First of all, Happy New Year! I do have resolutions I'll be sharing shortly, but here are a few details about Christmas Eve/Day/vacation went. (Annie Coe made the star ornament above, BTW.)
Yes, the Christmas tree did go up.
And yes, The Cat has been treating it like a salad bar from time to time. (I shoo her away and say, "Hmm, wonder why you have intestinal cancer!?" Gotta have a sense of humor about it.)
Well, before Christmas Eve, I had a Christmas faculty/staff luncheon at school after an early dismissal of the students. The food was very good (catered by relatives of a former student, I think), and the pollyanna was fun once it got going. I "stole" some unusual Christmas crackers from someone. It also happened that my name was drawn to take home a centerpiece, an arrangement of roses and pine in a vase.
The Cat tried to eat those, too.
Before Christmas Eve, I did some last-minute shopping. There also was a small christening for my littlest nephew, Bunny. My SIL's parents were in town, and Younger Sister and her BF arrived at the church in time. It was Bunny's real "first time out"--nothing other than hospital, home, and doctor's office for him prior to that. He was totally mellow about it, and while I didn't get much holding time, I didn't mind, because he was just so small and I was just out of school--I never know if I'm harboring school germs and I'd die if I got my godson sick.
What I did mind, however, was my SIL's friend's surprise that it was my first time seeing him in person. Well, excuse me, but I'm not their best friend and neighbor like her. I work 50+ hours a week and couldn't just dash down to the hospital--and again, I'd been worried about bringing some sort of illness from my students, anyway. I've been nearly banned from their house for even mentioning I was over a cold before, so. . . yeah, I just kept my distance and told them to call if they needed help, which they said they didn't. I think the best friends and neighbors were called on second after my parents.
Call me overly sensitive, but I just get tired of being measured by others' presumptive yardsticks.
In any event, I was allowed to come back to the house to have (non-allergy-friendly) cake. It's pretty wild but Middle Nephew #1 (age 6) is obsessed with comic strip hero Calvin and insisted on reading to me from a book he borrowed from the library. He did ask me to explain some expressions to him, like where Calvin's mom says, "Honestly, Calvin, can you manage to stay in the present for more than a few minutes?" I also pointed out to him that the colored pages were published on Sundays and the black-and-white strips appeared one at a time in the daily newspaper. Daily newspapers are a foreign concept to that generation, I'm sure.
Christmas Eve: Baked like crazy all afternoon, enjoying music on my lovely stereo provided by WXPN--including their annual broadcast of "Striking 12"--before dinner at my cousins'. Watching Niece and Middle Nephews scarf down two to three bowls of spaghetti apiece was a great distraction from the lovey-dovey stuff going on between Younger Sister and her BF. (Don't get me wrong--I like them as a couple and I'm happy for Younger Sister. I mean it. It's just really easy to be conscious of one's own solitary condition at this time of year.)
It turned out the unusual Christmas crackers contained prizes like a mini-stapler and a bottle opener. Weird. But they also had the standard corny jokes and crowns. My one cousin managed to rip his crown in half straight out of the cracker, and a college-age friend of the family remarked, "They spelled 'favorite' wrong." Well, it wasn't wrong if you lived in the U.K. I'm surprised she wasn't aware of that spelling variation. What are they teaching college freshmen these days?
When I got home, I had the rebroadcast of the Midnight Mass in Rome, not to mention The Cat, wondering why we weren't turning in, to keep me company as I wrapped all my presents. Went to bed at 1:15 a.m.
Christmas Day: Mass went well and our choir practices paid off. I still wasn't crazy about singing "O Holy Night" as a group, but it sounded good enough.
Went home, packed up my gifts for my parents' house, and changed into something comfortable. Christmas is a pretty casual affair once Mass is over. Had eggs with Mom, Younger Sister, and YSBF. Well, YSBF's on this bodybuilding diet and made a massive eggs/chicken-sausage sandwich. Yikes. Dad was covering the music at a later Mass at another church for their music director, so naturally he walked in the door just as we were finishing. After Dad had his eggs, we did some present-opening. It was actually pretty fun with just the five of us, not feeling rushed or in the middle of chaos.
My Maiden Aunt flew in about an hour later with my great-aunt the elderly nun, deposited Great-Aunt's things, and left. We were all O.K. with that.
Dinner of course got off to a late start because Mom was holding it for Older Brother, who called to say that he was bringing the older four and that they were in the doghouse for not waiting for Mommy and Daddy to get up this morning. . . Mommy and Daddy came downstairs to find presents opened and strewn everywhere. I mean this with a humorous bent: Part of me is not surprised and even a bit amused.
But hey, we all enjoyed our ham (some enjoyed lasagna as well), and we were joined by my first cousins who made the trip from Ohio with their baby daughter. Ohhhh yes, I had baby-holdin' time aplenty. Then the kids opened their presents (temporary ban on presents having been lifted). Oldest Nephew was thrilled to get from me a gift card to an electronic gaming store, as it turned out he had gotten a gaming system from not one but both sets of parents--so much for the books I also gave him!--and Niece loved her kitty pillow (got a wayyy better deal on it elsewhere) even more after she discovered that kitty's colors matched her jacket. (Very important to little girls, you know.) That was a lucky coincidence.
It's hard to me to choose my favorite gift. The photo book that my mom put together was nice, and the lotion Younger Sister gave me is one of my favorite brands. And I have to give YSBF credit for even getting me anything at all. (He gave me a kitten-a-day calendar; I gave him a nice t-shirt. He's kinda gotten too muscle-y for some of his clothes so I figured he'd appreciate that.)
My week of vacation went by in a blur of visiting with relatives, trivia night (we won! Perfect score on the music round!), a doctor's appointment in NJ (followed by shopping at a special supermarket, where I still managed to forget vegan queso dip), and a last-minute invite to dinner with a recently-rediscovered friend at a soon-to-be-open brewpub.
I have one more day of vacation to finish preparing the apartment for some requested fix-ups and doing my thank-you notes. I hope whatever time you had to enjoy Christmas/New Year's was good!