Yep, another Dickens of a Christmas has come and gone here in town.
Once again my voluminous skirts are tucked away in the closet, and once again I make a promise to knock together some kind of bonnet before the big day so I don't walk around with snow-soaked bedraggled hair looking like the Children of Doom huddled under the coat of the Ghost of Christmas Present by 3:30.
(Though I won't lie; I'd KILL for those thighs.)
It snowed this year, and while that seems like it would have added a magical element to the strolling and the caroling and the Victorian-ing and the bread pudding-ing, it mostly made everything soppy and cold and faintly smell of wet dog. The vendors tried in vain to keep accumulating snow off of their wares. (Underscoring somewhat the insanity of a five block long outdoor craft fair in the middle of December. In North Central Pennsylvania. )
As ever, I was up at 5am, downtown by 6:30, and out on my assigned street making sure vendors knew where to set up and that they were within their allotted space. Once again I got to participate in my favorite part of Dickens, the little golden nugget of enforcement that warms the cockles of my heart and empowers me to spread little life lessons like Christmastime fairy dust.
There are blaze orange signs all over town, pretty much on every other parking meter, on every street that will be filled with vendors. The signs say, in English, no less, "NO PARKING, TEMPORARY POLICE ORDER". And not surprisingly, there is at least ONE person on my designated block who doesn't get the memo. This year there were two. Yaay!
The tow truck driver swung in with amazing deftness, ran the thingy under the car, scooped it up and went. Do you know how long it actually takes to tow a car? About 30 seconds. Did you know you don't even have to get OUT of the tow truck to hook them up and take them away? They don't. Is there something wrong with the singular joy I take in this part of my responsibilities? Probably. In my defense I did NOT hang around waiting for the tearful college student to appear, asking in a trembling voice where her car was. But I'll be honest; I wanted to.
We sang our carols at the end of the day and picked our soggy way back to the car. I was never so thankful for my crock pot; dinner was ready and waiting when we got home, beef stew and homemade bread. A little ibuprofen and a hot shower and my joints were even working again. We had delightful company all weekend and I spent much time over a cup of coffee at the kitchen table, chatting and poring over catalogs and cookbooks. Little did I know, tragedy loomed.
I baked a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread this morning, preparing it in the wee hours so that it would fill the house with its wonderful aroma when we were ready to get up. I came home from shopping this afternoon and put some pizza dough in the machine for dinner. And when I pulled my ball of pizza dough out of the pan, I found this.
That little bugger is what makes the magic happen. Without it my bread machine is a doorstop. I WILL find another one, because I refuse to go back to the crumb-less, personality zero, stays fresh for weeks because its soaked in chemicals- plastic wrapped crapola in the grocery store. So if anyone has a Regal Kitchen Pro Model 6761 sitting on a shelf taking up space because Aunt Velma gave it to you 10 years ago and it only gives you a faint sense of guilt because you think you SHOULD make your own bread and string ecologically friendly Christmas ornaments made from cranberries and popcorn and use those darn reusable grocery bags you keep leaving in the car but who has the time and it doesn't make you a bad person dammit, you aren't Martha Stewart but you do okay, let me know. I'll take the bread machine and the lingering feelings of inadequacy and latent resentment off your hands.