BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, collect for the second Sunday of Advent
It was a wet and clammy weekend that managed some semblance of pre-Christmas festivities. The rain literally put a damper on things, though: chill, merciless in the way it crept into your bones, drenching everything and then keeping on, hour after hour, the cold sneaking under your collar and up your sleeves. If it had snowed, it might have at least felt warmer.
We arose just in time Saturday to get dressed and for dog-walking duties before we had to leave the house. James couldn't take the power chair to his club meeting Christmas party due to the rain and because of the usual Saturday and the seasonal Christmas shopping was doubtful of finding a close parking space where he would not have to walk past his strength. So I agreed to drop him off and then do a few errands in the area. If I wanted, I could have gone home, but in the end I didn't. Instead I pulled down my hat, hiked up my hood, and splashed onward.
First I popped off to Costco for gasoline, at a jaw-dropping $1.949, and then went through the store. We needed very prosaic things: trash bags, "plastic cheese" (Kraft slices), toilet paper. Of course ending up grabbing other things, including a new "Cooks Illustrated" as a surprise for James, but nothing else we couldn't use.
I usually buy discount toys throughout the year and save them for Toys for Tots, but everything's been at such sixes and sevenses this year I didn't get a chance. So I went to And That! (a.k.a. the local Christmas Tree Shoppe) to be immersed in warm Christmasy atmosphere. There were lights, decorations, and gifts everywhere, and Christmas music over the speakers, all which I enjoyed. I bought two small toys, all I could afford, and some pistachio nuts since I hadn't had breakfast. I could have gone to Panera, but instead I went to Publix and bought a small container of their chicken soup. Nowhere near as good and I had to eat it in the car, but half the price.
I also almost finished another Christmas gift, but won't mention it here, in case the intended recipients are reading.
Finally I just cut through the back streets and went to Barnes & Noble for a half hour, to check out the books and peruse the magazines until James called.
We spent the rest of Saturday evening at home, just noshing for supper, and had a double-feature on Christmas movies, first the modern Mercy Mission about the rescue of a small plane pilot by an Air New Zealand jet, and then the classic The Bishop's Wife. This is a delightful film as it is—I even love looking at the sets!—and a tribute to Cary Grant's acting chops, since he makes the Dudley character look effortless although he hated doing the film!
Today we tried to sleep late, but sleep was elusive. I washed the towels and some other things, but my main focus was getting the mail items done. I still hadn't written the Christmas letter, which seemed superfluous because only one person is now getting it (the person isn't online and hasn't followed the "adventures" of this year). Considering I have been re-telling James' medical saga for months, it was pretty much a doddle to write. It was harder to print, and I did half the labels upside down. Since they were still legible, I left them. So I finished writing out all the Christmas and Hanukkah cards (yeah, they'll be late) and sorted those that get mailed, and those that get mailed with gifts, and those that will get (hopefully) delivered in person, and since that got done, I hauled all the gift boxes out of the closet and turned the spare room into what looks like a gift shop behind held on a sofa. In this fashion I got the gifts wrapped that are going to be shipped and hopefully I can take them to the post awful tomorrow.
By the time I finished this task, it was suppertime. James warmed up the gravy and pork, cooked some fettucini, and I shoveled my way through supper (considering all I'd had today was a bowl of oatmeal, a cup of yogurt, some skim milk, a grilled cheese sandwich, and a PopTart, I was hungry for some real food).
Later it was time for the news, A Christmas Story, and Alaska: the Last Frontier.