I love the day after coming home from vacation. If you time it just right, you can shove several hundred activities into your travels, completely wear yourself out, and get home in time to have a good day or two's rest. Granted, I'm a little spoiled by the fact that I work in a school, so I'm still enjoying the perks of the two week winter break. Hey. Don't look at me like that! I had a very busy weekend that included several batches of cookie eating, present-opening, friend-hanging-out-with, and kitty-photographing (that's Zoe on the right), not to mention a mountain of late-night-board-game-playing. And that stuff is hard when you have Midwestern friends and relatives:"Let's get food." "Aren't you hungry?" "For the love of GOD take some cookies! And who wants wine? Twelve bottles! Here! Get tipsy!" (This last one was my friend, Sara, who made the mistake/best decision ever of ordering fifteen bottles of wine for $90 through Barnes & Noble. She and Jake were swimming in wine and were trying to slowly pawn it off on the rest of us. As you may suspect, none of us were really reluctant to take some off her hands.)
Christmas was good this year, but also strange. Half of it was me holding in the urge to tell my mom that I'm thinking that maybe I don't want to celebrate Christmas while at the same time thanking her for a most excellent hand pureeing device. That one really is making it hard for me to break my love of stuff - especially cooking stuff. But Christmas was also strange because for the first time it was missing my grandma. I went to her house with my folks, went through every room in the house and came back with boxes of her jewelery, scarves, dishes, and bags and bags of yarn. And I hardly felt anything. I guessed my time for crying and missing her was over. But opening gifts with the rest of the family my brother and I got $50 checks from her. She had set it up with my mom as last Christmas gifts before she died. That was really hard. My brother and I had to try not to look at each other to keep from losing it. That was an awkwardness and a sadness that I think hung over me the rest of the evening.
But thank goodness for friends and their ability to distract. I went over to Jake's house with my husband the day after Christmas. He and Jocelyn had told me to bring an appetizer, main dish, and dessert. Well, that was what Jake told me. Jocelyn had relayed that I should bring a meat, vegetable and appetizer. This mix-up, the relaying of this information to me two days before, and the fact that my friends are total pranksters, gave me the vague suspicion that I would show up with all this food and they'd say, "Yay! Thanks for feeding us!" and proceed to mooch with grins. It turns out we all mooched off each other with grins because everyone did bring food. We spent most of the time cooking and watching YouTube videos on Jake's iPad (Still something I find to be not extremely useful for the price, but entertaining nonetheless.).The other bit of the time we spent trying to convince Jocelyn and her fiance to elope. They're the only couple in the group left to get married. They'll be tying the knot in traditional Catholic fashion in May- even though Jocelyn is agnostic ,and I think finds the whole Catholic set-up slightly amusing.
And so, with yet another wedding on my mind, I'm back in the comfort of my Madison abode getting set up for the new year. I returned to find that the hamsters have hit middle age and, instead of deciding to hold roaring parties while I'm not watching, have opted to take the time to rest...sumo wrestler style apparently.