Archive | November 2010

It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas…

I know that it was only a few days ago that I was complaining about the holiday season arriving too early this year. Yet here I am, a week later, writing about the winter holidays. All I can say is that the day after Thanksgiving is the transition point when holiday decorations, music, cookies, etc are all acceptable to me, so we are well into the holiday time frame as far as I am concerned.

We tend to get our tree the day after Thanksgiving so that that we have enough time to experience maximum decoration enjoyment. Tree shopping was on our agenda on Black Friday, but it wasn’t a top priority. In the early afternoon my husband and I went out for a walk to run a few small errands (library, coffee shop, Kinkos) and despite my husband’s feelings that making photocopies on Black Friday was endorsing the crazy consumer culture we did it anyway. Somehow, I don’t think the global economy felt a major shift based on us photocopying our holiday letters.

But I digress, following the copy making we stopped for an iced gingerbread latte (and yes, it was quite cold, don’t judge me) then walked by the Christmas trees at the local hardware store. After a bit of searching we found the tallest, least expensive tree available and my husband guaranteed that it would be no problem to carry it home. Mind you, we were about a mile away from the house and the tree we picked was 7 feet tall.

Despite a bit of wind propelling him back a few times, we made it home. The next morning he said with a hint of confusion in his voice, “My shoulders really hurt today, I wonder what that is from?” Um, carrying home a Christmas tree, genius!

Now that our tree is decorated, I feel quite ready for the holiday parties, family dinners and the gift swapping that next month brings. Here’s to you, December!

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Garden Update: End of the Season

Prior to our overseas adventure I visited the garden plot to plant some garlic bulbs and kale seeds. From that point on, I frequently thought about how much we needed to clean out the rest of our garden plot.

But thinking and doing are two very different things and time got the best of us. I wasn’t exactly surprised when we headed off with our plot still a disaster from the summer.

Last Saturday we got up early and visited our plot for the last time this year. We found that our wild basil plant had grown to be about 6 feet tall in our absence, but many of the leaves had started to turn brown, so down the plant went. Green beans, cucumber vines, pepper plants and more were yanked out and brought home for the composter.

While the sage never took off during the summer, it had started to grow while we were away. Apparently it enjoys chillier weather, so we left it and will see how it fairs during the winter months.

Now we wait until the spring when we can harvest an abundance of garlic (hopefully) and start all over again.

Turkey Day!

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, I will have to accept that the holiday season is upon us. Despite the fact that Christmas decorations have been up since the day after Halloween and we heard holiday music at London Heathrow airport last week, I’ve been trying to pretend it isn’t that time of the year yet.

But tomorrow we will be hosting our fourth Thanksgiving dinner, this year for seven with dessert for nine to 14. Although I have been running around trying to clean up the house like a bit of a maniac all day, I am really excited. I haven’t finished tidying up yet (the exhilarating world of vacuuming awaits), but I love my side table.

Thanksgiving is a great holiday. All you have to do is eat, drink and talk. I am looking forward to sharing this joyful time with old and new friends tomorrow. And mashed potatoes, I am also very much looking forward to mashed potatoes.

Conversations in Amman

During our time in Amman, we experienced a very different culture than life in the United States. I did my best to fit in by wearing very modest clothing, keeping my arms and legs covered most of the time, and having a scarf available to hide my hair if necessary. In public, I let my husband negotiate prices, order at restaurants and talk to taxi drivers. It was during a taxi ride that the most humorous (and disturbing) conversation of our trip occurred.

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One evening our taxi driver spoke good English and was excited to talk to my husband. I sat silently in the back seat listening and hoping that we didn’t die since Jordanian drivers do not believe in the lines on the road or indicator signals.

Taxi Driver: How long have you been married?

Husband: Three years.

Taxi Driver: And how many children do you have?

Husband: None.

Taxi Driver: No children? I have four children, I love children, why don’t you have children?!

Husband: Insha’Allah. (This translates to mean “If it’s God’s will” and was what our travel books instructed we answer if anyone asked about children.)

Taxi Driver: Oh, children are wonderful, here, this is my baby daughter, eight months old. (The driver pulls out his cell phone and shows my husband a picture of the baby…and yes, he’s still driving...) You should have children! You’re Christian right?

Husband: Yes.

Taxi Driver: Here’s what you do, convert to Islam and then you can take a second wife.

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And there I was, a whole foot away, listening to what a terrible wife I am for not having had any children yet. Despite the advice the driver had just given my husband, I continued to masquerade as a well-behaved wife and didn’t jump into the conversation. Thankfully my husband managed to end that part of their talk by telling the driver, “I think one wife is all I can handle.”

Marhaba!

We had quite a wonderful holiday and I am not anxious to get back in the swing of things. I again find myself very grateful to work from home since it means I can adapt a bit more slowly to reality.

There is much to report about how many incredible things we ate (pain au suisse anyone?), drank (French cider and Jordanian wine) and saw (Petra) as well as the limited amount of housewife-related tasks that occurred during our time away. I have to admit, I never knew I would be so excited to do laundry, but after spending about two weeks away it was a real treat yesterday. And having more than four shirts to choose from when getting dressed in the morning was pretty exciting too. Ah, life at home. Not as glamorous as Paris or adventurous as Jordan, but comforting none the less.

There are many stories to tell and images to share, but for now here is sunrise in Amman.

Au Revoir!

My husband and I are heading off on a much needed vacation.  I can’t believe that tomorrow we will be having our petite dejeuner in Paris! After a romantic weekend of cathedral, croissants and wine, we head to Jordan. There we are staying with a dear friend and are thrilled that we will have a chance to visit one of the new seven wonders of the world — Petra. Hopefully we will also get to see the Dead Sea, ancient castles and Roman ruins.

What won’t be happening during our time away? There will be no working! Thank you freelancing for allowing me to take this wonderful break from my computer.

The next 12 days will no doubt be an amazing experience. I look forward to sharing our adventures and pictures when we return!

 

 

No Sick Leave for the Self-Employed

Despite my best efforts to avoid getting sick — I got my flu shot, I work from home and I rarely use public transportation these days — I caught a cold last weekend. The timing really couldn’t have been worse and for once I can blame my husband. The man who “never” gets sick caught a cold last week and kindly shared it with me.

It was very odd being the caretaker since usually I am the one who has turned into some sort of snot-filled, barely functioning disaster. However, as my husband’s cold progressed and I stayed healthy, I thought maybe I would beat the odds and for once, not get sick myself. Ha! Think again. On Sunday I woke up with a sore throat and we both spent the day napping, watching TV and reading. We never left the house and barely moved from the bed. It would have been kind of awesome if we hadn’t felt like crap.

But I digress, the point of this post is to note that thanks to working from home, I have found it is pretty much impossible to take a sick day. Particularly a few days prior to a vacation that will make me inaccessible to my clients for the next two weeks. As my own boss, it’s kind of tragic to tell myself that I don’t have the time to take a sick day!

So here I sit at my desk, surrounded by snotty tissues, a glass of water and a mug of lukewarm tea, trying to power through. Even during the quiet times in my day I feel guilty napping since the house is a disaster and it needs some serious cleaning before we leave on our trip.

But for now, I am trying to take things one step at a time. Which means I need to find a packet of kleenex and then head off to a meeting where I will do everything in my power not to infect my client. Before long I’ll be home again and can hopefully find a way to squeeze in a nap.