And I mean what a week.
Monday, December 12, or "Maybe This Christmas": I make a list and check it twice. Three times. Four, even. The lucky ones are exempt from the semester exam, and they holler and whoop and breathe thankyou-thankyou-thankyou as if it's Christmas morning. But the others? They react as if they had made Santa's "naughty list" and got only socks and underwear for Christmas, and I feel bad for them -- but not so bad that I let them skip the test. There's always next semester, I tell them hopefully, but they look at me forlornly. I might as well have pressed a lump of coal in their hands.
Tuesday, December 13, or 'There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays": A few weeks after putting up the tree, we take it down again, in preparation for our house to be fumigated. The fumigation is the last step before we finally become homeowners, and as excited as we are about that, we are not as thrilled about packing up and leaving the house for two days while Rob, Zoe, and I are in the middle of an exam week. An hour before poison wafts through the house, I receive a disturbing phone call from Rob: he can't find the cat. He calls, but she doesn't answer. He searches, but she can't be found. I drive all the way home from school and locate her in under five minutes, sandwiched behind the clothes hamper. As I reach around to pull her out and save her life, she hisses and swats my hand, thinking that I am Rob, and leaves three bloody and burning gashes. I head back to school, heroic and relieved, but generally kind of pissed. Is poison really that bad?
Wednesday, December 14 - Friday, December 16, or "Deck the Halls": Final exams begin today, and the non-exempt students trudge forth through the halls at school, toward what they believe will be their doom. I give them pep talks and feed them candy canes, and they leave feeling a little more hopeful, not to mention sugared up. By the end of the week, I am both exhausted and exhilarated -- we've all earned a break!
As for the cat that I saved from imminent poisoning, she claws her way out of a screened-in window at my mom's house and goes to live in the bushes somewhere nearby, returning only in the dark of night for meals. At first, I feel responsible, but then I realize, if you love something, set it free. And wait for it to get hungry and come home so that you can capture it again.
On Friday afternoon, after signing the equivalent of a small forest in paper, we also officially become -- at long last -- homeowners! Woo hoo!
Saturday, December 17, or "Do You Hear What I Hear": Technically, though it is Saturday, I am still on the clock. My speech students and I will not begin our holiday break officially until the end of today's speech tournament. By 4:00, when the meet ends, I expect the heavens to clear and angels to stream down toward me singing the "Hallelujah" chorus, but instead, I feel enervated. Boy, do I need a long winter's nap -- but the day isn't over yet. My husband asks me to pick up an item from the mall. On a Saturday afternoon. A week before Christmas. After searching for parking for thirty minutes, Z and I find the one spot open at the farthest corner of the mall. We return to the car thirty minutes later, and Zoe tells me, Well, at least we don't have to exercise today! Cue the "Hallelujah" chorus now!
Sunday, December 18, or "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year": I sleep in, and wake to rain falling gently outside. I complete a layout. I hug my husband multiple times, and not because one or the both of us are rushing to leave the house to head somewhere. Awesome day. I even have time to start one of my yearly "top ten" posts.
Here are my top ten layouts from 2011:
(1) "How I Know"
(2) "Shark Tale"
(3) "Where Love Lives"
(4) "Right About Now"
(6) "NC or Bust"
(7) "Know This"
(10) "These Two"
And maybe there's room for a few honorable mentions:
"A Cup of Tea"
It's interesting to look back at the year in scrapbooking and to see certain trends emerge. I was definitely feeling my gray, cream, and kraft backgrounds, that's for sure. I have so much neglected cardstock, but I always seem to be in need of gray, cream, and kraft. I'm also seeing lots of layering. I left behind clean and simple years ago, methinks. I wonder what stylistic changes 2012 will hold for me.
I think it's worth mentioning that the pages that I love the most from this year are those that have heart, that feature the faces I love so well and the details and stories that I want to remember always. Creating pages for fun is wonderful, but I also want to create pages that matter. If I can have it both ways, then all the better!
Before I leave you (and I do hope to be back soon -- not just a week from now), I wanted to make you aware of a very merry holiday sale at October Afternoon. Check it out here!