Well, the gangs all here. Vince and Thuan arrived yesterday from Chicago. They will be staying with us until December 27th and then head off to New York to go on a cruise. Liv's Father, Tinton, arrived this morning from Denver, sans Nirand. Apparently, Nirand has met someone, a lovely woman named Crystabelle, who has invited him to spend Christmas and the New Year with her family in Massachusetts. So, we mourn the loss of our beloved Nirand and his incredible Indian cuisine, but understand that love comes first. Tinton will be here until the 28th and then he and Liv will fly back to Denver so that they can ring in 2013 with his girlfriend. Liv will be back the day before school resumes, January 7th.
Bing leaves on the 29th for India.
So, yes. It will just be me and Socks to ring in the new year. I am bummed, but trying to make the best of it. I mean, seriously? Bing and I rarely, if ever, make it up til midnight. Our whole family is generally in bed by 11:00. So, it isn't as if I am missing a huge party.
And we have that white Christmas that everyone except me seems to prefer. We had a huge blizzard last week that took out power to over 20,000 people. Not us, knock on wood. But, the birdbath in our back yard is now buried under snow and it goes up to my waist on the sides of the driveway.
All the shopping is finished and presents wrapped and under the tree. Bing and I only get one large gift for Liv and one small one. This year, she is getting concert tickets to go see some silly boy band with a name sort of like The Directions or something. I have no idea. Bing bought the tickets. We bought two so that she can take a friend. Yes, our Liv has suddenly begun to buy the magazine Tiger Beat. And hang their posters on her walls.
I'm just as surprised as you are. I thought she would skip that boy band loving phase. But, no. It seems that she has discovered that inner scream for them. It's a quiet scream, but a scream nonetheless.
We also bought her a new dress. And that is it.
Of course, Vince and Thuan have about twelve gifts for her and they refuse to cut back, even though we have told them to please not spoil her. Tinton bought her some vinyl record albums from the Seattle 1990's circuit: Nirvana, Jane's Addiction, etc. She is heavily into vinyl now.
Even Socks has a few gifts.
Bing and I already gave each other our gifts: a new fridge and a Bruce Springsteen concert.
But, still. There is a small jewelry box under the tree for me from her. And vice versa.
We have all decided on a traditional American Christmas Eve supper. Turkey, stuffin, mashers and gravy, black olives, green bean casserole, cranberries and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
We will attend midnight mass at Liv's request.
Open gifts on Christmas morning and then Bing will bake orange rolls for breakfast.
I will bake my famous turkey pie from Christmas leftovers for supper. It is one of the few dinners that I excel at.
We even have chestnuts to roast over an open fire. We've never done this, but Vince and Thuan assure us that they know exactly how to do it. I am hoping that we can avoid a house fire.
The rest of the menus will be prepared by Thuan. He is Vietnamese and has promised to make us our favorite Vietnamese breakfast: yogurt topped with bananas in coffee bean syrup. He is making Bing's favorite dinner of simple stir fried vegetables and lemongrass one night and Liv's favorite dinner of Bun Bo another night and then mine: Thit Heo Kho Tau.
We will dine like kings and queens.
The Christmas tree is up. It is an ancient silver tree with a color wheel. We dragged up the ornament box from the basement and now it is decorated perfectly. My favorite ornament is a tiny handprint from Liv from her Montessori pre-school days.
Socks is old enough now to be properly awed by the tree. He no longer lunges at it in puppy glee. He even consented to sit under it in Liv's lap while they mugged for the camera so that I could enclose a photo with my Christmas cards.
Socks has promised to write a guest blog soon. He loves this time of year. All that love from all those people. He usually sleeps with Liv, but when Tinton is here, he loves to go up into the attic with him and cuddle up in the twin bed right next to him. Tinton is less enthusiastic about it, but says that as long as he isn't a cover hog, he'll deal.
Tinton and Liv will be able to go ice skating this year. Last year was so mild that we not only didn't have snow, we didn't have ice ponds either. I remember wearing sweaters all through January and February. I suspect that since the temp is hovering at 17 degrees, that won't be the case this year.
Bing and I have so many movies to see this year. We are going to Les Miserables as a family on Christmas day. She and I want to also see Zero Dark Thirty and Life of Pi. We've already seen The Sessions and Lincoln.
But the one I want to see the most is:
I am in love with Jennifer Lawrence's character. Madly in love.
I feel sort of like I need my freak flag. I am going to have a storybook Christmas with my incredible family (my sister and her family are visiting friends in Mississippi for Christmas so...yeah...we are SO stoked!), my private little one.
And then everyone is going to leave right before New Year's Day.
And I suspect that I will behave badly. But, not in front of anyone. I am good at only doing this when I am alone in the house. Well, except for Socks. And he knows how to keep a secret.
Plus, he will keep me in a relatively happy place.
And then Liv will come home and resume school and I will hold down the fort until April when Bing comes back home.
And I will do this with outward grace and ease.
And cry a lot in the bathtub when I am alone.
And perhaps I will do something totally crazy like enter a baking contest, learn Chinese or join a porn book club.
Or maybe I will depend on my friends here to keep taking me to movies and coming over uninvited to make sure that I am not doing anything too crazy. Harriet has already told me that I WILL NOT be painting any walls or redecorating in any way. When Bing left for Africa? Ok...I went a bit crazy with the kitchen. It used to be this sage green. It is now dark red. Like...um blood red. But, it looks bold and I like it. I am the only one who likes it. Ok. Seriously. It looks like the kitchen from Twilight. But. It's just paint, right?
And I will depend on my blogger buds to keep me in line. Tell me if I start to fly that flag a little bent, okay?
I will be fine on the outside. Because you parents out there know that we do this for our children. Can't have Liv see me losing it.
And Harriet has forbidden me already to dye my hair like Nina in that perfect silver shade.
I ADORE Fringe.
I will watch Girls, The Walking Dead, The Newsroom and American Idol.
I will watch my daughter play basketball. I will help with homework, if asked. (And frankly, she seldom asks anymore....)
I will watch my daughter act in her first play in late February.
I will throw my head back and laugh prettily when I skype with Bing. Act as if hey, I miss her, but I'm a grown up. Remember that.
And she'll see right through me and say something so beautiful that I will tear up and then we'll just look at each other, missing each other, but glad for this connection.
Perhaps I will visit her in India. Or not.
But, first...it's time for Christmas.
What are your plans?