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the start of the season

for the first time, yesterday made me feel like the holidays were upon us.

in the morning, we did our annual holiday decorating thing at the cemetery. every year i think, "why?" but every year i dutifully go for my mom's sake. honestly, my brother wasn't exactly kris kringle, nor was my dad, but we go and decorate their graves like they were known for wearing christmas sweaters or something. but, you know, it's not like flowers or whatever are really for the dead folks, anyway, so if this activity actually forces certain family members to remember to honor my grandfather -- if not my dad and brother -- then good. i felt bad because i carried nola almost the whole time and therefore couldn't exactly help out too much. then i walked around with paul and nola, so there was more time spent not being useful to the rest of my family. my cousin showed up with her husband and new baby just in time to take pictures, so i guess she was even less useful. she didn't even seem that interested in her own baby, but that's a story for another time (or not). we tried to take some pics of paul and nola to use on our christmas card, but they didn't want to cooperate. great pics of them separately, but together? not quite.

after we finished up, they all went out to lunch to a filipino restaurant. because we are eschewing eggs and dairy, the four of us declined to go with them (much to the surprise of two cousins and an uncle, who hadn't realized we weren't until they arrived at the restaurant). i was ready to head home, but paul declared we needed to go to a restaurant that didn't require us to drive on the freeway. big sigh. we ended up at a red robin five miles away. i was expected crowds (aren't most of those attached to malls or shopping centers?), but it was positively empty.

late afternoon, two old friends arrived at our house for a visit. it was lovely, although i did feel a little sad about how they found marriage to be such a logistical and practical nightmare. (i do understand their concerns, however, and i do agree that it is easier if you marry younger rather than older because you aren't so set on your own ways, etc.) paul was so keen on playing with my friends that cam eventually had to forcibly take him away. he returned close to the end of their visit, and showed off legos like they were going out of style. cam repeatedly called him back, but "i'm not paying attention to my daddy," he said. we took some pictures and paul cheerfully bossed everyone into position. he also gave them school pictures with his name written twice on the back -- once with solid lines, once with dotted lines so that my friends could write his name, too.

it was a nice festive kind of a day. more social than we're used to, but that's no surprise because we're hermits.

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