Saturday, January 6, 2018

an actual break

So the crazy-busy semester ended and Christmas break began.  The break started out weird by having a whole week between the last exam and graduation.  So we were kind of out of school and kind of not out of school.  I had several end of semester sorts of things to attend to on the computer but I managed to stay off campus most of the week.  Still it was an awkward start to break.

When you can see the Christmas break coming in the distance, like when it's just a few more weeks away on the calendar, it's like an oasis.  Everything around the house that needs doing, every hobby you've neglected, every movie you wanted to watch, it all gets pushed into the upcoming break.  You can see this beautiful break in your mind.  Maybe you're wearing a smoking jacket, sitting in a wing back chair by a cracking fire reading the three books you started but didn't finish during the semester.  Then the break comes and you're racing through all the holiday events and struggling to get everything done on your list before cooking dinner and then falling in bed exhausted at 8pm.  

Well there was no smoking jacket or wing back chair and the only fire we had was the fake one on Netflix while we opened presents.  But I did manage to read a book.  Here's what else I did...

 If I were the kind of person that felt emotion, I would love these people.  This is our Christmas portrait from our Christmas party during the awkward week of school not really being out.  We were gifted fancy berets from Paris and had to sport them for our photo.  One of us also decided to ride the rocking horse decoration.

 Esnipes was my secret Santa person.  Among other cool things, she gave me socks with the quote "I hate everyone too".  She gets me.  I love them.

 We always eat lunch together after graduation and this time we invited KJ to eat with us before he shipped himself off to Oklahoma.  KJ is the new motion designer for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team and he's kind of a big deal.  We are so proud of him.

 Ice skating is the thing during Christmas holidays.  Every town has the "ice on main" thing with a tiny, temporary ice rink.  They always have sketchy, uncomfortable skates and the kids always get blisters after 15 minutes.  This year we opted to skate on the big ice where the Swamp Rabbits play hockey.  It was cool to have a lot more ice to skate on, but the skates were still terrible rental skates, all in various states of disrepair.  Blue tried three pair before getting a functional set.  Then we discovered that even those were crap.  He skated a few minutes and gave up, frustrated as heck.  Later he tried G's skates and did better but still got a blister.  Maybe we're just not ice skaters.

 We did the local Reindeer Run 5K and the kids got to run in the fun run.  We all got medals and I won my age group.  I stole the photo above from the YMCA.  It's me and the 2nd place guy with our state representative. 

 In between sneaking around doing Christmas gift stuff, I got to pretend to be a farmer for a few hours.  I bush hog mom's garden twice a year with my dad's old John Deer tractor.  I have no idea what I'm doing, but I look official as heck on it.  -Except when I take out my smart phone and take photos.

 I think I ate my body weight in waffles.  Smores waffles, peanut butter and banana waffles, Reese's Cup waffles, chocolate chip waffles, Moon Pie waffles, and even this Krispy Kreme waffle.  Man, I ate some waffles.  I have no regrets.

 Christmas morning was excellent.  The dogs got treats from Santa, Violet got a crazy pattern chair to go with her crazy pajamas and unicorn slippers.

 Blue got a Walmart bag full of candy from me.  Stockings are overrated, right?  

 My nephew Nathaniel ran his mouth one too many times about his beloved Patriots and got a customized set of tighty whities from the Tom Brady Intimate Collection.  Probably the funniest thing I did over break.

 Breakfast at Mom's with the family was delicious and fun.  A McSelfie with LJ.

 And my mom, the founder of the feast.  She cooked an enormous breakfast for us all on Christmas morning.  My excitement for that rivals the excitement any child feels about presents on Christmas morning.

 The Waffle House traditional dinner was also delicious.  Breakfast all day for us.  

 A couple of days after Christmas we took off for the beach.  My family wouldn't let me go on our traditional Thanksgiving trip and apparently I complained enough that G booked a trip to make up for it.  

 It was cold.

 Very cold.

 Very very cold and absolutely wonderful.

 We were one of just a few families staying our our condo complex.  Almost no one was out on the beach and we ate nonstop.  It was so much fun.  As with most of the country, we were in a deep freeze with below average temperatures.  Two days after we left the coast got a historic snowstorm and there's still snow on the ground there.  But we just had cold and wind.  But on the warmest day we put on our trunks and sweatshirts and went out to play in the sand.  When we could no longer feel our fingers, Blue and I sprinted into the cold Atlantic Ocean for a Polar Plunge and then raced back to the room for a hot shower.

On our last day we stopped by the Georgetown Waterfront to explore until our hands were numb.

 As our trip ended, we slowly made our way home, stopping in Columbia to see the Matisse exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art.

 And taking photos with the art before watching the Columbia ice skaters fall down while G and Blue did some secret birthday shopping.

 The kids insisted on staying up for the New Year.  This is such a weird thing to me now.  When you're young it's just this thing you do because it's fun.  When you're older, you're tired and sleeping is fun.  Then you have kids and they stay up one year because there's all this excitement and then at 12:01 they look around all disappointed because nothing changed.  There's probably a lesson in there somewhere.  Anyway, this year they were all about staying up.  G ditched me so I came up with a plan of James Bond movies and snacks to keep us occupied until midnight.  Violet was all into it until 10:30pm when she abruptly announced she was out and told us all goodnight.  I gave Blue the chance to join her but he wouldn't have any of it.  So we stayed up.  We watched the countdown and I'm pretty sure he was upstairs asleep before the first minute was expired.  

 The cold continued.  This is ridiculous cold for us.  We get cold, sure, but this extended streak of continuous low temperatures is more than we want.  The kids and I ventured over to the local waterfall on a cold morning to check it out and they were absolutely amazed to see it iced over.  I realized they've not had a big ice storm during their lifetimes yet.  They were mesmerized by playing in the ice.

 But when you run outside every morning, the ice is not so mesmerizing.  Sure, it was kind of exciting the first morning it was 9 degrees F, but now I'm over it.  Yesterday one of the outside faucets froze and burst open, causing me to miss a well deserved nap and spend my afternoon tracing outdoor waterlines and repairing them.  I love winter and this streak of cold has me dreaming of sweating in summer.

 I had a birthday.  My 46th one.  The only really productive thing I did all day was eat a chunk of this butternut cake made by my mom.  A day well spent.

 After a couple more frigid days and nights, we dragged G back to the waterfall along with the dogos.  There was even more ice.  The dogs were not impressed.  

But here's the thing:  I did almost nothing art related during my break.  I had planned to do a big drawing and use my time wisely to get a jump on the new year.  I drew a couple of butt drawings and a couple of Christmas cards but nothing else.  I didn't even get close to drawing an actual drawing.  I did clean off my drawing table, but that's it.  The art books I set out to read didn't get finished.  I put work into a couple of chapters but then G bought me this goofy book about Bill Murray and I read that one instead.  I've been working on this one book for 3 months and haven't made it halfway through it yet.  The Bill Murray book was much longer and I read it in 3 days.  

I have no regrets though.  It feels like this was a natural thing.  It was time to rest all the art parts of my brain.  I didn't even think about drawing or sculpture until about 3 days ago.  That's when I started getting ideas and getting excited about new things.  It's about time to start those new things.  I'm rested and I'm ready now.  

I hope y'all had a great Christmas and New Year.  And any other holidays you may hold dear.  

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