Dysfunctional Mom’s Christmas Saga. Part Three. Christmas Eve Fun and A Christmas None of Us Will Ever Forget.

Saturday night’s dinner was beyond anything that Bonaparte and I could have expected.  It was the greatest way to bring the two immediate families together.

And Sunday, Christmas Eve, was very chill and subdued.   Dinner was to be a Greek themed one.  I spent a couple of hours in the morning making the Pita bread and doing a bit of prep work.

I woke up early to make the Pita bread for the evening’s dinner.

Bonaparte had to meet a client for a while and the kids and I decided to see a movie.

We all agreed on seeing “The Shape of Water” and the time of the movie lent itself well to our plans.  We drove into downtown Phoenixville to the Colonial Theatre.

Are you familiar with this theater?   If you’ve ever seen the B-movie, The Blob, then you’ve seen this theater!  It was made famous because the movie scene in The Blob was filmed at this very place!

Hmmmm. Fame seems to follow me—but never stops at me!

And every summer a three-day festival, Blobfest, takes place with showings of The Blob and other B horror movies.

Anyway, the Colonial has been refurbished and it was a pleasure to go to the movies in a bona-fide, old school movie theatre.  Movies. Just like when I was a kid!

The Shape of Water was a movie worth seeing.  A modern-day fairy tale, if you will.  I don’t want to give any spoilers but it was ethereal, a love story, a sci-fi movie, a monster movie, a murder movie all rolled up into one.  Ain’t gonna lie.  About 10 to 15 minutes could have been trimmed off of it, but still, it was very, very good—with great performances all around.  And at the price of a $7.00 matinee—I’ll be going to the Colonial Theater a lot more!
So here we are on a blustery Christmas Eve afternoon. Ready to enjoy the warmth of the Colonial movie theater and a magical modern-day fairy tale!

The Lobby is light and airy.  A modern touch, but you can still feel that old school vibe…

…especially when you spot a Baby Grand piano.  Seriously–how many modern multi-plex theaters have a piano like this in the lobby?

The elegant staircase is festooned with a bit of holiday embellishment!

The Colonial Theater also has THE classiest concession stand ever.  Wine and Beer.  Yeah. You read it right. Wine. And. Beer.  AND–the friendliest concession staff of all time!

I dig this movie ticket too.  Simple and elegant.  

…and the White Rabbit Theater?  Is this named after my favorite Jefferson Airplane song or the character in Alice’s land of wonder?

The little kiddles. Smiling because they love mommy–more like they are happy the lights will be shut off so I’ll sit down and watch the movie!

On Christmas Eve afternoon it was like having the theater to ourselves!

With a bit of a walk around downtown, after all, the food I had been consuming non-stop for the past few days, and to date hasn’t stopped, has added pounds to my frame, I felt a bit healthier to take on this lazy form of exercise.

Santa’s place in downtown Phoenixville.  Ol’ Santa can spot a great investment in real estate!

Back home to the warmth and the light of the Christmas tree, we sat down to a very casual and intimate Christmas Eve dinner.

The homemade Pita bread…

Homemade Gyro meat. Yes. I made this loaf of ground lamb, beef and spices and it tasted exactly like the gyro meat at Greek restaurants.. Home made Gyro Meat Recipe from Foodie With Family. This is the recipe I used but I halved the meat recipe and used the combo of beef/veal/pork instead of the ground beef. I kept the seasonings the same. This was stellar!

I also made Tzatziki sauce from Greek yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, dill and salt and pepper!

My tabbouleh salad was a huge hit. In fact, Bonaparte requested this entire meal be repeated as a regular Friday Night Dinner!  I have no problem in complying!

And when dinner was finished, and we later went to bed, we had no idea of the drama that was to be placed before us for Christmas day.

Waking up on Christmas morning was relaxed and relieved of any chaos.  Due to my present work situation (and it is still that way.  I’m not working) it was agreed on that none of us would exchange gifts this year. And to tell you the truth, the gifts were not missed.  At all.  I swear as we get older, the presents mean less and the presence of loved ones mean more.

It’s belated but seriously–I do want to wish everyone a Very Merry and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas Day.  You’ll read why I didn’t get around to posting on the 25th of December….

It also meant there was no overabundance of wasteful wrapping paper and boxes.  It was good for the environment.

No wrapping paper this year, but there WAS a delightful over-abundance of flowers!

Cheery and bright.  Just what I would need during the later part of the day!


The kids slept late and I got a head start on the cooking.  Luckily, and in more ways than one, I had prepared most of the food in advance.

The Buche de Noel was stupendous.  The genoise cake thawed from the freezer to perfection.  The Chestnut filling was delicious and to top it off, a thin layer of chocolate buttercream topped by a thick layer of chocolate ganache.  Embellished with meringue mushrooms, chopped pistachios and on the “ground” chocolate crumb and graham cracker crumb to resemble dirt!

My Moulinex food mill assisted me in making perfect mashed potatoes..

Tons of butter, a bit of heavy cream and those potatoes were at the ready!

With everything seemingly under control, I enjoyed a few moments of relaxation and an additional cup of coffee.  And as everyone began to wake up they made their ways into the kitchen. The weather outside was more than blustery; the wind was kicking up a storm and it felt comfortable to be in the cozy home.


Nothing like a few moments of rest before returning to the job…

I pre-baked the macaroni and cheese.  The potatoes had been through the food mill and mashed.  The Brussels sprouts had been blanched, sautéed and placed in a baking dish to be warmed.  The meat, still in the fridge would be cooked after everything else had been warmed.

Table set.  Guests would be arriving at three.

Then, at about ten o’clock in the morning—it happened. The power went out.  On Christmas Day.  When I had to cook.

The oven went dead.  The fridge and freezer stopped doing their jobs.

Dead. My oven.  My stove. My clock.  I couldn’t even charge my iPhone. Oh the horror!

The Nougatine that was nestled in the freezer was now on the way to becoming twin shakes…

Let’s not even go near my Buche de Noel or anything else.  

To say I went crazy is an understatement!

I couldn’t.  I sent PECO the nastiest email–on Christmas Day no less. Did I mention that I demanded Bonaparte drive me around town so that I could find the PECO workers to give them a piece of my mind?  They were nowhere to be found..

My dysfunctionality went into high gear!

And the longer the timespan with no electricity, the more dysfunctional I became! The sad thing is, I couldn’t even be brought down to normalcy. I was over-the-top!

The worst part of it was that after the yelling and screaming and bellyaching.  I just got real quiet and wouldn’t even talk to anyone.  I was that upset.

Actually–it wasn’t good.  All I want is a picture-perfect Christmas. Like the kind you read about in OTHER people’s blogs.  I can’t win..or can I???

I had Bonaparte scour the neighborhood to see if the PECO workers were anywhere near.  Not a worker was to be found.

Apparently some 2,000 people were affected by this power outage. On Christmas Day.  There was an odd joy to the world in knowing that I wasn’t alone.  Misery loves company—especially when company was due at any moment and five hours later the power hadn’t been turned on.

Well, at least everyone else in the house didn’t panic.  And we did end up with a backup plan!

We needed a backup plan.  The plan was to leave the house at 4:00 and drive to Claire, my stepdaughter’s home.   Food was packed into cardboard moving totes.  Seasonings and everything else was packed.

And just as I exited my home, I noticed something on the house across the street.  The outdoor light was on.  Did they have a generator?  And then something else happened.  The lights in our home went on.  And so, all the food we packed was transported back upstairs.

The food was cooked and warmed to perfection—with one exception.  The meat.   I was so crazed by the events of the day that the beef tenderloin ended up cooked medium rare.  Although everyone else in the house was thrilled—they think I undercook red meat—I couldn’t eat it.  It was overcooked for my taste.

Other than that dinner went off without a hitch and we had a great time.

It was a Christmas that this dysfunctional mom will never forget.  Never. Forget!

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have gotten so upset but after almost a month of prep work, I had a hard time dealing with the fact that it could have all been for naught—no thanks to PECO!  But the good thing is that my family knows full-well of what a dysfunctional lunatic I am.  And I love them for that!

I hope everyone’s Christmas was a wonderful one.  And if you are like me, your Christmas had a few mishaps.  Things didn’t go perfectly.  It wasn’t that picture-perfect one you read about or see photos of.  It was just happily and gloriously dysfunctional—and that’s just fine with me!

Merry Belated Christmas All!  Sorry for the lack of pics but my phone died and my mind was elsewhere!  

I should have asked myself–WWBD?  What would Burl do?  He’d just have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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29 Responses to Dysfunctional Mom’s Christmas Saga. Part Three. Christmas Eve Fun and A Christmas None of Us Will Ever Forget.

  1. Judy says:

    Oh Catherine, that was a priceless post! Perfect in every way – the drama, the pathos, the humour, my goodness, i swear I could hear your shrieks from here! And not surprising that you were so upset, after all that careful planning and food prep, not to mention the ironing and care which went into decorating your place. I am so glad it all turned out well in the end.
    Ours was less dramatic – we both had flu and had to cancel everything! Out of bed now and still a bit wobbly but reading that was the best tonic ever. Thanks! xxx .

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Judy! And a Merry Belated Christmas to you! LOL—it’s incredible–isn’t it? I have no other choice but to laugh. My attempts to be perfect always fail. Gotta take in in stride–that’s days after my tantrums! But the flu–did you get your flu shot???? Regardless, feel better soon. REAL SOON!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

      • Judy says:

        Yes, we did, first time ever! And that’s why i’m sure it only lasted four days not weeks! xxx

  2. KB says:

    Happy Holidays to you and yours! Christmas may be over, but I hope the spirit is carrying through for you. Look what the power going out did! It gave you a story to tell. That’s a good thing!

  3. Julie says:

    I’m glad it all worked out. There should be a TV show about your life, would be fun to watch lol

    • Catherine says:

      Hahahaha! Julie. I wish–it would be so much fun but X-rated due to my filthy gutter mouth!!! On second thought Hulu or Netflix may want me!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  4. hipchick66 says:

    Aside from the power outage, it sounds like a very nice Christmas! I love the way you tell a story, and it was a perfect distraction from the bad medical news I got about my Mom this morning (and the fact that she doesn’t want to do anything about it, AND I need to go back to work somehow). And I had a feeling something happened with your job. I’m so sorry! Love and hugs xoxo

    • Catherine says:

      Oh God, Lori. I hope your mom has a change of mind. And my fingers are crossed that you have a short job search! I’m sorry about that news. Meh–I’m kind of not sorry about the job thing on my part. I don’t want to go back to an office job I want to write–unfortunately nobody wants to pay me to write so it is back to square one. Love and hugs to you too my buddy!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

      • hipchick66 says:

        You are doing really well with social media, blog and YouTube. It takes some time to really build up the following, but like I’ve said before, you are far ahead of most people starting out on this path. Keep it up! Start writing articles and submit them to age related magazines. Make some phone calls or send emails and ask people who are doing it for some advice. I believe in you and I believe that you can make something huge of your talent!!

  5. Rex says:

    ….awwww 🙂 and it all worked out in the end!! (maybe time to consider getting a generator to avoid future meltdowns??) Merry christmas !!!!

  6. Jeanne says:

    Merry Christmas Catherine…So a Norman Rockwell Christmas it wasn’t…that’s Old School Stuff anyway…you made it through brilliantly with tons of fun stories and memories to share…in June…on a beach in France. 🙂

  7. HelloIm50ish says:

    That would be my worst nightmare too if the power went off on a holiday!
    At least you had a wonderful Christmas dinner after the stressful moments leading up to the dinner.
    So happy you liked the movie! I plan on seeing it!
    And I am going to print out your Greek Christmas Eve recipes!
    You are so talented!
    Happy New Year!

    • Catherine says:

      Oh Robin. Derfinitely see that movie. It really was a beautiful love store above all–and try that gyro recipe. It is excellent!!!!!! Have a great New Year!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  8. Momcat says:

    You know this Christmas I was like you. All organized, baking done…had the kids and new grandson over Christmas Eve. It was pretty much Norman Rockwell until 8:30 Christmas morning when, while enjoying our coffee beside the tree we heard a loud noise… Ma had fallen out of bed in the guest room and couldn’t get up. Nothing like having paramedics stomping around Christmas Morn but absolutely nothing more fun then spending 12 hours in ER waiting for her to be admitted.
    She still in hospital nothing broken but she’s not well. She’s 91 and I have my 92 yr old Dad with me. They are 400k from home😱 Glad I took this week off!
    You should listen to Roch Voisine’s English version of ‘Christmas is Calling’ he sings about how Christmas can be different from year to year. Sometimes happy, sometimes holy, sometimes nobody cares.
    Anyway my carefully prepared Christmas dinner got cooked and eaten Dec 26. It was a darn site better than the coffee and clementine I had on the 25th in the ER. After having two babies at Christmas and spending 34 years working Christmas in a hospital I can tell you some years it’s a shit show and some years it’s bliss. It is what it is. As long as we are together.

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Momcat! OMG. Prayers are coming from me for your mom. That’s awful. But I’m glad she’s being well-attended to in the hospital. It’s so funny because this debacle at Christmas made me think of many Christmases past that were actually worse than the electricity going off. I was thankful I had the kids with me!!! Have a great New Year and I hope your mom is doing better! XXOXOXO!!!!

  9. Judy says:

    Sending sympathy, Momcat. Christmas sometimes ends up a bit differently, doesn’t It? Hope things settle down for you. Christmas is what it is, as you say. I remember joy, lots of it; I remember my mother’s funeral on December 20th, I remember the joy of new babies, and the sadness of an empty place when a father or mother dies, and one awful year when my 34 year old daughter was no longer there as she was taken in August that year. That is always with us. But hopefully the joy overcomes the sadness at least for a little, and we go on. The time for reflection and thankfulness for what we still have, that’s a good time.

    • Momcat says:

      Thanks Judy, so very kind of you. There are some years ( and this is one of them for me) that you kind of don’t want Christmas to come. I lost my beloved brother in June, faced a series of serious health issues and now my mom’s situation. BUT in November our son and his spouse gifted us with a dear little grandson. Every cloud ( even the darkest) has a silver lining. I am truly sorry to hear of your enormous losses, my condolences. Take comfort in your memories and the love you shared. Christmas can be a time for reflection and meditation on what we have been given not what we have lost.

  10. Juliet says:

    Oh I think I would just leave home, yep I’d probably just wait out the rest of Christmas at the bus stop and go back once everything was sorted. Mind you every year I say to myself we can have salad and junk food, one day it will happen…. Glad it all turned out fine.

    • Catherine says:

      Oh. Juliet. I almost did walk out–but I didn’t want to leave the kids..LOL! And I’ve been surviving on so much stress-eating-garbage that my jeans are tight around the thighs. It’s serious weight loss bidzness come Jan. 1 XOXOXOXO!!!!

  11. TURNER says:

    Your family will remember this Christmas forever! It turned it a little differently than you planned but sometimes that makes the best memories. Thanks for sharing this crazy story with us.

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Turner!! So true–I’m in the process of writing the last installment. It ain’t over till the fat lady sings. I’m not singing yet!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  12. pasunejeunefille says:

    Gotta love PECO. 😉

  13. Sandra says:

    “I Love Lucy” is alive and well and living in PA with a Frenchman instead of a Cuban! Your stories are priceless. Happy New Year!

  14. LA CONTESSA says:

    IT HAS A GREAT ENDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I UNDERSTAND completely ALL THAT WORK!!!!!!!!

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