post-holiday sugar coma

It's been a whirlwind of a week here in Kansas. There's been a parade of family gatherings big and small, a private concert*, and I even had a birthday party yesterday. We meant to leave today to go back to Wisconsin but alas, the weather in Iowa looked dicey (ice storms, sleet), so we're waiting a day and hoping the roads are all cleaned up by tomorrow afternoon.

Like many people, I find the week of Christmas to be both exciting and exhausting. I was very, very happy to spend lots of time with my extended family this year, especially since my parents and brother came to Kansas, too. The lot of us don't get together very often since the "kids" (my generation - we're all adults, but we're still the kids, if you know what I mean, even though some of us have kids of our own) are scattered about the country and it's rare that we're all in the same place at one time. Stuart's parents live here, too, so we've been spending good quality time with them. Especially Daniel, who has become quite attached to his Grandma and follows her everywhere. She's got way more patience for cutting yarn and rolling balls out of play dough than anyone, I think.

This has been a week of too much and too little: lots of social time with family, but seemingly not enough time with anyone, too much sugar, not enough sleep. I guess I'll be ready to go back to Madison and enjoy the peace and quiet and sleep in my own bed, but the thought of the long winter ahead makes me feel lonely and sad. I shouldn't think about that and just enjoy this extra day here with family; maybe I just need to eat another cookie and have another glass of boxed wine (it ain't bad, really) and put off the negative thinking until later.

We listened to Prairie Home Companion this evening. It's the kind of show you'd think somebody like me would like, but I don't usually listen to it. I find it hard to pay attention to Guy Noir and the featured musical guests often play/sing depressing folk music. But this week we were in luck. There was a big band, some wonderful blues singers, and the best part (for me) was that Ricky Ian Gordon was a guest on the show. He's a composer and song writer, a New Yorker through and through. I worked with him at Songfest in 2007. That seems so long ago, doesn't it? I was just beginning my dissertation project, newly pregnant with Anya, and parenting an increasingly curious and acrobatic toddler. I'm still not sure how I managed to pull together a trip to California with other musicians and not make a total fool of myself, but Ricky (we all called him "Ricky") was one of the things that made Songfest so much fun. He's every bit as gregarious and interesting and kind as he sounded on PHC, and I learned a lot from him.

On Monday I turn 30. It shouldn't really be a big deal, but it feels like a new chapter in my life is just beginning. I can't really explain it, but I've got a feeling there is change ahead. Maybe it's the thought of a new president coming into office soon (not soon enough, if you ask me), or maybe it's something else, something more personal. The last year has been a little tough on me. I feel imbalanced and stuck, and I need to take the reigns and do something about it instead of complaining all the time. I hope I'm ready for it.

*Karen and I re-did our 4-hand concert at her house on Tuesday for the benefit of my mom, my brother and Stuart, who couldn't attend the original performance in November. It was great fun.


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