On Saturday, I bought a Christmas tree from the guys over at Trumansburg Tree Farms. The guy that sold it to me, whose name I have forgotten, or forgot to get in the first place, admitted that he, like me, and like lots of us, aren't really the farmers. "I live in Brooklyn," he said. "Me too," I told him. "What else do you do?" he asked me, because everyone at the market does something else. "I'm a writer," I said. (I am still new to this answer, but I am trying to own it. Writer in 2011!) "Like everybody in Brooklyn," he laughed. "No," I said, "I really am one."
And then he tied the tree up, folding its branches toward the top, shrinking it into a kind of bundled Fraser Fir joint. (I like the Fraser the best, or a Balsam, but check out these others.) As he was tying the tree he said, "What would make a tree want to do this, fold up like this, what evolutionary purpose does it serve?" We joked a few minutes about how God made them that way, so that we could celebrate his son's birth in style, and we'd need a good way to carry the trees home with us. I don't think this is very funny now, but we seemed to think it was then.
On Sunday morning, Kip and I had brunch at Casmir, a French bistro-type place, with flavors by way of Morocco. Joining us, it was their idea actually, was my friends Pam and Rachel, and their new baby, who is five months old. I like kids, don't get me wrong, but why are people who have kids weirded-out when Kip and I say so resolutely that we do not plan to have, nor want, children of our own? I suspect I know the answer to this, or answers. But I have noticed it a lot lately, as we, I mean I, have reached the age when all the people around you begin to have children or get married, or move away, or move in. Brunch was lovely. I'm happy that Pam and I have stayed more or less in touch over the years, and even happier that one of the pleasures of living is seeing your friends grow into themselves. Also, I am happy for spicy-tomato sauce with feta, capers and eggs.
Later on Sunday, we decorated the tree, which I both like to do and hate to do. I have a short attention span as it is, and a habit of entering long, dark tunnels of sentimental memory, so bringing one ornament after another out of bag after bag and box after box--it can really wear me out. But it got done, thanks to Kip. He is good at making the most out of anything, and I am good at reigning it in at he last moment so that it doesn't become, you know, the most. The tree really is fantastic.
This week, I'm cooking and prepping for our big party on Sunday night: lemon marshmallows, foie gras with sauternes gelée, pork pies, spiced ricotta tartines, pheasant sausage with Madeira, curried peanut dip, mushroom strudel, roasted tomatillo guacamole....and of course, Kip's famous hand-decorated cookies. Maybe I'll see what else I can cook up.