I took a bit of a vacation from work (and, apparently, from blogging), which was relaxing and delightful. We didn’t do any traveling this year, and mostly kept ourselves home bound. So, what did I do with myself?
Christmas was lovely, spending time with family, a delicious feast, wonderful gifts.
Then my favorite week, the week between Christmas and New Year, which is mighty relaxing. So, what did I do with this week of grace? Let’s see…
- Delivered Meals on Wheels. I considered taking the time off from this activity, but discovered that many regular drivers do, so they were looking for volunteers. So I drove both on the 26th and the 2nd, both of which I enjoyed. I do love driving this route. One of the old ladies (she’s 98) asked me whether I have some people on my route who are grumpy. I can see why she would ask. Getting old isn’t fun. But truthfully, they’re all grateful and happy to see me. Perhaps that’s the difference between volunteering and being paid for a job, I don’t know.
- Gave blood. Blech, I do hate this job. I hate it. I try to convince myself that I don’t, but I do. But you know what? I only hate it until the moment they take that goddamned needle out of my arm. Then it’s the best feeling ever, knowing that I’ve truly saved someone’s life. Really, it’s the best thing ever, and it doesn’t cost me a penny.
- Maya and I went to return a sweater that I bought her for Christmas. She said she already has another that looks exactly like it (perhaps why I bought it…it just LOOKED like something she would wear). It was a longish drive, and then the return/exchange, and then lunch. Lovely afternoon with her. Of course, the store didn’t have a single thing she could possibly want (Ann Taylor), so she had me use the exchange to get something for myself. Love that kid.
- Did some shopping with Ted as well. He was returning a sweater I bought him (wrong size) (clearly my shopping skills are lacking), and also buying me some birthday gifts. So I accompanied him for the return, then found a quiet place to eat a pretzel and read my book while he shopped for me. Nice feeling.
- Watched a few movies. I told you about Ted’s SAG awards voting, so we were able to watch a few. We saw “12 Years a Slave” (depressing); “Dallas Buyers Club” (depressing); “American Hustle” (great performances, not so sure the story was fabulous…Amy Adams should win much, though); “August: Osage County (Maya and I really liked this, Ted wasn’t so sure); “Captain Phillips” (boring to me, sorry, though excellent performances).
- Celebrated my birthday…went for a hike around a local reservoir (picture above), which was lovely. Had a picnic of sandwiches from our favorite local sandwich shop, and then later had a feast of cracked crab, garlic noodles, french bread, salad, and chardonnay for dinner. Some people say chardonnay is not the right wine for Dungeness crab, that Sauvignon Blanc is truly the way to go. Fie to them, they know not what they speak. Though of course, champagne would be good, wouldn’t it?
- Accomplished chores around the house. There are times when I look around and am reminded of lyrics from an old(ish) song by The Wallflowers.
“Well this place is old
It feels just like a beat up truck
I turn the engine, but the engine doesn’t turn
Well it smells of cheap wine & cigarettes
This place is always such a mess
Sometimes I think I’d like to watch it burn”
That’s how I feel when things are getting on my nerves around here, and I want to fix them, but there’s no time or money or energy or whatever. So, with my time off, I tackled a few that were within my means. I cleaned out and reorganized a kitchen cupboard full of metal bowls, cupcake tins, fake Tupperware, baking dishes, etc. That task seemed huge (because it was so annoying), but didn’t take very long. That got me started cleaning the kitchen, clearing and wiping down the counters, cleaning out the refrigerator, all of that. Which motivated Maya to vacuum the house, and to clean up the back yard of the horrid Eucalyptus leaves from our neighbor’s stupid tree. Cleaned the mirrored closet doors in our bedrooms, which I do NOT love, but we installed to make our rooms look bigger and more modern when we were trying to sell lo those many years ago. Removed the annoying and squeaky bed frame from our bed. I don’t like the look of a mattress on the floor, it looks poor to me. But I like it more than I like waking up 6 times a night, every time one of us turns over in our sleep, because of the noise. We’ll figure out a long term solution later, but for now, we’re sleeping much more peacefully, and our pillowtop mattress is so thick, we’re not right down on the ground anyway. Then I took on the most mighty task of all. Cleaning and re-grouting the bathtub. What a horrid task. Bending over that long makes my back ache, and cleaning the old grout out is a huge task. I hate it. But not as much as I hate the look of the old clear grout that was there before, looking dirty and horrid. So I did it. Does it look good? Yes! As long as you don’t wear your contact lenses, so you don’t see where I was crooked or smeared silicone with my application. But it looks SO much better than it did, so I’m happy.
- Put away the Christmas decorations. I miss them a bit, but I do like how clean and light the house looks with them put away. We still have the wreath on the door…I’m not ready to throw that away yet. Maybe I’ll wait until Epiphany. Or June. We’ll see.
- Most auspiciously, Maya and I (I put in the checking account number, so I get to be included) sent in her applications to college. Gah, when did she get so grown up? It’s a little horrid. And very beautiful. I love having a teen, an almost adult. It’s a poignant time. Not always fun, not always sad, but poignant. She’s applying to 6 very good private colleges, where she hopes to study English. Money is tight, so if she doesn’t get a full ride, she’ll be home with us for 2 more years, at our local community college. I don’t know what to hope for. There are pluses and minuses either way. I guess I just want whatever is best for her. The fact that her first choice college is 3,000 miles away sucks, but that’s what we get for living on the West Coast. There are so many more opportunities back East, I fear.
Those were my adventures and accomplishments. I hope you had relaxing holidays. Yesterday was back to work, which was fine by me. I enjoyed my time off, but it was OK getting back into the swing of things, too. I guess that’s the mood of January, isn’t it? Getting back into the swing of things?