Merry Christmas!

The photo for this entry is Max the (reluctant) Christmas cat. He’s not exactly thrilled about things draped around him and on his head, but he’s a generally good sport. He’s not a tree climber either which is a pleasant surprise. He did trample through the wrapping debris earlier, but mostly in a desire to see what was floating around. Now, he’s sleeping on the blanket I keep on the sofa just for him. One of my New Year’s resolutions will be to learn to nap like a cat; in other words, become a professional napper!

We went to a friend’s house for Christmas dinner. It’s become a tradition for the years we spend Christmas in Philly. It’s always a fun mixed crowd and tonight was no exception. Lots of good food, good company, and good natured fights over music. Only one guy was a bit full of himself and wanted to make sure we all knew our history, and could conduct his form of political analysis. I did go after him a bit, but not much. Told him I don’t like getting cut off. He said he wanted to talk more, I said no, thanks. I knew how it was going to go and I wasn’t interested in rehashing straw arguments. His witty comeback “Oh, yes. You know me so well” in what was meant to be biting sarcasm. I said, no, I don’t have to. I know your type and I’m not interested in dealing with it on Christmas day. He apologized for making me feel “devalued.” I just laughed and kept piling food up on my plate. He then tried to make nice and act like nothing happened. So, I went along. I think he was disconcerted that I refused to get upset by his attempt to show how morally superior he was. Also that I got backing from some of the others in the room. Who he knows pretty well. Kinda funny.

That little contretemps made me realize that I can actually have these arguments, that I can stand up without having an emotional meltdown or even a partial one, and that I no longer get upset with myself. I do think I won that round and I’m good with that. The rest of the evening was fun and I enjoyed seeing several people I hadn’t seen in a while.

Altogether a good Christmas. Tomorrow, I start back in on syllabi and trip planning stuff. Yay. Oh, well. It has to happen and if I do it now, I will be much happier when I get back with only one day before classes begin. And, I need to do some of my own writing. This cold has knocked me out and made it difficult for my brain to function. I guess I really needed the down time. I did manage to do some reading and pay attention to pacing etc. while i was reading, so I got that going for me…

Anyway, back to a schedule (of my own choosing) tomorrow. I hope everybody (pick your holiday): 1) had a good Christmas, 2) is having an enjoyable Hanukkah, and 3) will have a happy Kwanza.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

The semester is over. I only have three more papers to read. Grades are due at noon on Tuesday. This is my list of things that *have* to happen. Writing for my own benefit will come in between for the next couple days and then I will do it in between working on the syllabi for the spring semester classes. I really am not good at winding completely different jobs together. But then, the day job is annoying the ever-loving crap out of me, so that will be the primary reason for my procrastination this week. Of course, the grade deadline is a hard deadline, so yes, I will get that done. Fortunately, the two syllabi are for classes I’ve taught before, so they just need to be updated. That won’t take that long.

We wandered around the city quite a bit today buying a couple of Christmas gifts and looking at the lights and decorations and then hitting up the Christmas Village in Love Park. Went through our neighborhood which has changed (for the better) dramatically over the 15 years we’ve lived here. It’s a lot of fun to walk around and realize that there are busy restaurants and cool stores where there used to be abandoned buildings or empty lots. Today was also the Army-Navy game so there were and are tons of visitors in town for the game. It’s also the day of the ever-popular Santa Stumble. Lots of people wearing Santa or elf costumes/outfits and wandering from bar to bar. Put them together with the Army/Navy fans and the regular Philly denizens and you get a very interesting mix.

It did give me a couple of story ideas, so I’m going to scribble up some outlines and see where they take me. I also realized that I have to go back to Book #2 and create an outline for that. I am stuck and trying to figure out where this is going. Same thing for Book #3. Also gotta work on this short story I want to submit and which is due in February. And, then, we have to address and mail Christmas cards. So much for a break between semesters!

OK, off to work and making dinner. Take care of yourselves and do your best to keep those stress levels low as we move toward the height of the holiday season.

Stay sane inside insanity!

Friday Morning Thoughts: Family & Christmas*

It’s the Friday before Christmas, which this year falls on a Tuesday. We are in California visiting family. Between the two of us we have several visits to make. In my case, my family does a big pre-Christmas Christmas the weekend before the actual day. This means that everybody gets together at one house and we eat, hang out, and exchange gifts and generally raise a ruckus. In other words, a lot of fun.

My husband’s family is our other crew. This is a bit more complex and jigsaw puzzle-like. We have to juggle my father-in-law, his wife, my mother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, and brother-in-law and wife. This usually entails Christmas Eve in one place, Christmas breakfast in another, and Christmas dinner in yet another. We drive around the Sacramento area A LOT.

It’s always nice to be back in California for the holidays. I have to admit, I don’t require a white Christmas in order to get into the spirit. A warm Christmas works just fine. What makes Christmas a bit more challenging out here is the amount of planning and re-planning that goes into each visit. I know that we’re not alone in dealing with this; plenty of other people travel back and forth between parents. Hell, there was even a movie, Four Christmases, that took on that challenge. We only have three and one of those is not on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, so I feel lucky. We get to spend time with family, eat good food, and be back in California.

We even braved a mall today. And, made it out alive! At least we’re not flying to Portland on Tuesday.

*OK, so it’s Friday afternoon. Whatever.