Wednesday 29 December 2004

no. more. turkey.

Oh what a relief to have finished up work for 2004. Hellish deadlines (which seems to happen every December at every company I've ever worked for as a tech author) but at least we didn't have to worry about hosting the festive feast this year. We drove down to Kent on remarkably quiet roads and motorways on Friday morning and opened our stocking stuffers later that night. I got a Labrador puppies calendar (awwwwwwwww), two cookbooks, and three of the most exciting presents ever: Peanut Butter Cups and Goldfish crackers (Paul managed to find a shop that sells these in Milton Keynes - although for the price, you are better off getting a friend to send them to you from North America and pay for the postage), and a year's subscription to Heat magazine. Being hugely pregnant and then housebound with a newborn won't keep me from my celebrity gossip, no siree.

Christmas Day started off with more present getting and giving, including the armload of pressies from my Mom and Dad shipped to us about a month ago. From the inlaws, I got the new Nigella book (I love that woman - this book includes recipes for Sloppy Joes, Shirley Temples, and chocolate cheesecake), the latest Harry Potter DVD, a handmade clown doll for the baby (yes PaulG, I did make a little eeeek noise when I opened it), a set of Winnie the Pooh books for the baby as well, very comfy slippers, and Angels and Demons by Dan Brown (loved the DaVinci Code). Mom and Dad got me a few Roots maternity tops (who knew they did preggie clothes?), slippers, a beautiful lacquered Japanese bowl, a calendar, and an envelope of cash. Saving the best for last, my husband got me a gorgeous necklace with a little diamond star-shaped pendant, more of my favourite perfume (Ralph Lauren), and a very fancy milk frother. We got addicted to Chai tea lattes in the States (Starbucks must put crack in each cup, I'm sure) and have been trying to reproduce them at home. I managed to find a place that carried the Tazo tea in bags, so I got some for Paul along with...a milk frother. Doh. We are now a two milk frother household. I also got him a DVD rewriter (made a bit less of a surprise when he opened the package of blank DVDs from his Mum and Dad first), a kitchen blow torch (it's a macho kitchen implement - open flames! Man make creme brulee! Arrrrrr!), and a set of fancypants cheese knives.

Christmas lunch was fantastic, but sadly, I could not stuff my face because I haven't the stomach room anymore. Although I tend to love all food British, I don't get bread sauce. Really, I don't understand it. You boil a clove-studded onion, a bay leaf, and peppercorns in milk, strain the milk, and then add fresh breadcrumbs and a bit of butter. It's always served with poultry and I just don't get it. Perhaps you need to be raised on it to have a liking for it, but to me, it's rather odd and tasteless. The uncouth North American in me prefers to drown everything on my plate with gravy, thanks. My mother in law made her famous brandy butter for the Christmas pud, and I made a heavenly chocolate trifle. The leftovers made a reappearance with some yummy hors d'oeuvres on Boxing Day, as more family came over for lunch. Poor Jasper had torn a back claw right in two on his walk on Christmas Day, so he was hobbling around with a bandaged paw feeling very sorry for himself. On Monday, we ventured out to Bluewater shopping centre...which apparently the rest of the free world decided to do that day as well. We discovered that Bluewater now has a Krispy Kreme doughnuts shop (still have yet to try one). Indeed. We returned home on more delightfully quiet roads and motorways, with a tin foil-wrapped bundle of leftover turkey and ham.

Russ and Debs came by yesterday with more gifts for all of us (even Jasper who got the biggest rawhide chew in the world), and I made a very un-Chistmassy lunch of minestrone soup and homemade pizza. Today is a day of rest; just a midwife appointment and a visit to the vet to fix Jasper's poorly paw. Tomorrow we're off to see Gary, Ruth, and little Naomi. New Year's Eve will be spent at home, and I'll undoubtedly fall asleep on the sofa by 9. On Sunday, my brother in law, sister in law, and our two nieces are coming over to begin a month of "let's visit Paul and Lisa before she gets too huge to move" family get togethers. Then it's back to work on the 4th. Ugh. Bleah. Ick.

Please - no more turkey. Oh, but I will finish that box of chocolates.

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