I write this as I prepare to go back to my work in full force. Case in point, I have three meetings today, and a heap of research data processing to get through, and likely I will go do some chilly field work later in the week. Oh, and I have to mail 3 people DVDs of data from my masters thesis research, as well as catch up on the 30 or so articles I should have read over break. I should emphasize here that I am not complaining. Actually it feel greatto be getting back to it. I think I was getting cabin fever. How pathetic is it that I can no longer ‘enjoy’ a vacation without pondering my work, or milling over hypotheses in my head. I’m twisted I know!
It was very awesome to drive down to Tejas and spend time with much of the family. We had an uneventful trip down. The plan was to drive to Jacksboro, TX (where my mom and maternal grandparents are) to visit for a couple of days, then head down to SA to celebrate Dave’s B-day and enjoy Christmas, then drive home via Little Rock and see my Dad for a spell (by spell, I mean maybe dinner)
Generally all went well. It was very nice to see my mother and Ray, and most awesome to visit with my grandparents. It was their 35th anniversary, and my wiley Papa Sam had a dozen roses delivered. Can you say awwww?! Lois always inspires me when we talk, and this time we were talking about bread, and how long store bought bread ‘keeps’. She mentioned that if the mold and mildew won’t eat it, neither will I. That struck home for Jordan and I when we got home to find our bread (best by date 12/12) in mint condition with no mold or otherwise. Gotta love super processed and chemical treated food…so, as a consequence we are now baking all of our own bread. It’s nice, considering we have a nice Kitchen Aide stand mixer (thanks Lois!). We just throw the stuff in and let it go. Easy.
It was nice to be able to visit with mom and Ray as well. Ray had to work most of the time we were there, so it was limited with him, but hey…we all have to work. The Buick is still running fine, and sounded good when he started it up. That’s a great car! Mom has a new (well at least to me) wiener dog name Tinkerbell, who is cute, even if her breath reeks. Mom is doing alright, I know they are struggling, but they did well by us. I do wish she would stop smoking, and I worry badly about her health. Maybe things will change for her. In any case it was wonderful to be there, as it had been a year and a half since last we visited.
On Monday we drove to San Antonio. Man, Ron and Pat’s house looks amazing! I bet they must feel a great sense of peace and accomplishment with the completion of the remodel. I was joking with Pat that her kitchen looks like it hosts a TV cooking show, tres chic! Edgar came down and stayed with us for Christmas as well. That was nice, a great gift in itself. He is probably the closest I’ll ever have to a brother. We went to dinner with the whole fam (sans Nate & Beck) at a little mexican dive on NW Military and Vance Jackson. Oh how I miss good, spicy, and fatty Tex-Mex. Randy and Luanne had drove down also. Randy came in limping hard and using a cane. It turned out later that he had a clean break on his Tibia! Poor guy must have been in some real pain!
We wen to HOP for ‘eve services, candle lightign, singing and such. It was nice to see the church again, but I felt bad when pastor said, “wow, so good to see a full house here tonight” or something similar. There were like 30 people there. Ouch. Oh well, it was still nice. After services we went over to the Johnsons’ for pictures and whatnot. Great cider was had by all and gifts opened. Max was great…he just dove in, priceless. He deserves it 🙂
We set out the cookies and milk (metaphorically of course) and headed to bed with visions of sugar plum faeries and what not. Christmas morn was rung in to the tunes of Go Tell it On the Mountain per tradition, and a good time was had by all. Christmas Dinner went fabulous, even if I burned the Green Bean Casserole (oops) I was picking little black french fried onions off of it for about 30 minutes before everybody got there! The cool kids sat out on the patio and chilled, reminisced about good times, and sandy bikinis.
It was really wonderful to visit with everybody again, and I am already looking forward to our next chance to meet. It was too bad we couldn’t get together with Nate and Beck, but I understand. Lord knows I have work my fair share of holidays. I am sure they had a great time when they came down later the next week.
We left for home on Saturday. The plan was to stay in Little Rock and have dinner with Dad, but after calling we found out he had the flu, so we said we would pass. At least we got to visit in November, so it wasn’t too bad. I hope he is feeling better now.
I took a bevy of pictures, and I don’t feel too much like captioning each of them, so here they are en masse thumbnail style for your purusal: