It's another Sunday evening where the weekend has flown by entirely too fast. It's a wet, chilly night out there- the rain has been coming down for a couple of hours and with the glow of my Christmas tree lights, it seems positively cosy in my living room.
I've tried to have a very Christmas-y weekend. I decided earlier in the season that since I adore Christmas so much, I was going to make the most of it and try and be as festive as possible this year. It's hard to avoid jumping right into the Christmas spirit when the stores are festooned with yuletide glory, the radio is full of Christmas music and it seems like it smells like cinnamon everywhere.
I put up one of my Christmas trees on Friday night. Normally, I only have one. However, for the past couple of years, my sad, Walmart Black Friday $20 Bargain Tree has been looking a little forlorn and pathetic even when I've tried to hide the gaps with decorations and garlands. So this year, I splurged and got a new tree. It's very nice with no gaps and it looks somewhat real. I'd actually rather have a real one but since I spend Christmas at my parents' house, it seems a bit of a waste. I contemplated one of those burlap-bulbed trees so I could replant it but even though my little Toyota Corolla can haul far more than you'd imagine, I'm not quite sure even I could figure out a way to get a Christmas tree home in my car.
So, I got a nice artificial one. The only problem was that I couldn't bear to part with my little forlorn tree. It was the first tree of my own that I ever owned. Thus, I decided to bedeck my Tuscan room with my forlorn tree and use the new one in my living room.
Friday, I put my new tree up. I drank mulled wine and watched "Elf." I baked chocolate chip chocolate cupcakes and whoopie pies for a friends' party on Saturday. It was a very festive evening and I enjoyed every minute of it. By the time I was done, my tree looked rather nice, if I do say so myself.
Saturday, I did some Christmas shopping in the morning and then came home, put up my simple outdoor decorations- just a garland and bow around my little lampost and a couple of little pre-lit porch trees. Then I put up my forlorn tree in my Tuscan room. I also frosted the cupcakes I'd made with peppermint buttercream and filled my whoopie pies with candy-cane Hershey Kiss buttercream. Then I headed to my friends birthday party.
The first sign it wasn't going to be a great success was that just as I was lifting my cake carrier that was stuffed with cupcakes off my car seat to transport them into my friends' house, the stupid lid came off. It was my fault- I should have checked to make sure it was still locked and hadn't come loose during the journey. Needless to say, I had quite a few cupcake casulties which was rather too bad because they tasted rather yummy if I do say so myself. Still, the whoopie pies were safe since I'd packed the seperately.
The second sign that it wasn't going to be a terrifically fun party for me was that I quickly realized it was going to be another Bridget Jones Night. It was small gathering in honour of my friends 45th birthday. She was doing something unique- a blind wine tasting in which she would decide the winner, no gifts but, instead, we would bring a toy to donate to Toys for Tots that would have been something our hostess would have liked as a child and a concert by a local university acapella group which my friend had 'won' in a silent charity auction.
My wine was pretty good- I know my friends' tastes which are quite similar to mine so I brought a nice Zinfandel. My toy was Scrabble- my friend loves to read and write and oddly adores English grammar.
The problem was that every single person there aside from me was married. Now, when I lived in L.A., even when I went to similar gatherings, it was ok- the 'marrieds' were independent enough that they circulated seperately from their spouses and it was just a gathering o' people. However, in the Midwest, it's a little different. Here, the spouses come as a pair. When one spouse is separated from the other and forced to talk to the lone singleton at the party, this spouse starts to panic and say things like "I wonder where John is!" Well, this would be ok if it was, say, a large house and there was a possibility of John being more than 25 feet away but in this case, my friends house is not huge and the reality was that John was 15 feet away in the next room talking to Bob whose wife is holding his arm possessively.
I know, that's a little harsh. I'm sure not every gathering in the Midwest is really like that but the few I've been too where I've been the lone singleton have been very much like that. I try very hard to be social but it's rather hard because couples seem to like to talk to other couples and discuss their children, how much they're paying the sitter and who their kids' teachers are.
Needless to say, it was a difficult evening. Fortunately, there was wine and cheese. The wine tasting went well. I came in second. I would have come in first, I suspect but the winning wine was the first one everyone tried and someone said, "Hey, wine #7 is good!" so everyone had to try wine #7 and it went fast. This meant that our hostess couldn't have a second taste of wine #7 to compare it to my wine and it won by default because it was so popular. I tried wine #7, for the record, and I found it to be a bit plummy. Also, wine #7 happened to be brought by the hostess' closest friends who'd been staying there that weekend. Yes, I probably sound bitter but three hours of standing around feeling more and more alone in a room full of smug married people made me feel a little bitter. Also, the hostess' dad asked me where 'my other half' was in reference to a former coworker I'd once showed up to a party with a few years ago. I've been to several of my friends' parties since without this coworker but he clearly thought we were a couple. I shouldn't have been surprised. An unmarried woman in the midwest in her thirties is bound to set off a few suspicions. Still, it was a bit like throwing salt in a wound by this point.
The party itself was lovely. My friend throws a good gathering. The acapella group was amazing though and it was nice to have a break from mingling to listen to some music. I was a little surprised that people were raving over my whoopie-pies which I found cloyingly sweet. They were actually fighting over the last one. Meanwhile, my lovely, hand frosted, crushed peppermint decorated cupcakes sat virtually untouched.
By the time it became safe for me to leave without being rude, I did so. It was a relief to get in my car, crank up the Tran-Siberian orchestra and drive home where I was greeted enthusiastically by my pups. It's nice to show I'm loved even if I am a pathetic singleton who apparently gives of lesbian vibes. Not that there's anything wrong with that it's just that I'm not a lesbian.
As much as I hated that it did so, my party experience made me feel a little down on Sunday. It's one thing to know I'm alone and accept it but it's another to be reminded of how alone I am at times. Still, I decided to fight off my blues by some intensive cleaning and organizing and finishing putting up the final Christmas decorations.
Now, I'm sitting inside, listening to the rain pour down, finishing some laundry and feeling sad that the weekend is already almost over. Tomorrow, it's back to work as normal. However, on the plus side, I now have the glow of the multicoloured lights of my Christmast tree when I come home in addition to my lovely pups who constantly love to show me how much I'm loved.
It's not all bad. I just need to stop going to parties where I'm the only single person. I think they're bad for me.