We had a small family gathering on the Fourth, primarily for my mom’s benefit as she was keeping asking when she will see everybody together again. That way, she could see all the boys, and I could treat them with some homemade food.
I had two major challenges: to cook everything myself, without any help from the kids (and I only had about two and a half hours), and how to serve the food in a safe way. Our traditional buffet-style won’t work these days. After all, everything turned out great, and Vlad approved all my preparations. I even had gloves to serve food, which had to be taken by hand.
The time I picked (5-30 PM) was perfect since the heat started to subside, and my deck is a summer-time haven that seldom gets any direct sun. Also, I have a huge umbrella, and I took outside my gym fan to add to the natural breeze.
This year, we were unable to get the whole family together for Christmas gift exchange, which is not the first time in our history. And even for “all of us minus Anna” part, we had to find a day when Vlad was able to take at least a couple of hour off.
To be clear, he didn’t. I do not think he had any time off except of time to sleep for the past two months. Even that time, we met at his work. He reserved a private room in zBar, and then he ended up being on the floor for most of that time. He said – Mom, did you see how many people are there in the bar?! And I saw!
I’ve already posted this video on Instagram, but Instagram saves only the first minute. Here is the full version – all three minutes :). There are lots of things I am going to write about in the next several days, which will be relatively relaxing (but only relatively:)). Still, before all these things, I just wanted to say how much I love my house at Christmas and how happy I am to be able to spend this after-Christmas time here by myself.
I spent the last couple of hours sitting by the fireplace, catching up with my friends’ updates, and drinking hot black tea with Finnish blueberry liquor. And having some parmesan cheese with the most fantastic fig jam with ginger and cardamon, a Christmas gift from my friend.
Yesterday, when I entered a Red Line station, I heard somebody singing carols. Not playing the recording, but actually singing. I started to walk towards the sounds and saw three older men, one with crutches, standing in a half-circle, and singing The Silent Night. I do not know how to say it, but they were singing in a perfectly right way. Not too loud, but clear and with a perfect pitch. The bottom of the bucket in front of them was already covered with dollar bills and coins, and I stooped to dig out my purse from the bottom of my backpack. I saw a lady stopped by the carolers, reaching into her pocket and saying: wait, here is more…
I thought that this is such a rare scene these days – the carolers doing what they were initially supposed to do: collecting donations :). It was beautiful, and I felt it would be a sin to take a picture or record them…