December 27, 2014

A Solo Christmas

My Christmas was really different this year, but it actually turned out to be really cool. It was my first Christmas being solo in Colorado, instead of being with my family, and at first, I was worried that I was going to be lonely. I had originally planned a bunch of activities for the day, but when I ended up needing to get the on my arm the week before, a lot of those activities were no longer feasible. (For example, doing my long run… My arm was just in too much pain for that!) But I was able to plan a bunch of neat things even with my silly arm, and still had room for a few impromptu surprises.

On Christmas Eve, my friend Kelly was generous enough to invite me over for Christmas Eve festivities with her family. We had a delicious dinner, watched Elf (that movie makes me so happy, even though I just watched it for the first time last year!), and we also got to bake and decorate sugar cookies for Santa.

Christmas Cookie Baking
I cracked up when Kelly’s stepdaughter said that I had made “the fault in our stars” (the broken cookie in the bottom left corner).

I feel so lucky to have such wonderful friends who are like family. Before dinner, Kelly’s husband told the kids to clean up because company was coming. Apparently, their response was, “wait, who’s coming? I thought it was just Laura?” Maybe it’s silly but that makes me so happy that the kids don’t think of me as a guest. I love my Colorado “family!”

On Christmas Day I got up around 7am and bundled up pretty warmly. While I had originally planned to do my long run on Christmas Day, there was no reason I couldn’t still go for a walk. Unfortunately, getting ready took me a lot longer than I thought (I am so slow with one arm!), and I had also slept a little bit later than I would’ve liked. (For the last week, I’ve been sleeping a ton – anywhere from nine to eleven hours a night! I’m off the meds but I guess it might just be from the stress of surgery on my body.) I also hadn’t thought clearly about just how much slower walking is compared to running… so I didn’t get nearly as far as I would’ve liked before I had to turn around and head home. But I did get this beautiful pic of the open space behind my apartment; not a bad way to start Christmas morning!

Christmas Nature Walk
I love where I live, SO much!

After that, I washed up, got ready, and headed to a new-to-me church in Lafayette. It was a much smaller congregation than I was expecting, but I had a lovely time. Singing the old familiar hymns makes me so happy – it’s my favorite part of going to church! And I got to sit with another woman who was there solo, and reminded me of my mom. It definitely made me feel like part of a community to do that!

Next, I headed home for some cooking and baking. I made these butterscotch cookies, and for once, I didn’t spill any of the grains all over the place. That’s a huge victory for my one handed cooking! However when I try to make lunch of lobster and Brussels sprouts, I dumped the entire cutting board of Brussels sprouts all over the floor. Fail! I can’t wait to get this splint off.

Christmas Lobster
Other cooking things I didn’t consider: how on earth I was going to get the lobster tail out of the shell with only one arm. I basically just hacked the shell with the knife as hard as I could and was able to get the tail out surprisingly intact! (But there are now bits of lobster shell all over my kitchen. Oops.)

When I finished lunch, I went out for a drive again – this time to the nearby movie theater. I had gotten the last seat to see Into the Woods and I was really excited! I ended up liking it but not loving it, though I honestly couldn’t articulate why. Nevertheless, it was a really fun activity, and I think I may make going to the movies a new tradition for me on Christmas Day. (Others seemed to agree, as the entire theater was packed with people!)

Finally, I stopped home to pick up the cookies I had baked, and then headed a few miles south, to where a Meetup group was hosting an afternoon of Christmas board games. I learned a new-to-me card game, Fluxx, that was really fun, and when I got back to my laptop, I promptly ordered it for my own home.

However, the real “game” came along was driving home from the Meetup. You may have noticed that I blithely mentioned all the places I went on Christmas Day (and yes, I did drive myself). I hadn’t driven since my surgery, because I was afraid it would be difficult and potentially dangerous to do so with one arm. (The doctor said I could drive as long as I was off the meds but I still didn’t think it really seemed prudent.) I made an exception for Christmas Day, though, so I could do something besides sit home. It turned out not be as hard as I thought, as long as I went slowly… but then while I was playing board games, it began to snow. And snow. And snow. A white Christmas but perhaps a few hours too late! I was really nervous about driving home with the roads that snowy, but in retrospect I actually think it was a good thing, because it meant that all the other drivers are being extremely careful and driving slowly as well.

Snowy Day After Christmas
This is what I woke up to on Friday morning. Definitely some significant snowfall, and it was still going strong!

Friday morning, my driving skills were tested once more, as I had to venture about 30 minutes away to my doctor’s office for an urgent visit. Long story short, the Ace wrap on my arm had loosened up, and my splint wasn’t where it should be… resulting in a lot of pain for me. (I even went back on the Vicodin for a little while because the pain was so bad.) It was still snowing on Friday morning, but when that the nurse said that she could see me to fix it, I jumped at the chance. She took the bandages off completely, and I got to see my arm and the incision – it’s pretty scary-looking! But she said it was actually healing nicely, and that it was actually normal for the pain to come and go as I healed. That made me feel a lot better, and rewrapping my arm made me feel even better still. I definitely still have some pain, but now it’s manageable and I can get through it without the medicine.

Finally to round out my extended Christmas festivities, I took the bus down to Denver yesterday to catch up with an old work colleague and stage our own impromptu craft beer bar crawl. (His sister organized the FBBT back in August, so this was like a low-key winter iteration.)

DXBT: Renegade Brewing Flight
DXBT! (Day-after Xmas Brewery Tour)

We went to several breweries that I had never before visited, and the beer was delicious. (You can check out all my ratings on Untappd.) I had a great time playing Yahtzee with Mike and his family, and I’m looking forward to hanging out with all of them again. And that night we went to dinner at an amazing restaurant that I would highly recommend, Session Kitchen. Totally reasonably priced but incredibly delicious food and a really neat atmosphere. I’m looking forward to repeating that dinner again too!

All in all, I needn’t have worried about spending Christmas alone. I ended up not being so alone after all, and I had a pretty wonderful time as well. Many of the activities were things I wouldn’t have done if I had been with family (e.g., the nature walk, the bar crawl with my friends) but I think they’re going to become new holiday traditions.

Hope you had a wonderful holiday as well!


2 thoughts on “A Solo Christmas”

  1. Your Christmas sounds like it was perfect! So nice that you have so many friends nearby that you could spend the holiday with. Also, I love going to movies on Christmas. They always release good ones around this time of year!

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