Hello, and Happy Pre-Christmas Eve, everyone. Hope you have all finished your holiday shopping, and been good girls and boys. (I plead the Fifth, personally.)
I've been dressing in seasonal colors the past few days, starting with a green dress on Wednesday and a white blouse and red maxi-skirt yesterday. Today I went with my red blazer, above. (If you look closely you can spot the green scrunchie holding up my ponytail too.)
This is just a brief post about my adventures last weekend, and not the second of the promised pair of posts mentioned recently. I hope to finish that one tomorrow, lest I further tempt fate with Santa. Read on below the fold for all of the details. :-p
Winter has arrived here in New England. Last Friday was absolutely frigid; the temperature when I woke up at 6:00 AM was 3 F (-16C), with 40 MPH wind gusts. We then received our first significant snowfall of the winter last Saturday; nearly seven inches where I live a few miles outside of Boston, and more as you move further north and west.
I spent most of Saturday afternoon shoveling, until my right wrist, which I've fractured three times, was aching so badly I had to stop for the day. I spent the rest of the day applying ice (well, iced coffee, anyway) and wearing my brace as I worked on the aforementioned post.
This being Boston, temperatures naturally then soared nearly 60 degrees by early Sunday morning; combined with a steady overnight rain, nearly all of the snow was gone by mid-afternoon. Then - again, this being Boston - temperatures promptly plummeted nearly 30 degrees in less than two hours late Sunday afternoon, with a howling wind whipping in off the Atlantic.
And those were the conditions when I set off for downtown Boston with my colleagues R and The Divine Miss M (a/k/a TDMM) to check out the first Boston Winter Festival at City Hall Plaza. We made a quick trip to Faneuil Hall to take a look at the Christmas tree set up there (this photo does not do it justice, alas):
Until now, that is.
The Winter Festival, which debuted the first weekend of December, has been a rousing success by any measure. It's drawing rave reviews from visitors, vendors, and city officials, all of whom are thrilled with it.
After our visit, we - R, Miss M, and yours truly - all agreed that it was wonderful. I snapped a few shots to give you a flavor of the decorations in the grounds:
(The neon tree is actually in motion, the colors changing continually as it moves.)
There are a number of kiosks offering food, beverages (TDMM and I will both vouch personally for the hot apple cider - yummm...), and crafts from local merchants.
Curiously, many of them were closed when we arrived late Sunday afternoon. While chatting with a Boston police officer working a detail there, he speculated that they may have closed because of the cold and wind. Nonetheless, we had a great time browsing through the ones that were open, many of which, I'm happy to say, were clearly doing brisk business.
One of the main attractions of the Festival is an outdoor skating rink that loops around and through the festival grounds. As one whose klutziness is gender-neutral, I am unable to skate thanks to my twice-fractured right ankle and foot (do you sense a trend here?). While far less likely to injure himself than your blogstress, R also decided not to try out the rink - leaving it up to Miss M, who was not only up to the challenge; she brought her own skates with her.
While R and I watched from the side, M gracefully navigated a dozen loops around the rink - well, except for when Mother Nature decided to make things interesting during one of her final laps.
While R held M's cider, I snapped as many shots of her as I could each time she glided by. While quickly reviewing what I'd thus far captured, I heard R say, perplexed, "Why is she skating backwards all of a sudden?"
Looking up, I saw M - who, it should be noted here, is a little slip of a thing (her skates probably weigh more than she does) - was, indeed, moving backwards. After a moment, I started to smile.
"Umm, I don't think she's skating backwards," I said. "The wind is blowing so hard she's getting pushed back!"
"Get ready, Cass," R said. "We may need to borrow one of those cherry pickers over there to reel her in if she goes airborne."
"All I know is when we go to dinner after this, she is going to be eating all of her vegetables," I replied.
Fortunately, our rescue mission did not need to happen; M survived unscathed, and, once she removed her skates, we headed off to check out the Public Garden.
As you can see, the city did a wonderful job decorating the trees:
One of my favorite attractions in the Public Garden are the beloved bronze statues of the ducklings (of Make Way for Ducklings fame), complete with seasonally-appropriate head wear:
Here for this blog's meta-moment is a shot Miss M took of yours truly as I snapped this photo:
You can get a sense of how windy it was by my disheveled 'do. :c)
After a breezy and chilly (but enjoyable) walk through the Garden and Boston Common, we headed back to the Orange Line and decamped to dinner to conclude the evening. (Miss M did not, in fact, eat all of her vegetables that night, but in her defense the portions were rather large, and she promised to finish them for lunch the next day.) We then called it the end of a lovely, well-spent evening...
...with an unexpected postscript the net day, in my case. :c)
After a mid-morning, post-coffee brush of my teeth, I returned to my desk to find a card and package sitting on my chair. The card contained a lovely, touching message from Miss M, while the package turned out to contain the following:
Clearly M knows her audience. lol She's already suggested I need to model the included shower cap as soon as possible for my public. :D (And I will - promise!) I cannot wait to try out everything in the package - particularly the Body Butter, for which I have all sorts of ideas concerning how to get inte trouble while using it. [insert evil cackle here ;-p]
Well, this turned out to be a longer post than expected; hope you enjoyed it. And I hope everyone reading this has a happy, safe holiday, no matter what you celebrate (or don't celebrate, as the case may be).
The holidays are not an easy time for me since going full-time, particularly Christmas. Last Christmas was the most difficult and painful of them all.
I won't lie and pretend that the hurt is gone; it isn't. Not by a long shot. I'm better than I was a year at this time, thanks to my dear friends and my wonderful therapist M. But it still hurts, and probably will for years to come.
I told M recently that while I used to love the holidays, now I associate them with pain, and want them over with. Perhaps some day that will change, but for now I try to endure them. I can thank TDMM, R, Alice, T and J, my best friend F, and others for helping me get through them this year. I could not do it without you. I love you all.
Merry Christmas, everyone, and may you enjoy sweet secret peace.