Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Solstice

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.  Our route around the sun will bring longer days from now until June, each day with more sunlight.  The new year is filled with possibilities!  As I write this, a huge Colorado snow storm is dropping an inch an hour outside my window, covering my blue and green Christmas lights. This month has just flown by.  Here's why. 

The first week of December I spent frantically preparing the last lectures and reviews for my last week of class.  I was going to miss eight classes the next week for a conference, so I had to arrange subs and things for the students to do while I was gone.  Dave handed in his dissertation on Wednesday under the wire, which actually was a surprise for me, I didn't realize he was going to make the deadline and thought May might end up being his graduation date.  I was so proud of him, we took a night off to celebrate.  He has been working day and night for weeks on his research, and is still working on it!  He has another big deadline at the end of the month.

Friday night it snowed and Dave and I went for a walk in the snow and went to sleep.  I got a call from a good friend in the middle of the night that he had slipped and hit his head and needed someone to come get him after he got stitches and make sure he was okay during the night in case he had a concussion.  Poor guy!  I went and picked him up during one of the most beautiful snow storms ever.  He was completely fine.  In the morning Dave dropped me off at the park and ride and drove our friend home.  I flew to San Francisco with a 90 minute delay from the snow and long line for de-icing.

Sunday I had an 8:00-6:00 meeting before Dave joined me in San Francisco for a week of conference with 21,000 scientists.  My poster was right away at 8:00 on Monday.  The rest of the week was just insanity of 15-minute talks all day long from 8-6 with a lunch break plus 2,000 posters each day that one could walk through.  Each night we had dinner with friends and got in late only to do the same thing the next day.  I still had to check email, prep slides for subs, and participate in committee meetings from afar.  On Wednesday I got extremely sick with a cold that is still bothering me today.  One of my best friends in the world's dad passed away and I felt just awful for not being able to be there for her.  Ugh, the world lost an amazing man.  Thursday night we went out for Burmese food and then to the Cal Academy's Night Life where we spent a lot of time in their rain forest display.   Dave's poster was on Friday and he was a big hit.  Saturday we flew back, but on separate flights.  I was miserably sick, but still had to grade papers and write two of my final exams.  

Friday, late afternoon, we took a break and walked to the Ferry building around sunset.

I needed a walking break.  My cold was killing me!

I found a very large Christmas tree. 

This tea and gluten free coffee cake prepped me for my flight home.  I need to get my hands on more of this revolution tea!
Final exam week was beyond busy.  My grading pile just never went down because I kept getting more things to grade!  Thursday I had a chance to catch up at school.  Then Dave's parents and grandma came to stay with us Thursday for a few days to celebrate Dave's PhD graduation.  (How sweet are they to fly out for it?)  We don't have a spare room, but sleeping arrangements worked out just fine in the end.  We really enjoyed commencement on Friday where Dave's Aunt and Cousin came to join us as well.  Saturday we drove up to Estes Park for a little touristing.  The change in elevation just about made my head explode because my cold had moved to my sinuses.  Even my teeth were aching!  I finally adjusted and we enjoyed our day in Estes, then Lyons.  Sunday afternoon everyone flew out during the Packer game (first loss!).
Dave's PhD garb.  He got some extra flare for being a legacy student, in that his dad and aunt also attended his college.
A cold snap kept the snow around all month.  It made for a beautiful scene on commencement day.

By Monday night I had finally finished grading and prepping for a day-long committee meeting on Tuesday.  I woke up extremely sick and after five hours of voting on curriculum, I got to go to the doctor and get some antibiotics.  Today Dave and I went to breakfast then packed him up for two weeks in New Jersey.  I wished him a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and shed a tear as the bus pulled away.  I hate spending the holidays away from him, but we just haven't figured out how to make it work with our families 1,000 miles apart (and OUR home another 1,000 miles away).  I came home and packed for my flight tomorrow.  Dave called from the airport, his flight had a two hour delay, but he was able to get on another flight that hadn't left yet after a three hour delay.  Of course his suitcase didn't make it on the plane with him, so we'll see how that goes.  The one time he checks a free bag he switches flights!  He's in the air now.  Here in Colorado, we're supposed to get 10 inches of snow before morning.  My flight is at 3:00, but I'm sure it will be delayed.  I'm not going to imagine what I'll do if it is canceled.

Five years ago, in 2006, we had a two-footer just days before Christmas.  All of our flights were canceled and I spent a ton of money to get home in the middle of the night Christmas Eve morning.  I was one of the lucky ones.  I had a friend trying to get to MN and he tipped me off to a new flight that they had just put on the books.  Some people didn't make it out.

Here's one of the videos I took when I finally got to the airport to check in for my rescheduled flight a few days after I was supposed to fly back in 2006.

I'm sure Thursday will be stressful, but once I make it to Wisconsin, I've got 10 days of relaxation planned.  I crave sleep and I can't wait to be able to sleep in, work out, eat good food, and just catch my breath after this crazy month.  Of course I'm also excited to see my parents and brother, grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends!  We all know that there is no such thing as a 10 day vacation with me, I plan on working on next semester's classes in between holidays.  There's no place like home for the holidays!  Let's hope I get there.

I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas and a happy Winter Solstice!

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