Thursday, December 26, 2019

Boxing Day

The children's presents arrived today and I picked them up at the post office. I brought them in and set them in the kitchen and then got dressed in my walking clothes and took a short walk- my first in weeks. I knew I needed to go. Not walking does me no good. No good at all. Not physically or mentally and I know it but despite that knowledge I can find ten good reasons every day not to do it.
I thought about a woman I'd known who used to say that exercise was like brushing her teeth. It simply had to be done.
And it had to be done.
It was an okay walk. Nothing very new seemed to be going on in the neighborhood although when I passed the little enclave where No Man Lord lives there seemed to be a small gathering. There was a fire and a few kids and a mother holding a baby and one man was giving another man a shave while some other guys were standing around talking. No one seemed to notice my passing but I waved anyway.

I decided that today would be my de-Christmasing day and so it was. I took the lights and ornaments off the tree and packaged them up carefully, wrapping them in tissue paper and putting them in the bag I've been using for years for that purpose. I unwrapped the string of lights very carefully and wrapped them around an old paper tube so that they'll be ready for whenever I do it all again.
If I do.
I put the little nativity scene back in its bag and I carried them all upstairs and put them in the closet and then I opened up the boxes of toys and wrapped them and then carried all of the wrapping paper and bows and ribbons and tags upstairs and set them alongside the decorations. My big grapevine wreath with the cardinal is still on the porch and I'll leave that for awhile. I like it.

I made the decision this morning to keep my Le Creuset pot and pan that my husband gave me for Christmas. They really are beautiful and thoughtful gifts and the fact is that although I do not need them, I will enjoy them and their quality for the rest of my life. I've never been one for fancy kitchen stuff but I do insist on decent cookware. My stack of cast iron skillets and pots is my joy and pride. My knives may not be the best but they are good and I keep them sharp. There are plenty of kitchen tools that one may skimp on as to quality but there are some that any cook deserves to have the best she can afford. I explained to Mr. Moon a long time ago that these things are my tools. My pots, my knives, my food processor, my mixer, my bowls and my casserole dishes and baking sheets. He immediately understood- he, too, has his tools and he knows the value of quality. But I have to know that I will be using what I buy. Some things I use almost daily, some perhaps only a few times a month, but I like knowing that when I do need them, they are there. I may not have a souffle dish or a crepe pan but I damn sure have a stock pot, a wok.
And I have acquired a lot of these things slowly, over many years, a lot of them from thrift stores. I keep an eye out for the good stuff. The pot I used for decades for soups and stews and all sorts of cooking was given to me by my brother who found a returned set of good pots in a dumpster at a department store where he was working. It is as fine now as it was then.
So for me to accept the gift of a pot and of a pan that cost as much together as probably all of my cooking utensils was huge for me.
But as my husband said, "These are your tools."

And thus, I peeled off the labels and washed them both with warm soapy water and set this beauty on my stove and poured stock in it that I had saved from when I cooked the chicken two days ago and added the bony remains of a chicken I'd roasted a few days before that along with a frozen chicken thigh and a breast and I simmered them all day with garlic. 
And every time I opened the heavy lid to peek inside to give a little stir with a wooden spoon, to add some celery salt, celery seed, it made me happy. 

Here's something else that made me happy. 

Lily brought the kids over and despite yesterday's giant gift haul, they were as excited to open these presents as if they were the only ones they'd gotten. 
Don't even ask me what they were. Lily sent me the links to buy them and I did. 
She obviously knows her boys. 
Gibson gave me about a hundred kisses. Owen hugged me and hugged me. They wanted to go home right that second to play with their new things whatever those new things are. 
And Magnolia? 
Okay. A doll I understand. But Baby Alive? 
Turns out that this Baby Alive can not only talk when you mash her tummy, but she comes with some Play Doh and a little press that you can make noodles with to FEED THE DOLL who sucks them in with a slurpy sound and says things like "Yummy, Mommy! More noodles!"

So what happens with the Play Doh noodles? you might ask. 
Well, I'll tell you- Baby Alive has an extremely fast digestive system and after a few noodles have been slurped says, "My diaper needs changing!" Mommy then checks the baby's diaper to find that the noodles are right there! 
I cannot imagine that Baby Alive is getting much nutritional value out of such quickly passed Play Doh but what the heck? 
It's pretty much just like the Betsy Wetsy dolls that little girls my age all begged for. 
Except you know- poop instead of pee. 

It's a brave new world, y'all. 
Although not really that new to be honest.

And the creepiness factor seems to be a continuing issue.

But you know what? Maggie will have a lot of fun with that doll even though I have a feeling that like a lot of little girls, including me, she will always end up loving the dolls that do nothing but allow themselves to be cuddled the most. I had a Chatty Cathy and after about an hour, she was boring as hell. Not much of a real conversationalist, that Cathy. She felt more like a machine than a baby.
And let's face it- Maggie's still going to create entire families out of salt and pepper shakers.

So that was that and off they went to play with their new toys and I swept my house, the metaphorical meaning not lost on me, and did laundry and enjoyed stirring my broth in my new pot.

It occurs to me that this entire post could be viewed as incredibly sexist. I could have gotten a chain saw for Christmas and Maggie could have gotten a track hoe but say what you will- hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have not been erased with cultural awareness.
And if Maggie had wanted a track hoe, she would have asked for one and she would have gotten one. If I had wanted a chain saw, my husband would have bought one, wrapped it up and given it to me.
And if Owen and Gibson had wanted Baby Alive and tea sets, they would have received those things. And yeah, Gibson does love a good tea party. Which we do sometimes have.

I guess that's it. My soup now has vegetables and rice in it and I'm about to go squeeze lemon juice into it.

Happy Boxing Day, y'all. I have heard Boxing Day described as a cat's favorite day of the year which tickles me.

Be well.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. I got a Chatty Cathy for Christmas and Kay From Across The Street got a nurse kit which is what I really wanted and I pulled Cathy’s string to show Kay and she promptly amputated it with her round tipped nurse scissors and Cathy never spoke again thus forming my entire social structure forever.

    1. This does explain a lot.
      Did Kay get a spanking? Because that would have been culturally appropriate thing to happen.

  2. I do love the Le Cruset line of cooking stuff. They're just beautiful and useful. Years ago I bought the oval dutch oven. It's been well used, and still cleans up well.

  3. Yesterday I read your blog on my phone-I was with my son and his family. I tried to comment then that you should keep that beautiful pot but was unable to do it. I was so glad you decided to keep such a great gift and already put it to use. I have had mine for about 30 years and I use it at least twice a week. We are both serious cooks and it is lovely to have good tools. I am happy to tell you that I too survived Christmas(just!) and I am so damn glad it is December 26th.

    1. Hurray for surviving Christmas!!!
      Yep. When I put that chicken broth in the pot and set it on the stove I said to myself, "The die is cast!"
      Serious cooks need serious tools.

  4. We have a Le Cruset dutch oven/pot and my husband (the cook in our family) uses it several nights a week and loves it. I do the washing up and it cleans up beautifully. It’s about a decade old now and those things do not wear out. We gave our son one last year for his birthday and our daughter one this Christmas because they both have their own homes now and both love to cook and they will have this wonderful tool for decades to come. I’m glad you kept the pot. I was hoping you would.

    1. Thanks, sweetie. I think I have a very hard time accepting presents. I always feel like I don't deserve them, you know?
      I bet you do know.
      Love you.

  5. My sister's LeCreuset has turned out a couple decades of soup and chicken stew with dumplings and pork with sauerkraut, and how I miss it. Especially since it's nearly pork roast with sauerkraut time. It is her tool, and there is no messing with it. It used to rest center front in the pot cupboard. I imagine it's in much the same place in her new home.
    It was a good Christmas, and here's to a good new year coming up.

    1. Pork with sauerkraut. Oh god. I MUST make that soon. My favorite. I swear.
      I'm glad it was a good Christmas for you, Joanne. And yes- let's hope the best for 2020. Can you even believe it's going to BE 2020?

  6. We took Katie out to the mall and for lunch on Christmas day. We met up with a friend of mine from work and her four year old daughter who also got a Baby Alive for Christmas. I laughed so hard when the doll ate the play doh and then shit it out.

    Katie saw it and started to gag. Apparently poop, even play doh poop grosses her out!

    I didn't know the dolls were a thing this year.

    I got a pasta maker from my big guy. I don't like appliances but I also don't want to hurt his feelings. Sigh. I'm trying to downsize, simplify and I'm guessing he doesn't know this.

    I think I'll take my tree down tomorrow, sounds like a good idea.

    1. "That's making us sick," is what Owen said yesterday when Maggie was feeding her Baby Alive its noodles and they were falling out of her butt. I said, "She has worms!"
      Katie was right to gag.
      I understand completely about the pasta maker.
      Do these men even know us?

  7. Looks like the grands enjoyed your gifts and you all had a great Christmas. I hope the new year will be a happy one.

    1. I hope it's a good year for us all, dear e! Thank you.

  8. I had a tiny tears doll, instead of peeing after her bottle , would cry. That was pretty creepy too. What a treasure Mr. Moon gifted to you! I’ve had mine about 20 years and much deliciousness has come out of that pot. Enjoy! Much love,

    1. I remember Tiny Tears. Bless her little weeping heart.
      So far so good on the pot- my soup last night was delicious.

  9. hard body dolls never appealed to me as a child, cuddle dolls -floppy dolls were a favorite, - security cuddles especially through the night. I asked Santa for a boy doll- I wanted to see his parts. but he came and had no genitals at all. I ironically named hm Peter, and left him in the corner. so glad that the gifts arrived in time for another christmas os joy for the kids! They are the luckiest kids in the world

    1. Yeah- no penes on boy dolls. Even now. Well, I think a brand or two, probably European, may make them more anatomically correct. The girl dolls are hardly more accurate in their representation of what goes on down there.
      We are so weird, us humans.
      I don't know if my grandkids are the luckiest kids in the world but they have it pretty good.

  10. You will create wonders with your new tools.
    And that doll serves a purpose, if only for a while. So what.
    There was one Xmas we had with a pregnant Dalmatian toy dog that had a velcro tied stomach full of puppies. She birthed them a couple of hundred times and had them stuffed back again. It was gruesome to watch but also brought happiness for some.

    1. Whatever makes the kids happy, right?
      So did the Dalmatian give birth vaginally or were those Cesarean births?

    2. Via velcro cesarian. And all were dry as a bone.

  11. holy fucking cow! I'd never heard of Le Creuset so I googled it. hundreds of dollars for one pot?! I have an enameled cast iron griddle I picked up at an estate sale for $10 (not le creuset).

    I never had a chatty cathy I don't think but I might have had a tiny tears. and yeah, they're pretty boring after the novelty wears off. but pooping play doh noodles? who comes up with that? you think they have a contest to see who can come up with the creepiest doll? in the long run Maggie will have more fun with the salt and pepper shakers I think.

    1. I know, Ellen! That's why I had a very, very hard time accepting them as gifts but then again, I think it will make my husband happy to see me use them and it makes him feel as if he is showing his appreciation for my meals. And I appreciate that.
      I think you're right about the salt and pepper shakers!

  12. I had a Chatty Cathy Doll too, as I recall she spoke 11 Languages with record inserts and I didn't like her very much. My Fav Doll was always a Dollar Store Thumbelina that did absolutely nothing and had horse hair stuffing! She was duct taped together by the time my Grand-Daughter inherited her, after having been Loved thru 3 Generations.

    1. You had the special Chatty Cathy!
      And still, it probably got boring very quickly. And yet- the Dollar Store dolly was loved to literal pieces.

  13. That Le Crueset is the best dutch oven I've every used. Stove top to oven, just like that. I make my signature chicken and olives (Barefoot Contessa) dish in it. Always a hit.

    Like Bohemian, I, too, had a Thumbelina doll and I adored her. A neighbor girl kidnapped her and for days I didn't know where she was. Her mother marched her over to our house and made her surrender said doll.

    I think I'll leave my Christmas decorations up until New Years day. Maybe by then I'll have the energy to take it all down.


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