I do think that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I doubt that will ever change. It's always a 4-5 day weekend, food, friends, family, football, etc. All the good stuff. Over the last decade I've spent most Thanksgivings with friends, maybe only going home to my parents once or twice. It's almost weird to be with family now; seems much more normal to hang out with friends who aren't traveling home. Anyway.
I'd already decided to head back to Oklahoma for Christmas for the first time in a couple years, so I wanted to head north to visit Tay and Court since they had to work over Christmas and couldn't travel (ah, the joys of being a nurse). I also decided to bring MCB - our first trip together and first time meeting the family. I've never taken anyone home to meet my parents (the thought makes me shudder), so this was a nice casual start with just my brother. No parents around makes it a lot easier. Even though MCB and I grew up in the same town, I don't think he had ever interacted with my parents.
Utah is sort of a place that freaks me out, but I do find it awesomely beautiful and filled with lots of friends from all parts of my life. I kind of like when things converge like that. I made plans to see as many people as possible. It was only slightly weird when lots of those people are really good guy friends and now you're bringing along a boyfriend and it's lots of testosterone in the room and I was unsure how it was all going to mix. All went well, thankfully. How can it not go well when you kick it off with a visit from The Holy Bearded One
Oh, before that - Utah was supposed to get hit with a crazy blizzard, so my flight was the last flight allowed to leave Phoenix on that Tuesday - all the rest were cancelled. I seem to have all sorts of problems
when I fly to Utah. Flight was super turbulent, and since the wind was coming from the south and you have to land into the wind, we had to fly across the lake, turn around and come back over it, with crazy, crazy cross-winds. The plane was teetering nose to tail, rolling side to side, and left wing in front, then right wing in front - every axis was moving. Not awesome. The lady next to me tried telling me that flying into SLC is always like this and it's no big deal, but I was super relieved when we landed. Thing is - it didn't even really snow AT ALL that night. Wack. Except it was like 7 degrees the whole time. SEVEN! Not good for an AZ'er.
Ok, so Corey
and I lost touch for a few years; I left DC, he left DC, moved around, enrolled in law school, deleted Facebook or something, but our mutual love of Dr Pepper brought us together once again! Turns out he lives very near my brother, and he braved the "crazy blizzard" to come over and have dinner at my brother's place. We spent a good while making all sorts of faces in front of the fireplace. This is a good one:
Taylor and Courtney had just added a new member to their family - Max, the GIANT schnauzer. He is enormous. And the awesomest dog, except that he would later eat MCB's phone and all of the Christmas treats that were left on the neighbors' doorsteps.
On Wednesday I met up with a lovely friend and roommate from Georgetown, Ms Shannon, with whom I'd also lost touch for years! She had transferred out of Georgetown, went on a mission, and ended up in grad school in Provo. Seriously - it'd been like 7 years since I'd heard from her. I love roommate reunions.
Courtney and I spent the rest of the day shopping while I waited for Josh to arrive much later that night (I guess some people don't get nearly the vacation/flex working days that I do? Hmmmm...). He'd shipped all his snowboarding gear to my bro's house earlier in the week since I'd promised him a snow day or two.
Thursday - the big eating day! I have zero pictures from this. We drove up to Courtney's parents' house in Sandy to eat with their family. I'd met many of them at my bro's wedding the year before, but I really only know Courtney's immediate family. And poor MCB, he knew no one but me. But what a champion! He had our whole table cracking up at one point - I swear I think he's the funniest person ever. He even entertained the younger kids.
We also had to do the "write something you're thankful for on a piece of paper and put it in a jar." Little did we know they would all be read aloud anonymously after dinner, one by one around the room, and everyone had to guess the author. Clearly MCB and I were at a disadvantage. For my thought, I had written something totally generic; but when I worriedly asked MCB about his, he just said everyone would know it was him. I sort of panicked at this point. I adore his humor, but sometimes he can be a little out there, and I had NO idea what he wrote. I waited and waited, and finally towards the end, someone read aloud, "I'm thankful for my job, my health, and my beautiful girlfriend, Lauren." Cue the Awhs. And he turned beat red. Everyone thought he/we were adorable. Cause we are.
Our plan for Friday was to hit the slopes. Taylor had to work and Courtney would be off shopping with her sisters, so MCB and I could take the truck and be on our way. Except on our way home from turkey dinner, the truck got a major flat tire. Huge hole in the side. There was no way to fix it that night; Taylor had to be at work at 5am the next day, and the only remaining car was a tiny Honda that we had to split between us.
All in all, it worked out. I got a lazy day at home with MCB and the dog, Taylor made it to work, and everyone reunited in SLC for some shopping, dinner and time with cousins and friends. We met up with my cousin Julie and her husband Jesse, plus my dear friend Adam who did a brief stint in Phoenix for medical school and is still a close friend. Dinner = mole at Red Iguana
After dinner, Taylor and MCB froze in garage for a couple hours putting the new tire on the truck. I don't really think they knew what they were doing, but they managed to get it all back together. Which meant we had wheels and time to rush up the mountain on Saturday before flights home.
We locked poor Max in his cage and took off for Brighton, one of two resorts that already had a ton of snow that early in the season, as some resorts weren't quite open yet.
Courtney grew up on the mountain, she's awesome. Taylor's been in Utah for awhile now and has a good teach. MCB lived in Colorado for awhile and got really good. Me, not so much. And I ski, not board. I knew it was going to be a painful day, but I took one for the team.
It had been a couple years since I'd been, but I decided not to spend the extra $ on another lesson, since I probably won't be going again anytime soon, and really how much can you improve in two hours? I've just accepted the fact that this is something I will never be good at. MCB has full permission to take snow trips without me. I will remain in the spa where I belong.
I spent the morning alone on the easy slopes, but everyone insisted on doing one run together. Sigh. MCB is a patient teacher, but next time I'll insist that he leave me. It's just better that way! I had some nice ski-imprinted bruises on my leg when I got home.
All in all though, great Thanksgiving. I survived bringing someone home to meet part of the family, saw lots of friends, ate good stuff, and maybe I'll have to make it an annual tradition.