Home for the Holidays

We have two kids: one attending a large university and one living in New York City. We are blessed to have them both home with us right now.

The college guy was sent home (along with many contemporaries) right before Thanksgiving, with the understanding that all of those classmates would stay put through the holiday break and into January. With our New Yorker, it’s a little more complicated.

She travels with a cat and she doesn’t care to fly (for which I don’t blame her, because there is one (1) crowded flight per day from NYC to Roanoke). Amtrak won’t let you ride the rails with a pet for more than a seven hour trip, so our system is to have her take the train to DC, where we meet her and drive her back. It’s a long day of driving but half of it is with our girl and her kitten, so it goes quickly and happily.

The New Yorker will be with us into mid-January, too, so now that we’re all here we are solidly hunkering down.

We generally spend Christmas in Massachusetts, visiting with Jim’s family. This year, like so many other people, we decided that it was safer to keep everyone here and I’ll be honest, after the long year it’s been, I appreciate foregoing the two-day drive and the coordination necessary in a family visit. Jim’s sister and her partner are up there, visiting from Texas (after negative covid tests!) with their ancient cat and a dog whose medical complications require a diaper. Our youngest is allergic to dogs. It would not have been a harmonious time.

My in-laws got me a mug with all of the places I like to visit in their town when there isn’t a pandemic!

So the point of all of that is to say that we are gratefully having a quiet holiday and this year, I’ll take it! A friend wrote on a holiday card that they hope we can find some magic this year for the holidays, but I’ll set the bar down a little lower and send you a wish that there is simply a reason for you to smile and hope.

Art Therapy

When you are quarantined because of a worldwide pandemic, you really appreciate your resources.

For my birthday back in November, my sister got for me a whole new experience: a custom paint-by-number set. She sent a photo to a company that sent back a detailed canvas, twenty-five little tubs of paint, and some brushes.

We had some quiet time before family FaceTime calls on Easter Sunday so it was the perfect opportunity to get to work!

I was really surprised that it was so INVOLVED. It took me quite a few evenings of work to get all those little shapes filled in. Also, I found that painting those little shapes with a tiny brush is extremely relaxing.

Aww, guess who?

And I was very pleased with the finished result!

I just hope Jim doesn’t want to take it to his office.

I’m really appreciative of Sarah’s gift, which not only gave me some serious fun but also resulted in a piece of art that is truly one of a kind!

Crushing the Christmas Crush

They are so Zen.

And just like that, the holidays are here!

This year, it’s an extra-action-packed December because our firstborn is graduating from college next week. For me, this event actually rivals the usual annual festivities in importance.

The following weekend, her younger brother will finish his semester exams and arrive home, just in time for us to pack the car for our yearly holiday trip to Massachusetts to see the family.

It’s a hike.

With a late Thanksgiving we are just now getting started with holiday prep, and I’m not gonna lie, there is a sense of stress that’s creeping in. What’s the answer? Rum-laced eggnog?

Nope. Yoga, y’all.

Do you ever check out the Yoga with Adriene videos? Adriene Mishler has great free yoga content and for December, her squad put out a calendar of short-ish videos to get us through the season. I dove in and have been taking a moment every morning (five days in now, it’s a start) to stretch out before getting on with my day. Take a look, you can find all of the videos on YouTube:

The hard thing about morning yoga is that the cats like to join in, but I’m not going to let them add to my stress. I’m gonna glide through December.

Look! Up in the Sky!

My brother in law has a unique set of skills.

This is not my brother in law.

He can fly a plane, and that is extra cool because one fine Saturday over the summer, he was able to arrange for some flying time, and my sister and her family decided to swing down to the Lake for lunch.

I’ve extolled the benefits of Roanoke Airport, but there is another airport right here on the lake.

It’s small.

It has a cat.

A friendly cat

And a seaplane (a lake plane).

You can live there!

And if you’re lucky, you can meet some fun people there and take them to lunch at Waller’s, right down the road.

Ground crew

Gone to the Dawgs

We have two cats, whom we feed every afternoon at 5:30. At about 4:30, they start circling around, climbing in my lap and rubbing their faces as close to mine as they can. It’s not my favorite time of the day. I like them and I’m glad they like me, but by 4:30 I’m usually trying to wrap some things up and that works better without distraction.

Current situation: I am writing the first draft of this post at 4:47 pm, in my room with the doors closed. They haven’t found me yet, but those few moments after I push the “Save draft” button and before I pull out the Friskies will be tense ones.

We are far outnumbered in the Roanoke area when it comes to pets. Dogs are definitely the preferred companion, by a long shot. You see them in the boats on the lake, walking all around the city, hanging out in cars in the Kroger parking lot (in moderate weather, of course). Indeed, a dog’s life is quite a good life here in the SWVA.

I love dogs, and what I love even more is suggesting to Jim that we should get one, because the question elicits a very predictable and passionate response (and it’s not “yes”) every single time. See how much fun pets can be?

Oh thank goodness