Buckeyes, thumbprints, fudge, peppermint bark, puppy chow, cookie truffles... Do your teeth hurt yet?
Met up with my Texas partners-in-crime, Meagan and Jackie, tonight for some light holiday baking. (Their two percent body fat, marathon-running neighbor stopped by for a visit... and was horrified. Didn't help that I was smushing together an entire package of Oreos and two blocks of cream cheese with my bare hands).
With December weeks whizzing by in a blur, I've had a tough time finding my Christmas spirit. Thought I'd get out and do some Christmas shopping. Then thought again. I'd rather not channel my inner Santa Claus on the plane home. Visions of cramming a giant red knapsack full of loot into the overhead bin? Yeah, I'll shop online and let UPS handle the delivery. Plus I've been battling this nasty cold/flu kind of thing. It's hard to be jolly when you've got a head full of green boogs and a hacking cough. And the work Christmas party? Cancelled two years ago due to "the financial strains of a bad economy." (A real bummer considering I'd love to see the show my liquored-up co-workers are capable of putting on). Because I'm not trying to be a total Grinch, I did pick up a poinsettia. (That earns me one holiday cheer point, right?)
Then, (early) Christmas miracle of all Christmas miracles... on my way home from picking up dinner tonight, fat white flakes began to fall from the sky. They danced around in my headlights and made tiny piles in the corner of my windshield. Whaaaaat? Nobody said a thing about snow! My inner-Texan began to flip. It's snowing! They didn't last long, but those few fleeting flurries did more for my Christmas spirit than decking the halls with boughs of holly and jingle bell rocking around the clock ever could. Giddy like a little kid, I had to celebrate. And what better way to ring in Christmas than with cups and cups of sugar? I tried out a recipe I've had my eye on for a while, the best coconut cake in the world. (I'd post a picture, but suffice it to say -- it was the ugliest, most delicious cake I've ever baked). Now is it totally out of the question that I'll wake up to a winter wonderland and an email from my boss declaring a company-wide snow day?
Frigid forecast? Temperatures in the teens? Other than the exceptional use of alliteration, there's not much to like about those two sentences. I'm not proud to admit it, but I'm a wuss about a few things in life... and cold weather hovers toward the top of that list. (In my defense, I once passed out on the side of a mountain while snow skiing so I'd like to think my aversion to cold weather is trauma-induced and therefore, legitimate). Locals tell me I'll get my first taste of a Charlotte winter this week. If today was any indication, I'll be wearing three layers (not including wool underpants) until March, adding bi-daily "ice scraping" to my routine, and waiting for my extra-hot coffee in a Starbucks drive-thru line 17 cars deep.
Weekend recap: Significant people in my life doing significant things.
Mom ran in the White Rock (her second half-marathon of the year) and finished all 13.1 miles, beating her personal best by 2 1/2 minutes. She's pretty much Superwoman as is, but throw unrelenting athlete in the mix, and the lady is unstoppable. Don't let the innocent smile fool you, she's really thinking, Eat my dust, suckers!
And while Mom was crossing the finish line, Kyle was crossing the stage... I know I said I wasn't going to make it to Austin to see him graduate, but I lied. There's no tricking this trickster, so the only way to ensure the success of the surprise was to fudge a little.
Other than the extra five pounds -- queso culprit strikes again -- a trip to Austin was exactly what I needed. Almost felt like I never left. A big family meal at County Line. A couple of quintessential trips to Sixth Street. And oodles of reunions. Gah, I miss my friends. A genuine, heart-aching kind of miss. I left with a sore throat from screaming like a mad man every time I saw a familiar face. (Take me out of Texas for two months and what do you expect? Things were bound to get melodramatic).
Pretending like Austin was home again for a few days made reality seem a little more cruel on Sunday. The bubble burst as I stripped down to my socks in the airport security line. I hid stray tears behind a Dan Brown novel as I waited to board. The day I don't have to tell Kyle goodbye at the curbside passenger drop-off and watch Austin shrink behind the wings of a plane is going to be a damn good one.