Working Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Yesterday was the solstice, aka the longest night of the year in this hemisphere, which means today we turn the corner and the days start getting longer again. (Those of you in the south are getting your longest day of the year. I picture you gloating. :p). We Northerners still have most of winter to get through, but every day there’ll be a little more sun, a little more stretch to the light. More time to work. And read. And pause to be happy just for the moment.

What did you work on during the darkest week of the year (or lightest, depending on where you call home)?

56 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, December 22, 2021

  1. I looked after my 5yo grandson for two days straight (he went home each night), as his parents are working (I’m on unpaid compulsory leave) and school has ended for the year. I may sleep until Christmas… 🙂

    I’m planning on sewing/knitting/spinning/weaving once I’ve cleaned up the Christmas meal until I go back to work after New Year. It will be blissful. My first break since the abusive ex left!

    It’s been warm, but summer doesn’t reliably kick in in Melbourne until January, and even then a good southerly can cool things down rapidly, as there’s essentially nothing between us and Antarctica.

    1. Here’s to a wonderful new beginning for you. I hope the weather remains manageable. At least we’re not in Perth. It’s supposed to be 43 degrees plus on Christmas Day.

      1. Thanks Fi! I’ve still got to shift his stuff out to his new place, as there is no way I’m allowing him in my home ever again. As my daughter said on Christmas Day, neither of us owe him anything.

        I lived in Perth on and off for 16 years (it’s the ex’s home town); that’s hot for Christmas Day even by Perth standards.

        There’s about two to three months a year where nothing really is expected to be achieved; it’s just too mind-numbingly hot. The days are bad enough, but it’s the hot nights that are (literally) the real killer. If you can’t afford air conditioning at home and in your car, you probably drop a substantial number of IQ points over summer 🙁

        Melbourne is my home, for many good reasons!

  2. I worked on assembling a bewildering amount of paperwork in order to come to France from the UK.
    And after all this faff, the French border police officer barely looked it at.

    Otherwise, I am slowly going through my usual christmas marking pile.
    Some of my colleagues go through theirs in one intensive week in January but I like to chisel away at mine, a couple of essays at a time and then do something fun for the rest of the day.

    1. Better to have and not need, than need and not have.

      Glad you balancing the marking with something fun.

  3. I decided last Wednesday to crochet a wrap from the yarn I had picked up the previous week. I figured if I put in the hours, it would be a great present for my SIL (names drawn the previous week too). I think it looks pretty good (the pattern was on the yarn label)

    This week, other than work work, covering for co-workers who had the foresight to go on vacation, I’ve been working on Christmas cookies, an apple cake experiment, putting up holiday decorations and taking care of a co-worker’s cats. Those two are a treat, and appreciate that someone is coming to feed them, but will be happier when she returns and they have a resident house-ape again.

  4. Because it is such a gloomy day I am going to attempt to make chocolate pinwheel cookies. On the vanilla half I am going to add leftover chopped candied cherries. After rolling the two halves together I’m going to use a tip I saw from Trisha Yearwood’s cooking show and slice them with dental floss, if there is a slight peppermint flavor so be it.

  5. This is the first week in my new (hopefully temporary) role. So far so good, but there hasn’t been time to run into roadblocks!

    I’m looking forward to the winter break. I’m not taking leave, but many others are, so it should be pretty quiet around here. Maybe I’ll finally get started on finishing the Lego set I got last Christmas. My workspace has been turned into my office, which is a bit of a challenge.

  6. Our oven is broken and the replacement hasn’t arrived. So we’re planning Christmas Dinner that happens on the stove top, instead the usual Beef Wellington.
    Working part time, catching up with last-minute gifts. Planning a bonfire for Thursday night, which should be clear. Took Monday off and shopped around, and gee, bought myself a book or two!
    Working three days this week, although with a lot of interruptions.

    1. You get extra points for not going postal, time to schedule a break… mind your blood pressure (pot kettle I plan to actually get some sleep for the holidays, so burnt out takes me twice as long to do my work )

      1. I run an artists’ cooperative shop with 50 artists and craftspeople. I don’t get a break until January. You know, unless I’m either in jail or a padded room under heavy medication 🙂

    2. Successfully not killing the folk sending you round the bend is a very big achievement. I admire your restraint.

  7. Work is busy, but we are closed between Christmas and New Year. I alternate between thinking of things to do, and planning to do nothing. I have three new books saved up for vacation, and chocolates ordered.

    I made the cookie cutter cookies on Sunday, so just the easy ones left to do tonight for cookie plates, with one batch Saturday morning, because they are really better fresh.

  8. I’ve been feeling slightly flat, since (because I’ve not been working this month) I’ve cleaned the house, brought the tree in and decorated it, and put the rest of the decorations up. I started Christmas on Monday evening, and went for a solstice walk yesterday ( But the weather’s grey and cold, and Omicron’s added an edge to my hermit holiday. Still, I’ve just had long phone chats with a couple of old friends, and do have rainy-day plans.

    Want to get out as much as possible this week, and enjoy myself as much as I can.

    I find it slightly odd when people think the days start getting longer now: in reality, the sun stands more or less still for another ten days. It takes until Twelfth Night for the days to get noticeably longer – at least in Britain. I’ve always found I tend to pretty much stand still as well; January’s when I can hope to get moving again.

      1. Sorry. I looked into it years ago, because it always felt like I just had to stop for a while, and this justifies my instincts.

    1. You’re right, but…

      For me, Valentine’s Day marked the time I’d arrive home at sunset so the return of daylight commuting.

      1. What Jane says helps me understand why neolithic sites — Stonehenge, Maes Howe, and so many others — catch the sunlight nearly perfectly for about two weeks, with the soltice morning being the perfect one.

    2. I think it is the “at least in Britain” that you should keep in mind. The latitude there is higher than a considerable amount of the US.

  9. I would resent having to work on Christmas were it not for the fact that it is my Last Workday Ever. I’m doing my job to the best… to the middle of my abilities for this entire week. Then, I’m Outa There!

    1. Please tell me you get some sort of stat holiday pay for Christmas? Also, retirement is a great present.

      1. No sort of stat holiday for Christmas. The Commonwealth’s rules are that holidays which fall on a weekend are observed on the associated Friday or Monday. Easter, being always on a Sunday, is not a state holiday at all. The reasoning is that white collar workers work on weekdays, not weekends, but certain days require paid observance by contract with the unions. Christmas eve will be observed December 23. Christmas, December 24. As I am working both days, I will earn 8 hours of Compensatory Time each day. Comp Time is delayed holiday time. I’m taking the day off every day the following week, to use up the balance of my Comp Time.

        By that logic and state regulation, December 25 is just a Saturday. If my collar wasn’t blue, I’d be off, you see.

  10. I have a wee bit of breathing space tonight. We celebrated Christmas #1 on Sunday, and will do Christmas #2 on Fri/Sat. Everything had to be done by Sun, so I’m finally in coasting mode. I wanted this by the end of Nov and failed horribly. Shall try again next year. 😛

    Much people gathering, everyone should be vaxxed. Relatives in town shall leave Tue, and I’ll have vacation after today till the 4th. I am decidedly looking forward to me-time with no obligations and no interactions.

    I’ve already decided my decorations are staying up at least until mid-January. Including the tree. Think we lasted until Feb last year, when I finally caved and removed the brittle husk.

    I’d like to do a sweep of books and things to donate, and then change a bookcase full of books into a bookcase full of yarn. Won’t ever work with the yarn in the tub if it’s not visible. Figure 1 day dusting/finding the things to donate, one day doing yarn and maybe squeezing in trips to donation centers.

    I’m cogitating on New Year’s goals. This year was decidedly reactive, and really, that’s not the way to move goals. Also, my sister jokingly called us all hoarders, which has gotten me thinking. I remove things constantly, but not very quickly (the donation box sits and sits), and obviously the influx never stops…

    I’m doing well at work, which is a first in many years. It’s finally opening the mental space to focus on other things, which feels good (and weird).

    I shall be applying to a volunteer opportunity for 5 months, 13 hrs ish a week. I think I can do it, and hope I am not biting off more than I can chew!

    Anywho, I’m doing things – wrapping up quarterly work objectives, considering next quarter’s work, gonna shower, make the bed and do a few dishes. Then more work things.

    Tonight, I might just crochet something I *want* to work on, vs am obligated to work on. That damn list never ends, and a goal of next year will be getting that list reduced and not bringing it back up…

    Happy Holidays, Arghers! You bring me regular, weekly joy and I hope you all end the year happy and healthy!

  11. I’m working on doing the paperwork I should have done before I moved out to the suburbs last week for a cat and house sitting job. My Medicare Part D insurance company has been sold so I thought I should try to line up the 2 exemptions from formulary that I need before the year ends. Unfortunately, the new company will not deal with me before January, my doctor is on vacation for the remainder of the year and I really should have started this process 6 weeks ago. On the plus side, I have another refill left on the stomach med, so I can get enough to tide me over while battling the number crunchers next month. But it is too early to get another refill on the nasal inhaler, so I think that will be a problem in a few weeks.

    My toilet has been leaking onto the floor every time I flush it and for the second day in a row I have been siting at my computer in my robe while a maintenance guy has wrestled with rotted out bolts and a floor that slopes. At least today I don’t have to be any where before 7pm, but I really wish I had showered earlier so I could leave the house now.

    I also have to find out what happened to the calendar I bought on ebay. They sent me an email saying that they tried to deliver it (unsuccessfully) on the 17th, but nothing since then. If/when I can shower and leave the house I will have to go to Dave’s store to see if they have it. Usually, ebay ships via usps, which would just deliver it the next day, but this was sent via DHL and I have no idea what their policy is. I’d call Dave’s store to ask, but they are far too busy gift wrapping their fingers off to be able to go check.

  12. There is so much to do that my head is spinning. I’m not hostessing for Christmas which is good because the house is a mess. Gifts and projects all over the place. I love family and the idea of Christmas but I’m also looking forward to the 26th. Praying for peace and quiet and a day of doing very little until my personal hamster wheel starts spinning again.

  13. I’m not doing much of anything, because Omicron basically cancelled Christmas for the people I usually spend the holiday with. There’s one anti-vaxxer and several high-risk people in the group, so the anti-vaxxer was already on her own, but new restrictions (even in highly vaxed Massachusetts) and the unavailability of rapid tests make other options for the vaxed unsafe, and no one wants to risk infecting the 96 yo matriarch (who is vaxed AND had a mild case of covid earlier in the pandemic, but still …).

    I’ll miss seeing friends, but it’s just not worth the risks. My neighbors will take me in and feed me a lovely dinner, so it’s not like I’ll be huddling all alone at home. It just won’t be a big gathering, and there won’t be crazy amounts of cooking and baking, so it doesn’t feel like the normal chaos of three days before Christmas.

    I’m particularly grateful at the moment for the timing of my bypass surgery. Even in October, there were challenges in locating ICU and cardiac care rooms for patients (apparently mostly to do with a shortage of ambulances to take the dischargeable patients to the next level of care, so there was a logjam as patients couldn’t leave to make room for new patients). I had to stay in the ICU one extra night because they didn’t have an available room in the cardiac care unit. Not a big deal, but now the state is again shutting down elective surgery, which my bypass surgery was, even though I needed to do it relatively ASAP, and if I’d just been diagnosed now, I’d have to wait. At least I’m healthy, even if I can’t gather with the usual crew this year and I can’t eat shortbread cookies or blondies any more.

    1. It’s very disappointing not to spend Christmas as originally planned but it’s not worth anybody taking the risk. I hope you’re feeling your old, or better, self soon.

    2. We have the same thing here, Gin, with COVID-canceled Christmas. My brother-in-law’s mother-in-law (if you can figure that out) tested positive this week. All are triple vaxed, but she still got it and the rest of that branch of the family has been exposed. Omicron doesn’t seem to care all that much about vax status, although we expect cases will be milder, so we will avoid everyone except our “bubble”, which is daughter and son-in-law.

  14. Over the weekend we went to Edmonton and had amazing Korean food Friday night, supper at “home” on Saturday morning and lazed around all day until we went to see Spider Man (loved it), went to The Keg (chain steakhouse) for supper and then Sunday we had homemade breakfast which was leftovers of Saturday and fresh cheese puffs. It was a fantastic food weekend with the friends.

    Yesterday we went and had supper with my parents, my aunt and her friend and had a really nice visit. My mom and dad are getting themselves a new mattress for Christmas so we gave them some cash toward that. Everyone had scratch and win lotto tickets and my aunt won $100 which was a nice bonus. Paul won $50 and left the ticket for my mom to put in the mattress fund.

    Today we made cabbage rolls (about 20 small pans worth, each pan enough for 1 person because I Do Not eat cooked cabbage – or sour cabbage for that matter) and the nuts and bolts/party mix/whatever you call it. Tomorrow Paul goes back to work
    and I get busy on the Christmas-ing of the house and prepping things for making supper on Friday. There’s just Paul and I and his workmate which is good because the only turkey I could find (granted I did not scour the city) was a very small one but that means fewer leftovers.

    We decided that with the surging COVID numbers and the potentially crappy weather we won’t be going to visit Paul’s family over New Year’s which is too bad but really the right choice. It will hopefully make for a quiet end of the month because my work should be very slow.

    1. I’m late to the party and have only just heard of nuts and bolts. Is it really that good?

      I’ve never had cabbage rolls either. There are clearly gaps in my culinary education.

  15. I made a batch of chocolate brownie cookies for our annual cookie exchange at work (held yesterday) and have managed already to eat several of the ones I brought home. To control my desire to nibble, I put the rest in the freezer for future nibbling.

    I also wrote and handed in my letter announcing my future retirement. My last day will be Feb 28 and I am both excited and nervous about it.

  16. I’ve finished the first draft of parts 1 and 2 of my 3-part historical frolic and know what I’m doing with part 3. Having such fun with it.

    Also spent some time today (day job is blessedly slow) staring at my space thinking about whether part of it could be rearranged, and if so how, and what needs to happen before the how becomes actionable. I managed considerable decluttering this year In Spite Of Everything and would like to continue that trend in 2022.

    Aside from that, I managed to ship off a book + another thing + a not-holiday card to the folks in Florida. Thus endeth my gifting.

  17. I stuffed about 700 envelopes. Our Board of Elections wants to know why people requested a mail-in ballots but did not vote it. So we’re sending out a letter asking, ‘Why?’ We’re rquesting an email response. We’ll see how that goes.

    With procrastination and envelope stuffing I’m behind on the Xmas cookie baking. I’ll see if I can do it all tomorrow. It’ll entertain the dog.

    I’ll be going to one cousin’s for Christmas Eve and another’s for Christmas Day so I really don’t have much food prep and really can’t complain.

  18. I am, as predicted, mostly giftwrapping, though had to to a heavy shopping run (we were OUT of kibbles, though the dish hadn’t been licked clean when I arrived with the new sack, so they weren’t ready to fall on me for their next meal). Then spent yesterday assisting a young friend to transfer more possessions from rented room to a storage unit. This is just about the end, I think; he said there were only a few more small boxes which he needed to pack up, so possibly one more trip. We lunched at a Sonic — very interesting experience!

  19. I decided to take a break from job hunting and spend almost all of my winter grad school break home in Oregon with my family. Definitely great to get out of NYC as omnicron (sp? I am too angry to dignify COVID with learning how to spell all its variants) is spreading. (I did take a rapid test before I flew home to make sure I wasn’t bringing it with me, and I’m vaxed).

    But mostly I’m trying to give myself time to write, and take care of my mental health, and spend time with people I love. I spent the past year running on short-term crisis-management thinking. Grad school has been helpful in getting me to start imagining the future in a positive way again. Now I’m trying to get that optimism to start sinking in for more than a few hours at a time.

  20. We’ve had the big family Christmas lunch get together already, because my sister and brother in law are going away over Christmas. Things are unpacked in the new house enough for now that we don’t have to climb over boxes, and we’ve made it through all the events for my youngest son’s graduation from primary school.

    I’m looking forward to a quiet, low-key Christmas this year.

  21. I don’t know when Christmas will be. My son is a nurse too. After 30 years I get all holidays off,(except Easter). Now he works them. I am hoping to have the boxes put away for a brief time.
    I finally finished my snow village tree. It turned out well, but it took a year and I am not adding up the money. The glimmer of a cottage industry is very, very dead. A friend asked if I was going to leave it up or take it down and never put it up again… Damn facebook.

  22. It is been the coldest, and frequently wettest, Spring and early Summer that I have ever known. The past few days have made up for it by being so overwhelmingly hot and humid it feels like you’re swimming through the air.

    I’ve spent the week recovering from the third operation for a moderately differentiated squamous cell carcinoma on my forehead i.e. skin cancer.

    Initially the earliest appointment I could get was mid January next year but they had a cancellation on my mother’s 80th birthday. I was initially (stupidly) hesitant as it would mean she’d spend majority of her zero birthday on her own (my brother lives in Perth and due to Covid related border issues wasn’t able to visit). Mum insisted I go and claims it was the best birthday present she could have had.

    Hopefully they’ve got it all this time around. The first two previous procedures were followed up with calls within a few days that said it was more serious, then deeper, than expected. It’s been almost a week and no scary phone calls so I have high hopes. I’m fortunate that the scar runs along my hairline but quite frankly I’d have been fine with whatever it looked like as long as they’ve got it all.

    The staff at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse at Camperdown were wonderful. The plastic surgeon and fellow were very thorough and reassuring although when they mentioned having to burr my skull it gave me pause. I was so grateful they could fit me in before Christmas. I can’t say enough good things about them all.

    Everything seems to be healing well and I haven’t needed any painkillers for the past two days.

    Incidentally, I had no external sutures. While I was in recovery a nurse ran superglue along the excision and before changing the bandage.

    Wishing you all a lovely festive season and don’t forget to wear sunscreen!

    1. Well, thanks for the reminder, Fi, but I really don’t think I’m going to need it for the next few months. (Swimming through cold, grey murk here.)

  23. Well I’m late, but I spent 90 percent of the day with my kids for my oldest’s 28th birthday. Sewed a little in the morning before I left. Hoping to have the Christmas presents done by Saturday, but if not, they go in the boxes in parts!! I’ve learned to go with the flow. It’s a busy time of year and I always start late.

    (And there was the wedding dress which slowed things down as you know!)

    Christmas eve is at my house this year. Christmas day at the exes house. It’s a reversal but it’s turning out okay. And I’ll be able to come home whenever I want so can escape the hullabaloo if I care to.

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