Yesterday, I realized I wanted to get out of the house and head for Newburyport to see if any of the artsy places were having sales. (Most were, except for one that closed for "Boxing Day."
After a happy hour of walking through snow flurries, I took the scenic route home while the snow (and "wintry mix" started coming down harder. When I came to the bend in the road at Rise Corner, I thought I saw a moose! (We had watched a great National Geographic program about America's "top" wildlife in which moose, bears, elk, eagles and wolves were featured.) I was SO excited to see a moose this far south.
But then... I was SO disappointed to realize that it was a decoy moose. A fake. A faux moose.
Today when I drove by again (sans falling snow), it was much easier to tell that this was art, not nature.
Funny what excites you when you've been around the block (or the bend) a few times.
It is strange the unquestioned traditions and customs that one brings forward from the past. I suppose it was the excesses of being the only child of aspiring parents that makes it hard for me to encourage a "modest" or humble Christmas. I LOVE PRESENTS! How they look. Wrapping them. Writing tags that are sort of hints to the contents (except when they are misleading). Covering the whole piano.
We might be willing to "do" less IF there were children at our house on Christmas morning. But our nest is empty, so there you go.
DH really likes the Life is Good "crusher" (i.e. soft) T-shirts. So several worn ones got replaced and there were new flannel pants to keep him cozy during the winter months.
There was a satisfying pile of wrapping paper, bags and boxes after we were through.
Christmas afternoon we had the pleasure of trekking past the South Shore to the JJJ's (Son, daughter in law and grand-daughter). They had thought a lot about their first Christmas in their first house, which shouldn't have surprised me because they are thoughtful people. The inlaws whom they usually spent Christmas with moved from Indiana to Florida this summer, so they got an invite for this First Christmas, too. It was fun to have four grandparents doting on Miss J. (Her favorite gift was a tea set and a "fishing" game. She made us pretend tea flavored with pretend fish all evening.)
The dog and the three cats were calm throughout.
The dinner was fabulous.
This might have been as close to a Norman Rockwell Christmas as I've had in decades!
I loved out after dinner discussion with J&J about adopting and adapting traditions from each other's families. I NEVER expected that my son would feel it necessary to grill cheese sandwiches on Christmas Eve! (but I was SO pleased he did... I realize now, that grilling sandwiches the night before Christmas was a gift my father gave to my mom. I'm sure she was exhausted from decorating and planning and wrapping and trying to keep me from coming unraveled... but what I remember was the special-ness of "Daddy" doing the cooking. (Grilled cheese with ham and pineapple is terrific!)
I have mixed feelings (probably like Prince Charles) about not being "in charge" of the kingdom. I couldn't be Queen/Matriarch during my single years because the territory was in so much uproar. Later, the children had dispersed or developed their own traditions.
But being the audience, recipient and "Queen Mother" is fine with me.
The houses here are NOT like California and are NOT much like Texas. I love how many houses have colorful siding or clapboards.
There are LOTS of salt and fresh-water marshes in northeast Massachusetts. Most are surrounded by gentle hills, which may or may not have lots of trees on them. Many are also ringed with stone fences, and those may be softened with grasses of various shapes, heights and ability to hold snow. I can't wait to see if I can capture the sense of distance, layers and fog with pastels.
These guys apparently have a fancy one because there were floodlights at both ends!
The house below is in our own town of Newton. Many homeowners here prefer wreaths and bows or candles in the windows to electric lights. They are certainly festive during the (few) daylight hours.