Merry Christmas, and a Happy Holiday Season to all.
First, let’s get the temperature out of the way. It’s 77 (F) degrees in Austin, Texas.
Big fat hairy deal.
I’ve been through Christmases so hot we had to run the air conditioner and Christmases so cold that water froze, in Houston, at the main, and we had to wait half a day for it to thaw. In Fentress, which we’d abandoned for the holiday, water froze in the toilet, necessitating the replacement of the whole thing and several days of showers at Annie and Dan’s, down the street. Plumbers were busy replacing a lot of toilets.
Today I’d planned to wear my red sweater with the cowl neck and three-quarter sleeves, not overly warm, but chose instead a long-sleeved silk blouse and khaki slacks. Later I switched to khaki shorts to do my knee exercises. I’m sitting here with a throw over my lap but may soon ditch it. I may also ditch the blouse for a tee-shirt. At some point, I might put on shoes and socks, but I might not.
As to the cats, William went slightly nuts over his new catnip fish, then lay beside it, then fell asleep on it. At the first sound of wrapping paper tearing, Ernest ran under the bed. That’s a change. We have pictures of him wandering through Christmas paper, but he’s taking a new direction.
I received some lovely gifts–David is a good gift-picker–among them an ultra-soft throw decorated and round like a tortilla. I’m not using the tortilla today because I refuse to spill something on it the first day it’s in the house.
I also got a tote bag based on old Simplicity patterns, some of which I remember. My mother said Simplicity instructions were easier to follow than McCalls’. I made a couple of Simplicity skirts myself, but none with pleats or gathers. I did, however make plaids match, one of the major accomplishments of my life. Note: I was not born with it, but it’s a nice sentiment.
And there’s a carrying case for my laptop with a quotation from Wordsworth.
And I received a thermos bottle for Dihydrogen Monoxide with many WARNINGS on the side, such as, “Take any precautions to avoid
mixing with combustibles. Potassium and other alkali metals can be fatal if ingested in large quantities.” The last warning reads, “If SWALLOWED: Swallow. DO NOT induce vomiting.”
It took me only forty-five minutes to get it.
I was too busy remembering the day I’d been asked to keep an eye on the chemistry students from my biology classroom next door. On one eying mission I found two girls in the storage room pouring little bits of potassium into little pools of water and watching the potassium buzz across the counter top. I went bananas. As far as I was concerned, mixing potassium and water was an effective way to blow up the building, no matter how little was used. I got so wound up about the potassium that it didn’t occur to me the rest of the students might be in the lab pouring water into acid.
My gifts to David weren’t nearly so imaginative. One required reading instructions. A dirty trick. But on the theory that we have reached a certain age, and that the cats have reached a certain weight, and that we might need to evacuate the apartment quickly–I’m the type who sleeps in her clothes during tornado watches–I gave him two rolling cat carriers. They arrived in pieces. The manufacturer says if you leave them open, the cats will use them as beds and so will be happy to be stuffed inside and wheeled down the sidewalk. Yeah, right.
I also gave him an old print, restored, of a total solar eclipse. It commemorates our trip to Blue Springs, Missouri, to see the latest eclipse. On the edge of the path, it was supposed be at least a partial eclipse, but was more of a brief dimming. Nonetheless, I got to see my family, which was really the point.
The print required work: finding a stud to hang it. In all my years, I’ve never known anyone to care about studs–and my family hung a lot of heavy paintings–but better safe than sorry. The Sheetrock doesn’t belong to us.
In April 2024, there’ll be a total solar eclipse over Waco, Texas, and I am going to that. No matter how many of my knees are working, I’m going.
A young neighbor obviously received a dirt bike from Santa. David said there’s a trail through the wooded area behind our complex. The trail must begin on the sidewalk that runs by our patio. I didn’t know dirt bikes have motors, but I was thinking about mountain bikes. Seems to me a mountain bike would need a motor more than would a dirt bike.
Since I have no children, I can make a pronouncement: Santa would not bring a child of mine any means of transport until said child was at least twenty-three. Santa would bring things they would have to pedal and build muscle and cardiovascular health. I wouldn’t mind his bringing a reindeer, if we had a place to house it. Just getting into a saddle builds muscle all over the place.
We’re now waiting for David to start cooking steaks. When I cooked steak in the old apartment, the fire alarm always went off. So David became the steak cooker. In this apartment, even he makes the fire alarm go off, and he cooks them rare. Extremely rare. If it were human, the alarm would sleep in its clothes, too.
There’s a shrieking in the air, so I shall stop writing. I think I asked for Brussels sprouts, too, but I hope David forgets them.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.