Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Christmas: Big, massive, stressful, overexcited building... then about eighteen hours later it's done and finished other than (as I happened to notice when I went out first thing) a lot of overstuffed wheelie bins, empty cardboard boxes and dead wine bottles.
It's not like I didn't have a good day, I did... but when I got up first thing yesterday I was struck by this sense of kind of dread I guess... I don't know that I can really put a name to it... but it was that feeling you get when you've been anticipating something and looking forward to it and everything has been building up to it, and then suddenly it's here and you don't have all the anticipation anymore and your brain just has a momentary freakout...
Or is that just me?
Anyway, after that brief moment I took myself off for my walk (yes, even on Christmas!), although it was a slightly truncated version (and slightly earlier than I would normally go, since I set the alarm so I could be out of the house by 6am rather than 6:15 or 6:20 or whatever)... basically I took a bunch of sidestreets instead of the main road to cut down the time, and went over the Morphett Street bridge instead of doing the weir loop. And I really thought that of all days, Christmas Day might just have been the day when I had the whole entire Riverbank walk to myself... and indeed it did look that way... I'd completed about three quarters of my route and hadn't seen a single other walker... and I'm not just talking about people going past me, I'm talking about both sides of the river, and looking up ahead in case I spotted anyone... bubcus! Then a spotted three people within the space of like 5 seconds... two were walking on the opposite side of the river, and just as I spotted them this girl on a bike went past me. But I only saw two other people after that... and what was kind of interesting was that all of them appeared to be women (I'm pretty sure the ones across the river were both women, but I didn't get a close look). I don't know it that says something or not, but it was kinda odd.
After I got home I threw myself in the shower, made with the potions, lotions, fragrance and suchlike, got dressed in my new grey "Christmas" teeshirt with both Chinese characters and "Old English" writing on it (it's kinda groovy, although the English text is really weird) and my scarlet Bonds "Christmas" undies (don't worry, I did also wear both pants AND footwear), had a brief mental breakdown about which of three possible necklaces (at one point I considered wearing all three) to wear... then started on packing up the car.
I did pretty well actually, only really made two trips... one for all the presents (yay giant Ikea paper bags and gift bags with little handles), one with my bag and tripod... so it was around 7:20 or so by the time I whacked Madonna circa Erotica on the CD player, cranked the volume and headed up the road...
Which would have been fine had I not been making an inventory of things in my head and had gotten about five or so minutes down the road when I realised I'd left the box with Ma's calendar in it sitting on the couch... I foolishly moved it as I was picking up all the boxes, thinking I would remember it or notice it or whatever... but no, I left it sitting there, so I had to throw a U turn and go back. As I said to Ma when I rang her very briefly when I home again, it wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't forget something and have to go back for it! Usually though I either only get to the end of the street or the end of the block before I realise... this was a new one.
No harm done though.
I made pretty good time on the drive up to Ma's place... although there was possibly more traffic than I remember from previous years but I got there around 8, give or take five or so minutes. And even more surprising Ma was organised, dressed as she meant to stay dressed (other years we've had the "Christmas morning clothes" followed by the "going out on Christmas morning clothes" followed by the "now back in the house Christmas clothes") and busy organising the Weber in the backyard.
Then followed the traditional "Christmas Morning Faffing About"... but eventually we got organised enough to have breakfast (mmmm croissants and Farmers Union Strong Iced Coffee) and open a couple of presents... mine were this pair of groovy thongs (see photo below) that I only have a very, very slight memory of picking out, but were really comfortable... oh and a scary, scary box FULL of both various kinda of dark chocolate AND Pollywaffles... and I let Ma open her Robbie Williams CD/Collectors DVD parcel.
And then it was time to haul ass up to my cousin's place. So with some brief pre-leaving photography of presents (I should really have done more of it, but to be honest, I kinda lost interest once the concept of opening presents came around) off we went.
All three paintings (Delicate, Princess and Miss Oh Livia) went down well, as did the other bits and pieces I'd gotten the girls. And for what is possibly the first time ever (okay, since at least the Glitter Lamp, and I thought that was lamp when I first opened it, but now I quite like it) my cousin got me a DECENT (and useful and desirable) present! Okay, technically the present was for me AND Ma, but still... we got a $50 Movie Card from Greater Union... which is where we go and see all our movies mostly anyway... plus, hello, Gold Class! I actually did the Happy Dance standing in my cousin's lounge room when I opened it...
As we were doing that whole "long slow, follow us out to the car, protracted goodbye" thing my cousin mentioned that her brother only comes to them for Christmas every other year (don't ask, it's a whole "waspy" we don't speak kinda deal), Ma and I would have to join them for Christmas dinner one year. I made some random nonspecific noises but when I got in the car and was telling Ma about it I think the phrase "like hell" was what came out of my mouth. That's part of the reason we go and see them first thing in the morning, so we don't have to spend a whole lot of time there... so the LAST thing I want to do is stay there for lunch. If I wanted to eat Christmas dinner with a bunch of people I have nothing in common with and am not sure I really like that much, well, I have Second Christmas (later today actually, since I didn't opt out like last year) for that.
I know it's a sweet offer and all but neither Ma nor I is the least little bit interested... we like our small "traditional" Christmases... we can eat what we want, when we want... we can watch or do what we want throughout the day and we're not having to make conversation with people that we see not much more than a couple of times a year. Thanks anyway Cuz.
As we came back to Ma's place and got to the door we had a little bit of a shock, one or other of us had left the back door unlocked and wide open and the flyscreen unlocked. And there was that brief moment of "is this going to be the worst Christmas ever?"... but fortunately all the criminals were too busy opening their own presents so it turned out okay... was a bit of a heartattack moment for a second though.
So once we got over that it was basically time for the Orgy of Presents (okay, with some brief stops for Weber and turkey prep)...
My post unwrapping Christmas present photo seems to get longer and skinnier each year... not sure what that's about...
I somewhat tragically started alphabetising the DVDs as I unwrapped them this year... previous years I've just unwrapped them and stacked them up, then rearranged them for either photo, but this year I figured I would just arrange them once and be done with it (although I will admit, until I was doing something with them this morning, I had X in a whole other spot in the alphabet from where it should have been).
And this year's DVD haul is technically one more than last year's record of 31 titles... okay, I while I actually have 32 cases, two of them are MythBusters episodes... so about the same really.
The newest additions to my DVD library are:
- Alien: Resurrection
- Casino Royale
- Curse of the Golden Flower
- Diamonds Are Forever
- Dick Tracy
- The Family Jewels
- Ferris Bueller's Day Off
- The Geisha Boy
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
- The Golden Girls Season 3
- Grosse Pointe Blank
- Independence Day
- The Libertine
- The Man with the Golden Gun
- Mr. & Mrs. Smith (The Unrated Version)
- MythBusters Volumes 9 & 14
- Outrageous Fortune
- Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
- Pump Up the Volume
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (which we would have watched yesterday had it not been for the fact it has one of those security strip things in it, and when we bought it then never unlocked it, so I can't get into the damn case)
- Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
- Stranger Than Fiction
- Tomorrow Never Dies
- Total Recall
- The West Wing Season 7
- X-Men: The Last Stand
This years calendars didn't come from overseas, I just settled on two I could find here... the really, really disappointing Bodyline Men (two months per page and not a full page image... PFFFT) and the highly cute Happy Tree Friends, which will be the one I end up hanging in the kitchen this year I think.
There's also my new sneakers (which I roadtested today... not bad), some new cookware (so now I'm going to have to clean out my kitchen cupboards along with all the other stuff I want to reorganise before New Years), a couple of new knives (and I didn't know that you're supposed to give money when you give a knife, so you don't "cut" the friendship), a portable tripod (so I don't have to lug Big Bertha everywhere... especially Sydney), some socks (they were cheap when we bought my sneakers), two more teeshirts (I'm wearing the red one as we speak), some cute little paperclips (some little yellow duckies and a batch of knives, spoons and forks)... oh, and for the record, the "War Collection" is actually an empty box that they were giving away at the Sanity store at Marion... Ma was SUPPOSED to use it to put DVD's in... put some ribbon on it, that kinda thing... but no, she just wrapped it up like it was a present... silly rabbit...
I didn't really have any big surprises this year... I mean there were a couple, but mostly the things that surprised me were the things I had actually forgotten had gone into the vast abyss we call "Away For Christmas"... which was nice, because at least I didn't assume what everything was before I'd even opened it.
Ma was pleased with all her stuff... and I did manage to get her with a few little surprises, like the seahorse brooch and one or two other things.
After all the unwrapping and recycling of tissue paper and refolding of bags for next year I set about taking my traditional "Photo of Gifts"... which is becoming more and more and more of a drama in itself (although next year I must remember to just move the couch and turn both lights on in the lounge room before I start)... then swapping them over and taking everything that Ma got.
While Ma was finishing up some of the food prep in the kitchen, I did what I've been doing the last few years and ginchied up the table... although as I said to Ma, it's a very "brown" Christmas table... not helped by the fact that the table itself is brown, but the plates are brownish, the crackers were kind of burgundy and gold, etc. It didn't look bad, just kinda... well, brown really...
With the turkey cookage and whatnot, it was probably about 1:30, maybe 2pm by the time we ate... but lord, oh lord, oh lord...
As I think I said the year before last, I have no doubt that I eat more protein/meat on Christmas day than on any other day of the year, and possibly more than I would normally consume in about a week!
But DAMN it was all fantastic... the turkey was beautifully moist, the sausage meat was cooked to perfection (although, note to self, don't try and cut it thinly with the electric knife next year), the bacon was gorgeously crispy... the vegetables were pretty nice too... although I didn't end up eating that much of them... I couldn't even work myself up to half a cob of corn (which is amongst my favourites)... we did some on the Weber again (mushrooms, potato, capsicum... although we started the potatoes off in the microwave first) and did the rest in the microwave with a little water, kinda steaming them (which is also how I usually do them at home).
Oh and thanks to Andrew putting the idea in my head, we made Yorkshire Puddings this year too... yummmmmm (okay, they were a little too firm, but Ma hasn't made them in ages, and they were still pretty damn good).
After dinner neither of us could really stomach (excuse the pun) any more food, so we didn't bother with dessert (until maybe couple of hours or so later), we just hung out and watched the end of The Grinch (which Ma hadn't seen before, but which I need to get if it comes out cheap somewhere)... which we'd had on as background noise and been sort of half watching during dinner, did the washing up too, that kinda thing... then we watched Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (and that's some nice film restoration work too) followed by Ma's present from her sister, Earth From Above. Now I've seen the book, and it's fairly impressive, all these shots of things from above... but the DVD... less fun really... not the best designed film experience I've ever seen... and the sound designer people needed a big smack. So we managed about 30 minutes of that, which was more than enough.
We'd just started watching one of the Mythbusters DVDs when Ma's sister called and was going to drop by to pick up her presents (she's been at my cousin's place but Ma didn't know she was going to be, and hence hadn't brought her gifts). On the upside the whole visit thing wasn't quite as painful as last year's one, but also mercifully brief, even if we did end up going back to her place with her (well it was only two streets away and I haven't set foot in the place since I was about 17) to "meet" her dog (since Ma and I found some random doggie present thing really, really cheap last January in the sales)... but then it's a dog... so on the whole I'm kinda less interested.
Luckily the visit didn't last long either, then we came back and watched the rest of Mythbusters and I kind of arranged and packed up my stuff while we were doing that because I've seen those particular episodes a few times.
I finally left Ma's place around quarter to 10... got home just after 11 I think, then unpacked all my stuff and faffed about a bit before crashing out at midnight.
And now I have to get my hat, put on my shoes, pick an appropriate CD and haul my ass BACK down to Ma's so we can go along to Second Christmas... *sigh*