I got up after midnight and wandered downstairs, smiling at the Christmas tree and curling up on the loveseat to check email. I went back upstairs and rearranged mounds of pillows before snuggling in and sleeping again.
I woke up and came downstairs to make coffee. I absently watched the news while I sipped and read blogs that were updated overnight. When it was light outside, Chienne came down and wagged her tail in a happy greeting.
"Kisses," I requested and smiled when she touched my cheek with her tongue. "Love you," I told her and patted her back before she finding a spot on the sectional across the room. I finished my coffee and clipped on her leash before we braved the cold wind and walked around the neighborhood. I picked up mail before we came inside and paid bills online, feeling lazy and content as I realized I still have enough income, even with Christmas splurges.
I started laundry and answered a smattering of work email, checking my to-do list and smiling when I realized there's not a thing that requires attention today. Tomorrow is soon enough.
"So," I said to my best (and canine) friend. "I think I want soup." She did not respond, so I asked my laptop what soup I should make and decided upon a spicy sausage lentil before writing a list. I came across a chicken and noodle dish while I was browsing and had a brief internal debate before deciding to make both.
A quick trip to the store - uncrowded and uncluttered - yielded a satisfying assortment of ingredients and I unloaded on kitchen counters before removing two large pots from the cupboard. I chopped vegetables, delighting in the peeling of carrots and wrinkling my nose over the raw onion and garlic. I browned sausage and brought chicken stock to a simmer. When the house began to smell suitably yummy, I went downstairs to move laundry around and fetch the Christmas storage devices.
After dumping noodles into my check and poking at them with a spoon, I shrugged philosophically and undecked my tree - pulling ornaments from branches and carefully wrapping them into their box. I need to disassemble my tree and put away my dishes and assorted ceramic pretties. But then the house can get set to rights once again, establishing a beloved routine for the new year.
The soup is fantastic, though the vegetables weren't completely cooked and I did use the whole bag of lentils. An extra half cup didn't seem like that much until the little guys expanded. And the chicken and noodles were perfection in a dish. There's either a wide tolerance for error or I'm a culinary genius.
And I'm going to begin drafting the Story of 2010 Dating with a calm, cool evening in my nice, clean house in front of a warm, happy fire. Happiness abounds.