Saturday, December 06, 2008

Tree Trimming

Tonight was my annual no-tree tree trimming party. Above you see my Christmas tree (it had a bow on it but Jordan took it back home) and the mantel--that's the kind of decorating I do these days. For years when the children were growing up, we had large and grand Christmas trees, but I always had a party to decorate them. I remember decorating the tree when I was a child was not festive at all, so I decided to turn it into a party. I'd put out all the ornaments and by the end of the evening, the tree was pretty well decorated. Of course, there was the year the tree fell over . . . . These days I'm never at home for Christmas--at one child's house or another--so I don't have a tree, although I put up all the other decorations, and the house looks festive. And I still have the party. This year I changed my routine, had it on Saturday instead of Sunday, and early rather than late. A true cocktail hour party at 5 p.m. About half the invited people couldn't come for one reason or another--illness, other obligations, etc. So there were maybe 35 people, but they ate almost all the food, so it's a good thing the others didn't come. Jacob came in shy, got his self confidence back and raced around the house, charming everyone, and then within two minutes turned sour and tired.
I have a pretty standard menu--every year I fix a caviar spread that I adore and the cheeseball that I remember from my childhood, and then I branch out from there. This year I had a refried bean and cheese dip (forgot to add the Tabasco but no one seemed to mind), a spinach-artichoke-cheese dip, crab and chili sauce on a block of cream cheese, and sausage balls. I have very few leftovers, though I'm glad there's some caviar and cream cheese for lunch tomorrow. For the sweet tooths, I had chocolate squares (all the ingredients of chocolate chip cookies, just put together in an entirely different manner), peanut butter cookies, and a chocolate Bundt cake that is a favorite. Jordan is having a ladies party next week and went home with lots of leftovers, including cookies and cake.
But I am tired tonight. I spent the morning cleaning house--something I rarely do myself. It wears me out and tears up my back, so that I have to sit every once in a while. Jordan came about four, helped me put things out, and did a major portion of the clean-up afterwards, with Christian's help. There are still about three dishes soaking, but I think I'll leave them overnight--something I almost never do. But I'm tired after two big events in two nights, and I'm fighting this cold. I think I've been staving it off by sheer will power all week. I decided I might collapse tomorrow, but then thought that was a bad attitude. I'll be fine after a good night's sleep.
Oh, and the washing machine quit today. With a wet rug in it. I opened the back door to wring it out (which I couldn't--it was a shag bathroom rug and too heavy to wring), and the dog ran in, the cat ran out, and I had a mess on my hands. The repairman is due Tuesday--I am so tired of servicemen who are to appear between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
I'm reading a manuscript, a memoir really but structured around the houses the writer has lived in. Since I'm a real house person, the idea fascinates me. I know I am defined by my house--built in 1922, decorated as my mother would have done (no decorator for me, although a good friend did the original planning), filled with old furniture and things I love but not, I hope, overcrowded.

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