A Christmas Cookie Party

One of my favorite, warm-fuzzy Christmas memories from my childhood was our annual Christmas cookie making. My sister, my mom, my grandma and I, all piled in Grandma Monk’s tiny kitchen, the tiny old-fashioned radio blaring Grandma’s preferred tunes of the 50s and 60s, flour and powdered sugar and colored icing and cookie cutters everywhere. We made snowmen and trees, snowflakes and stars and santas, too. So many tuppperware boxes full of our productions, enough to last for weeks until there were only a few sad, stale little treats left.

christmas cookies

I’ve made Christmas cookies every year, in every place I’ve found myself when the holiday season rolls around. It’s my little way of going back to that time, when I was young, in my grandmother’s kitchen, with my favorite women. And some day I’ll do it with my own kids-but that’s still pretty far away, I think.

christmas cookies

This year Jon and I invited some of our friends over for some casual cookie making, accompanied by hot chocolate (with a bit of Bailey’s in it) and some mulled wine. We listened to some records, made high art (as seen above, some people are so artistic!) and watched some fun holiday movies and cooking shows on tv.

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A December day in St. James’ Park

Last weekend, pre-Harrods and pre-Winter Wonderland, Jon and I slowly walked around central London and just enjoyed the cold, clear Sunday on our hands. I wanted to see if Big Ben and Parliament and Westminster Abbey were decked out in the trappings of holiday cheer, but alas, they were not. Too fancy, I guess!

Hey, guess who got married here, in this big  ol’ church? Nice big wedding last summer, you may have heard a thing or two about it….

Westminster Abbey is such a pretty place! I always want to go inside to check it out and drool at the architectural magnificence, but the admission is astronomical, like £20 or something. Um, no. I’ll stay on the outside like the urchin that I am.

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Lately

Christmas is coming to Brighton!

There’s an ice rink set up in front of the Pavilion, which I very, very badly want to explore. Jon is not interested (probably a little PTSD from his Korean ice skating experience) (extra side note: I just tried to find pictures of said Korea ice skating experience and I can’t find any anywhere! I think I’ve been sabotaged by mister Norris…)

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Goodbye/Holiday Party

It was so nice to be able to roll my goodbye party in with a holiday celebration! Keeping the focus on merry vibes rather than goodbye vibes kept me from crying all over the place. We had a candy cane cocktail, boozy hot chocolate, and myriad other beverages, along with some delicious nibbles. It all came together really well. I kept the tv running every Christmas movie available on netflix, and had some good vinyl(in my humble opinion) on rotation. There was an amusing gift exchange, which left me with a corn-decorated coffee mug and a traffic cone that may or may not have been stolen from OSU property. Score.  Of course, lots of pictures were taken. Sorry I’m in so many of them, but I guess that’s not a huge surprise!

Oh and my (possibly drunk) father requested a picture of everyone there, which resulted in this:

Fun, right? So in sum, it was a great party, and a lovely way to say goodbye to all my favorites.

On a more serious note, last night Jon and I spent some time in the emergency room (A&E, as I’ve learned it’s called in the UK). We were out to dinner with some old friends we met in Korea when Jon looked at me, said “I feel strange” then proceeded to immediately pass out. He came to, then a minute later his eyes rolled back in his head and he did the same thing, except this time he also started choking and proceeded to throw up. Again, he came to (although he was an awful green color), and although we’d called an ambulance, he said all was well, so we told them not to come. However, when he once again lost consciousness about 20 minutes later, enough was enough, and off to the hospital we went. They took blood and did an EKG, but there wasn’t much of a result. Basically they chalked it up to his heart stopping sending blood to his brain, causing his brain to go into survival mode and shut off everything else. This also could be a form of food poisoning or something, although that seems pretty damn unique for food poisoning, don’t you think? I do. So we came home and Jon has been told to stay in bed for a couple of days. Today he seems to be doing a bit better, although still feeble. This wasn’t how I expected my first couple of days to go! I’m thankful though, that he’s doing alright, as this was one of the most terrifying things that has happened to me. Watching my husband wilt before my eyes, eyes rolled back and skin pale, was just…horrible. So horrible. And I felt completely powerless. On a side note, the NHS (national health service) really is wonderful, despite what anyone says, and all I could think while we were at the hospital was that the ambulance and all the people taking care of him-the services involved-would have cost us thousands of dollars in the US, with our combined lack of insurance. Here, the experience, while terrible in itself, isn’t going to put us in debt. Thank goodness. Here’s to hoping we ring in the new year on a better note, and in good health!

Swapping and Dressing Up

Saturday afternoon: clothes swapping. Seven ladies, tons and tons of clothes, lots of tea drunk. New brown boots attained (but more things gotten rid of, I promise!)

Saturday night: Mad Men Christmas Party. Complete with recipes for old fashioned cocktails, a spam casserole, and saltines with cheddar. It was kitsch to the max, and turned into a fab 50s dance party (if they had tiny disco balls in the fifties, I may have to check around to confirm that). Everyone looked fabulous and my two lady dates were delightful company.

 ….and babies were in attendance too! How strange to have come to the age where people bring babies to parties, and everyone loves it.

The result of all these fun adventures as of late is that I have completely lost my voice and may be coming down with something. Paying the piper, I guess.  But it’s nearly Christmas and Jon gets here this week! I attempted to start packing today, felt too melancholy and stopped. I just can’t do it yet. Now I’m watching an old Lauren Bacall/Marilyn Monroe/Betty Grable movie and I have to say-it’s way better than trying to pack up my whole life into a few suitcases.

Trivia’d

Team Flannel did not fare well at last night’s holiday pub quiz trivia night. We were doing well after the first round but it was a false start, apparently. The prize for fourth place? (Out of four)…..Christmas Vacation 2 on dvd, starring the lesser Quaid brother, Randy.

Sigh. At least I got to hang out with some cool ladies, and wear blue pants.

Also, I’m now a little obsessed with Evie’s house. Exposed brick is my achilles heel, I tell you. And  chalkboard wall?? Yes please.