Back in time to leave

Hi! I’m still here. So much has been going on in my world: I’m about to start a new job. I’m about to go to Europe for three weeks for my belated honeymoon. I have a stunning two-week-old baby nephew. Two of my best friends just bought a beautiful home. Another just returned from two-plus weeks in Poland, and I’ve missed her desperately. Yet another is talking about the future: homes, children, and the long-term with her husband.

Everything feels big. Everything feels important, so it’s hard to write anything down because it’s impossible to do it justice. I could write a whole post about the weight of little Hugo on my chest on Monday night: his snuffling infant breaths, his easy sleep, the swell of love I feel for him, the way he makes me realize how precious my other nephew and nieces are to me.

I could write a thousand words, easily, about the wrenching uncertainty of accepting a new position within my company for which I am neither trained nor certain of the responsibilities. (After accepting the post, my first meeting with my new manager involved some discussion of our work with departments that I hadn’t realized this position would be working with. I got an email welcoming me to the Operations team, of which I hadn’t realized I was now a part.)

And thousands more words, thousands and thousands, about the endless travel planning for a trip now only eight days away. I am, as many of my readers know, obsessive about planning. I have an eight-page document that I’m leaving behind in a binder for our house- and catsitters (our best man, a neighbor, and my older brother) – how to use the remote, don’t move the angle of this fan, internet password, a schedule of when to feed the cat and change her water and move the car, a map of the area with points of interest identified. If that’s what it takes for me to leave the house in someone else’s care, imagine how thorough I like to be in planning my own movements, thousands of miles from here!

And many thousands of words, undoubtedly, about my dangling work with diagnoses. Yesterday one of my specialists called and left me a voicemail: Hi Teresa, we’ve gotten a test result back. I’d like to talk to you about what it means and how we’re going to move forward now. I called back; she wasn’t available. Called back at the end of the day: I’m sorry, she had a really busy day, but she’ll get back to you tomorrow.

Waiting is what I’m best at. Waiting is not what I’m best at.

That’s not to mention the big wait: I’m not seeing the rheumatologist until after the honeymoon. Partially because my primary doctor only referred me a couple weeks ago, when we found out that the test result we thought must have been a fluke was in fact even worse on the retest than the first time around. Two weeks ago — there was no time to get an appointment before the trip. But also partially because I’m terrified that whatever he tells me will hang over my head, and I desperately want three more weeks of ignorance. For once, I’m not sure that I want to know.

So this is a personal post. Mostly I intend for this blog to be other things. Crafts, and recipes, and Pinterest-able tip lists. In all rights, this post should be about travel planning. What not to forget to tell your  housesitter. In more detail than you really wanted! The to-do list of before you leave for Europe. What to buy on Amazon. Why you should be calling your insurance companies. Which train tickets to buy in advance. What to figure out: the store where you’ll buy lube (dammit, TSA liquid rules!); where you can safely get currency while abroad; where to do laundry when you’ve decided only to bring a carry-on, no checked baggage. So You Think You Want To Leave Your Laptop At Home For A Three-Week Trip But You’re A Writer And What Will You Do With Yourself Aaaaaargh.

But those will come later. For now, I’m just welcoming myself back. Embracing the bigness of everything, and telling you that I know it will be okay.

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Day Twelve

Happy New Year’s Eve! Today’s gift is a tiny felt-framed image of (a) books, (b) books and cats, or (c) …cutouts from a map of Middle-Earth. I tried to match the mini-image I associated with each person. (But if I had a dozen maps I would have just given everyone The Shire. And, um, if you got Mount Doom, don’t take that the wrong way…) These probably belong propped on a bookshelf, but if you want to tack it to the wall, you should totally send me a picture. Also crossword solution here.

Tomorrow, it’s time for Gift #13: the personalized gifts! Instructions follow:

Jake, Aleks, Rachel, Adam and Zev, Matt and Megan, Bob and Kris: I gave/sent you gift #13 along with all the others.

Gray and Marshall: Hopefully it’s arrived by now! If you haven’t gotten it in the mail, send me a message and I’ll send you a picture.

Aislin and Caleb: Shoot me a text message whenever you want gift #13!

 

From Thomas : Unfortunately, most of my gifts will be late – Sam, Christa, Peter and Kayse (probably), and Keenan and Resa. Apologies, all, you will get your gift soon! Emily, you already have yours, and Becca and Rowan, Luke should be giving you your gift today. If he does not, remind him to do so! Love you all!

Day Eleven

Putting together this box was actually the first time it occurred to me an explanatory website might help, because I could just imagine someone opening this box and going, “What the hell are these things??”

These things are dried lemon peel and lavender. They make delicious things. You can use them to infuse black tea, olive oil, sugar, or pepper.

You can also use them in this recipe. (You’ll have to make your own lavender sugar for that — take the lavender, layer it with 1/2 cup of sugar in a clean glass container, cover it securely, and let it rest for a day. Then shake to distribute the lavender et voilà.)

Day Ten

Soaps! I made these too! There is a completely bizarre and somewhat epic story behind getting the delivery of the soap materials, but that’s a tale for another time. They use a creamy goat-milk base and come in four scents. Let me know if you have skin sensitivities and need to know full ingredients!

20141213_175047_Richtone(HDR)

From left to right:

White: Cocoa-coconut. Yellow: Sweet lemon. Orange: southern peach. Rust red: caramel rum.

(I mostly packed the two fruits together and the two sweets together, but I didn’t have even numbers of each, so some of you got a different pairing.)

Day Seven

PLAYLIST!

Playlist for everybody!

Okay, so how this works:

 

Everybody has a this playlist as a base, and then everyone also gets supplementary songs personalized to them (below). 

You just need to get a free Spotify account if you don’t have one already. If you DO have one and we’re Facebook friends, you can find me and follow them! If you really don’t want to get one, shoot me a message and I’ll send you a list of the songs, and you can playlist-ify yourself on Youtube 🙂

Mom

Matt and Megan

Aislin and Caleb

Aleks!

Adam and Zev

Bob and Kris

Jake

Rachel

Gray and Marshall

Sam

Christa

Peter and Kayse

Keenan and Resa

Emily

Rebecca and Rowan

To be clear: you should click on both the first general link AND the one with your name on it.  The first link has a whole winter-themed playlist; most of the second ones only have 4-5 songs.

Day Five

A holiday ornament! Be careful of the wire; there are sharp ends.

Most of you got stars or nice geometric shapes, but Aislin and Caleb got something that’s probably the head of Cthulhu.

Also, I had to bend a few of the hanging wires to fit the things in the boxes, so you can go ahead and un-bend them into loops and then… I dunno, hang them somewhere.