a Holiday Pictorial

First and foremost, thanks to everyone for your kind words on Saturday. The funeral arrangements are finalized; they’re…a little unusual, but then, so was Gail.

We were with my family for Christmas Eve festivities this year, and I learned something that I really should have guessed: my grandmother is an Uno shark. Oh, sure, she’s over 80 and blind in one eye, and she’ll you that she can’t tell the blue cards from the green, but don’t think that will stop her from trouncing you and anyone else at the table. Ooooh, no.  When I was very little, she and my grandfather and three of their closest couple-friends used to play cards – canasta mostly, and rook – on the weekends, sometimes till wee hours of the morning at our kitchen table. We had a little bar-like area in the family room of that house and I used to set myself up there with water, soda, and a bucket of ice and serve as “bartender” till I had to go to bed. Should’ve known her deprecating demeanor was just hiding her card hustling skills. Last night she and I and John played game after game of uno till nearly midnight.

But before all that, there was dinner and playing with the pets and opening presents and…general happy togetherness. Fantastic evening.

This is actually a shot of the sunset, taken from the car on the way to my mom’s house. I just thought the clouds looked neat.

The living room hearth, from the front door. my grandmother made all those stockings; there’s one for me and for my grandfather as well. I was teasing mom about mine; “What, I get married and suddenly I don’t rate a stocking anymore?” 

This tree is probably as old as I am. I’m amazed we still have all those little red lights. I used to like the glow of it at night.

The tree!

The dining room – bit blurry and lacking in focus, but with yummy warm ambient light.

Dining room with better focus, but harsher lighting.

My grandmother and my uncle in the kitchen, just before dinner.

These are tiny Ritz cracker-and-peanut butter sandwiches, hand-dipped in white chocolate. My grandmother used to recruit me and my grandfather to dip things for her, while she kept the chocolate warm. (It hardens when it cools.) Pretzels and peanut-butter-cracker sandwiches and caramel-nut clusters, in white and dark chocolate – used to be quite a big production. 🙂 I initiated John into the process this year.

Lilly in her favourite spot, perched on the back of a chair.

Arthur in his favourite spot; hiding under a table in front of the door, waiting to sneak out.

Mom and Ceridwen, playing fetch with her Christmas Octopus.

Mom and Grandmother, opening presents.

My uncle, opening presents. He needs less help when things are in bags, but it’s fun watching him work out the best way to open the paper-wrapped ones too. 🙂

John, being inordinately happy about a box of pocketed t-shirts.

Aaaaand me, in front of the tree.

Our mantle. I remain ridiculously proud of the hand-embroidered Cobra stocking.

Tree! Happy to have found a new use for my pretty wooden five-point star.

More decorations older than me. They’ve been my favourites for as long as I can remember, so mom gave them to me this year. I used to sneak them out of the cupboard to play with them; in all these years, only one has really been broken, and it wasn’t even by me!! 

Ivy and ice cicle lights and wreath on our front porch.

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