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Thursday, December 16, 2004


My anxiety over the discomfort I'm expecting beginning next week is decidedly mitigated by the anticipation of Jolie's arrival in 2 days. Without any maternal solicitation, she booked a flight to come help out and, she says, to "pamper" me. (That makes me smile for so many reasons.)

I postponed this leave in order to schedule it around the annual glut of University-sanctioned holidays, reducing the number of sick days I'll need to claim. An unexpected bonus is that I'm also relieved of holiday ado. Over the years, I've been practically systematic in distancing myself from the demands of this time of year, often wishing I could just take a year off from it all. This was the year.

Thanksgiving – and its requisite decisions of what to cook and for how many, its awkward calls to family or the guilt for avoiding them, and its next-day clamor to "profit" from yearly merchandise promotions – completely disappeared this year while we strolled the Promenade des Anglais, played slots in Monte Carlo, and taste-tested (gluten-free) meringue cookies at different patisseries every day.

Unfortunately, my obliteration of the winter holidays won't be as pleasant or effective as it was for Thanksgiving, since I'm supplanting one set of stresses for another. Fortunately however, I'll be able to blot out the latter set with all the pharmaceuticals I'll have on hand. So, with Jol and Brad here, I expect this will be my most happily blurry winter holiday to date.


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