Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy new year!

Hello and a very happy new year. Obviously I skipped blogging during the holidays... But here's a couple of highlights:

We went to a wonderful Solstice evening the weekend before the actual shortest day of the year in Colrain, a town about a half hour from here west of Greenfield. The weather had been really cold and icy and they were predicting a terrible storm starting that evening, but we managed to crawl up the steep hill to the Round House at the Center for Culture Evolution. The house is extraordinary and the evening was a wonderful selection of storytelling, juggling by our friend the AMAZING Rob Peck -- be sure to click on his videos -- and music, all coordinated by our AMAZING friend John Porcino whom we know from Farm and Wilderness. If you are ever looking for a place to have a retreat, or family reunion, or wedding, or celebration, consider this really breathtaking house.

The next week, on the night of the 22nd, we found at least three towns that were hosting bonfires and other solstice celebrations. We went to the one in Westhampton, the next town west of Northampton, where a library fundraiser were offering s'mores, popcorn, Christmas and camp songs around the campfire, and a howl at the moon. Also sledding down the very steep hill. I met some great women from the area and we all felt very welcomed.

It was one of those things, a cold Saturday night a few days before Christmas, and we were really not sure we wanted to go. I just got out of the habit of going to stuff in New York, partly because of laziness, but also the sheer hassle of traffic and crowds and waiting for a bus or walking to the subway on a cold night all conspired to make me pass on things more often than not. But this time, and others lately, I said, this is why we moved here, to go to this stuff. We went and were really glad we did.

Oh and we saw a mess of deer on the road there! Dave said, there's a couple of deer! -- we were still in Northampton -- and we watched them cross the road and go off into the woods, and then -- a whole lot more! We just stopped and waited a bit. We've also seen a few deer in our backyard, finally. Normally they stay in the woods.

Christmas Eve we spent with my cousin Bill and family in New Jersey and then went to my dad's for Christmas. We changed our plans at the last minute and decided to come home the next day, rather than take a grand tour of more family visits.

While we missed seeing everyone it turned out to be the right decision for us, especially for me. Back at work full-time for the first time since Lily was born, I have to relearn the work-family balance -- indeed, I never really knew it, since I was not a parent when I last worked a full week. So I wasn't aware of how essential it is to get a lot of rest and downtime. Sounds obvious now, but lots about this new life sounds obvious but isn't, and I have to make mistakes before realizing the right path. In this case I was watching all my colleagues at work who were planning on being home for Christmas, as they were for Thanksgiving, and I realized I didn't have to go away every time I had a free moment.

This is interesting to me: In New York City, everyone leaves a lot. They leave for the holidays, for the weekend, for vacation. That doesn't seem to be true in the country, at least where we are. It's not that people don't go away, but that they seem to actually like living here and don't get overwhelmed by the lifestyle and the busy-ness.

As for Christmas week, we spent it cooking, and going to the movies, and doing house chores. We now have shelves in our new laundry room and most of the den downstairs, while not yet cozy, is cleared out. We hung art and rearranged some furniture and I got Lily's playroom a bit more organized. That's in addition to cooking and eating and all. Lily and I got skis so we also went cross-country skiing, once to Notchview, in Windsor, and once just out our backyard. Awesome!

I had to work on New Year's Eve but Dave and Lily spent the day going to events at First Night in Northampton. They got to go to everything they wanted and the weather wasn't too cold so they could walk around and get to things. I joined them with friends at dinner and then we went to a couple of events. One was a hilarious performance by an improv group called the Villa Jidiots. We got to the first performance a little late and we liked it so much we got in line again and saw the second show, too. I laughed so hard I was crying and my stomach hurt. It was simple, silly humor, a lot of it, but always very smart and really fun. They are doing an evening of improv Shakespeare, apparently, that I hope we can go to.

Friday night we went to a celebration of Three Kings Day held at the Amherst middle school and hosted by a Puerto Rico community group, I think, although I didn't get the name. It was fun and we met a nice couple, also new to the neighborhood. One was Mexican, and one grew up in Wellesley! But she was in her early sixties so we didn't know anyone in common. Dave and I now have tickets to see Rory Block and Steve Earle (not together) at the Iron Horse in the next few weeks. I can't wait, although now I need a couple of sitters!

Now Lily is back in school and I am back at work. The new year is upon us. Best wishes to you all for a joyous new year and please stay in touch.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.