Sunday, December 6, 2009. We Decorate The Tree At Last. Egg Nog. Mary Leigh came home at midday. No details about what went on at the party last night, but the gist was the usual: boys were present, some of them were cute. But nobody of either gender made a move, and so they all just enjoyed looking at each other all night. Compared with what's going on between other teenagers, I guess I should be thankful for this, but there's something about it that bothers me. Not that I had any better times when I was seventeen. Nor Mary Ann, for that matter. She shrugs her shoulders about our daughter's shyness.
On the other hand, MA is not only happy about what our son was up to last night, but she's resolved her angst about not going to Los Angeles yesterday to visit him as planned. It turned out that he spent the entire day with his near-girlfriend yesterday, going to the football game which his vaunted alma mater USC lost. He doesn't care about that. He goes to games to socialize, and that he did. There was no room for Mommy in those plans, or today's, either. Knowing this made Mary Ann feel better about the way her yesterday turned out.
And she's still being nice to me.
It was a pretty, cool day. We fired up the grill and filled it with chicken breasts. A few months ago, the guys at Bear's Grill gave Mary Ann a gallon of a marinade they use called "Maui sauce." She's wanted to use it ever since, and this was the perfect opportunity. After marinating in the brown stuff for a few hours, I dusted the breasts with Creole seasoning and drizzled some butter over them. The butter would give the dark-brown crust that Mary Leigh in particular loves on chicken. Mary Leigh made some angel hair pasta alfredo, and Mary Ann steamed some broccoli. We sat in the increasing darkness of our living room, in which a cool chandelier we bought a few years ago continues refusing to illuminate. We must get a new one in time for Christmas.
Dinner finished, we triggered the closet avalanche required to get our hands on the boxes of Christmas tree ornaments and lights. Our jobs are well-defined. Right after I make egg nog and have a mug of it, I string the lights. Then the girls hang the ornaments. This is a smaller tree than we usually get. I could have lit it up with only bubble lights. But I didn't. I continue to worry that bubble lights are extinct in the wild. I have not seen them on sale anywhere this year. I want to make sure I have enough good ones that the last Christmas tree of my life will glow and bubble as the first one did.
We have a tradition of hanging the oldest ornament first, in a place where it cannot be seen. It's a cheap old plastic ornament, now corroded and really ugly, from the first years when such things began to replace glass ornaments. It hung on the first Christmas tree we had when my parents moved to Kenner in 1958. Except perhaps for a few years before I claimed it--that was when I moved away from home, in 1970--it has been on every Christmas tree in my home ever since. That's fifty-one years this year. I love that old thing.
Mary Ann says I remember the anniversaries of far too many inanimate objects.
I made some egg nog and drank two mugs of it while we listened to Christmas music and trimmed the tree. I'm the only one who likes the stuff.