I guess I started my weekend a little early, with a Yellow Springs jaunt with my cousin Leah. My aunt Jeanie was planning to go, too, but the bronchitis had not let go of her yet. So, it was just the two of us. We started with lunch at The Winds, always a good thing in my book. We split the Winter Is Upon Us salad, mixed greens with pear slices, cheddar, fennel pistachios and a pear vinaigrette as an appetizer. Then, she chose the steak frites with garlic aioli and I had the Blue Christmas, a dish I dream about all year. It's very simple, but very good. It combines Christmas limas with cabbage, blue cheese and hot rice. Dessert was their incomparable chocolate mousse for me & Jeni's fabulous cognac ice cream, with a shortbread cookie, for Leah. After lunch, the snow was coming down in giant gorgeous flakes, making it seem like we were living a fairy tale. We poked around the shops & I picked up a few little things for J's stocking. On the way home, we hit Target for a few things, including a sweet little purse for me to carry to the seminary's Christmas Ball.
There was just enough time for me to have a tub and primp for the ball. I dressed in a black taffeta ball skirt, dark red velvet bustier with beadwork and little black velvet jacket. Of course, I wore my tiara, with dangly rhinestone earrings & a matching necklace. My new little purse, with a sparkling rhinestone clip, and my princess shoes (black satin mules with rhinestone straps) finished off the outfit. I drove over to Dayton, chatting with my cousin Nola about scheduling a visit, giving my car to the valet and walking into the hotel with a small amount of social anxiety. Grace and her fiancé invited me to sit with them. She looked lovely, in a black and white gown and filmy wrap. The ball was interesting, with some nondescript hors d'oeuvres, a worship service in the middle and a lot of people in much dressier clothes than I usually get to see them wearing. When Shane and the other Grace walked in, I thought, "Wow, they look like they should be at the Oscars." Grace was all glammy in a stunning red satin gown she had made. It looked like the stuff of designers' dreams. I was happiest of all to see Laura & Brendan. Laura cracked me up when they were leaving, saying the ball was "kind of like the Taliban hosting a wine tasting." I talked Grace into taking my package, a pink boa in a Tinkerbell gift bag. I'd looked for a tiara, but hadn't found a suitable one. Grace was trying to talk Jared's fiancée into taking it & I finally told her just to take it. She loved it & posed for pictures. The gift I chose turned out to be homemade cherry jam. I was thrilled with it.
I was so thrilled, in fact, that I was showing it off at the after-party upstairs in the hotel's rooftop lounge. Martin asked what kind & I told him. He grinned & said, "I know who picked those cherries" and pointed to himself. His wife had pitted them & made the jam. Yum. We had a nice time visiting & listening to the band. I had a bowl of French onion soup and a couple of Starliner martinis, made with espresso, Stoli Vanilla, Bailey's and Frangelico. Finlly, just before midnight, the party began to break up. I drove out of the parking lot, feeling like Cinderella leaving the ball, at 11:59. Funny what constitutes a late night these days. That is, when I'm not staying up until 3 or 4 to finish a project I've procrastinated on doing.
Saturday morning, I packed my bags, loaded the car & headed for Medina. My women's art group was getting together for a Christmas lunch at Miss Molly's Tea Room (www.missmollys.net) and then having dessert at Lee's house. We had a wonderful time, with delicious lady food. I chose the tea sandwich sampler, with small heart-shaped tuna salad, chicken salad and pimiento cheese sandwiches. I had strawberry pretzel salad on the side and Christmas tea to drink. Everyone (but me-I have to finish mine & mail them out) had brought little gifts for one another. They were so festive, passed around the table in their charming wrapping. There was everything from scrumptious treats to art supplies to hand-crafted ornaments. Mine will probably pale in comparison. I felt bad, too, that I hadn't completed them in time to bring them, but everyone was very gracious. I hope they like them. Our visit to Lee's house was great fun, with a tour of her elegantly decorated house and her swoon-worthy art space. My favorite part, though, was her 5 cats.
I arrived home around 5:30 and had a little nap with J before it was time to head out to her company Christmas party. Pie came home for the weekend, skipping his wrestling tournament to do so. Boot chose to stay in PA for the tournament. J had given them the choice regarding what to do, but invited Boot out to dinner, at least, if he chose to stay. When she arrived at the house to pick them up, their father told Pie to tell J that Boot didn't want to see her. Pie actually told her the truth, which was that Boot was at the high school running with the varsity team. He ran in to get Boot and the three of them had a nice dinner together. What an evil man their father is. Just nasty! I expect Pie will catch bloody hell for choosing to spend the weekend with us and for telling the truth about his brother's whereabouts. I am really proud of him for acting with integrity.
I am also proud of how well-behaved he was at the party, how good-natured he was with everyone & how he went ahead & bowled even though he isn't very good at it. I am not such a fan of bowling alleys, but it was great to be with J and Pie. We went home fairly early. I was glad Pie wanted to go because I was ready, too. I'd taken a book, but it felt kinda wrong to whip it open & start reading. I felt rather like Graham. We saw some beautiful Christmas lights on the way home.
In the morning, J and I went to church, where the kids did a mixed media pageant that combined the stories of Jesus' birth, the little drummer boy and interviews of families in the congregation about their Christmas traditions. It was really sweet and it was fun to hear about the other people's traditions. What a cool idea to interview everyone. After church, we went home and summoned Pie from his lair. He was having a blast playing video games & was not very interested in being taken out for a special birthday lunch. We offered Dave & Buster's, we offered Red Lobster. He chose gas station food, much to J's chagrin. But, hey, he was the birthday boy & he got to choose. We ate at a BP & then took Pie to the video game store to spend his birthday money. J also showed me the games she would like if I get her a DS for Christmas.
Pie spent the afternoon blissed out on his new games while we watched a special about the best Christmas towns in the U.S. We made time before we had to return Pie for cake and singing. He was so sweet as he blew out his candles. I hope he made a good wish. He ate a bunch of cake, saying he wanted to have as much of it as he could while he was with us because his dad wouldn't let him have it at home. He said if we sent it home with him, his dad would just tell him wrestlers don't eat food like that & would take it away & eat it his own self. What a nasty man.
He drowsed all the way home as J and I made plans for my graduation party menu. He gave us sweet hugs & headed inside. We stopped at Bob Evans for dinner on the way home and went to bed fairly promptly once home. Last weekend of my commuting career! I am so glad I get to be with J all week soon, instead of just on weekends.