Monday, December 22, 2008

A Holiday to Remember

What a holiday weekend we had, it was really one for the books. My brother Thom, his wife Karen and their sons Aaron and Brian arrived from Toronto and beat the snow on Friday. That night we popped over to Zampa Winebar and Restaurant on West 13th Street, a new place from the people at Bottino, for some red wine and savory antipasti. Very yummy. Chic crowd.

On Saturday my parents arrived from Connecticut. We boarded the iron chariot, the trusty F train, for Park Slope, Brooklyn, for the family dinner which my cousin and godchild Erin organized at Sette on 7th Avenue. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and my cousins' young children who grow dramatically year to year. Really fun. (Shout out: we missed Monica, Cynthia and Linda and their families.)

As with many families, there is a lot of history here. Faithful blog readers will know that my mother's grandparents came from Ireland and raised eleven children, including my grandmother, in a big house in Herkimer, New York, now a bed and breakfast, the Bellinger Rose. I was very close to my grandmother and great aunts, and we were all close, spending many holidays, vacations, and important events together. Since my grandparents died, we don't get together as much but there still is something there that is very strong and deep. It's a great pleasure to get together and Erin did an excellent job.

Pictures came out fuzzy; not sure if that was the camera, or the photographer... But the evening was a joy.

Afterwards we walked up the snowy hill to Erin's studio apartment for mulled cider. Cute apartment with a curtain separating the bed (I had one of those apartments!) and an apple green kitchen with cherry red accessories. And a wall of colorful scarves.

Hats off to Erin.

On Sunday morning TD and I bolted off to our church, Judson Memorial, on Washington Square South. Very progressive church, creative and artistic. Come visit, Sundays at 11am and ask for me.

TD and I did some flowers for the Christmas service. We lined up twelve vases on the stage behind the altar table, and into each vase went evergreens, holly berries and red carnations.

The big altar table was covered with an ample white cloth I bought, and on it was the advent wreath and creche scenes for the children. On each side of the altar table were four big plain unadorned Christmas trees and a big white poinsettia, and on a ledge that runs around the back of the stage I had put a garland of evergreens and little white lights. The pale blue wall in the back rises up to a circular stained glass window. So, the whole scene was white, green, light blue, a little red. Clean and simple, which can be a lot of work as I said below! But it makes such a big difference. It set the stage for a poignant service. It creates a clarity, it creates a lightness. The children sang. Our minister the great Donna Schaper preached. The choir soared. It was a beautiful thing.

We rushed back to our apartment where my parents and brothers and their families were gathered. We had some champagne and some ham. We opened presents and hung out. Sometimes with the holidays I think expectations are so high. But the fun part is just hanging out, just talking, and being together with people you don't see all year. It fills the well.

Here is my favorite model, my niece Jane, in a new hat and t-shirt.

Thom left to fly back to Toronto. TD and I went off to the holiday party of our close friends the Healys who we traveled to Amsterdam with this year. There, we saw our Christmas tree salesman Billy Romp from Vermont who reported that he and his band performed at a party the previous night on West 12th Street attended by Mike Meyers and Sarah Jessica Parker; he got home at 7am. At the Healy's we caught up with dear old friends and neighbors from Jane Street.

A lot of love around me. I am grateful. And I hope you have a lot of love around you, too.


Mr. Peacock said...

Enjoy your time with your family and have a wonderful holiday!

designerman said...

what a lovely family! sounds and looks like fun.

more pics of the flowers at the alter, please!

Erin said...

thank you for the many shoutouts, cousin! it was so good to see you and ted. merry, merry xmas, and hope to see you again soon!

love, erin