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2006-01-07 - 12:18 p.m.

..a bonding moment for auntie...

Oh dear, I'm back. I flew back to NYC on Monday, and spend Tuesday getting used to the idea (i.e., I stayed home and watched the icy rain fall). After a Christmas holiday of sleeping, I still remain sleep-deprived..Maybe it's a winter thing. Or, it's the same feeling that science has gone on and left me behind while I was teaching, and the thought of catching up again is daunting.

Anyway, I'll move on to more positive thoughts, and remember what a lovely break I had. Apart from the excessive sleeping, eating, and drinking...We spent much of the time entertaining my niece and her cousin of the same age. We took them to the zoo and to the science center, and I spent a morning coloring pictures with them. They think that I'm a little particular because I insisted on drawing the colors of rainbow in proper refraction order. Note to self: I'm still drawing at about the 6-year-old level. My horses all looked like camels and llamas. My sea otter looked like a beaver.

On one evening, my sister-in-law and I took my niece to the theater to see a musical production of "Annie." I had played in the pit orchestra for this musical, and so I still knew most of the musical numbers by heart. My niece loved the dog, but fell sound asleep and snored through the second half of the second Act (which was cute in itself).

The most fun part was singing with my niece in the car on the way to the show. My five-year-niece has interesting preferences. Her favorite musical groups are the Eagles, Dixie Chicks, ABBA, and Free to Be You and Me. And when I say favorite, I mean that she has the albums memorized, right down to the last inflection. She has an excellent voice, too.

On this particular night we were listening to ABBA. My niece stole my heart when she requested "Dancing Queen." As we pulled into the parking space, she slid out of her car seat and climbed onto the bump between my sister-in-law and me. The three of us sang every word, right down to the last inflection, while doing a little "Dancing Queen" dance in the front seat of the car. It was a proud moment for auntie. This, along with evenings spent with my parents and a bottle of wine in front of the fire, is my favorite memory from Christmas, 2005.

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