Words have yet to be invented to accurately describe how terrible Christmas was last year, and this year has kindly steamrolled that further away from my memory. I had SUCH a pleasant holiday.
I flew down to my brother's house in Texas last Tuesday, and we hung out in Houston to wait for my sister's flight to get in a few hours later. I was nervous to see her because over the last few years we have not gotten along at all. It's frustrating to look at someone who has the same face and voice as me, yet couldn't be more different.
She recently started working her first job, and I think it's starting to change her for the better. We did not fight once over the break, and actually enjoyed each other's company.
As a family, we went to the movies twice (it's $4 to see a movie in Texas - amazing!) and saw Black Swan and True Grit - both highly recommended. During True Grit, a man was sitting in front of me chewing and spitting tobacco. How very Wild West of him!
We also went wine tasting and glow-in-the-dark mini putting where I got THREE holes in one! Speaking of "That's What She Said", I taught my mom what that means over the break, too. When we were waiting for True Grit to start she noticed that my wallet was sticking out of my purse and asked, "Do you want me to help you put it in?" I started laughing, and asked my brother if it was OK if I said TWSS to my mom. I explained to her what it meant, and she tried to start using it, but she's still learning. Even during Christmas Eve dinner, she pointed at the roast beef and said to my sister, "Go ahead and lay some of that beef on here." My brother and I started laughing hysterically, but she's still a little slow with it. It'll be nice to chart her perverse progress.
We do all our celebrating on Christmas Eve, so Christmas Day we just hung out and I cooked our big dinner. I made a southern meal with a delicious turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, collared greens, cornbread stuffing and, for good luck in 2011, some black-eyed peas. It was delicious! Later, I made my own turkey stock for the first time, and it turned out pretty well, too.
On a serious note: there was obviously a hole in the family with my dad not being there, but he's chosen to pull away. We haven't really talked in a year, and I obviously want him to start a new life for himself, but it's out of our hands.
There's no easy way to transition out of that seriousness, except for three words: Indoor Gun Range.
Texas is a really interesting place. I can't think of another state that has as much pride and guns as they do. There is an indoor shooting range next to their Starbucks, in case you need to blow off some steam after getting overly-caffeinated. Also, the whole town shut down on Christmas. My brother and I drove around that morning just looking at how deserted it was. Everything was closed, except liquor stores and churches, of course.
I came back on Sunday evening, surprisingly. The East Coast was slammed by a blizzard, and my flight was the last one being let into Logan Airport. The landing was the scariest I've ever experienced, but the cab ride home was worse. I gave the driver a $10 tip for not killing me.
Thankfully, yesterday my office was closed, too. I got a bonus vacation day and hung out with some friends in my neighborhood.
Anyway, I hope everyone had a lovely, stress-free holiday. It's been an interesting year for me, to say the least, and 2011 has a LOT of pressure on it to perform. Let's just hope those 5 black-eyed peas I managed to eat do the trick.