[ my favorite things ]
- I made it to Sacramento!
- I took my little sister out for her birthday to get our nails and toes done, since she's a girlie girl and had never really done those girlie things. We had a grand time, she ended up with flowers on her pink toes (perfect for an woman turning 18), and I found out she's truly in love with the guy she's dating, which was sweet and fairly wonderful.
- My dad and I spent a day together that was perfect in every way - we did some errands, picked up things at Trader Joe's (oh how i miss them!) for dinner, took the dog for a walk around the neighborhood and looked at his first house in Sacramento (since he lives like three blocks from it now), and watched Miracle on 32nd Street (our favorite christmas movie).
- At the Sacto-Christmas one of my nephews was super excited about his summer job - he was a firefighter in Marin county; fought a fire on one of the islands in the Sanfrancisco Bay and then spent the rest of the time creating firebreaks in the forest. He says mostly knows how to weild a chainsaw now, but I could tell he was proud of the work he'd done and I was profoundly glad he shared it with me.
- The other of the twins (the first is the firefighter) and I had a great conversation about our love lives, the tragic and the good, and it was fairly cool that he's comfortable enough with me to actually ask me the personal questions that floated to the top of his head. It's amazing because five years ago I thought these two guys were never going to grow out of adolescence and actually talk to me, but they're interesting, they're smart, and it's so cool to get to know them both as adults.
- I geeked out with my other nephew (i have lots) who's teaching four Intro to Japanese classes at the highschool level, and he gave me a bunch of websites to check out and it was all around wonderful just to geek with him. I have no idea how he got interested in Japan too but I'm stoked that he's doing what he's doing, that he's happy, and that he's a good teacher from the sound of it. His fiance and I had some little conversations too - just tiny things but she's a sweet woman and it's obvious they adore each other.
- Neil and his parents came over on Saturday for a couple of minutes and it was great to see them, great to delight them a little bit with their christmas presents (they're awesome that way - they are easily delighted and I finally feel like I'm getting better picking out presents for them). They teased me about my GRE scores (in the sweetest of ways) and other than the fact that their visit wasn't long enough, it was great to see them.
- Mom and I made it on the airplane on Monday (in the nick of time) and had the BEST SEATMATE EVER on the leg to Vegas. He was a hindi-professor!! Who is now working on mystical origin stories in comic books. And is teaching for a semester at Berkeley! Our conversation was absolutely fascinating and the trip passed in a flat hot minute.
- Even though we only had one day, D & Mom and I did manage to get some of our traditional shopping in before xmas proper - we ran to stores for gifts, bought things out from under each other, and generally had a great (but exhausting time).
- Chrismas Day was absolutely and utterly wonderful. We did the regular pacakage smorgasboard (I may post pictures later, we'll see), and I got a waffle maker! And these adorable bowls that I *really* lusted over but didn't buy. And jammies. And a coffee maker. The best part was seeing the expression on my Mom's face when she opened up the record-player-converter we got her (it changes your records into MP3s), because she didn't think we were going to buy it for her. And Neil's delight when he opened his salt-themed gifts (i got him a salt block to cook on, tasting salts from around the world, the book "Salt" [a history of salt], and even a chocolate-salt candy bar.) And D's expression when she opened her camera (Neil & I went in on it) was best of all.
- Most fun, though, was dinner - lostgirlslair and The Fiance came over for dinner and we did bbq t-bone (because the weather was that lovely) and stuffing and broccoli / cauliflower and just had the loveliest time. We took far too many pictures (hey, new cameras, old cameras, everybody was click happy) and laughed a whole ton. It just could not have been better. And we giggled over our strange desserts ... we'd had to make the peanut brittle twice because the first batch didn't come out quite right, and luckily the all of it was scrumptious.
[but it wasn't all hearts and flowers]
- My stepmom was in a lot of pain this year too - she's had to wait to get a much needed hip surgery for her lungs to be stronger and so there was a lot more sleeping and a lot less of the four days of talking that she and I did last year. I'm not there every day, but I still worry about her. It's a waiting game at the moment, but at least there's somethin that can be fixed. She just needs to get healthy enough to be able to do it.
- I was a little more sensitive to being excluded by my step-sisters than I have been in years past, sadly, and so when I hugged one of my sisters goodbye and said something about being sad that I didnt' get to spend much time with her and got a "hmmmum" response back it hurt. Some years I'm more resigned to it than others, and I'm hoping to be more philosophical about the whole thing after a little time has passed. But the heart-hurt of having that kind of "i don't care" response, and being basically ignored during the day by two of them and their husbands still gets me at the moment.
- Mom and I completely stressed each other out on the way to the airport - so much so that my mom at one point said "Fine then, we're just going to miss the damn plane"... but even getting lost and having to park in long term parking didn't make us totally late, and we got through the airport lickety split. But seriously, we are not good about destressing eachother when we're both stressed out ... it has the opposite effect.
- Chrismas Night was emotional, and it really shouldn't be part of the non-hearty entry except that it wasn't quite hearts and shiny stars happy, it was more being kind of serious and wonderful and about family hashing out our stuff a little bit more. Talking and being serious. Memorials. And even though it was tough, it was worth it.