Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


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Monday, December 20, 2004  

Man, it’s cold as blue blazes out there and worse than that, a fierce wind is blowing. I’m not particularly bothered by cold but I hate wind and I despise cold wind. Crumbs. But we got a pretty little dusting of snow with this cold snap and the whole front yard is white with it. Like sugar coating on Christmas cookies, our world has been transformed from ordinary leaf strewn front yard to glistening greeting card photo op.

There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that I didn’t finish the petticoat yesterday so I couldn’t mark the hem. I’m not sure if I didn’t finish it because work expands to fill the time you have and Bride didn’t get over here till about 4 o’clock and I’d forgotten to measure how long to make the petticoat - or I didn’t finish it because I am tired of sewing. What I do know is that when Bride tried it on it was the perfect length but she wanted more layers in the skirt part. (The part from waist to hip is a single layer of soft silk twill shirting.) I’d used up all I had in the house. Even though P is coming from the city and has offered to bring me more netting, I am ready for a break. And so - all is packed up till after Christmas. Or at least, till after I get some Christmas stuff done.

While I did not finish everything by Christmas, which was my fervent desire, I am very far along with it all and there will be some time after the holidays for sewing. In fact, if I put a rein on my clutter scattering I might - just might - be able to work on the dress during the coming days off. The petticoat isn’t nearly so fragile that I couldn’t sew on it amdist Christmas clutter and the hemming can be marked upstairs in LD’s old room and sewn on in some less sloppy part of the house. Besides, I will probably sew the dress into a sheet-sac and hem, by hand, only the part that sticks out of the opening.

The good news is that the alterations I made at the waistline were Ab-So-Lute-Ly Perfect. The dress is so pretty that I get all teary when I look at Bride in it. It’s just, well, what more can one say. It’s her dream come true.

But now it’s time to do some Christmas things. I’m ready for a change anyway. After I packed away TheWeddingDress paraphernalia I quickly stirred up some rum balls and bourbon balls. These are really easy cookies to make, since there’s no baking. I remember when I was a child, my Aunt Sharon would always bring rum balls to my grandmother’s New Year’s Eve party. How a perfectly sensible and nice aunt could so ruin good chocolate cookies by putting that awful whiskey in them was a horrifying mystery to me. How fortunate I grew up and became intimate with those adult secret rites of taste. These particular sugar plums are now packed in decorative little tins, to be given to the volunteers at work.

Nearly all the gift buying/making is done, but nothing is wrapped. I think I can finish the last few bits of shopping here in town - lawsee, I hope so. But if I have to go to the city, I can probably slip over to Richmond early Thursday morning and be back with plenty of time to go find a Christmas tree and decorate it.

Finding the tree always involves driving at 10 miles an hour down the back roads here in Essex till we see just what we are looking for. Cutover timberland is the best - especially if it was cut about 5 years ago. That’s when the spruce pines are about 10 feet tall and, if you are lucky, evenly branched. Evenly for us, that is - they are nothing like the perfectly grown tree farm trees. Our trees are always interestingly gapped with holes that get filled with dozens of ornaments hung on different length cords, ribbons and strings. I’ve been looking over the land as I drive to work, all month, and I’ve seen a lot of good possibilities. Sometimes we find them on our own land, sometimes we - ahem - pilfer. This year, I believe we’ll find what we want on land owned by someone we know and will call him and ask for permission.

I have never seen anybody decorate a tree like ours. It’s got ornaments from BD’s 1940’s childhood, even some war-time home made things. It has the Santa I made in first grade out of one of Daddy’s Lucky Strike cigarette boxes. It has the bread dough ornaments I made when we lived in the yurt and didn’t have electricity. (Oh - I just suddenly had the multi-cultural mental image of a Christmas tree in a yurt!) It has an assortment of little toys on ribbons, home-made decorations made when LD was a tot and a school boy, and a good sprinkling of new things too. There is no theme to it other than a lavish glittery excess. I used to worry that it wasn’t “decorated” but now I wouldn’t have it look any other way. It’s a magic toyland full of elfin surprises.

In the attic are a number of other magical Christmas surprises - including a large candle carousel - one of those windmill type things that spins when the heat from candle flames causes a mini-updraft. I actually have so many Christmas decorations I never bring them all down. Some are truly intended to delight children and we don’t have children at the moment. Those are among the ones that stay upstairs - waiting till our grandchild era arrives. Others are essential to the holiday - the crèche, the wicker star, the tree shaped platter painted like stained glass.

So - I am ready for happy Christmas activities - though TheWedding is still large upon the scene. P is coming today to look at the church. Wonderful RF, the minister, has promised to drop the key by the library this morning and Bride, P and I will slip up there this afternoon. And I am glad to be going back to work, too. I’ve been there so little since Thanksgiving - and used up so much annual leave! I’m saving 4 days for the wedding, but I believe I shan’t have a day of leave left after that. Ah well. There is nothing I would rather spend my leave on than TheWedding.

Now, off I go to wrap up gifts.

posted by Bess | 6:07 AM