Just This

Whirlwind weeks (or: where I’ve been)

I just looked, and in August I posted to this blog 23 times. In December, I’m at four. Four.

I’m working on a backlog of posts – about the adventures of holiday baking in NYC, about the 121 films I’ve seen this year, about my newfound love for audiobooks on Audible.com – but I thought I’d kick things off with a quick rundown of where I disappeared to.

It feels slightly out-of-the-ordinary being so busy during the holiday season, with out-of-town visitors and traveling home and back and a marketing blitz at work that’s on top of the day-to-day work on my plate. But then I remember that it was last year that was so out-of-sorts, being far away from any friends or family for so many months, staying in the mountains for Thanksgiving, flying home for just a few days around Christmas. The relative quiet of 2012 has 2013 feeling like an all-out holiday bonanza.

Thanksgiving home was a must this year, what with a niece to meet and all. And those whirlwind few days were more than worth the early morning airport shuttle, the layovers and luggage. Late as it was in November, just two weekends fell between that holiday and my office closing over Christmas until the new year. Two weekends to shop, bake, send Christmas cards – all the nesting I’m so fond of doing as the year winds down.

Two weekends which happened to be booked by visits from two women who brighten this city of lights the minute they set foot in it.

First, a dear friend from the festival world who’d lived in the city in her own time – we wandered the Guggenheim; took in the weirdly indelible Sleep No More in a warehouse in Chelsea; had mussels and cassoulet with live jazz at a French spot in Brooklyn; and we talked and talked.

Then, the aunt who’s probably thisclose to just renting her own apartment in Queens, she’s such a fan of NYC – her third visit in the seven months I’ve been here! We did Little Italy (our little tradition), Big Fish on Broadway, holiday lights and a movie and even my homemade chili for dinner one night.

Two weekends that, though they delayed or kept me away from the fussing and bustling I would’ve done otherwise, I wouldn’t trade for the world.

The evenings in between were filled with quick jaunts to shop at the holiday markets around the city (several gifts nabbed at Central Park and Union Square and Bryant Park, too!); a mad dash for gluten-free flour (and something called xanthan gum?!) and chocolate almond bark for dipping truffles and the paraffin wax that makes peanut butter balls extra shiny (sadly, never found); fitting in a few movies nagging to be seen – both in theaters and for work; getting Audrey to the vet so she’s healthy enough to stay home – with a cat visitor! – while I’m away for Christmas; holiday parties at this office and that bar and some restaurant in Chinatown; a fantastic seat at John Mayer’s last tour of 2013 (with guest star Katy Perry, no less); and more than one late night at work to get through everything I needed to in order to sign off for over a week and enjoy the holidays, the turning of the calendar year.

Three weeks ago, when I looked ahead at my holiday plans and braced myself for what was to come, I told myself if I could make it to Saturday, the 21st, I’d be golden. Early on, I was just praying for the busy days, the endless To Do lists to go faster, to get done quicker, dreaming of a night getting to bed before 1am, a morning without an alarm. I longed for nights cooking the meal I’d have as lunch leftovers for the week, of evenings no more scheduled than yoga at 7p or the new episode of a favorite show at 8p.

Now, here I am at the quiet end of it, nothing but a flight home and enjoying the holiday in front of me, and I of course only wish it hadn’t gone by so fast, that there were more of it – more events, more connections, more reasons to celebrate and visit and cheers how far we’ve come. Maybe that’s my 2014 goal – to do as much yoga and writing and cooking as I do cocktail hours and concerts and hosting out-of-towners.

That wouldn’t be a bad deal at all.