When I considered everything we planned to do for our "Christmas day" (a day late), I didn't know how it was all going to work. Miraculously, it did.
It started with breakfast. I got a cheese strata put together the night before (only setting off the fire alarm once, waking everyone in the house). It's brioche bread cubes spread in a pan, covered with pieces of crisp bacon (what set off the alarm), and cheddar cheese and then an egg/milk mixture poured over the top. You let it sit overnight in the fridge and then bake the next morning. It was impressive and delicious.
...and best of all, there was enough left over that we will have it for breakfast today too.
Next, we headed off to the movie theater, where we were seeing the new Star Wars. We got to the theater early, so we could be sure to get good seats. In actuality, that didn't seem to be a problem!
Seats did eventually fill up, but probably nt more than 1/3 of the theater was full...but given that this was a Tuesday, and that it was 11 a.m. that probably explains it. We were fortified for the 3 hour movie with plenty of food.
I am not a Star Wars fan and don't have a clue who is who, so I missed most of the finer points of the movie, but sad to see Carrie Fisher and I enjoyed the movie over all more than the last one, though I didn't know the good guys from the bad guys or what they were fighting about.
After the movie, Walt and I raced home so I could get a leg of lamb in the oven. The others stayed downtown for awhile. Eventually, Phil and Jeri (I think it was...it might have been Ned and Marta) showed up with my mother, who looked more "with it" than she had the night before. In fact, the two days were a perfect example of her life these days. Yesterday she was at her worst, today she was at her best. She began to fade after dinner and during the gift exchange, but she had been going and interacting with everyone for a good 3-4 hours by that time, so it's not surprising.
I LOVED that she seemed to get interested in Lacie and Jeri working a puzzle (my mother was always a puzzle fiend)
And then the most amazing thing happened...when she was sitting alone, she started working the puzzle by herself!
Santa had brought Bri a camera for Christmas (she's almost the age I was when I got my first camera!) and Uncle Ned was there to help her figure it out...together they made a movie during the evening.
I had expected my mother to be getting antsy by the time dinner was ready, but she was ready to eat (though she had eaten about 80% of all the hors d'oeuvres on the table, just kept scarfing them up by the handful!) and so joined us for dinner.
I loved watching Bri and Jeri deep in conversation.
When dinner was over, we had gift giving before dessert. I finally got to give Tom the 49er Christmas sweater I'd purchased a long time ago.
And I was tickled to give Marta the otter tape holder I found after Ned told me that she was "into otters" right now.
Jeri and Phil gave me the best present, but I'll write about that tomorrow.
My mother did start to fade during the long gift-giving process and started to decompensate slightly, so I knew she had hit the wall. After dessert of the backberry pie we bought at Apple Hill earlier this year, Ned and Marta took her back to Atria and the rest of us, amazingly, had our book club meeting, discussing "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and "The Silver Chair."
First, though, Lacie, who has become a real "reader" since I last saw her, wanted to read us a book. A long book. When she asked if we wanted her to read a second book, we unanimously told her no! But she will soon be reading these book club books by herself.
And then Brianna started the meat of the meeting. Alice Nan, who was not able to join us, was there by cell phone from Santa Barbara, listening and participating in the discussion.
(Alice Nan is circled on the table there)
And then it was over. We'd done it all and I hadn't fallen apart. It was wonderful having the whole immediate family together, a true blessing that my mother was able to enjoy it unlike she was last night.
Christmas 2017 is in the bag now and I have a whole year before I have to worry about it again!
My only disappointment was that I wanted to get a family picture, but there just didn't seem to be the opportunity (or room) for it. But I still treasure the one from last year