Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Quiet Christmas

It was a more or less quiet Christmas, with bits of frenzy here and there, but overall, quiet.  Mostly because today wasn't really Christmas for us.  That will be tomorrow when we start with an 11 a.m. showing of the new Star Wars, then back to the house for...whatever, which will include drinks, hors d'oeuvres, present opening, dinner, and a book club meeting.
My pumpkin pie got finished at 5 a.m. last night.  I took a nap after dinner and then started it.  At 5, I took a 2 hour nap and then got up at 7 or so to make my brie-cranberry pinwheels.
This is puff pastry rolled out, brushed with melted butter, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, spread (or dotted, depending on consistency) with softened brie cheese, over which you spread dried cranberries, then roll tight, cut in 1" slices, brush with remaining melted butter and sprinkled with remaining cinnamon sugar and bake.
I was getting ready to cut them when I saw the unused brie, which I had forgotten to use, on the counter, so I had to unroll the pastry roll, take off all the cranberries, spread with brie, replace the cranberries, etc.  When they were about 10-15 minutes from being done, I realized I had NOT brushed them with melted butter and sprinkled with the remaining cinnamon sugar, so I quickly pulled them out of the oven and did that.  They turned out OK and tasted fine, but lord am I a dunce these days!
Next both Jeri and I did heavy duty reading trying to finish up our Narnia books for discussion tomorrow.
I kept reading while Jeri and Phil went out visiting friends and Grandma.  Walt and I (mostly Walt) continued to straighten, organize, clean and hide what couldn't be organized or straightened.  But I finished my books and, as I did last night, had a text chat with Walt's sister about the books -- she won't be here but will facetime in for the meeting.
Around 4:30 or so, Phil and Jeri arrived with Grandma, who didn't recognize me at first and then was shocked to see me.  In truth, I was shocked to see her too.  I had not been to Atria at all this week and I swear she's aged 10 years in 7 days.  I had set up some photo books on the coffee table, hoping that might be a conversation starter, but discovered that even with Jeri's patient explanations, visual aids no longer help.
But that didn't seem to matter.  They had a good time together anyway. 
I was in and out of the living room, as I was working on Cornish game hens.  When they were nearly finished, I asked Jeri and my mother to come and make salad.  She always offers to help, and I figured that with Jeri working with her, she might actually feel helpful.  That was my mistake and while the next hour or so was essentially fine, I lost much patience and was not a very good daughter.
For one thing she could not understand how to hold the knob on the salad spinner.
Jeri is so wonderfully patient with her and showed her over and over again how to hold the knob, not just lay her hand flat on it, and how to move it, but she moved it at a snail's pace.  She never did spin lettuce, but Jeri made a big deal about what a good job she'd done.
When the salad was put together and the rest of us were getting dishes ready to go on the table -- the table wasn't even set yet -- my mother started piling salad on a napkin and eating it with the serving fork.  I finally got her set up with a placemat, silverware (which she never used) and a plate and then I saw her unscrewing the top of the salt shaker. I took it away from her twice and showed her how the salt came out the holes in the top and then I put it far away from her on the table, but when I wasn't looking she reached over, unscrewed the top and poured a mound of salt onto her salad.  Not surprisingly as soon as she took a mouthful, she grimaced and started yelling that she needed WATER.  That's when I started to lose it.
"Can I do anything to help?" Jeri asked.
"Yes," I said.  "CURE Dementia!"
Dinner more or less went OK, but she began to get nervous about getting back to her apartment and said she didn't want any of the pumpkin pie because she was sick to her stomach.  So Jeri and Phil started to get ready to take her and then she decided maybe she would have a small piece of pie.  When I served it to her on a plate, she got a napkin and asked if it would be easier for me if she just put it on a napkin.
I think the main problem was that she was here too long  We're going to have to judiciously plan when to bring her over to the gathering that will be significantly more chaotic with more people and two little kids in the mix tomorrow.
It's only 10 p.m. as I write this.  Thanks to Jeri and Walt, the kitchen is clean and everything is put away.  My dessert for the big dinner is baked, I'm almost ready to make the bacon/cheese strata for breakfast tomorrow morning and there is an excellent chance I will be trying to get to sleep before midnight.

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