Monday, December 28, 2009

From Rough Waters to Smooth

Coming back from vacation is sometimes the opposite of what you would think it should be. Vacation is supposed to be that time when you put your feet up and otherwise do things you want to do instead of what you must do the rest of the year to keep everything going. Sometimes, though, you have to go back to work just to get your rest.

I just returned to work from my Christmas Stay-cation and even though there wasn’t much in the way of travel involved, I would have to characterize my last two weeks as 6 of Swords time. If the 4 of Swords is taking a break, the 5 of Swords is fully engaged in battle, then win or lose, the 6 of Swords is travel, whether in triumph or disgrace, from the field of battle to that opposite shore. In the theory that all the people in the tarot are the sitter, the person being read for, then the 6 of Swords means you take your combative, busy, engaged, tense, passionate little self for a little trip from the crashing waves of your emotions whipped up by winds of year-end efforts and last minute thoughts to the relatively calmer cove of, well, whatever you do after battle. For some people, that’s the party boat, well stocked with sunshine and happy friends. For others, that’s the little family camping trip with nothing more frightening than a squirrel with bad manners. I suppose for some that smooth surface is lethe, the wine of forgetfulness drunk from one of the rivers of Hades. This year, for me, it was at least not going to the office, logging onto work email and systems or answering the work telephone. You know you’ve been on vacation when your passwords expire and when you call to get them reset, you find out it’s only due to inactivity and you do still have a job.

Based on that criteria, I had a great vacation. So why am I exhausted?

Well, for one thing, the 6 of Swords never promised you any sleep. True to form, I often stayed up past midnight questing after some embroidery pattern or watching one more episode of Law & Order SVU or all my True Blood reruns or even Harvey with delightful James Stewart. And, at least since it was stay-cation, I also slept in past 8 am several mornings. For another thing, the 6 of Swords didn’t promise you rest, as opposed to sleep. One week into my 2-week sloth-fest I landed my 4th upper respiratory carnival of surprises in the last 3 months. The people who make Kleenix are probably reaping bonuses this year.

Not that this condition kept me off the occasional party boat with the friends, no, no, not me! A get-together with co-workers from the mid-90’s (that’s the decade, children, not our ages, no matter how tired I look) was a treat and I got to have that super-thin crust pizza at Palomino’s in San Francisco. I was blessed with the opportunity to read cards for someone else’s holiday party and had a great time. I’m sure those nurses are all business when they are at work, really. And no I won’t say where they work. I have the utmost faith in them. After all, I read their cards, so I know now. Not the least of my happy party boat moments was the holiday celebration at the ARC Solano where we bade farewell to longtime pillar and program director Mick Woodson and where my husband received an all-Santana themed gift package for his work as music director for the ARC Solano choir. We all got a chance to see the ARC Solano choir perform Christmas carols that are now broadcast over Vallejo Community Access Television (VCAT). Pa-rum-pum-pum-pum and Three French Hens for everyone! The VCAT holiday party was a great time too with their own Christmas miracle story. A woman whose car had been stolen and stripped a while back had gotten a new car.

Further keeping me out of the office for something completely different was our Christmas itself, spent with friends Frank and Seiko and the boys. I cooked all day Christmas day. We sat down at the table at approximately the time I had determined would be dinner time. And, to my mild surprise, it was delicious! Frank and Seiko contributed an old and rare bottle of Bordeaux that was exquisite to my uncultured palate, complimenting both the roast and the chocolate cake. These staples were of course needed for stamina for Day-After-Christmas Shopping in San Francisco, a quest that is not for the meek. Seiko and I are sworn to secrecy about our purchases so I shall say no more. We reluctantly passed on the Italian leather handbag of timeless beauty and $375 price tag (about 10 times what I pay for my used purses on eBay, such a fashion flop I am) but scored on the Purchase Which Shall Not Be Named. Add iced chai and cappuccino and we were on smooth water for sure. Even the thunder and lightning, so very rare in San Francisco, could not ruin our dinner for 6 at the seafood restaurant in Fisherman’s Wharf. Six was a good number!

Add to that some sweet photos of the great-nieces and nephews with their Christmas fun and little Jacinda’s first birthday. Well, yesterday, by the time we determined we had to drive to Berkeley again to get more poppyseed Noah’s bagels, one last trip from rough waters to smooth, with a little side trip to Ancient Ways thrown in (and no tow-truck this time…yay, Larry!), I have to say,


Happy New Year and best wishes.

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