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What I did during my winter vacation

 

It was a vacation.  I was sick for most of it, but it was still a vacation.  Lots of it disappeared into a fog of either cleaning or mucus (or both,) but I’ll see if I can reconstruct the high points and leave out the dust and snot. 

The 23rd was my first vacation day, and because of the great Working Weekend it was also the day I had to get all of the family cookies made.  I need to make a post about all of my observations on the cookies so that I don’t have to figure it out again next year.  I got up, took Charlotte off to daycare, tidied up the house because my boss was stopping by to drop off a care package from her mother (we’ve been together ten years now – it’s starting to show), and got baking.  I did the usual assortment of cookies, but I made human sized quantities this year.  Despite that, I *still* didn’t get to Grandma Anderson’s unbaked chocolate cookies, despite having purchased cocoa for them.  I baked and baked and baked and baked some more, and then I packed up everything to take down to my parents’ house for Christmas Eve.  Then I remembered that I should probably *wrap* the gifts.  Got that done, Bob loaded the car, and we called it a night. 

Christmas Eve was a really nice day.  Mom made a ham and scalloped potatoes, I brought pork pastries and cookies, and we just picked as we felt hungry.  Erica even made it down, although my brother didn’t.  We exchanged gifts in the afternoon rather than the evening, because Charlotte’s bedtime is just too early to make an evening opening practical.  We’ve got years yet to play my father’s game of “is it dark enough to open presents yet.”  Why yes, I DO come by my vicious streak naturally.  She had a grand time.  Obviously she still has no concept of “Christmas,” but she got to rip paper, and look into boxes, and play with new toys.  She was a happy kid.  It wasn’t toy overload either, which was good.  There was a dollhouse and a little Mickey Mouse train from Grandma and Grandpa along with a bunch of books; books and finger puppets from her sister; and we gave her a couple of sets of blocks.  Enough new toys to be exciting, but not so many that I was appalled.  I also went up into the attic and got down my old spring rocking-horse.  I use the term “my horse” broadly – it was my brothers’ before it was mine.  She’s a touch uncertain about it because her feet can’t quite touch the ground when she’s on it, but she was obviously quite taken with the concept.

 





and our girls:

It was a good year for gifts, which makes me sound incredibly greedy.  Actually I’m just being appreciative.  Bob got me volumes 1-4 of the collected works of Roger Zelazny.  Mom and dad gave us an air compressor, along with the appropriate hoses and such, and a nail gun.  I, for one, am very, very excited about this.  There are all sorts of things we can do with that.

 I’ve already previously summarized Christmas day, and I don’t have much to add to it.  Boxing day was pretty much the same, but by that point I had gotten into the bottle of amoxicillin that I had on the shelf, and was improving rapidly.  I had really wanted a fire in the fireplace both days, but the wind was howling so hard that I was worried that opening the damper might suck one of the cats out of the room!  Not weather where I wanted the flue open, so we stayed inside and watched it snow.  By the end, we had nine or so inches of snow on the deck – the official number for the town was eleven inches, but it was hard to tell with the drifting.  We never lost power, and the woodstove kept us cozy.  vynehorn  and I had been watching the weather, especially the effect it was having on New York City, and decided to postpone our trip to Wednesday.  That turned out to be the right call when I woke up Monday morning to hear that Metro North wasn’t running.  So I mustered up the energy to continue my cleaning blitz that had been interrupted by holidays and illness.  There’s not much to be said about that, except that the dust in the library was prodigious.  Oh – and there were paw prints on top of the refrigerator. 

Monday and Tuesday I cleaned like a mad woman.  On Wednesday we got up WAY too early and headed back down to drop Charlotte off with my parents.  vynehorn  and I decided to meet at Grand Central, because it makes the most sense for her to catch the train at Union Station in New Haven, and for us to drop Charlotte off it make more sense to hop over to the Southeast station just over the border in New York.  We met up with no problem and headed up to the Met – which was uncharacteristically quiet.  I’d even purchased my admission online in advance in anticipation that it would be a zoo.  On the contrary – we walked right up to the coat check.  The ladies at the admissions counter commented that Wednesdays are usually slow.  Good to know, that.  isabeau_lark  met us there shortly afterwards, and we saw a lovely exhibit of Jan Gossart’s works.  It’s not an exhibit that I would have gone to on my own, so I’m very glad that vynehorn  mentioned it.  The paintings were fabulous, and whoever wrote the informational plaques had some interesting turns of phrase.  I don’t know if they were *intended* to be funny, but they were.  Afterwards we grabbed some lunch and headed down to the Greek and Roman wing to see the Roman mosaic from Lod, Israel, which was absolutely beautiful.  The accompanying video that showed them peeling it off the ground and rolling it up was very interesting, and kind of unnerving!  We ended with the traditional stop at the bookstore, where I only bought two things.  Of course, those two books used up all of my Christmas money from this year AND last year, but I’ve been wanting that book, well, since last year.  We got back to Grand Central in time to catch the 2:48 train back, and were at my parents’ by 5:00.  Of course they wanted to visit, so we didn’t get out of *there* until after 7:00 – but they fed us, so I can hardly complain.   

On that trip, we brought the rocking horse home with us.  Once she realized it was coming home, Charlotte glommed onto that horse and would not let go.  She carried it up and down the hall while we took the base out to the car, she threw a fit when she had to let go to put her coat on, and she insisted it had to ride right next to her in the car.  I was half expecting her to take it to bed.

 

Thursday was S-Day: the invasion of the in-laws.  Now, because of the time compression caused by the working weekend and two and a half days on the couch from illness, I wasn’t ready for New Year’s Eve yet. Or dinner that evening, for that matter.  This meant multi-tasking.  I got up, picked up the house, and headed for the grocery store.  By the time I got back, the invasion had a beach head in my living room.  My response was to retreat to the kitchen and bake pies for the New Year’s party.  I’m not sure anyone noticed, because they were all too busy entertaining my daughter.  I think my brother in law prefers our place to my father-in-law’s house because we have cable and therefore can have the bowl games on.  My sister-in-law even asked me for the recipe for the garlic-herb roasted potatoes.  That’s a success and it was actually a very nice day. 

This year for New Year’s Eve, we actually threw a small party.  I’ve never hosted a party before.  I mean, we’ve held workshops galore, and there was the harvest shoot, which was at least half party, but in those cases people are coming over for activities that happen to be at my house.  To invite people over just to come over – that’s scarier.  So we grabbed a bunch of people who:

  1. Live fairly close;
  2. Don’t have to worry about getting a sitter;
  3. Weren’t hosting something of their own.

 I figured that way if it was an absolute disaster, no one had driven a long way or given something up, or paid a sitter.

I still had more to do on Friday morning than I had wanted, but it was manageable.  We made a run over to BJ’s to pick up a rib roast, and I ended up picking up other things – I’m a terrible impulse buyer there.  We got things set up, got a fire going in the fireplace, and even had time to catch a shower.  People brought things to share, I did (I think) a good job with the roast, and I made my first traditional Yorkshire pudding.  Mom and I always do them as popovers, and I prefer them that way.  What I had forgotten is that it takes every muffin tin that both my mother and I own, and I had forgotten to borrow hers.  So I made it in the pan, and it came out really well.  It didn’t occur to me to take a picture, which I regret, because mom would have loved to have seen it.  I think a good time was had by all.  Certainly *I* had a fabulous time.  Six of us even made it to midnight! 

I made WAY too much food.  What a shock.  I sent doggy bags home with everyone who would hold still for it, and we ended up with a manageable amount in the fridge. 

I think I want to do it again.  I’ll make better lists next time. 

Saturday and Sunday were spent sitting on the couch.  Woohoo! 

Monday was a company holiday.  Bob went to work, Charlotte went to daycare, and I had one last leisurely day entirely to myself. 

And now I’m back to the routine.  I’d like some more vacation, I think.  That was nice.