Holidayrific Catchup

Some photos documenting the crazy weeks leading up to Christmas. Work has been super hectic, and will continue to be well into the new year, but we managed to have lots of fun whenever possible. Saturday we hosted a holiday cocktail party where fancy was the theme and even the dog dressed up.

The morning after the party, Roland and Amy, friends from Portland, arrived for a few nights on their way to France for their holidays. It was such a treat to hang out with them and enjoy their combination of smart and funny.

Rabito received presents from everyone! Ken and Jen, my sister, Tom's mom, and Santa all brought toys of varying squeaks and squishes.



I overcooked the roast beef, but the sauce was delicious and the potatoes were mashed and plentiful, so it didn't really matter.

The weather in Portland is bad. Really bad. So a nice man at Orbitz managed to get my plane ticket changed and now I get to spend Christmas day in Amsterdam with Tom instead of in coach. I win!

Last year Rabito was in foster care in the south of the Netherlands, after what we can only imagine was a fairly horrid life in Spain. Tonight he opened presents from friends and has a stocking already filled from Santa. But we are the lucky ones.

There is no present under the tree that can match how much I love Tom, but he has done a fairly fantastic job of coming close, and we are just pausing for desert and champagne. Who knows what treasures are yet to be unwrapped?

I am so grateful. Just that. Grateful.

Thank you.
And happy birthday Jesus.


Beautiful people and social networking

"The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, suffering, struggle....and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." unknown author

I do loves me some cubbyholes and have willfully put myself and so many others into them throughout my life. Case in point -- high school. I have written before about going to my 1o year high school reunion and how different I felt when my 20 year reunion came around and I couldn't go. I was a wound up 15 year old and a wound up 18 year old and a wound up 21 year old who took herself so seriously. So seriously that she wouldn't even tease up her bangs at the height of fabulous 80s hair excesses! So seriously that she thought her struggles were hers alone and so conceited that she thought her struggles were unique. I figured out in the last few years that none of this is true and somewhere along the way I stopped being so self important and started laughing.

Which brings me to this lovely photo of two stone cold foxes:

Could this be more 80s? Karin, on the left, and I weren't so close during high school, clearly because I envied her way cool hair. I remember that she always seemed super confident and everyone liked her, which undoubtedly made me jealous and spiteful (my insecure MO -- just call me Rizzo). I have such good memories hanging out with Keri, the beauty in the yellow pants on the right. There was a whole group of fantastics, and for a while I was their friend, but then I disappeared. Why? No idea, though at the time I probably had all sorts of good cubbyhole reasons for taking myself out of the fun and putting myself on some sort of soapbox. How boring.

I planned to start over in college, and I did, but then did the exact same thing to the friends I made there. Cutting and running is something I did well, though since I remember envying the people who remained friends through the years, I was clearly not THAT good at it. Same thing happened in California and throughout different phases of life in Portland. So boring.

So leave it to a little thing called Facebook to give me a new chance to know bits about the people I knew before. Whenever I become friends with someone from high school and beyond, I clap my hands with glee. There is no way to go back and redo anything, but this way I can have a little glimpse into the lives of people I wish I still knew. Yes, Facebook has issues, yes we put our best selves forward on it, yes it is a fake reality, but it is also heartening because through it - through photos and words, I have learned that these girls grew into women with very authentic, very different, and very compelling realities. Just like me. How much would I love the chance to sit down over a bottle of wine or two and compare notes on life. The quote on the top of this page was posted by Karin on facebook the other day and it inspired me to write this post.

I had years worth of bitterness and assumptions built up, so many that I could barely hold a conversation with people at the first reunion, but now I see that we are all flawed and fabulous. Undoubtedly we all made choices we regret, learned lessons the hard way and changed for the better. It just never occurred to me that anyone other than me had any reason to change.