So I'm at the local beverage store the other day, picking up a few bottles of wine for last night's cookie exchange. When I lugged my basket to the check-out counter, the cashier - who I don't think could've been older than 23 or 24 years old - said, "Wow, you are having a party!" and asked if it was that night. And I said no, it was the next day, and he said, "Wow, you are planning ahead!"
I thought this was kind of funny because it wasn't like I was a week or two out from this party - it was the next day, after all. I told him that I had to have time for the white wine to chill! He said, "You really have things together!" and I burst out laughing.
"Is this the mark of being a grown-up?" I joked.
He nodded pretty seriously, like it was some kind of sobering affliction. We chatted a little bit more as he processed my credit card, and after he boxed the wine bottles, he said, "Have fun at your grown-up party. You'll probably talk about 401(k)s and nest eggs!"
I loved the whole thing and couldn't get his farewell out of my head. 401(k)s and nest eggs!
Although thinking about that conversation still makes me laugh, life changes have been on my mind lately - and I've become more keenly aware of people who have suddenly been in my life for a major chunk of my life. Does that make sense? Friends in college have now been my friends for 10 years. My friend Molly and I ran on a team together when we were turning 20 and were joking/marveling the other day that we could never have imagined at that time that we'd still be logging miles together in 2012 and that our conversations would include her baby (coming in the spring!) and my wedding. It's not that I never thought these life changes would happen or that they're at all unnerving, but it just has me feeling sentimental this season (in the happiest sense of that word).
That brings us to the second annual cookie exchange. I hosted one last year, kind of an offshoot of a book club with this group of women, and decided to see if people were up for it again this year - and they were! We ended up having 11 or 12 people over last night. There were some who I see more regularly, others who I haven't seen in ages and certainly not as part of a big group lately.
Most of us attended the same college and graduated somewhere between six and 10 years ago, so it's not surprising that we've had lots of those life changes over the past few years: weddings, babies, careers, homes, and so on. I was so happy that this group gathered last night - from new moms bringing their babies over to people who battled commutes surpassing an hour (in one case, two hours) and still managed to stop by for a drink and some cookies. It was totally not some big serious event and I don't mean to make it sound more dramatic than it really was (because it wasn't dramatic at all!). It was just sweet to see everyone.
Oh, and on a lighter note, the cookies!
Hey!!! I just realized that the famous dipped Ritz crackers are missing from this photo and I can only fear that this means that they have already disappeared from my collection. Among others, there are Rolo snickerdoodles, chocolate-mint cookies, red velvet cake balls, peanut butter blossoms, pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies, seven-layer bars, holiday rice krispie bars, and a couple of variations on ginger cookies. We each brought three dozen cookies, so each person could take home three of every kind.
Count me into the ginger category: I tried Bon Appetit's Chewy Ginger Cookies recipe. There are three forms of ginger in it - crystallized, powdered, and fresh - and if you are a fan of ginger, that definitely makes for a sassy bite.
We didn't cover nest eggs or our 401(k)s, but even so, I was happy with the party - and the cookies!