Oooh, happy 3/4 of the holiday season! I spent Christmas eve with my cousin and her lovely family. We ate goose, listened to poems recited and songs sung to earn the joy of opening presents and watched the tree warily to make sure it didn't light on fire. Some of the ornaments did, but the tree itself stayed safe all night. Toward the end of the evening I got socked in the mouth by my god-daughter's head and got to stand in the kitchen with an ice pack to my face and spitting blood for a few minutes. I still have all my teeth, but the cuts on the bottom part of my mouth still hurt a bit. This was probably subconscious payback for that time she hit her face on my knee and got a bloody nose. So we're even, right? RIGHT?!! I am now being teased that I am incapable of walking away from a visiting session with my cousin's family without any blood having been shed. We're full of talent like that.
I got home just past midnight, I think, stayed awake for 3 more hours, then slept for an hour before waking myself up to call back to the States to wish people there a Merry Christmas. I got a little video-chat time in with the festivities going on at my mom's house, and a surround-sound speaker phone effect when calling my dad and grandparents (I called my dad via Skype, then my grandparents called me on my cell phone...and no one thought to hang up one of the two calls. I don't know what happened there...). Christmas morning -- or day, since I slept in until 13.00 -- I hauled myself out to my friend Ilze's house (while Ilze is outside the country, I'm making sure her cat survives the winter) where I kept her cat some holiday company and continued to relax.
People, I did so much sleeping in those four days it was DELICIOUS. Three day weeks should happen more often. This week is another three day week; today I drove out with a few colleagues to Malpils, where we were scheduled to go spend some time with residents at an assisted living centre. But then the girl who was supposed to sing them some songs got sick. And then when we got to Malpils (an hour's drive from Riga) we were told by the administrator that the majority of the residents and some staff were sick with this nasty flu+vomiting+diarrhea virus that's spreading around faster than H1N1 on horseback through a wildfire. It took a few moments of deliberation, but we decided it would be best to just leave the dessert pretzel, mandarins and candies at the front desk, have the administrator say "Hello" to the residents for us, and left. It was too bad we weren't able to visit, but I had a similar virus two years ago and would rather miss an opportunity to do a good deed than be stuck halfway between my bed and the toilet for a week and a half. Thanks, but no thanks.
On a slight side note, I will mention that the assisted living centre in Malpils looked really nice from the outside. The one we went to in Riga with the Martin choir wasn't that pleasant to look at and it's all I can do to hope that both places treat their residents (and as such, clients) with the respect and care they need and deserve.
Now I'm just a short while from another four day weekend. Tonight I'm going to a year-end concert with my dad (who is in Latvia now, HURRAH!) and some relatives. Last year's concert blew my mind, so I'm extremely excited for this one. After tonight, sleep, glorious sleep! Then off to the store tomorrow morning to prepare for our New Year's party tomorrow night. My first time with family PLUS friends. I have butterflies in my stomach. Will all go well? Will people enjoy themselves? Oh, the suspense!
Once more, happy new year to everyone! I'll be hitting 2010 approximately 7 - 8 hours before most of you. I'll let you know how it starts out.