Two days ago, E drove through the crazy traffic and storms to ensure that we could be in my hometown for our family's early celebration of the Christmas holidays. We have a complex family tree on my side, so we do the early big meal with group blessing followed by presents and stockings to ensure that those of us who can be local for a celebration may avoid conflicts with other family members who may want to claim the actual holiday for themselves.
|Sunset view on the drive, almost to my childhood hometown. Such a different sky than the bay area can offer.|
After the drive, we spent the night with a 25Y+ friend, went out to dinner, caught up, and the next AM, she and I did a 6ish mile run together. She was so much more fit than me... I felt so grateful for her waiting for me and holding herself back to allow both of us to enjoy the joint workout -- talk about a Christmas spirit of giving! She was even kind enough to wait for me while I had to use a construction port-a-john. For the finale, the last .6 miles, she ran uphill hard (Sierra Nevada Foothills are no joke), easily putting distance between us with every step to solidly close out her workout, while I walked, doing my best to jog every 1/10th of a mile or so, totally wasted from the hills on the loop (have I mentioned I lost quite a bit of fitness over the last several months?). It's hard to explain how much I enjoyed all of this -- the shared dinner, wine, evening, workout conversation, and recovery. True friend moments like these are so precious, few, and unique.
From her house, we headed to my brother's. We picked up lunch and lounged through a pre-family-big-Christmas-meal snack at his place with my niece before heading to my mother's for our Christmas celebration.
We had too many presents (but that's fun, right?). My mom asked my niece if she had any idea who had sent 2 John Green books and some coloring books, pencils and sharpeners to my mom's, saying, "It's really weird, they are addressed to me, but I think they were meant for you."
My niece replied, "Well, they were all on my Christmas wish list, so I think someone knew what they were doing..."
At which point, my mom, sheepishly said, "Oh, I should probably check my Amazon. I probably ordered them for you off your list..."
No harm, no foul, though. Niece got double presents from grandma, so all is well.
E & I went to bed at 11:30 and I slept 'til 9, he slept 'til 11 AM today. Amazing -- longest night of sleep for both of us in ages. After an easy 3 miler, we headed to Beach Hut Deli
for lunch, where I silently toasted Dad with my beer and wished him and all of his heavenly cronies a Merry Christmas.
From there, we drove to Santa Rosa, taking highway 37
, which was so picturesque I regret not taking photos. We shared a loud and celebratory Christmas Eve dinner with my dad's sisters, my uncle and my cousins, and tomorrow AM we're returning for aebelskivers.
If all goes well, I'll win the text war I've got with my brother to send Xmas wishes out at midnight first (and if I lose, I'll still be second, 'cause mom and sis don't even know there's a contest). From there, it's off to bed, and up for a run before brunch with the family (and hopefully a videocall with my sis and her kids) followed by a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge home.
All in all, I couldn't be happier with my stereotypically Californian Christmas celebration.