This past weekend I went to Shari’s parents’ house with her to bake cookies. They have a yearly tradition of baking a gigantic amount of cookies that they then make into platters and give out to friends, family, and coworkers. When Shari told me that they make between 100 and 200 dozen cookies in a span of a day and a half, I felt scared. Overwhelmed, even. I kind of fought the idea of going with her ,but I ended up agreeing because, well, she’s my girlfriend and I like her. Plus, my friend Kayla vouched for the tradition so how could I say no? It ended up being a good weekend to go because my grandmother is getting worse and I didn’t want to be alone. My parents are now in Texas and my sister flew out Friday afternoon. I chose to stay here.
So I went to Shari’s parents’ house Friday evening. We got there around 6:30pm and they had already made 200 oatmeal cookies and were working on M&M cookies. I hopped in and helped roll balls while Shari and her mom picked up dinner from a local Indian restaurant. No rest during cookie weekend! We finished making all of the M&M cookies that night and started baking at 8:30am the next day. This family is a power house of making dough, rolling balls, switching out trays, cooling cookies, and moving cookies into large containers. And they do all this for about 12 hours straight (there were a couple of small breaks) and with a calm demeanor pretty much the entire time. I was so impressed. Patti, Shari’s mom, was so chill that I never stressed or worried. It was kind of incredible. I really enjoyed myself and spending time with them helped me feel better as I waited for news about my grandma.
We made over 1300 cookies. Not quite enough for Shari’s preference but I thought that was an extremely high number and I am very pleased with myself. Never have I helped make that many cookies at one time in my life. I had to stop helping at 7:30pm on Saturday because I was so tired. Shari and Patti kept at it for another hour though as I looked on. We made two batches of cereal treats and two batches of quick pretzel turtles on Sunday morning and then made platter after platter of treats. Shari had the brilliant idea of making a platter for Kaitlin and Kevin. I figured Kaitlin would be feeling sad and tired after returning from Texas and Kevin would be feeling tired after caring for the kids for a couple of days so a bunch of sweets was exactly what they needed! Shari and her parents even let me take a box of goodies home for me and Elisabeth to munch on. I definitely put being vegan on hold for a while. My life is too short to not eat chocolate chip cookies with bits of toffee and a rollo inside. Or a shortbread cookie with an Andes mint inside. OMG, those two are so delicious. I’ll try to make vegan versions sometime. I think I need to start calling myself plant based because non-vegan desserts have been my downfall honestly since last January. I don’t cook or bake with non-vegan ingredients, but I definitely eat non-vegan baked goods from friends and family. It’s a journey, that’s for sure.
After baking cookies I came back home and joined Elisabeth at Cherry Creek to walk around and check out the lights with her and some of her coworkers. It is so lovely over there, I encourage anyone in the Denver area to spend an hour or two wandering around Cherry Creek. All the trees are covered in lights and there are a few spotlighted trees every few blocks. Supposedly those trees blink their lights in time to music but we never quite made it to a tree at the right time to see that. There’s a tiny Christmas market over there too but when we were there it wasn’t really open. I have never just walked around Cherry Creek so it was actually pretty fun to stroll and window shop. Most of the stores were closed but their lights were still on so I could oggle all the expensive product without feeling nervous that I would be chased away. I tried to convince Elisabeth to buy a $1.5 million dollar house with me in front of one of the realty stores. There was a wig store and a toy store and an Amazon bookstore I had forgotten existed. At one point we found a really cool art installation with these giant faux crystals that you could spin. They changed color and they were so magical and fun, I thoroughly became a little kid for a moment as I spun the constructions and took pictures of myself trying to look menacing and evil. It’s kind of hard to look evil with a mask on though, so just imagine my fierce-some grin. 😉
The days are going so quickly so I am very much looking forward to resting for a few days. I hope to get the majority of my to do items done today so the next three evenings and days I can just relax and watch a bunch of Great British Bake Off. Monday evening I drove the cookies over to Kevin where I said a quick hello to the gang (way too quick, I definitely need more nibling time!!), bought some more cat food for Kora, and then dropped off compost. On my way home I had to turn around to go check out this tree I saw from the road. It was covered in these huge ornaments that were all lit up and I knew that to celebrate life I needed to go see these lights. Turns out there are two houses that are so decked out in Christmas lights and Christmas structures and who knows what else that it was a bit of a thing. I plan on taking Shari and Elisabeth back there on Saturday night because I only stayed for a couple of minutes and who doesn’t want to have their eyeballs filled with Christmas extravaganza and gaudiness? It was wonderful.
So while my grandmother’s life comes to an end and I come to grips with that knowledge, people are enjoying cookies that I helped baked, my niece and nephew play in the snow, and I do my best to appreciate the life that I have and the loved ones that are in that life. I miss my grandma. I miss who she was. I feel sad that my grandma will never get to know the future me. That she doesn’t even know the present me because of her Alzheimer’s. I will never get another letter from her. Nor another coconut ball. But I do have memories. And I do have a recipe book that she made just for me. And talking about her, sharing my memories of her with Shari and with Kaitlin, that helps. That’s the way I honor her. And maybe making some of her recipes. And just thinking of her. She will be with me always. I love you, Maw-Maw.