Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holiday Hilights

Thanks to all who commented on my previous post with such genuine care.  I got all weepy, in a good way.  My heart overfloweth!

So much has gone on in the past three days that I know not where to begin.  Because I doubt my ability to organize it all into any kind of coherent narrative, I present to you: holiday highlights.

Christmas Eve:  
Birthday Party for my grandmother, at my mom's house

On account of the warm weather and rain, combined with snowdrifts clogging the storm drains, any dip in the street was filled with water.    On my way there I waded through ponds of over 100 square feet and four inches deep.  Passing cars tossed six-foot rooster tails of dirty spray into the air behind them.  I was lucky: only my feet got wet.  My mom loaned me a pair of dry socks.

I shovelled the driveway so my grandparents wouldn't slip on their way in.  The melting snow was ridiculously heavy, and I had to toss each leaden shovelful at least four feet in the air to get it on top of the existing snowpile on the lawn.  I must be tougher than I thought, because I managed to do it without screwing up my back.

Inside, there was roast brisket, homemade soup,  cucumber salad, green beans with mushrooms, sesame ginger roasted squash, pickled beets, and, of course, potato latkes with homemade apple sauce.  The best dishes and glasses, twinkling silverware, a bouquet of fresh flowers surrounded by colourful dreidels and silver-foil-wrapped chocolate coins as a centerpiece.  Happy people.  Lively conversation.  Homemade strudel, coffee, chocolate birthday cake.

The temperature didn't drop back below zero until after midnight, so we all got home safely.

Christmas Day:
Turkey Lunch with Ken's parents and brothers

Ken's younger brother had a bad cold.  He hunched over his plate, shoveling in food, then lay down on the sofa and fell asleep.  At one point he half-woke, opened one eye, announced loudly in a slurred voice: "Merry Christmas!"  And then fell soundly back asleep.

After lunch I felt restless, so I went for a walk while the others settled in for some tryptophan-induced drowsiness in front of the TV.  The path I took through the neighbourhood alternated slicks of glassy ice with mountians of frozen snowdrifts.  I picked my way carefully, at times placing each foot with studied care as I navigated particularly dangrous passes.  I kept my hands curled in towards my body, reminding myself not to catch my weight on a wrist if I should fall, but to curl and drop sideways like a ninja.  My ex-mother-in-law broke her wrist on a patch of ice just like these ones.  I didn't fall, but I saw a girl across the street go down on her butt.

Christmas Day Part II:
Turkey Dinner with my Father, Step-Mom, and Sister, and friends

The house was beautiful, filled with soft light, flickering candles, and designer bowls heaped with shiny christmas tree balls.  My sister was cute as a button in a red dress with white polka-dots.  She mixed up a batch of tasty pomegranate martinis.  Guests arrived, handing over their coats and plastic-wrapped platters of homemade desserts.  The dog hung around hopefully, wagging her tail and licking her chops in anticipation of someone dropping an hors d'oeuvre.

Hannukah candles were lit, and Christmas gifts were exchanged.   

I sat next to a fellow I'd never met before: a poet, whose most recent book won the 2008 Governor General's Award for poetry.  This is a pretty big deal in Canada.  It's the oldest and most prestigious literary award we have.   Jacob presented us each with a signed copy of his poetry collection. 

In person, he came across as a pretty average guy.  On my way home, on the train, I opened the book, expecting not to be impressed his poetry.  Let's face it, the world is filled with lacklustre writing by well-meaning authors, and some of it is hailed as genius by other well-meaning authors.  I don't always agree with the judges of literary awards.  But, this time I liked what I read.  That was some solid poetry.  Good poetry makes me happy, even when the subject matter is sad.  That was one of the best Christmas gifts I got, and it came as a complete surprise.

It was only thanks to my sister's yummy pomegranate martinis that I managed to get through that last event, capping 1.5 days of non-stop socializing.  My poor frazzled brain.  I'm just not wired to handle that much conversation, no matter how lovely and interesting my conversational partners are.  The following day, I lay on the couch, staring in the general direction of the television, dozing in and out of consciousness.  I feel almost back to myself.  A little more time spent comatose, and I'll be right as rain.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

Sounds like a very Merry Christmas, Congrats. Comatose is a good way to spend the holiday I think.

NicoleB said...

Grin, I'm glad you had a good time, even though your brain is frazzled :P

I don't think I could handle 3 days of polite conversation any more. I would probably strangle someone ;)

And the poetry surprise is lovely. It's good when you stumble over some good stuff :)

Anonymous said...

Snore... Merry Christmas!

Keera Ann Fox said...

Sounds like a nice Christmas and a well-deserved coma!

Jenski said...

For your previous post, sorry for all of the loss. Now reading this one, I am glad that it was such a happy couple of days. I am sure you were exhausted from all that socializing, but the shoveling probably helped a bit too! Did you mumble or shout anything interesting from the couch? :-)