Hello TEA Friends!
I am trying to prolong this unusually sunny winter Saturday afternoon by having a second cup of Marriage Freres Darjeeling Princeton which notes on the label, "finest daytime Darjeeling". Even though the sun is starting to set, I'm going to use all resources available to extend the last weekend of my holiday vacation before the alarm gets reset Sunday night for the routine 5:30 Monday morning wake-up call.
This year, I saved up enough vacation time to take over a week and half off between Christmas and New Year's Day and it was the best mix of holiday hustle and extreme relaxation that I could have ever anticipated. We saw more family, engaged in more sporting activities, watched more movies, ate more home baked goodies and took more naps than should be legally allowed for anyone over four weeks old.
We launched our holiday extravaganza with the now traditional Christmas Tree Tour, where we make a few stops to my aunt's and a few of my brothers' homes (the latter of who join us at our final destination) to enjoy their decorations, some season's goodies and a cup or two of Christmas cheer. Last stop is our home, where we dine on pizza and eggnog before the yuletide treasure bath. Gift exchange culminates in a family board game my son Rob and his fiance, Karyn, created last year. It's a hilarious hybrid of Candy Land and Festivus, where the airing of family goofiness can earn you points. The winner gets first choice from the gift trove of dollar store collectibles, bookstore gift cards and lottery tickets.
The vacation fun continued Christmas Day at Rob and Karyn's. They hosted their first holiday brunch for both families and we had as much fun as we did on Thanksgiving - even without the tournament card playing!
Then we enforced mental shut-down for a few days at Pemberly Pines, with the exception of one side trip to the wineries in Traverse City. Here we met up with Karyn's family and friends to conduct some "research" for the upcoming wedding. After that, we did nothing more than read books, watch DVD's (including the original A & E's Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth!) and nap. Although, we did venture out into cross country skiing with "new" skis Chris obtained through Craig's list. We all took shifts in sharing the two sets of skis and boots and burned off some of the Paula Dean's chocolate mint brownies and walnut chocolate chip cookies we brought up for noshing.
It wasn't lost on me that the history channel was running the story of the seven deadly sins throughout my holiday break. Seems like every time I flipped channels, I'd hit "gluttony" and "sloth" - usually while I was sitting in one of our recliners, feet up, eating one of Paul Deen's brownies. But, I knew my days of indulgences were temporary, and so enjoyed it all knowing the discipline of the usual routine was just around the corner.
So, like Bing, I'm Counting My Blessings: family, togetherness, good friends, tea and non-tea related gifts and the good fortune to return to a schedule that makes an almost two week vacation possible.
Yours in tea and friendship,