I don’t have a love/hate relationship with much, but Christmas is definitely one of those things. There are so many things I love to do at Christmas, I love Christmas trees and egg nog and wrapping presents and Christmas baking and Christmas music and Christmas movies and driving around looking at Christmas lights. I want so badly to create the holiday atmosphere I choke it to death Lenny-style year after year. The season just brings out all the worst aspects of my personality, perfectionism and obsessiveness and anxiety that lives on the precipice of psychosis with frequent vacations to despair.
I hate being this cliche, but I’ve got that truly desperate drive to find the holiday magic of childhood Christmases that intellectually I know I’ll never find. That’s a lie. Obviously I think I’ll find it or I would stop looking for it. I am always disappointed, and usually mad at everyone around me because if they just followed my instructions everything would be great. Did I mention I get (more) controlling during Christmas, failure to comply just fuels my anxiety which makes me more controlling and depressed?
Yeah, I know all these things about myself, I just can’t stop the cycle.
Also my sister has a late-December birthday. Obviously not her fault, but one hell of a monkey wrench trying to pull that together that together amid the Christmas chaos. Like changing boats mid stream.
We went downtown for Birthday Nite 1 and stayed with my Mom’s friend. Oh my fucking God, her apartment is fantastic. It wasn’t furnished last time we stayed with her, but she pulled the entire space together in weeks. This woman, she’s just like, “it was a long time coming.” I still haven’t painted over the holes in my wall from when I unsuccessfully attempted a gallery wall (which then fell on my head.) My nightstand is a crudely sawed off extra piece of MDF. She has a marble coffee table flanked by festive poinsettas that perfectly coordinates with a boucle glider. I slept on a pull out couch with nicer linens than my actual bed and the best, heaviest duvet I have ever experienced, with the full WALL OF WINDOWS open so I could look at the whole city lit up (including the Washington Monument.)
I mean, damn. She worked hard for all of it and has had a couple extra decades to pull it together, but damn.
We went to Legal Seafoods for dinner. Holy fuck, a) I don’t like seafood (crabs don’t count in my mind because they don’t taste like fish or seafood, they taste like crabs) and b) I haven’t eaten there in probably ten years, but I had this memory of it being… faux-upscale? McGriddles are a staple of my diet, so I don’t have pretentious taste in food, but I thought it was like when you throw a bathroom attendant in a Cracker Barrel as if that’s somehow going to class up the place. It wasn’t stuffy, but oh my fucking God, they had the best service ever. I wanted to send Anthony Bourdain there because I felt like our waiter would have silenced his endless rants about the decline of dining. His constant anticipation of our needs became a form of entertainment in and of itself. He would just appear and disappear wordlessly like Batman, it was fascinating. My sister only notices minutiae as a rule, and managed to catch his sommelier (ish) pin and he talked to us about Somm (we are still obsessed) and how he took a course with the first master sommelier in North America. Apparently there is a Somm 2? Exciting.
The pear cocktail there is amazing, just a suggestion.
Birthday Nite 2, dinner with our Dad. NO ONE HALF DIED IN THE BATHROOM OF COASTAL FLATS THIS TIME, so that was a plus. Brown butter pasta nom nom nom. Classy whiskey sours nom nom nom. No one cried.
Birthday Nite 3, was her actual birthday. She wanted a Fallout theme (we do theme parties every year even though no one comes over, it started on a whim and escalated.) We got her a big California New Republic flag, a yellow and blue cake with a Funko Vault Boy on top, industrial caution/warning stickers, lots of branded lanyards and water bottles and what not. I think it was a success.