Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Admission

I have officially become the kind of person I used to make fun of.

My first year of college in San Diego, I was still an Oregonian at heart. While part of the appeal of living in Southern California is the mild, sunny, breezy, and generally perfect climate, it gets a bit depressing around Christmas time. There's just something about listening to Christmas music when it's 75 degrees outside or stringing Christmas lights around a palm tree that just doesn't quite spell Christmas to me. Up until that first year of college, I had lived in Oregon my entire life. In Oregon, for a better part of the year, it's rainy and cold. And in the winter, it gets particularly rainy and cold, which means everyone hunkers down, bears the cold like a champ, and maybe even throws on a few flannels and axes some firewood for the fireplace. Basically, you deal with a real winter (and you have the option of being a lumberjack).

So naturally, in California, I made fun of all the Californians who would bust out their scarves and boots and mittens in November when the temperature would drop below 60 (I think I've sun bathed in colder weather in Oregon). I would mock their weakness and taunt them over their sweater clothing choices because, quite simply, it wasn't cold.

But unfortunately, I haven't been home in a long time. That means I have been living in heat-death, humidity central for the past year plus. For example, last week, it was still 76 degrees. 76 degrees in December. I wore sandals and capris. I had to turn on the A/C in my car. I ordered iced coffee at Starbucks.

And now as I face the realization that I will be boarding a plane tomorrow to head back home to Oregon, I feel like I have to admit that I am one of those people. One of the weaklings, anyway (not a Californian). Now, I freeze if the temperature drops anywhere near 50. And 20? That's inconceivable at this point. Now, I'm so excited when the it's in the low 60s because it means I can wear a sampling of my dusty winter wardrobe.

And now I realize that starting tomorrow, I'm in for a world of frosty pain.

But I hope Oregon welcomes me back as one of its own, even in my weakened state. Though I may actually physically die if it snows, I promise not to complain too much. And if it matters at all, I did not put Christmas lights on the palm tree in my front yard this year.

Surely that must count for something.

Friday, December 9, 2011

So Close

Getting me through finals week right now: homemade pumpkin coffee creamer.


Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer: (adapted from Deliciously Organic)

1 cup milk
1 cup cream
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (or any combination nutmeg, cinnamon or cloves)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)

Combine all ingredients and heat in a saucepan over medium heat, just until the mixture begins to steam. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a glass jar. Refrigerate and then pour into your coffee at all hours of the day or night.

I seriously love this stuff. And I only feel slightly guilty for the realization that I drank the last jar in a five-day period, meaning both that I drank way too much coffee and that I drank a cup of cream on my own. Such is life sometimes.

In other news, after I turn in a billion papers this coming week, I'm only a few days away from our much anticipated trip to Oregon, which means we have to eat all the food in our fridge in the next 10 days. Fortunately, it also means that after a year and a half of being gone, I finally get to come home.

Viva la Oregon and coffee creamer!