Christmas was wonderful.
We spent our morning tearing through the wrappings—wrappings the equivalent of a small forest— a small gaily decorated forest.
And yes, I realize the picture is blurry.
I hadn't had my morning java yet. Besides, I never claimed to be Dooce, you know.
We showered each other in materialistic signs of our love for each other.
My daughters gave me jewelry, bubble bath and lots of scarves. Perfect for wrapping up my turkey neck.
Here's my Hubby reading the book my sister gave him, entitled Stuff Every Man Should Know.
He claims he already knew everything in that book.
I wouldn't be surprised. He's a total MacGyver. I watched him, once, take apart a broken digital camera, weld some kind of wire in there, close it back up and bam, the thing was working again.
He can also sew which is a very good thing, otherwise the buttons that fall off around here would be safety pinned back into place.
He does not, however, know what to do with crying females. And you would think he would by now, surrounded in estrogen for all these years.
And our Delilah prefers lounging with a pillow beneath her head. The phrase, it's a dog's life, has a completely different meaning in our house.
He also got a brush from our daughters, one that they blinged out especially for him with a note.
The poor man has to tie his hairbrush to his drawer in order to keep a brush on hand.
Let's see how long the bedazzled one lasts without a string.
The girls also decided to buy him this "Frageelaaay" leg lamp. Later I discovered they "bought" this lamp with the change from the cash I gave them to pick up a few more last minute Christmas gifts for me.
And of course, just like the movie, they put it in one of the front windows.
Every year, I buy my Hubby a new t-shirt to add to his t-shirt collection. Here's his newest:
The pups got enormous bones that lasted all about five minutes.
As you can tell, we are very diligent about picking up our wrapping paper as soon as we unwrap.
The girls got a lot of sparkle, heaps of clothes which will soon find their rightful place on their floors, makeup, shoes and all things girlie. But the most popular gift of all, was the cotton candy maker Julia received. And even though it was Julia's gift, it was a big hit with the whole crowd. The cousins from their 20's on down were all enthralled with this fluff machine, which by the way, makes cotton candy out of hard candy. How cool is that!
I, too, got clothes and sparkly things, but my favorite gift by far was this:
A new baby! And yes, that is our scrambled eggs and bacon in the background. As you can see, we are also very diligent about cleaning up right after breakfast.
My new baby was a replacement for my beloved other child. Believe it or not, I have only had this computer for a few years.
When I tell you I write hard, I mean it.
And for those of you who've been with me awhile, yes, I also have an iPad, but for a writer, an iPad just doesn't do the trick.
I went outside to the duck compound to see if they'd gotten anything. Apparently, crapping all over creation warrants no Christmas presents.
This picture makes me start singing in my head, "Do they know it's Christmas time at all?"
Poor, stupid crapping ducks.
I spent a good part of my day cooking and doing a bang up job if I may say so myself. I may not cook a lot but when I do, watch out! And I mean that in a good kind of watch out. Kind of like an Emeril, BAM, watch out!
I won't go into any recipes today, because this is not a food blog, it is a "Watch Joann make an ass out of herself on a regular basis" kind of blog. But I will say this, I love my stuffing. It's a Giada recipe, that you can find right here.
The only downside to this stuffing is it requires steamed, jarred chestnuts and I don't know about your part of the country, but here in Podunk they're as hard to find as white Bengal tigers. I finally tracked them down at one grocery store, but they were approximately one million dollars a jar. And I needed two jars since my family is as overpopulated as China.
I said to the bagboy who led me to the chestnuts, "You're kidding me, right?" And he said, "I wish I was. It's totally bogus."
And I could only agree. And so I left those bogus chestnuts and searched high and low for jarred chestnuts that I would not have to sell off our stock portfolio to purchase. In Publix, I spotted a display that said, A British Christmas. I have no idea if the Brits use a lot of steamed, jarred chestnuts at Christmas time, but in my head I heard, "Please Suh, I want some more . . . steamed, jarred chestnuts." I scurried over to the bright cardboard shelves. There were no chestnuts on the Brit display, but the Brits seem to have a real hankering for Spotted Dick.
I know it's a legit food item, but I don't care, it still gave me an adolescent boy chuckle in my frenzied search for chestnuts.
I ended up buying those bogus chestnuts for two million plus some pocket change in tax.
I'm sure I'm the only person in America and possibly the U.K. who had a million dollar stuffing on my table.
As I was toiling away, creating a Christmas feast, my Hubby's uncle stopped by.
He's called Uncle, just Uncle, by the family because he's their only uncle. I guess it was too much exertion for all of them to have to enunciate his name, John, after the word Uncle? So Uncle it is.
Uncle is a playah in his senior citizen community. He is one of, I think, three men still standing over there in the town my Hubby and I refer to as Sin City. Uncle is 85. He likes his women about 55, because he can be that picky in Sin City. And because he is loving the taste of bachelor life since he just broke up with his girlfriend of 45 years.
I am not kidding you.
And for the record, this is one of the worst pictures of me of all times. My sister gave me that gorgeous shirt for Christmas, but for some reason, in this picture it makes me look 400 pounds. And I am not 400 pounds, well at least I wasn't in this picture. I hadn't eaten dinner yet. And I'm not even going to talk about my half closed eyes drunken expression. I hadn't even opened the wine yet.
I only included this shot so you can see, Internet, how adorable Uncle is. He truly is one of the most prized people in my life. He is sweet and charming and up for anything. He makes sure he meets everyone in the room at a party. He sincerely thanked every police officer he and my Hubby passed on their way out of the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day. He was the first one on the dance mat when we got Dance, Dance Revolution a few years back. He told a young teenage friend of ours the other day that her long eyelashes were simply stunning. He loves the Phillies. He got a baseball cap for Christmas with a light under the brim. He told me it is one of his favorite gifts of all time. The other night at dinner, his bridge broke and he pulled out his teeth to show everyone. He never, ever complains and keeps up with us young uns with such zeal.
One time, he thought he was being helpful and he washed and dried a basket of clothes in my laundry room. It was my dry cleaning basket. My hubby found him taking my now miniature sweaters out of the dryer. He knew how upset I would be, so my Hubby had Uncle put my sweaters on while he pulled and pulled on those sweaters, hoping it would stretch them out. That night, I came home from work and changed into one of those sweaters. When I announced the sweater felt a little snug, they laughed until the tears came rolling down their faces.
That's our treasured, darling Uncle.
This shot will give you a grasp of his height. I claim 5'4" like Tom Cruise claims 5'9". So . . . you can just imagine the pip squeakiness of Uncle. Don't look at me and my hideousness.
Here, one of my girls thought they would be hilarious and write this on my kitchen pig. We are just full of the funny around here. And we do love our bacon.
And this is my gorgeous red-haired nephew, Matthew, with the gun one of my brothers gave him. Matthew is all boy with a capital B and he's been insisting lately that his mom sculpt his fiery red hair into a mohawk.
I'm not sure Matthew's mom loved the gun, but Matthew sure did. He announced after he opened it, "Oh-oh, I better give this to my dad because it's a real gun."
What can I say. We are a family of bad asses.
Here's just a few of the baked goods. Notice we are an equal opportunity holiday people. The Jewish stars are there for my sister Beth who converted and now has two beautiful little Jewish girls to show for trading religions. I can say that right? I mean, it's not like I'm being anti-semitic. We love the Jews. Isn't it evident in our baked goods?
This is just a few of the folks helping themselves to the Christmas feast. Notice the chocolate milk. A holiday without chocolate milk in my family would be considered a sacrilege to all the generations.
Here's another shot that kind of gives you idea how long my kitchen island is. It's about the length of the Nile and it's perfect for entertaining my overpopulated Catholic family. I think someone was standing on a counter to get this shot. Also, notice how my daughters have an innate sense whenever a picture is about to be taken.
I have no idea.
My Hubby's first go round. Notice the most important ingredient of his meal. And if you guessed the turkey skin hanging off his plate that he nabbed before anyone else could get it, you would be wrong.
Yes, it is the large format bottle of wine he is holding.
We had lots and lots of folks and I took many pictures of them all, but this post is far too long and so I'll just enclose one token shot. Here's a gaggle of youth, conversing in the hallway. It's my niece Erin, my daughter, who sensed a camera about to be snapped and family friend Christopher who was home from Dartmouth. Go Christopher!
Dinner was fabulous and a good time was had by all. Of course, we had to eat everything that was on our plate because Matthew of the real gun, was making sure of it.
And here's my Hubby the marksman, teaching Matthew the proper way to handle a gun by never pointing it at anyone, fake or not. By the way, at Matthew's preschool conference, the teacher knew all about my Hubby because it seems Matthew talks about him every day. It's because Matthew loves his Uncle's lawn mower and industrial leaf blower.
A picture of my chandelier. Just because I like it.
It was a good Christmas, a little too good Christmas for some of us. Too much turkey in mah belly.
The dogs were done in by Christmas.
And yes, that's a heap of Christmas crap on the chaise in the corner. I did manage to clear that mess out by New Year's.
But forget the mess, look at that picture. That is what I sleep with every night. As you can see, my horse hounds take up most of the king sized bed. I find myself every night, curled up in a tight, fetal position as the dogs stretch out their limbs. I think I'm on my way to a whopping case of scoliosis.
And to end this way too long post, here's Sophie of the Shirley Temple curls and Tori in their best Christmas pose while Bella looks on:
And my favorite Santa in my Santa collection. He's carved out of pecan shells and I love his expression, he has this beautiful sadness about his face.
I think he's sad because he knows he's about to be packed away into a dark box in a broiling attic for the rest of the year. But don't you worry Santa, I'm all about leaving my Christmas out for as long as possible. You've still got a few weeks left of sunshine.
And there you have it. Our blurry Christmas. I hope your holidays were not too blurry and full of joy and delight and love and chocolate milk.
Today's Definite Download: We have to start the New Year out right, so today it's U2's "Gloria".
This is a song that made the world wake up and listen to these four boys from Dublin. I was already in love with their glorious sound and their frontman with his sapphire eyes, booming voice and kicky mullet. It is a song of praise for the Lord above because U2's music has always been swathed in their Christianity. But for today, for me, it is a dedication.
"If I had anything, anything at all, I'd give it to you."
To our neighbors, our best friends, our partners in business and in life as we go along, raising our children and doing the best we can down our paths.
We had an impromptu evening the other night. They wandered over, a common event. The wine was poured. The kids followed their parents over. Our combined six kids did what they have done all their lives, they hung together. The younger ones started a scavenger hunt. The older ones made plans for the night. The doorbell rang constantly. My girls' cousins floated in and out. Teenage friends stopped by. Our neighbors' teenage friends came over, big strapping boys who decided to escort my tiny oldest daughter out to a club. The stuff of the usual around here. And as the wine was poured and the night grew longer, and the chaos and laughter continued, my in-laws and Uncle sat around the kitchen table with us. Uncle loved it. He said it reminded him of his childhood and the big, Italian extended family he grew up in. His sister, (my mother-in-law) and my father-in-law did not, in any way, appreciate the bustle and chaos.
In the morning, my in-laws were packed and headed out the door. They said they were going to spend the next two weeks over at Uncle's. My mother-in-law said it would be better this way, more peace and quiet.
"Gloria". For my other family across the way and the chaos that circumscribes our lives. I put this song on my iPod yesterday and danced through my house in a punk rock frenzy. We are loud and irreverent and our houses are a constant buzz of teenagers and life and I wouldn't have it any other way.
One of my readers mentioned the other day that they weren't very familiar with much of the music I suggest. So, I've decided in this new year to post a link to each of my downloads. Here is Gloria, from 1981, when these Irish lads were just babies and Edge had hair. Stick with it until the end. Bono's booming voice belting out Gloria towards the close, will have you bopping about, too. Enjoy.
Posted by Joann Mannix at 10:18 AM
Labels: Bella, bono, company, family, hair, Ireland, Lovely Daughters, puppies, teeth, The Hubby, wine, writing