she who keeps this diary

27 December 2003 - 10:22 PM

Snapshots from Christmas

A few images from my Christmas:

25 December, 3 AM: I am soundly, blissfully, asleep. Cosette (my Princess Diva Kitty, about whom more anon) is equally soundly asleep at my feet. I am awakened by the Viking calling to me from the door of the bedroom.

'Sweetie baby?' he says, gently and somewhat tremulously. I snap alert, instantly aware that something is grievously wrong. (What, you were expecting purple prose? So sorry. The Viking does not pile on the endearments when he is feeling romantic. He does do it when he has to tell me something he knows I won't like).

'What's happened?' No use beating around the bush, especially at 3 o'clock on Christmas morning.

'I was staying up late to watch a movie, and I just came upstairs and I think Orion found the julkaka ...'

'How much did he eat?'

'Just the top ...'

Which meant, most of it. Julkaka is one of those things in which no trouble is spared, and I had made a multitiered braided wreath. The dog had gotten it off the cooling rack on the dining room table and had himself a wonderful midnight snack. All that was left was a sort of doughnut shape chewed from the bottom tier.

After Orion was banished to the puppy box in the basement (not the puppy box!) and I'd cleaned up the scattered fruit from the floor (apparently he didn't like the raisins much), the Viking tried to console me.

'Is there anything I can do? If you give me directions I'll try my best.'

I eyed the contents of my pantry. Some good angel had been watching out for me, because I had bought an entirely unnecessary extra package of dried cherries and a new package of raisins. There was one last packet of baking yeast in the refrigerator. I had just enough flour. The Viking's culinary abilities have been discussed in the past, so regular readers will know that turning him loose with directions wasn't really an option

'Stand clear. If I get a new batch of dough mixed now, I can bake it in the morning before we go to Maman's.'

Which is what I did. Picture Nora in a blue print nightie, fuzzy slippers and with her hair hanging in her face as she makes Swedish Christmas bread at 3 in the morning. Better that than a bicycle, I suppose. I finished about 4 and fell back into bed, where I slept the sleep of the virtuous.

25 December, 9 AM: I am up again and have turned the julkaka dough into a loaf, which is rising before I bake it. The Viking is sitting on the living room floor cleaning the dog's ears (he has an infection) or something equally festive. Cosette, the Princess Diva Kitty, leaps up upon the loveseat, where she clears her throat and speaks:

Mwak! Mrow-ak! Mwow!

And having addressed the commoners on Christmas Day, the Queen leaps off her throne and proceeds to the sunny spot by the sliding glass door for a luxurious nap.

(Cosette is a bluecream longhair of uncertain ancestry but undoubted beauty. She is aware that she is just about the prettiest thing on four feet and doesn't let anyone else forget it, either).

25 December, 5 PM: The Avuncular One, in the advance guard of the family as we troop in to visit Grandmaman, opens the door to the assisted living suite.

'Hi Mom! Merry Christmas!'

'Well, it's about time you got here.'

26 December, 12:30 PM: We are paying a post-holiday visit to Maman to help her with some of the heavy lifting she needs to do to get the last of the pieces from Grandmaman in place in her house. Sis has dropped off her newest dog, a rescue adoptee named Ben, so that she can go to a swim practice (she is the assistant coach of the school team) and then take the dog to a vet appointment. Ben is being pretty good about staying out from underfoot but he does keep asking to go out through the front door, and we have to coax him to the back, where the yard is fenced. During a break in the work, Maman steps out onto her front porch to bring in her mail. Quick as that, Ben slips out past her and lights out for parts unknown. I react first, but the Viking is not much behind me. We pursue Ben down the street and around the corner, where the Viking outpaces me, and the dog outpaces both of us easily.

It seems that when dogs escape from Maman's porch, it is always in the dead of winter, and I am never quite properly dressed for it. The last time, a couple of years ago, I had to take off after two dogs who bolted. It was about 30 F and I was barefoot. This time at least I was shod, but I was wearing clogs, which are not exactly the footwear of choice for high-speed chases.

I'm also not quite as fit as I ought to be for these kinds of activities. I actually sprinted a good 2 blocks before it occurred to me that if I didn't slow down, I would die. I dropped down to a walk (the Viking had a better chance of catching the dog than I did at that point anyway) and realised that maybe that was too much a downshift, so I resumed a slow jog. About another block further on, I began to worry that I wasn't going to die after all.

We don't know where Ben thought he was going, but the odds are good that he would have gotten there if a lady about 3.5 blocks from Maman hadn't been getting her mail as Ben barrelled down the street. He ran over to her and she had sense enough to grab his collar. Presumably she could hear me wheezing and concluded a pursuit was underway. The Viking caught up, thanked her profusely, took hold of Ben's collar (of course neither of us had thought to grab his leash) and started leading him back toward Maman's house. He made it about half a block before Ben decided to protest and sat down. I walked down to where they were and held the dog's collar while the Viking positioned himself to pick up the dog and carry him the rest of the way back.

And you?

verso - recto

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