Christmas for Two

Earlier this month I wrote that I was feeling isolated and a little sad because we weren't spending Christmas with any family this year, but, since I'm still all scratchy-throated and stuffy-headed, it turned out to be a good thing. Playing hostess when you feel icky is less than fun.

Then, too, we had a cozy, quiet Christmas with just the two of us, on our own schedule. I managed to make it through Christmas Eve mass by drinking water and sucking on lemon-mint Ricola during most of the service (this is the nice thing about the choir being in the back. We ALL bring in water or coffee and hide it behind the piano), though I was so congested that I had NO low range, and switched to Soprano on Silent Night. It seems weird, I guess, to others, but when I'm all stuffy my high range improves. We enter, for this service, in procession behind the guy with the incense, and then we stop and light the candles of the congregation. Mind you, we're marching into a darkened church, in robes with bat-wing sleeves, carrying lit candles in one hand, and our music in the other (because who really knows all SIX verses of “O Come All Ye Faithful” by heart, with the descant and harmony parts?), so when I tell you it was perfect, what I mean is, no one caught fire, dropped anything, forgot the lyrics, or tripped. Seriously, it was a magical evening – something about it being nighttime, and everyone feeling festive.

We came home and read/puttered on computers for a couple hours, fell into bed around two, and were back at church for 10 AM mass yesterday, which was laid back and homey, as opposed to magical and serious. The choir is “off” for Christmas Day and New Year's day, which means that we only sit together if enough of us show, and if not, we sit in the pews, and all the hymns are from the hymnal, and the anthem is instrumental. Fuzzy and I happened to be in the back, so when we were tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to carry the offering, we said “sure.” It was a little thing, but a nice end-cap for the day. Well, that and that we got to sing my favorite plainsong piece (which I only recently learned, but the melody is sweet, and the piece falls RIGHT into my range) “Of the Father's love begotten.” (And since we were in the congregation, I got to sing melody on EVERYTHING. Yay!)

Yesterday afternoon we popped over to Cedar Hill to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which I loved to bits. A couple of tiny things were eliminated, but overall I thought they managed to make it true to the spirit of the books, without being overwhelmingly sappy. And it was fun to pick out the adult voice actors when the animals were speaking. However, I'm sure I must be delirious, and not merely congested, because I was having lustful thoughts about Mr. Tumnus. (I have to say, one thing I really liked – and this is what makes this movie a fantasy that really is child-safe. They didn't cheat the battle scenes, but they also didn't show bloodspray or anything gory, and I liked that. Narnia shouldn't be soaked in blood.)

Somewhere in there we also did presents, just from each other, and we'd set a strict budget limit this year, too. So, Fuzzy got a new coat (a chocolate brown wool-blend car coat, much nicer than the jacket I keep trying to burn), and man-slippers (I was tired of the sweats and hiking boots look), a 7th Sea book he really wanted, and a very cool wolf t-shirt. And he gave me a red leather stationery box I've been eyeing, season 5 of The West Wing and STTNG: Insurrection on DVD (the special edition) (yes, the latter was the worst of the Next Gen movies, but one must have complete collections) as well as having my two Fossil watches repaired (just dead batteries, but no one other than the Fossil kiosk could get them open apparently), the older of the two stopped working three years ago, the other died on the plane to come out here to look at property in 2004, and I've been wearing this think with a pink faux-snakeskin band for almost a year, but it's really too casual for many of my outfits, so it's good to have options once more.

Today, I plan to remain curled up with tea and books, and since we opted to go to the movies rather than cook the roast I bought, we'll have our nice meal tonight. There's a mince pie calling my name, and my aunt sent us a box of homemade Christmas cookies, so it's a good time to want to just read and nibble.

Christmas for two is exactly what I needed this year.

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