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


I'm glad you were able to counter the wretched Short Pump mall with a lovely stroll through the lights at Lewis Ginter. I won two tickets to that, and may be going next week sometime....

By Blogger Mary, at 11:23 AM  

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Sunday, December 23, 2007  

The night before the night before

Here at TheCastle, Christmas is filling up all the nooks and crannies. Clutter is filling up all the rest of the space and today I plan to declutter in a rather big way. I still have a few cards I want to send – even though I know they won't get to their destinations on Monday. Perhaps my favorite part of the December revels is the cards. Selecting them, writing them, sending them – and I take my time. It's funny who gets saved for last each year – they tend to be the folks I have the most news to tell to and that shifts a bit each year.

Friday we picked up a newly solo LD at the airport. We will have 5 glorious days of his company, plying him with favorite foods and weepy family Christmas traditions and lots of love and laughter. As BD hadn't done any Christmas shopping and as we weren't really sure what a young man with a job that has him moving twice a year (and thus, needs to pack lightly) could use. (Of course, there are Christmas socks, but what else???? that was the question.)

My plan-loving little Virgo soul used to have a rather superior attitude about week-before-Christmas shoppers, and for quite good reasons. I had a lot less $ at one time and to make it wrap around everything I wanted to do took a couple months of planning. I'm not sure if the media that ridicules the last minute shopper ever had any real foundation for it's humor or if it was just an effort by merchants and advertisers to get people to start the free flowing spending as early as possible, but what I have found is that there are many wonderful gifts that you can buy that weekend before Christmas and it's likely they will be marked down quite a good bit. I will still always do my shopping early, but I don't mind tagging along with my traditional guys and seeing what's out there. Besides, TheConsort is probably going to be buying my present (like this year) and I can steer him in the right direction (like this year).

We drove out to the hideous shopping mecca at Short Pump – land of engineered parking lots. Don't think we didn't find gifts – though all the blue checked size medium shirts were sold out except the ones at Orvis – a place I've never shopped before. I never looked at the price of LD's Christmas shirt, because, heck, a shirt's a shirt, right? Right before Christmas they're all about $30, right? Ha! Perhaps it can become an heirloom shirt. But the development of the Short Pump Shopping And Spending Extraviganza is just about the saddest monument to isolation I've ever seen. Every thing is clogged, channeled, narrow, and sad. I am so so so glad it's not a regular part of my life. It's architecture for the permanently plugged in - intended to lure you in and then make you leave as soon as possible. It's just right for the person who's always talking on the phone instead of to the person he's with - and the disconnect is bleak. But that's the only blue note injected into our holiday season and even there I found parking right up front and hit every green light going east into the real city.

The one thing I wanted to buy turned out to be this year's Hot Item - . About the only thing that brings Daddy out of his funk these days is anything to do with Band of Brothers – he watches it almost every day and brings it into the conversation all the time. I've given him all the peripheral books; Dick Winter's memoir, the original Stephen Ambrose. I'm glad there was something new to add to his collection. I am doubly glad that the last copy in Richmond could be put on hold for me and that B&N was open till 11.

That left the evening free for Friends and Beauty! Great friends and good food = love We met D&P at their house and joined M&J at Dot's Back Door, a neighborhood bar and restaurant that started the nostalgia flowing. The food was delicious and generous. Then it was off to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and their Festival of Lights. In the darkness, lit only by colorfully illuminated trees, ponds, bridges, and flowers, it was impossible to repress the holiday spirit. We began an impromptu caroling that lasted all evening. No single person knew all the words to any of the carols but we filled in with lusty fa la las – and next year we'll bring song sheets – maybe even enough to distribute to strangers. The joy of it all was that in the dark, nobody was the least inhibited about filling the air with song. It was glorious and Saturday morning phone calls assured us all that we were still walking on clouds. Don't you doubt it – this is going to be our new true blue Christmas Tradition.

Here's a link to my flickr slideshow of that happy evening. Night photography is not something I have much experience with so the pictures are definitely amateurish, but I think they capture something of the fun and pleasure of the evening. You can see better photos here.

Today will be tidy the house, write loving letters and maybe... just maybe... knit a wee bit.

May your days be merry and bright.

posted by Bess | 7:34 AM