We had a very busy Christmas break this year, so busy that to me it didn't feel much like a break. Two days before Christmas Veep returned from Utah after a stressful long distance winter drive. I worked Christmas eve day. Then Christmas morning we rushed and opened presents, cleaned up a bit, put the garbage out, packed the car, and drove to Seattle where I worked the day after Christmas and the rest of the week. Our drive took extra long as we hit one of the many snow storms that hit Snoqualmie pass, about 50 miles east of the city on interstate 90. Even with all wheel drive, we stopped to put on chains. Then inched down the pass with all the lucky skiers who got to really enjoy the snow earlier in the day. It was nice snow and a pleasant enough drive. Veep didn't like it as she was scarred from her earlier long distance drive. Maybe she won't be so quick to leave town in the winter next year.
Anyway, Veep and the kids found plenty to do during the day while I worked. They went to the aquarium and the science center and got to play with their second cousins who drove up from Olympia (they even got to spend the night with them one night). Plus we met up with a classmate of mine from med school who is in town doing a fellowship, and his wife who was good friends with Veep. It was fun getting reacquainted and realizing how quickly time has passed. They now have three kids, as do we. We stayed over in Seattle for new year's and saw the fireworks at the space needle from a less crowded, more convenient spot downtown near our hotel.
On the weekend we drove back up to Snoqualmie for some skiing of our own. It was a day for the kids to take lessons and, surprisingly, we got Schmoopie to take a beginner lesson! She has resisted skiing more than a little in the past, but was a good sport and didn't complain. She did a good job in her class learning the basics of stopping in a snow plow wedge and didn't even get cold despite the continuous snow and wind. Sal didn't stick it out so well, ending his lesson 15 minutes in. Veep and I didn't ski, but policed the kids a bit. Boofis went off with her class on the lift as she already knows how to stop, turn, and ride the lift. The snow was impressive. It actually snowed more days in December here than it has in the past 39 years. At Snoqualmie they were reporting over 14 feet of snow for the month. Wow.
We drove back to Spokane on New Year's Day, arriving home in the late afternoon, giving us the evening to unpack and clean up. Then I got to go to work again the next day. We've sort of started a tradition of going places over Christmas. Two years ago we actually celebrated Christmas away from home in British Columbia (skiing at Red Mountain) and last year we spent the week before Christmas at Mt. Bachelor (as is detailed in this blog--wow, a whole year since then and only about four entries).
So now that we're home we've got to figure out the New Year's resolutions. Mine is to get in better shape as I'm getting soft in the middle. I thought I'd have more time to exercise with my "real" job, but seem to be busier than ever. I've got some ideas of how to get on a regular exercise schedule and lose some fat though.
Of course, what blog entry is complete without a little house construction update? Work continues on the inside of the house, doing the flooring and trim. The cabinets were almost finished last week but will have to wait as the hard wood floors are being completed and finished the next few days. Most of the tile is done and the walls have all been textured and painted. The stone on the fireplace is done as well. Some of the recessed light fixtures are in so we can actually see at night now. The stairs are also coming together with work being done on the railing. We've still got to figure out the shelving for the closets, order a shower door for the master bath, and find a good soft water filter.
When we were in Seattle we went to a store where I found a DVD collection of the best of The Electric Company. We bought it to enjoy with the kids while remembering our own childhoods. I've watched it a little with Sal the last two nights while putting him to bed. It's amazing to see Morgan Freeman as "Easy Reader" and Bill Cosby as one of the players and to be reminded of Fargo North Decoder. I forgot so much about it. "Stanley" the TV screen where words appear, the silhouette profiles rhythmically sounding out words then speaking them together, the little circus band. I don't feel like I'm that old, but it is amazing to think how much things have changed since that time--in the world, with technology, with people. But the kids still seem captivated with the same simple things, and learning to read hasn't changed too much. Oh I'm sure there are lots of new theories about how language and reading should be taught, but the simple idea of entertaining and teaching at the same time is still with us. Anyway, just thought I'd share my memories of The Electric Company.