06 January 2010

There and back again.

Today has been an absolutely stunning day on Camano Island. Every time that I looked outside of the windows it seemed that the sky had painted itself into an even more beautiful pattern of clouds, greys, blues and whites. I love how even when one is literally running up and downstairs constantly all day, or sitting at the computer gearing up for a new semester, views like today's can still grab your attention and hold it for long enough to almost rejuvenate one's being. Unfortunately even a view like some that I saw today can't replace sleep...

It's been a great four weeks here in the Pacific Northwest. I fly back to Chicago Saturday afternoon, and will start into the new semester of teaching and grad classes next Tuesday. I never leave feeling quite as rested as I'd like, but I've made a point this week to really make sure that I can have most of my time at home. The stress of packing and anything that needs to be shipped off are more than enough without the normal comings and goings to and from the island to town. Unfortunately that means that certain friends I had hoped to see or spend more time with, I wasn't able to and if that is you I am very sorry. I am thankful for the people that I did get to see and please know that if you were not in my arms for a hug, you are in my thoughts and prayers! I'll be home for over a month between June and August (probably closer to two now that I've typed that out!) so there should be ample opportunity to catch up with people then.

While home, I was of course able to see many friends, but it is above all a time for family during the holidays. I spend quite a bit of time with Michael's family and some with mine, too! It seems like I am always arriving home during the final push of my dad's Celtic Christmas tour, which is a mixture of very fun and very stressful emotions. This year, though, we had lovely little Vienna to bring joy to all around; the violinist that he is now working with, Wendy Goodwin, has a 7-month old baby girl who traveled with them for the entirety of the tour. She is one of the most darling little humans I've ever set eyes on and her laugh would probably almost charm Scrooge or the Grinch right out of their socks! Here we are while the concert was happening at my parents' church, St. Aidans. What a doll.
I was blessed to see many friends, like I said. Here is a picture of two of my oldest, dearest friends (not old just longtime!) Amelia and Laura. What a joy it is to catch up on one another's lives and get to laugh and enjoy each other's company...even if it isn't nearly as often as we'd all like!
For Christmas Eve, my parents and I headed down to Lynnwood to have dinner with Michael's family. We had a great time, although Michael was missed.For Christmas Day, we had our good friend Kathy, my grandpa Dale and his friend Lynne, my Uncle Kirk and his girlfriend and my parenst and I. We had a fun time trying to whistle some tunes with a kit that Lynne had brought, but mostly just enjoyed a wonderful meal and being together. I look forward very much to when Michael can share all of this with me!For New Year's 2010, Jes, who is my closest friend apart from Michael, came up for a quick visit from San Ramon, CA. She is a great guest and so much fun to have around. We weren't able to do many exciting activities, but we got some good catching up in and had a fun little get-together with Kathy and my parents on New Year's Eve. We shared it with Kim & Rebecca, Bob & Dawn, Amelia (who was in a previous picture - popular!) and Nancy. Low-key but we had some good laughs ringing in the new year and fresh decade.I pray that this finds you all well and committed to your New Year's resolutions. I haven't really written mine out yet, but they are certainly materializing. I anticipate the coming semester with significantly less stress and doubt, though it will be no less challenging than the last. I will be focusing and working much more in my graduate classes this time around, however, which will be nice, since that is what I am there to do! I'll be teaching two sections of French 104 additionally so it will be busy...but then in the spring, I'll get to see Michael! Only 4 more months to go...

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