Happy New Year’s eve.

Christmas is down and put away for another year.

Jeremy got brand new carbon fiber wheels for his bike and spent the day installing them.

I’m at the hospital tomorrow to start the new year/decade.

I read the following books this year averaging more than one a month which I think is pretty good for me. I embraced my Kindle and borrowing electronically from our library. I probably abandoned 4 books for each of these I read. My favorite was probably The Night Circus followed by The Immortalists.

  • The Greenglass House Kate Milford
  • Less Andrew Sean Greer
  • Wolf Hollow Lauren Wolk
  • Graceling Kristin Cashore
  • When Breath Becomes Air Paul Kalanithi
  • Wonder RJ Palacio
  • The Immortalists Chloe Benjamin
  • The War that Saved My Life Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern
  • American Marriage Tayari Jones
  • Evvie Drake Starts Over Linda Holmes
  • The Gifted School Bruce Holsinger
  • The Unwinding of the Miracle Julie Yip-Williams

I have no goals/resolutions for the next year. Just wishes to be with family and friends. I will see how it unfolds. Much love to you all. Good night!

My family & the end of the year.

So it’s New Year’s Eve eve. I guess I should round up the year now. I’m grateful I made it through the fall and the college application process though to my chagrin, I wasn’t able to pull through with absolute grace and/or complete composure. There were a few months there in the middle there where I thought I had absolutely ruined my relationship with Vince. Lots of crying and bad feelings on both our parts. I give great thanks to Jeremy who did a lot of the hard work which mostly was coaxing the writing of the essays and being OK with a good enough essay. Somehow I can give grace to many things now that I wouldn’t have let go before, but there are still things that remain to work on. I give a lot of thanks for Vincent who seems to not hold grudges and will forgive his mother for her bad mothering moments.

I’m thankful for reaching the first peak of my little side-gig nursing job. When I started working on this dream a decade ago, my goal was to get a day shift job PRN at a hospital within reasonable commuting from the house. I didn’t matter which hospital or which specialty, I wanted a short commute, days only and controlling the days that I worked. And, though it took me 10 years, I’m where I said I wanted to be. I’ve earned back the money I spent on tuition which was another goal of mine since I know I love school so much more than I love working, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t follow through with an actual nursing job. I’m grateful to have a first job which allowed me have the flexibility to learn a whole separate skill and to fully perform it. I’m happy to have found a medical unit which has the most stable nursing staff in the hospital (this is indicative of a manager that everyone loves), where coworkers are happy to see me come into work and where I feel everyday that I do good, useful work. The work is the most challenging thing I have ever done. (I would say that it is unsustainable and needs to have union representation before we all die from exhaustion (both the staff and the patients waiting for help to go to the bathroom)). I have this idea that I’ll keep this job through Vince’s college years, I do like being able to say – I worked two jobs to send you to college because it is true, I’ll take the 2nd half income to help pay for the big college bill. And then I’ll be too old/tired to keep going.

Thankful for Edda’s healthy year and for Edda’s Medicaid waiver eligibility and for all the caregivers that are like family. Thankful that she has such nice programs for her to spend her days. For the staff’s continued optimism and hope of improvement and progress for communication and skills when I can get mired in thinking of stagnating or going backwards. Some of my happiest days this year was when I took some saved money and gave it to Edda’s school program to help them run their community outings better (to buy donuts at Krispy Kreme) and to see Edda go to homecoming!

For Jeremy, who does so much for me everyday. I can not believe how he picked me out of all the people he could have picked from. For my nursing gig, he cancelled business travel for a full year – this is a guy who probably travels a week every month to six weeks during a regular year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll get to support him in his next gig which hopefully will come to fruition with the next election.

Portraits, biking, colleges.

We finally got around to hanging up the portraits of the children’s ancestors (and Jeremy’s too). Actually, Jeremy hung them up and I got roped into helping him out. I think someday I’ll have to get a portrait done, I have to find the right artist.

Jeremy’s back hurts and it’s bumming him out. He’s trying to get in more of a tucked position for biking so he recently lowered the handlebars on his bike by a centimeter and it threw the whole thing out of whack. So he put it back up to the old position and his back still hurts. Then today at 8 am he told me he was fasting (not eating) today. With the not eating and the back hurting (and therefore, the no biking) today, I buddied up with Edda and basically hid in her room with her watching Toy Story 3 and napping. OMG, the incinerator part is still heart wrenching. I did do some work today in the vicinity of Jeremy, but I tried to be extra nice and extra not annoying even though he was slightly annoyed at everything. Look, but he’s holding a baby! And he reconfigured his whole indoor biking set up in our unnecessarily enormous walk in closet. Three screens, little baby. One screen for his own biking metrics. One screen to watch youtube videos of professional bikers doing hard things up tall mountains or on muddy trails or over cobblestones for motivation. And a third screen to take care of incoming emails or to order things mid-ride from Amazon.

Jeremy and the kids are off until next Thursday. It’s like the longest winter break in history. Vince is done with college applications – I think. Maryland & Purdue went in yesterday. He’s decided to not apply to either Carnegie Mellon or Haverford. Those are the ones that are most triggering for me and most enthusiastically endorsed by the sets of grandparents. One last one remains, which is Wisconsin Madison which is not due until mid-Feb, but what stands in the way is a 650 word essay about why you want to go to Wisconsin Madison and Vince can’t think of a single reason why. We are still encouraging him to think about it. I think he might prefer it to either Pitt or Rutgers if he didn’t get into any CA schools. Everyone we know loves Madison. But he seems to think it’s in the middle of nowhere. It’s ok if he decides to not apply there. Frankly, I’m very happy with the college application process as it stands now.

We had dinner with Xiao Ying and her family this evening. Lovely. Taro pudding with peanut powder for dessert.

Christmas gifts.

Edda got Disney+ for Christmas. She’s a little wary. She still loves the 10-15 videos from when she was a toddler. It’s hard to convince her to go in a new direction. We only recently got her to enjoy Frozen (I not II) and I think she likes only the beginning of that movie. C’mon Edda, Frozen is such a good movie!

Vince got some LED lights that oscillate through the colors of the rainbow and give me an intense headache. I can hardly even stand it for 30 seconds. He leaves it on all the time. Nauseating. Ugh.

Jeremy got these tubeless tires for Christmas.

I’m cleaning up Christmas – stockings came down today, ornaments came down. I removed all the wax from the menorah today – I know Hanukkah is still going on, but we really only light the candles during the big family dinners and we aren’t going to have another one before it’s over.

Biking mis-adventure.

Jeremy was biking with a group on Christmas Eve when they were harassed by this driver. Jeremy said a number of people in his group have these continuous cameras recording while they ride just in case. Luckily no one got hurt and they got the plate and everything. Jeremy is in the yellow passing to get out of the car’s way early in the video.

Merry Christmas to you all.

We volunteered to host Christmas dinner. Jeremy and I can now host a party for 30 in no time flat. No, I take that back. For a party that starts at 5pm, we need to start at about 2pm. I even took a 20 minute nap at 3:45pm – though when the first guests rolled in, Edda and I were still in our pajamas. But we changed quickly. Did Jeremy buy this pork loin crown roast to feed everyone? Yes he did.

But before the Christmas dinner, we went to McDonald’s on Christmas Eve to celebrate my dad’s 78 birthday. I did not suggest this idea, my father came up with this one on his very own. We made it festive with the big number balloons and a red tablecloth.

Christmas gifts to the staff working Christmas Eve.

Free ice cream on the house. We supplied the candle.

Happy birthday dad! This was a ridiculous idea that turned out to be just fine festive.

Christmas morning run with my pussy hat knitted by Mary Ann. Mary Ann! My favorite pediatric oncology nurse. Thinking about you today & Ben & the kids.

Christmas breakfast with my parents. Stockings & stollen & panettone and bacon and eggs.

Gifts were opened. These bacon and eggs pajamas were the biggest hit.

I got Jeremy many, many bike parts. Many times Jeremy would send me the direct link and I would just buy it.

Then the family dinner. I didn’t get many photos, but I got a photo of the menorah.

My dad with the crown roast (Christmas is his actual birthday).

Merry Christmas from our family to yours. An update on the college quest – Vince got into Rutgers engineering last week. Very exciting, he got notified in the modern way – by text. A few more applications go out before the new year and then we are done with applying to college.

Xmas, cupcakes, quilt, boxes.

Last night, Vince came into our room and raised his arms and said – Tr*mp’s impeached! He’s gone! Thank goodness! We had to tell him impeachment doesn’t quite work that way.

I have no idea why, but this year, for whatever reason, I’m happy and not anxious going into the holidays. I marveled at this fact today and I told Jeremy – I haven’t been grinchy at all, have I? He’s like – you’ve been great! And then I asked him – I wonder why? And then he said – Do not think about it very hard. Just keep it going. I think it’s because it’s Vince’s last Christmas when he’s living here and not visiting from where his is living. I’m determined to squeeze every last bit of enjoying out of the season. I’ve been generous with gift giving (usually I get grouchy thinking of all the overspending), I did not overwork (namely I didn’t sign up for any extra shifts at the hospital even though the unit is terribly short staffed) and I’m trying to not overeat too much.

We went to Edda’s school today for our annual little cupcake holiday party. Here’s Mr. Pat, Edda’s teacher.

Edda in her classroom.

And our super-fancy Georgetown Cupcakes. I was not sad while in Edda’s room. I really wasn’t sad even afterwards which oftentimes happens. I enjoyed someone’s homemade empanadas with guacamole. I danced to Timber by Pitbull & Kesha.

I finished edging this quilt! This quilt is my quilting masterpiece. Now I just have to make a nameplate and send it to the lucky recipient.

We are continuing our tradition of not wrapping any boxes for Christmas. A waste of time and paper. lol. We just order Xmas gifts and stop opening any boxes around the first week of December. It means we don’t remember which box is for who and we also end up unwrapping some household items like trash bags on Christmas. It’s fine and kind of funny.

Xmas party, snow day, pee.

I needlessly worried about Jeremy’s work Christmas party. A good number of folks showed up despite the cold and the rain and I had very nice time. We had a nice charcuterie board with fancy cheeses/olives and cured meats. Jeremy wore his festive Christmas outfit. He thinks his green tie is out of style now – the fabric too thick resulting in a large knot while the fashion may be now to thinner ties.

I wore something completely out of style – a plaid Christmas dress and striped Christmas leggings. Next year, I’ll get the felted elf shoes with the curly toes.

We had no Edda-care arranged for this party, so Jeremy and I traded Edda duties and hosting duties. Vince was upstairs sleeping off a cold (he’s still sick, it’s been lingering for a while) with a 30 second appearance to make himself a ham sandwich and scope out the drink offerings.

This is our kind of party – an afternoon party, low on the drinking, high on the cookie decorating and a number of toddlers running around. After the party, we were suppose to go to another holiday party, but we were both exhausted. I don’t understand how I get tired so easily these days. It’s like I’m almost 50 or something.

On Monday, I went to hospital for a shift. When I left at 5:45 am, it was snowing lightly outside and schools were on a two hour delay. I checked with Jeremy that he could manage to get Edda on the bus and I headed to work. I shoved my purse with my phone into my work locker at 6:30 am and then proceeded to work all day until I got on the shuttle bus at 8 pm when I found out that school had been cancelled all day! I didn’t know it was a snow day until it was almost bedtime. That was weird.

Vince told me last night that I was 15% annoying. Jeremy was 98% not annoying. I asked if I was less annoying than Maxi. He said I was for sure less annoying than Maxi because Maxi often noses into Vince’s room while he is snoozing in bed and is sniffing around trying to find a good spot to pee on the carpet and Vince is like – Max! don’t pee on the carpet please, I’m right here next to you. At least you could have the decency to pee on the carpet when I’m not in the room. I guess I’m less annoying because I usually don’t pee on his stuff. That’s good.

Xmas prep.

Last night Jeremy had a meeting downtown and he didn’t get home until 9:30pm. If I’m clever, I can be asleep when he comes home and get a full night’s sleep. But I’m often not clever and then we want to stay up late chatting and then we both don’t get enough sleep. So we are dragging a little today.

I took Vince on/off some freeway interchanges on Thursday afternoon. He was planning to drive tonight (late) to a weekend overnight scout camp about two hours away from the house, but he hasn’t been on the freeway in the 6 months or so that he’s had his driver’s license. But now he feels really sick and crappy, so he’s at school doing the some lighting work he promised to do for a show tonight and he’s headed home to sleep. It’s just as well that his first 2 hour trip in the car isn’t tonight. It’s cold and rainy and foggy and anytime I was on the road during the day today, visibility was bad and people were parked in weird places or there were police around.

We went to Edda’s aftercare today to give everyone red envelopes. I’ll do it for her school staff sometime next week. Our largest line item every year for the holidays are the gifts we give to all the folks who work with Edda everyday. She has a lot of people looking out for her. And for that we are grateful.

Jeremy’s work decided there wasn’t $ in the budget to host this year’s Christmas party (which is usually a pretty fancy dinner/downtown affair). But folks still wanted to have it & somehow we got roped into hosting it at our house – it’s happening tomorrow afternoon. From a DCer’s perspective, we live way out in the boondocks and the weather is going to be bad tomorrow, so I’m not sure how many people are going to show up. Cookies got made today:

The tree is also coming together in a sea of shedded fake pine needles. I was not motivated to put it up before tonight. I was considering getting a real tree as this is Vince’s last Christmas in the house as a child, but I didn’t quite manage to make it to a lot and tie one to the top of the van. So this fake one will have to do.