I did want to mention this wonderful little tidbit:
I DID NOT HAVE TO MAKE CHRISTMAS DINNER this year.
So while some of you were getting up at the crack of dawn to doctor a turkey, or baste a ham, or start working on a multitude of tasty side dishes, I was sawing logs, grateful for kids who liked to sleep in.
We were imagining that we would be heading over to Toni and The Other Ken's house around 3pm, for a 4pm Christmas dinner. What we were not expecting was a frantic call from Toni before noon, saying "The turkeys are cooking WAY faster than we thought! When can you get here?"
Well, that kind of put the kibosh on Ken's plans to make an apple pie and mince tarts in a leisurely way after the presents were opened. We burned through the last few presents, and then packed up all the ingredients for the pie and tarts, and headed off to their house.
Alas, we were not 2 blocks from our house when I said "hey! Where's my camera?"
Cue the U-turn, and the race back to the house. Good thing, too... I'd left the frozen chocolate bombe in our freezer. That was the other dessert that we were supposed to bring. Three desserts and a cheese platter is STILL *way* easier than putting together a whole meal.
And when we got to Toni's house, we discovered that they weren't as far ahead of schedule as we thought.
The turkeys were still in the smoker...
Oh man, the smells at that house were intoxicating!
I went out back, and helped Ken get the turkeys out of the smoker, and 'resting' before being carved.
(my apologies for those of you dealing with snow. After 14 years here, I still can't get over the fact that I can go outside in December without a heavy jacket scarf and toque.)
One of the cheeses I'd brought was this brie-in-a-box that you put in the oven until it's bubbly. Then you dip crackers into it.
It was a big hit. I'll be "making" it again. (It's actually something that comes in a box, and is SUPER easy, but looks like you must've slaved over it. Heh.)
While I was "helping" with the turkeys outside, Ken took over a corner of the kitchen, and made the apple pie and mince tarts. Yum!
After eating the smoked turkey (DELISH!) and the sides that Toni had made, we pushed ourselves away from the table, unable to eat dessert.
It was time for some exercise.
Kelly and Nate went with Toni's daughter, on bikes off to the local park.
Ken and Ken cleaned up the kitchen, while Toni and I went for a walk with my mother in law. I had high-heeled clogs on, so I was no match for their running-shoe clad feet.
We walked by this very recent shrine near Oracle head office. When Ken and I were driving to Toni and Ken's house at noon, there had been a crowd there, with fire trucks and a number of cars blocking the roadway. I still haven't been able to find out what the circumstances of the death there were, but there was a framed photo, and lots of fresh flowers and candles when we walked by at 3pm.
Apart from that sobering moment, it was a lovely sun-filled walk, and we returned with our appetites refreshed, and ready for the three desserts.
Toni and Ken got their daughter a smokin'-hot sewing machine. It would've been great, except that Carrie kept saying "Well, Kemmmm-MUH, you're SO JEALOUS of my gift", and I wanted to smack her. But she's eleven, so I have to cut her some slack. And I'll keep saying "No", when she said "And you'll teach me how to use it, because you want to use it yourself." Oh, if only your mother hadn't already told me that I can have free use of it any time I want to, because I've already helped you so much getting started on the thing.
But we move on.
For Christmas, I made Ken's mom a pair of socks. She loved them, loved the yarn, loved the colour, but it turns out that she has these little bird-like ankles, and 4A width feet, and the socks hung on her like schlumpy paper bags. So while everyone was sitting around on Christmas afternoon in a post-dessert sugar coma, I started making another pair, custom-fitted to her feet.
I'm using Kertzer Bamboo yarn, in a shade of muted moss green. It's lovely, except that the plies are so splitty, I want to poke myself in the eye with a 2mm rosewood needle. Fortunately, I was able to burn through the first sock before she got on the plane yesterday morning to fly back to Canada, so I have that one as a pattern to make the second one.
Now, if only I can keep the momentum, and get that sock done before next Christmas, I'll be doing fine.
Next entry: New Year's Eve at Chez Parker.