I love the month of November, all four dreary, leafless, chilly weeks of it. Today was possibly the most perfect Sunday we'll have, although I'm holding out hope for all the others.
I woke up briefly at 6:30 and, hearing a strange sound from outside, peeked out my window. I was nonplussed at what I saw. It seemed strangely familiar, like something seen in a sidelong glance on the fourth day of the new year when I was only a child. There was a name for it, but my tongue couldn't find the right sound. I waited patiently, my forehead against the cold glass, shivering a little in my nightgown, and at last the word came:
Lovely, splattering, dripping, pouring rain, coming out of a grey sky, low and scornful. I sighed with happiness and sank back underneath my blankets, burrowing my drowsy head ecstatically into the pillow. A cold and rainy Sunday!
The girls and I got up an hour later and got ready to leave for Religious Ed class. To be honest, we weren't all that keen to leave our beds and venture out, but we consoled ourselves with a coffee on the way there. Religious education class passed pleasantly enough, and we embarked on our way home, getting ourselves breathlessly into the house between the raindrops, shrugging out of our damps coats, and climbing enthusiastically back into our pajamas and slippers.
Meelyn, Aisling and I were eager to try a new product we found in the little boutique around the corner that was having the buy-one-get-one-free Webkins event this weekend. When we were there, greedily grabbing up plush toys, we noticed that there was a little hospitality area set out. I'd like to think that we didn't descend on it like a pack of ravening wolves, but sometimes Aisling has a let's take one of everything and then take another of all the things we liked way about her that can be disconcerting to the hosts who set out their goodies with careful consideration of having enough to go around. I kept a firm hold on her and Meelyn daintly gave four delicate crackers a schmear of a cream cheese spread.
I took a tiny nibble of my cracker, chewed in a ladylike manner and said, "Oh, that's very good! What it is?"
One of the store's clerks said graciously, "That's one of our cream cheese mixes. They're available in the back of the shop with the kitchen decor."
Aisling stuffed an entire cracker whole into her mouth. "Tha' sreall ygood," she said indistinctly, her eyes shining with approval, spewing cracker crumbs over the front of my blazer. "Leth get thome of that!"
"Mommy, that is really good," said Meelyn, nibbling her own cracker. She picked up an attractive little package off the table and said, "Look, this is what it is. Garlic and herb spread. It says all you have to do is get eight ounces of cream cheese and four tablespoons of butter. and moosh it all together. Don't you think these would be nice Christmas presents?"
I did. We have so many teachers -- art, piano, scrapbooking, et cetera -- who make our lives so rich in so many ways. I thought it would be very nice to give these friends a packet of the cheese spread mix, some nice cream cheese, a stick of butter and some lovely crackers. It's always nice to have a little extra something for guests during the holiday season. Besides, as a former teacher who got eight thousand coffee mugs over the course of a seven year career bearing sayings such as "The Three Best Reasons for Teaching? June, July and August!" and "A Teacher Touches the Future" and my all time cringe-producing favorite, "A+ Teacher!" that I never want to be responsible for giving someone a gift that they are going to have to either re-gift to some other hapless soul or haul down to the Goodwill in a box of jumbled glassware.
(My theory is that there are probably really only a hundred actual teacher-themed mugs in existence and that those hundred mugs are in constant circulation, being given, re-gifted, re-purchased from Goodwill...the cycle of madness continues. So if you were thinking of giving some teacher you know a mug for Christmas, just don't, okay? Please. Even if you're going to tuck some swanky teabags or a packet of hot chocolate imported from Belgium or even one of those chocolate spoons, just don't. Think "consumable.")
The girls and I bought two packages of the cream cheese spread mix, a sweet and a savory. The savory was the garlic and herb stuff we tried in the shop and the other was called English Toffee and claimed to want to be served on graham crackers or shortbread. I had already purchased the required cream cheese, butter and crackers at the grocery on Saturday and the girls and I had stirred up the cheese spreads the night before, so they were all ready to be tasted.
The garlic and herb one went like wildfire - eight ounces of cream cheese doesn't make a very big cheese ball, especially since we were viewing this as our lunch. The English Toffee was very tasty, but way too rich, even though I used graham crackers. We each had a few bites of it and declared it cloying to the palate.
The rest of the day went very pleasantly with the rain and the snoring dogs and the cozy warm throws on the sofa and ottomans pushed at agreeable angles for the propping up of feet. My husband and I sat side by side for several hours with Wimzie squashed in between us, generating heat like a little furry furnace. The girls read their books (Meelyn happily digging back into the first novel in the Batson trilogy that she just finished last week) and enjoyed the computer and played some Skip-Bo here and there. The laundry all got done. Aisling got in trouble for being a pest and had to load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher all by herself.
It's been the loveliest, most relaxing day I've had in a long time.
Although it does feel very strange to be changing from pajamas into more pajamas at bedtime.
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