Really, I've had a wonderful Christmas so far. It was marvellous having Kevin around, even if we did slip a little bit into the same sort of patterns from when we were living together in Philly. Good patterns; happy patterns. ("Look, what a comfortable old chair. What'll it hurt if I just sit down in it for a few minutes? Ahhh....") Patterns that had to break sort of jarringly when it was time for him to go. Oh well -- if given a choice between joy+sorrow or simple contentment, I'll generally go with the former. Just the kind of person I am.
It was just so lovely spending time with him. We went to see LotR on Thursday, for example. Took the train down, found our showing was sold out, had some terribly greasy yet oddly comforting dinner at a diner next door, caught the next showing. The theatre was full of Utah teeny-boppers; blonde hair, too much make-up, lots of dumb comments between friends sitting rows apart. During the previews I got more and more irritated with them, sure that a) they weren't going to appreciate *my* movie, and b) they were going to wreck my viewing experience.
Instead, they fell completely silent when the movie started. Oh, there was one loud "Yeah!!!" when a bad guy's head got lopped off, but somehow it seemed in the right spirit, and the rest of the theatre (self included) chuckled. Everyone listened carefully to the dialogue. Everyone got caught up in the world of Middle-Earth. The movie had flaws, which I could enumerate if I really wanted to -- but I don't; it caught what I thought was the most important part, the splendid feel of the books. The sense of grandeur and terror and this small hobbit walking alone into the heart of darkness. I was totally caught up in it -- I almost squeezed Kevin's hand completley off at the scary bits. I cried at the bridge in the Mines of Moria -- even though I knew it was coming. When the ending approached, and the parting of the fellowship, I didn't want the movie to end, even though I'd been sitting for three hours and really needed to get up and stretch. And when the end credits started rolling, and we realized it would be a whole year until we could see what happened next, the blonde teeny-bopper in front of me moaned out loud -- "Oh, no..."
I guess she was allowed to see my movie after all.
Bags are packed now, though the last set of books I made for my relatives is still pressing. (You need to press books after each stage of glueing so that the wet paper and boards don't warp.) Most of yesterday was devoted to that -- I finished the story, "The Fallen Star" yesterday morning, then spent a while laying it out in Quark (not too painful, but finicky and time-consuming), then managed to print it double-sided, and the pages came out so beautiful and book-like that I was just delighted. When I had nine complete sets, I wrapped them in coppery endpapers and sewed them together using dark green, purple, and wine embroidery thread. Three sets with each color. Then I bound them into the casings, which I'd made using those same colors for the covers and spine cloths. I set them to pressing around 4:30 -- I'd been working on them since I got up at 9. Then I set to cleaning and laundry and packing, along with Kev.
There are still a fair number of dishes left over; lots of people came over Friday night for Christmassy hanging out. My trifle came out fabulously -- mango and peach and pear, with angel food cake and English custard and a little sherry, with fresh whipped cream over the top and pomengrante seeds for decoration. I also made a very easy chocolate plum pudding (recipe over at Epicurious) which is really a cross between a plum pudding and brownies, since it's baked instead of steamed. But it has the right rich texture, and was quite yummy. I'll use chopped fruit next time instead, I think.
People brought lots of tasty food too -- poor Carol was sick, but dropped off delectable food beforehand, which was just too sweet of her. There was socializing and good conversation and I got to show Jeff the galleys of Wet. One of the funniest bits of the evening was when Julie (also in the department) took a look at Jeff's story in galleys and realized that the story was about her sister -- Jeff and her sister had dated for three years. She said reading it felt like she'd walked in on them in bed. :-)
Really pleasant meal. A fair bit of work, with cleaning and cooking and all, but worth it. It just doesn't seem like Christmas unless you exhaust yourself at least once preparing for a party.
Eventually, yesterday, I had cleaned and packed enough, and we watched Splendor. Charming movie, bad choice. Got very upset afterwards, which I probably could've predicted if I'd thought about it for two seconds in advance. Ah well. Poor Kev -- he knows that there's just nothing he can do about it when I get upset over us, but he so badly wants to fix things and make me happy again. Sometimes there's just nothing you can do.
I called Jed, and then Karina called, and I talked to them while I finished the books -- slitting the pages open, signing and numbering the last sheet. A limited edition run of 9. :-) I wrapped them in Xmas paper and set them to pressing again. I was too groggy to think of taking photos for you -- sorry; perhaps I'll get some after they're opened. They really came out rather lovely, and I'm trying to think of the flaws as acceptable artistic variations. "These imperfections in the material are part of the natural process of handmade work..."
And now it's 4:30 -- time for tea and the last dishes and showering and dressing and packing the books and computer and getting into a cab. Maybe I'll get a good sunrise at the airport or on the plane. If I don't speak to you again before Christmas, have a very Merry one, please. Mine has been lovely, in part due to you all (and thank you for the presents to Tim in Hawaii and Jim and Chris!). Have a happy holiday, my dears. Cherish the ones you love.