Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Presence vs. Presents

Happy Almost New Year! Almost Twenty Ten. Wow.

I just changed out our big at-a-glance wall calendars at the office. Once I got them moved, I went and got the official company "Closed Holidays 2010" list. Those days are all now blocked off in green so we don't schedule work crap on those days accidentally. Sometimes the deadlines require that we work anyway, mostly during Thanksgiving and Xmas (like, even today...) and when that happens we take other days. This year that meant our "Thanksgiving" trip to NYC/CT/NJ. *That* was a whirlwind drive!

Another bit of housecleaning was to make a list of my acupuncture treatment for tax purposes. I have been told this can be itemized as medical treatment but have been unable to get any sort of official confirmation. All the appointments were on the old calendar, so before taking it down I made a list. I have a few CPAs I can ask about it, but I know there are so many little loopholes, that I still might not have any sort of difinitive answer. If it works into turbotax, I'll go with it.

I was able to wrap up my official GratitudeProject2009 list. Everything is done and out the door. Sort of. Sally's gift is done, packaged and in my car ready to mail, but it is going to Canada so I couldn't just post it from work as I don't know how to set the machine for international. I will get it officially in the mail next Wednesday for sure. It has been done and ready for more than a month but I just haven't been able to fit in a visit to the post office. The one time I tried I discovered that our official office for our house has been torn down and is not new town houses.

GFB also asked if she could be added to the list as she found out about it very much after the fact. I added her, but haven't added the end of 2009 deadline for myself. Still trying to decide what she is getting.

The xmas holiday for us was pretty awesome. It began when we enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with Elizabeth's nephew Greg and his wife and our kids and some various friends at Greg and Laurie's compound. It was a cooperative effort and truly an enjoyable day.

Then we went on the previously mentioned whirlwind. It takes 30 hours to drive to NYC from Houston with minimal stopping along the way. I mean all totaled our stopping was probably 4-5 hours. But it was also all necessary. By minimal I mean that we didn't break it up over 3 days. In the future, we will be flying to NYC unless we have the luxury of many more days to make the trip via automobile.

While up there we got some time in NYC at our beloved Pearl River Market. I should have bought more tea, cookies, and soba noodles, I think. The tea is in good supply for the moment, and I haven't been adventurous yet with the noodles, but the butter cookies I bought are gone and I had...umm...none of them. We'll just have to go back.

After NYC we slipped over to visit Weese and MAW in CT. It was delightful and I shall say no more.

From there we went to NJ to see Aunt Patty and my mom who will be visiting for most of the winter which translates until Aunt Patty gives her the boot. It was a hoot seeing them and we wish it could have been longer. Elizabeth has dubbed them the Ya-Yas. What was supposed to be a nice quiet dinner for 5 ended up being an awesome dinner party for about 10. The only thing missing was Aunt Patty's tassies(holiday fare of old), but the alternate dessert wastotally awesome, a mandarin cake with pineapple whipped cream and pudding topping. I need to make that some time soon. I came away from the dinner party with a recipe for Potato Casserole that we enjoyed at WTXB6.

After NJ, we had GFI for the weekend. After that we had WTXB6 and GFD for the weekend. Then it was xmas weekend, last night we capped it all off with dinner with GFS&V(who had to miss WTXB6) and now it is soon New Year's weekend. All of this, from Thanksgiving to now, that was Xmas for us.

Peoples' *PRESENCE* is way better than presents. In fact, in discussing the holidays last night, we realized that we haven't bought or made a single** gift for Xmas. We have made a lot of GratitudeProject gifts, yes, but there were no Xmas gifts. No more stuff that is bought just for the sake of stuff.

Welcome 2010.

(** I did sort of buy one gift for Elizabeth. While in Los Angeles, we came across an awesome store called Zinnia and I had them send a mystery box of stuff they sell for crafting, but that was more something to treat us both to a surprise rather than a specific holiday gift.**)

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