Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"Its the most wonderful (and busy) time of the year"

Fri evening we got together with Michael & Jamie (aka: The Newlyweds) and tried out a new (to us) restaurant called Portabellos. Its a small, intimate, bistro-style restaurant. We enjoyed it. We were enjoying our time with Michael & Jamie so much that we decided to go somewhere for dessert too, and continue talking. We had a ball.

Sat morning we picked up Joe's mom and my niece and drove out to Manassas for the Christmas parade. It's a hoot... kind of what you might expect a Christmas parade to look like in Mayberry RFD. There are high school marching bands, fire trucks, floats, antique cars, Santa, reindeers - you name it! The great part about this annual tradition for us is that our friends Kerry & Hugh live right on the parade route. They invite a bunch of friends and have coffee, hot tea, cocoa, and loads of sweets and goodies to snack on when you duck inside to warm up. We had such a good time that we stayed for 2 hours after the parade had ended and most of their guests had left. Then the remaining group decided to have a late lunch (2:00 or so) at a restaurant nearby. We had a great time! I was really glad my niece Lauren came, as this is her first year celebrating Christmas. I was also glad my friend Dee and her family came, as Dee was also a JW (like me and Lauren) years ago, and I think Lauren liked chatting with Dee. I did, too.

Later Sat night Joe & I went out to look for a Christmas tree. We found a place with many beautiful Fraser firs. There were so many pretty trees it was hard to pick one! Joe seemed less enthusiastic than I expected, so I asked him about it. He said "I must be getting old, because I kind of don't want to deal with having a real tree this year... hauling it in the house, trying to get it straight in the tree stand, remembering to water it every day, having to sweep up the dropping needles... I'm thinking maybe we should look at artificial trees." This really surprised me, as I had suggested years ago that we get an artificial tree since they are much easier to decorate. He'd resisted, in favor of the wonderful scent of a real tree. So we left the tree lot and went home.

Sun we went to Target at 10am, hoping to beat the holiday weekend crowds. There we found a lovely artificial tree that was very reasonably priced. We both thought it would due nicely, so we bought it. We figured the worst case scenario would be that if we didn't like it, we could always sell it at a yard sale or donate it to a family in need. But to our pleasure, we liked the tree even better at home than in the store. It took quite a while to get all the branches fluffed out and attached to the base, but I figure I'll only have to do it this once. When Christmas is over I will remove the decorations and carry the tree downstairs to the basement and put an old sheet over it. Voila!

Sun evening we got together with our friends Michael & Sandy for dinner. After a lengthy discussion with lots of options, we ended up going to Portabellos again. We were seated at the same table we'd sat at on Fri, and had the same waiter. To top it off, Michael & Sandy ordered the same dishes that Joe & I had ordered on Fri! We had a lovely dinner with our new friends and closed the restaurant.

Mon after work I untangled and tested my strings of lights for the tree, and then put them on. (One year I put all the lights on the tree without testing them first. When I finally plugged them in I found I had a non-working string of lights in the middle of the tree! I had to take almost all of them off to get the bad light string out of there.) Once the lights were on, I spent 4 HOURS putting the ornaments on! Although that might sound like an exaggeration, I assure it is not. I really spent 4 hours putting ornaments on the tree. Usually Joe & I do it together, but he didn't feel like doing it last night so I did it alone. And don't even bother asking me how many ornaments there are because I don't know. All I can tell you is that they came out of 4 large shopping bags and 1 box. There are a few large, many medium, and quite a few small ones - perhaps 300 in total, but I really don't know. The tree, however, is breathtaking.

Tonight Joe & I went to dinner at the Carlisle, one of my favorite restaurants, for my birthday. Although my actual birthday is tomorrow, Joe has 2 client appointments tomorrow evening so tonight worked out better for his schedule. We had a lovely and delicious dinner. We both started with their fabulous mixed green salads with dates, cranberries, grilled corn and goat cheese. I had roasted pork tenderloin with grilled corn relish and parmesan mashed potatoes. Joe had a marinated rib eye steak, mushrooms, and the parmesan mashed potatoes. We shared an unbelievable banana pudding and coffee for dessert. The Carlisle is a beautiful restaurant to begin with, but with their tasteful holiday decorations, it seemed to glow. Although a large restaurant, it somehow felt cozy and intimate to me tonight. Joe said "Happy birthday. I'm glad you were born." I blushed.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Wow that was really sweet. And... it reminds me that I have to go find a Christmas tree.