Today there was no class to attend, so once again I found myself in a self-led practice while there was food in the oven.
I woke up on Christmas Eve with a very small list of things to accomplish outside of my house. The first thing I learned was this: Never go to Cost Plus World Market on Christmas Eve. It was enough to make your head spin. Go to Pier One. You’ll pay a ridiculous amount more for whatever you need, but you won’t wait in line for an hour. I wish I was exaggerating … it was at least 30 people long. People take those $10 off coupons that expire on December 24th very seriously. Of course, there will be a new one in the paper on December 26th …
I had to run into Petco to get Boomer water filters for his water machine … I know, it’s ridiculous. He likes for his water to flow. He drinks more that way. He’s an almost eighteen-year old cat with one tooth who starts to purr every time he hears my voice. Not even my husband does that. The least I can do is keep his water properly filtered and flowing. While I was there I bought my in-laws dog, Sir Duff, a Christmas Gingerbread Man toy.
After that I decided I needed to get home before I bought some obnoxious Christmas sweater that jingled and embarrassed the whole family.
I came home and stared at my list. For a brief moment I thought perhaps I should call in sick for this Christmas Race, but instead I put the sweet potatoes in the oven to bake for my Ginger Snap Sweet Potato casserole. I had at least an hour before they would be done.
I changed and rolled out my mat while Jonathan was out shopping for me. I could only begin to imagine what I was going to end up with — neither one of us are very good gift givers for the other. He is so picky, I get paralyzed in the store trying to purchase anything. I have long arms and long legs; clothes off the rack rarely fit me … so I’m tough, too. We’re also both really practical — maybe too practical. I want diamond earrings someday, but right now we’re buying an egg donor, so I’ll settle for an alarm clock. Let’s see how he does. Whatever he gets, I’ll love it. I always do.
I started my practice with 12 sun salutations series B. I tried to just focus on my breath … but my first thought was, if you can’t handle a little Christmas dinner for six people you are going to suck as a mother. This made me laugh, because honestly, if you’re from the south and you can’t make a minimum of three casseroles lathered with cream of fill-in blank soup all warm at the same time, you do suck as a mother.
Once my sun salutations were complete, the aroma from the sweet potatoes was beginning to fill the room. I love that smell.
I decide to hold some deep twists on the mat before ending my Christmas Eve practice and heading into the kitchen. My mind starts wandering to kitchen memories from when I was a little girl. I think it’s funny how we have these very distinct memories that play in our heads like a mini-movie of ourselves. The movie would be meaningless to anyone else, but me, I can watch that movie all day long sometimes and laugh at all the same jokes. Literally.
Mamaw, I’m going to make chocolate pudding, I said at the age of six (or possibly seven).
Ok, Sugar, do you know what you’re doing? — My great-gradmother, Mamaw Wines replied.
I proceeded to go into Mawmaw’s kitchen (Mawmaw was on a tractor in some field … ) in Arkansas and pull a box of instant chocolate pudding off the shelf. I measured the milk and poured it into the pudding.
Mamaw, can you bring me a mixer?
Do you know how to use a mixer?
Maybe you should just stir it up and let it set?
I shake my head no. She plugs in the mixer and goes about her business with Kathie in the next room. I mixed the pudding, alright. I mixed it up and poured it into little cups and put it in the refrigerator for dessert that evening.
I have always been ready for dessert.
When I was finished, I went into Mamaw Wines beaming with pride that I had made dessert. From the minute she saw me she couldn’t help but start laughing, and I had no idea why. As I brought her into the kitchen, she was staring at the ceiling above my mixing area.
Oh, Lord have mercy child, you mixed the puddin’ all over this kitchen and all over you!
Mamaw Wines cleaned the entire kitchen and then she took me back into Mawmaw’s sunken tub and cleaned me. I never asked her for a mixer again, but I’m pretty sure that request would have been denied. She did let me pick green beans in the garden and hold the nail bucket to fix fence. So, I was not totally useless.
At the age of 43, I still have mixer accidents, though I can now mix pudding without dirtying the ceiling.
I went into camel pose for a few breaths and then laid down for final resting pose. Shavasana is hard at home because there are so many distractions, like sweet potatoes baking. Willie Nelson came on singing White Christmas and I was out like a light. I didn’t wake up until Dolly started singing Hard Candy Christmas — I have no idea what was in between.
As I went into the kitchen and pulled the sweet potatoes out of the oven, I thought about all the other people across the country and around the world getting ready for their Christmas and I was glad I had decided to participate — even if I was still not sure I could get a ham and three casseroles warm at the same time …
Merry Christmas Eve, Y’all.