Christmas Eve was nearly ideal. After Tom and I took long walk before breakfast, he installed a new counter in the doll kitchen, and then, with Paul, we trudged around in the rain in search of Christmas dinner ingredients. Everyone has decided that the Harbor Fish Market might be the best store in the world. We came home, took naps, vacuumed up cat hair, played cribbage, and then slid down the icy sidewalks to Empire Chinese Kitchen and a miraculous dish of kale and house-made rice noodles, which Paul loved so much that he ordered it twice. After dinner, we continued our festive sliding, staggering down to the wharfs to admire the decorated tugboats and then lurching toward home alongside a path decorated with narrow gauge train cars, and stacks of barnacled docks, and the bronze statue of a well-dressed but unlabeled seventeenth-century gent behind a chainlink fence, and the squeaks of half-asleep seagulls. At home we discovered that our upstairs neighbors were having a party, which was fine as long as we were in the living room drinking hot chocolate and playing Yahtzee, but became oppressive when we tried to go to sleep, as their Katie Perry-emitting speakers were located directly above our bed. I lay awake reading Rabbit Redux and listening to the bass lines of middle-aged top-forty hits until midnight, when, like magic, the speakers ceased and the guests vanished. If only Ruckus hadn't gone haywire at 4 a.m., I would have enjoyed a good night's sleep. But cats being what they are, he chose to celebrate the season by threatening to push my computer off my desk.
Anyway, here we are, on Christmas morning, slightly wild-eyed and mostly awake, preparing for a day of puttering up and down streets and among pantry cupboards. A year ago, this is not where I thought I'd be. But here I am. And I'm doing okay.
Joy to you and everyone you love or wish you loved better. May you tolerate irritation with charm and low blood pressure. May you temper celebration with sadness, and sadness with sweetness, and sweetness with comic relief. May you resist second helpings of dessert. May no special holiday glassware break, and may no cats walk through your rising bread dough. May you hope for the best even as you call out evil by name. May that not involve arguing with your father.