Vacation almost over. Sad.

So today is my last full day of Christmas vacation.  Tomorrow I fly home.  Or at least, I’m planning to.  I’m a bit apprehensive with the new travel restrictions (though I’m flying in the U.S. only, so it might not be bad) and the fact that the airport was partially flooded due to a water main break.  Not a good thing.

But overall, the trip has been a lot of fun.  I’m pretty sure I’ve gained five pounds, and I barely got any running in at all.  I’m hoping that doesn’t hurt my half marathon training.  I’ve still got about 10 weeks though, so as long as I stick to it, I should be fine.  And hopefully the running helps me take off those five pounds (or more – I’m choosing to not look).

Presents I gave were a success, I think, and I got some pretty fun gifts as well – including a Notre Dame Snuggie.  My mom knows what I like.  I will have to find some time to use it.  I wonder what my coworkers would think if I brought it into the office.  It is pretty cold in there after all.

Holiday Movies

Holidailies Prompt: Your favorite — or least favorite — holiday scene in a movie.

I am a sucker for a holiday movie. It can be a Santa movie or a holiday romance, and I will watch. I don’t know if there are Christmas slasher movies, but I probably wouldn’t watch those. Any other holiday movie though, and I’m in.  My favorites are the old movies – Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life.

But I have to admit – I really don’t like A Christmas Story.  Oh sure, it’s got great moments.  But I just feel SO bad for Ralphie the whole time.  I guess I’m not a fan of pain and embarrassment as humor.  I’m not sure which moment is the worst to me.  Possibly the whole decoder pin thing – only because I can only imagine how awful that would be to a kid.  Waiting and waiting and waiting and then realizing that you’ve been completely ripped off.

I do like the leg lamp though.

Back in the winter of 2004

The Holidailies prompt for today is “Five Years Ago.”

Christmas, 2004. Right around this time five years ago, I was just finishing up my first semester of law school. I don’t have any wild recollections about this time, probably because my brain was so numbed by things like Criminal Law and Contracts that I wasn’t able to focus on anything else. I do shudder when I think of Civil Procedure though, so we’ll blame that course for most of the pain.

2004 was my first grown-up Christmas. It was the first year that I was living in my own place with my own Christmas tree. Every year previous, I was either living at home, or at least home from college for the holidays. It was the first time I really got to decorate, though if I’m remembering correctly, my mom did most of the tree decorating herself. She’s pretty much a pro at it, seeing as I believe she has nine trees in her house this year. What’s one more tree to decorate?

I think 2004 was also the first time that Christmas really snuck up on me. In grade school and high school, everyone spent time working on holiday concert music and planning gifts and parties. In college, the dorms had informal decorating competitions and everyone counted down the days until they could go home for winter break. But in law school, while we still had winter break, we all dreaded it, because to get to winter break, we had to get through finals. Sure, we had finals in college (and high school), but this was the first time that our final grade was our entire grade for the semester. Plus it was just scary. The saying about law school is that the first year, they scare you to death, the second year, they work you to death, and the third year, they bore you to death. I think we were all sufficiently scared in December of 2004.

The other big difference, I think, was that winter break didn’t have the meaning that it used to. I was living 45 minutes from my parents. I saw my family all the time. I wasn’t going anywhere for winter break. I was staying in my apartment and just spending a few days at my parents’ house for Christmas. Sure, the previous year I had lived at home, but that in itself was a bit of a novelty. It was going to be nice to have a few weeks off, but at the same time, I had work that I needed to be doing over that break, so it wasn’t quite the same. In college, there was never a project that needed to be worked on over the semester break since all classes changed.

2004 was the year that Cadu discovered just how much he loves the Christmas tree. He still sleeps under it every year and as soon as I begin putting it up, he crawls underneath. He climbs it once a year as well. I figure that’s just part of his holiday traditions. Thankfully, the tree is now on a carpeted surface, so if any ornaments fall, they are much less likely to break.

I think that in 2004, if you had asked me where I would be in five years, living in the Washington, D.C. area and working for the Federal Government wouldn’t have been on my list of answers. I wonder where I’ll be in another five years.

Not love Santa? Unpossible!

Thanks to some wonky internet access, I’m once again behind on Holidailies posting.

Yesterday’s prompt was: Tired of Santa? Create your own iconic magical figure for the holidays.

Tired of Santa?!  That’s unpossible! 

Okay, I guess I can see how it could be possible.  Plus, I’ve seen some pretty creepy pictures of kids with scary mall Santas.  No wonder those kids were crying. 

I think I really like the image of Santa though, the jolly man with the rosy cheeks who brings surprises to kids.  I’m trying to remember an old commercial where a kid (or kids) wakes up to find Santa standing by the fireplace and he winks and places a finger to his lips as he disappears. 

I think it’s the magical aspect of Santa that I love the most, and the idea that he brings joy, not so much that he brings piles and piles of presents.  (Though I do enjoy those piles of Santa presents, don’t get me wrong.)  I also love that Santa is such a mystery to children.  I miss the days of putting out carrots and cookies for Santa and his reindeer.  I wonder how my parents kept the dogs from eating Santa’s cookies.  Maybe they did eat them.  Who knows.  I still like following Santa on Norad’s Santa Tracker, and love that I can do it from my phone this year.  Santa is advanced.

So no.  I’m almost 29, but I’m not tired of Santa.  Not yet anyway.

Concert weekend

This is Christmas concert weekend for me.  I’m a member of the Cathedral Choral Society and for Christmas, we do three Christmas concerts – a short family concert on Saturday at noon, and full concerts on Saturday and Sunday at 4.  It makes for a busy weekend.  As I write this, it’s Sunday morning and my voice is absolutely shot and I’m exhausted.  It’s amazing how tiring a weekend of singing is.  But the concerts themselves are a lot of fun.  This year, we’re doing a few songs with the Heritage Signature Chorale and they are absolutely amazing.  I want to go to one of their concerts at some point, and I’m not usually a choir concert attendee.  These guys are just that good.

It’s also fun to see all the families all dressed up for the holiday concerts.  This concert is a tradition of sorts for a lot of families and I’m surprised that so many kids manage to sit through the entire thing.  I guess there is a lot to look at around the Cathedral. And of course, being DC, we get a lot of big names at our concerts as well.  Janet Napolitano was there yesterday.  I hope she enjoyed it!  It’s funny to see the Secret Service standing around at our concerts.

(Already falling behind in Holidailies.  Whoops!)