11 December 2006

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

Our Christmas Party was this past Saturday evening at the resplendent Greystone Inn, right in the middle of downtown Wilmington.

It was lovely. It was fun being with my co-workers who long ago segued into friends, outside of where we earn our checks. Everyone was beautiful!

Of course, we had a great time. No question we enjoy each other at work, and there was never any doubt that outside of work we'd smile and laugh and celebrate a very special season.

I was honored to have a very special person as my guest - this "guy" managed to pull it together on very short notice and arrive at my house a few minutes early! I was so impressed and he looked very handsome. A special thank you Guy, for being a gracious, fun and entertaining companion - he cleans up REALLY well! In all seriousness, I had a great time this year. It was such a sea change from last year's party and all around, a much more pleasant experience - I'm enjoying no longer feeling as if my every action is under surveillance. I just don't seem to thrive on a short leash. Not only did I lose the leash, I tossed off the collar. :-) Life is good!

Thanks to Guy, I shocked my friends by appearing stunningly on-time. Not only did I show up on time, but I arrived BEFORE Vanessa and Joe. Vanessa has issues with time-management, not unlike myself. She called my cell phone as she was leaving her house, as instructed, and of course, with everyone standing around listening, I pretended that the time had gotten away with me and I wasn't even ready yet. Vanessa was not pleased and I'm certain she didn't expect me to be there until after 8:30 - she was more than a little shocked to see me greet her when SHE finally got there. Ha! Every now and then, I have to toss her a curve ball just to keep her guessing.

Of course, Vanessa was escorted by the handsome and brilliant Joe who also goes by the name of "Tony", depending on how and where you know him from. Joe is always a welcome addition to any gathering and, my gosh, it's worth putting up with Vanessa just to spend time in Joe's company. Sure, he makes HER look good, and what a good sport he is to deal with it all. :-) Joe and I have a lot in common - we both spend great quantities of time around Vanessa and one of these days we're going to sneak out for coffee and compare notes on her behavior. That will be a whole OTHER blog entry but, given that it's the holidays, I will keep this nice and light. I have to admit they both looked very attractive decked out in their "Sunday Best".

The food was fantastic and I spent so much time visiting with everyone that I never made it to the dessert table, but I hear I missed some good stuff. I have absolutely no willpower over chocolate and I'm not really all that interested in acquiring any. Hey, it's the holidays - it's OK to kick back just a bit.

Speaking of "kicking back", it looked to me as if Vanessa definitely believes in cutting loose herself! Ummm...Vanessa, it's certainly not my place to critique or monitor your alcohol consumption darling, but don't you think it's a bit much to walk around a swanky soiree with two glasses of vino? It was a bit transparent to "pretend" that one of them belonged to Joe. Those who don't know you as well as I do, may have bought it (though I doubt it), but I've seen this sort of behavior before, more than a few times. I know, I know, you can "handle" it and, apparently you handled quite a lot of it! I may have to practice a little "tough love" with you after the holidays. I'm going to have to keep my eye on you...Those young ladies we work with look up to you and wine notwithstanding, they can't look up if you're falling down! Just something to think about. No question about it, I see where Katie inherited her "bad" habits.

Stephanie joined us this year and, I must say, she was radiant in red. Chelsea gave her a lovely evening 'do and she looked like a little princess. I was very happy to have her with us and I think she had a pretty good time. I wish that Justin had been free - she probably would have had more fun with him as her date, but I don't think she minded hanging with Guy and me. I see her so much - both at work and around the house, that sometimes I don't realize just how beautiful she is and, well, she is! My son has impressive taste. They make a very nice looking pair.

And then, there is Chelsea. Chelsea and I have so much in common that it's almost scary. Even though we're divided by 25 years, there are a few facets of our personality that strike me as identical. We are generally thinking the same thing and I see a lot of me in her, but maybe she'll get lucky and outgrow it. If not, there's always Vanessa around to jerk a knot in her...well, to straighten her out as only Vanessa can.

Chelsea has become very special to me since she joined us in August and how lucky we are to have her! She's weathered the changes we've all been through in the past few months with grace and a smile. I admire her confidence and take-charge personality. She's most certainly a wonderful asset and a wonderful friend.

Our most recent addition is another Stephanie who joins us on Saturdays and who we came to know when she was a client in Vanessa's chair, due to a FORTUNATE series of events! She's talented, easy-going and has a beautiful smile and does GREAT WORK! We're thrilled to have her on our team, even if only on a part-time basis (for now).

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't say a special thank you to the man who has kept us all together this year, through some fairly challenging times, I might add. We're lucky that our place of business is owned by someone who has stood by us and demonstrated his confidence in this mercurial business, spending impressive amounts of money on advertising and equipment, and who has made it possible for us to remain together. My mortgage company is quite grateful to him, as am I! It's been a wild year, Martin. Thank you for sticking by us and not losing faith. We really do want to make you proud.

I would also like to say a special thank you to someone who gave me the best present! This past Saturday, I received the perfect iTunes Gift Certificate! Thank you GE - James Taylor's Christmas CD is beyond wonderful. How sweet of you to send me this and my iPod and I are so thrilled and I swear I am wearing it out. I probably would never have bought this CD for myself, but I'm so happy to have it. "Baby, It's Cold Out There" which is a duet James does with Natalie Cole, is well worth it alone, but every track on there, including "In the Bleak Midwinter", "Some Children See Him" and he also covers Joni Mitchell's "River". Way, way cool.

I also have to send a special thanks to Gary from Cary - When he gave me that iPod last July, I thought, "I'll NEVER use that thing...I'll never even learn to use that thing." But he knew and I have and I love it. I'm addicted to it. Thank you for the iPod and your foresight, Mr. A. Thank you for being one of the many friendships that survived my own personal sea change. It's nice to know you on the other side. Many of my friendships have proven to be so much more durable than I ever would have guessed. I think I became a little more durable myself.

Saturday Afternoon, right after I downloaded the JT iTunes Gift, I got a call from my daughter. She had just climbed out of a cab and she said, "Mom, guess what the cabbie was playing on his CD player - you will never guess!". I couldn't guess...with Katie, you just don't know. "James Taylor's Christmas CD!". Synchronicity! My gift came from a NYC friend, and my daughter heard it in a NYC cab and I was playing it on an iPod that was given to me by the first person I ever visited NYC with back in Oct. 2003 and who promised me I would love the city...Manhattan truly is a magical place.

One year ago, I didn't know my NYC friend. I didn't know my daughter would be well on her way to becoming a seasoned NY'er. I didn't know my son would meet someone who would turn his world around in the best possible way. I didn't know what opportunities were just around the bend. I didn't know that I could be this happy. I'm glad I didn't know because, if I had, I might have gotten in my own way. I've been known to do that now and again.

I can't believe how fast the days of December are flying past. There are a few milestone events coming up in the next few days. OK, so I'm a little nervous about The Wilmington Star article that's coming out tomorrow, but it's completely out of my hands so I just have to trust that it will be fine. Mostly, I do. I think my stomach will calm down after I read it. I just hope there are no surprises and, if there are, the world won't come to an end.

Also this week, my mother turns 83 on Wednesday! That's hard to believe. She still has flawless skin and not a wrinkle to be found. She's a very beautiful woman and we're very blessed to have this dynamo in charge. You would never in a million years believe she is 83 - she lives, acts and looks so much younger. We can't always keep up with her! Thank God she never had any interest in the computer because the rest of us would die a horrible, painful death - no question about it. I know I'm very very blessed to have her for a mother and that fact is revealed to me a little more with each day. She truly is a wonderful person and most definitely an example worthy of emulating.

And next Monday...wow. I have an appointment next Monday at 10:00 AM and I've been waiting on this one for almost three years. I can't predict the outcome, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Time will tell. I know...I really do know, that it will turn out just the way it's supposed to, so I'm really not all that concerned. More on that one, later. If things go well, it could turn out to be a most welcome Christmas present. Prayers are welcome!

I think everyone in this house is looking forward to Christmas and spirits are running high. My home is happy and even the animals seem extra perky, well, except for poor Felix and, no question about it, we love him, but I'm pretty sure that cat is possessed.

During this time last year, things weren't all that great, which makes this year even more precious and refreshing. I am grateful for the lessons. I am even more grateful for the blessed peace.

Life is good...and I feel fine. Giddy...and fine.