Monday, December 29

Holiday Break

I hope you all had a great holiday. As planned, Eric and I spent Christmas in Illinois with my family. The weather didn't cause us any travel difficulties, but it did bounce around from bad to worse to okay every ten minutes or so. It was so nice to have a chance to see family and friends that I don't get to see very often. Per tradition I overindulged in calorie-packed foods and sweets...and just as soon as New Year's Eve has come and gone I'll stop eating like an unsupervised six year old.

We'll be spending the last day of the year with his parents--thank goodness that involves no air travel! We didn't encounter any weather-related travel delays, but on the way back we were delayed waiting on connecting passengers who were trying to make the last flight of the day to L.A. Once we finally landed, LAX was packed and the taxi line was monumental. Even though we live only fifteen minutes from the airport, with the taxi line wait we didn't get home until over an hour and a half after we landed. I know it wasn't the same degree of trouble experienced by some holiday travelers, but it was frustrating nonetheless.

I wasn't surprised today to discover we didn't have a scrap of food in the place. After an extensive grocery trip, we're back in business. Now that we have food and are unpacked, I think we're pretty well settled in again. Even though I'd mentioned it to him at least two or three times before, Eric was "bummed" to learn I still have another week off. It's not my company he objects to so much as my presence--when I'm home he knows he's not going to get to sit around and play Xbox all day. We've gotten pretty good at compromising about it, though. I have some new books I want to read, so I can get into those while he works on his hand-eye coordination.

My only real plan for the week is to enjoy the rest of my time off, allowing myself to be lazy and do as little as possible. That being the case, I'm going to wrap this up and get to it!

Wednesday, December 17

Almost Home

It is a cold and rainy day here in L.A., one of the coldest and wettest I've experienced here in Malibu. Rumor has it someone spotted a few snowflakes fluttering in the wind. (It made the news, so it must be true. Click here for the story.) There were very few of them, of course, and they melted instantly on contact, but it gives you an idea of what today has been like. I actually don't mind the weather--we get so little of it here--what I mind is having to drive in it. Drivers here are insane under normal circumstances, and when you add something like rain it really gets dicey. Only a few more days until I get to board a plane home for the holiday. I have no idea exactly how I'm going to be able to get everything done I need to between now and Sunday morning. Usually it all somehow gets done, so I guess I'm just going to have to count on it happening again this time around.

Aside from the usual holiday bustle, the rain this week revealed a leak at our bedroom window. This Monday when I woke up and went to peek out of the blinds, my barefoot stepped on cold, wet carpet. Wonderful. That discovery began a process of working with maintenance to dry the carpet, ultimately resulting in the delivery of a dehumidifier. This machine is so ancient it should be on display at the Villa. It seemed relatively harmless until I turned it on. The filter has probably never been changed, and as it sucked up the moisture, the filter was dampened and began emitting a stomach-turning mildew/mold stench. We ran it for as long as we could stand it and when we couldn't take it anymore I turned it off. Even when it was off the stench was still there. Maintenance finally returned to collect it this afternoon, so I'm currently trying to clear the air around here with every Glade candle I could find in the place.

Assuming the scented candles do their job, the apartment should be back to it's normal warm and cozy holiday self soon. We've already received several Christmas cards from friends and family that are helping to make the living room festive. Sinful goodies are also rolling in from work, along with a few other gifts. I have a pragmatic reputation, so I got some very nice lotions--including some peppermint oil tingling foot cream (gonna have to keep that out of Eric's reach). The general consensus around the office seems to be that we teachers deserve to pamper ourselves. That's exactly what I intend to do. just a couple of more days.

Friday, December 12

Sketching Herakles

Last month one of our teachers brought back a rather entertaining souvenir from an "Art Odyssey" lesson, which is our family program at the museum and is meant for family members of all ages. She featured mythological heroes in the lesson, and as the activity at the end asked everyone to sketch one of the most famous statues in the Villa's collection, the Landsdowne Herakles:

Below is the drawing that a grandmother on the tour produced:

I wonder what was on grandma's mind?

Monday, December 8

Christmastime Is Here

I'm settling in this morning with a cup of coffee to catch up on email and various other cyber to-do's. It's already 11 o'clock, I'm still lounging around in my pajamas. Eric is on campus, so I have the place to myself. I love days off. This past weekend was my December Saturday-Sunday weekend off (usually I'm off Monday-Tuesday), so Eric and I took advantage of it and used Saturday to get our Christmas tree and decorate the apartment. The Christmas tree lot was predictably busy, but luckily the 7-8' trees weren't entirely picked over. We examined several candidates. Well, Eric got all dirty and sticky with sap while I examined them. That's his job.

After a few eliminations Eric's mom spotted a nice full noble fir in good shape. We shook it out to confirm first impressions, and once it was declared worthy we claimed our tree and loaded it in the truck. Well, Eric loaded it. That's his job.

There was the annual discovery of faulty strings of lights and the annual trip to get more to replace them, but before the day was out we had the tree decorated. It looks great--hopefully we can keep it looking good through the holiday season. We cleaned and decorated all afternoon and had the place cozy and Christmas-y by the time friends came over that evening.

Sunday was another busy day for me. I ran all sorts of errands, did the grocery shopping, more cleaning, and laundry. I even made my first batch of homemade candy (butterscotch haystacks) for the season. Having done quite enough yesterday, today I'm giving myself permission to do nothing at all. It's hard to believe that I have only two weeks or so before boarding a plane home. I almost can't believe I'm going to have two weeks off for the holidays this year--that hasn't happened in a very, very long time. I plan to make the most of it!