Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My Own Personal Christmas Tree

In my previous life as a fully-formed adult, I lived in an apartment with some other adults. We were all grown up--we paid our bills, we cooked food, we vacuumed. It was like, well, real life! As mentioned in my last post, we also hosted parties, and one of them (per year) was a Christmas party. Therefore, we had a Christmas tree! Yes, I used to have my very own Christmas tree, and it was always small, cute, and well decorated.

So as you can see, we did real, delicious-smelling trees. While they did sit on top of our kitchen armoire (a Brooklyn street find, homies), they were pretty tall, and we did lights, ornaments, and garlands. These items were all stored under my bed, and when I moved, all the Christmas decorations (for the most part) came with me, and started living under my bed at my parents house.

Now my mother, bless her heart, is one of those people who likes to put the tree up RIGHT BEFORE Christmas, and then leave it up for some time after. Which happens to be the opposite of how we always did it. I mean, it's a week before Christmas and the interior of my house is relatively devoid of decoration. Which is fine! To each their own! Et cetera!

But I also decided that I didn't want to put "my" ornaments onto the big tree this year. Taking down the tree always turns into a hassel and I didn't want my personal collection to get lost in the shuffle. I do plan on moving out again, you know. So I took our funny little silver tree that made its way down from the attic when I pulled out the lights two weeks ago, and I set it up in my room.

End result:

TA-DA! Isn't it cute? Aren't my vintage ornaments adorable? They all have stories connected to them--the big silver lacey ball is from St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. The large (HUGE) clear snowflake-y ball that is too big for my tiny tree we bought at Bloomingdale's in New York City during my first trip there in 2002. All the vintage pink and blue ornaments were my grandmother's. The ballet slippers are my FAVORITE ornament gift ever, from my late aunt, when I was taking ballet in '92 (they have my name on the back). The little stockings on my mirror lights are a gift for me and my roommates. The sparkly paper ornaments were a terrible craft that left our couch sparkly for weeks. And on and on and on.

Tree Viewing, which inspired my last post, and to put up my tree today, is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Isn't that just the best part of Christmas? The stuff you do all the time? Or creating new traditions with friends? I just love it all. Some of my other favorite Christmas traditions are:

there are 9 separate items on this plate--
that's not even all the choices I had
1. The food--we do a big dinner Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, although the "important" one shifts from year to year depending on who is coming and who is hosting. But one thing that never changes is the HUGE amount of food we have. Dinner comes with every side dish known to man that anyone could ever want, and before we even eat, we have appetizers set out all day--cookies, meatballs, crudités, cheese balls, brie, sushi rolls, chex mix, caramel corn, shrimp. You name it. And then we just stuff ourselves to no end.

2. Games--after dinner, we play games. In general, the non-gamers fall asleep, and then the rest of us will break out whatever we feel like. Games range from Rummikub, to euchre, to Guesstures, to Apples to Apples, to this silly Dilbert game that was all the rage when we were preteens, to dominos, and so on. We drink cocktails, wine, soda, whatever, and just play until someone decides if they don't leave now, they will wreck the car on the way home from over-stuffed-ness and sheer exhaustion.

3. During our dinner on Christmas Day, my grandpa used to sit at the head of the table, and after we said grace, as we all started digging in, he would remark with, "I wonder what the poor people are doing today." While the remark kind of sounds callous when you don't know the context, it really isn't. My grandpas was never rich growing up, and while none of us have ever been terribly destitute, all families go through hard times. The comment references the fact that today, we are NOT poor--we are rich in love, rich in family, and rich in food. And we are lucky to be this way.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, with lots of time with the people you love the most. x

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Weekend in New York

Bonnie and Chris's tree!
This past weekend was the 4th Annual Tree Viewing in Brooklyn, and as a part of the original T.V., I had to be there. T.V. is the bestest most fantastical Christmas party around, and what we do is drink a lot, eat a lot, and dance a LOT at many apartments. It's progressive, in every sense of the word. It's an awesome tradition because it includes original poems/songs at each stop, meatballs, festive attire, plastic cups with your name on them, and BLT dip. It also includes people coming from all over New York and other places (like, ahem, Ohio), and friends from many different circles.

It's the best. I'm done trying to explain it.

Instead of recapping in the way that involves paragraphs and lots of typing, I'm going to be doing this update in list form. This is because somewhere around the Maryland/West Virginia state line on my drive home, I developed what I have deemed the "stomach demon." It started as what I believed were hunger pains (because they mostly are), and sort of developed into more of a "hmmm were the tomatoes bad on my Subway sandwich?" feeling, which of course turned into, "boy I hope I don't have to pull over on the side of this dark, rural highway and vomit up my guts," and then became severe pain and terribleness before (nearly) blindly making it home. Seriously. I hit the curb turning onto my street and then stumbled into my house and lay on the floor for 20 minutes before I could move again. I'm still feeling after effects (no, I haven't gotten out of bed), and have no idea wtf is wrong. As I described it last night to my dad, it feels like a tiny turtle with claws found its way into my stomach and occasionally shoots out flaming arrows, which eventually burn out, but the turtle lives on and migrates to different points in my abdomen.

So list time! This list consists (assonance!) of things I learned on my mini-break to the Big City. I hope you enjoy it:

1. If you wander the streets of Manhattan in the uber-congested shopping areas on a Saturday in December people will literally throw free samples at you. I got some hummus!
2. I miss bagels in a way that is perhaps not natural.

this was my 2nd bagel in 6 hours--whole wheat everything with
veggie cream cheese, tomato, onion, and lox
3. I want to eat everything at Dean and Deluca.
4. Staten Island and Breezy Point are still totally crazy. And no one knows outside of the city. Not cool.
5. I still know all the (not English) words to that "Numa Numa" song from 7 years ago.
6. I can no longer finish my favorite brunch entrée in one sitting at The Farm. Who am I??

super delicious bloody mary, although it was a "preemie pickle"
7. The worst part about driving home with a tummy ache and your glasses on is making eye contact with the sketchy dudes at the gas station to let them know you know they are watching you.
8. I am AWESOME at meatballs and also they are delicious. Bonnie has a gooooood recipe.
9. I have a secret admirer in Brooklyn.
10. My friends' apartments in New York continually impress me and get more and more grown-up and beautiful each time I go.
11. The Verrazano costs $13 to cross.
why so expensive??
12. Eataly is perhaps the single most confusing store/restaurant/situation I have ever been to. Also, expensive.
13. People do not know what is happening with the subways. All I know is the F train is fine. Don't ask questions.
14. I think I'm super funny when I walk past those blow up Christmas decorations.

"you look like you could use a drink, Rudolph" 
15. My past life in New York was really great and I am so thankful for those three years and the friendships that have come from them.
16. Also, my friends are crafty. See next photo.

Best Dressed of the evening
Hope your weekends were equally amazing and that you are not sick in your bed. Although the homemade chicken noodle soup, dog as hot water bottle, and bedside service are all making it much more bearable!