Regarding our holiday adventures

J and I are taking the night to clean up our house, which has become somewhat of a disaster in the past few weeks. A great disaster though. A disaster where every abandoned box and bag you find on the ground contains a forgotten treasure. That striped button down shirt! The first season of "The Dog Whisperer" on DVD! Cucumber melon shower gel! A Starbucks gift card! The entire works of Shakespeare contained in 25 illustrated volumes! (My dad, that one was my dad) Seriously, our families gave us a wonderful Christmas, and travelling to both Connecticut and DC meant our Christmas was not merely a day, but several days. Days that we got to spend lounging with our loved ones, giving and receiving, laughing and eating and playing with Mina.

In between Christmas and New Years, we opted to come back to Chapel Hill. Despite the fact that I end up driving up and down the east coast what seems like a gagillion times around the holiday season every year, saying "I'm not doing this next Christmas," well, I end up doing it the next Christmas. This year we figured we both could work during those quiet, almost eerie days, between Jesus's birth and the huge party that is New Years Eve. And we both got a lot done, as well as enjoyed the unpopulated town's perks - eating out, going to a bar with friends - and never having to look too hard for an excellent parking space.

The result, however, was that by the time this past weekend arrived, I felt like I'd been running some sort of crazy marathon. Like I was seeing my life in fast forward. That I'd been acting in a way I don't normally act since the beginning of December. Dropping my bag and coat on the floor upon arriving home. Off to the store to get presents or party supplies. Spending way more money than usual. Eating whatever I wanted all the time and never bothering to work out. Turning the lights out without my normal, much loved reading time. Sleeping as much as possible, but not much. Packing up my belongings again. Getting on the road.

I know I'm not the only one who feels this way around this time of year, and don't get me wrong, it's not even that I don't like it. I mean, it's kind of what makes the season awesome, you know? If you sit down to a big Christmas dinner with a great bottle of wine and all these wonderful people and you don't feel an immediate surge of relief because - damnit, you made it! You did all the stuff and you made it to Christmas! - well, it's just not as fun, is it?

Plus, I'm not complaining. I can't complain. I'm pretty sure J and I are the luckiest people on Earth. In fact, I'm positive we are. I mean, the presents for instance, like the fact that we now own a copy of "Mean Girls" and can watch it whenever we want. But also because people love us and stuff like that.

All the travelling and lack of down time also made me very excited for New Years Eve, perhaps even more excited than usual, which is really something because New Years is my favorite of the more minor holidays. I'm not really sure what I mean by that, except that I mean that I like New Years better than the Fourth of July, for instance, but not better than Christmas, of course, because I'm pretty sure that would be sacrilegious.

My brother and I, who planned a party out at my parent's house, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, spent a fair amount of time worrying if enough people would attend this year's party to make it a success. The fear exists because of this party we threw for New Years 2004, this party people still talk about, where about 20 million people showed up and almost set the house on fire, but luckily didn't. It's hard to bounce back from that. Not that I want to ever have a party exactly like that again, I mean, I'm almost 29 for Christ's sake, but, you know, I do want our reputation for throwing decent parties to stay intact.

Turns out we didn't need to worry, because a lot of our very cool friends showed up, and many brought their friends and all together it was an incredibly fun group - a group that didn't mind when Adam Ant's hit "Goody Two Shoes" was played about 20 times - they just screamed like they'd never been blessed with such fortune and danced...and danced.

And now, the quiet. I almost felt a little sad tonight. A little like I did after J and I got back from our honeymoon, to our cozy house and I realized the planning and stress and yes, the raucous group dancing, was over for a while and I felt, I don't know - I guess just a little down. That feeling never lasts for long though - and not only because you realize you have time to take a long bath, catch up on all your magazines, and that makes you very, very happy - but because the quiet, literally, never lasts for long. There's always some new adventure around the corner, and I have no doubt 2007 will bring many.

A few highlights of Christmas and New Years below, including one of my brother standing with my father, who was dressed in an authentic Ethiopian outfit all day Christmas Day. What? What's that? You want to know why my father, who is white and born of Italian parents, dressed in an Ethiopian outfit on Christmas Day? An interesting, and valid question. And my guess is probably as good as yours.

Also, you can see my all New Years pictures here, and Jed's pictures (which are much better than mine) here.

Mina with Santa


The brothers Hanson



In the kitchen