Merry Christmas everyone!
So today I am flying out to Europe. But for real this time. I suppose the past four days have been a lesson in patience and flexibility for me, although I don’t know if I’ve come away with much. And still, my journey doesn’t begin until 12 hours from now, and it won’t even be over until I arrive in Sweden in 32 hours.
In the meantime, these past couple days I’ve spent bumming around, although yesterday I baked some vegan chocolate chip cookies and drove out to nearby Graton with them, where I spent a couple hours visiting with my classmate Lily and her fiance and their two-week-old baby, Mesa. She was just perfect… tiny and healthy and sleepy as can be. I held her for nearly two hours, and probably could have continued forever. I can’t wait until I have kids of my own. But in the meantime, I’m totally stoked for Lily.
Today was my family’s Christmas celebration, which we’ve taken to celebrating on Christmas Eve for the past decade or so (since all of us kids have been older and we’ve grown out of the need to wake up early and open presents). Stephanye and Jeremy rolled into town in the early afternoon, and we all hung out by the fireplace drinking wine and port while my mother and Nathan made the traditional crab cioppino dish. It’s one of the family traditions that I miss, now that I’m a vegan, but I still get something special to eat: last year it was sweet potato gnocchi with an artichoke sauce, and this year it was a spinach quiche.
We did things slightly differently this year, opening our presents before dinner. Since the plan was for me to be gone on Christmas, I’d already received almost all my presents beforehand, so it was nice to sit back and see everyone open theirs. It was a successful Christmas for all of us, I think. Then we had dinner, which was followed by the candlelight service at church. When we got home, we all had dessert and the rest of the family had eggnog, while I drank hot chocolate with soy milk and brandy… delicious!
Now everyone’s asleep and I’m headed there shortly, although I’m attempting to get together my last minute stuff for the trip tomorrow. I’ll be bringing two carry-ons with me. One is my North Face backpack, which is totally awesome and completely indispensable. That is not yet completely packed, as I have a load of clothes in the dryer and some essential items I’ll need tomorrow that I won’t pack until I’m done using them. And the other is my purse/bag, which is so spacious that I am able to fit my wallet, journals, passport, Kindle, laptop, external harddrive, iPods, camera, cords and more in it. And by more, I likely mean snacks, since airplane food (especially the vegan meals) can be hit and miss.
While I hate checking baggage and basically avoid doing it after my lost luggage experience with Lufthansa last May, I do have one suitcase that I won’t bring on board with me, which is the one with all the presents (which will, in turn, be emptied to make room for all the beer I plan on bringing home). And of course, that’s all ready to go, complete with the obligatory cat sitting on top of it, ‘cause that’s what cats like to do before their people leave for vacation.
As for my cats, I plan on snuggling up tightly with them tonight, because I’m gonna miss the little buggers a ton when I’m on vacation.