My holiday season is proceeding happily. I hope that you can say the same for your own.
As always, I spent Christmas eve with family, celebrating my grandmother's birthday. This is my younger grandmother - a mere spring chicken at 92. My older grandmother is 96. And a half. She says that when you get very old, the halves start to matter again.
Christmas day was spent at Ken's mom's house, with his two brothers and the younger brother's fiancée. It went as usual: my MIL and BIL (the younger one) seem happy to have me there as an audience for their stories, but they show absolutely zero interest in any conversation that I volunteer. I'll tell a brief, funny story, and by the time I'm on the second sentence my MIL will be fiddling with the food on the table and my BIL will be playing with his shoelaces. When I hit the punch line they don't even pretend to smile. Nice. The fiancée seemed to be taking her cues from them. Ken's older brother isn't really in the equation as he is mentally disabled and is approximately the social equivalent of a three-year-old. It made for a rather long lunch, although I must say that my MIL put out a lovely spread of smoked salmon, fancy cheeses, fancy crackers, sliced baguette, olives, and (the big crowd-pleaser) a large hunk of duck pâté with blueberries. I mean the blueberries were in the pâté, as though it were a muffin. You'd think it would be gross, and it did look a nasty bruised shade of purple, but it was delish.
We didn't have any plans for Boxing Day, however Ken could not resist browsing the Birks website. Of course they had a sale. Ken had not given me a Christmas gift, which I didn't mind whatsoever, however when he offered to take me shopping at Birks I'd have been a fool to refuse, right? I am now the proud owner of a gorgeous matched set of earrings and a necklace.
On Thursday I went back to work, thinking that my holiday fun was over for a couple of days. However, my girlfriend who lives in British Columbia (in a little town in the mountains) was in town with her husband and three kids, and she called me mid-afternoon to invite me for dinner at her in-laws'.
I love spending time with this friend and her family. I've known her since we were in the first grade together, and we were best friends from grade 4 through grade 8, almost inseparable. I've known her husband since we were all teenagers, and consider him a friend too. They have three great kids, two boys, (10 and ? 8 maybe?) and a little girl who's now 4 and is the cutest little munchkin you can possibly imagine.
My friend's MIL is one of those old-fashioned-type ladies who always has her hair up in a kerchief, an apron tied around her waist, and never stops fussing and puttering around the kitchen. When we arrived (my friends picked me up at the train station) she had finished feeding the kids dinner, and was preparing our dinner. It was no small affair either: roasted potatoes, three different kinds of vegetables, seasoned tilapia, spicy rice casserole with beef, and a delicious homemade soup. She never sat down and ate. She was constantly back at the stove warming up more food, squeezing a slice of lemon over your fish, offering beverages, offering napkins, dropping ice cubes into your glass, worrying that you wouldn't like the food, assuring you that you didn't have to eat if you didn't like it (of course it was all fantastic). After dinner there was tea and sweets. And then, just when I thought dinnertime was done, she started all over again making dinner for her daughter, who prefers to eat late. I wasn't sure why there was a smoking pan on the stove until she rolled up a ball of from-scratch dough in order to fry a fresh, homemade roti. (She had to season the pan first.) Woah! I don't know if I would have found her attentiveness enjoyable if I lived there (it was a bit much) but for a one-evening treat it was great.
And so it continues. I'm looking forward to dinner and games with friends tonight; brunch with other friends tomorrow; and a wild all-ages, child-friendly New Year's Eve party. I tell you, no one gets excited about shouting HAPPY NEW YEAR! like a crowd of hyper-excited kids who are up several hours past their usual bedtime. It's all good, so very good.