Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Traditions

One of the things I am looking forward to the most about Christmas tomorrow is our traditional picnic breakfast on Christmas morning. For the past five or so years, my siblings and I have gotten up early to make breakfast for the family. We do the cooking in the upstairs bathroom, and then we eat it on the floor in the room where Carolyn and I used to live. We chose the bathroom so that we could avoid mistakenly glimpsing the tree and presents before our parents were awake on our way to the kitchen downstairs. Usually the tradition involves sneaking the food, electric griddle, dishes, and silverware upstairs on Christmas Eve, and we always have fun trying to figure out how to keep the perishables cold. Last year, I hung a jug of milk out of Tommy’s bedroom window. On Christmas morning the biggest challenge is to keep the Midas puppy quiet while we cook. David insists that breakfast cooked in the bathroom is a little bit disgusting, but the rest of us fight passionately to keep the tradition alive. We will miss James, our expert omelet chef, this year, but I am eager to introduce Matthew to Christmas Picnic Breakfast. My stomach is growling at the thought of it!

Hooray for Christmas and time off from work! It is my first Christmas with my sweetheart, and I am delighted that we will get to spend it hanging out with my family, hanging out with his family, and listening to books on tape for 20 hours in the car.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Crosby Update: Episode 1, Or, the Horse, the Hunts, the Heater, The Host.

Matt and I just had our three-month anniversary (our third lunaversary, I guess), and I thought I’d celebrate by writing about some of the adventures we’ve had together since then. We’ll call this episode one of the Crosby Update. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list of everything we’ve done together. It is however, most of the things I could think of that begin with the letter ‘H.’

The Horse: Matthew and I spent part of our honeymoon at a guest ranch in the mountains of Arizona where he used to work as a horse wrangler. We had a lovely time there, and of course, we spent some time riding horses. The last day we were there, as a favor to the ranch managers, Matt volunteered the two of us to go out on horseback and round up the rest of the horses from pasture. I decided to ride Ocho, a horse I felt relatively comfortable riding, and we set off. He did a fairly good job for me up until the point where Matthew and I had all the horses rounded up against the gate leading out of the pasture, about a mile from the ranch. It was at that point that Ocho (I am grumbling and shaking my fist as I type his name) started being an idiot. He wanted to run with the horses, and he kept rearing up when I tried to rein him in. Finally, he just bolted through the gate and began running through the trees. (Matthew had turned for a minute to attend to some stubborn horses). The thoughts I had were these: This doesn’t seem safe. I can probably either 1) get clotheslined by one of these branches speeding by, 2) be thrown from this horse, or 3) fall off. I opted for falling off, partly because I was losing my grip anyhow. Unfortunately, as I leaned to the side in preparation to slide off, the darned horse rammed me into the trunk of a tree. What happened next? I fell to the ground, closed my eyes until the sound of hooves around me stopped, writhed around for a bit, and screamed for Matthew. The end of the story is this: Matthew came over, accidentally lost his horse, used his EMT skills to check me out, and called on Heaven for me. Then he carried me down the hill to the road, where a vacationing couple were providentially passing by. They, mercifully, had a cold ice pack and a roomy vehicle, and they took us back to the ranch. In the end, I was in a lot of pain, but still felt blissful to be married to such a guy as Matthew. I spent that evening at our open house greeting guests from the comfort of an armchair, and Matthew spent the next few weeks proving his love for me by picking me up out of bed when I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, lifting me into and out of the car, etc. Matthew and I wonder: Will Ocho’s name be changed to Nueve now?

THE HUNTS refer to the hunt for extremely good deals on secondhand furniture on the internet and for perfect Christmas trees in the forests of Wyoming. The results were a set of kitchen chairs for $20, a beautiful whitewashed nine-drawer dresser for $65, and this tree, which cost only $10 and a close encounter with a motor home on black ice.

The Heater: We live in a cozy little apartment that we love, and one of the great blessings we’ve enjoyed is that we managed to get a deal with free utilities. The heater does a great job of keeping us warm. In fact, we always make sure to turn the thermostat all the way down before we go to sleep at night, so we don’t get too hot. One night, Matt remembered to turn it off just as we were dozing off for the night. He hopped up and took care of it, not bothering to turn on any lights, and we were out before another minute had passed. The next thing I knew, Matthew was kneeling at my side, nudging me awake, and I was terribly thirsty… and hot. Matthew had in fact turned the dial on the thermostat all the way, but in the wrong direction, so that our house was now 90 degrees. Matt had woken up and discovered the situation, then come back in to wake me up before he opened the door to our house, thus saving me from being startled awake by the sound only to discover my husband was missing. We had a great time cooling the house down and getting drinks of water before we went back to sleep.

THE HOST: One of our favorite things to do together is read, and The Host is the most recent book we’ve finished. Some others of the books we’ve experienced together include The Princess Bride, a couple of The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pan, and The Partner. Next up: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Three Months