Saturday, December 26, 2009

After Christmas ...

I am sitting.

I could be doing a few dishes, but I am sitting. I've puttered around the house this morning, putting things back in their places. Pearl Jam (a k a Eddie Vedder and band) and The Fireman (a k a Paul McCartney and band) are keeping me company. My fabulous bulky scarf from my cousins Patty and Barry is keeping me toasty warm. (He bought the yarn, she knit.)

Today, "getting dressed" entailed pulling on socks and wrapping the scarf around my neck, the accessories to my pajama ensemble. And like this I shall remain. I have nowhere I need to go today. It is snowing. I am happy to stay tucked inside my house and watch a movie or read a book. Or nap. Or all three.

Though I may muster up enough ambition to make bread, only so that I may have more toast. If English Teacher Dave were here, he would say, in a stage whisper and mock-conspiratorial tone, "You know, stores sell bread."

Ah, but they do not sell this bread and this bread makes the most wondrous toast.

That's right: I wrote "wondrous" as a description of toast.

Bake some of the bread. Toast some of the results. And you'll see.

But the bread is merely a possibility in a day of nothing that needs to be done.

I spoke with my mom this morning and she mentioned how nice it is to have a conversation that doesn't center on what needs to be done that day in order to prepare for Christmas.

We love cooking and baking for everyone, but we also love knowing that we're done. For the moment, anyway. It's nice to hit Pause after days of Play.

Momentum, though, is a funny thing. Even as I sit here and revel in the stillness and relative quiet, my brain can't help but spin out thoughts of things I should do. Later, though.

So another Christmas has come and gone. All the hubbub has subsided. Underneath my tree is bare. Gifts given, gifts opened, new things.

On Christmas Eve, my brother and sister-in-law and their kids gave me a Mrs. Beasley doll, which made me misty. I love sentimental presents. I had a Mrs. Beasley when I was young. I still have her, actually. She's in a bin in the basement. But she is missing her glasses. Because when I was young, I really wanted to wear glasses. I don't know why. I guess because I didn't wear glasses, and when you're young, whatever you don't have is what you want. But Mrs. Beasley's glasses wouldn't fit me. So I cut them in half, at the bridge, so I could arrange them in a sort-of fashion on my face.

Mom was not pleased.

So my brother or my sister-in-law found Mrs. Beasley online and bought her and Brian restored her "voicebox" and as I pulled the string on Christmas Eve and listened to Mrs. Beasley, I realized that she and I aren't so different these days. Because she says things that I will soon say, such as, "Speak a little louder, dear, so Mrs. Beasley can hear you."

But this morning, I had an epiphany. As I massaged the stuffing in her arms to restore some body to her shoulders, I pulled the string a few times and one of the things that Mrs. Beasley says is, "Would you like to try on my glasses? You may if you like."


There it is! No wonder I cut Mrs. Beasley's glasses in half! Yes, Mrs. Beasley, I did want to try on your glasses, but they didn't fit me, because I was not the same size as a doll. I'm not blaming Mrs. Beasley. I'm not suggesting that her little polka-dotted, bespectacled self is responsible for my snip of destruction. But it all makes much more sense now, doesn't it?

Anyhoo, Mrs. Beasley is sitting in a chair in the corner of my guest room at the moment. I'm not quite sure where she should make her place in my home just yet. So whilst I ruminate, she'll hang out in there.

I slept at home that night. The crazy weather – Ice-crusted snow! Rain! More rain! Ark-inspiring rain! – left me wondering how my basement would fare, so instead of staying at my folks' house and lying awake all night, thinking, "I hope my basement isn't flooding," I decided to sleep in my own bed.

For the first time in 40 years, I woke up alone on Christmas. In the days leading up to the big dance, I had written to a couple of friends that I would be staying at my parents' house because I couldn't bear the thought of waking up alone on Christmas morning.

Turns out, I can bear it just fine.

The only Christmas decoration in my room is the little ceramic tree that my grandmother used to have in her home. It sits on a base that contains a light bulb and has plastic "lights," almost like Lite-Brite pegs, stuck in some of the holes, while other holes are punched in a garland-like fashion to let the light shine through.

I love colored Christmas lights, though both of my trees are lit with only white. So I slept with my grandmother's tree glowing, which was very cheery.

Mind you, I didn't sleep for long. I went to bed sometime after 1 a.m. and would awake every so often to the sound of the sump pump pumping. And then I'd lie there and listen for it again, to check the interval.

The pump performed. The basement stayed dry. But I got out of bed just after 4 a.m. anyway.

Mom called about 7 a.m. and I headed over there to open presents.

In recent years, I've asked for folks to contribute to charities instead of buying gifts for me. I have so much, more than I need, and I'd prefer to pare back on things, not accumulate more.

But tradition reigns on Christmas. And so me and my mom and dad sat in the living room and exchanged gifts. Mom handed me a big, heavy box. I asked for "nothing" and instead was handed something big and heavy.

As I started to tear off the paper, mom explained that it wasn't a Christmas gift, per se. That it was just "a gift." Her reasoning, I would come to understand, was that what I was opening wasn't something I had asked for nor did it fit into the category of things one might expect to receive for Christmas.

I cleared the paper away. And laughed. On my lap, in its box, was a paper shredder.

But I really have been meaning to get one. Whenever I need to shred anything, I head over to their house. So now I have a shredder of my own.

I also received a really beautiful pashmina scarf, ruby-red with an intricate pattern woven in in black thread. It's very pretty, bordering on fancy, but I will wear it while doing everyday errands, out and about, a festive pop of color near my face in the bleak midwinter.

And I received CDs, including Brandi Carlile and Sting. And the china Christmas mug from which I remember mom drinking her coffee when I was younger. She made sure that that was the last thing I opened. It's very sweet and sentimental. I used it this morning.

We had an incremental breakfast of toast and cookies and little breakfast sausages and cantaloupe and veggies and dip. And we lazed about for a good part of the day, Dad took a nap in the living room. Mom and I set up on the couch in the TV room, chatting while "A Christmas Story" happened on the TV.

After a return home for a few hours to phone my pal Rick and with the intention of taking a nap that never happened, I returned to my folks' house for dinner with my other brother, who was coming from work.

We ate a carboriffic dinner and then retired to the living room for more gift-giving. Paul gave me the Pearl Jam and The Fireman CDs as well as two seasons of "House" on DVD. I hugged them to my chest. Hours and hours of Hugh Laurie!

I was home just after 10 p.m., happy to be home on a snowy night. Happy to head off to bed and sleep at last.

Which I did. Uninterrupted. For many hours. Heaven.

It is still snowing. A neighbor from across the street popped by for a bit with a little Christmas treat, some muffins and a box of Turtles. We sat by the tree and chatted. And now she's off to make another delivery and I have returned to my keyboard and wrapped up this post just as my laptop battery is beginning to wind down.

I wonder what I'll do next.


Blogger Natalie810 said...

Oh, the glasses!! I laughed out loud. Especially because Mrs. Beasley told you to do it.

8:42 AM  

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