So the last day of Dickens was apparently the highest attendance ever, including my dad and his old friends Dave and Cheryl. It was cool to see them again. My dad made some not subtle comments about wanting grandchildren. I suggested that maybe he should've had more than one kid if he wanted to be guaranteed grandchildren. He grumbled that he didn't have much say in the matter. Right, moving on!
I headed out to tea with Erik and Marissa and Josh. It was a lovely rest stop in the middle of the day. A few moments of sanity in the midst of the scrum.
After that, back to the warehouse. I got to dance with Jeremy, visiting from Austin. There were a few others I expected to see that day, but didn't, like Siannan. Too bad really. The day blew past. We wrapped up around 7:15, which was far too early and left us singing by the door for quite a while. Venite adora-moose!
And then there was the real Christmas Eve. I started the morning by baking some more zucchinni bread because Rick ate almost all the ginger snaps I'd saved for presents. We made it out of the house around one, hurtling toward Sacramento with Pixel in tow. We dropped Pixel off at my mom's house so that he could play with Charlie and headed over to grandma and grandpa's house. Turns out my Cousin Debbie and her husband were joining us for dinner, which was nice. I like Debbie and Ken. Ken is a space collector. He's got a small museum collection of things like a Russian space suit and a panel off one of the spacecraft. He occasionally hosts events with various astronauts as speakers and so on. Anyway, it was nice to see them.
Christmas Day was the usual whirlwind. Off to Howard and Debbie's in Shingle Springs for my Dad's side of the family. Then call Rick's family to see if we should stop by. Got a reprieve there, so back to my mom's house to reload the car, and finally to the Wilson's house for the annual Christmas night gathering. This is always one of my favorite parts of the holidays. It's all my old friends, gathered together, enjoying the company of their chosen family. Suzi and I were apparently on the same wavelength, both sporting cute little plaid skirts. Sandy made blown glass things for everyone. I got a beautiful blue bud vase. Lisa made handmade soaps. Nicole brought little cactii. I gave out the rest of my zucchinni bread. Suzi was undertaking a photo project for Frank and Janelle, so we all posed in turn. Forest said, "Pick a number." I did and then he said "Go look in the bedroom." He had found a mask seller on Telegraph, and rather than just buying one, he got one for everyone. They're really cool Venetian style masks. Mine is a white face with music and red and black patches and music folded up into a sort of jester's cap at the top with bells. Way too cool. Pandora brought little Chinese coinpurses with dried flower tea inside. Frank and Janelle had mailed four boxes of cookies and we were all required to take home cookies. Sara was doing full-fledged ziploc inspection duty as everyone left. Kimmie made plates of vegan cookies and vegan fudge for everyone. Tate and Elisa brought back presents from Cambodia and Thailand. Meanwhile, Rick got totally distracted by the very cool light sabers that Sandy brought. They went out to the park and had a battle in the dark. He spent the rest of the night in his socks since his shoes were too muddy. We left far too late, and headed back south. By Concord, I woke Rick up to keep me awake. We stopped to pee in San Ramon, and the nasty gas station bathroom work me up enough for the last 30 minutes of the journey.
The next morning, I sent Rick off to work far too early, and got up a couple hours later to head up to do Fezziwigs tear down. I like tearing down really. It adds a sense of closure to the season. Walking away, knowing it's all still there feels incomplete. Boxing everything up and tucking it into David's basement seems to finish it for me.
After that, the tired caught up to me fully. I needed to run errands. I needed to clean house. I stopped at one store to pick up some cat food, but it seemed like too much effort. Finally I went home and decided to read for a while. I read for a few paragraphs and then slept for a couple of hours. Then Rick got home from work. At this point, I don't really know how he was doing it. He was trying to recover from a cold, and had half the sleep I'd had that day. We went to bed early, with me getting a lot more reading done. People kept telling me over Christmas, "You look tired." Well, yeah, that's because I'm really really tired.
Wednesday I cleaned house, cancelling my other plans in hope of finding some floor. For a month, the house had been the place I run into, drop off the remenants of the last journey, pack a new bag, and run out of again. It was trashed. It took all day just to clean up the clutter.
Thursday I planned to head to Sacramento. This plan got derailed by Rick's cold winning. His lack of sleep plus the lingering cold whomped him down hard and he spent the day home. I went out and acquired pizza per his request and we spent the afternoon on the sofa watching Joan of Arcadia and sleeping.
Friday was the Fifth Friday Games party. If you weren't invited, I apologize now. I just copied an old Evite, and found later that it was chock full of issues - missing guests, bad email addresses, and so on. If you weren't invited, it wasn't personal. It was just I didn't have time to do it right.
I'd gotten Dread Pirate for Christmas, so we broke that in. We also introduced Elizabeth to Apples to Apples. I think she had more fun playing Parchesi though, goofy girl that she is. Also, after loads of parties where folks bring us wine, I changed course and opened four bottles of wine early in the party and encouraged consumption. It went well, and for the first time in a long time, we have less wine than when we started the party. This was good. Also, I made Eggplant Soup and a Black-eyed Peas dish for supper, and some hot cider, and well, there was a bounty of food. The party broke up around one and we crashed.
Our one overnight couple had a rough night, with their car alarm going off every hour or so. It made no sense. But by 10am, they were up and headed home, planning to stop by the dealer to have them take a look. I heard it a couple of times, but must've slept through the rest.
Saturday was spent going to Happy Feet and going back by the Humane Society. Sunday we headed up to Sacramento for the New Year's Eve Wedding. Jeff and Tina and Janise have been together for a number of years, but they decided to make the bond official in the eyes of their community. Thomas was officiating and it was a decidedly Thomas ceremony. He started off saying, "Society has norms for a reason. Those that decide to live outside of those norms have a hard time of it." He went on, sort of capping on the alternative lifestyle for a while. Finally he summed it up saying how important it is to have a supportive community when you choose to live outside of the norms and that's why we're here today. It was good. After the ceremony, it was mostly a New Year's Eve party with a little pause for cake. I slipped into an old habit and made sure all the food got out to the table. We had quite a feast, but it definitely needed some rotation. The living room became the music room, with Bryn, Megan, Nicole, Aaron, Forest and Steve playing the old favorites. The family room became the dance/groove room with things like Tainted Love, Rock Lobster, and Lady Marmalade playing. As midnight approached, we all congregated in the family room with champagne and poppers and while Rick and I and Anne and Mario swapped tales of home improvement (we both bought the same uber-cool toilet seat, and we both know we're hopeless old-fart homeowners because we're excited about a toilet seat) and finally the countdown began. Crackers went off, kisses were exchanged, absent friends were dialed, and happy birthday was sung to Marina. That kid makes me feel old. The little six-month old baby I held while learning English Country dance outside of Jeff and Tina's townhouse is now fifteen with hot pink hair and a mohawk and a boyfriend. Yikes!
We headed out to my mom's house a little after 1, and I felt really old as I started dozing in the chair in the living room. We got up the next morning and headed home. On the way home, I started feeling the end-of-the-holidays blues. Back to work in the morning. Erik was headed back from Fremont, and called en route. We ended up stopping in at the Starbucks in Cordelia for a few hands of Loot
, which really is a much better game for 3 people than 2. It was a nice closure for a hectic holiday season.
And now, back to work. The world seems far less colorful from the office this week. There's messy projects to deal with and elearning to develop and new projects kicking off. Still, I wish I could keep up that rock and roll lifestyle instead.