So then it was CHRISTMAS EVE. I arose and finished making plum pudding and then fruitcake (this batch made 36 muffin-sized, perfect for taking to people's houses and easy to eat) and then I wrapped. and then I had a cup of tea, and then I wrapped. And then I was going to have another cup of tea, but it was three pm and I had intended to drop fruitcakes off at the deli before it closed at four, to say nothing of arriving in Boston by about two pm. Or three. Four at the latest.
I got the last dishes washed and the last package wrapped just before three-fifteen and drove as quickly as seemed feasible. I reached the deli at ten to four, just in time to give fruitcakes and serious "Merry Christmas!" wishes as they were taking off their aprons and closing down. Then I drove to Boston, which I reached about half-past five, just as the OBD, her boyfriend, and the ex were also arriving at my parents'. All of us seemed tired.
My father makes cassoulet for Christmas Eve. There seemed to be more bacon in it than usual; delicious. (The OBD has a small meat-free dish). For dessert, we have sweet chestnut puree with whipped cream, and then we try to open presents. People seemed pleased with their gifts (I was, certainly), even though my parents received Smartwool irregulars instead of handmade socks.
The daughter and I staggered off to the ex's, where the OBD talked Toby out from under the bureau. Apparently he and my ex's cat Shenzi are both omega kitties; when they encounter one another, my ex says, they compete to see who can get away fastest. It isn't quite that bad.
Christmas Day dawned. Toby made sure we were awake at a reasonable hour (Shenzi is more decorous). My ex put the roast beast into the oven and we had tea and mince pies and fruitcake for breakfast (my ex thinks about 500 mini-muffin sized mince pies came out of the oven this year. Next year, my ex threatens, mince pies for family only. Except that people like the daughter's boyfriend's family look forward to them, and everyone at church).
My ex has a new electric mixer, one that does not spray Yorkshire pudding batter all over the kitchen. This is my Christmas Day job; I supply the plum pudding, the hard sauce, and the Yorkshire pudding. My plum pudding is based on the Fanny Farmer date steamed pudding only with no nuts and a lot more fruit and using gluten-free flour. The Yorkshire pudding gets made in three batches--one gluten free, with beef fat, one regular flour with vegetable oil, and one regular. For the second or third year I disappointed everyone by not setting the oven on fire. We set off the smoke alarm a couple of times, but nothing too exciting, and the Yorkshire pudding ALL came out well (the gluten-free does not rise as it should, but neither is it gummy or puck-shaped). The plum pudding slumped as it came out of the basin, but everyone thought it tasted better than usual. This may have been the effect of very successful hard sauce (flavored with Jameson's instead of Christian Brothers). While making the Yorkshire I had a wicked case of nostalgia and thought I would have to go cry in the bathroom, but I has been given chocolate and it pulled me through.
My parents brought a neighbor and my ex invited two friends from church and Lisa arrived ON TIME. It turned out that she and one of the friends from church had been friends several years ago when they were both involved with Harvard. We ate a lot. No one keeled over. It was a very fine holiday.
Lisa and I got back to NH about eight pm (I think) and sat in a gentle stupor. She got herself up early and we had pleasant conversation ("Have you found your power cord?") until she left in time to get to Manchester Airport. A sit was not snowing, I think she made it. I have a headcold and spent Friday not doing anything and today, Saturday, I am not much more ambitious. Finishing the second-to-last Noro scarf.
Another Christmas and everyone lived. Success!