This morning, Marta and Ruth finally finished the paper chain they’d been working on all week. Marta was relieved she’d found a use for the random collection of paper scraps that seem to mysteriously move from room to room and get bigger and bigger and bigger…
Now, Ruth wanted to “help” her mom wrap the presents they had picked out together (this had required some clarification re: which presents Santa was responsible for and which ones he wasn’t)- there was a blue scarf for Aunt Mary, a scented candle for her teacher, Miss Bonnie, a journal for her cousin Lily (who never wanted to play with her anymore since she turned 13) and a mask and wings for her best friend Rosa. Ruth thought she better try out the mask and wings before she wrapped them. Rosa didn’t like wearing anything “scratchy” and she wanted to make sure they were just right-Rosa was her best friend, and her present had to be perfect.
Right in the middle of covering her package for Miss Bonnie with bird stamps, Ruth remembered she’d promised Mr. Fox, Mr. Frog and Mr. Monkey they would have hot chocolate and decorate the tree the very MINUTE she finished the paper chain. Ruth had spotted the tree in front of Christopher’s right after she’d watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and, well, it was love at first sight.
Marta told Ruth she would try her best to manage wrapping without her, but Ruth made her mom promise to leave all the stamping for her. As Marta watched Ruth pour hot chocolate for Mr. Fox she thought to herself, ”looks like Santa might have to add wings and mask to his list”.
After spending the afternoon in the woods in pursuit of bittersweet, Kate and Suzie dragged their haul back to the house and made a shaker (or two) of “perfect” manhattans. They were trying their best to imitate the one Andrew made at the Hudson House- but to no avail. They were, however, fortified enough to brave the dusk, festoon their porch with vines AND assemble their new hanging gold light kit- turns out the instructions were right - it was oddly just like arranging a bouquet of flowers.
The plan for New Years Eve was to meet up with friends in town, on the early side- they’d even gotten new hats for the occasion (Suzie surprised Kate with the silver scarf that morning, she’d asked Maria to hold it for her).
But after they got all decked out they made the mistake of sitting down…and proceeded to ring in 2013 just that way, foil leaves dangling over their head, vines peeking through the window and adjusting the ratio of rye to sweet and dry vermouth until they thought it was almost as good as Andrew’s…almost…
Roberta learned to knit and felt this year. She spent most of her free time admiring yarn and asking questions at Knitting Nation- that is when she wasn’t in Grace’s Thrift Store and The Nyack Hospital Thrift Store searching for old sweaters. Pretty soon, the corner of her bedroom that looks out on the river was completely devoted to a tumbling collection of shrunken wool, patterns and balls of yarn. Also in this corner is a basket devoted to the growing collection of scarves, hats and sweaters that Roberta hasn’t quite managed to finish…
In the fall, her master plan was to make presents for all her nieces and nephews… and well…I guess life is what happens while you make plans to felt.
Luckily, Roberta noticed that Maria Luisa had started carrying the kind of scarves that had inspired her to knit in the first place…AND these fantastic rolls of burlap tags (and spools of twine and string…hmmm…maybe she’ll make a banner instead for her sister’s birthday) She’s waiting for the first snow storm to start wrapping all her presents…there’s nothing like watching snow fall on the river to put her in the holiday spirit!
Betsy grew up in South Nyack but just moved to Greenpoint Brooklyn. As much as she loves the pierogies around the corner at Lomzynianka’s, she can only resist her craving for Art Cafe hummus and Didier mini royal chocolate cake for so long…so she’s back in Nyack pretty often.
This Christmas, she decided to invite friends over for tea and tree trimming- she picked up lights at Koblins and ducked into the basement of ML Gifts to get all the necessary party accessories, you know, lanterns, polka dotted tea pot, etc. Her weakness for bags found her lingering upstairs where she discovered a collection of bug bracelets and a beetle apron! Ever since she collected cicada shells, she’s had a soft spot for bugs (okay, maybe not roaches)…so she bought a few early christmas presents for herself.
Maria had a show of her flower paintings last year and she hopes to have her new series of altered polaroids framed and ready for the Spring.
Maria Luisa asked me to dress the windows of her two boutiques for the holidays. In the days that followed I spent hours wandering around ML Gifts and Maria Luisa Boutique and with each pass I stumbled upon some treasure I had missed before.
As I started collecting the furniture, objects and clothes for all four windows, four stories started to emerge…stories with distinct places and personalities, stories which dictated how I assembled (and re-assembled) each window…here’s a snap shot of the people and places that I got to know last week…
“If you have to break
save it for a friend
if you have to speak
tell it like a condemned man…”
J. Tillman FIRST BORN