DC Comics closed at 1 on Friday and that kicked off the holiday weekend very nicely. Deb and I grabbed a train home at 2 and when we arrived, we went straight to the gym. After that, I collected Kate, hit the comic shop and then the supermarket, intending to minimizing the following day’s running around. Deb began baking right after dinner so I was on call as either sous-chef or dishwasher. By the time we collapsed into bed, we had a batch of cookies done, a cake for dessert and ingredients reading to become stuffing.
On Saturday, we were up and moving on the early side. We made some quick stops and then returned home to keep going. The stuffing took shape, I made two batches of cookies, the kids did whatever errands were required and holiday music filled the house. Everyone was in high spirits, as it should be.
By 2, everything was in terrific shape so I took the kids to go see King Kong. We had wanted to see this on Monday but our Cablevision installer screwed that plan. Anyway, the theatre was only partially full as people seemed to have others things to do. A movie on the Eve has become a bit of a tradition for us. In the past, when Robbie was younger, he couldn’t contain himself with the anticipation and excitement of Christmas Eve – it meant he could open presents from out of town family. When they were much younger, we took them to the 4 p.m. Christmas Eve mass which killed some time and then we got home, made dinner and kept him occupied. As they got older and switched to the Vigil, we had all afternoon to preoccupy him and so the movies began.
Kong is everything the reviewers and bloggers say it is. All three of us were transfixed by the sumptuous imagery and terrific storytelling. Not all the CGI effects were perfect, but I was stunned by how real Kong seemed. More than that, he was given a real distinct look and personality. I especially liked how expressive his eyes were and how much emotion was conveyed throughout. Jackson and his cowriters wisely set up the characters and situation so once the action started, we knew who to root for and who to feel sorry for when they died or were injured. Naomi Watts was simply amazing. To pull off the romance with Kong considering she was acting against a green screen was a testament to her skills. The middle third was breathless and Kate complained she forgot to blink causing her contacts to dry out. And the ending was a little drawn out but also quite effective. (I have a fear of heights and this is the first time a movie triggered that response in me.) All three of us walked out of there very, very happy.
Twas the Night Before Christmas
We got home and immediately got into high gear. Robbie worked on our traditional dinner of pasta and shrimp; I tossed together a salad while finishing with a batch of cookies. Within forty minutes of walking in the door, we were seated to dinner.
Afterwards, we did a swift, efficient cleanup and then it was to the tree. Since we see most of Deb’s siblings at a family party in a few weeks, the tree looked a little spare with just presents from my family. Still, he was practically vibrating.
Fortunately, he got what he wanted most: the Chronicles of Narnia for the PS2. Kate delighted in receiving The Goblet of Fire in French and Deb loved the antique travel poster calendar from Kate. Robbie gave me the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack and Kate happily presented me with the 30th anniversary edition of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run.
He tore downstairs to play. Deb and Kate went to get ready for mass. I did as I had hoped; start digging through some of the magazine backlog. This seems to be the time of year with a little extra off time so I enjoy getting caught up on magazines or even graphic novels that have sat on the pile for months.
Around 10:15 we headed off to the church. Kate was to cantor the mass, a high honor, while Robbie volunteered to Altar Serve to be with her. Deb remained in the choir loft as usual. I took a pew behind friends and listened. When she took her place and began singing to start the mass, I had an idiot grin on my face. I took such pride in her accomplishments and didn’t miss a note. Later, a friend mentioned that she saw the grin throughout the mass and thought “it was cute.” Four of her friends (a catholic, a Jew, an atheist, and an agnostic, something for everyone) turned up to see her and she was gratified by the support.
Lectoring was her long time classmate and part-time rival Justin. Kate and Justin have been in some form of competition since middle school when they fought for first chair viola. They also started altar serving together in fourth grade and were frequently paired through the years. Here they were, thirteen years later, still active in the Church and side-by-side, doing the parts reserved for adults. I marveled at how things have progressed.
We got home just after 12:30 a.m. and the kids rushed to bed as Deb and I got the living room ready for Santa’s arrival. They are currently at church, singing in the choir for the 10 a.m. mass. To allow everyone some sleep, we carefully negotiated with Robbie that presents would be delayed until they got home so we enjoy them without the clock pressuring anyone.
Once they return, it’ll be presents and then just the four of us, which is a first. Also, for a first, we’re attempting a Christmas Goose which should be interesting. As Deb put it, either good or bad, it’ll be a memorable day. We’ll have some finger foods for lunch and then some games and then the goose with the trimmings and probably more games or fun as day turns to night.
May this day bring you everything you want, especially peace and the enjoyment of one another’s company.