/needed, but wasn’t on the wish list. No big deal, but I was thinking why have me create a wish list if you’re not going to get anything on it? Yeah…no. Upon closer inspection, every Tupperware item had something inside it. Every…single…one. Hubby re-created the twelve days of Christmas with eleven jewelry items and one Tupperware set. Pinching him was high on the list as I explained to him the wish list was for him to select *one* or maybe *two* items from, not eleven! But he was so happy with himself, I couldn’t be cross with him, that mischievous grin and little twinkle in his eyes. He had been working hard the last few months and wanted to spoil momma. ❤
The days following Christmas were HOT, and I mean HOT. Like tank top and shorts weather, in the high 70’s to low 80’s hot. Have I mentioned I HATE Texas weather? Today was the first day I felt semi-sorta human, finally shaking the crud, and today finally felt kinda-sorta like winter again as a cold front came in last night, it was in the 50’s today with a very gusty wind, and near 40 tonight. The poor cats the last few days have been dying, full winter coats and summer-like temperatures. I finally turned on the air conditioner when poor Blake was running around looking like an electrified cotton ball, trying to dispel the heat by making his fur stand on end, and his sister was lying spread out on the tile floor looking for some relief. Today they were more than happy sitting on the window sill in front of the open window, enjoying the winter-ish wind blowing across them.
Tonight a fire is going in the fireplace, the cats are snuggled together once more, and I’m steaming some homemade chicken tamales for supper. I have absolutely nothing planned for the next couple of days, so I’m going to take a breather and do nothing but relax and peruse the seed catalogues that have started showing up in the mail. I’ll probably set up my gardening gifts from my son and get some heirloom tomato seeds started in the next day or two. Other than that, I’ll be a lump recuperating from the holidays.
Here’s wishing everyone a very happy, safe and prosperous New Year!