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2006-12-23 - 9:08 a.m. for the pre-holidays...

December has been mad. Two visitors, a trip to San Francisco, and the Christmas rush. It is the Saturday before Christmas, and I am still rushing.

In early December we had a visit from J., from Jena. She is a spitfire who can hardly sit still for five minutes. J is a ~60-year-old East German woman, who after 45 years of socialist control, was let loose on the world. She is a German, which means that she spends a good chunk of her life on holiday. This involveds 100-km-per day bike tours through Hungary, Austria, and Germany, and maybe New Mexico next. In Vancouver her days were never planned in advance, but she spent just about every day energetically bounding around town for 12 hours. She is absolute fun, and absolutely exhausting.

Two great things this trip were learning of her mad passion for the card game uno, and getting her addicted to sudoku. Uno was fantastic, because this otherwise sweet, friendly woman turned into a freakin' pitball behind the cards! It was hysterical to watch. She massively beat both me and K repeatedly. Teaching her the tricks of Sudoku was fun because her mind is stunningly quick. After one weekend she was already an addict.

After spending a weekend with J., I darted off to San Francisco for one week, for the huge geophysics conference that is held every year. This year, about 14,000 people registered to attend - that's larger than a small town. The meeting brought it's usual ups and downs. It is frequently lovely to see so many old friends; it is overwhelming to see the amount and quality of the work presented there; it always humbles me into feeling that I have not accomplished enough. It's like a high school reunion only it reviews both my personal AND professional life. ick.

But the best part was seeing my favorite colleagues from Dutchess who were there, seeing my dear friend Bandy (who has just moved from Van back to the yUK), and then also seeing H. and her new husband. More on that later.

Our last visitor before Christmas is leaving today. It's the technician from Dutchess College - he came for a visit and has found a steadfast playmate in K. D. was really my best new friend in NYC, and to see how well the two of them get along is great. They have been planning a trip together for March, even. I think it would be wonderful.

I have been a wee bit too stressed to make things work better, for which I am sorry. It's just that there are many things that need accomplishing before the holiday. And now, the household is all awake, and so I should go back to being social...more later.

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