All posts in: lance romance

26 Jan 2014

his life with books – best of 2013

I’ve mentioned that The Boy has been upping his reading game in recent years. In 2012 he read 25 books, then 30 in 2013, and this year he’s hoping for 35.

Since he is a normal human and not a librarian or even a particularly book-ish person, he reads much differently than I do. Lots of audiobooks. Books about music. And unlike most of us heathens, he actually reads books that people purchase him for gifts! You know, all those books that just sit on your shelves and taunt you for years. Those books. He reads them! How adorable.

Anyway, much like I pester him into reading various books, I pestered him into telling me his top 5 reads in 2013.

I am pleased with the results because most of them came as direct recommendations from yours truly. If Reading The Books I Think You Will Love and then Loving Them is a love language, then it is definitely mine. Especially happy about #2.

So without further ado… The Boy’s Top 5 of 2013.

After which I promise to stop talking about 2013 and move on with my life.

5. Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang

4. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

3. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

2. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

1. A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin






22 Jan 2014

love letter 2014

My Dearest Boy,

Well, we made it to ten years.

Forgive me for lacking a sense of romance… but ten years just does not feel particularly remarkable. I mean, it is, of course. Ten years! A decade! I remember turning ten, feeling special pride in reaching double digits, that nice round number – 10. I remember turning twenty less well, but I bet you were there.

I’ve spent less than three decades on this planet. And I’ve spent one of them with you.

I really should be shouting from the rooftops.

But I’m just not there right now. I’m not in a rooftops shouting kind of place. First of all – I am sick. After nearly a year of staying disease-free (and bragging about it), I have succumbed to some sort of fever-y cold something. Today I cannot shout about anything. I can barely stand up long enough to do the dishes or ponder questions deeper than “can I take Nyquil yet?”

All germs aside, though, I will tell you where I am at with us. I am standing on the top of ten years and looking down. I can see how hard it has been these past ten years. Years of being young and stupid and careless with each other. Years of indecision and growth. Years of long distance. Moving across the country together. Deciding to get married and then doing it.

I can see Little You and Little Me, scrabbling up together, struggling. Most of the time happy, but always struggling.

Right now, in 2014, I am finally in a place where I can rest. With you.

I want very badly to say that marriage didn’t have anything to do with this. But I suspect that would be incorrect. Marriage was a place that we were headed and we’d been heading there for a long while. All of that struggle and climbing and hanging on was underneath our decision, and it is that history of pain and fun and hardship that helped us to trust and respect each other. Marriage didn’t put a shiny coat of paint over our history or our problems.

But it did something. I don’t know what, exactly yet. That’s the nice thing about marriage, I think; it means a lot, but you don’t have to know exactly what it means right away – maybe ever. It will be there, waiting, while you learn. Right now, it just feels like you marked off a big checkbox in my soul. And now that we’ve climbed a ten-year mountain, and now that box is checked, I can rest.

It only took me ten years.

I feel like this is an unnecessarily roundabout way of saying “I like hanging out with you.” But that’s where I’m at.

I’m glad that we met so many years ago, and glad that you liked me as much as I liked you. I’m glad that you wanted to stay with me, even when leaving would have been easier. Even when I wasn’t nice to you. I’m glad that we made it through this and that and the other thing and are finally here, on the other side, hanging out, resting, every day setting out anew together. I’m glad you married me, and I’m glad that we never have to get married again. I’m glad you read my book recommendations and then tell me about what’s going on in every chapter. I’m glad you like my family and like to travel and laugh at my jokes. I’m glad that you’ve treated me so tenderly while I’ve been sick, even though you had the same illness last week, and I’m pretty sure I remember saying something passive aggressive about doing the dishes at some point. I’m glad you are wearing the socks my mother knitted for me, the heels sitting somewhere in the middle of your foot. I’m glad that you climbed that mountain and checked my box and that you are you and you are here.

Yours forever,


26 Oct 2013

when nerds fall in love


Setting: Neighborhood grocery store, shopping for random food items, talking about dinners.


Me:        … and I forgot that you ate all the onions, so I couldn’t put the taco soup in the crock pot. And that’s why we need to buy something for dinner. Or at least onions.


The Boy:        Hey, you know what we should make in our crockpot?


Me:        What?


The Boy:        Mulled wine. We should make a big batch of spiced mulled wine and have everyone over for a winter party.


Me:       Oh. Ah. Hmm….


The Boy:         Yeah, spiced  red wine. With nutmeg. And cinnamon.


Me:        I think we can probably do that.


The Boy:       And chopped up apple.


Me:        Alright. But that’s all I’m promising, just nutmeg, cinnamon and apple. If we just throw everything we want in there without following a recipe it will end up gross.


The Boy:        Yeah. No squeeze of lemon.


Me:      What?


The Boy:        That’s how Captain Mormont likes it. No lemon. He’s very particular about his spiced wine.


Me:      What are you talking about. Oh. Wait. You are suggesting we throw a party specifically for the purpose of recreating a recipe for a drink that a supporting character in Game of Thrones prefers?


The Boy:       Yes.


Me:        I think we can do that. I mean, winter *is* coming.


Semi-spoiler laden bonus scene:

Me:       … so would we really just be throwing a Game of Thrones theme party then?

The Boy:       I guess so. What do you do for that?

Me:        Wait till everyone shows up, lock all the doors and have someone start playing The Rains of Castamere on the violin and freak all of your friends the fuck out.

30 Sep 2013

seven things about venice before i forget them

I did not want to go to Venice. Nope. I barely wanted to go to Rome, or to Europe. Then again, after a year of preparation and looming dread, I didn’t particularly want to get married. I mean, I wanted to BE married, I just didn’t want to GET married. This also sums up my attitude toward travel. I want to HAVE traveled, I just don’t want to get off the couch long enough to actually go through with it.

So I deferred honeymoon planning to The Boy. This was supposed to reduce the overall household wedding stress by division of labor, but I’m sure you guys know me well enough to know that it didn’t exactly work so well. First of all, I am an anal retentive freak and anyone who has to speak to me for more than 15 minutes deserves a medal. Second of all, at some point I told The Boy that I didn’t want to plan anything involving this honeymoon, that he should make all decisions in our best interests, but I also reserve the right to be pissed if things go wrong. Darling wife, love forever, etc.

I agreed to Rome and one other Italian city. The Boy insisted on Venice. I wasn’t keen on navigating European rail or dragging luggage on and off boats on my supposedly relaxing honeymoon, but Venice is sinking.

So we arrived in Rome on Monday afternoon, slept and ate pizza and drank wine for two nights. The next morning we carried our luggage down to the Termini station to board a high speed train. Four hours later, we arrived in Venice.

It was lovely and I forgot all of my anal retentive fears immediately upon arrival.

Just kidding. It was 90 degrees, neither of us could figure out where the proper water bus would pick us up or even how to purchase a ticket, and I probably did a lot of passive aggressive scowling at my dear husband for foisting all of these first world problems upon me.

Happy, happy newlyweds.


My mood improved significantly after we sat down for our first proper Italian meal. Wine. Bread. Spaghetti Bolognese for me and some seafood pasta for him. We were seated outside, the restaurant tucked away on a narrow side street. Supposedly Venice is known for having the worst food in Italy – chefs of any repute prefer to practice their craft without the practical limitations of acquiring fresh and fancy ingredients off the mainland – but my American taste buds were regularly impressed.

The sun went down and so did the wine and then it felt like vacation.

So what did we do in Venice?

Well, we hit as many of the touristy destinations as we could. We rode the vaporetto. We ate the same panini 4 or 5 times. We lounged around our BnB. We attempted to watch the fireworks at Festa del Redentore, but I got too grumpy. We chased Venitian kitty cats through the streets, trying to figure out where they lived.

But if you’re going to count the minutes, we probably spent 95% of our time in Venice getting lost, and getting un-lost.

Getting around in Venice is as close to an impossible task as you can get. You can get a map… but the names of the streets are so long and the streets themselves so short that even if the map-maker decided to label that particular street, what’s on paper won’t match what’s posted. And the canals. Oh, the canals. Each canal has a few bridges that cross over, but maybe a dozen streets that SHOULD have a bridge to cross over. So you detour around, looking for a bridge, and in the process lose your path.

You have no idea where you are. You do not speak the language. You are supposed to be having a relaxing, harmonious honeymoon with the one you love, not bicker over which way you should turn at an intersection… if you can call a giant square-ish open space with a toy store, a bar, and yet another ancient church an intersection.

Bring your patience to Venice. Instill in your heart a deep faith that you will find your way home, that you will not spend the night sleeping in someone’s boat. Follow the never-ending flow of tourists – they are generally on the easiest path to somewhere recognizable. And look closely at those churches – they’re large, they’re always on the map, and they will guide you home.


After experiencing the wonder that was the Italian Hotel Breakfast in Rome, we were dismayed to remember we did not opt in to the breakfast portion of our bed and breakfast stay. So began the hunt for the elusive cup of coffee.

For a country that is known for coffee delicioso, BOY did we have a tough time figuring out where to get some. Maybe our American, Starbucks-accustomed expectations were too high. The guide books and websites assured us that any local bar became a de facto coffee shop in the morning, that you could order a pastry and an espresso and take your breakfast standing at the bar, European style. But The Boy and I were either too timid or too lazy – or both. By the time we’d slept off the previous night’s vino della casa, dressed, and hit the streets, the bars seemed to be serving food-food, and the standers-at-the-bar drinking cocktails.

Even when I am on vacation, I cannot abide by booze before coffee. After who knows how many hours of stumbling, uncaffeinated through the streets, we finally found Caffe del Doge, which was exactly what we needed. Perhaps it would have been more European to stand in a darkened bar and knock back a shot of espresso to start our day, but I absolutely loved Caffe del Doge. It was just like the American coffeeshops I’ve grown accustomed to – there were tables, a large menu, folks who spoke English – but just substitute all the shitty caramel frappa-pumpkin-lattes with delicious and creative Italian coffee options.

The boy stuck to Americanos, espresso served with a little individual pitcher of hot water, while I tried a few things on the menu. Iced coffee with star anise was a favorite, but that shot of espresso with a giant pile of whipped cream wasn’t too shabby.

Let it also be known that I absolutely drank more black coffee in Italy than I’ve drank in my entire life. Desperate times, desperate measures. I lived to tell the tale.

Murano is a cute little group of islands off Venice proper. After riding the water bus over and watching a glass-blowing demonstration, we spent the rest of the afternoon wandering about Murano and talking about glass.

We bought a few souvenirs, but I am pretty sure that we didn’t succeed in buying any actual Murano glass. The best I could gather was that if it was real Murano glass, we couldn’t afford it.

That did not stop us from spending far, far too long playing the Is this real Murano glass? Is that real Murano glass? game. The Boy?  This is favorite game. Me? I don’t like to talk to strangers and I get exhausted when I’m on my feet for too long. I bought my overpriced little baubles and moved on with my day. The Boy haggled and debated and argued until the vaporetto was about to pull away and leave him stranded.


Speaking of souvenirs… they vex me. I don’t want to get ripped off on junky nonsense. I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on anything (ever). I don’t want to pack an extra suitcase so I can acquire things. I don’t want to spend my vacation shopping.

However, I appreciate keeping items in your home that remind you of the places you’ve been. A few trips ago, we decided that until we feel financially comfortable enough to spend big bucks while traveling we will settle with buying nice postcards and framing them. REALLY nice postcards, you know, the artsy ones that cost like, 3 whole dollars. We were probably having an afternoon of Should we buy this? Should we buy that? when we came up with this scheme – I’m not sure that committing to hanging up random postcards is the best decor decision, but it was something that our stingy asses could agree on.

Anyway, we found a nice postcard of the Rialto bridge in Venice proper, so once we landed on Burano – The Most Adorable Place on the Planet – we did a little postcard shopping.

And by “we did a little postcard shopping,” I mean, he did some postcard shopping while I wandered down an adorable street and took photos of front doors and tried to find some cold coffee.

The Boy came back with a postcard. “I asked the woman if she had any postcards of Murano,” he told me, “but she said that Murano was too ugly.”

Venetian Island Feuds? Apparently a thing.

We spent four days and three nights in Venice. I got un-jetlagged. I adjusted to being in another country, drinking black coffee, and being on vacation. I started to feel adjusted, vaguely at home.

I did all that in Venice.

In our corner of Cannaregio, we regularly walked by a store with a maroon awning. We knew to take the alley to the right of the storefront, that we would be almost back to our bed and breakfast.

The second day in Venice, we popped inside the store with the maroon awning and it was a store filled entirely with wine and chocolate. So we came by every afternoon for the rest of our stay in Venice.

Even better? The wine was 3 euro for a liter. What romantic luck for the stingiest honeymooners alive.


Thanks everyone for indulging my summer ramblings about my summer ramblings. Glamor and glitz officially over. Now back to my regularly scheduled American adventures, such as  The Boy Takes 45 Minutes to Buy Vitamins at CVS,  Jessica Falls Down While Reading on the T, and We Have a Futon On Our Back Porch.

15 Sep 2013

seven things about rome, before i forget them


International travel was about as stressful as I imagined it would be, although I admit the stress was entirely me-related and not travel-related. There was airport confusion, haggling with cabbies, disorderly airport shuttles, and a missed train, but the anxiety surrounding potential problems was far greater than the actual experience. We made it through airports, into and out of cabs, and boarded the next train. It was important to me that I, oh, enjoy my honeymoon, so I actively tamped down the worry-frenzy, with mostly good results. And there were surprising conveniences along the way. Tolerable jet lag. An car service that took online requests and showed up on time to drive us to the airport at 5 a.m. How all you have to do in European airports is hand over your passport and people wave you on to your next destination. Complimentary airport meals, with little bottles of wine! It wasn’t all horrible. And you will note that we both lived to tell the tale.

We spent our first two nights in the Hotel Campo de’ Fiori, a very nice place to stay with numerous amenities but oh, the roof. The roof! The best part was definitely the roof. Comfy chairs, a canopy to keep off the sun until evening, multiple levels and seating areas,  and the breeze and the noises from the piazza below and the view, the view! Nobody else who was staying at the hotel wanted to spend any time up there, so we had a private Roman rooftop. No big deal. We ordered pizzas and desserts to go, scouted out 3 euro bottles of wine, and dined and drank al fresco while the sun set over the Vatican.

No big deal.

A few weeks before our trip, I logged onto my favorite food blog in search of a recipe, and saw that Deb had just returned from Rome. More importantly, Deb had just returned from Rome and she had found a cold coffee drink that happened to be served at a coffee shop within a mile of where we stayed. Just around the corner from the Pantheon, Tazza d’Oro was our Roman caffeination location. Coffee wasn’t too hard to come by in Rome, if you want a shot of hot espresso standing up at the bar. If you are a spoiled American with an automatically reloading Starbucks card and the weather is in the high 80s, then you want a giant vat of heavily iced coffee. Tazza d’Oro did not have any vats of American coffee, but those little espresso granitas were a delicious substitute. I eventually figured out the secret of Italian cold coffee – if you’re lucky, your barista might shake up that hot espresso with some ice and serve it to you that way. On our last day in Rome, we went back to Tazza d’Oro and I ordered a shakerado… which was served to me in a martini glass.

No big deal.

I think I am starting to reveal my secret intentions for our honeymoon. An exciting journey across the ocean to spend priceless time with my new husband? Or ten days of Eating Like I Never Have to Fit into a Wedding Dress Again. Prosciutto and cheeses and wine and pasta and pizza and gelato every day. Unless, of course, it was a two gelato day.

For one of our rooftop dinners, I claimed exhaustion and sent the boy out to fetch sustenance – he came back with a seafood pizza, complete with octopus suction cups and clams still in their shells. To get from Piazza Navona to our second location – an adorable Air BnB apartment – you had to walk between two restaurants advertising something called a Tartufo: the restaurant on the left boasted the best gelato and desserts in the world, the one of the right had signs warning of dessert imitators, they were the home of the first and best Tartufo in the world. Don’t even get me started on the wine… so, so good. So, so cheap. Rome: a wonderland of sugars and carbohydrates.

On our second day in Rome we decided to take a long walk to the Termini train station, to see exactly how much fun we would have lugging our baggage across town to get on our train to Venice the next day. On the way home, I told The Boy to take us home whichever way he desired.

Rome was like Boston in that respect – the roads never parallel, always twisting off in strange directions, and often leading past beautiful architecture or something truly ancient.

I didn’t know this yet, on that second day. I was truly surprised when he led me off the street and up a strange flight of alley stairs, took a sharp right and there was the Colosseum.

We took off for Venice just a few days after arriving in Rome. Two notable events involving our return to the mainland.

1) We got into Rome late. We missed our train coming back to Venice and were late to meet our Air BnB host. Exhaustion. Frustration. After settling into our little studio just outside Piazza Navona, we wanted to veg out on the Internet and cool off with the AC, both of which were selling points for this particular abode. Oh, and drink a bottle of wine. Unfortunately, the AC was subpar, we never did figure out how to connect to the Italian wifi, and it’s impossible to buy a bottle of wine in Rome after 9 p.m. We settled for sickly sweet limoncello over ice, in bed, while we watched the one new episode of Game of Thrones we’d downloaded in Venice.

Which was The Red Wedding.


2) Venice has no cars. Rome has billions of cars and zillions of scooters, and they all love to drive down little twisting roads you thought were pedestrian alleyways.

What I’m trying to say is that we almost died seven or eight times.


We had never been to Europe. We had never taken a long vacation together alone. We had never spent so much money on leisure, entertainment, and vino della casa.

But I suppose we also had never been married, either. Roma was our first destination, our first challenge. The first place we spent time together as married people.

It will probably be difficult to separate my fond memories of Rome from my fondness for this boy.


11 Aug 2013

seven things about my wedding, before i forget them

Arriving in Michigan four days ahead of the wedding with four days worth of to-dos and be-here-thens, it becomes quickly evident that the priority is not finalizing a seating chart, not writing those vows, not taking deep consideration of the major life event ahead. No. All that can wait because first, we must fix my parents’ new television so we can use HBO Go to watch Game of Thrones. Priorities. My soon-to-be husband proves his manly worth to the household by locating a cord in the basement and applying it quickly and correctly to resolve the issue; he is awarded a Certificate of Excellence for his courageous efforts.

My sister/maid of honor had to take an actuarial exam three days before the wedding. In case you are an English major, I will tell you that an actuarial exam is a test filled with impossible mathematical questions that require the memorization of dozens and dozens of complex formulas made entirely of Greek letters. Everybody fails them. My sister had already failed this particular test once. We were all getting ready for a wedding, and also feeling nervous for our resident actuary. I was in the kitchen making cupcakes when my mother received the text message – she passed! Whooping and hollering was had by all.

These silly ceramic birds that were all over the house.

… and all that milk glass.

We wrote our own vows independently and without revealing them to each other ahead of time. It was quite shocking to read my vows and to then hear The Boy read the same vows back to me, almost point for point.

But then again, we have been hanging out together for a long ass time.

I loved my flowers. Love love loved them.

Beautiful weather, beautiful bridesmaids, the boys looked great in their outfits. My dress was pretty, my hair was great, I thought my table decorations came out well, my cake was just what I wanted. I got to eat all of the food and it was all tasty. I drank all the wine I wanted, but I wasn’t too drunk. My friends and family came from faraway places. My 18-year-old DJ rocked the house and 7-year-old flower girl danced. After the sun started going down and the cake was cut, everyone migrated out to the decks overlooking the vineyard and there was a nice cool breeze and I got to hang out with everyone and I was sorry that eventually the night had to end.

Everything I worried about for months and years and my life, it all came together.

The parts that didn’t, well, they are over and gone.

Everything was lovely. Everything was perfect.

And now we are married. Huzzah.

09 May 2013

only death will part

This week in impossible/stressful/ridiculous wedding tasks, we plan our ceremony.

Which will happen in…. oh…. two months.

Two. Months.

Scene: The Boy and Me looking over possible wedding ceremonies provided by our lifesaving officiant

The Boy:                Do you want to do our wedding vows like a duet?

Me:                        What in the world are you talking about?

The Boy:                Like this

[He shows me a supposedly contemporary exchange of vows in which the imaginary paper couple appear to read a very long, very drippy poem, alternating stanzas between bride and groom]

Me:                      I would prefer the phrases “you crept toward me” and “dandelion fluff” to not be included in my wedding.

The Boy:               Alright then.

Me:                      In fact, the only way I will exchange vows with you in a duet form is if we sing them. Like West Side Story.

The Boy:               What in the world are you talking about?


And that is when I realized that everything I know about romance, I probably learned from musical theater.

22 Jan 2013

Love Letter 2013


Nine years ago, you were eighteen-years-old and I was eighteen-years-old and we were two eighteen-year-olds doing what eighteen-year-olds do: getting into trouble, trying to pass our classes, and staying up until ungodly hours of the morning on AOL instant messenger.

When we met, I was having a wild ride of a first semester. The summer before school was a bit cruel to me, especially the part where my boyfriend of two years and I broke up. I was a bit wounded and a bit cautious, but also single for the first time in two years. And they were an important two years, sixteen to eighteen, years when I finally shed some of that young teen awkwardness, learned how to manage my hair, and some of the boys finally hit six feet. The world looked different on the other side of that relationship, and between August and December, I kissed more boys than I’d ever kissed in my life.

But I didn’t pick anyone. I dated a handful of boys who wanted very badly to be picked, and although I gave them some time and attention, I wouldn’t pick them. I tried not to string anyone along, but some of these boys got upset; I was so generally awesome (ha) and down for kissing, so why wouldn’t I just be their girlfriend already?

Most guys assumed I was still damaged from my big break-up, or just not interested in settling down. One, in particular, didn’t want to take no for an answer. He was upset, felt strung along, despite everything I’d tried to do to keep it casual. You want a boyfriend? he asked, and I said I did. Then why not me? he asked, and I didn’t have an answer. He made me cry over it, but apologized a few days later. I figured it out he said, and I asked him to enlighten me. You don’t want *a* boyfriend, you want THE Boyfriend.
This was an epiphany to him, a simple truth to me. At the time I couldn’t pinpoint the particular qualities I was looking for in a mate, but I knew it when I felt it: I could tell the difference between *a* boyfriend and THE boyfriend. And unlike many of my closest friends, I had startlingly little tolerance for maintaining relationships with people who I didn’t admire, or where the power felt off-balance. It was right or it was wrong. If you weren’t THE boyfriend, then you would know it.
Three weeks later I met you. The Boyfriend. And nine years later, we are in premarital counseling.
Getting married is a strange prospect for two people who have been so close for so long, as you well know. I tried to explain this to you last night over dinner, but I feel like the good food and great wine was probably clouding my ideas, but when you’ve been dating for as long as we have, marriage feels like the least important thing. Your friends and family have been encouraging you to tie the knot for years. You’ve already survived college, a long distance relationship, a cross-country move, and three years of cohabitation and seem to still like each other. One of the first times I spoke to a grad school friend of mine she asked how long we’d been dating, and when I told her almost six years, her jaw dropped a little and she said, “That’s a *marriage*!”

Four years ago, one of your family members said to me “I’m just going to call you his fiancee, okay? We’re de facto married. Getting actual-married? Not a big deal.

But then we sit in premarital counseling together, talking to a Pastor we don’t know particularly well about why we want to get married in a church, how we split up duties, what we do when we argue, and it suddenly seems important. Mind-blowingly, life-changingly important. The person you tether yourself to for life. I’ve been a reluctant wedding planner because I’ve been under a lot of stress in the past year, but also because every small decision gives me heart palpitations. This is the ACTUAL dress I will ACTUALLY wear at my ACTUAL wedding. The ACTUAL invitations I will send to ACTUAL people who will come to my ACTUAL wedding. It is sudden, and intense, and real.

I’ve been thinking about marrying you for nine years, but now that I am marrying you, it seems like the biggest decision I have ever made.

Luckily, it was also the easiest. Nine years ago I met you. I kissed you. I invited you into my life in a way that I didn’t for those other boys because you weren’t *a* boyfriend, you were THE Boyfriend. The decision made itself, and maybe I’ve been lucky in this way, but I’ve never regretted it for a second. You have grown and changed in nine years, but you have always been the person I fell in love with, the person worth blowing my mind, changing my life over.

Three weeks after we met, I wrote this about you:

“Right now, I’ve found an interest. I don’t know what we have, but that’s what I like about it.”

Nine years later, I know what we have – something big and life-changing and the most important and the least important thing. A de facto marriage, an actual marriage. I still like it. I still like you. Thanks for enjoying this wild ride of a year, of a life, by my side.

Happy nine years.



27 Dec 2012

Christmas 2012

This is the only picture I have from this Christmas; apparently my camera decided to eat them all. No matter, this picture is more than adequate to capture the spirit of the day. We hung around in our PJs. We dressed ourselves in our new Christmas finery as we unpacked (see: a purple scarf from my Smallest Sister). My parents sent us his and hers electric blankets which are divine. Peach, as you might note, agrees. I introduced The Boy to the American classic that is A Christmas Story. Let’s not talk about how in the world one can live nearly 28 years without seeing this film.

Our first Christmas without our families. Our first Christmas together. What with an unexpected midweek trip to the Midwest and all, I didn’t have a heck of a lot of time to sit around and scheme about what could make this holiday special.

So I went with old standby, the obvious choice for memorializing any occasion: making a shit ton of food. Far too much food for two people to ingest in a reasonable amount of time. After multiple trips to many different grocery stores, I prepared the following menu:

Christmas Eve

  • Appetizers
    • Fancy brie and sharp cheddar with toasty white bread
    • A cheesy frozen appetizer from Trader Joe’s
  • Dinner
    • Marinated sirloin. Cooked in the broiler despite every internet site insisting that in order for sirloin to be edible it simply MUST be grilled. It came out fine, guys.
    • Brussels sprouts with bacon
    • Mashed red potatoes with roasted garlic
  • Dessert

Christmas Morning

  • Tackett family traditional sour cream coffee cake
  • Tackett family traditional sausage gravy
  • Biscuits from the NYTimes (first batch came out flat, second came out poofy! A Christmas Miracle!)

Christmas Dinner

All this talk of tradition, which ones you will bring together, which new traditions will you create. This is strange for us, in particular, because The Boy is the youngest of two – most of his childhood traditions in his home have long been abandoned in favor of sleeping in until 1 pm and opening presents whenever. And me? Well, I don’t love traditions as much as require them. I hoard them. Some I likely urged upon my family as a youngster – or more likely, cried my eyes out when that tradition did not appear in subsequent years and then whatever it was would reappear the next year. Lately my sisters and I have turned traditions into sport. For example, as I was Skyping home on Christmas morning, I was informed by my sisters that they had begun a new annual holiday tradition of singing Christmas carols in the style of Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln. I have no idea what this means, but there you have it.

I chose to bring to the table the Traditional Tackett Family Christmas Breakfast, and bought him a Traditional Tackett Extremely Difficult Jigsaw Puzzle for us to enjoy. He enforced his own family’s tradition of attending a motion picture in the evening. I forced upon him my own traditional love of musical theater and bought tickets for Les Mis without consultation.

As for new traditions, I decided that my life does not allow nearly enough opportunities for mimosa-drinking, so we cracked open a bottle before noon. Merry Christmas, indeed.