Saturday, January 03, 2009

The end of 08

was not much different than the end of 07 or most other years. The frantic lead up to Christmas in this house begins at Thanksgiving which involves guests or travel, leading into a birthday and bonfire, an anniversary celebration and the mad scramble to secure the right gifts for friends and family as well as making sure Santa is on top of things. There are gingerbread houses to be made, cookies to be sprinkled and winter villages to erect. It's all quite wonderful and quite exhausting. This year we played with our shiny new toys for one day and then left them under the tree, unplugged the colored lights and headed to Texas.

We pulled onto I-70 and joined the thousands of others making their way to or from home, cars loaded with kids or 18 wheelers loaded with who knows what and settled in for a long day of driving. I discovered an app for my iphone which allowed us to tune into any NPR show we wanted. We listened to 3 months worth of Fresh Air on the drive down. Did you know there is a big difference between ultra pasteurized and batch pasteurized milk? That an African Gray parrot can do calculations? That Kit Kittredge, An American Girl was one of the top 10 movies of the year?

I love a good, long ride, this route in particular. We left Missouri in a downpour, traveled through snow, sleet and 28 degrees in Kansas and emerged back into bright sun and 50 degrees in Dallas. Between Emporia (where we religiously exit for JavaCat) and Wichita, we savor the Flint Hills in all their seasonal variations. This time the skies were leaden, the landscape sheathed in ice, the grass frozen sideways. But always the hills radiating their rich hues.

Our time in Texas was Christmas all over again: the Nasher Sculpture Museum, the discovery of the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff where we'd driven to find a book restorer (my mother recently unearthed my great 3x grandmother's 1859 family Bible rotting in my grandfather's garage in Florida) and discovered delectable pumpkin pancakes at Cafe Brazil, rendevouz with many of our closest friends, short but sweet time with my parents and brother's family.

We're back home. The tree is petrified, gifts are scattered around the house, my clothes are tighter. I'm reading cards that arrived in our absence, fending off another bout of Christmas card guilt (another year of good intentions and empty mailboxes.) I'm making my way through backed up email, catching up on friends' blogs and making note of who I need to write. Good intentions all around. Happy New Year, everyone.


jenni said...

I really need to get to the Nasher ASAP ~ great photos!

laurie of liquid paper said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has trouble getting cards out -- every year.