Independence Day

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Covered clock (Photo credit: lorda)

I looked back over the last couple of years of summer posts . . . and I laughed.  Apparently every summer around this time, I lament that I’m working too much and not taking advantage of my summer.  I’m a creature of habit.  I did very little yesterday.  I kind of poked at an outline for a workshop I’m giving on Tuesday.  I’m going to spend a tiny bit more time today–maybe–but definitely dive in on Monday.

Today, we’re keeping an eye on the weather.  We kind of want to go see the fireworks downtown, but we don’t want to get caught in the rain. It’s looking promising. Geeky Girl and I are planning a trip to see Despicable Me 2 (she’s accommodating me because I have a soft spot for animated films). And we’ll cook out.  We might hit the pool. Tomorrow we head to some friends’ for the weekend, so I’m on a forced break of sorts.

I think 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. It comes midsummer-ish. It’s almost always hot. There’s food and there’s fireworks and most people are in a good mood. All good.

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And so it ends

Dove Series 2
Image by lorda via Flickr

Tonight is the last night of our vacation.  Tomorrow, we will get up early and move through the routines of showers and breakfast, lunches and carpools.  When I took all the decorations off the tree, I felt a tad bit sad at saying goodbye to the holiday.  I really do love this bright spot in the middle of a dark winter.  When I took a bath yesterday, I looked as usual out the window at the one oak branch I can see.  Often, there are one or two mourning doves that huddle there in the nook of the L-like branch.  They are gray and brown like the tree and blend in perfectly. Yesterday, there were 5 or 6 of them, huddled together against the cold.  Suddenly, just below them, there was a shock of red against all the gray.  A red-headed woodpecker had joined them and was pecking away, trying to get a snack.  I called to the kids and Mr. Geeky to come see, but they thought I was crazy.

Today was cold and windy.  We turned on a fire.  I nursed a small hangover, eating a bologna and mustard sandwich.  I went to the grocery store, did the rest of the laundry.  Mr. Geeky graded.  We fell into the routines of everyday life again.  I like the routine like the birds lined up on the branch.  Like them, we huddled together for most of our winter holiday, but we’ve also enjoy some bright moments, lights, good food, and shared laughter.  I’ll miss that, but will be looking for those bright moments to get me through the long winter ahead.

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Holiday Traditions

What I want to do today is be a slug, but instead I’ll be doing more work in preparation for being a slug later this week.  I have plans to go work out since I’m likely not to after Wednesday of this week.  I also have last-minute grocery shopping today, getting a few more things for our holiday dinner.  Our traditions have remained mostly the same, though they’ve morphed a bit as the kids have gotten older.  We no longer have to tiptoe around the Santa issue, though we do still hide the “Santa” gifts and they appear under the tree by Christmas morning.  Our gifts are going in two directions–both larger and smaller.  Either the kids want something big and that’s all they get or they have no big thing and they end up with lots of little things.  It used to be lots of medium things, from us, Santa, and relatives.  Relatives are likely now to give money or gift cards instead.  But some things remain the same.  Here’s our traditions:

  • Christmas puzzle.  We have one going, almost halfway done.
  • Dinner on Christmas Eve.  This is usually relatively formal, with the good china and silver coming out.  This year’s menu: ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, rolls.  Warm brownies wit peppermint ice cream for dessert.
  • Champagne on Christmas Eve and mimosas on Christmas morning.  This is a new one for us, started a couple of years ago.  The other two come from my family.
  • Christmas cookies.  Used to go to Santa, of course, but now we eat them. 🙂
  • Each kid opens a present on Christmas Eve.  I won’t say what they are, in case the kids are reading, but this is always a fun tradition.
  • Christmas movies after dinner.  Often A Christmas Story.  Sometimes National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (which we’ve already watched this year).  Sometimes White Christmas or A Christmas Carol.
  • French toast on Christmas morning, made by Mr. Geeky.  This is when I get into serious slug mode.  All *my* work is done–the shopping, the cooking, the decorating–and Mr. Geeky takes over.
  • Stay in our pajamas until at least noon.  Mr. Geeky’s family was off going to various family celebrations by 9 a.m.  The first year we did things “my way,” he said, I don’t know why we didn’t always do this.  It’s great!  He’s been trying to convince his family to adopt this tradition for years.  So far, it hasn’t worked.

What are your traditions?

Holiday breaks

The kids have 2 more days of school left.  Yes, you heard me.  Two more days.  They are in school right up until the 23rd.  The same was true last year and the year before.  They got out on the 22nd one year because it fell on a Friday.  They return on Jan. 4th.  They’ve been known to return on the 2nd–the 2nd, people!  My memory of winter break before college are fuzzy, but I seem to recall having two full weeks off.  Usually, the extra time came at the front end of the holidays, with us getting out around the 18th of December and returning just after the new year.  My mother recalls similar schedules.  Our kids get a mere week and a half.  It seems silly for them to be going to school this short week.  Would it have been so bad for them to have had their last day on Friday.  It would give them more time to kick back and relax, to travel to visit family, etc.  Given that we had over 20 inches of snow over the weekend, it seems even more silly that they were in school this week.  What are your kids’ breaks like?  Do they get more or less time? How long would you like for winter breaks to be?

The Holiday Sweater

I do own a holiday sweater, but I doubt I’ll wear it this year. Worse, I own a holiday vest which depicts the 12 days of Christmas. Growing up, we never had holiday wear. Socks maybe. My mother never sported a bright red sweater with Rudolph on it. My dad might have had a Christmas tie, likely a gift. When I began spending Christmases with Mr. Geeky’s family, the holiday sweater became de rigeur. Mr. Geeky’s mom worked at an elementary school so she had shirts and sweaters and dresses and socks for every holiday. So did many of the other women in Mr. Geeky’s family. I wanted to fit in and I kind of liked wearing something to celebrate the holidays, so I wore sweaters. And then I was given a couple and next thing you know I had a whole collection. But I think the days of the holiday sweaters (for me, anyway) are over.

I could join the ugly sweater bar crawl, which I think would be the perfect use for my old sweaters. I prefer holiday jammies myself. Only I know how festive I am.