It’s official. I have crossed the threshold of another year in this mad, mad, life. Yesterday was my birthday, for those of you who didn’t know. I was quite stunned at how many people actually remembered. I received many phone calls, messages, and the like. So, thank you to all. It was a fantastic Friday the thirteenth on Elm Street. As a few pointed out, the only thing missing was a full moon, which is supposed to actually appear tonight. Considering all that juju converging, I had a great evening.
Last night, Ali, Keri, and I celebrated in our newly fashioned, annual way with Italian beef’s from Serrelli Street, shipped overnight from Chicago to New England. It is one of those magnificent foods only available in the Windy City, and they are fabulous. While Portillo’s, Johnny’s, Carm’s, or Roma’s might be bigger names for the tasty sandwich, Serrelli Street puts together a great tasting package, complete in every detail.
Being that this is the first posting of the New Year, I would like to wish a Happy New Year to all. I hope that the holidays brought much good cheer and happiness to everyone. Our annual trek to the Midwest happened as usual. This year seemed even more rushed than in the past, for some reason. I suppose it had to do with some of the wedding planning, but the week made for little relaxation. I tend to believe that Holidays are more about craziness than relaxation anyway.
The drag is that as a teacher out here in Massachusetts, I only get one week away from work, while my fellow educators in Illinois get two. I tend to like the idea of the two a bit better, even though I tend to dislike vacations during the school year generally> they bring all your momentum to a screeching halt. Considering that you are already getting a week, why not throw the other one on after New Year’s. There is the relaxation, the second week. I know here I will soon find myself with another week in February, as that is the regional tradition. But my friend Lisa, who works in a Naperville school in Illinois, bolted for Mexico on New Year’s Day, spending her second week relaxing on the beach, reading, sleeping, and generally recharging.
For me and the girls, it was jamming everything and Zerbert back into the car on New Year’s Eve to head back to the East Coast, so we could all get back to work. This is less a complaint and more of a recognition of oddity, since I know that Keri and Ali used to luxuriate a lot more in Illinois with more of their vacation days before I came along. In any event, my guess is a lot of my fellow educators in New England have the same harried sense of Holiday rush and mayhem and then right back into the final crush of the semester ending. It is a strangely designed calendar. But enough of that, I am sure many of you are saying, “But you’re a teacher! You get all kinds of time off.” To which I respond, “True, but it doesn’t make the job easier. In some instances, such as this, it makes them harder.” Although none of you probably believe that. The summers are great, but the vacations during the year always foul up everything.
Nevertheless, we all survived the return trip, but for whatever reason, it seemed more difficult then the trip there. Perhaps that’s because I got tagged with a ticket in Ohio, but I think it had more to do with it being harder to sleep. After a week of sleeping on various surfaces, I for one was glad to be home and in the comfort of our own bed.
The celebrations that we took part in over the trip were delightful. Holidays with the Haas’ are always an adventure into the twisted and sometimes surreal. Getting so many of us together, in one place is an increasingly more difficult thing to do, and while it has its rewards, it can also be a dangerous cocktail, and usually only one cocktail away from something getting broken. With both of the Terwedow families, it’s all wholesome silliness. With more little ones, it is fun to see them get so excited with all the gifts, beautifully wrapped beneath the tree. Ali and I had a great time with all our families and I am becoming increasingly fond of those scarce moments when my two brothers and I are in the same place for a few hours or more. Now that they are adults, we are all spread around the country, not living at home anymore, and it happens with far less frequency.
Also on the news front, Ali finally got her ring, just before we left for Chicago. So, now the engagement is truly official. Ali now has the evidence! It looks absolutely spectacular. Jade Moran sculpted it with craft and grace. I highly encourage anyone to see her for a custom made piece of any kind. You can even do it from far off places. While we were in her shop, she got a call from a woman in South Carolina. So look her up on the web and gander at the array of cool pieces she has done. Ali’s ring should even make it into the online gallery shortly, but here is a peek for those of you that have not seen it yet.