I was told to go where the wind would blow

I made a decision recently. I pretty big one. A secret one. Well, not really a secret, not an intentional secret, just a decision nobody knows I made. Nobody really knew was being made. It's made me happy and sad. And in a strange way feel like I'm grieving.

I decided not to go home in January.

For as long as I can remember, I came to New York for the holidays. And when I couldn't come for the holidays, I came in January, often around my birthday. New York in the winter is my favorite. New York in the winter makes me so happy I could cry. The warm weather we're having makes me want to cry in the opposite way. Last January I reversed the migration. I went home to California for a little over a week in January. I flew to Vegas for 48 hours 10 days later for my mom's wedding. In May I went to BiSC, went home to California for TWENTY FOUR hours to see my best friend because her father was dieing and then again, ten days later flew to California for 48 hours to see my little brother graduate high school (THANK EFFING GOD, IT WAS A CLOSE CALL THERE FOR A WHILE). So by June I had made 4 round trips across the country. That's kind of a lot.

Most of the practical reasons I'm not going home in January are financial. BiSC registration happens in January. I don't have paid time off, so going home right after the holidays is a little rough. One of my close friends is getting married in Massachusetts in the Summer but the bachelorette party is probably going to be in Vegas or California. I can't afford more than two cross country tickets in one year. And I can't afford more vacations. Either BiSC or the bachelorette party will probably be combined into a longer California home visit but there's no reason for me to go home in January.

I always came to New York in January because I hated missing the holidays here. Because I missed Central Park covered in snow more than anything. Because I love to ice skate and that's hard to explain to people that've only ever done it indoors. I went home to California last January because there was no way I was missing my little brother's 18th birthday. This year he turns 19, I turn 27. Who the fuck cares about that? (ok, I care about the 27 more than I thought I would care about officially entering my late 20s, but whatevs) I don't need to go home for the rain when I can stay here for the snow.

I can go to Sonoma County in the spring. When the weather is perfect and the hills are still green and I can see more stars in the sky than a New Yorker could ever imagine.

But the real reason I'm not going home in January is because I live here now. I don't really know how to explain it. It's just a step. A step in growing up. A step in changing and letting go. I live here now. This is my life. I migrated cross country every winter so I could have a brief moment in the place my soul felt still. My soul is still. I'm settled. Or at least as settled as one can be at this age. I don't need to reverse it.

I'll go home at some point. I'll go home when my heart can't stand to spend another moment away from the roar of the Pacific. When I miss the streak of the Milky Way the way I miss my father. When whiskey at 4am on the lower east side doesn't taste as good as whiskey at 4am in a barn. Or by a fire. I'll go home when I can't stand another moment without being behind the wheel of a car.

I'll go home and my baby cousins will be taller than me. My little brother won't live there. My best friends dad won't ever talk to me about cooking or travel again. The old tiny black Moxie cat I left with Lara held on, snuggling by Lara's father's side and now she's gone with him. The big black dog that was always excited to see me at my aunt and uncle's because he knew I'd take him for a walk won't be there either. I'll have a step dad I don't even really know. There will be a tiny person at the home of my friends whose wedding cake it seems I just made yesterday.

Other things will be the same. The Peet's coffee in my grandparents' house. The charred edges of toasted pain au levain. The milky way and highway 1. The fog rolling into the valley.

I'll go home. And I'll visit. And I'll realize it really isn't home anymore.

It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake

December 6 – Make.

The last thing I made is always food. Last night I pan fried a pork picnic steak (my CSA likes to give me cuts of meat I've never heard of before) that had been rubbed in a vindaloo spice mix and cayenne pepper. We ate it with butternut squash soup that I made a few days ago which had been made with chicken broth that I had frozen a few weeks ago after making it from the carcass of a chicken I had roasted. That's just how we roll around here.

Tomorrow we're getting our Christmas tree and I plan to spend the day decorating and making candy for Christmas care packages I'll be sending out.

**Spoiler alert: If I told you you might be getting a surprise sent your way don't read this next bit**

I'm going to be making a maple bacon toffee, adapted from this recipe over here, some peppermint marshmallows (a variation on this), whiskey caramels and fudge. A caramel and fudge recipe as well as a maple toffee recipe may make it up onto Butter is Love, but no promises. I still need to get a bunch of butter and then some sort of nifty packaging for everything. I'm hoping to find some sort of shiny pretty chinese take out boxes. We'll see. I'll probably update this post with some pictures when I'm done.

Christmas Tree Fail

This is why I will never again let Lara and Jacob tie the tree to the top of the car on their own.
IMG_0292IMG_0293 IMG_0294 IMG_0295 We had to climb through the windows to get in in the Target parking lot and then Lara and I climbed out when we got home while Jacob cut the string inside. So if anyone ever tell you to just roll down the windows and pass the twine through without opening the doors... think of this.

At least now our apartment smells like Christmas and Chewbacca and Hello Kitty are living together in Harmony.