what we did

Well, I took a little bit of a break there didn't I?  That was unexpected.  I kinda thought I'd blog a lot while we were home from work and school, but no go, huh?  I never dreamed that I'd ever work at a school (now that's a whole other post), but I love the build up to the holiday break.  The concerts, the parties, the wee gifties in my mailbox.  A school is a vibrant place to be when the kids are about to go on vacation.  The teachers and staff get a little excited too.  As exciting as it was, boy we all needed a break.  And we took one too.  Here's a brief recap.

It all started when my dad got here for Christmas.  We went to dinner a lot.  We went to the mall a lot.  We went to the grocery store a lot.  We ate a lot and drank a lot.  I think there were cookies too.  Thank God my mom sent them or we wouldn't have had them otherwise.  I kept trying to figure how we had Christmas cookies every year when both my parents worked full time.  I just can't get it all pulled together.  And then I realized that my grandmas always stepped in and made us cookies.  Well, Ama (Callum's grandma) stepped in and made us cookies.  Ama to the rescue.  You've heard all about our SOBO progressive dinner, boy that was fun.  But there were other parties too.  There were oyster roasts (I ate oysters!), and a lovely Christmas Eve Eve party where someone asked my dad if he'd ever considered retirement communities (If you've ever met my dad, you'd know how funny that is.  And if you've ever met me, you'll be able to guess how quickly we turned "retirement community" into "assisted living." Sorry Dad.  You know we're not thinking along those lines yet.)  Nice evening.  We ate chili and drank beer and sat under a tent in the dark back yard as the rain dripped down.  It was good to just sit and let Christmas slip up on us.

Assisted Living, Violet-Style.

On Christmas Eve morning our fridge died.  Right after we did all of the grocery shopping for Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner.  That was fun.  Neel moved all of our frozen stuff to a freezer in the lab... and I promise that's not as scary as it sounds.  We made do with two mini fridges and a cooler on the back porch for the almost two weeks it took to get the damn thing fixed. 

Christmas Eve evening was great, sausages and seven-layer salad.  Oh how I love seven-layer salad.  It was the kind of the kind of salad I never had except at a potluck.  And you knew it was a good potluck if someone brought seven-layer salad.  And then one Christmas, when Neel and I were living in Pennsylvania, after my Grandad had his stroke, we were all gathered at my Grandparent's house for Christmas.  On Christmas Eve a friend of my grandparents came by and brought us a seven-layer salad.  I can still picture him, and I have no idea who it was, silhouetted by bright sunshine in the arched door of my grandparent's home.  It was a generous gift, really thoughtful at that time of year when you're busy doing cooking and baking for your own family.  He didn't linger.  He handed it off and ran, and ever since I have had this image of some friend of my Grandma Charlotte's making that salad and then sending her husband out to deliver it.  And that day was the first time it occurred to me that I could actually make seven-layer salad.  Okay, so I'm a little slow, but I've been making it ever since.  What a lot to say about seven-layer salad.  I'm glad we had it on Christmas Eve.  And then Santa dialed up an early Christmas present when the San Diego Chargers won their game against the Broncos, but that meant we stayed up late and totally forgot to leave him milk and cookies.  I'm hoping that by bribing him with Scotch next year, he'll forgive us.

Par for the course, Callum slept in on Christmas morning, but that meant I could get up and make bread pudding for Christmas breakfast.  We ate that while we opened presents.  There were a lot of presents...  it took hours.  We talked to friends and family and settled in for the day.  We stacked our presents under the tree and looked at new books and kept the fire burning.  I always knit something for myself on Christmas so I worked on a scarf while Neel, Callum and my dad put together roller coasters and played video games.  We had Beef Wellington for dinner and chestnut soup and lots of Champagne.

Violet and Thea study this Christmas present business.

After Christmas things become a blur.  We went to the mall to spend gift cards (just trying to do our part to keep the US economy plugging along), and went out to a last dinner with my dad before taking him to the airport.  Pretty sharpish after Christmas I took down the tree.  As much as I love putting the Christmas stuff up, oh, I love taking it back down.  It felt so good that I rearranged our living room and tv room and have all sorts of plans for remodels we can't afford.  We had a lovely brunch with some good friends on a gray and rainy Sunday.  A fire in the fireplace, she crab soup, ham biscuits, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, egg and cheese casserole.  Man, I love brunch.  I wish we did it more.  We should do it more.  It was just the best way to while away a dreary afternoon.

Oh the things we did over this lovely long break.  We played games, both video and board.  We watched football, both college and pro.  The dogs escaped at least three times.  Once on Christmas morning.  My personal favorite was when it happened right after Neel came in and announced, "They're not getting out now."  I finished my scarf and promptly sprained my wrist, so that was the end of knitting for awhile.  I had a New Year's Eve lunch with some girlfriends where we struggled to come up with some decent resolutions.  We split our New Year's Eve with friends and family.  We sipped Patrone from the bottle and ate salmon fresh from Alaska.  We drank (more) Champagne and we watched movies and played with a Wii.  (Some of us are still yearning for said Wii.)  We stayed up till midnight (no small feat for this family!) and shot off bottle rockets.  Welcome, 2008.

Oh the things we did this long and lovely break.  It's no wonder we all look like this (the girls got matching collars and leashes in their stocking).  We're coasting into the weekend with more football, more games and more relaxing.  It's been a great finish to 2007 and a great start to 2008.  I've been doing a lot of thinking about things.  Those of you who know me or who have been hanging out in the Blue Rain Room a while now know me well enough to know I'll be talking about all of those things soon enough.

Welcome, 2008.