Saturday, December 24, 2011

Winter Break Adventures, Thus Far

We've been very busy this week. There's been baking, shopping, walking around, playing at the park, ice skating, fist fighting, gift-giving, more baking and lots and lots of rain. Somehow I failed to capture our Winter Solstice celebration in photographs of any kind this year. It was lovely, though that day was very rainy, too. Here are some photos of other highlights from our week, for your viewing pleasure.
First, we baked for our neighbors, Steve and Joy and the mailman. The girls especially enjoyed making Oreos, but deserted me while I was making the sugared cranberries.

After all the baking we needed to get outdoors. It was my intention to make them walk into downtown Decatur (their exhaustion being my key goal) but we only got as far as McKoy Park, which is about 1/10 the distance. They then whined the entire, oh, I don't know, maybe half a mile, to Aunt Jo Jo's, then Aunt Jo Jo took them to Target. It's the hard knock life for them.

Then came the rain. We lasted all day Tuesday without much complaint, but when it hadn't even let up on Wednesday, we had some issues. I cheerfully forced them to make homemade puff paint with me. It turns out the fun of making homemade puff paint is in the making, not so much in the painting. Then, concerned that their little bodies had been mostly inert for nearly 2 days, I convinced them to play hide and seek, and was sure to add that the seeker must tag the hider upon finding her, before she can make it to base. This went well for a bit, but ultimately led to a knock-down fight. I was surprised. I opted to photograph the event rather than intervene and, happily, it worked itself out. Then we had homemade hot cocoa and marshmallows (yes, I made marshmallows too. It's fun!) and read Christmas stories by the Solstice tree.

I just thought this was cute.

When Aunt Jo Jo took the girls to Target, they got packets of facial masques from the $1 bins. So, we had to have a spa afternoon. Sarah went for the traditional green mud while Kate opted for the cucumber peel-off masque. She liked how gross the peeling off part looked.

On the Solstice, while the sky continued to weep and the temperature felt nothing like winter, we headed to the Rink at Park Tavern, where we met up with my friend Laura, who'd trekked to these parts with her family all the way from Paris, France, for a bit of ice skating and (more) hot chocolate. Laura's oldest, Irene, is Kate's age. Of course, all they really know about each other is that their moms are friends, but Kate and Irene skated together for nearly the full 2-hour session. Sarah, who started the session so terrified of skating she wouldn't let go of the wall and started to panic when she realized she's inched her way an uncomfortable distance away from the rink's exit, finished the day by dismissing me as her partner (a wise choice, really) and was merrily skating around in circles, not even touching the wall, by the time we had to turn in our skates. The whole thing wore the girls out so completely, they insisted on being carried to the car. Smashing success, and it's always a delight to see Laura and her peeps.

At long last, Christmas is upon us! It's Christmas Eve and since I knew what Aunt Jude and Uncle Kevin sent the girls, I allowed them to open that gift today. Now, they are the proud owners of a cookie decorating kit, food coloring and a book of fun cupcake (for later) ideas. We commenced ta' decoratin'. The kids consumed SO much sugar, I made them take a walk around the neighborhood with me immediately after the mayhem. They look kind of calm in these photos. They were not calm. They have not been calm all day. Who can blame them? We've been watching Santa's progress (thank-you Google Earth!) and he'll be here very soon. I can't wait! Now, I must wrap this up, because we have to eat dinner, so we can get on to sipping eggnog by the fireplace and reading Christmas stories, per Sarah's request.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Goose is Getting Fat (I MIGHT be the Goose...)

Apparently the best way to become unbelievably busy is to take a full month off from working. My days still begin around 5AM, and I haven't even taken a single nap. I really thought there would be some napping. So, all the house de-cluttering, Christmas-preparing, new website content researching and general errand-running have kept me from updating the blog. I shall attempt to catch you up on the the exciting lives of Kate and Sarah. Today, we will go waaaaaaay back to two days after Thanksgiving, when we took a scenic train ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway's Santa Train.

Grandma Provost contracted a rhino virus just before we were scheduled to head to the train, so she stayed home an knitted (like a proper grandmother) while we headed to the north Georgia mountains to meet the Grinch, Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, Frosty and some elves. I highly recommend this sort of thing to anyone with wee children. Dare I use the word "enchanting"? I dare. We sang carols and Santa paid a visit to each child, instead of all the kids having to wait in a longass line. The elves passed out jingle bells and candy canes and there was much drinking of hot cocoa.

After the train ride, we headed into downtown Blue Ridge for some grub. It's a cute little town center; the place was jam packed with revelers. We thought the kids would we tired enough to pass out during the long drive home, but sometimes you just don't get lucky.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Humming Supertramp's Dreamer

After nearly a decade with my company, I left today for the last time. My co-workers, evidently hell-bent on making me cry, made me feel thoroughly loved and appreciated. It was horrible. Here I am, taking a big leap away from the world that feels all secure and predictable, and these people don't even have the decency to give me the cold shoulder and ignore me, so that leaving will be fun.

Indeed, instead, they took me out for a happy hour on Wednesday evening that lasted 5 hours, and they all asked me questions about Reiki, and listened, seemingly interested, to what I'll be doing, and were encouraging and wished me well and told me they'll miss me. Dreadful, with all the hugs and requests for my new business card and a going away card signed by my whole department and accompanied by a bottle of Shiraz that I'm drinking as I write this.

Then, today, I arrived to find a delightful card on my desk with a big magnet stating "Now is the Right Time", then there were those who stopped by to tell me good-bye and wish me well, some with gifts. Actual gifts! Oh, and the emails...and the IM's...I have to say I held up admirably but things started to go south in my final hour. I finally worked my way through, and deleted, every email in my inbox and when, for the first time in 9 and 1/2 years the inbox blinked at me, with nothing in it but a message "No messages to display", I felt a small knot form in my stomach. Then, when the time came to close everything down, and I had to take my laptop to Ivan, and Ivan hugged me and wished me the best, yes then, I pretty much lost it. I would liked to have stayed to give all my beloved IT'ers a proper farewell, but I was on the verge of blubbering so I sort of...ran away.

I thought I'd gathered my wits by the time I had my jacket on and my bag slung over my shoulder, but then I had to hand my keycard to Glynnis, and say good-bye to all the women in my department (it's not sexist, there aren't any men in there, which also isn't sexist, it just happened that way), and there was really no avoiding full-on tears.

I was forced to get things under control in the car when I realized there was truly nothing in there on which I could blow my nose. Then, when I got home, I found a card on the kitchen table from Steve & Joy, and it contained a gift card for 10 lattes at our neighborhood coffee shop. Then, when I stepped out onto the front porch, I found a bottle of wine from Stephanie, waiting there for me! Of course all these people are late-comers, as Rusty and Jen brought me a stylin' lunch box (since I'll be bringing my lunch to work most days, of course) at the beginning of the month, when I first turned in my notice.

So let's see, what have we learned? So far, I'd say it's pretty amazing, and annoyingly tear-jerking, how very sincerely people want to see the dreams of another come true. I think this is because, at the core of us, we recognize our essential connection to one another, and we all have to admit that too many of us while away our precious hours engaged in activities that don't make us feel happy. When we see one of us insisting upon doing mainly what does make us happy, the general happiness level goes up, and all the boats rise with that tide. Also, people are genuinely kind and supportive and that gets me choked up, too, but in a happy way, so I suppose it's alright. I'm feeling pretty good right now, sipping on my gifted wine. We'll see how things are when I wake up on Monday, and don't go to my office.