There is no "Winter Break" for me this year.
I am not living at home.
I am single.
I did not just finish finals and come home with a bunch of laundry.
Other than my decision every morning to put on one of my many pairs of Christmas socks I seem to have collected over the years, and the unmistakable red of Starbucks cups everywhere, it's not feeling so Decembery.
To combat this, I'm partying extra hard for Santa and Baby Jesus this year. Maybe not extra hard, just more often. The holiday season is just the best time of year to catch up with people you love, miss, and care about. What better way to do this than clad in crusty Christmas sweaters, Christmas cocktail attire, and looking forward to a New Year together?
It also keeps me occupied at work if I have a social function to plan, which is why I am so looking forward to the holiday dinner I'm hosting at The Paragon! (By hosting, I mainly mean that I will be inviting everyone, and paying for the difference in our bill and the restaurant minimum when we inevitably don't hit it). More details to come as this develops... key words include: classy, Nat King Cole, and steak.
This week alone, I've gotten to see a lot of old friends, some of whom I haven't caught up with in years. Literally, two years. That is a lot of time when you've only known somone for nine years and you're only twenty-two.
Since my friends are awesome, these little reunions have also created some New Things For My Days!
Monday: I finally went to dinner with an old friend I've known since leadership camp days, when I was 15. Over the years we've seen each other at plenty of social scenes, but have never made the effort to actually enjoy catching up over a meal until this week, and I am really glad we did. He chose the restaurant- Marrakech - which was great since I've been to the city, but never the restaurant. We talked business, and college, and trips, and future plans and family while we ate with our hands. I couldn't have been more pleased with the bastilla, or the Moroccan mint tea. Or the company. I had misjudged him, and am glad he had an opportunity to change my mind. I look forward to future dinners and a stronger friendship with him.
Tuesday: I did spin class at the gym with another friend. I am still sore.
I also met up with some wonderful friends at the Blue Moon brewery just down the street from my apartment to eat french friends and play Trivial Pursuit. (My team won).
Wednesday: I drove home just to watch a movie with my parents. In a now-traditional Holiday Season move, we watched Elf. I never EVER get tired of this movie.
Thursday: Other than the kids I grew up with in the neighborhood or elementary school or church, one of my oldest friends came and picked me up on our semi-annual-when-we're-both-single-"date". He chose Ten01, which I was thrilled about as Mom and I have been wanting to try it for a while after reading rave reviews in recent dining guides about Portland.
I had the Roasted Duck with pureed parsnip, steamed brussel sprouts, and chantarelles with a fantastic glass of Sauvignon Blanc. He got the Pan Roasted Skate and was not pleased with it. So I ate part of that, too. Decaf coffee for me, and House-made Vanilla bean ice-cream with regular coffee for him, then an array of gelee candies, a lemon butter cookie and a caramel-chocolate truffle before we left.
It is wonderful, I think, that through relationships, through new experiences, and school and breakups and travel all these things that change us, we can still see people from our past and manage to enjoy each other's company. It is a simple pleasure of life, for me.
Today, I think I am going to leave work a little early to hit some antique stores to find some CellarDoor24 goodies. And then I'm going to my first office Christmas party as a friend's date.
All together, this is my new December.
Last year I was finishing up finals and frantically packing up ball gowns and stockings and jewelry and new coats for a cousin's wedding in Jordan, working at Nordstrom, dealing with having to put down our beloved Springer Spaniel on Christmas Eve, and traveling to Texas to see family and my man. A lot can change in a year.
Everything changed in a year.
"It's been a long December
but there's reason to believe
that maybe this year will be better
than the last."
It doesn't have to be better- I just have to be ok with it being different, because nothing ever stays the same.