I am taking the WHOLE WEEK OFF next week and am looking forward to a wonderful staycation.
On Xmas eve we always go out in the White Couch (our ridiculously long old Lincoln) to see Xmas lights and make in person contributions to local food banks. We'll also watch Its a Wonderful Life and the Alistair Sims version of A Christmas Carol sometime around 12/23 or 12/24.
My husband's sister and her husband are visiting us on Xmas. There's also the incredible Eggs Benedict with something wonderful (salmon, lobster, crab, spinach have all starred) instead of ham my husband makes for me on Xmas morning each year, followed by the present opening tradition. I am sure watching the parade on TV will get in there somewhere too.
Not taking any days off- we get 12/24, 12/25, 12/31, 1/1. So I'll be working! Hopefully it will be quiet and I can do some cleanup work. No huge plans for the holidays- church, of course, and a few parties here and there. I really just want to REST. I'm so tired. Holiday fun officially begins once I finish my last final tonight!
On Sunday I'm going to the farm shop to buy food for Christmas. I brought back some Mexican spices from the States so I'm making puerco pibil for Christmas Day (without the banana leaves).
I'm at work on Monday, in the office from 7am for a full day. Booo! But on Monday night I'm going to a Christmas concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Hooray!
I'm also at work on Christmas Eve, again from 7am, but am hoping to finish early, before 4 if possible. We're very busy, so it might be a late finish.
Christmas Eve will be spent cooking, making the pork dish, which needs to be slow-cooked over a few hours. I'm also making a trifle, for which I brought back some Jello Vanilla Pudding from the States.
Christmas Day will be a quiet one, but I've been invited over to a friend's house later on. I bought myself Cards Against Humanity (UK edition) for my Christmas gift, so I'll take that with me.
On Boxing Day, weather permitting, I'm going for a walk round Fairlop Waters with a friend. Then I'll see what football is on TV and have a day watching TV.
Not sure what I'm doing on Friday, I'm not at work. I'll see who's around to meet up for lunch. Probably the piano bar on Friday night.
I have to work Monday, but then I'm off until January 2nd. Seems like it will be a solo Christmas Eve and Day, and there may be an ICE STORM this weekend to complicate the last of my grocery shopping, but I have a stack of books so I'm ready for anything. On Christmas Day I'm making a lentil and sausage stew in the slow cooker. Never tried it before, we'll see what happens.
Don't want to be negative here, so I won't mention all the bad things going on (mostly pointing towards the crippling loneliness issues). Been listen to Handel's Messiah over and over, all four versions that I own, and that makes me happy.
I've got to work Sunday, Monday, and Thursday, but luckily I have Tuesday and Wednesday off this year. I'm doing sunrise mimosas with my sisters Sunday morning before work (which is our Yule tradition). There's a hafla on Saturday that I'm probably going to go to and then a party in Baltimore that evening that I have to at least make an appearance at (although I won't be there very long since I do have to work Sundays).
I'm still waiting on some stuff for holiday presents, but I did manage to mail out my MeCha cards today!
Working Monday and Tuesday, although people have been secreting various types of booze in their desks the last few days, so I suspect I'll actually be 'working'. It's a bit of a tradition from our former employer that we've imported and which is somewhat at odds with many of the teams here. Kind of similar to the endless stream of photos on our Intranet from Christmas lunches held by other teams but none from ours, which has people confused. There's only one rule for our Christmas lunch that becomes a drunken afternoon that becomes dinner then more drinking with varying degrees of inappropriate behaviour mixed all the way along - what goes on at that event stays at that event and photos are not allowed.
Anyway, off work from Christmas Day and pick the kids up in the afternoon for a couple of days with them. Departing from what they've been used to for gifts with their mother in charge (many presents, lots of cheap crap) and have bought them a couple of awesome but expensive gifts instead. Hope they appreciate them. Then don't go back to work until 3 February :-). Oh, except a few hours on 2 January to do a hand-over with my temp replacement due to a scheduling mishap.
Saturday, going to our usual Solstice party/ritual. It is the only chance, usually, that I get to play music with others. So looking forward to it.
Daughter and her partner are coming down from Portland on Christmas Eve and staying that night. So a regular Christmas day, with gifts, dinner, etc.
Then maybe driving down to LA the next day, or maybe not. Have not decided yet. I have not told my family yet about maybe driving down there. Which is weird, but we really have not decided whether we are going or not.
Nothing out of the ordinary until Christmas Eve. Then we'll drive down to Noblesville in the afternoon to do presents with our daughter and her husband. They're newlyweds and this will be a first for us. After that, we'll all drive over to Zionsville for the traditional get-together at my cousin's home in the evening. Chirstmas day is still up in the air. It might actually be the first Christmas morning my wife and I will spend alone in 26 years. I'm good with that, but I suspect she will shed more than a few tears over it.
We did our personal celebration last night, for the solstice. Yummy dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and then gift exchange.
Today I still have final presents to wrap, cookies to make (hopefully), and one present to make for my Grandmother - I want to make her a recliner arm bag, a bag with pockets that will go over the arm of her recliner for her to put her remote and lotion and stuff in.
Our niece is coming to stay with us Mon-Christmas, and we're taking her shopping on Monday (eep!) and then baking cookies on Christmas eve, and then Christmas! My dad and grandmother will be coming over for lunch and presents, and my mom if she makes it back from my sisters. Otherwise, we'll meet her somewhere with my niece and her accumulated haul of stuff. ha.
I'm off Mon-Thurs, although I brought work home to do. Thursday I have a doctor's appointment in the morning, which I'm pretty happy about, as I don't have to take off for it! It's just a general checkup/get prescriptions reissued appointment, since we change insurance and mail order pharmacies.
Next weekend we head to Huntsville to see Mr. N's family, and some of his friends.
Rest. Knock out the rest of this miserable cold/bronchitis. I made it through work last week, but it wasn't easy. I'm really looking forward to taking it easy this week. Lots of naps (just call me Mrs. Excitement). Get the place straightened up, catch up on some paperwork, visit my mom later in the week. Jon has to work (the curse of retail), so traveling's out (his family's in Maine).
I am planning a nice Christmas dinner -- rack of lamb, smashed red potatoes, and sautéed asparagus. I've never made rack of lamb before, but it was on sale, and when I looked up recipes, it seemed pretty easy (I may need a meat thermometer, though). I'm also attempting what I think is my mom's baked rice pudding. Her recipe notes are a bit sparse (I took pictures of a bunch of her recipes -- she was a fabulous cook -- I thought were lost when the house was cleaned out and sold), but I found one online I think matches. So custardy and yummy, I hope it works. I'll check a couple details with her, too (6 whole eggs, or 4 and 2 yolks?), but she says she forgot how to cook. I tell her, at 98, she's allowed to retire (as good a cook as she was, she never really liked cooking).
Maybe I'll go into Manhattan one day, walk around, see the tree. New Year's eve we like to stay in. Jon picks up a bunch of goodies -- pate, cheeses, smoked fish, etc. -- and maybe we'll watch a movie or two. Try to stay awake for the ball to drop. 2014. Hard to believe--
We kicked off the holiday festivities hosting a dinner party last evening for our close friends. That was nice, but I am a little hungover this morning. It's a good hangover, though, well worth it. Tomorrow we head to my husband's parents house at the beach, where we spend every Christmas. We'll be down there for five days, and I am in charge of all meal preparation this year. My father in law has officially retired from cooking (like Pips' mom), but I suspect he will stay on in some advisory capacity. I have to hit up Whole Foods in the morning before we leave to pick up things I can't get at the beach.
This afternoon I will drop off presents for my friends I won't see again before Christmas. I am bummed that I am developing a cold, and can't go to the hospital to visit my little friend who is back in the BMT ward with an intractable fever, poor little dude.
Hugs to all who need them, especially mightshould and melismata. The holidays can be such a melancholy affair. I have found myself in tears on more than one occasion, but luckily, the good outweighs the bad for me this year.
Next week Tuesday, we will be hosting a New Year's Eve party. Everyone brings their kids, and we set the clocks ahead by two hours and ring in the new year at ten. Some of the older kids have finally caught on to our trick, but we've enlisted them to help keep the younger kids in the dark.
Today I baked butter cookies (and I'm so proud of myself. I'm a timid baker - I'm always afraid of ruining things. But this time I found a recipe online, and tweaked it a little, and WOW they came out great!!) I also made Oreo truffles (those, though I've made them before, didn't come out quite as great as before). I'll be working tomorrow and Tuesday. This year, my family is rather exhausted so my sons and I will be having a quiet, lazy Christmas (they've never been early risers, even on Christmas). Next Sunday we'll get together with my mom and her boyfriend and my brother and his wife. For some reason, it just doesn't feel like the holiday season to me.