Last week I took my first winter holiday in years, and it was just lovely. (Unfortunately I did have to go back today. Womp, womp.) I really need to staycation more often. I could get up when I wanted (I mean, aside from having to get up in the mornings to feed the ear-clawing cat), change plans at the drop of a hat, bake brownies for no reason, play with the cat at odd moments, visit a new bookstore on a whim. It’s not that I can’t bake brownies on a work day, it’s just that I generally lack both the energy and the planning capacity to do so. Mostly I’m just happy that I was able to do my new year’s cleaning without having to take extra time off or push it back after the new year, the way I did at the end of 2021. I mean, look, I had a lot going on and I figured that a messy apartment wasn’t my most pressing problem. I am so sad that my vacation is over. It’s been a really good one, particularly with my little snooglebug hopping into my bed every night. She’s been sticking to my bed longer and longer, and I’m hoping there will come a time when she can spend the whole night snuggled against me. Right now she’s still reasonably independent, and also seems to overheat pretty quickly.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a little over a week, because it feels like I was on vacation for at least two weeks and I don’t know why. Possibly it has something to do with the invisible partition between Christmas and New Year’s, though the timeline always gets smushed around this time of year. Whatever the case, it wasn’t 100% staycation, because adult vacations are 70% doing everything you don’t have the energy to do during regular weeks and 30% doing what you actually want to do. Thus, I spent the bulk of the week taking the cat to the vet, ordering special food for the cat because some of the old food made her throw up, sitting with the cat to make sure she eats the new food, dropping off the old food with the vet so they can donate it, playing with the cat, grocery shopping, drugging the cat, packing the cat into her carrier to take her home for the holidays, finding out that the cat hates going home, keeping the cat locked in my room at my parents’ house because she won’t play nice with the other cats, cooking Christmas dinner, bringing the cat back to the apartment, more grocery shopping, catching up on my neglected blog posts, cleaning and reorganizing the apartment, cooking, playing with the cat, waiting for the TV to get dropped off, hooking up all my apps on the TV, trying to tidy up the freezer, getting shrieked at by the cat, cat, cat, cat.

I love her to bits and simultaneously find her exhausting, but at least she loved her Christmas present. The new food has been more of an uphill battle. She’ll eat the new wet food, but she doesn’t love it. On the other hand, the new dry food is like crack, and she will hop up on the kitchen counter and start eating straight from her dish before I’ve put it out on her mat for her. I have found out that she is fully capable of hopping on top of the fridge, where the food is kept, and the reason I know that is that I caught her up there savaging the bag of kitty kibble. That bag now has marks FROM HER TEETH and I have bought a plastic tub to keep it safe from prying cats or at least in theory it’ll keep it safe, lord the adoption website did not prepare me for this.

Sometimes I forget that I only adopted Circe two months ago, because it seems like I’ve had her for at least six. Time has moved so strangely, but it always does at this time of year. When I think about it, I’ve asked a lot of her since she arrived. Her home life has not been as stable as either of us would like it to be: I’m here all the time while I’m working, but if I’m working I’m not paying her attention, and then on the weekends I’m out shopping and running errands and she’s home by herself in an empty apartment. I’ve made improvements to my time management since the Thanksgiving holiday and am getting better at spending dedicated time with her when we’re visiting my parents, but most of the time I’m downstairs with my family and she’s upstairs in my room, alone and uncomforted. I really do need to find some kind of socialization class for her, because she cannot spend every holiday like this, and she wouldn’t have to if she didn’t hate other cats. We’ll figure it out somehow.

For this particular holiday, she was so stressed out by the time we got to my parents’ house that she barely left my room, and when she did she hissed at people so much that she had to go back into the room. I don’t know if she was just having a day or what, but she really was not fit for polite society. But she also hit a major milestone, in that I came back to my room one time and found that she had tucked herself into her blanket. For context: I bought that blanket at Target a couple days before I picked her up from the rescue, in the hopes that it would become her blankie. That never ended up happening because she’s not a blanket cat, but I guess she was cold and the blanket was a piece of the apartment and she needed something familiar, so she made herself comfortable.

Then after a rough couple of days I was hanging out with her on the bed, and she curled up in the crook of my legs. This was such a bittersweet moment, because Zuri used to do this. The little hollow behind my knees was her spot. It was such a tough holiday for my little Circedoodle, but at this moment it felt like Zuri was in the room with us, telling Circe she was safe with me (and also pointing out the best spot for a nap, naturally).

And then it was time to go home, but then a cat came and took over my suitcase and now we live permanently at my parents’ house, they’ll never get rid of us bwahaha. Look, if I can’t pack my suitcase I can’t go home, right?

(Just kidding. We made it home. The cat was so happy.)

From a non-cat-related perspective, the Christmas holiday was great. Michaella and I went to see Godzilla Minus One after Circe and I got back from the vet, and then since it was a Japanese movie we had to get Japanese food. The restaurant even had a conveniently named Godzilla Roll, which naturally we had to order.

I was annoyed with Shikishima while we were in the theater, but the more I sit with it, the more I like the movie. It is far more emotional than the average Hollywood Godzilla movie, and I really love Noriko. I was so mad when she sacrificed herself for goddamn Shikishima, but then the ending changed my mind. While I wish we had seen more of Godzilla himself – sorry, I am a philistine and I’m there for the nuclear sea monster – the movie was well done, and I’m waiting for it to hit streaming so I can watch it again. (In streaming-related news, I now own the digital copy of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes because, as previously mentioned, I am trash and I wanted to watch it on my newly repaired big TV.)

oh look more food pics

Holidays mean good eating in my family’s house, so we did our usual family cooking session, which my mom claims is akin to the Keystone Cops. I mean, we’re at least more competent than that. I have never in my life had risotto turn out this well, thank you Damn Delicious. This recipe is definitely a keeper, as is the sweet-and-spicy apricot pork, which was so good that I had to show it twice for full appreciation purposes. Bonus: the leftover pork makes a great sandwich. And, yes, those are the duck fat potatoes from Thanksgiving. I wasn’t joking when I said we were building our Christmas menu around those potatoes. This time I cooked the full five-pound bag. There were actually leftovers.

And I got to catch up with Archie, whom I rarely see nowadays, and who seems to have packed on a bit of winter weight. His papa is not happy about that, but I love Fat Archie. Supermodel Archie just doesn’t have the same ring to it. This cat was born to be husky.

Speaking of Archie, this was a Christmas present from one brother to the other, living in our parents’ bathroom over the new year’s weekend. Who thinks of this shit?

Closed out the year with our new tradition, soba after the ball drop. Eaten with curry this year, and inhaled so quickly that two more batches of soba were cooked after this one.

Cheers to 2023, glad it’s over. Fingers crossed for a less stressful 2024 here in the States. Har har. Har. IYKYK.