I am not Christian–not even a little bit. But I love nativities. Every couple of years I remind Will that I really want a handmade wooden one, but of course they are not cheap.
This year, my in-laws downsized, and they sent us a few things they knew we’d love.
My father-in-law traveled a lot for work.
My mother-in-law accumulated quite a collection of lovely little nativities.
These are nativities too.
We are having a lovely, quiet holiday season this year.
Until Sunday, I had a pretty bad case of the grumps because Will and I couldn’t afford to buy each other presents. I was feeling pretty lousy, especially because I worked my ass off on sewing commissions to pay for Christmas but the children come first, of course. I mean, that wasn’t even a question. But sometimes being the grownup is no fun.
Then my dad’s gift–cash–arrived and we split it up to spend on each other.
We made our traditional Christmas Eve pizza. This year’s came out so good that Grace devoured hers down to the crusts. I use the olive oil dough from Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day (I have the older edition and a case of the wants for this one), and this year I bought Trader Joe’s jarred sauce instead of making it from scratch (I could barely tell the difference). I made Sam a loaf of bread from the same dough, because he is horrified by pizza. (He doesn’t like cheese or foods touching. Pizza is a nightmare.)
Sam scored bigtime, with a new watch, his very own camera, video games, and lots of other stuff. But his favorite gift seems to be the two Jeff Smith comic books we bought him, Tall Tales and Rose. He loves Bone the most of everything on earth and was so excited to find out there are more stories in that world.
This pictures shows Grace’s fifth or sixth setup of the day. She immediately integrated her new toys in with her already-beloved things, except for her new rainbow blocks which CANNOT BE USED TOGETHER WITH THE BROWN BLOCKS, SO DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, BUSTER.
I’ve been a little quiet lately. Allow me to illustrate why.
Grace spent all day demanding my attention pretty much nonstop. She can get very anxious and clingy. I am exhausted.
Tonight, after kicking me out, sobbing that she needed alone time, she called me back into the smallest room in the house to ask me if you play bongos with sticks. When I said no, you play with your hands, she burst into tears. “But I want to play bongos with sticks!” I told her that she can do whatever she likes, and she brightened up and told me she’d borrow the sticks from her glockenspiel. My protests that we don’t own bongos fell on deaf ears.
And that pretty much sums up every day of my life.
My friend Liz, who shares my interest in Thorin Babenshield, said there ought to be a dwarf-themed advent calendar, and so I have made one! Enjoy.
(I will activate each link as we get to the day. This is about as low-tech as a digital advent calendar gets, so bear with me please.)
So…I cancelled Thanksgiving. I mean, not for everyone else. But I am not cooking.
The main reason is the paramedics who checked me out on Saturday night, and I don’t mean they thought I was cute. (I mean, maybe they did? But probably not.)
I’d worked all day at a roller derby tournament. I ate and hydrated (though I maybe could have hydrated more) but around 10:00 I very abruptly felt like I was going to fall asleep immediately. My friends helped me lie down and got the in-house medical staff, who determined that I had zero blood pressure. Someone called Will, and someone else called 911, and more paramedics showed up. (What up, Dan O’Bannon zombies.) I was hooked up to an EKG, which determined that I was probably not having a heart attack. The dizziness passed and my blood pressure went back up to normal-ish. At that point, I just felt tired, so I declined a ride to the hospital, where I know from experience you can’t get any sleep, and went home.
I feel…not great, but not terrible. I’ve decided to avoid driving or going very far from home without another adult for a few more days. (Grace is angling for a trip to Starbucks. I might try it. It’s only four blocks.)
So, I need to find a doctor. I haven’t had one for a few years. Ugh, what a drag.
I’m a little sad about not making this amazing feast, but not at all sad about not doing the actual work of making this feast, since making rice yesterday was a little challenging. Hi, I need a break. Anyway, I thought the menu was pretty excellent and wanted to share it.
Cornbread dressing with onion and sage
Baked macaroni & cheese
Dinner rolls (I was going to buy these)
Roasted Brussels sprouts
Pumpkin pie with whipped cream
Applejack (homemade apple-cinnamon whiskey)
Man, now I’m really hungry.
We are still making mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, and pumpkin pie. Will is going to have a steak and I am going to have macaroni and cheese that I bought at the store. (Actually, Will bought it at the store.) The children can have anything they want.
LOW STRESS HOLIDAYS. Let’s make it a thing.
(Also, there’s more applejack for us this way. Ha.)
That was a very difficult three hours.
Dot was on the bedroom windowsill, where Grace has never before put a toy. It was a total fluke that I found him at all–she was helping me put some craft supplies away and I gave her a little butterfly bracelet that was in with my beads. She decided she didn’t want to wear it, and I went to put it away. I saw one of her necklaces laid out on the windowsill, and when I moved the curtain to pick it up I spotted Dot.
In the interim, I discovered (with a lot of googling) that Dot is a Beanie Baby named Hydrant. I am filing this information away in case anything ever happens to Dot, so we can get his “sister” for Grace. (I would never try to pull a switcheroo on her. She is too smart.)
Grace’s favorite toy is missing. She doesn’t know yet.
We realized after the children were in bed that we hadn’t seen Dot, Gracie’s stuffed puppy and constant companion, since we got home from hiking this afternoon. She and Sam (and Dot) took the stairs while Will and I took the elevator. Grace was carrying Dot and her jacket.
We don’t remember seeing Dot at any time after that, so we assume she dropped him and didn’t notice because she still had her jacket.
We checked the stairs, all the landings, the car, all around the car, our entire apartment, and even the dumpsters. No Dot.
I made signs and put them on every landing, describing Dot and asking for his return. Surely he was picked up by a neighbor’s child. But what if they don’t see the signs? Or don’t care?
I can’t remember ever feeling this devastated over anything. My stomach is in a knot thinking about how Grace will feel tomorrow. I’ve cried twice and I’m pretty sure a third time is imminent.
Autumn has always been my favorite season, so it’s been very confusing to feel discontent every fall since I moved to LA. But I finally realized–I just hate fall here. Northeast autumn is for me, southwest spring is the place to be. (Sorry, I saw the rhyme coming but I couldn’t do anything to stop it.)
It’s been 90+ degrees and hurt-your-eyes bright and sunny for the last week. I have hated every minute of it (driving is particularly painful). Today is is in the 60s and was a little rainy earlier and I feel SO MUCH BETTER.
I always call bullshit when someone tries to claim that SoCal has no seasons. We do. But this one kinda stinks.
Sam: Hey, what is that picture?
Me: That is for Assassin’s Creed. It’s a video game, but it’s for grown-ups.
Sam: YOU are a grown-up!
Me: Yes, but I am not very good at video games.
Sam: You aren’t?!?!?!
Me: Well, I don’t play a lot of video games. It is hard to be good at something you don’t do much.
Sam: Oh, like practice!
Sam: Mom, when I am sixteen years old, I will practice to drive, right?
Sam: And I will keep practicing until I am a man, not a little kid, right?
Me: Um. Well, sixteen is much closer to being a man than a little kid.
Sam: Oh. Okay.