life: on not feeling the spirit

I’m having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit this year. For lots of reasons. It’s been a rough year—rougher than some, not as rough as others, but in this moment, I’m just not feeling it. It’s been pretty hard to put on a smile for folks at work, especially with the usual party madness. I’m not a party person to begin with; I don’t seek out situations wherein I need to expend energy to make people think I’m excited. I’m also not a religious person; the “true” meaning of the holiday season doesn’t really do it for me. I follow the traditions because they’re traditions, and I grew up within the faith (more or less), so I guess Christmas is as close as it gets. As of this moment, I have next to no decorations, and no desire to spend more money augmenting the few winter-themed items on display in my living space.

I have a jar forest, a snow garland, and a pine cone tree I made years ago . That’s as good as it’s going to get.

Tomorrow, I’ll put on a brave face and try not to wear myself out with the effort.

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Home for the holidays

I knew I wouldn’t be able to travel for the holidays, and my energy levels are still really low after getting over the flu, so the boy and I spent a mini-break weekend at Disney to celebrate the season at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Here are some highlights from my trip. I got to see the castle all done up like an icicle, rode the new Little Mermaid ride, got my first set of ears, and became very dizzy at the mad tea party.

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Happy Christmas!

I woke up before dawn, like a proper baker, with a sudden yearning to make a surprise banana bread for my mom’s Christmas morning breakfast. Luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand (it’s wonderful when recipes are so uncomplicated), even the ripe bananas. It’s in the oven at the moment, we’ll see how this impromptu experiment turns out.

and…

Banana Bread success! My mom was so surprised to wake up and find fresh banana bread coming out of the oven 😀

Banana Bread Yummies

Christmas Cookies

I was forced to keep the baking light this Christmas. My mom’s Christmas Eve roast feast is going to take a good long time to make, so I was ordered out of the kitchen this morning. Luckily, I’ve had this batch of cookie dough waiting in the freezer since I made the mix in November, so it was only a matter of slicing, rolling, and sprinkling.

I think the time spent in the freezer actually improved the flavor of the dough, these almost taste like Royal Dansk cookies 🙂

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Festive Cheer

Admittedly, I’m not in much of a festive mood this year, but the scent of my mom’s dulce de leche and my grandma’s atol have warmed me up considerably. For those of you wondering what I mean by atol, it’s a sort of Cuban corn pudding, not the corn drink of the same name that is found in around other parts of Latin America. The dulce de leche that my mom makes is also different from the caramel most people may be thinking of, this is a crumbly milk and yogurt based desert that more closely resembles a sweet, caramel-brown cottage cheese. It’s hard to describe but they both taste wonderful.

And here is Didymus getting into the holiday spirit with his little box of glowing Christmas cheer. Don’t mind the mess around him, things are bound to get a bit messy around here.

Didy says Merry Christmas

Christmas Carols

The b-chan got tickets to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra at the Bank Atlantic Center last night, so I am now in full Christmas mode. We had floor seats–I’m always iffy about floor seats, there’s the appeal of being so close to the stage, but the uncomfortable foldout chairs and the visibility issues that arise when everyone is on the same level kind of mar the experience. Nevertheless, despite the heads blocking my view, the show was amazing! It was like being in a crazy anime action sequence… with glitter. Lots of flash, boom, flames action.

Tonight, my mom is entertaining the b-chan’s family, so I’ve started setting up the Christmas decorations (at last). Thanks to the mad German cousin (he’s really Cuban, but lives in Germany), we have a bunch of folksy Christmas ornaments, nutcrackers, and little smoking gnomes (you light incense under them and it looks like they’re blowing smoke rings á la Gandalf). Nice and festive. No tree though, Didymus would knock it down.