14, Boy-O, Christmas cheer, Christmas dinner, Christmas stockings, cooking, death, family, Family Gift Giving Day, grief, Guru, How Bernadette's People Saved Christmas, Johnsy, Kathy, LaDiva, Mariah, Mom, New Year's Day party, Sae, The Duchess
Have I mentioned lately how much I love my friends and family? I definitely don’t say it enough, but it’s true. They’re so good to me. Here I was, prepared to grit my teeth through Christmas, not feeling the cheer but willing to be (sniff) brave about it (me? Drama Queen? No!), and they go and make Christmas good. I’m so grateful to them, particularly my Guru, who gave me my first hug of sympathy and the Christmas present I really needed, and La Diva, who’s been wonderful all the way through this last year. I didn’t take advantage of her support nearly as much as I could have, but it was an amazing comfort just to know that it was there, that there was at least one person who knew how I felt. And then there’s Boy-O, who made Christmas decorating, um, aromatic, and Johnsy, who did my dishes for me when I was so fried from writing about Aquinas that I couldn’t move. It was How Bernadette’s People Saved Christmas, and I’m so grateful.
What helped the most, though, was that 14 called on Christmas Eve. I can’t say how good it was to hear from him. I haven’t talked to him voice to voice since at least early August. I’ve missed him a lot. He got online, read about my Old Roommate’s death, and called me as soon as he could. I was at my parents’ house decorating, and promptly abandoned the broom I’d been sweeping with on the kitchen floor to hide in my parents’ bedroom upstairs and talk to him. It wasn’t long enough. He had to go eat lunch, and then when he called after lunch he had to talk to Sae and The Duchess and my mother before he could get to me again (they had been very scandalized that 14 didn’t asked to speak to them in the first place). By then we only had another ten minutes before he had to get off. Still, it was good. Really good. It’s funny – I was thinking about all the times things were bad, and 14 made them better just by being there. He did that for me again this Christmas. And then, after talking to him I was in such an infectiously silly mood that decorating went more smoothly and cheerfully than it has in a long time. When I finally left my parents’ to get ready for midnight Mass my stomach felt like I’d been doing crunches from all the laughter.
Christmas Day was very good too. Stocking were wonderful. Mariah’s been doing them for the last couple of years. She has a genius for fitting just the right gift to just the right person for the optimal mix of silly and serious. This year Boy-O got a gift pack of Bod For Men fragrance stuff in Really Ripped Abs scent. No, really, that’s what it’s called. It was amazing. Plus, there was a cartoon version of a Bod commercial on the back. Of course, we had to do a dramatic reenactment. How could we resist? So awesome. After stockings I headed back home for a lightning cooking session with Johnsy. We made Chicken Stuffed Under The Skin from the Cafe Beaujolais Cookbook, one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. No matter what you make from that book it always comes out decadently, wonderfully, amazingly good. For this recipe you saute a mixture of onions, garlic, shredded mushrooms and summer squash until everything is caramelized and lovely, then mix it with cream cheese, Parmesan, and herbs. You force the mixture in between the skin and the meat of a chicken, then roast everything until it is succulently done. Then you feast. We stuffed and roasted four chickens, and had just enough to feed everyone to bursting and still have some leftovers for the next day. There was also a large bowl of stuffing left over, which Johnsy and I just left in our refrigerator for our own, private delectation. Mmmmm. So good.
So it’s been a good Christmas, and I have hopes of more good things to come. We’re going to have our Family Gift Day on Sunday, and then the big New Year’s Day Party. My Aquinas paper is a hairsbreadth from being done. 14 said he put a letter in the mail to me, so hopefully I’ll have that soon. Things are good.